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As you will undoubtedly know Philip Hammond recetly delivered his Autumn Budget. As is often the case now, the actual tax announcements were rather thin on the ground. Even so, I have waded through the jargon to provide you with a summary of the changes that may be relevant to you. 

Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)
The Government will be increasing the limit on the amount an individual can invest under the EIS, in any given tax year, to £2 million, which is double the current limit. This is provided that any amount over £1 million is invested in one or more ‘knowledge-intensive companies’, as is usually the case, HMRC has yet to provide a definitive definition as to what they mean by a ‘knowledge-intensive company’.

The annual investment limit for knowledge-intensive companies receiving investments under the EIS will be doubled to £10 million (but the lifetime limit will remain at £20 million).

These changes will apply to EIS shares issued on or after 6 April 2018.

Car and van benefits
The amount to which the appropriate percentage is applied in determining the taxable benefit of company car fuel is £23,400 for 2018/19 (£22,600 for 2017/18). The cash equivalent of the benefit of a company van for 2018/19 is £3,350 (£3,230 for 2017/18). The cash equivalent of the benefit of van fuel for 2018/19 is £633 (£610 for 2017/18).

The diesel supplement for company cars will increase from 3% to 4% for 2018/19 onwards. The maximum appropriate percentage for cars (including any diesel supplement) will, however, remain at 37%.

Electricity provided at workplace charging points for electric or hybrid cars owned by employees will be exempted from taxation as a benefit-in-kind from 6 April 2018.

General note: If you are considering purchasing a new company car (wholly electric or hybrid) there are some important planning issues to consider before you do so, particularly around the potential benefit-in-kind charges proposed from April 2020. Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss this matter in greater detail.

Business rates
From 1 April 2018, business rates will be calculated using the consumer price index (CPI) rather than the retail price index (RPI).

The Government will be legislating retrospectively to address the so-called ‘staircase tax’. Businesses that have been affected will be able to ask the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to recalculate valuations so that bills are based on previous practice backdated to April 2010.

The frequency with which the VOA revalue non-domestic properties will increase by moving revaluations every three years following the next revaluation, currently due in 2022.

General note: If you are considering purchasing or selling business premises, there have been important changes over the last couple of years about claiming capital allowances. It might not be too late to make a retrospective joint election or an application to tribunal to claim capital allowances on your commercial property, the time limit for doing this is generally two years from legal completion of the transaction. Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss this matter in greater detail.

Research and development expenditure credit (RDEC)
Large companies and small companies using the large company scheme, can currently claim a taxable credit of 11% of their qualifying research and development expenditure. For expenditure incurred on or after 1 January 2018, this credit will increase to 12%. The Government will also introduce a new Advanced Clearance service for RDEC which will provide a pre-filing agreement for three years.

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