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With the general election looming on the horizon it was no surprise that the budget for 2015 was lacking any major policy changes or ground breaking revelations in the world of tax and money. Those of us living and working in the countryside will be glad to see that there is to be no fuel duty increase in September and that we are not going to be punished at the beer pump either. There was the normal annual tweaking of personal allowance thresholds, annual capital gains tax allowance and income tax bands. And for the first time in a long time, the farmers in the community got an actual mention.
It has been confirmed that self-employed farmers from the 6th April 2016 will be able to average their profits for income tax purposes over a five year period from the current level of two years. This is expected to save farming businesses £30 million per year from 2017 – 2018 (source Farmers Weekly), but it is not expected to save the average farm a great deal of money unless there are very large fluctuations in profit on a yearly basis.
Other areas of the budget that may be of interest to rural businesses include that the annual investment allowance that was due to drop to £25,000 will be re-addressed in the autumn statement. This will help off-set any investment in machinery and equipment for businesses that are willing and able to expand. In addition to this, there are further National Insurance incentives for those employing young workers and apprentices from April 2016, which may boost the younger employment sector in the countryside by making them more affordable. There are proposed changes to restricting Entrepreneurs Relief on gains that accrue on personally owned assets used in a trading business carried out by a company or a partnership. It is important that, if you are planning to use Entrepreneurs Relief on or after the 18th March 2015, your tax position is re-assessed with the correct professional advice.
It is of course possible that all of these changes will be torn up in the autumn statement if a new government is to take post, however it is felt that the average farm business can walk away from the budget with a sigh of relief that business may continue as usual; well at least for the time being.
If you have concerns over anything in this year’s budget that may affect your business, GSC Grays work in conjunction with a number of rural specialist accountants as part of providing strategic and day to day advice to farmers and landowners, therefore please do not hesitate to contact one of our agents at your local office.
Will Parker, Senior Rural Surveyor tel: 01833 637000