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November 22nd 2017

Autumn Budget 2017 - how was it for you?

Well, that was the Autumn 2017 Budget. How was it for you? We listened intently to Mr Hammond's speech. It wasn't hugely overwhelming however we managed to pick out a few headlines.

I expect the stamp duty land tax break for first time buyers will be the big news tomorrow, though sadly this won't affect buyers north of the border. Will the Scottish Government follow suit? It can't be guaranteed, but there will surely be some political pressure to mirror the move with Land & Buildings Transaction Tax.

Here's the key things we picked out, from a personal/ business perspective:

Increasing the main R&D payable tax credit rate from 11% to 12%

Our verdict: good news for companies undertaking qualifying research & development activities.

National Living Wage increases by 4.4% from April 2018

Our verdict: entirely expected

Personal tax allowance and threshold increases

Income tax personal allowance increases to £11,850 next year; higher rate threshold increases to £46,350 (not applicable in Scotland)

Our verdict: no real surprises there; the proportion of taxpayers paying tax at the higher rate is still significantly above that of 20 or 30 years' ago due to the effects of 'fiscal drag', so it would have been nice to see bigger increases. Scottish taxpayers, alas, will not benefit from the rise in the higher rate threshold.

Corporation tax

Relief for chargeable gains attributable to inflation (via indexation) to be frozen from January 2018.

Our verdict: did anyone see this coming? One of the benefits of putting appreciating assets (like property) into a company was that companies, unlike individuals, benefited from indexation relief. At least it does not appear to be retrospective in that (hopefully) gains arising up to January 2018 should continue to benefit from indexation relief.

VAT

Despite fevered speculation in the press, the VAT threshold is not going to be reduced. It will be maintained at £85,000 for the next two years.

Our verdict: thank goodness. A significant reduction in the registration threshold would have caused mayhem.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

Effective today, first time buyers of property in the UK (except Scotland) will pay no stamp duty on purchases up to £300,000. On purchases between £300,000 and £500,000, first time buyers will pay no stamp duty on the first £300,000.

Our verdict: will they follow suit in Scotland?

More detail will become available over the next few hours and we'll be publishing our popular budget brief later this week.

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