It was confirmed that the corporation tax rate, currently 20%, will be 19% for the financial years beginning 1 April 2017, 1 April 2018 and 1 April 2019, and 17% for the financial year beginning 1 April 2020.
Rural rate relief
Rural rate relief will increase from 50% to 100% in April 2017. It is available to businesses in rural areas with a population under 3,000, where that business is the only village shop or post office with a rateable value of up to £8,500; or the only public house or petrol station with a rateable value of up to £12,500.
National insurance contributions (NICs)
The national insurance secondary (employer) threshold and the national insurance primary (employee) threshold will be aligned from 6 April 2017, meaning that both employees and employers will start paying national insurance on weekly earnings above £157.
As announced at Budget 2016, Class 2 NICs will be abolished from April 2018. It has been confirmed that, following the abolition of Class 2 NICs, self-employed contributory benefit entitlement will be accessed through Class 3 and Class 4 NICs. All self-employed women will continue to be able to access the standard rate of Maternity Allowance. Self-employed people with profits below the Small Profits Limit will be able to access Contributory Employment and Support Allowance through Class 3 NICs. There will be provision to support self-employed individuals with low profits during the transition.
British Business Bank
The British Business Bank will invest an additional £400m in venture capital funds, in order to ‘unlock up to £1bn of new investment in innovative firms planning to scale up’.
Charge points for electric vehicles
Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2017 to provide a 100% first-year allowance for expenditure incurred on electric charge-point equipment for electric vehicles. The measure will be backdated to have effect for expenditure incurred on or after 23 November 2016. It will expire on 31 March 2019 for
corporation tax and 5 April 2019 for income tax purposes.
Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED)
The annual charges for the ATED will rise in line with inflation for the 2017/18 chargeable period.
Research and Development (R&D)
The National Productivity Investment Fund will provide an additional £4.7bn in R&D funding by 2020/21. Projects will include an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to support collaborations between business and the UK science base, and an increase in grant funding through Innovate UK.
The government will also look at ways to build on the ‘above the line’ R&D tax credit, with the aim of further incentivising R&D.
The government will legislate in Finance Bill 2017 to add specific provisions to the Patent Box rules where R&D is undertaken collaboratively by two or more companies under a ‘cost sharing arrangement’. These will ensure that such companies are neither penalised nor able to gain an advantage under these rules by organising their R&D in this way. This will have effect for accounting periods commencing on or after 1 April 2017.