As with most political statements, what was said in last week's Autumn Statement isn't quite as important as the detail they publish afterwards, and that won't be released for a few weeks yet! But from the headlines so far, we can glean the following information ...
Now remember, some of it will take effect in April 2016 and some in 2017, 2018 or 2019, so there's a lot to phase in over the next few years.
Starting from April 2016:
Small Business Rate Relief to be extended for another year to March 2017.
R&D Tax claims to be simplified with advance assurance available to small firms.
Tax relief for travel and subsistence to be restricted for personal service companies.
Averaging for farmers extended from 2 to 5 years from April 2016.
VCT & EIS will no longer include energy generation from April 2016.
Benefit-in-kind for diesel cars continues at 3% more expensive.
Tax Credits untouched but Universal Credit, its replacement, to be started in 2016.
Stamp duty on BTL and second homes to be 3% higher from April 2016 on purchases of £40,000 or more.
The 'Tampon Tax' - £15m, an amount equivalent to VAT on sanitary products, will be used to fund women's charities.
In the future:
Economic growth forecast at an average rate of 2.4%, leading to a million more jobs being created...partly as a result of an investment in capital infrastructure projects.
Apprenticeship levy of ½% on businesses with a wage bill of £3m or more from April 2017 to pay for more apprenticeship training.
Auto Enrolment: the minimum contribution rate rise dates to be delayed by 6 months and aligned to the tax year.
Tax on capital gains to be paid within 30 days of sale from April 2019.
Digital tax accounts to be introduced with payments of tax being made on account every quarter.
Selling £4.5bn of government-owned assets for housing.
So is it a good budget?
In the sense that it didn't bring around lots of unsettling changes - the 2015 Autumn Statement had a positive message. Of course, there may well be some devil in the detail that alters this, but I think it has several positives!
However, two very real points of this are going to be missed by very nearly everybody! Firstly, the government has taken time out of doing what it normally does to plan for the future - something that everybody should do and lots don't. When was the last time you did this?
"Do you regularly and formally plan your financial or business future? Perhaps you should!"
Secondly, all the government can do is to tell us about the results of the economy and try to create the conditions for future economic growth. Actually achieving economic growth for your business, yourself and your family is up to you.
The world is full of opportunity and it is up to you to either grab it with both hands or, to squander your future by ignoring it!
Until next time ...
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More about Jonathan Vowles ...
I've been an accountant in and for business since 1987 and have a wide experience of consultancy, audit, accounts, taxation and wealth planning work from individuals and small businesses to multinational corporations and charities.
My eclectic interests in growing and developing business span a number of areas, which can be summarised as strategic business advice and tax saving advice.
I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to deliver courses for people about starting up in business and have lectured about tax for a major accountancy practice and for Milton Keynes College.
I relax by reading fiction and by getting away from the office in a campervan.
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