Treasury Starts Conversation to Reform UK Capital Allowance Regime
A publication aiming to kickstart a conversation with businesses about how to reform the UK’s capital allowances regime was yesterday published.
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has called on businesses of all sizes to have their say, after his Spring Statement pledged to look at how to sustainably cut and reform business taxes ahead of the Autumn Budget.
Yesterday’s publication sets out how firms can work with the government on capital allowances to help foster a new culture of enterprise and growth in the UK, with responses requested by 1 July 2022.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday said:
I want to build on the momentum of the super-deduction to drive and sustain growth in the UK, and we’re committed to doing that through cutting and reforming investment taxes.
Today we take another step forward in delivering on that – and I encourage businesses of all sizes, right across the UK, to have their say.
The UK has a long-standing issue with productivity and one of the key underlying causes is a lack of capital investment.
According to OECD data, companies invest just 10% of GDP each year, compared with 14% in our competitor countries – our tax system doesn’t reward investment as much as other countries do.
The government is investing £600 billion over the next five years and ministers want businesses to invest more too.
Ahead of the end of the super-deduction, the largest two-year business tax cut in modern British history, next year, the Spring Statement set out some illustrations of the types of changes government could make to the current capital allowances regime. Yesterday’s guidance delves into those options in further detail, which includes:
- increasing the permanent level of the Annual Investment Allowance
- increasing the rates of Writing Down Allowances
- introducing general First-Year Allowances (FYAs) for qualifying expenditure on plant and machinery
- introducing an additional FYA
- introducing permanent full expensing
While some business organisations have called for full expensing to be introduced following the super-deduction, this could cost over £11 billion a year. The government is keen to hear views as to whether that would be well targeted if funding is available, and if it isn’t available, how to best target our approach.
- In addition to the Spring Statement options, the guidance published Yesterday has three further areas of interest:
- Investment decisions – The government would welcome evidence from stakeholders on how firms make investment decisions, the relative importance of capital allowances in those decisions, and how they are taken into account.
- The super-deduction – The government wants to incorporate the latest evidence on the impact of the super-deduction into its decision-making. As part of this, we are interested in views on how the super-deduction has affected the investment decisions of businesses, ahead of it ending in 2023.
- The current system of capital allowances – As set out at Spring Statement, the government acknowledges that the generosity of the permanent system of capital allowances compares unfavourably to international peers and wants to know what more the capital allowances regime can do to support business investment.
- By publishing the options available at Spring Statement and now welcoming views from industry, we are increasing transparency in capital allowances policy-making and starting a national conversation on the best way to proceed. We want to ensure that industry views can be fully considered and inform any Budget announcements ahead of the end of the super-deduction next year.
- OECD data
- Read yesterday’s publication here. Views must be submitted by 1 Jul 2022.
- Read our Tax Plan
- The UK’s business community includes UK businesses, tax professionals, research institutions and others.
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