Budget 2020: Targeted Tax Relief Could Boost Capital Investment

Ahead of the budget on 11 March, Brendan Sharkey outlines the tax reforms that would do most to boost investment for the year ahead.

The Uk’s official budget statements is due on the 11th March, and we’re exepcting to hear on a myriad of important topics. Below Finance Monthly hears from Brendan Sharkey, Head of Construction and Real Estate at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, on the potential tax reforms experts woudl like to see postively impact capital investment, renovations and retirement builds.

The green light for HS2 was good news and freeports would stimulate the construction sector if they end up being approved. On the other hand, the IR35 reform is going to bite hard in April and the general level of investment could still be improved.

A number of reforms to tax rates and reliefs are overdue and the budget would be as good a place as any to push them through.

It is never a bad idea to encourage investment in plant and machinery, particularly when the proposed immigration reforms will shrink the labour pool in certain parts of the country, so the Chancellor would be well advised to raise the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) which currently stands at £200,000.

A reduction in Stamp Duty would also be welcome; the tax inhibits buyers in its current form. An exemption for older people looking to downsize could also stimulate the market for specialist retirement accommodation, where the UK still lags the likes of the US and Australia.

VAT on renovations also ought to be reduced to 5% across the board. It is of course sometimes possible to pay at this lower rate, but this ultimately depends on the circumstances. HMRC could simplify this procedure and help bring older properties back into circulation by mandating that the rate should always be 5%, particularly if this helps towards energy saving.

Finally, Entrepreneurs’ Relief needs to be retained. It does aid business creation in the construction sector, but reducing the cap to say £3m from £10m and requiring the shares to have been held for a longer period would target the relief at smaller hard-working SME owners who have invested considerable time in their businesses.”

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