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Business Tax and Investment Incentives

Corporation tax

Corporation tax rates are as follows:

Financial Year from 1 April 2018 1 April 2019 1 April 2020
Corporation tax rate 19% 19% 17%

Annual Investment Allowance (AIA)

The AIA will be temporarily increased from £200,000 to £1m. This change will have effect in relation to qualifying expenditure incurred from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2020.

Capital allowances - special rate pool

The rate of writing down allowance on the special rate pool of plant and machinery will be reduced from 8% to 6%. The new rate will be effective from 1 April 2019 for businesses within the charge to corporation tax and 6 April 2019 for businesses within the charge to income tax.

Structures and Buildings Allowance (SBA)

The government will introduce a new SBA to provide relief for qualifying expenditure on new non-residential structures and buildings. Relief will be available for eligible expenditure incurred where all contracts for the physical construction works are entered into on or after 29 October 2018. Relief will not be available for the costs of land or dwellings. The SBA will be available at an annual rate of 2%. This will be at a flat rate, calculated on the amount of original construction expenditure. There will not be a system of balancing charges or balancing allowances on a subsequent disposal of the asset. Instead, a purchaser will continue to claim the annual allowance of 2% of the original cost.

First Year Allowances (FYAs)

Legislation will be introduced to end the FYA and first year tax credits for products on the Energy Technology List and the Water Technology List from April 2020.

The current 100% FYA for expenditure incurred on electric charge-point equipment will be extended for a further four years. It will expire on 31 March 2023 for corporation tax and 5 April 2023 for income tax purposes.

Corporate capital loss restriction

The government will legislate to restrict companies’ use of carried forward capital losses to 50% of capital gains from 1 April 2020. The measure will include an allowance that provides companies unrestricted use of up to £5m capital or income losses each year. An anti-forestalling measure to support this change will have effect on and after 29 October 2018.

Research and Development (R&D) tax relief

A limit will be introduced on the amount of payable tax credit that can be claimed by a company under the R&D SME tax relief. The limit will be set at three times the company’s total PAYE and NICs payment for the period. The change will have effect for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 April 2020. Any loss that a company cannot surrender for a payable credit can be carried forward and used against future profits.

Digital Services Tax

From April 2020, the government will introduce a new 2% tax on revenues of certain digital businesses which derive value from their UK users.

The tax will:

  • apply to revenues generated from the provision of search engines, social media platforms and online marketplaces
  • apply to revenues from those activities that are linked to the participation of UK users, subject to a £25m per annum allowance
  • only apply to groups that generate global revenues from in-scope business activities in excess of £500m per annum
  • include a safe harbour provision that exempts loss-makers and reduces the effective rate of tax on businesses with very low profit margins.

UK property income of non-UK resident

As previously announced, from 6 April 2020, non-UK resident companies that carry on a UK property business, or have other UK property income, will be charged to corporation tax, rather than being charged to income tax as at present.


Legislation will be introduced to increase the small trading tax exemption limits. These limits apply to trading that does not relate to the charity’s primary purpose. The current exemption threshold of £50,000 will be changed to £80,000 and the lower band changed from £5,000 to £8,000. The changes will have effect on and after 6 April 2019 for unincorporated charities and from 1 April 2019 for incorporated charities.

Corporate intangible fixed assets regime

The government will publish detailed proposals on how it intends to partially reinstate relief for acquired goodwill in the acquisition of businesses with eligible intellectual property. It will also alter the regime’s de-grouping charge rules so that a charge will not arise where de-grouping is the result of a share disposal that qualifies for the Substantial Shareholding Exemption. The changes to the de-grouping rules will have effect in relation to de-groupings occurring on or after 7 November 2018.

Off-payroll working rules

Responsibility for operating the existing off-payroll working rules, and deducting any tax and NICs due, will move from individuals to the organisation, agency or other third party paying an individual’s personal service company. Small organisations will be exempt. This change will come into effect from 6 April 2020.

Employment Allowance

The government will legislate to restrict access to the NICs Employment Allowance to employers with an employer NICs liability below £100,000 in their previous tax year. Where employers are connected under the Employment Allowance rules the threshold will apply to their aggregated liability. This will take effect from 2020.