Autumn Statement 2015 – Highlights

November 26th, 2015

In the first combined Spending Review and Autumn Statement since 2007, the Chancellor’s emphasis was on expenditure. He nevertheless made a range of tax-related announcements, the main ones being:

  • Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) From 1 April 2016 SDLT rates will be increased by 3% for the purchasers of buy-to-let and second homes. From April 2019, any capital gains tax due on the disposal of residential property will have to be made as a payment on account within 30 days of the disposal.
  • Apprenticeship levy The rate of the new apprenticeship levy, due to begin in April 2017, will be 0.5% of the employer’s payroll. Every employer will receive an offsetting allowance of £15,000, so that only employers with a payroll of over £3m will pay anything.
  • Tax credits The proposed changes to tax credits, rejected by the House of Lords in October, have been scrapped at a cost of £3.4bn in 2016/17.
  • Pensions The dates for the contribution rate increases under auto-enrolment will be pushed back six months to align them with tax years. The rate for the new single tier state pension, due to start next April, was set at £155.65 a week.
  • ISAs In the absence of inflation, the ISA limits will remain at their 2015/16 levels. A consultation on including equity crowdfunding as an eligible investment was launched.
  • Company car tax A planned change to the tax treatment of diesel company cars, which would have removed the 3% surcharge from April 2016, will be deferred until April 2021.
  • Tax avoidance and evasion Several measures to counter tax avoidance and evasion were announced, including a number targeted at offshore activities.