Autumn Budget 2021 – Other matters

Inheritance tax (IHT)

There were no changes to inheritance tax rates.

The standard nil rate band remains at £325,000 and the he residence nil rate band at £175,000.  These bands will be frozen up until 5 April 2026.

There is a tapered withdrawal (at a rate of rate of £1 for every £2) of the additional nil-rate band for estates with a net value of more than £2m.  It is also available when a person downsizes or ceases to own a home on or after 8 July 2015 and assets of an equivalent value, up to the value of the additional nil-rate band, are passed on death to direct descendants.

Any unused nil rate bands can be transferred to a surviving spouse or civil partner

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

The stamp duty holiday ended on 1 October 2021.

Help to Grow Schemes

The Chancellor announced two Help to Grow schemes in the Spring Budget: Management and Digital.  The schemes will commence in the Autumn, but businesses can register interest now.

The Management scheme will will offer a new executive development programme with mentoring and peer learning, and government will contribute 90% of the cost.

The Digital scheme will help small businesses develop digital skills by giving them free expert training and a 50% discount on new productivity-enhancing software, worth up to £5,000 each.

The schemes are only available to businesses employing between 5 and 249 employees that have been trading for more than 12 months.

Further details can be found here.

Freeports

The Chancellor announced the creation of 8 Freeports in England in the Spring Budget.

It was confirmed in the Autumn Budget that the first tax sites will be in Humber, Teesside and Thames, and those Freeports will be able to begin initial operations from November 2021.  The government remains committed to establishing at least one Freeport in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Freeports are special economic zones with different rules to make it easier and cheaper to do business. They’re well-established internationally, but we’re taking a unique approach.

Freeports will have:

  • Simpler planning;
  • Infrastructure funding;
  • Cheaper customs – with favourable tariffs, VAT or duties;
  • Lower taxes – with tax breaks to encourage construction, private investment and job creation.

The English Freeports will be at:

  • East Midlands Airport.
  • Felixstowe and Harwich.
  • Humber.
  • Liverpool City Region.
  • Plymouth.
  • Solent.
  • Thames.
  • Teesside

The government remains committed to establishing at least one Freeport in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Alcohol Duty

The Chancellor announced a ‘radical simplification’ of alcohol duties to take effect from February 2023, with the number of duty rates being reduced from 15 to 6, and being amended to reflect the alcohol strength rather than the drink type.

For example, currently sparkling wine has a higher duty rate than the equivalent still wine, so sparkling wine will benefit from the changes.

There will also be a ‘draught relief’ introduced to give lower rates of duty on draught beer and cider sold in pubs – effectively reducing the duty rate by 3p per pint, and small producers relief extended to small cider makers.

Air Passenger Duty

The Chancellor announced a reduction in Air Passenger Duty for flights between UK airports and an increased rate for ‘ultra long haul’ flights (of over 5,500 miles).  These changes will take effect from April 2023.

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