UK Autumn Budget 2018 – B is for…….

Nov 05, 2018

Brexit, backstop, Budget…..all the big issues of late.  Autumn Budget 2018 may have been viewed by some as perhaps boring or bland but another “b” word featured regularly during the Chancellor’s speech with business seeing a number of measures designed to encourage capital investment and news that the UK will go it alone and plans to introduce a 2 percent digital services tax from April 2020. The off-payroll working rules (IR 35) currently in operation in the public sector will be extended to the private sector but only from April 2020 with small businesses to be excluded from the extension.

Despite the call for evidence earlier this year on the impact of VAT and APD on tourism in Northern Ireland, there will be no changes to these regimes in Northern Ireland at this time. Somewhat of a missed opportunity perhaps given the potential in this sector and the recent Irish decision to increase VAT on tourism to 13 percent.  The government does plan however to explore ways to support the successful and growing tourism industry in Northern Ireland (NI) and will establish a technical working group to consider the practical and legal challenges to changing short-haul Air Passenger Duty (APD) in NI.

Disappointingly, there was no mention of the government’s ongoing commitment to corporation tax devolution but as Northern Ireland continues to be without an Executive perhaps that is no surprise. The regime is therefore very much in a state of limbo six months on from the date it was due to be introduced.