Autumn Statement 2015

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Chancellor announces date of the Autumn Statement

In late July, the Chancellor announced that the results of the Spending Review would be announced on 25 November. At the time he made no reference to the Autumn Statement, probably because the focus was still on his July Budget. However, a September exchange between Mr Osborne and the Office for Budget Responsibility revealed, much as expected, that 25 November will also see the publication of the Autumn Statement.

In recent years the Autumn Statement has increasingly become more like a second Budget –particularly in 2014. This may not quite be so evident in 2015, if only because the Chancellor has already presented two budgets this year. In Julys he announced most of the income tax details for 2016/2017, revising figures he had put forward in March when he was still part of a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats. It is difficult to imagine many further changes on this front.

Nevertheless there is one area worth watching:

National Insurance Contributions (NICs): The Treasury is in the throes of overhauling NICs for the self-employed and has said it aims to scrap the weekly Class 2 payment and just have a Class 4 earnings related payment. Tellingly, self-employed NICs were left out of recent legislation to freeze NIC rates (along with income tax and VAT rates). The July reforms on dividend taxation, which take effect from 2016/2017, were designed to discourage the self-employed from incorporating. This may have paved the way for the government to increase the main Class 4 rate, from 9% to a predicted 12%, without a rush towards incorporation.

As always, nobody really knows what will be announced and the proof will be in the pudding. If you think either of these issues might affect you, please get in touch with us to discuss them.

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