The best of the rest from the 2013 Budget

Money, News

We’ve rounded up the headlines from yesterday’s 2013 budget, but now we’ve had 24 hours to digest all the changes here are the smaller titbits that weren’t necessarily mentioned at the dispatch box yesterday or caught in the ensuing media frenzy.

If you fancy some light reading, all 111 pages of the Budget (the so-called ‘Red Book’) are available as a PDF on the Treasury website.

Growth Vouchers

A little vague on hard details (such as how freelancers and SMEs will be able to get them), but according to the Red Book -

To provide further support for SMEs, the Government will provide £30 million for a Growth Vouchers programme in England. This programme will test a variety of innovative approaches to helping SMEs overcome barriers to achieving growth, such as limited use of external advice. It will target a number of specific areas of advice such as making a successful loan application to a bank or taking on an employee.

See page 49 of the Budget Document.

Loans from your company

The Government allows companies to loan their staff money for things like Train season tickets. Currently these loans are exempt from tax up to £5,000 – the budget aims to increase this amount to £10,000 as part of the Finance Bill 2014. Freelancers operating their own limited company will be able to benefit from this, although it most likely won’t become law until April 2015. The document says:

Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2014 to increase the exempt threshold for the small loans exemption limit from £5,000 to £10,000.

See page 74 of the Budget Document.

Deregulate like it’s going out of fashion

Remember the Red Tape Challenge? The Treasury claims this drive to slash red tape for businesses has saved £840 million per year in compliance costs – and the Government liked it so much they’ve planned a sequel. The next phase (suggested title: The Red Tape Challenge: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) will have a wider focus and will deal with different areas of regulation in short phases. As per the Red Book:

Alongside implementing the Red Tape Challenge and Focus on Enforcement reforms, this second phase will look at the whole regulatory system – including laws, guidance, compliance, and enforcement, through short targeted reviews. The reviews will look at areas such as infrastructure, key stages in the growth of companies, and business activities where negotiating the system is overly complex. The Government will seek views from business on what specific problems should reviewed before the launch in summer 2013.

See page 49-50 of the Budget Document.

Faster payments

Again a little on the vague side, but apparently the Government has been courting the big card payment providers (Visa, Mastercard and the like) to speed up card payment processing for SMEs. This is what the document says:

The Government has secured a commitment from the payment card industry to reduce the time it takes for credit and debit card payments to reach SMEs’ bank accounts by up to three days, by using the Faster Payments System to process payments.

See page 93 of the Budget Document

VAT Registration Threshold goes up again

Nice and easy, this one:

From 1 April 2013 the VAT registration threshold will be increased from £77,000 to £79,000 and the deregistration threshold from £75,000 to £77,000.

See page 86 of the Budget Document

Disincorporation relief

Want to hang up that limited company and go back to the free-wheeling good times of sole tradership? For five years from April 2013 you’ll be able to do just that without paying Corporation Tax when certain items are given to shareholders. In George’s own words:

The Government will introduce a disincorporation relief for five years from April 2013. The relief will allow a company to transfer goodwill and an interest in land to its shareholders so that no corporation tax charge arises on the company on the transfer. The relief will be available to businesses with total qualifying assets not exceeding £100,000.

See page 79 of the Budget Document