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2024 UK Tax Changes: Guide for Businesses

Imagine navigating a city where the roads change overnight—suddenly, there are new turns, unexpected one-ways, and altered speed limits. For UK businesses and entrepreneurs, the tax landscape in 2024 feels much the same: familiar yet brimming with alterations demanding quick adaptation. Whether you’re steering a fledgling startup or guiding a scale-up through its growth phases, the tax changes introduced this year pose a unique set of challenges and opportunities.

 

Understanding these changes is crucial, not just for compliance, but to leverage potential benefits. Here’s how you can navigate this evolving landscape:

 

1.  Stay Informed: Keeping abreast of the latest tax laws is akin to having an up-to-date map in our analogy. It ensures you’re always on the quickest route, avoiding penalties that come from unwitting missteps.

 

2.  Seek Expert Advice: Sometimes, it’s worth pulling over and asking for directions. Consulting with tax professionals can provide tailored advice, ensuring your business not only complies with new regulations but also capitalises on any advantageous changes.

 

3.  Leverage Technology: Utilise accounting software to track changes in real-time. This tool acts as your GPS, offering the most efficient paths through the complexities of tax filings and financial planning.

 

By focusing on these strategies, UK businesses can turn the challenges of 2024’s tax changes into opportunities for growth and efficiency.

 

Ready to dive deeper into the specifics? Let’s start with the first major change on our route:

 

National Insurance Contributions

 

In 2024, navigating National Insurance Contributions (NICs) feels like adjusting to a new financial climate for UK businesses and individuals. Here's what's on the horizon:

 

For Employees and the Self-Employed: A silver lining emerges as NIC rates drop by 2% starting April 2024, the rate of employee’s national insurance contributions (NICs) would be reduced by 2% to 8% for earnings above the primary threshold and below the upper earnings threshold, putting more money back into pockets. However, it's business as usual for employers, with their contribution rates holding steady.

Meanwhile, for the self-employed, the government will further reduce the main rate of Class 4 national insurance contributions to 6% from 6 April 2024.

Action Steps:

  • Adjust Payroll Systems: Ensure your payroll software reflects these changes to avoid over or underpaying NICs.

  • Budget Planning: Factor in the reduced employee NICs into financial forecasts and salary discussions.

  • Stay Updated: As legislation evolves, so too might these rates. Keep a keen eye on official announcements for any further adjustments.

 

Understanding these nuances in NICs not only ensures compliance but also optimises your financial strategy. Ready to tackle the next change? Let's look into the adjustments in Real Estate Taxation.

 

Real Estate Taxation Changes

 

As we move through the financial landscape of 2024, the ground shifts underfoot for those dealing with real estate, marked by significant taxation changes. Here’s the lay of the land:

 

  • Multiple Dwellings Relief (MDR) Abolition: MDR will no longer apply to transactions relating to property in England and Northern Ireland completed on or after 1 June, unless the completion is under a contract entered into on or before 6 March 2024. This change directly impacts strategies for acquiring multiple properties in a single transaction. Without MDR, investors purchasing several dwellings at once will face higher SDLT costs, necessitating a recalibration of investment models and potentially influencing market dynamics and property valuation approaches.

  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Reduction: The decrease in CGT for residential property sales from 28% to 24% can offer a significant saving for individuals. This adjustment provides an opportune moment for sellers to reconsider the timing of their sales to optimise tax efficiencies, especially for those holding properties that have appreciated significantly in value.

 

 

Navigating these changes requires a strategic approach:

 

  • Reevaluate Investment Strategies: Property investors need to reassess their portfolios and investment plans in light of the SDLT change.

  • Capitalise on CGT Reduction: If you’re planning to sell, timing your sale to benefit from the lower CGT rate could maximise your returns.

 

Company Taxation Updates

 

Shifting gears to company taxation in 2024, businesses find themselves navigating a complex terrain, yet with a sense of stability in certain areas:

 

No change to Corporation Tax Rates in 2024: The anticipation of drastic changes in corporate taxation rates has settled, with the government maintaining the existing structure.

The last significant change was in 2023: the introduction of a 25% main rate for companies with taxable profits exceeding £250,000. Concurrently, a small profits rate (SPR) of 19% benefits companies with profits up to £50,000, fostering support for smaller enterprises. For those navigating the middle ground—with profits between £50,000 and £250,000—a tapered application of the main rate via marginal relief provides a smoother transition, ensuring a more graduated tax impact across different scales of operation.

 

Enhanced Deductions for Leased Assets: A noteworthy shift is the extension of full expensing relief to leased assets, allowing businesses to deduct the full cost of leasing equipment and property from their taxable income. This change aims to stimulate investment in essential assets by reducing the net cost of acquiring new equipment or upgrading existing infrastructure.

 

VAT Registration Threshold Increase: In a move to alleviate the administrative burden on small businesses, the VAT registration threshold rises to £90,000 from £85,000. This adjustment means that more small enterprises can focus on growth without the immediate concern of VAT compliance, potentially easing the transition for startups scaling their operations.

 

These elements of business taxation in 2024 paint a picture of a government attempting to balance fiscal responsibilities with the need to foster business growth and innovation.

 

Personal Tax Changes

 

Next, we delve into the realm of personal tax changes in 2024, which brings a mix of adjustments that may significantly impact individual financial planning:

 

Halving of Capital Gains Tax Allowance: It is set to decrease significantly from its current level to £3,000 starting April 2024, affecting those with investments outside ISAs or planning to sell secondary properties or other valuable assets. This reduction means that individuals will need to be more strategic about when they sell assets to minimise their tax liability. It’s a prompt for reviewing investment portfolios and considering the timing of asset disposals.

 

Dividend Allowance Cut: The Dividend Allowance will also see a reduction, halving from £1,000 to £500 from 6 April 2024, impacting around 4.4 million individuals who will find themselves approximately £155 worse off as a result. With the allowance for tax-free dividends reduced, investors receiving income from shares will see a direct impact on their after-tax income. This change calls for a reassessment of investment strategies, particularly for those heavily invested in dividend-yielding stocks.

 

 

Pensions Lifetime Allowance Abolition: From 2024/25, the Pensions Lifetime Allowance (LTA) will be abolished. The LTA is the maximum amount of money you can save in a UK pension without facing extra taxes.

Instead of the LTA, two new allowances will come into play:

 

  1. Lump Sum Allowance (LSA): This limits the tax-free cash you can get when you retire. It's set at £268,275 or 25% of the old LTA.

  2. Lump Sum and Death Benefit Allowance (LSDBA): This allowance caps the total amount of tax-free lump sums you or your beneficiaries can receive in the event of serious illness or death. It's set at £1,073,100.

  3. Overseas transfer allowance – Also set at £1,073,100, this allowance measures the value of pension benefits transferred to qualifying overseas pension schemes.

 

These personal tax adjustments underscore the importance of proactive financial planning to adapt to the changing tax environment effectively.

 

Key Updates for Businesses

 

Moving into the business-focused section, the 2024 tax landscape presents a mix of challenges and opportunities for UK-based businesses. The key is to understand and adapt to these changes to ensure compliance and optimise tax positioning.

 

R&D and SME Schemes Merging: The government is combining two existing R&D tax relief schemes into one starting from April 2024.

Instead of separate schemes, there'll be one merged R&D tax relief scheme for both SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) and large businesses.

Here are the new percentages compared to the previous schemes:


Current Incentives:

  1. For loss-making SMEs: Up to 33.35% (before April 2023) / Up to 18.6% (after April 2023)

  2. For profit-making SMEs: Up to 24.7% (before April 2023) / Up to 21.5% (after April 2023)

  3. For R&D intensive SMEs: Up to 27%

  4. For large companies: 10.5% (before April 2023) / Up to 16.2% (after April 2023)


Merged Scheme (Starting from April 2024):

  1. For loss-making SMEs: 16.2%

  2. For profit-making SMEs: Up to 16.2%

  3. For R&D intensive SMEs: Up to 27%

  4. For large companies: Up to 16.2%

 

National Living and Minimum Wage Increases: The National Minimum Wage remains a critical issue, particularly in light of inflation and the ongoing Cost of Living Crisis. This year, significant changes have been made, notably the elimination of the 21-22 age bracket. Now, all employees aged 21 and above must receive the National Living Wage, which has been increased from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour.Adjust your payroll to comply with the new rates, ensuring your employees are paid at least the minimum wage, to avoid penalties.

Age

Hourly Rate

21+

£11.44

18-20

£8.60

Under 18

£6.40

Apprentice under 19 or over 19 and in first year of apprenticeship

£6.40

Other Payroll and Employment related changes

 

  1. Statutory Leave Rates Confirmed Alongside the adjustments to minimum wage rates, statutory pay rates have also been revised for the new tax year. Effective from April 2024, new rates for statutory maternity and parental pay, as well as sick pay, have been implemented. Notably, the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) has been set at £116.75 per week, starting from April 6th.   Additionally, the statutory weekly rate for Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) and Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBP) will be the lower of 90% of Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) or £184.03.  

  2. Additional Changes to Statutory Paternity Leave (SPL) In a significant shift, new fathers are now granted flexibility in taking their two-week paternity leave. They can opt to take these weeks together or separately, provided they give 28 days' notice and inform their employers of any change in start dates.

  3. Holiday Pay and Entitlement for Zero-Hour Employees Effective from April 1st, 2024, employers are now permitted to roll up holiday pay for zero-hour or part-year workers at a rate of 12.07% per pay period. This marks a departure from previous legislation, allowing for greater flexibility in compensating employees for holiday entitlements.

  4. New Scottish Tax Band and Thresholds While no changes have been made to tax rates and thresholds for UK and Wales, Scotland has introduced a new tax band, the Scottish Advanced Rate, set at 45%. Additionally, adjustments have been made to thresholds for other tax bands, signalling significant changes for Scottish taxpayers.

Band

Rate

Annual Threshold

Scottish Starter Rate

19%

£1-£2,306

Scottish Basic Rate

20%

£2,307-£13,991

Scottish Intermediate Rate

21%

£13,992-£31,092

Scottish Higher Rate

42%

£31,093-£62,430

Scottish Advanced Rate

45%

£62,431-£125,140

Scottish Top Rate

48%

£125,141+

 

These adjustments reflect the Scottish government's efforts to align tax policies with the evolving economic landscape and ensure fair contributions from taxpayers across different income brackets. It's essential for Scottish taxpayers to understand these changes and plan their finances accordingly for the new tax year.

 

Increased Student Loan Thresholds

 

The thresholds at which employees start to pay student loans for Plans 1 and 4 have increased. There is no change for Plan 2.

Plan Type

Rate

Monthly

Annual

1

6%

£2,082.5

£24,990

2

6%

£2,274.58

£27,295

4

6%

£2,616.25

£31,395

Post-graduate loan

0%

£1,750

£21,000

 

These adjustments provide relief for employees within these repayment plans and reflect the government's commitment to easing the financial burden on student loan borrowers. It's essential for individuals with student loans to understand these changes and their implications for their monthly repayments.

 

Additional Legislative Reforms

 

In addition to the aforementioned changes, three other legislative reforms are set to come into effect:

 

  • Entitlement for Carer's Leave: Effective from April 6th, 2024, employees will have a statutory entitlement to take up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave per year from day one of their employment.

  • Additional Free Hours of Childcare: Working parents with children between one and two years old will be eligible to claim up to 30 hours of free childcare per week, as part of new measures announced during the Autumn budget.

  • Flexible Working Legislation: Starting from the new tax year, employees will have the right to request flexible working arrangements from the outset of their employment, streamlining the process and promoting a more inclusive work environment.

 

It's imperative for both employers and employees to familiarise themselves with these changes to ensure compliance and smooth transition into the new tax year. Stay informed, stay compliant, and make the most of these legislative updates to optimise your financial planning and management strategies.


Navigating the UK's 2024 tax changes is akin to charting a course through uncharted waters for many businesses and individuals. From shifts in National Insurance Contributions to the introduction of new tax regimes for real estate and personal finances, the landscape is evolving. By staying informed, seeking expert advice, and employing strategic planning, businesses and individuals can not only weather these changes but also find opportunities for growth and efficiency. As we move forward, adaptability and proactive management will be key to thriving in this new fiscal environment.

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