2019 Spring Statement Highlights

Spring statement

With Brexit dominating the headlines this week, you’d be forgiven for missing yesterday’s Spring Statement. While there were no major tax changes, we did get an insight into what the government will be focusing on over the next six months and as always, Chancellor Hammond couldn’t resist pulling a few rabbits from the hat. Here’s a quick breakdown of the highlights for contractors, consultants and freelancers.

Late payment clampdown

The Chancellor has announced plans to clamp down on late payments with a requirement for listed companies to report on their payment performance annually .

‘We need to tackle the scourge of late payments,’ said Chancellor Philip Hammond.

‘As a first step we will require company audit committees to review payment practices and report on them in company accounts.’

With an estimated 27% of UK invoices paid late, this is a crucial problem for independent professionals. So we’re glad to see some steps are being taken in the right direction.

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Making Tax Digital

The government have announced that it will be taking a light touch approach to penalties in the first year of Making Tax Digital. They’ll be shifting their focus onto supporting businesses to transition – with no new taxes being brought into MTD in 2020.

You’ll find us booing and hissing in the corner over yet another MTD delay. We’re a digital-first company and have long felt MTD was an overdue step in dragging the archaic tax system into the twenty-first century. You can read a little more about our thoughts on MTD and the opportunities we think it will offer contractors here.

Unsure of how MTD will affect you? Take a look at our comprehensive guide.

‘Leading the world in delivering a digital economy that works for everyone’

Once again, Hammond’s announcements focused around substantial investment into productivity and technology including;

  • £79m in ARCHER2, a new supercomputer to be hosted at Edinburgh University
  • £45m to the European Bioinformatics Institute for genomics research
  • £81m in a new Extreme Photonics Centre in Oxfordshire to develop new types of laser

These, alongside many more, spending initiatives will deliver an economic boost driven by UK tech startups and innovation that will give consumers greater choice and protection and offer a range of new opportunities for contractors and consultants who always underpin the innovative.

The fog of uncertainty

The chancellor wily admitted that all his announcements work on the “assumption the Brexit deal is agreed over the next few weeks and the uncertainty hanging over our economy is lifted”. We may see substantial changes come Autumn.

The new 2019/20 tax year is set to be one of change for contractors; with IR35 reforms, MTD and Brexit all on the horizon. We’re here to ensure any changes are as frictionless as possible, so you can focus on what matters; your company’s success.

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