There’s already been plenty written in the daily newspapers about the Chancellors Autumn Statement and how it’ll affect families and individuals, but hidden away in the small print are some measures which will impact small businesses.
The Chancellor is following on from his predecessor and aims to tighten the screws on small businesses. This may be considered fair as there are some loopholes such as setting up a one person company to lower your tax bill, but this could impact you so read on. Here are the main points that could affect how much small online retailers earn:
The National Minimum Wage will rise:
- for over 25 year olds – from £7.29 per hour to £7.50
- for 21 to 24 year olds – from £6.95 per hour to £7.05
- for 18 to 20 year olds – from £5.55 per hour to £5.60
- for 16 to 17 year olds – from £4.00 per hour to £4.05
- for apprentices – from £3.40 per hour to £3.50
A full time worker aged 25 or over will earn £1400 a year more, so small business wage bills will rise if they only pay the absolute minimum to their staff.
From April 2017 employee and employer NI thresholds will be aligned at £157 per week which will cost employers around £7.18 extra per employee.
The tax-free allowance will rise from £11,000 to £11,500 in April 2017 and rise to £12,500 by 2020 at which time future rises willl be tied to inflation.
The point at which you pay the higher rate of income tax will increase from £43,000 this year, to £45,000 in 2017-18 and the aim to eventually rise to £50,000.
The main rate of corporation tax is down from 28% in 2010 to 20%, and will be cut again to 17% by 2020.
Salary sacrifice schemes tax increases
From April 2017, most salary sacrifice schemes will be subject to the same tax as income. Benefits in lieu of salary such as mobile phones and medical insurance will no longer be as attractive.
- Pensions, pensions advice, childcare, Cycle to Work and ultra-low emission cars will be exempt
- All arrangements in place before April 2017 will be protected for up to a year, and arrangements in place before April 2017 for cars, accommodation and school fees will be protected for up to 4 years
Single Person Companies
There has been a huge growth in single person companies and the Chancellor hasn’t failed to notice that you pay less tax. In particular retail (especially online), media and construction industries are likely to be affected as tax breaks are narrowed.
Flat Rate VAT
Flat Rate VAT was introduced to make accounting simple for small businesses but some are using it as a way to cut their VAT bill. Watch for a new 16.5% Flat Rate from the 1st of April 2017. This is likely to apply to businesses with limited costs so is likely to apply to all those such as ecommerce consultants who use the Flat Rate VAT scheme.
£1 billion fibre broadband and 5G networks investment
Investment will support the private sector to roll out more full-fibre broadband by 2020-21. Funding will also support trials of 5G mobile communications. From April 2017, the government will also provide a new 100% business rates relief for new full-fibre infrastructure for a 5 year period.
Small businesses are often less concerned about the speed of broadband and couldn’t care less about 5G, those in rural areas simply want to be able to get broadband in the first place or to find that their mobile has a basic signal. Many areas of the country still can’t even get 2G data signals.