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New financial year, new tax rules: HMRC issues reminder

In case you’ve completely forgotten that the new tax year has rolled around – and with it comes new tax rules – HMRC has seen fit to remind us all.

The tax authority made the announcement shortly after the new year rolled in, something that is doubly important to contractors, freelancers and other self-employed Brits as there are more than quite a few new adjustments going into effect that could actually be a boon. In many ways, these new tax rules are advantageous, especially in the region of business rates that favour small business owners.

First up is the Small Business Rate Relief scheme, which is getting doubled for yet another year in England. What’s this mean in particular? Well any firm with just one property with a rateable value under £6,000 will continue to be exempt from business rates, as they will retain their eligibility for 100 per cent relief.

If that wasn’t enough for you, English restaurants, cafes, pubs and shops with rateable values of £50,000 or less will see their business rates discount hiked up an additional £500 to a new high of £1,500. On top of that small business mulitplier rates have been scaled back to 48.0p from 74.1p inclusive of teh two per cent interest cap. Meanwhile the standard multiplier rate actually went up more than 1p to 43.9p, so be glad if you’re a small business owner, eh?

So why all the sudden love for small businesses? Well these changes, which Chancellor Osborne revealed in his latest Budget, were specifically formulated to aid small firms and local businesses cope with the competition from rivals like big chain shops and international online retailers that often have the accountanting knowledge to slip through the cracks when it comes to their tax liabilities. The new rates aim to fix the discrepancy; instead of trying to whip these multinational firms into shape and put an end to their tax avoidance, the new schemes are designed to work the other end of the problem instead.

I think this is brilliant, as it’ obvious that the Government either has its hands tied in getting these big firms to pay up or that there’s simply not enough incentive to do so. I say keep the focus on small firms and let’s see where we end up!

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