With what is to all intents and purposes a new government, and one heavily pre-occupied with the impacts of Brexit, this might have been an Autumn Statement that was heavy on tax changes, but in the event, it turned out not to be. However Philip Hammond strongly advocated the benefits of productivity and efficiency, and there are signs that this will reflect in some streamlining of our arcane tax system.
The alignment of the primary and secondary NI thresholds was one manifestation of this, and this was accompanied by announced changes concerning the removal of tax benefits obtainable by using certain types of salary sacrifice arrangement. At least some of the challenges of applying the existing tax rules to the ‘gig economy’ – the interface between the clearly employed and workers who have some of the features of an employment relationship but work independently, often through a service company – are also being addressed. If these changes are taking us in a direction which ensures that individuals with similar incomes will have the same tax liability irrespective of the structure they operate within, this is good news.
Finally a clear commitment to preserving the competitiveness of the UK economy as a favourable business tax regime is to be welcomed, with the Chancellor re-affirming a commitment to offering the lowest corporate tax rate in the G20.