What could this year’s Spring Budget bring?

Wednesday 6th March 2024 is a date for our diaries indeed. Why? The Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, will deliver his 2024 Spring Budget in the House of Commons.

Whilst nothing is set in stone until the day itself, there are plenty of rumors circulating about what this year’s Spring Budget might include.

We’ve gathered speculations from news articles, industry professionals and from our internal team here at Shenward and wrapped them up into an easy-to-read blog.

What is the Spring Budget. A reminder.

It’s likely you’ve heard of it. Maybe you’ve followed it in previous years, or perhaps it’s a headline you skim past. Whatever your level of involvement, the Spring Budget is something that directly affects the UK economy. 

The Spring Budget is an opportunity for the Chancellor to provide an update to Parliament on the UK economy and announce his economic plans for 2024-25.

This announcement generally outlines plans for taxes, spending on healthcare, schools, public services and much more.

Post statement, MPs spend several days debating the Budget proposed. They are then asked to approve the tax proposals and the UK government will draw up a Finance Bill to turn the Budget proposals into law.

What’s expected in this year’s Spring Budget?

Let’s dive into the rumor mill. Here’s an overview of what the UK’s top business groups have asked for, what professionals are expecting, and what our team at Shenward are hoping to see this year:


A new mortgage scheme might be on the horizon

According to reports in the Financial Times, we might well see the introduction of 99% mortgages. This will make it easier for first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder, only needing a 1% deposit whilst the government acts as a partial backer.

Stamp duty cuts are high on the agenda

This isn’t the first year where there’s been pressure on the Chancellor to make changes to stamp duty. Many experts in the field are requesting that the levy be eradicated for older homeowners who are looking to downsize. This, in turn, could incentivise older homeowners to sell, leading to a boost in the property market.


Are major tax cuts pie in the sky?

Some news reports have suggested that Hunt could cut income tax by 2p and make reductions to National Insurance Contributions. However, with the economy now in recession, it might be unlikely that Hunt will bring these plans to the Spring Budget.

Is it time for Tourist Tax to be abolished?

The British Chamber of Commerce has requested that Tourist Tax be eliminated. This would allow international visitors to the UK to shop tax free.

Sherad Dewedi, our Managing Partneragrees with this, “the high street is losing billions in revenue from overseas visitors – who often have a comparatively stronger spending power. VAT free shopping is something which could solve this problem and give our high streets the boost they need.”

It’s been estimated that this tax costs our retail sector £1.5 billion per year!

Olivia Hudson, Senior Accountant here at Shenward would like changes to VAT in general: “I would like to see VAT being reduced on essential goods like food and energy to help with the cost-of-living crisis, especially given how much the cost of these has increases substantially in recent years.”

This could be the year for the tax threshold thaw

In April 202, thresholds for personal allowance and higher-rate income tax were frozen for four years. In Autumn 2022, the Chancellor extended this freeze to 2028. There is significant pressure on the government to end this freeze early.

Mumtaz, a Senior Accountant here at Shenward states: “I would like the personal allowance to be increased and the basic rate tax to be decreased from 20% to 19% to help with the cost-of-living crisis.” Simone Lewis, another Senior Accountant at Shenward agrees.

Some experts have suggested that the government might also amend or continue to hold thresholds for capital gains tax and dividend tax.

Our managing partner, Sherad states: “On CGT, I want to see a commitment to no changes to Business Asset Disposal Relief to enable entrepreneurs to plan for the long term. The lifetime allowance of £1m needs to be increased back to a minimum of £10m too.”

Inheritance tax removal speculations

MPs are requesting the rate of Inheritance Tax (IHT) be reduced, or even removed. Currently, this tax is charged at 40% on assets or money you leave over the tax-free threshold of £325,000.

There was much debate on this at Shenward. Saleem, one of our Assistant Accountants, is on the IHT abolishment bandwagon: “I would like to see the abolishment or scaling down of Inheritance tax in the Spring Budget for sure.

Other members of the team agreed at a minimum we should see an increase to the nil rate band which has been frozen for over 12 years.


Will the Lifetime ISA penalty be removed? 

The lifetime ISA is a tax-free account designed to help those aged 18-39 to buy their first home or save for retirement. The government pays a 25% bonus on your savings when you come to use them. However, if you want to spend the money on anything other than your first property, or if you are under the age of 60, you’ll receive a 25% penalty when you withdraw. There’s been a lot of pressure from campaigners for this fine to be scrapped.


Employment allowances could be set to increase.

The Federation of Small Businesses has urged Hunt to increase the Employment Allowance from £5,000 to £6,500. This £1,500 increase would enable a small employer to hire four employees on the National Living Wage of £11.44 before having to pay 13.8% jobs tax, in turn supporting small businesses and enabling their growth. 


Supplying net zero incentives might be key

Reports have suggested that SMEs feel that there is a lack of direction to invest in net zero measures and that this is one of the biggest blockers in reducing their carbon footprint. The Institute of Directors research suggests that in order to incite change, the government should consider offering a lower corporation tax for organisations who have achieved net zero.

Could VAT on Electric Vehicles be reduced?

The team over at Ernst and Young have speculated that the VAT rate on new electric cars should be reduced or removed altogether to incentivise the purchase of these environmentally friendly vehicles.


Child benefit charge alterations

In January of this year the Chancellor acknowledged that the High-Income Child Benefit Charge could be ‘unfair’. Currently, one person earning £60,000 wouldn’t receive any child benefit, while a dual-income family with two parents earning £50,000 each would get the full amount. The threshold in place may well be reviewed this Spring.

Will these speculations become a reality?

Whilst the above are all theories, the likelihood is that some, if not many, of these points will be addressed by Hunt on the 6th of March.

We’ll check back in post budget with a full run down of what is announced and how it could affect you.

And how can Shenward Accountants keep you on track?

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act has carried out some of the most significant changes to UK Company Law that Companies House has seen in years.

As business owners, you’re constantly in a race against the clock and keeping track of updates to UK regulation is just another task you don’t need. That’s where we come in. When something big happens like changes to UK Company Law, we’re on it; making sure you have access to resources covering the main changes in an easy-to-understand way and what it means for your business.

With this in mind, we’ve created a bite-sized guide to UK Company Law changes.

What’s covered?

· Improving data on registers

· Confirmation statement changes

· Changes to fees

· Identity verification

· Changes to accounts

· Protecting your information

· Limited partnerships (LPs)

· Transparency of company ownership

· Investigation, enforcement and data sharing

Improving data on the Companies House Register

What is it? Registered office addresses, statement of lawful purpose, greater registrar power, enforcements and sanction changes.

Effective from: 4 March 2024

Additional info: 

  • There’ll be new rules for registered office addresses, meaning companies must always have an ‘appropriate address’ as their registered office. PO Boxes will no longer be allowed
  • When registering a company (and on every annual confirmation statement) at Companies House, you must confirm you’re forming the company for lawful reasons.
  • Registrars will hold more power and can carry out stronger checks and challenge incorrect or inconsistent information. 
  • If businesses aren’t complying with regulations, Companies House can fine or even prosecute.  

Change to Confirmation Statements

What is it? Annually confirm your details held by Companies House are correct

Effective from: 4 March 2024

Additional info: 

  • New companies will have to provide a registered email address. Existing companies will need to provide one on their next confirmation statement. 
  • You’ll also have to confirm on your annual statement that the intended future activities of your company will be lawful.  

Changes to fees

What is it? Companies House fees are changing

Effective from: 1 May 2024

Additional info: 

There’ll be new annual and registration fees for company incorporation and registration, limited liability partnerships, overseas companies, limited partnerships, Scottish qualifying partnerships, UK Economic Interest Groupings and UK Societas, and overseas entities.

Changes to Identity verification

What is it? Anyone setting up, running, owning or controlling a company in the UK will need to verify their identity with Companies House. 

Effective from: Date to be confirmed

Additional info: 

  • For new companies, all directors and people with significant control (PSCs) will have to complete identity verification. Also, members of a limited liability partnership will need to verify. 
  • For existing companies, all directors (or equivalent) and PSCs will have a period to verify their identity. 
  • Anyone acting on behalf of a company will need to verify before they can file information with Companies House.
  • The process hasn’t entirely been determined, but Companies House have said they will organise a service to verify your identity using ID documents, such as a passport. Companies House Support will also release support services to help you complete the process. 

Changes to Accounts

What is it? New measures will improve transparency by making more financial information available to the public. 

Effective from: Date to be confirmed and more information is coming

Additional info: 

  • Companies House is modernising its filing options, moving towards filing accounts exclusively through software over the next two to three years. All companies, including those using third-party agents or accountants, must adapt to this digital format.
  • Filing options for small and micro-entity companies will also be streamlined. You’ll need to file profit and loss accounts, while the option for filing ‘abridged’ accounts will be removed. Small companies not classed as micro will also need to file a directors’ report. 
  • Companies seeking an audit exemption must provide a director’s statement on the balance sheet. You’ll need to specify the exemption being claimed and confirm the company’s qualification for it.

Protecting your information

What is it? Measures to prevent abuse of personal information held on the Companies House register are being introduced.

Effective from: Phased approach over the next two years.

Additional info: 

  • Businesses registered at Companies House will be able to suppress residential addresses, date of birth documents, signatures and business occupations. 
  • People classified as ‘at risk’ will be able to apply to have the following removed from public view – name or previous names, sensitive addresses, other details depending on the severity of the case.

Changes to limited partnerships 

What is it? LP information will be made more accessible and transparent

Effective from: Date to be confirmed

Additional info: 

  • When the measures come into force, LPs must provide additional information, such as partner details and a SIC code and file an annual confirmation statement.
  • Information must be filed through an authorised agent (like an accountant) registered with Companies House. 
  • There’ll be new powers to apply sanctions, close and restore partnerships and protect partner details.  

Transparency of company ownership

What is it? You’ll have to supply more information based on owning your company.

Effective from: Date to be confirmed

Additional info: 

  • You’ll be required to record the full names of shareholders who are individuals (or full names of corporate members and firms) in your registers. And provide a one-off complete shareholder list so Companies House can display this information in a user-friendly way.
  • Companies House will also have the right to collect and display information relating to persons with significant control (PSC) exemptions. They’ll do the same for the conditions which allow a relevant legal entity to be recorded as a PSC.

Investigation, enforcement and data sharing

What is it? Companies House will now have the power to share data with law enforcement agencies and government departments.

Effective from: Date to be confirmed

How can Accounting firms like Shenward can help you with company law changes?

Many accounting firms just like us are classed as authorised agents. This means we are registered to manage all aspects of Companies House record management for UK businesses. And, because we keep up to date with law changes, everything we do for you will ensure you remain fully compliant at all times.

Contact our professional team today if you’re looking for business support relating to Company Law changes or need help with Companies House.

You can also learn more about how an accountant can help your business here.