Expert warns £1.5 billion corporation tax hike could harm Scots’ businesses

Expert warns £1.5 billion corporation tax hike could harm Scots’ businesses

Nicola Campbell

An expert has warned that the additional tax burden from the impending corporation tax hike could lead to a significant reduction in investment and the risk of businesses closing.

Scotland’s business community will be under pressure to find an extra £1.5 billion per year of corporation tax payments by 2025/26 following a 31.58% proportionate increase in the corporation tax rate due to take effect in April.

Corporation tax, which is currently 19%, will rise to 25% on 1st April and will raise an estimated additional £1.2bn in the first year, rising to £1.5bn by 2025/26. It is estimated that Scotland currently contributes around £5bn in corporation tax per annum – the UK figure is around £68bn per annum, equating to 2.9% of UK GDP.

Nicola Campbell, accounts and business advisory services oartner at Azets, said: “Last October the Government announced that it will persevere with an increase in the baseline corporation tax from 19% to 25% for businesses with annual profits of more than £250,000.

“Businesses across the UK will be paying an additional £18bn per annum by 2025/26 and we estimate that Scotland’s annual share by that point will be nearly £1.5bn.”

Ms Campbell added: “It is a significant increase and some businesses may not yet be fully aware of the implications. There is concern that the scale of the tax increase along with rising interest rates and inflationary pressures will restrict inward investment opportunities and in turn growth.

“The tax burden on business has become higher than we have seen in the last 2 decades across the board, from NIC to corporation tax. My greatest worry though is the impact on owner managed businesses who can’t invest in tax planning as they need the profits to pay the household bills.”

Nicola Campbell concluded: “With an increase on this scale it is more important than ever that companies across Scotland actively manage their corporation tax liabilities. Cash and liquidity are critical for every business so we would encourage owners and directors to take full advantage of available tax reliefs, including the following examples:”

  • Maximise the annual investment allowance (AIA) of £1 million
  • Claim R&D tax relief
  • Maximise pension contributions
  • Maximise staff benefits and invest in staff well-being
  • Buy electric vehicles
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