Le projet de loi de finances britannique 2013 vient d'être révélé et commenté par le Chancelier de l'Echiquier. Il confirme la réduction du taux de l'IS qui passerait à 20% à compter du 1er avril 2015.

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his 2013 Budget on March 20, 2013. The Chancellor reinforced the message that the United Kingdom is ‘open for business’. In addition to confirming a number of previously announced pro-business provisions the Chancellor also announced more improvements to the UK tax system. These provisions, meant to encourage investment, include among others a reduction in the main corporate tax rate to 20% effective April 1, 2015 and an increase in the above-the-line research & development tax credit to 10%.

Main corporate tax rate reduced to 20%

The reduction in the main corporate tax rate to 21%, effective as of April 1, 2014, has been confirmed. Additionally, the main rate of corporation tax will be aligned with the small profits rate at 20% with effect from April 1, 2015. This represents a further 1% cut for companies with larger profits. Companies with smaller profits will benefit by the introduction of this new unified corporate tax main rate in terms only of greater simplicity: it will no longer be necessary to calculate marginal relief for those with profits between GBP 300k and GBP 1.5m.

Commitment to innovation – R&D relief above the line

The new R&D credit rate is increasing from 9.1% to 10%. The new credit is optional with companies having the choice as to whether to stay in the old R&D tax credit regime or claim the new R&D expenditure credit from April 1, 2013, which is accounted for above the line. The increased R&D credit rate means there is now a significant differential between the rate of relief available under the old regime of 6% (30% super deduction at a 20% corporate tax rate) compared to the new R&D credit with a net rate of 8% (10% less 20% tax). Companies will need to factor in this differential when deciding whether to elect into the new R&D credit.

Improvements to stamp duty and stamp duty reserve tax

As part of its announced strategy of ensuring that the tax regime for the UK investment management industry is simple, fair and streamlined, legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2014 to abolish the stamp duty reserve tax regime for UK funds. This is a welcome move that will abolish a regime that is regarded as complex and burdensome, imposes a requirement to submit frequent calculations and returns, and is difficult to communicate to investors. The government also intends in Finance Bill 2014 to abolish stamp duty and stamp duty reserve tax on transfers of shares quoted on growth markets such as the Alternative Investment Market and the ISDX Growth Market. This is another welcome move that will support more investment in the growth market and help about 1,000 smaller UK quoted businesses lower their cost of capital.

New anti-avoidance rules

There are a number of targeted anti-avoidance rules, to be introduced in Finance Bill 2013, affecting utilization of losses. These apply in the following circumstances: First, where profits are apportioned under controlled foreign company (CFC) rules, any management expenses will have to exceed those amounts before they can be surrendered by way of group relief. Also trading losses will be disallowed where, in the relevant circumstances, there is a transfer of the trade within the new group, following the change in ownership of the company. In addition, the availability of non-trading debits, non-trading loan relationship deficits and non-trading losses on intangible fixed assets will be restricted after a change of ownership of a shell or dormant company. Finally, the tax treatment of unrealized amounts, involved in a transfer between unconnected parties, will be brought more closely into line with the longstanding treatment of realized losses with three separate targeted anti-avoidance rules (TAARs).

It was also confirmed that the new general anti-abuse rule (GAAR) will be included in Finance Bill 2013 and take effect from the date it enters into law (from Royal Assent).