The Chancellor George Osborne will deliver the final Budget of this parliament early this afternoon.
Ahead of the statement, here are the hot topics the commentators are talking about:
1. Pensions: cash-for-annuities
George Osborne has stated that the Treasury will grant more freedom to annuity holders to access their pensions. From April 2016, people who want to sell their annuity income will pay their marginal rate of tax instead of the current 55%. Pensioners will then be free to invest the capital with an income drawdown account or withdraw it in multiple lump sums.
2. Business rates
Just days before the 2015 Budget statement, the government announced that a “wide-ranging” structural review into the business rates had begun. We already know that a number of business rates reforms are to be introduced in April 2015, but will the Chancellor unveil more details of the review to the House of Commons?
3. Taxes: personal allowance
The Sunday Times has reported that the Chancellor is considering raising the personal allowance threshold to £11,000. The allowance is scheduled to rise from £10,000 to £10,600 on 6 April 2015. According to the Daily Telegraph, the Treasury has an extra £6 billion to play with: will the Chancellor use this to fund an income tax cut for millions of taxpayers?
4. Capital allowances: the Annual Investment Allowance
In the 2014 Autumn Statement George Osborne unveiled a host of business rate reforms. The Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) was, however, left alone on that occasion. The Confederation of British Industry is calling for the allowance to be made permanent at £250,000 from 2016. With the AIA due to expire in December 2015, speculation is growing that the Chancellor will make moves to extend it.
5. Multinationals: the ‘Google Tax’
According to a report in the Sunday Times, the Chancellor will announce a 25% diverted profits tax on multinationals that move profits outside of the UK for tax reasons. The so-called ‘Google Tax’ could affect companies such as Google and Amazon that have been criticised for avoiding taxes.