Budget 2016: Private investors have plenty to cheer - but indirect investors might be hurt by some of George Osborne's new proposals

Carl Reader
Source: Getty

What was dubbed the "sugar tax Budget" might appear at first glance to be sweet for investors and entrepreneurs - but it contains a subtle swipe at indirect investors.

Alongside a raft of political rhetoric and tax savings for small businesses, designed to soften the impact of the new dividend tax, there were impressive tax savings announced to capital gains tax, bringing the headline rates down to 20 per cent for higher rate tax payers, and 10 per cent for basic rate tax payers.

Chancellor George Osborne mentioned a relief for “long term investors”, with a rate of 10 per cent.

This raised fears that the chancellor might be attacking entrepreneurs relief, reverting to the previous “retirement relief” of old. It appears in fact to be in addition to entrepreneurs relief; providing shareholders a 10 per cent rate from today for any shares held for over three years.

This relief will have a lifetime cap of £10m, and will be welcomed by private individuals. It is projected that this will have a positive impact to the Exchequer to 2019, and once the three year holding period is over the impact will be (£40m) in 2019/20, rising to (£60m) in 2020/21.

This move clearly has to be welcomed, as it will improve investment in entrepreneurial start up companies and will stimulate economic growth.

Investment companies, however, might not be so fortunate.

Legislation to be introduced in the finance bill 2016 will include new definitions of trading company, which will look at the actual operations of an investment company to deem whether or not it is trading.

Historically they could have qualified for entrepreneurs relief, but this benefit appears to be withdrawn, with the effect backdated to 18 March 2015.

Residential property investors might also find the Budget bitter sweet, as investments in residential properties will also not benefit from the lower rates.

As with every Budget, the devil is in the detail of the Finance Act.