Entrepreneurs’ relief – reduction in lifetime limit
Prior to the Budget, there had been much speculation that that entrepreneurs’ relief would be abolished. In the event it stayed – albeit with the new name of ‘Business Asset Disposal Relief’ – and a much-reduced lifetime limit.
New £1 million lifetime limit
The lifetime limit is reduced from £10 million to £1 million with immediate effect for disposal on or after 11 March 2020 (Budget Day). Disposals prior to Budget day that qualified for entrepreneurs’ relief count towards the new £1 million limit, and where this has already been reached, the relief will not be forthcoming on future disposals, even if the qualifying conditions are met.
Anti-forestalling measures were announced which may negate protective action taken ahead of the Budget in an attempt to preserve availability of the relief as it applied at that time.
Where arrangements were entered into before Budget day, the old £10 million lifetime limit will only apply if:
- the parties to the contract are able to demonstrate that they did not enter into the contract for the purposes of obtaining a tax advantage by virtue of the capital gains tax rules setting the contract date as the date of the disposal; and
- where the parties to the contract are connected, the contract was entered into for wholly commercial reasons.
If the above conditions are not met, the reduced lifetime allowance of £1 million applies.
Anti-forestalling rules also apply in certain circumstances where between 6 April 2019 and 11 March 2020, shares were exchanged for those in another company, and both companies are owned or controlled by substantially the same person.
If you are planning on disposing of business assets or shares in a personal company, it is important to plan ahead to maximise relief. We can help you. Remember, spouses and civil partners each have their own lifetime limit.
Guidance on the changes is available on the Gov.uk website.