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The £50,000 Annual Investment Allowance

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Newsletter issue - July 08.

All businesses can now claim a 100% allowance for items of equipment, including vans and trucks, but not cars, purchased from 1 April 2008, or from 6 April 2008 for unincorporated businesses.

This allowance is called the annual investment allowance (AIA), and it is capped at £50,000 per year, per single company, or per group of companies. This cap is also reduced in the first accounting period that straddles 1 April 2008, to take account of the portion of the year that falls before 1 April (or 6 April). So a single company that makes up its accounts to 30 September, could claim the AIA 100% allowance on up to £25,000 of expenditure incurred in the period from 1 April 2008 to 30 September 2008. Items purchased before 1 April 2008 may qualify for the old allowances for small or medium sized businesses of 50% or 40% for the first year.

Where expenditure incurred after 1 April 2008 exceeds the available AIA cap it still gets some tax relief at 20% or 10% in the first year, depending on the type of asset. Certain equipment, which is included on the Government approved list of energy or water efficient items, can attract a 100% allowance, called an enhanced capital allowance (eca). The eca is available whether or not the business has used its AIA cap for the year. Its worth checking on the eca website (www.eca.gov.uk ) whether an item of equipment qualifies before you buy it.