So, what did the budget do for IP? Well, left it mostly alone – for now at least. The swings and roundabouts of corporate tax changes and other such matters will affect IP-related businesses in the same way as they affect all businesses, but the budget releases are fairly light on IP specific material.
What there is, is as follows:
- the removal of the IP ownership requirement for small/medium sized companies to claim R&D was confirmed (as announced last November in the Pre-Budget Report, but it is welcome that it will be in the next Finance Bill)
- the film tax credit anomaly on multi-year claims is being dealt with
- the video games industry relief (similar to film tax relief) announced by the last Government will not be implemented
- the ongoing consultation on taxation of controlled foreign companies (which particularly involves IP, as that is seen as one of the pressure points given the ease with which IP can be transferred to a low-tax country) continues, but there is a commitment to interim measures in 2011 and final implementation in 2012
There is no specific mention of the patent box announced last year (reducing corporate tax on some patent royalties to 10%), although it is included in the costs analysis for measures announced but not yet in force, with a costs estimate of £1.1bn ‘in steady state’. There is an announcement that the Government will consult in autumn this year on the future of taxation of intellectual property generally (which the Treasury has today confirmed includes discussions on the patent box, but no more detail than that), and will also consult on the support that R&D tax credits provide for innovation – presumably with a view to tweaking/changing/overhauling as necessary – and finally consultation on how to take forward the Dyson Review (which also supported a patent box).
More details as they arise …