Capital allowances are set by the government at fixed rates at which a business can claim the expenditure on fixed assets against the taxable profit.
From April 2008 the 50 per cent and 40 per cent first year allowances was replaced with a 100 per cent Annual Investment Allowance for capital purchases in any one year of up to £50,000.
On 6 April 2008 the annual writing down allowance (WDA) for plant and equipment was reduced from the previous 25 per cent to 20 per cent per annum. This writing down allowance is applied to the written down value of equipment brought forward from earlier tax years.
The annual investment allowance applies to all assets categorised as plant and machinery which includes most fixed assets including plant, equipment, fixtures and fittings, computer equipment and commercial vehicles.
Important to note is that qualifying plant and equipment expenditure does not include Motor Cars.
Motor vehicles are now subject to a reduced writing down allowance in the first year of 20 per cent.
The annual investment allowance does not replace the 100 per cent first year allowance schemes currently applicable to various green and environmental schemes and approved research and development projects ( for example Research & Development Allowances or Business Premises Renovation Allowances). So these schemes will be unaffected by the introduction of the AIA. The annual investment allowance is complimentary to these schemes.
Another important thing worth remembering is that for the financial year starting April 2008 small businesses which have a written down balance for tax purposes of under 1,000 pounds will be entitled to write off the total written down value as a capital allowance.
If by any chance you decide selling the asset after claiming the AIA, the proceeds of the sale would go into your capital allowances calculation and you would have a balancing charge to the value of the sale proceeds which would be treated as a taxable income.