The key themes for Mr Osborne's third Budget, the clearest product to date of coalition politics (and also the most leaked) was the simplification and modernisation of the tax system and the removal of barriers to the UK's competitiveness. He also warned of dire consequences for undertaking "morally repugnant" aggressive tax avoidance.
Mr Osborne demonstrated this commitment by further reducing the mainstream rate of corporation tax, doubling the qualifying limit for EMI share options, and starting to reduce the income tax burden on entrepreneurs. Further, in a bid to develop the UK into Europe's technology centre, he announced targeted tax incentives for digital content, in addition to R&D and patents, alongside further investments in superfast broadband.
The compromise reached on taxing the "rich" is to reduce the top rate of income tax to 45%, but increase SDLT immediately to 7% on residential properties costing over £2m, with a penal rate of 15% applying where purchased through a company. Capital gains tax will also be introduced on residential property held in overseas companies from April 2013. Furthermore, uncapped income tax reliefs will now be capped at the greater of £50,000 or 25% of income.
Click below to find our in-depth analysis of the changes announced which may affect your or your business: