Capital allowances

An accountancy and book keeping term for the allowance of a certain defined sum of money spent on fixed assets to be deducted from the profits of a company before tax. This is the basic principle of capital allowances but the myriad of regulations, laws and conditions in each country render a set definition somewhat meaningless. Each country uses these measures in one way or another in an attempt to kick start the economy or reward investment in or by companies in their jurisdiction, usually to create employment. However has become a versatile tool for tuning investment decision for example in an area of high unemployment or an area of a major contraction of an industry (like steel making or coal mining) or in support of fledgling industries (like Silicon Glen in Scotland). It can also be used to facilitate a direct encouragement for investment in a targeted growth area/sector or region. Most Governments are not able to fund from their own resources some of the larger undertakings required so the incentive to companies or individuals to invest can be used as an indirect method of Governmental investment by such encouragement. In the UK and most countries the annual governmental taxation and spending reviews almost always make changes to this taxation measure. So complicated are the rules and regulations and so huge can the allowance be that many works would not be undertaken were it not for taking the opportunity to use the allowances permitted. The viability of many projects can be transformed by structuring the finances in such a way as to maximise the benefits of these allowances but that becomes an accountancy and legal matter rather than construction cost consideration. Clear legal and accountancy advice is very important and changes to time frame and the details needed to comply with the measures required must be clearly established to ensure compliance with the current conditions. Such are the complexities of many of these arrangements that it is recommended to present the exact intention to the appropriate Governmental Department for approval to ensure compliance with the letter and spirit of the legislation.

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