Autumn Budget 2023

Out of the 110 changes in the Autumn Statement here are highlights:

Pensioners will enjoy a 8.5% pension boost from April 2024 to £221 per week. The old pension will also increase to £169 from £156 per week.

Class 1 employee NIC is to be cut down from 12% to 10% from 6th January. If you use salary sacrifice to top up your pension you may wish to review your payments.

For the self-employed, Class 2 will be abolished from April 2024. Plus Class 4 will drop from 9% to 8%. If your self-employed earnings are below £6,725 you may wish to continue to pay Class 2 to build up NI credits.

Rules on having multiple lSAs has been relaxed to make administration easier from April 2024.

Income tax allowances and dividend rates have not changed. Also corporation and Vat tax rates were not changed. Neither was IHT affected. The point that additional income tax rate comes into effect will stay at £125,140.

The Income Tax Self-Assessment (ITSA) form for PAYE employees, will not be required after April 2024.

Guidance on training costs for the self-employed is being reviewed to provide more clarity on what is deductible.

The government has confirmed that the pension lifetime allowance will be scrapped from pension rules from April 2024.

Please also remember to keep your Will up-to-date and advise your executer where the original is kept. Also if your beneficiaries have changed please review whether your pension ‘expression of wishes’ needs updating.

N.B. This information is based on announcements made in November 2023 Autumn Statement which may change before becoming law.

Spring budget 2023

Let’s hope that the chancellor’s budget keeps us out of a technical recession even if it feels like one. There are also a number of initiatives to encourage people back to work and hopefully ‘inflation’ will continue to come down.
 
Most allowances and rates were not changed in the budget, so I will not repeat them here.
 
Pensions

  • The Life Time Allowance (LTA) charge on a pension of £1,073,100 has been removed
  • The maximum tax free lump sum without LTA protection is fixed at 25% of £1,073,100 (£268,275)
  • If you have LTA protection you can now top-up your pension again
  • The pension annual allowance on contributions has been increased to £60,000 up from £40,000 from April
  • For additional rate tax payers, the taxable ‘adjusted income threshold’ has been increased to £260,000. However, the ‘threshold income’ figure is to remain at £200,000.
  • If you have started to take an income from your pension and then go back to work you are now allowed to reinvest £10,000, up from £4,000 (The Money Purchase Annual Allowance).

Voluntary NI contributions – If you have not started taking your state pension please check to see if you have any gaps in your contribution history via the government gateway https://www.gov.uk/log-in-register-hmrc-online-services . You require 35 years to receive a full pension and it is probably worth topping up if you are short. Before you hand over any money it might be an idea to check that its worth topping up by calling the Pensions Centre helpline 0800-731-0175.

The annual CGT exemption is to be cut to £6,000 from £12,300 in April. So please review your investments to see if you need to crystallise any gains and do this before 5th April.

The dividend tax allowance also goes down to £1,000 from £2,000 after April.

The Income tax free personal allowance of £12,570 and higher tax threshold of £50,270 are frozen until  2028. The 45% additional rate tax threshold will be lowered to £125,140 from £150,000 after April.

Please remember that if you are retired and one of you has a taxable income below £12,570, the marriage allowance allows you to transfer £1,260 to the other partner. Potentially saving £250 per year. If you have not claimed before, you can backdate it to 2018.

Additional childcare support will be phased in to help young families over the next 2 years.

The ‘Energy Price cap’ has been extended for 3 months. But please note that the government’s Energy Bill Support Scheme payment of £67 per month will end at the end of March.

The government have announced the Returnship initiative for the over-50s who want to retrain.

If you are affected by child benefit tax charge, this might be helped by topping up your pension to reduce your taxable income.

It might be an idea to top up your wine cellar as average duty will increase by 44p per bottle in August. At least the tax on a pint pulled in a pub has been frozen under the ‘Brexit Pubs Guarantee’.

Autumn Statement 2022 – summary

There were a number of changes, here goes: 

  • Tax allowances and thresholds will be frozen until April 2028. You can still earn up to £12,570 and not pay any tax and then 20% basic rate tax up to £50,270.
  • The income tax additional rate threshold has been reduced down to £125,140 from £150,000. Therefore earnings from: £50,270 to £100,000 the rate of income tax is 40%, from £100,000 – £125,140 the marginal rate goes up to 60% (due to the allowance being removed) and then 45% above £125,140.
  • The CGT annual exemption will be reduced down to £6,000 from £12,300 from April 2023. It will be reduce down further to £3,000 in April 2024. The rates will stay at 10% and 20% for a basic and higher tax payer accordingly. (18% and 28% for gains on property respectively).
  • The dividend allowance will be halved down to £1,000 from £2,000 in April 2023 and halved again in 2024. The dividend tax rates will remain at 8.75%, 33.75% and 39.35% for basic, higher and additional rate taxpayers respectively.
  • One positive announcement for pensioners is that the triple lock will be maintained guaranteeing a 10.1% CPI-based increase for next April.
  • The changes in National Insurance (NI) that were implemented this year have been scrapped and they are now kept in line with the annual personal allowance of £12,570. Class 1 employees pay: 2% between £9,100 and £12,570, 12% between £12,570 and £50,270. Employers pay 13.8% above £9,100. The lower earnings limit will be frozen at £6,240.
  • Corporation tax will rise to 25% as originally planned in April 2023. 19% for profits below £50,000 and tapering up to £250,000. The Annual Investment Allowance of £1m has been made permanent. Also allowances for electric vehicle charge points have been extended to 2025.
  • Increases have also been made to the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme and also to Company Share Options Plans.
  • The government will help out with your energy bills by paying £400 over the next 6 months (starting with £66 this month) directly to your energy supplier.
  • The chancellor kept the changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax. The residential nil rate tax threshold was kept at £250,000. The threshold for First Time Buyers was increased to £425,000 from £300,000, with the maximum increased to £625,000. 

Min-Budget

Well the mini-budget was certainly a fiscal event. You have probably been inundated with commentary, but we will attempt to summarise it for you.

Globally a shift is taking place as we transition from an era of disinflation to a world of inflation and therefore higher interest rates. At the same time the picture is complicated by supply chains being modified to compensate for geopolitical challenges. Central banks only really have one weapon and that is raising rates to remove liquidity from the markets.
 
The government wants to stimulate growth. It has already announced the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG), capping the unit price for households and the Energy Bill Relief Scheme for non-domestic energy customers.
 
It is also trying to put more money in our back pockets with the following:
 

  • The Health and Social Care Levy Act provided a temporary increase in National Insurance contributions (NIC). This has been reversed and will come into effect on 6 November 2022.
  • The reduction in income tax to 19% from 20% scheduled for April 2024 has been brought forward to April 2023.
  • The residential nil rate tax threshold (stamp duty) is increased to £250,000 from £125,000 and for first time buyers £425,000 (£625,000 max) from £300,000.
  • The dividend ordinary rate will be reduced back down to 7.5% and the upper rate back down to 32.5% from April 2023.
  • Corporation tax will not rise and will stay at 19%.
  • The Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) will not be reduced in April 2023.
  • Investment Zones to be established and Enterprise Investment Schemes expanded.
  • If you have been affected by the change in IR35 this has also been reversed.

However, the Chancellor did not handle the announcements well. He started by dismissing the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury. The Office of Tax Simplification will be closed. He also did not ask the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) to review the announcements (therefore it is not really a budget) and then announced that there were ‘more cuts to come’.

The markets did not like the uncertainty and promptly sold Sterling and increased the cost of government borrowing by selling UK government bonds (gilts).  This then affected the defined benefit pension industry as the cost of liability matching pensions using derivatives increased. The pension industry then needed to increase the amount of capital (margin) to pay for the increase. This created a vicious recursive circle. The Bank of England (BoE) then stepped in to prop up the gilts market.

Going forward, the BoE only increased the bank rate by 0.5% to 2.25% on 22 September 2022. The next meetings are on 3 November and 15 December. There is a high probability that rates will go up on both dates. This will of course affect mortgage rates and if you are worried give Alastair a call in the office.

It looks like the Chancellor will be trying to balance the books. Simon Clarke, the new levelling up secretary has written to Whitehall departments asking them to ‘trim the fat’ and tackle the ‘very large welfare state’.

The Government’s strategy seems to be based on ‘Reaganomics’ from the 1980s. There will be more volatility in the markets for the foreseeable future; however this is normal market mechanics adjusting to the new regime. We are coming into the Q3 earning season but our companies will be able to pass through the increase in input costs from the energy rises feeding inflation price rises.

Autumn Budget 2021

The chancellor focused on the post covid recovery and did not tinker much with pensions and investments.

The key measure that we already knew about was the 1.25% increase to National Insurance and Dividend rates which will come into effect in April 2022. Due to Government IT constraints it will initially be collected via NI and in April 2023 it will be a separate tax called the ‘health and social care Levy’.

This Levy will be applied if your pay is above the primary earnings threshold of £9,568. You are caught if you pay yourself dividends above £2,000, and if you are working above the State Pension age.

Therefore the dividend ordinary rate, upper rate and additional rate will increase to 8.75%, 33.75% and 39.35% respectively.

For business owners the employer NI will also rise 1.25% to 15.05%. As corporation tax will rise in April 2023 it would be prudent to talk to your accountant to bring forward profits if possible.

Key allowances have not changed:

  • High rate income tax band starts at £37,700 + £12,570 = £50,270
  • Capital Gains Tax annual exempt amount is £12,300
  • ISA annual subscription limit is maintained at £20,000 and JISAs £9,000

Budget 2021 – details

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced that the bill for addressing the coronavirus pandemic is currently £407bn, which is equivalent to 10x HS2 projects or 20 Crossrail’s.
 
Tax thresholds

The key financial changes announced in the budget are as follows: 
The basic rate income tax threshold has been slightly increased from April 2021 to £12,570 from £12,500 and the high rate threshold to £50,270 from £50,000. The thresholds will then stay at these levels for the following 5 years.
 
The inheritance tax nil-rate band will remain at the existing level of £325,000 and also the residence nil-rate band of £175,000 until at least 2026. The residence nil-rate band taper will continue to start at £2 million.
 
The capital gains annual exempt amount has also been frozen at £12,300 until 2026.
 
Dividends also escaped. The tax-free dividend allowance has been kept at £2,000.
 
Pensions
 
The pension lifetime allowance has also been frozen at £1,073,100 until 2026.
 
The state pension will however rise by 2.5% next tax year and the triple lock will remain in place.
 
Property
 
The 0% stamp duty land tax holiday on the first £500,000 has been extended until 30 June 2021. The threshold will then be reduced down to £250,000 for a further 3 months and then return back to £125,000 from October.
 
Lenders have been withdrawing from providing low-deposit mortgages. Therefore to help first time buyers the government is guaranteeing 95% loan-to-value mortgages up to £600,000.
 
Companies
 
From April 2023 corporation tax will increase for companies with profits above £50,000. Tapering from 19% up to 25% above £250,000. This will affect the UK companies, but as it is progressive and can be offset by ‘super deduction’ on business investment as companies investing can benefit from a 130% first-year capital allowance.
 
IR35 changes delayed from last year will go ahead in April 2021. Companies must now collect income tax and NIC from the contractor’s fee and pay it over to HMRC.
 
The furlough scheme will be extended until October 2021. However, employers will be asked to contribute 10% in July and increased to 20% in August.
 
The trading loss carry-back rule has also been extended from the existing one year to three years.
 
The VAT reduction for the UK’s tourism and hospitality sector has been extended until October 2021 and reduced rate of 12.5% will then be applied until April 2022.
 
Business rate reliefs have also been extended to July 2021 and then a reduced rate of 66% until April 2022.

Chancellor’s summer economic update – details

Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced a range of measures to try and kick-start the economy.

The big story is a cut in VAT for the hospitality sector from 20% to 5% and this will apply to eat-in or hot takeaway food from restaurants, cafes and pubs, accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites, attractions like cinemas, theme parks and zoos. 

He also announced a temporary stamp duty holiday until January 2021 to stimulate the property market. This would exempt the first £500,000 of all property sales from the tax. 

The government will pay businesses a £1,000 bonus for every staff member that is kept on for three months when the furlough scheme ends in October. To qualify, the employee must be paid at least £520 on average, in each month from November to the end of January.

New schemes were announced to boost employment and training opportunities for 16 – 24 year olds.  This includes a ‘Kick Start’ scheme to assist those at risk of long term unemployment by funding six-month work placements to those on universal credit. Further support will be provided to young people in England: funding of £1,000 for each new work experience place; for apprenticeships – funding of £2,000 for each new apprentice aged under 25, and £1,500 for each new apprentice aged 25 and over, from 1st August 2020 to 31st January 2021. The apprenticeship payments will be in addition to the existing £1,000 funding that is provided for young apprentices.

There was also a scheme announced that will be launched in August to give 50% off to people dining out.  The scheme will mean 50% off meals eaten at any registered business between Monday to Wednesday in August, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head (including children).

Chancellor splashes another £30b

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak pledged an additional GBP 30 billion to support employment, on top of the GBP 133 billion in coronavirus measures he has already unveiled. The money includes over GBP 5 billion in accelerated infrastructure spending, about GBP 9 billion for employers to retain workers through the end of January, funds for home insulation, and help for homebuyers and for hospitality firms.

COVID-19 – Help for the self-employed

If you have at least one year’s self-assessment history and have filed your 2018-19 tax return, you are eligible as long as you have trading profits of under £50,000 per annum.

You will receive a taxable grant of 80% of your average profits. You do not need to apply, you should receive details in the post and the grant in June.

COVID-19 – Employee homeworking expenses

In general, the reimbursement by an employer of employee expenses is treated for tax purposes as earnings from the employment for the tax year in which they are paid (ITEPA 2003 ss 70 and 72) and will be taxed in the normal way. There is, however, an exemption for ‘homeworking arrangements’ which covers payments made by an employer to an employee in respect of reasonable additional household expenses incurred in carrying out duties of their employment at home (ITEPA s 316A). This is currently up to £4 a week (or £18 a month) but, as announced in the Budget, will be increased to £6 a week from 6 April 2020. An exempt homeworking payment under s 316A can be made to employees who work at home under a voluntary homeworking scheme (which is a crucial difference to other expenses claimed by employees outside of these arrangements).

Costs that may be covered by such homeworking payments include additional costs of heating and lighting the work area or the metered cost of increased water use, provided that the additional household costs are reasonable and incurred in carrying out the employee’s duties. There might also be increased charges for internet access, home contents insurance, business telephone calls or the additional cost incurred as a result of business rates liability (EIM01474). Broadband costs will only be tax exempt if the employee is not already paying for a broadband connection (EIM01475). Payments for costs that would be incurred whether or not the employee worked at home – for example, mortgage interest, rent, council tax or water rates – will not be tax exempt.