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Budget 2011 - Tax Summary (Part 1)

Published by NeilHarries in the blog NeilHarries's blog. Views: 225

This article aims to summarise the main tax measures of yesterdays Budget however it is not intended to be comprehensive.


Individuals

Personal Allowances
These allowances represent the amount of an individual's income in the tax year that is not subject to income tax. Some people are eligible for several allowances such as the personal allowance, and married couples allowance. The married couples allowance is available to married persons and civil partners, but only where at least one person of the couple was born before 6 April 1935.

The personal allowance for 2011/12 will increase by £1,000 to £7,475, but the 40% tax threshold will reduce to £35,000 (see below). This ensures that higher and additional rate taxpayers do not benefit from the increased personal allowance in this year. From 6 April 2012 the personal allowance will be increased again by £630 to £8,105, and in that year the 40% threshold will be reduced further to £34,370.

Personal allowances are withdrawn at certain income thresholds, indicated below, and cannot be claimed by non-domiciled individuals who elect to have their foreign income and gains taxed on the remittance basis for the tax year.

The 2011/12 personal allowances are...

Under 65 - £7,475
65-74 - £9,940
75 and over - £10,090
Minimum married couples allowance* - £2,800
Maximum married couples allowance* - £7,295
Blind person's allowance - £1,980
Income limit for allowances for those aged 65 or more - £24,000
Income limit for allowances for those aged under 65 - £100,000

* given where one partner was born before 6 /4/1935, and only as 10% reduction in tax.

Income Tax Rates
The tax rates for 2011/12 have been frozen at the 2010/11 levels but the threshold at which the 40% tax rate is applied is reduced to £35,000. This introduces a subtle tax increase as it pulls more taxpayers into the 40% tax bracket, and increases the amount of income subject to tax at 40%.

The 2011/12 rates and bands are...

Savings rate* (10%) - 0 to £2,560
Basic rate (20%) - 0 to £35,000
Higher rate (40%) - £35,001 to £150,000
Additional rate (50%) - over £150,000

* Only applies if non savings income is below this amount

Non-Domiciled and Non Resident
Individuals who are domiciled outside of the UK (non-doms), and who have been resident in the UK for at least 7 years out of the previous 9 tax years, must pay a remittance basis charge if they want to exclude their off-shore income and gains from UK taxation. This remittance basis charge is current set at £30,000 per year. It is proposed that from 6 April 2012 the remittance basis charge will increase to £50,000 for non-doms who have been UK resident for at least 12 years. Those who have been resident in the UK for at least 7 years but less than 12 years will continue to pay the £30,000 charge.

There is currently no clear measure by which an individual can determine whether they are treated as resident for tax purposes in the UK. The Government intends to introduce a legal test of residence with effect from April 2012.

Tax Credits
The main changes to Tax Credits as it applies to the self-employed, is the change in the income disregard from £25,000 in 2010/11 to £10,000 in £2011/12.

The income disregard provides a buffer for changes in income, so overpayments of tax credits do not arise where income varies within this threshold year on year. The reduction in this threshold is likely to adversely affect families with fluctuating incomes, such as the self-employed. In the future, in order to avoid a claw-back of tax credits, the claimant will need to finalise their self-employed profit figures as close to the tax year end as possible.


Savings and Investments

Enterprise Investment Scheme
Income tax relief for investors is to be proposed to be enhanced as follows:

Rate of income tax relief: 2010/11 - 20%, 2011/12 - 30%, 2012/13 - 30%

Annual maximum investment qualifying for income tax relief: 2010/11 - £500,000, 2011/12 - £500,000, 2012/13 - £1,000,000

These changes will be subject to State aid approval from the EU.

Venture Capital Trusts
The range of companies that can accept investments through the EIS or Venture capital Trusts is to be increased from April 2012 to include those with gross assets less than £15 million, and with less than 250 employees. At present only companies with asset value of less than £7 million and with less than 50 employees can qualify for these tax favoured investments. The cap on the amount a company can raise through these schemes in any year will also be increased from £2 million to £10 million.

Pension Contributions
The level of contributions that can be made with full tax relief to a registered pension scheme is to be reduced from £255,000 to £50,000 per pension input period (PIP) falling in the tax year. However, this cap can be expanded by bringing forward unused relief from the previous three tax years, up to a maximum of £50,000 from each year. If the annual allowance is exceeded the taxpayer must pay an annual allowance charge on the excess at their marginal rate of income tax.

The Lifetime Allowance will reduce from £1,800,000 in 2011/12 to £1,500,000 in 2012/13.

Independent Savings Accounts (ISAs)
The ISA savings limits applicable in 2011/12 for those over 18 are:
Overall limit - £10,680
Cash up to - £5,340
Balance in stocks and shares up to - £10,680

For those aged 16 & 17:
Overall limit - £5,340
Cash up to - £5,340
Balance in stocks and shares up to - nil

From April 2012 the ISA savings limits will be increased in line with the consumer Prices Index (CPI) rather than in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI), as has been the case so far.

Savings for Children
Children born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011 inclusive were eligible for a child trust fund account (CTF). Each child received a voucher to allow the account to be opened which also provided an initial deposit. The existing CTF accounts will continue and funds of up to £1200 per year can be contributed for each child tax free. The CTF account can only be accessed by the child when he or she reaches age 18.

Junior ISA
The Junior ISA is a replacement for the CTF but no funds will be provided by the Government. The junior ISA will be available to all children resident in the UK who do not have a child trust fund account. It will also have the following features:

- No tax will be charged on income or gains earned within the ISA.
- Funds placed in the account will be owned by the child and locked in until the child reaches age 18.
- Accounts can be opened from autumn 2011 (exact date to be announced).
- Sharia compliant products will be offered as Junior ISAs.
- The annual savings limits will be announced later, but are likely to be similar to normal ISAs.


Capital Taxes

Capital Gains Tax Rates and Thresholds
The rates and thresholds for capital gains tax are as follows for 2011/12:

Annual exemption - £10,600
Annual exemption for most trustees - £5,300
Rate for gains in basic rate band - 18%
Rate for gains above basic rate band - 28%
Rate for gains subject to entrepreneurs' relief - 10%
Lifetime limit for entrepreneurs' relief - £10,000,000

Entrepreneurs' Relief
This relief applies to gains made on the disposal of businesses, parts of a business, shares in trading companies and certain business assets disposed of after a business ceases or in association with a business disposal. The taxpayer and the business must both meet a number of qualifying conditions for the relief to apply.

Each taxpayer has a maximum amount of gains that they can include in a claim for entrepreneurs' relief, called the lifetime limit. This lifetime limit was initially set at £1 million from 6 April 2008. It was increased to £2 million from 6 April 2010, increased again to £5 million from 23 June 2010. The lifetime limit will be doubled to £10 million for gains made after 5 April 2011.

Inheritance Tax
The nil rate band for inheritance tax (IHT) will remain frozen until 2014/15 at £325,000. This is the amount of a person's estate that is free of inheritance tax.

The rate payable on death for 2011/12 remains at 40% with the rate payable on lifetime gifts to certain trusts remaining at 20%.

From April 2012 those that give at least 10% of their estate on death to charity will pay a reduced rate of IHT of 36%. Gifts made to charities are exempt from IHT.



Neil Harries tax editor at totalinvestor.co.uk and director at Bridgend Accountants Harries Watkins Jones.

The author does not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided in this article and recommends that you do not take any action, whatsoever, based on the information provided. By the fullest extent permitted by law, the author does not accept any responsibility for any actions you may or may not take based on information contained in this article. This article contains general information and is not a substitute for specific independent professional advice. In addition it is emphasised that much of the information provided in this article is time sensitive and information contained within it may be out of date.
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