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What does the UK Budget 2018 mean for me? 8 takeaways for individuals

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1. Keep more of your income with new tax allowances

Most relevant to: Anyone earning wages in the UK

In a Budget which was relatively light on personal finance changes to really impact individuals, the big news was the bringing forward of higher income tax personal allowances. Scheduled to happen in 2020 but now coming into fruition in April 2019, the new personal allowance limit will be £12,500, and the new higher rate threshold will be £50,000.

What does this look like for you? Well, someone earning £25,000 will be £130 better off each year in tax terms. While someone earning £100,000 will pay £860 less tax each year. Every little helps.

 

2. No Stamp Duty for first-time buyers

Most relevant to: Rebellious Renters

Good news if you’re a first-time buyer of a shared ownership property valued up to £500,000. Stamp Duty, a tax most property purchasers get slugged with which goes up in bands from 0% to a hefty 15% max for second home owners, has been abolished if you meet the criteria above.

Previously, the Stamp Duty exemption only applied to first homes valued up to £300,000. And for shared-ownership properties to qualify, buyers had to be taxed on the full market value of the home rather than only the share they were buying. If the full market value was more than £500,000, the buyer would not have been eligible for any Stamp Duty reduction at all.

Bought your first home since 8 March 2017? The new Stamp Duty rules will be applied retrospectively to the date of the last Budget. So if you’re still getting settled, you could be in for a windfall.

 

3. Full steam ahead for the 26–30 railcard

Most relevant to: Rebellious Renters

The hype is real, millennials. You’ll soon be able to buy a railcard for 26-to-30-year-olds saving you a third of the price of your off-peak journeys. Available online by the end of the year, for an annual fee of £30, it’s expected to save 4.4 million young people around £125 each. Better than a kick in the bum!

 

4. Complications for former couples selling a home

Most relevant to: Distressed Divorced

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) could affect more divorcers than in previous years. Principal private residence relief, which allows taxpayers to sell their main home without paying CGT on any increased value since purchase, has been cut in half when it comes to timeframes.

Whereas the period of tax exemption used to be 18 months, it is now only 9 months, which means sell up quick or lose out. Easier said than done when you consider how long the legal wrangling can take.

We think this one is really unfair if you consider how many of us are separating in a climate of protracted court proceedings.

 

5. A sigh of relief for entrepreneurs

Most relevant to: Everyday Entrepreneurs

Also affecting Capital Gains Tax, though in a more positive way, is Britain’s position on entrepreneurs’ relief. Rejecting calls to scrap the initiative – which reduces tax when selling part or all of a business – the Chancellor merely extended the qualifying period from 12 months to 24 months.

This means that if a business owner intends to sell up, they need to meet a number of conditions for twice as long before they sell. If they do, the tax paid on the proceeds (CGT) is reduced from 28% to 10% on up to £10 million of lifetime gains.

 

6. And for small business owners

Most relevant to: Everyday Entrepreneurs

Retailers and smaller businesses who have been under pressure will get some relief from changes to business rates, but the targeting of this at smaller premises (<£51,000 rateable value will pay one third less) will do little to benefit the large high street stores, which have made the largest headlines in terms of their demise.

 

7. This was not a saver’s budget

Most relevant to: Dependable Dads, Wary Women and Tired Parents

ISA limits remain unchanged at £20,000, Junior ISA limits only rise to £4,368 from April 2019 with inflation, and the Lifetime Allowance for pensions also only rises with inflation – a measly £25,000 extra across a lifetime of savings. In all, it means you can only save so much into a pension (with all the extra freebies in the name of ‘tax relief’) before the taxman comes asking for more when you hang up your clogs.

It’s not great news, but let’s put it into context. In this Budget, there has at least been a small rise in Lifetime Allowance for pensions – now at £1.055 million. For many years this figure was falling. In 2012, the limit was £1.8 million, which steadily dropped to £1m by 2018. At least it’s on the rise again. By tiddly amounts. For now.

 

8. Reason to celebrate down the pub

Most relevant to: Anyone who sat through the Budget

Now for the news you’ve all been waiting for: how much more will booze cost me? Almost nothing, actually. At least where your wallet is concerned. Duty has been frozen on beer, cider and spirits for the year, but duty on wine will rise with inflation. #classwarfare? Smokers will be hit hardest, though, as cigarette duty will rise by inflation plus 2%.

In reality, this means you could pay 49p more on a pack of ciggies, but could save 1p on a pint of beer, 2p on a pint of cider, and 30p on a bottle of scotch or gin. Cheers to that.

 

 

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