NO CHANGES IN TAX RATES

The basic rate of income tax and higher rate remain at 20% and 40% respectively, and the 45% additional rate continues to apply to income over £150,000.

There had been rumours that the dividend rate might be increased, but dividends continue to be taxed at 7.5%, 32.5% and then 38.1% depending upon whether the dividends fall into the basic rate band, higher rate band or the additional rate. Note that only the first £2,000 of dividend income is now tax free.

The annual ISA investment limit increased to £20,000 from 6 April 2017 and remains at that level for 2019/20. Dividends on shares held within an ISA continue to be tax free.

The much rumoured further restriction in pension tax relief failed to materialise.

CAPITAL GAINS ENTREPRENEURS’ RELIEF CHANGES

The minimum qualifying period for CGT entrepreneurs’ relief will be increased from 12 months to 24 months for disposals on or after 6 April 2019.

There are further changes affecting shareholdings in personal companies. In addition to the individual holding 5% or more of the ordinary share capital and voting control they will also now be required to be entitled to 5% or more of the company’s distributable profits and assets in a winding up.   As now the individual must also be an officer or employee of the company concerned; and the company must be a trading company or the holding company of a trading group.

NEW CAPITAL ALLOWANCE FOR COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS

A new 2% straight line tax deduction is being introduced for the cost of construction or renovation of commercial buildings and structures.

This tax break will apply to eligible construction costs incurred on or after budget day and will be available to commercial property landlords as well as trading businesses. The cost of the land is specifically excluded.

PERSONAL ALLOWANCE AND HIGHER RATE LIMIT INCREASED EARLY

The Government’s manifesto pledge back in 2015 was that the personal allowance would rise to £12,500 in 2020 and the higher rate tax threshold to £50,000. However, the Chancellor has decided to bring forward these increases one year early from 2019/20, taking an estimated 1 million taxpayers out of higher rate tax.

Note that up to 10% of the personal allowance (£1,250 from 6 April 2019) may be transferred from one spouse or civil partner to the other if unused and the transferee is a basic rate taxpayer.  As announced last year, this transfer is now available on behalf of deceased spouses and civil partners.

SPREADING THE 2019 LOAN CHARGE

There was a requirement to register with HMRC by 30 September 2018 in order to settle on preferential terms before the outstanding loan charge arises on 5 April 2019.

This new tax charge applies to any outstanding loans that exist as a result of a disguised remuneration tax avoidance scheme used by your employer such as those involving Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs).

HMRC since announced a spreading provision that will allow individual taxpayers with total income of no more than £50,000 in 2018/19 to spread the charge over 5 years.

RULES FOR “RENT A ROOM” RELIEF TO BE TIGHTENED UP FROM 6 APRIL 2019

HMRC propose to restrict the availability of “rent a room” relief to situations where the taxpayer is living in the let property for at least some of the time that the accommodation is let. Hence renting out a house during Wimbledon fortnight while the owners are absent would not qualify from 6 April 2019!

Rent-a-room relief was introduced in 1992 to encourage individuals to make spare capacity in their homes available for rent. The government intended this to increase the quantity and variety of low-cost rented accommodation, giving more choice to tenants and making it easier for people to move around the country for work.

Currently rent-a-room relief gives relief from income tax for up to £7,500 of gross rental income to individuals who let furnished accommodation in their only or main residence.