The personal allowance
The personal allowance is currently £12,500. Budget 2018 announced that the allowance will remain at the same level in 2020/21 and then increase by CPI. There is a reduction in the personal allowance for those with ‘adjusted net income’ over £100,000. The reduction is £1 for every £2 of income above £100,000. So for the current and next tax year there is no personal allowance where adjusted net income exceeds £125,000.
The marriage allowance
The marriage allowance permits certain couples, where neither pays tax at more than the basic rate, to transfer 10% of their personal allowance to their spouse or civil partner.
The marriage allowance reduces the recipient’s tax bill by up to £250 a year in 2019/20 and 2020/21. The marriage allowance was first introduced for 2015/16 and there continue to be couples who are entitled to claim but have not yet done so. It is possible to claim for all years back to 2015/16 where the entitlement conditions are met. The total tax saving for all years up until 2019/20 could amount to £1,150. A claim for 2015/16 will need to be made by 5 April 2020.
Tax bands and rates
The basic rate of tax is 20%. In 2019/20 and 2020/21 the band of income taxable at this rate is £37,500 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies is £50,000 for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance.
Individuals pay tax at 45% on their income over £150,000.
The tax on income (other than savings and dividend income) is different, for taxpayers who are resident in Scotland, from taxpayers resident elsewhere in the UK. The Scottish income tax rates and bands apply to income such as employment income, self-employed trade profits and property income.
In 2019/20 there are five income tax rates which range between 19% and 46%. Scottish taxpayers are entitled to the same personal allowance as individuals in the rest of the UK. The two higher rates are 41% and 46% rather than the 40% and 45% rates that apply to such income for other UK residents. For 2019/20, the threshold at which the 41% band applies is £43,430 for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance.
The Scottish Government has confirmed that the Scottish income tax rates will be frozen for 2020/21. The thresholds from which the 20% and 21% bands apply will be increased to £14,585 and £25,158 respectively for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance.
From April 2019, the Welsh Government has the right to vary the rates of income tax payable by Welsh taxpayers. The UK government has reduced each of the three rates of income tax paid by Welsh taxpayers by 10 pence. The Welsh Government set the Welsh rate of income tax at 10 pence which has been added to the reduced rates. This means the tax payable by Welsh taxpayers continues to be the same as that payable by English and Northern Irish taxpayers.
The Welsh Government has confirmed that the income tax rate will remain at 10 pence for 2020/21.
Tax on savings income
Savings income is income such as bank and building society interest.
The Savings Allowance applies to savings income and the available allowance in a tax year depends on the individual’s marginal rate of income tax. Broadly, individuals taxed at up to the basic rate of tax have an allowance of £1,000. For higher rate taxpayers the allowance is £500. No allowance is due to additional rate taxpayers.
Some individuals qualify for a 0% starting rate of tax on savings income up to £5,000. However, the rate is not available if taxable non-savings income (broadly earnings, pensions, trading profits and property income less allocated allowances and reliefs) exceeds £5,000.
Tax on dividends
The first £2,000 of dividends is chargeable to tax at 0% (the Dividend Allowance). Dividends received above the allowance are taxed at the following rates:
- 7.5% for basic rate taxpayers
- 32.5% for higher rate taxpayers
- 38.1% for additional rate taxpayers.
Dividends within the allowance still count towards an individual’s basic or higher rate band and so may affect the rate of tax paid on dividends above the Dividend Allowance.
To determine which tax band dividends fall into, dividends are treated as the last type of income to be taxed.
Child Trust Funds (CTFs)
Junior ISAs and its precursor CTFs allow tax free savings to be made for children under 18. There is no access to the investments until the child is 18. CTF accounts will start to mature in September 2020 when the first children reach 18. Without regulatory change the investments would lose their tax advantaged status. CTF and ISA regulations have therefore recently been made which:
- make sure that investments in CTF accounts retain their tax advantaged status post maturity, pending instructions from the account holder
- allow savings transferred from a matured CTF to be disregarded for the annual ISA subscription limit.
Around six million children hold a CTF and approximately 800,000 will mature each year from September 2020. A significant proportion of these accounts are thought to be ‘dormant’ – holding just the contributions made by the government. Government contributions are not made to Junior ISAs. This government webpage: bit.ly/2s8ceyz allows a check to be made as to where a CTF is held but a Government Gateway user ID is required first.
Junior ISA and CTF annual subscription limits
The annual subscription limit for Junior ISAs and CTFs will be increased from £4,368 to £9,000 for 2020/21.
The pensions annual allowance (currently £40,000) is the maximum amount of tax-relieved pension savings that can be accrued in a year. However, for those on higher incomes, the annual allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 that an individual’s ‘adjusted income’ exceeds £150,000, to a minimum annual allowance of £10,000. Adjusted income is broadly net income before tax with the addition of any pension accrual. The taper potentially applies to an individual with income before tax, without the addition of the pension accrual, above £110,000. This is known as the ‘threshold income’.
Adjusted income and threshold income will each be raised by £90,000 for 2020/21. The threshold income will be £200,000, so individuals with income below this level will not be affected by the tapered annual allowance. The annual allowance will begin to taper down for individuals who also have an adjusted income above £240,000.
There is also a change to the minimum annual allowance. The minimum level to which the annual allowance can taper down will reduce from £10,000 to £4,000 from 6 April 2020. This reduction will only affect individuals with adjusted income over £300,000.
Support during the coronavirus
The Prime Minister previously announced that the forthcoming COVID-19 Bill will temporarily allow Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to be paid from the first day of sickness absence, rather than the fourth day, for people who have COVID-19 or have to self-isolate in accordance with government guidelines. The Budget sets out a further package to widen the scope of SSP and make it more accessible. The government will temporarily extend SSP to cover:
- individuals who are unable to work because they have been advised to self-isolate
- people caring for those within the same household who display COVID-19 symptoms and have been told to self-isolate.
Support for those ineligible for SSP
The government recognises that self-employed people and employees earning below the National Insurance Lower Earnings Limit are not entitled to SSP and will offer financial support to these individuals through a ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit.