budget

Budget 2016

Tomorrow, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will deliver his annual budget to the Houses of Parliament. We have already heard about some possible announcements (such as the introduction of a scheme to help people increase their savings), and we have been told that there will be no changes to pension tax relief (which looked likely, for a while).

From 6th April, the new tax year means changes to tax-free personal allowances, tax thresholds and the like. The Salary Calculator has been updated with the latest values so you can see what your payslip will look like from April onwards. The personal allowance has been increased to £11,000 per year, which will reduce the tax due for most people. There are changes to National Insurance this year, too – since it is no longer possible for a pension to be “contracted-out” (earning a reduction in NI contributions), those of you who had one of these pensions will be paying the full NI contributions from 6th April.

If you would like to see how these changes will affect you, head over to The Salary Calculator to see what difference it will make to your payslip!

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2016 Tax rates available!

The Salary Calculator has been updated with the latest tax rates, which take effect from 6th April 2016 – so you can now see how the changes will affect you. Just head over to The Salary Calculator – 2016 take home pay calculator, enter your details and remember to choose the “2016/17” tax year in the drop-down box.

The tax-free personal allowance has been increased by £400, which will reduce the amount of tax most people pay. However, from April 2016 those who have been paying into a pension scheme which is “contracted out” of the additional state pension will find that their National Insurance contributions go up. This is because from April it will no longer be possible to contract out of the pension, so the National Insurance reduction that this gave you no longer applies.

You can try out the 2015 and 2016 take home comparison calculator and see side-by-side how your payslip is likely to change in the new tax year.

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Budget 2015

The Chancellor gave his pre-election budget earlier today – announcing his plans for forthcoming years. With an election just around the corner, this budget is even more of a sales pitch than usual – most of the changes he announced would only come to pass if the Conservatives were to be in government for the next term.

From a personal taxation point of view, the most significant announcement was arguably the plan for the first £1,000 of interest earned on savings to be tax free, effective April 2016. This will allow almost everyone to pay no taxes on their savings interest (those with high incomes from elsewhere will have this £1,000 limit reduced, possibly to zero), but the amount saved each year for most people is likely to be only a few pounds – and at most £200. There is also a plan to raise the threshold for the higher rate tax (the point at which income tax increases from 20% to 40%) ahead of inflation – an effective tax break for those on good middle-class incomes.

The Salary Calculator has already been updated with the tax rates which take effect from April 2015 so you can see how your pay packet will change next month. You can also compare 2014 and 2015 tax rates side-by-side to see where the differences come in.

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2014 Budget

Later today, the Chancellor will deliver his 2014 Budget to parliament, setting out his plans for the next few years. The Budget is the Chancellor’s opportunity to explain his policies and how they will affect the economy as a whole, and also what differences will be felt by ordinary members of the public.

He is likely to make much of the fact that the tax-free personal allowance (how much you can earn without paying income tax) has increased to £10,000 from April 2014, a coalition pledge delivered 1 year early. There is also talk that he might announce plans to raise the threshold for 40% tax (the amount at which you start paying income tax at 40% rather than 20%) in future years. This would probably lower the tax paid by those in middle management positions, say, and those in more senior roles.

The income tax and National Insurance rates which will take effect from 6th April 2014 have already been applied to The Salary Calculator, so you can easily see how your take home pay will be affected by the new tax year. You can also view a side-by-side comparison of 2013 and 2014 so you can see where the differences come from.

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Budget 2013

In yesterday’s budget, the Chancellor George Osborne outlined his plans for the next couple of years. In terms of take home pay from April onwards, there were no real surprises – the personal allowance has been increased and the top “Additional rate” tax has been reduced from 50% to 45%. In an earlier blog post I have described how these changes have been applied to The Salary Calculator.

Those who are repaying their student loan could be saving as much as £50 next year, as the threshold for repayment has increased from £15,795 to £16,365 – so the deductions from their salary will be less from April. However, the flip side of this is that because less of the loan is being repaid, it will take longer for the loan to be paid off in full and therefore will cost more in the long term.

What I found most interesting about the Chancellor’s announcements yesterday was the extension of an existing scheme for people buying their first house (FirstBuy) to allow more people to take part. The new scheme is called Help to Buy, and will help people to buy a new-build home with a 5% deposit, even if they can’t get the rest of the 95% from a mortgage lender. The government will provide a loan (interest-free for 5 years) for up to 20% of the value of the house, leaving buyers to find only 75% from a mortgage lender. In return, the government will get a share of the equity in the house – so if the house price increases, the amount repayable when the house is sold will increase at the same rate. This scheme is available to first-time buyers and to people who are already on the housing ladder – it does not have to be your first house purchase – and the value of the house can be up to £600,000.

There is also a scheme to help people buy houses which are not new-built, where instead of providing some of the money, the government will guarantee some of the mortgage so that if the buyers default, the lender gets some of the money from the government. This is aimed at encouraging lenders to allow people with small (5%) deposits to borrow.

If it takes off, this scheme has the potential to help people who are currently struggling to buy a home because they don’t have a large enough deposit. It may also help to stimulate the house construction industry, and bolster a flagging property market. The treasury has provided an infographic with some details.

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Thursday, March 21st, 2013 Economy, Mortgages, Pay As You Earn 2 Comments

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