personal allowance

General Election Salary Calculator

As you may have noticed, there’s a General Election next month and the parties are all out campaigning. Since a major campaign point this time is personal taxation, I thought it would be interesting to compare how the main parties’ policies would affect take-home pay. You can try out the Election Salary Calculator here. This is a simplified version of the normal Salary Calculator, but if you enter your salary and a few other optional extras, it will estimate the differences in deductions for the 5 main national parties.

This is just an estimate, and not all of the details are available yet – I will update the calculator with more information as the parties provide it. I hope you find it interesting! Details of the changes are described below the results table. The BBC has a very good article explaining the parties’ positions on taxation and other policy areas.

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None of the content on this website, including blog posts, comments, or responses to user comments, is offered as financial advice. Figures used are for illustrative purposes only.

April 2015 tax rates applied

From 6th April 2015, new tax thresholds and personal allowances will apply, and The Salary Calculator has been updated with these new values.

Although the default results are still for the current tax year, when you enter your details into the take home pay calculator, you will see a summary line at the bottom of the results showing how things will change from 6th April. Click on this line and you can see a side-by-side comparison of the 2014/15 and 2015/16 tax years, and a breakdown of how it will affect your take home pay. You can also choose 2015/16 in the tax year drop-down in the normal take home calculator.

The main change this year is an increase in the default personal allowance from £10,000 to £10,600 – which means you can earn an extra £600 without paying any income tax. The default tax code will change from 1000L to 1060L (if your tax code is different, it will probably change for next year to reflect the larger personal allowance). The Student Loan repayment threshold has also increased from £16,910 to £17,335, potentially saving those who are repaying their loans £38.25 per month (although this will also mean it takes longer to repay your loan).

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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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April 2014 tax rates applied

The Salary Calculator has been updated with the latest tax information which takes effect from 6th April 2014.

There is an increase in the default tax free personal allowance from £9,440 to £10,000, which will reduce the amount of tax due for most taxpayers. Slight increases in the National Insurance thresholds will also help improve the takehome pay for many people.

The most significant change is probably the increase in the repayment threshold for plan 1 student loans from £16,365 per year to £16,910, which will save those repaying their loan nearly £50 over the year. Unfortunately of course, this will just mean it will take longer to repay the loan in the long run but hopefully the extra cash in your pocket will be useful now!

Another significant change this year, which is unlikely to affect any but those who are well paid and nearing retirement, is a reduction in the maximum amount you can put into a pension while still claiming full tax relief – for 2013/14 this limit was £50,000 but from 2014/15 it will be £40,000. If this is likely to affect you, you still have time to make the most of the 2013/14 pension allowance before the end of the tax year!

To see how you will be affected by the new tax rates, go to The Salary Calculator and choose the 2014/15 tax year from the drop-down box. Alternatively, you can view a side-by-side comparison of 2013 and 2014 tax rates.

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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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