April 2013

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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April 2013 tax rates applied to The Salary Calculator

The Salary Calculator has been updated with the latest income tax and National Insurance rates from HMRC which will take effect from 6th April 2013. Although for the moment the current 2012/13 tax year will be applied to calculations by default, you can choose the 2013/14 tax year from the drop-down box to see what your pay slip will look like later this year. You can also see a summary of the 2013/14 values under the normal results, and there is a special Comparison page where you can see 2012 and 2013 side-by-side.

The biggest changes for most people will probably be:

  • Tax-free personal allowance increased from £8,105 to £9,440
  • Student Loan repayment threshold increased from £15,795 to £16,365
  • Additional rate tax for those earning over £150,000 reduced from 50% to 45%
  • Over-65 and Over-75 personal allowances not increased

The last of these points was called the “Granny Tax” by detractors when it was first announced, although it is not actually an introduction of a new tax. Previously, those over 65 and over 75 had larger tax-free personal allowances which, like the Under-65 allowance, was increased each year. From April 2013, these allowances will no longer be increased each year and will remain at their current values of £10,500 and £10,660 respectively – until the Under-65 allowance catches up with them. Also, these allowances will no longer be applied to people reaching the qualifying age – only those who were born before 6th April 1948 (or 6th April 1938 for the upper allowance) will receive these allowances. Those reaching these threshold ages after 6th April 2013 will not receive the additional allowance.

Those who are fortunate enough to be earning more than £150,000 will see their tax rate on income over that limit reduced from 50% (where it has been since this tax was introduced in April 2010) to 45%. You might think that, with personal allowances going up and tax rates coming down, everyone will be better off from the start of the new tax year. However, there is a set of people who will find that they pay more tax in the 2013/14 tax year than they did in the 2012/13 tax year, due to a rule which applies to those earning over £100,000.

If you earn more than £100,000 in the year, the tax-free personal allowance is gradually reduced at a rate of £1 for each £2 you earn over the £100,000 limit. Those earning £118,880 or more in 2013/14 will therefore have no tax-free allowance. Because the threshold between 20% and 40% tax has been reduced, those who earn between about £117,000 and £157,000 will find that they actually pay more tax than they did the year before – when those earning less and those earning more will each pay less than they did the year before.

If you want to see how the April 2013 income tax rates will affect you, you can get started with The Salary Calculator or try the 2012 / 2013 Income Tax Comparison.

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Budget 2012 update

Today, the Chancellor gave his annual budget speech in the House of Commons, outlining government spending plans for the next couple of years. The details of income tax and National Insurance from 6th April 2012 had already been provided, so as I have explained in a previous post, The Salary Calculator is up to date with the latest tax information.

However, the Chancellor took the opportunity to outline plans for income tax from April 2013, and there will be a few changes. Firstly, the under-65 tax free allowance will be increased from April 2013 to £9,205,  in line with the coalition pledge to increase the tax-free personal allowance to £10,000 before the next election. This is an increase of £1,100 on the April 2012 value, saving those on low and middle incomes up to £220 per year. However, the increased personal allowances currently available to those over 65 will be frozen and, for those not yet receiving the increased allowances, replaced by a single allowance for all ages (although this change will not take immediate effect).

Another change in 2013 will be to reduce the top rate of income tax, paid by those earning over £150,000 per year, from 50% to 45%. The 50% rate was introduced by the Labour government, where previously such income would have been taxed at 40%. This will be popular with traditional Tory voters but Labour are complaining that the richest are getting tax cuts in this time of austerity.

The Salary Calculator will be updated with the April 2013 values nearer the time – in the meantime, you can see what the April 2012 changes will make to your pocket each month by checking The Salary Calculator 2012. There is also a comparison utility so you can easily see the difference between 2011 and 2012.

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