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Personal tax

The personal allowance

The personal allowance for 2018/19 is £11,850.

Comment

Some individuals do not benefit from the full personal allowance. There is a reduction in the personal allowance for those with ‘adjusted net income’ over £100,000, which is £1 for every £2 of income above £100,000. So for 2018/19 there is no personal allowance where adjusted net income exceeds £123,700.

The marriage allowance 

The marriage allowance permits certain couples, where neither pays tax at more than the basic rate, to transfer 10% of their unused personal allowance to their spouse or civil partner, reducing their tax bill by up to £238 a year in 2018/19.

Tax bands and rates

The basic rate of tax is currently 20%. From 6 April 2018 the band of income taxable at this rate is £34,500 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies is £46,350 for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance. Additional rate taxpayers pay tax at 45% on their income in excess of £150,000.

The tax on income (other than savings and dividend income) is different for taxpayers who are resident in Scotland to 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 the 2018/19 Scottish Budget, the Finance Secretary for Scotland announced significant changes to income tax bands and rates for Scottish resident taxpayers, introducing five possible income tax rates as shown in the table of rates at the end of this summary. The income tax rates range between 19% and 46%. Scottish taxpayers are entitled to the same personal allowance as individuals in the rest of the UK.

From April 2019, the National Assembly for Wales has the right to vary the rates of income tax payable by Welsh taxpayers.

Tax on dividends

In 2017/18 the first £5,000 of dividends are chargeable to tax at 0% (the Dividend Allowance). From 6 April 2018 the Dividend Allowance is reduced to £2,000. 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.

Comment

The government expects that even with the reduction in the Dividend Allowance to £2,000, 80% of ‘general investors’ will pay no tax on their dividend income. However, the reduction in the allowance affects family company shareholders who take dividends in excess of the £2,000 limit. The cost of the restriction in the allowance for basic rate taxpayers is £225 increasing to £975 for higher rate taxpayers and £1,143 for additional rate taxpayers.

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.

Increased limits for knowledge-intensive companies

The government has legislated to encourage more investment in knowledge-intensive companies under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs). From 6 April 2018, the measures:

  • double the limit on the amount an individual may invest under the EIS in a tax year to £2 million from the current limit of £1 million, provided any amount over £1 million is invested in one or more knowledge-intensive companies

  • raise the annual investment limit for knowledge-intensive companies receiving investments under the EIS and from VCTs to £10 million from the current limit of £5 million. The lifetime limit will remain the same at £20 million, and

  • allow knowledge-intensive companies to use the date when their annual turnover first exceeds £200,000 in determining the start of the initial investing period under the permitted maximum age rules, instead of the date of the first commercial sale.

This measure is subject to normal state aid rules.

EIS knowledge-intensive fund consultation

The government is consulting on the introduction of a new approved fund structure within the EIS, with the possibility of additional incentives to attract investment. Such a fund structure would be focused on mainly investing in knowledge-intensive companies. This consultation outlines and seeks views on possible elements and constraints of such a fund structure, while also seeking to better understand the capital requirements of innovative knowledge-intensive companies.