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Autumn Budget

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By Caroline Foulger

They say no news is good news, and with the exception of the SDLT exemption for most first-time house buyers the November Budget contained little in the way of surprises. 

The Personal Allowance will go up to £11,850 from April and the basic-rate tax band up to £34,500, both increases in line with inflation.

For people of working age, the pensions lifetime savings allowance rises to £1,030,000 but this aside, the pension rules and reliefs were left unchanged.

Trusts were left alone although we have a Consultation to look forward to next year to look at how to make the taxation of Trusts “simpler, fairer and more transparent”. The key word here is transparent – we are currently working on registering all Trusts with a tax liability on HMRC’s new Trust Register following new Anti-Money Laundering regulations which came into force on 26 June this year. This is an enormous exercise in data gathering, presumably to try to fill the “tax-gap”.

Capital Gains Tax featured slightly, the Annual Exemption will go up to £11,700 for individuals and rates are unchanged. For companies there is more change as indexation allowance will be frozen at December 2017. Non Residents have had to pay Capital Gains Tax on UK residential property gains since 2015, and from April 2019 it is proposed to extend this to commercial property and land.

Savers were disappointed as ISA limits were frozen at £20,000 although Junior ISAs and Child Trust Fund subscription limits go up to £4,260.

Finally Inheritance Tax. Many will have breathed a sigh of relief when no changes were announced to Business Property Relief or Agricultural Property Relief, both seen as potential targets for the Chancellor. The increase in the Residence Nil Rate Band to £125,000 was confirmed, but no simplification of the rules was forthcoming which many think was a missed opportunity.

All in all, it was an undramatic event. Additional cash was found for the NHS which they immediately said was not enough – any of us could have guessed that would happen.

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