The new UK tax year: What changed from April?

21.05.18

Please note that this article is over six months old. While Blevins Franks takes care to make sure that information is accurate on the date of publication, some content may change over time. You should not rely on the accuracy of legislation and tax information in this article; take professional advice for your circumstances.

The new UK tax year ticked over on 6th April 2018 – how do the changes affect you?

The new UK tax year ticked over on 6th April 2018 – how do the changes affect you?

Allowances and exemptions

The new tax year reset the thresholds for the next 12 months and, in some cases, changed the value of the allowance available – not always upwards.

– Personal allowance: The amount of UK income you can earn tax-free increases slightly from £11,500 to £11,850.

– Dividend allowance: The annual tax-free allowance fell from £5,000 to £2,000.

– Gift exemption: Mitigating UK inheritance liability can be achieved by gifting money or assets within your lifetime to reduce the value of your estate. The value you can gift tax-free each year remains frozen at £3,000, but you can carry forward any unused allowance from the previous year. With good estate planning, however, you could establish more effective ways to ensure your legacy passes to chosen heirs tax efficiently.

– Family home allowance: Increasing from £100,000 to £125,000 per person, this provides extra relief when passing on a main UK home to direct descendants. Overseas property can qualify, provided it is your main home (although local inheritance taxes may still apply).

– Capital gains tax exemption: This tracks inflation – as defined by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) – by increasing to £11,700 (£5,850 for most trusts). While you could sell assets to take advantage of the allowance, anti-avoidance rules apply if shares are sold and repurchased within 30 days.

Non-UK residents have only recently been subject to capital gains taxes on the sale of UK residential property, facing 18% or 28% charges on growth accrued since April 2015. From next April, commercial UK property is expected to become liable, regardless of how it is owned. If this affects you, consider reviewing your options now to reduce future tax liabilities.

– The lifetime allowance: This is the combined value of pension benefits you can hold before attracting higher taxation. The £1 million allowance for 2017/18 increased with inflation, allowing you to accrue an extra £30,000 in pension benefits without incurring 25% or 55% tax penalties.

Even with this extra allowance, today’s high transfer values for ‘final salary’ pensions make it easier to trigger lifetime allowance penalties. In any case, take regulated advice to establish the best pension solution for your individual circumstances and goals.

Other changes taking affect

– Tax thresholds: Higher rate taxpayers will be £340 better off a year, as the upper threshold for 40% income tax rates increased from £45,000 to £46,350. Meanwhile, Scotland introduced a five-band structure, increasing the previous top rate and threshold to 41% and £43,430, and adding a 46% tax band over £150,000.

– The State Pension: Increasing 3% in line with inflation, this represents an extra £191 a year for those who started drawing benefits before 6 April 2015; £250 for others.

– Council tax: If you retain unoccupied UK property, your rates could double, as local authorities gain the power to increase council tax premiums by 100% on properties vacant for two years or more.

– Buy-to-let tax relief: From 6th April, landlords can only deduct 50% of their mortgage interest repayments against rental income (compared to 75% in 2017/18). This relief is on course to gradually whittle down to zero by 2020/21.

With these latest changes joining a range of measures penalising owners of investment properties, it is worth reassessing whether holding UK property is the most tax and cost-efficient option for investment capital.

Overall, this new tax year brings relatively few changes, but it is a good idea to ensure you are making the most of all the available opportunities to minimise your tax liabilities. Seek personalised advice.

Any questions? Ask our advisers for help.

Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice.

Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; individuals should seek personalised advice.

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