The new UK tax year – lifetime allowance abolished and other tax updates

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New UK tax year

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 UK tax year started on 6 April, so how will this impact your pocket? UK tax changes can affect you even if you are living abroad. Here, we outline the key announcements in the last two UK budgets.

If you are weighing up whether to relocate from UK, this may prompt you to investigate residence abroad further and weigh up the tax implications.

Lifetime Allowance and other pensions tax changes

Probably the biggest surprise of the UK’s 2023 spring budget was the abolition of the pensions Lifetime Allowance and resulting tax charges.

While the Lifetime Allowance itself remains in place for now, the tax rate for anyone breaching the limit is 0% from 6 April 2023 onwards.  It will be scrapped entirely in the 2024 Finance Bill.

First introduced in 2006, your Lifetime Allowance is the amount you can hold in combined UK pension benefits (excluding state pension) before incurring additional tax charges – 55% when taken as a lump sum or 25% for income or overseas transfers.  It has been cut significantly over recent years, from £1,800,000 in 2011 down to £1,073,100.

Abolishing this extra tax was welcome news for those who have built up larger pension savings over decades of contributions and growth.

A future government could, however, reverse this move and the Labour Party quickly pledged to do so. The next general election must be held no later than January 2025.  Bearing in mind that pension transfers can take up to six months, there may be a limited opportunity to transfer your pension out of the UK and avoid any future UK charges.

Other pension changes effective from 6 April 2023 include an increase to the Money Purchase Annual Allowance and minimum Tapered Annual Allowance from £4,000 to £10,000. The Annual Allowance for pension contributions also increased from £40,000 to £60,000.

UK income tax

The spring budget did not include any significant changes to income tax, but the autumn included a measure to increase taxation.

The income tax personal allowance, higher rate threshold, national insurance contributions, upper earning limit, and upper profits limit were frozen at their 2021 levels for another two years, until April 2028.

The freezing of allowances and thresholds is often referred to as ‘tax by stealth’ since it increases taxation without putting up tax rates.

The income threshold for the additional 45% tax rate (47% in Scotland) has reduced from £150,000 to £125,140 with effect from 6 April 2023.

As previously confirmed, from the start of this new tax year corporation tax has increased to 25% for businesses making over £250k in profits.

Capital gains and dividends taxation

As announced in the Autumn Statement, the Capital Gains Tax Annual Exempt amount has dropped from £12,300 to £6,000 for the 2023-2024 tax year. It will be cut in half again, to £3,000, in April 2024.

The Dividend Allowance has also been halved, from £2,000 to £1000 from April 2023, and then to £500 in 2024.

UK inheritance tax

Both the general Nil Rate Band and Residential Nil Rate Band will remain frozen at £325,000 and £175,000 respectively until April 2028.  Coupled with rising house prices, this will drag more and more families into the IHT net unless you take action.  The general nil rate band has actually been frozen since 2009, which has impacted many families.

Learn more about the tax planning services that we provide.

Cross-border tax advice

Take personalised advice from a cross-border specialist to establish if and how the UK tax changes could impact you and your family, even as a non-resident.  If you have not yet left the UK, take advice before you dispose of UK assets to ensure you do that as tax-efficiently as possible.

Blevins Franks has been advising UK nationals moving and living in Europe for 45 years. With offices in both the UK and the key expatriate locations in Southern Europe, and teams of tax and pensions specialists, we offer genuine cross-border expertise. We can help you plan and time your move abroad, or, if you are already an expatriate, review your wealth management to help make sure you take advantage of the local tax planning opportunities in your country of residence.

Contact us today.

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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