On 29 October 2018 the Chancellor of the Exchequer presented the Budget 2018. We have compiled the highlights and key points that individuals should note.

Budget highlights for private clients

  • The personal allowance will be raised to £12,500 from April 2019, one year earlier than previously planned. At the same time, the higher rate threshold will rise to £50,000, also a year ahead of schedule. Both the personal allowance and higher rate threshold will then remain unchanged in 2020/21 before being increased in line with the consumer price index (CPI) thereafter.
  • The pension lifetime allowance will increase to £1.055 million for 2019/20, with no change to the annual allowances.
  • The minimum period throughout which the qualifying conditions for entrepreneurs’ relief must be met will be extended from 12 months to 24 months from 6 April 2019.
  • The proposed shared occupancy test for rent-a-room relief has been abandoned and the existing tests will continue to apply.
  • From April 2020, the final period capital gains tax (CGT) exemption for owner-occupied residential property will be reduced from 18 months to 9 months.

Personal taxation

Income tax

Personal taxation

Income tax

The personal allowance will increase to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold will rise to £50,000 for 2019/20. From 2021/22, the personal allowance and higher rate threshold will increase in line with inflation. The Scottish tax bands and rates for non-savings, non-dividend income will be announced in the Scottish Budget, due on 12 December.


Don’t lose your personal allowance. Your personal allowance of £12,500 in 2019/20 is reduced by 50p for every pound that your income exceeds £100,000. You could make a pension contribution or a charitable gift to bring your income below £100,000.

Off-payroll working in the private sector

Following consultation and the roll-out of reform in the public sector, responsibility for operating the off-payroll working rules in the private sector will move from individuals to the organisation, agency or other third party engaging the worker. The change will take effect from April 2020, with an exemption for small organisations.

Rent-a-room relief

Following consultation, there will be no new ‘shared occupancy test’ for rent-a-room relief and the existing qualifying test of letting in a main or only residence will remain.

Employment allowance

From April 2020, the employment allowance of £3,000 a year will be restricted to employers with an employer national insurance contributions (NICs) bill below £100,000 in their previous tax year.

National insurance contributions

As announced in September, Class 2 NICs will not be abolished during this Parliament. Reforms to the treatment of termination payments and income from sporting testimonials will be legislated for in the National Insurance Contributions Bill, with changes taking effect from April 2020.

Car benefit scale

The petrol car benefit charge for 2019/20 is based on CO2 emissions in grams per kilometre and the car’s list price when new. For diesel vehicles, add 3% to the scale up to 37% maximum. The scale for 2019/20 is as follows:

Short-term business visitors

Eligibility for the special PAYE tax and administrative treatment of short-term business visitors from overseas branches of UK-headquartered companies will be widened from April 2020, and the deadlines for reporting and paying tax will be extended.

Pensions, savings and investments

Individual savings account (ISA) subscription limits

The ISA annual subscription limit for 2019/20 will remain at £20,000. The annual subscription limit for junior ISAs (JISAs) and child trust funds (CTFs) for 2019/20 will rise to £4,368.

Lifetime allowance for pensions

The lifetime allowance for pension savings will increase to £1.055 million for 2019/20. There is no change to the annual allowances.

Venture capital trusts (VCTs) and enterprise investment schemes (EISs)

The rules for approved EIS funds will be amended to require approved funds to focus on knowledge-intensive companies with effect from April 2020. The funds will also have a longer period in which to invest capital. Investors in these funds will be allowed to set this income tax relief against their liabilities in the year before the fund closes.

The venture capital limits and reliefs remain unchanged, as detailed below.

1 Investment above £1,000,000 must be in knowledge-intensive companies

Pensions for the self-employed

This winter the Department for Work and Pensions will publish a paper setting out the government’s approach to increasing pension participation and savings persistency among the self-employed. The paper will focus on expanding evidence through a programme of targeted interventions and partnerships.

The lifetime allowance will rise by £25,000 from 6 April 2019. If you plan to draw from your pensions and already have funds exceeding the current £1.03 million lifetime allowance limit, you may want to wait before taking your pension benefits.

The dividend allowance and personal savings allowance will be frozen for 2019/20. Your ISA allowance is £20,000 in 2018/19 and 2019/20.

Capital taxes

Capital gains tax: annual exempt amount

The annual exempt amount for individuals and personal representatives will rise to £12,000 for 2019/20, while the amount for most trustees will increase to £6,000 (minimum £1,200).

Entrepreneurs’ relief

From 6 April 2019, the minimum period throughout which the qualifying conditions for the relief must be met will increase from 12 to 24 months.

From 29 October 2018, shareholders claiming entrepreneurs’ relief must be entitled to at least 5% of the distributable profits and net assets of a company, in addition to the current requirements on share capital and voting rights.

As announced at the 2017 Autumn Budget, individuals can qualify for entrepreneurs’ relief where their shareholding is diluted below the 5% qualifying threshold by fund-raising events after 5 April 2019.

Private residence relief

From April 2020, lettings relief will only apply where the owner of the property is in shared occupancy with the tenant.

The final period exemption will be reduced from 18 months to 9 months. There will be no changes to the 36-month final period exemption available to disabled individuals or to those in a care home.

Inheritance tax (IHT)

The IHT nil rate band remains at £325,000 for 2019/20.

The residence nil rate band (RNRB) will increase to £150,000 from 6 April 2019 as already legislated. From 29 October 2018, minor technical amendments to the RNRB will take effect relating to downsizing provisions and the definition of ‘inherited’ for RNRB purposes.

IHT simplification is on the agenda. Now may be a good time to review making lifetime gifts before the tax rules are ‘simplified’ into something less generous.

Property taxes

Stamp duty land tax (SDLT)

First-time buyers’ relief in England and Northern Ireland will be extended so that all qualifying shared ownership property purchasers can benefit, whether or not the purchaser elects to pay SDLT on the market value of the property. The change will apply to transactions with an effective date of 29 October 2018 and will also be backdated to 22 November 2017.

The government will publish a consultation in January 2019 on an SDLT surcharge of 1% for non-residents buying residential property in England and Northern Ireland.

Non-UK residents’ gains

Gains that accrue to non-UK residents on non-residential property will be subject to tax. Non-UK residents will also be subject to tax on gains in diversely-held companies, those widely-held funds not previously included, and life assurance companies. They will also be taxed on gains on interests in UK property-rich entities, such as shares in companies that derive at least 75% of their value from UK land. The measures which have been previously announced will take effect for disposals made after 5 April 2019 and there will be an anti-forestalling rule for arrangements entered into after 21 November 2017.

Annual tax on enveloped dwellings

The annual tax on enveloped dwellings (ATED) for 2019/20 will be increased in line with inflation, as detailed in the table below:

Think ahead

Three-quarters of any interest tax relief for personal buy-to-let borrowing will be limited to a 20% tax credit from 2019/20. Make sure you understand the impact of this latest change on your overall tax position.

Think ahead

From 6 April 2020, CGT on residential property will be payable within 30 days of sale. If you are thinking of selling buy-to-let property, the existing rules can give you up to almost 21 months before any tax bill arrives.

National insurance contributions