Overall the Budget targeted the younger generation with the advent of new lifetime ISAs for those under 40 and greater educational funding.
Some of the key announcements include changes to income tax and capital gains tax rates. The income tax personal allowance and the higher rate tax band increase to £11,500 and £45,000 from 6 April 2017 respectively. The trust rate of income tax, however, remains the same at 45% and the trust dividend rate is 38.1% where total trust income exceeds £1,000.
Capital gains tax rates are cut for individuals, personal representatives and trustees. Currently these are 28% and 18% (depending on an individual’s income tax rate). From 6 April 2016, these are reduced to 20% and 10% respectively, although the new rates will not apply to residential property.
There are a number of welcome reforms for small business owners. Corporation tax will be reduced to 17% by 2020 and from April 2017, 600,000 small firms will not have to pay business rates, while 250,000 will pay lower rates. In furtherance of the Budget’s stated objective of delivering security for working people, from 2018 the self-employed will no longer have to pay Class 2 NICs. The extension of Entrepreneurs' Relief to investments in unquoted trading companies (which may offer an attractive alternative to the EIS for some) and the exclusion of residential property from the reduced CGT rates are aimed at encouraging investment in trading businesses, rather than property, to stimulate the economy.
Whilst we are still waiting for legislation on the proposed tax changes facing non-domiciled individuals post 5 April 2017 (with no further guidance in the Budget as to how these changes will take shape), it was indicated that their personal assets would benefit from an uplift in their base cost when the new rules come into force – an unexpected but welcome announcement.