Personal Taxes and Tax Credits
Personal Allowance, Rates of Tax, National Insurance Contributions for 2014/15
As announced at Budget 2013, people born after 5 April 1948 will be entitled to a basic personal allowance of £10,000 for 2014 to 15. The ‘higher rate threshold’ (the sum of the basic personal allowance and the basic rate limit) will be £41,865. As the personal allowance will be £10,000 for 2014/15, this means that the basic rate limit will be £31,865 the rates of tax will be announced at Budget 2014.
For 2014/15, there are no changes to the percentage rate of contribution for Class 1, Class 1A, Class 1B and Class 4 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) but there are changes to all of the thresholds and limits. The weekly rates for Class 2 and Class 3 NICs will be increased. The Class 1 Upper Earnings Limit (UEL) and the Class 4 Upper Profits Limit for NICs will continue to be aligned with the point at which higher rate tax becomes payable £41,865.
Tax Credit, Child Benefit and Guardian’s Allowance: rates for 2014/15
Tax Credits – disability elements increased in line with CPI of 2.7%. Other rates are increased by 1%. The family element of child tax credit is not increased annually and remains at £545
Child Benefit – increased by 1%.
Guardian’s Allowance – increased in line with CPI of 2.7%.
Recognising marriage in the tax system
From April 2015, a spouse or civil partner who is not liable to Income Tax or not liable above the basic rate for a tax year will be entitled to transfer £1,000 of their personal allowance to their spouse or civil partner provided that the recipient of the transfer is not liable to Income Tax above the basic rate. The transferor’s personal allowance will be reduced by £1,000. The spouse or civil partner receiving the transferred allowance will be entitled to a reduced Income Tax liability of up to £200.
Abolition of NICs for under 21s
From 6 April 2015 employers will no longer be required to pay Class 1 secondary National Insurance Contributions (NICs) on earnings paid up to the Upper Earnings Limit (UEL) to any employee under the age of 21.
Capital Gains Tax (CGT ) Private Residence Relief – Final period rule
The final period exemption applies to a property that has been a person’s private residence at some time even though they may not be living in the property at the time they dispose of it and they may be claiming private residence relief on another property at the same time. From 6 April 2014 the final period exemption will be reduced from 36 months to 18 months.
Income tax relief for qualifying loan interest
From April 2014, the income tax relief for interest paid on loans to invest in close companies and employee-controlled companies will be extended to investments in such companies resident throughout the European Economic Area (EEA).
CGT Non residents and UK residential property
From April 2015 a capital gains tax charge will be introduced on future gains made by non-residents disposing of UK residential property. A consultation on how best to introduce this will be published in early 2014.
CGT Annual Exempt Amount
The annual exempt amount will be £11,000 for the year 2014/15 and £11,100 for 2015/16 and subsequent years. The exemption for most trustees will be £5,000 and £5,500 respectively.
Tackling Tax Avoidance and Evasion
The government has announced 5 measures to help tackle tax avoidance which have effect from 5 December 2013.
Changes to the debt cap provisions
The measure comprises of 2 changes to improve the effectiveness of the World Wide Debt Cap (WWDC). The first change is to the grouping rules and the second change is to the regulation-making powers. It will have effect in respect of the change to the grouping rules for accounting periods starting on or after 5 December 2013 and the change to the regulation-making powers will have effect on or after the date that Finance Bill 2014 receives Royal Assent.
Controlled foreign companies (CFC): profit shifting
The measure switches off the partial exemption rules for loan relationship credits of a CFC that arise from an arrangement with a main purpose of transferring profits from existing intra group lending out of the UK. It also amends the anti-avoidance rule relating to the transfer of external debt to the UK to ensure that the rule works as intended. The first part of the measure will apply to arrangements entered into on or after 5 December 2013 and the second part will have effect for accounting periods beginning on or after 5 December 2013.
Partnerships review: partnerships with mixed membership
The first element of the partnerships review measure will affect mixed membership partnerships where partnership profits are allocated to a non-individual partner in circumstances where an individual member may benefit from those profits. The second element will affect cases where partnership losses are allocated to an individual partner, instead of a non-individual partner, to enable the individual to access certain loss reliefs. The changes will take effect from 6 April 2014 with the exception of anti-avoidance rules concerning tax-motivated profit allocations. These rules come into force from 5 December 2013 in order to protect against risks to tax revenue.
Avoidance schemes using total return swaps
The measure blocks avoidance schemes where deductions are claimed for payments between companies in the same group under derivative contracts which are linked to company profits. It will apply from 5 December 2013 to schemes entered into on any date.
Double Taxation Relief (DTR): revenue protection
The measure will make two changes to the DTR rules to prevent avoidance. Both changes will have effect from 5 December 2013. It will have effect on non-trading credits for accounting periods beginning on or after 5 December 2013, with transitional provisions where accounting periods straddle this date. The amendment to the rules on refunded tax credits will take account of payments made by the foreign tax authority on or after 5 December 2013.
Further details of these 5 measures can be found in the Written Ministerial Statement, Tax Information and Impact Notes, Draft Finance Bill 2014 Legislation and Explanatory Notes.
Other measures included are found below.
Charities established for tax avoidance purposes
Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2014 to prevent a charity from being entitled to claim charity tax reliefs if one of the main purposes of establishing the charity is tax avoidance. The definition of a charity for tax purposes will be amended to exclude such charities.
High risk promoters
A new information disclosure and penalty regime for high risk promoters of avoidance schemes will be introduced. Objective criteria for identifying high risk promoters and a higher standard of reasonable excuse and reasonable care that will then apply to them will also be introduced. Clients of these promoters will also have certain obligations including identifying themselves to HMRC.
Accelerated tax payment in avoidance cases
Legislation will be included in Finance Bill 2014 to require payment of the tax in dispute in a tax avoidance enquiry when an ‘avoidance follower penalty notice’ is issued. This will take effect from Royal Assent which is expected mid July 2014.
At present taxpayers (in most cases) can hold on to the disputed tax while the dispute is being investigated. This can take a number of years, and there is evidence that some taxpayers enter into avoidance schemes primarily for the cash flow benefit.
The government will also consult on possible wider criteria for issuing a payment notice in avoidance enquiries.
Fuel Duty Main Rate Freeze
The increase due in September 2014 has been cancelled and there will be no further increase in the current Parliament.
Inheritance Tax Online
HMRC will be investing in a new online service to support the administration of Inheritance Tax. This will do away with the need to complete paper versions of forms and enable people to proceed with their application for probate and submit Inheritance Tax accounts online. It will also improve the customer experience as well as HMRC’s ability to perform compliance activities. It is anticipated that the new online service will become available in 2016.