Autumn Statement 2012

On 5th December 2012 the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave his Autumn Statement on the economy to the House of Commons.  Here is a summary of the key points.

If you’re concerned about how any aspect could affect you and your finances, get in touch with Manning and Company and speak to one of our independent financial advisers. We’ll be happy to give you informed financial advice, tailored to your situation.

Income Tax & National Insurance

  • Personal Allowance to £9,440 from 6/4/2013 (under 65s)
  • Higher Rate Income Tax threshold to increase by 1% rather than the rate of inflation in 2014/15 & 2015/16. The 2014/15 threshold will be £41,450 increased to £41,865 and 2015/16 up from £41,865 to £42,285
  • Salary Exchange remains very attractive as a NIC-efficient pension planning device

Tax-Efficient Investments

  • Individual annual ISA subscription limit to increase to £11,520 on 6/4/2013 with a maximum of up to half (£5,760) being invested into a Cash ISA if required.
  • ISA investments – HM Government to consult on expanding the list of qualifying investments in Stocks & Shares ISAs, so shares traded on Small/Medium sized equity markets such as AIM can be included

Inheritance Tax

  • IHT Nil Rate Band to increase to £329,000 in 2015/16 (frozen at £325,000 until then)

Capital Gains Tax

  • CGT Exempt Allowance to increase by 1% in 2014/15 and 2015/16. This represents an increase to £11,000 in 2014/15 and £11,100 in 2015/16

Pensions & State Benefits

  • Basic State Pension to rise by 2.5% from 6/4/2013 to £110.15 per week.
  • Pension Standard Lifetime Allowance to reduce in 2014/15 from £1.5 million to £1.25 million
  • Pension (Relief) Annual Allowance to reduce in 2014/15 from £50,000 gross per annum to £40,000 gross per annum. Consequently, it will be very important for clients, where relevant, to ensure that the 2012/13 and 2013/14 allowances are given full consideration.
  • Capped Income Drawdown – HMRC to increase the limit from the current 100% of the value of an equivalent annuity to 120% of an equivalent annuity.
  • Also, HM Government wishes to offer a ‘personalised protection regime’ for individuals, in addition to Fixed Protection. They will discuss the feasibility of this with interested parties in due course and it will be of significant interest to see what transpires.
  • Standard Lifetime Allowance – for those without any existing form of pension protection (Primary, Enhanced or Fixed) and who are now caught by the reduced limit of £1,250,000, a Fixed Protection regime is to be offered by HMRC to prevent any retrospective tax charges. Clients close to the new limit should consider opting for Fixed Protection in due course although this will probably require a cessation of pension contributions.

Corporation Tax

  • Reduction in the main rate by 1% from 22% to 21% in 2014/15 – this is in addition to previously announced Corporation Tax changes.

Anti-Avoidance measures

  • HM Government continues to be committed to clamping down on those who avoid or evade paying their tax.
  • Examples of this include accelerating resolution of avoidance schemes, expanding HMRC’s Affluent Unit to deal more effectively with tax payers with a net worth of more than £1 million and increasing specialist resources to tackle off-shore evasion and avoidance of Inheritance Tax.
  • It is anticipated that £5 billion over 6 years is expected from a treaty with Switzerland to deal with previously undisclosed bank accounts.

Please note, this information is based on our understanding of the relevant legislation and HM Revenue & Customs practice which may change and also on our understanding of the announcements made in the 5th December 2012 Autumn Statement which may change before becoming law.  This summary is given for information purposes only and should not in any way be seen as financial or investment advice.

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