“Spreadsheet Phil turns Santa Claus”, Chancellor Philip Hammond declared in his Budget speech as he attempted to avoid a house of horrors two days before Halloween.
On the surface, Hammond revealed plenty of treats for taxpayers, although sceptics suggest he loosened the purse strings as there will be another, more cautious Budget in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Income tax thresholds rise
Taxpayers are in for more treats than tricks from April 2019 as the personal allowance was increased from £11,850 to £12,500, and the higher-rate threshold is to rise to £50,000.
The devil was in the detail as this income tax cut was offset by changes to national insurance.
From April 2019, workers in England will now pay only 20% tax on the segment of their income between £46,350 and £50,000, rather than 40% in 2018/19.
But the sting is that they will also have to pay 12% national insurance on that segment – up from 2%.
Landlords and letting relief
Chancellors have had landlords in their sights for a while now, and Hammond’s latest Budget clamps down on those who have difficulty selling their home.
Business rates boost for small retailers
Small businesses with rateable values of less than £51,000 will receive a third off their business rates bill for the next two years, starting on 6 April 2019.
This will operate on top of the small business rates relief scheme, while Hammond claimed up to half a million independent shops, cafes and pubs stand to benefit in theory.
The Chancellor said 90% of the smallest retailers will save up to £8,000 a year on their business rates bill, subject to state aid limits which are in place until December 2020.
National living wage increases 4.9%
Business owners need to be aware that from 6 April 2019, all employees will see an increase to their basic hourly wage entitlement.
You can rest easy if you already pay your workers, who are aged 25 and over, more than £8.21 an hour.
But, if you pay minimum wage rates you should be aware that the Chancellor increased the national living wage hourly entitlement for all workers.
|21 to 24||£7.70||£7.38|
|18 to 20||£6.15||£5.90|
|16 to 17||£4.35||£4.20|
*Hourly rate applies to apprentices under 19 or in first-year apprenticeships.
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