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Budget 2015: Key points

Chancellor George Osborne has unveiled his 2015 budget today. As anticipated, this pre-election budget represented more of a political statement than significant fiscal changes. There were some headlines and welcome modifications, including scrapping the paper tax return, reliefs for the creative industries and changes for savers.
 
Income tax
  • Personal allowance to be increased to £10,800 in 2016/17, £11,000 in 2017/18
  • Basic rate band to be increased to £31,900 in 2016/17, £32,000 in 2017/18
  • Pensions lifetime allowance cut to £1m from April 2016
  • Personal savings allowance introduced from 2016/17
  • Switch to digital tax accounts by 2020 – to end the annual rush to file a tax return
  • Increased ISA flexibility – withdraw and deposit in the same year without affecting the tax-free allowance
  • Government will contribute an additional 25 per cent to the amount saved by first-time buyers towards a house deposit. Maximum £3,000 contribution added to £12,000 savings
Employment taxes
  • No employer’s national insurance contributions to be made for under-21 year olds when paid less than £815 per week, from April 2015
Increase in minimum wage from October 2015;
 
Year 21 and over 18-20 Under 18 Apprentice
2015 £6.70 £5.30 £3.87 £3.30
2014 £6.50 £5.13 £3.79 £2.73
2013 £6.31 £5.03 £3.72 £2.68
2012 £6.19 £4.98 £3.68 £2.65
2011 £6.08 £4.98 £3.68 £2.60
2010 £5.93 £4.92 £3.64 £2.50

Inheritance tax
  • A consultation document on the use of Deeds of Variation to avoid inheritance tax will be released later in 2015
Business tax
  • Confirmed introduction of diverted profit tax (Google Tax) from April 2015
  • Raising the bank levy to 0.21 per cent with no deductions for compensation payments to customers
  • Film tax relief increasing to 25 per cent for all qualifying expenditure. High-end television tax relief is extended. The introduction of the Orchestra tax relief which will be rolled out from April 2016 at a rate of 25 per cent
  • Major changes to the North Sea tax regime. Petroleum Revenue Tax (PRT) will be cut from 50 per cent to 35 per cent. Supplementary charge will be cut to 20 per cent. A new single field allowance will be introduced to boost investment
Anti-avoidance measures
  • A clampdown on travel and subsistence payments made to agency workers
  • Tightening the tax rules on entrepreneurs’ relief for joint ventures and associated disposals
  • This is to ensure the relief is only given on the sales of genuine business assets and noteworthy disposals
  • Common reporting standard will be legislated
Capital Gains Tax
  • Plans to extend the scope of CGT charge to cover disposals of UK residential property by non-UK resident individuals regardless of value or usage were announced in the 2013 Autumn Statement. This has now been confirmed on gains accruing from April 2015
 
Delivering his sixth Budget as chancellor, George Osborne announced tax breaks for savers, a rise in tax-free personal allowance and cut duties on beer. In what was the last Budget announcement before this year's general election, there was a little something to be found for everyone.