Budget big freeze

Personal taxes, capital taxes, pensions. No dramatic announcements.

But Chancellors can create considerable change through low-key tactics, and the Budget freeze for various rates and allowances until 5 April 2026 will impact many people.

Personal tax

Initially, the UK-wide personal allowance increases, rising to £12,570 from 6 April 2021. The basic rate band also increases, to £37,700. This means the higher rate threshold – the point at which you start paying higher, rather than basic rate tax in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, increases to £50,270 (if you have a full personal allowance).

But after this date, the personal allowance and higher rate threshold won't change until 5 April 2026. As incomes go up, this brings more people within the tax net, and pushes some basic and higher rate taxpayers into the higher and additional rate bands. 1.3 million people, in fact, according to government figures, should come into income tax by 2025/26 and one million into higher rates of tax. From the 2026/27 tax year, starting 6 April 2026, the personal allowance and basic rate limit are indexed with the Consumer Price Index by default.

Scottish taxpayers: for Scottish taxpayers, income tax rates and bands for non-savings and non-dividend income are different from the rest of the UK: see https://bit.ly/3sk6fji. The freeze to the personal allowance impacts Scotland, although the freeze to the UK higher rate threshold only affects those with savings and dividend income.

Big change postponed?

There's been much discussion of a major tax overhaul, with inheritance tax (IHT), capital gains tax and pensions contenders for a makeover. It didn't happen on Budget day, nor the UK's first 'Tax Day', publication day for a raft of tax consultations. What Tax Day did produce was a commitment to reduce red tape for IHT, so that from 1 January 2022, over 90% of non-taxpaying estates shouldn't complete IHT forms for deaths when probate or confirmation is required.

But sooner or later, change is likely, as the government looks beyond the Covid-19 crisis. Perhaps it has been reined back until 2026, when the big freeze ends. We shall have to wait and see. In the meanwhile, please don't hesitate to contact us for advice in any of these areas.