Overall, a fairly unremarkable budget which is to be welcomed for the relative clarity it provides. The key points, combined with measures already announced, relative to personal financial planning are as follows:
The headline of the Chancellor’s budget was the abolition of stamp duty for first time buyers on properties worth up to £300,000 (and for properties worth up to £500,000 no stamp duty will be payable on the first £300,000).
This should be a welcome saving for those looking to take their first step on the property ladder and is effective immediately. Only buyers who have never owned a home before will qualify and if a property is being purchased jointly, both buyers will need to be first time buyers to qualify.
Despite speculation that measures would be introduced to restrict tax relief for higher earners, there were no changes to the pension funding limits. The pension lifetime allowance will rise to £1,030,000 and the annual allowance remains at £40,000, with the taper for higher earners remaining at £150,000.
The personal allowance will increase to £11,850 from April and the higher rate threshold to £46,350 (the rates applicable to Scottish taxpayers will be announced in Scottish Budget on 14 December).
As already announced, the dividend allowance will be cut to £2,000 which will impact on small business owners who take their profits as a dividend.
The annual ISA limit of £20,000 per person will remain.
Capital Gains Tax
The capital gains tax allowance will increase by £400 to £11,700 from April.
The inheritance tax (IHT) nil rate band will remain at £325,000 and the residence nil rate band will increase from £100,000 to £125,000 in April as anticipated. An individual will be able to leave assets of up to £450,000 to future generations free of IHT after April, and a couple up £900,000.