A Handy Guide To The New Tax Year
A Handy Guide To The New Tax Year
As the new 2016/17 tax year begins, Sky News answers all your questions about how it might affect you.
Today marks the official beginning of the 2016/17 tax year, which brings with it a raft of changes to pensions, tax and savings. Here’s a guide to what you need to know.
There’s a new State Pension – but will it affect me?
The chances are, yes, it will. The new ‘single-tier’ State Pension will be allocated to anyone who reaches pension age on or after today and who has been paying National Insurance contributions for a minimum of 10 years.
It replaces the Basic State Pension and additional schemes like the Second State Pension and Pension Benefit.
What will I get?
You’ll get the full flat rate of £155.65 a week if you have been paying National Insurance for at least 35 years by the time you retire. Anyone who has between 10 and 35 years’ worth of contributions will get less than this, depending on how much National Insurance they paid.
This includes anyone who has been ‘contracted out’ at any point: that is, anyone who agreed to pay a lesser rate of National Insurance because they (or their employer) felt their workplace pension was so generous they would not have to rely on an Additional State Pension to supplement their retirement income.
But I’ve been paying towards a Second or Additional State Pension – what happens to that?
Those who have been contributing towards an Additional State Pension (usually a Second State Pension, also known as SERPS) and who have accrued a significant amount under this scheme will be paid more than the usual weekly flat rate.
If you’ve only accumulated a small amount through an Additional State Pension scheme your flat rate won’t be supplemented.
Any young people who begin paying National Insurance after today will have their entire pension calculated through the new single-tier system.
I’ve heard there are changes to the way I save my money too. What’s that about?
A new Personal Savings Allowance has come into effect, meaning that you’ll be able to earn up to a maximum of £1,000 worth of interest on your savings without having to pay any tax – that’s up to about £75,000 worth of savings, tax free.
Up until now savers paid levies on any interest they earned at the same rate as their income tax, so if you were a basic rate earner you would have be paying £20 in tax for every £100 worth of interest you received. This tax now won’t apply.
So how much can I save tax-free?
The amount you’ll be allowed to save without paying tax will depend on which tax bracket you’re in, and on the rates of interest offered by your current or savings account.
If you earn under £43,000 a year and pay the basic 20% tax rate, you’ll be eligible for the maximum amount of £1,000 worth of tax-free interest on your savings.
If you’re a higher rate earner paying income tax at 40% you’ll be able to earn £500 worth of interest without having to pay.
Additional rate earners, those who are paid over £150,000 a year, won’t receive any tax-free savings allowance at all.
Do I have to open a particular savings account to take advantage?
No – the allowance will apply to any interest you earn on any bank account, whether it’s a current account you opened with a high street bank, a savings account with a credit union or building society, or any corporate or government bonds you hold.
And any interest you receive that was tax-free before 6 April won’t be counted towards your allowance limit, meaning you can keep your tax-free ISA too.
And are there any changes to income tax?
Yes, the income tax personal allowance has been raised again – it’s gone up from £10,600 to £11,000. This means you won’t have to pay any tax on the first £11,000 you earn.
The threshold at which you move from being a Basic Rate taxpayer (paying 20% income tax) to a Higher Rate taxpayer (paying 40% income tax) has also increased, moving from £42,385 to £43,000.
It’s also worth noting that, from today, partial responsibility for setting income tax rates in Scotland has been devolved to Holyrood, although they’ll be staying at the same rate as the rest of the UK for this tax year at least.