Autumn Statement 25th November 2015
Despite George Osborne's Autumn Statement repeating a number of the measures set out in earlier Budgets, there were still some new announcements.
Pensions Tax Relief
The response to the government's consultation on pensions tax relief will not be published until the Spring Budget in March 2016.
Changes to State Pensions
An increase in the State Pension of £3.35 per week to £119.30pw from April 2016, and a new single-tier pension of £155.65pw for new pensioners from April 2016.
The increases in contribution bands under automatic enrolment have been deferred from October to April (October 2017 now April 2018 and October 2018 to April 2019).
Secondary market for annuities
In the Summer Budget 8th July 2015, the government confirmed further details of its intention to create a secondary market for annuities would be issued in Autumn 2016. The government has now announced that this will be published in December, including the framework for the consumer protection package.
The ISA and Junior ISA allowances will remain at £15,240 and £4,080 for the tax year 2016/17.
Inherited ISA allowances
The government will legislate to allow the ISA savings of a deceased person to continue to benefit from tax advantages during the administration of their estate, and will look into plans for introducing this measure in 2016 following consultation with ISA providers.
Capital Gains Tax
With the government's planned further online automation of tax returns, from April 2019 Capital Gains Tax will become payable within 30 days of disposal of residential property.
Stamp Duty on buy-to-let and second homes
The government is increasing Stamp Duty Land Tax by 3% on buy-to-let and second homes from April 2016. The government will be issuing a consultation considering whether an exemption for corporates and funds owning more than 15 residential properties is appropriate.
The government endorsed its ongoing commitment to tackling tax avoidance and aggressive tax-planning schemes and announced a budget of £800m for HMRC to further challenge tax evasion and impose additional fines and penalties.
Other key announcements
Deeds of variation
Following the review announced in the Budget in March this year, the government will not introduce new restrictions on how deeds of variation can be used for tax purposes but will continue to monitor their use.
VCTs and EISs
While there were no changes to the overall rates of reliefs available for individual investors, the government announced an additional measure to exclude all remaining energy generation activities from VCT, EIS and Seed EIS. This will take effect for investments made on or after 6 April 2016. However, the opportunities remain until 5 April 2016.
Salary sacrifice arrangements
The government was quoted as “remaining concerned about the growth of salary sacrifice arrangements” and is considering what action, if any to take.
The government will gather further evidence on salary sacrifice arrangements to inform its approach.
A salary sacrifice arrangement is an agreement between an employer and an employee to change the terms of the employment contract to reduce the employee's entitlement to cash pay. This sacrifice of cash entitlement is usually made in return for some form of non-cash benefit.
The Autumn Statement emphasised the need for careful consideration on managing your assets in a tax-efficient manner.