Personal tax

Pension changes and coronavirus support.

Pensions changes 

The pensions annual allowance (currently £40,000) is the maximum amount of tax-relieved pension savings that can be accrued in a year. However, for those on higher incomes, the annual allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 that an individual's 'adjusted income' exceeds £150,000, to a minimum annual allowance of £10,000. Adjusted income is broadly net income before tax with the addition of any pension accrual. The taper potentially applies to an individual with income before tax, without the addition of the pension accrual, above £110,000. This is known as the 'threshold income'.

Adjusted income and threshold income will each be raised by £90,000 for 2020/21.  The threshold income will be £200,000, so individuals with income below this level will not be affected by the tapered annual allowance. The annual allowance will begin to taper down for individuals who also have an adjusted income above £240,000.

There is also a change to the minimum annual allowance. The minimum level to which the annual allowance can taper down will reduce from £10,000 to £4,000 from 6 April 2020. This reduction will only affect individuals with adjusted income over £300,000. 

Support during the coronavirus

The Prime Minister previously announced that the forthcoming COVID-19 Bill will temporarily allow Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to be paid from the first day of sickness absence, rather than the fourth day, for people who have COVID-19 or have to self-isolate in accordance with government guidelines. The Budget sets out a further package to widen the scope of SSP and make it more accessible. The government will temporarily extend SSP to cover:

  • individuals who are unable to work because they have been advised to self-isolate
  • people caring for those within the same household who display COVID-19 symptoms and have been told to self-isolate. 

Support for those ineligible for SSP  

The government recognises that self-employed people and employees earning below the National Insurance Lower Earnings Limit are not entitled to SSP and will offer financial support to these individuals through a 'new style' Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit. 

Child Trust Funds (CTFs)

Junior ISAs and its precursor CTFs allow tax free savings to be made for children under 18. There is no access to the investments until the child is 18. CTF accounts will start to mature in September 2020 when the first children reach 18. Without regulatory change the investments would lose their tax advantaged status. CTF and ISA regulations have therefore recently been made which: 

  • make sure that investments in CTF accounts retain their tax advantaged status post maturity, pending instructions from the account holder
  • allow savings transferred from a matured CTF to be disregarded for the annual ISA subscription limit.

Comment

Around six million children hold a CTF and approximately 800,000 will mature each year from September 2020. A significant proportion of these accounts are thought to be 'dormant' - holding just the contributions made by the government. Government contributions are not made to Junior ISAs. This government webpage: bit.ly/2s8ceyz allows a check to be made as to where a CTF is held but a Government Gateway user ID is required first.

Junior ISA and CTF annual subscription limits

The annual subscription limit for Junior ISAs and CTFs will be increased from £4,368 to £9,000 for 2020/21.

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