Navigating Tax Changes: High-Income Child Benefit Charge and Other Updates 

THE HIGH-INCOME CHILD BENEFIT CHARGE

In an effort to reduce unfairness, the thresholds for the high-income child benefit charge (HICBC) will be increased from 2024/25.

You may have to pay the HICBC if you are considered to have ‘high income’ and child benefit is being paid in relation to a child that lives with you, regardless of whether you are a parent of that child.  If you are living with another person in a marriage, civil-partnership or long-term relationship, you will only be liable to HICBC if you are the higher earner of the two of you.

2024/25 2023/24
Child benefit ‘high-income’ threshold £60,000 £50,000
Income level at which child benefit is fully clawed back  £80,000 £60,000

From 2024/25, the HICBC will be calculated at 1% of the child benefit received for every £200 of income above the threshold. This is a slower rate of claw back than in 2023/24 and now means that child benefit is only fully clawed back where income exceeds £80,000, rather than £60,000 in 2023/24.

The HICBC does not apply if the child benefit claimant opts out from receiving the payments.

The Chancellor also announced plans to administer the HICBC on the basis of total household income, rather than the income of the highest earner in the household, by April 2026.

What does it mean? Disregarding for this purpose the other changes announced in the Budget, if we take a couple claiming child benefit in respect of two children and the higher earner earns £70,000, the household will be £1,106 better off than if the threshold had not been increased. If the higher earner instead earns £60,000, the household will be £2,212 better off in 2024/25 and the higher earner will not be required to submit a self-assessment tax return in respect of the HICBC.

EMPLOYMENT TAXES 

For employees

As announced in Autumn Statement 2023 and in effect since 6 January 2024, the main rate of Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) has already reduced from 12% to 10%.

In the Budget, the Chancellor cut this by a further 2 percentage points to 8%, taking effect from 6 April 2024.

For 2024/25, this combined 4% reduction will apply to your annual earnings between £12,570 and £50,270. The NIC rate on your earnings above £50,270 a year remains at 2%.

What does it mean? This combined NIC reduction means that someone with employment income of, say, £50,000 will pay £1,497 less NICs in 2024/25 than if the rate had remained at 12%. Or, to look at it another way, their monthly pay packet will increase by almost £125.

For employers 

There have been no changes to the rate or thresholds for employer’s Class 1 NICs, which remains at 13.8% for wages paid in excess of £9,100 a year (£175 per week). For eligible employers, the employment allowance remains at £5,000 per year, reducing their total employer’s NIC liability by this sum.

NATIONAL INSURANCE FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED

Self-employed individuals with profits of more than £12,570 a year pay two types of NIC: Class 2 and Class 4. Two key changes come into effect from 6 April 2024, as previously announced in Autumn Statement 2023 and further extended in this Budget:

  1. The main rate of Class 4 NICs will be cut from 9% to 6% in 2024/25. Class 4 NICs will continue to be calculated at 2% on profits over £50,270.
  2. Class 2 NICs will effectively be abolished, saving £179.40 per annum.

What does it mean? This NIC reduction means that a sole trader with, say, trade profits of £50,000 will pay £1,302 less NICs in 2024/25 than will be due for the 2023/24 tax year. Just be aware that this saving may not be felt until the 2024/25 self-assessment balancing payment is made on or before 31 January 2026.

Entitlement to state benefits including the state pension

If you are self-employed, your Class 2 NIC payments have ensured you accrue entitlement to a range of state benefits, including the state pension. If your profits exceed £6,725 in 2024/25 you will continue to accrue entitlement to state benefits despite not paying Class 2 NICs. If your profits are less than £6,725, or you make a loss, you may need to pay Class 2 NICs on a voluntary basis to maintain your state benefit entitlement.

VAT

From 1 April 2024, the VAT registration threshold and deregistration thresholds will each increase by £5,000 to £90,000 and £88,000 respectively. The thresholds had previously been frozen at £85,000 and £83,000 since 1 April 2017. There have been no changes to the rates of VAT and the standard rate continues to be set at 20%.

TAX REGIME FOR FURNISHED HOLIDAY LETS 

If you let out residential or commercial property, the profits are taxed as part of your ‘other income’. If you sell property that has been rented out, capital gains tax is likely to apply. Generally, rental business activity attracts fewer tax reliefs than trading ventures. However, if a residential property meets the strict definition of a ‘furnished holiday let’ (FHL), enhanced tax relief rules are currently available.

It has been announced in the Budget that, from 6 April 2025, the concept of FHLs and their beneficial tax treatment will be abolished. Going forward, profits from FHLs will be taxed in the same way as any other rental property profits. If you own FHLs this will be disappointing, especially the loss of your possible claim to ‘Business Asset Disposal Relief’ on any future sale.

While the abolition won’t happen until 6 April 2025, it should be noted that there will be measures in place from Budget Day (6 March 2024) to prevent tax planning steps that artificially accelerate the disposal date of an FHL to a date before 6 April 2025.

Please get in touch for a more detailed analysis of how the withdrawal of the FHL status will affect you.

UK RESIDENCY AND DOMICILE

Significant tax changes have been announced for individuals resident in the UK but not permanently settled here (known as non-domiciled).

While individuals resident and domiciled in the UK must pay UK taxes on their worldwide income and capital gains, it is possible for UK resident but non-domiciled individuals to claim a ‘remittance basis’ of taxation for overseas income and capital gains. In return for paying a remittance basis charge of up to £60,000 a year, non-domiciled individuals are able to shelter their overseas income and capital gains from UK taxation, as long as they do not bring (remit) those monies to the UK.

The remittance basis of taxation will be abolished from 6 April 2025. It will be replaced with a simpler residence-based regime and new arrivals to the UK will not pay UK tax on their overseas income and gains for their first 4 years of UK residence.

In addition, inheritance tax rules apply to the worldwide assets of a UK-domiciled individual but, broadly, just to the UK assets of a non UK-domiciled individual. The non-domicile rules for inheritance tax are also likely to move to a residence-based regime from 6 April 2025 but the government plans to consult on options.

If you are not domiciled in the UK, please talk to us about how the new rules and the transition to them will affect you.

STAMP DUTY LAND TAX 

England and Northern Ireland – Multiple Dwellings Relief 

Multiple Dwellings Relief (MDR) is a relief currently available when buying two or more dwellings in a single transaction or series of linked transactions.

MDR is to be abolished for purchases of residential property in England and Northern Ireland with an effective date on or after 1 June 2024.

Transitional rules apply to the abolition, so that MDR can still be claimed in some situations where contracts were exchanged on or before 6 March 2024, regardless of when completion takes place.

First-time Buyers’ Relief: leases and nominees 

Following the Budget, the definition of a ‘First-time Buyer’ has been amended. Anyone who leases a residential property via a nominee or bare trust with an effective date (usually the completion date) on or after 6 March 2024 will potentially be eligible for First-time Buyers’ Relief, in the same way as any other qualifying first-time buyer. Transitional rules may apply where contracts were exchanged prior to 6 March but completed or substantially performed afterwards.

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