Following the start of a new tax year, it’s always useful to stay abreast of changes to your responsibility. Certain legislative updates in 2019 have been overshadowed by the spectre of Making Tax Digital for VAT, causing smaller (but significant) changes to be overlooked.
While these developments may not have been as drastic an effect on your accounting process, they could impact your earnings or operation.
To help preserve your personal finances or gain a better understanding of your contribution, Mike Parkes from GoSimpleTax has provided a guide on the lesser-known tax changes of this year.
Personal Allowance has increased to £12,500
Over 30 million people are set to benefit from the increase to Personal Allowance. The tax-free sum has risen from £11,850 to £12,500 – netting the typical basic-rate taxpayer an additional £130 more.
According to Chancellor Philip Hammond, this move is in line with the rise in consumer price inflation and will particularly reward the self-employed. The basic rate tax band has also changed – to £12,501-£50,000 in taxable income. This means that you will need to earn more than £50,000 (up to £37,500 after allowances have been deducted) before you start paying tax at the higher rate of 40%.
The National Living Wage has increased to £8.21
The National Living Wage came into effect on 1st April 2016. It was created to meet the needs of citizens aged 25 and over by paying them an increased wage above the National Minimum Wage.
Provided you aren’t in your first year of an apprenticeship, you will see your wage increase to £8.21 an hour. While 2.4 million people are set to benefit, there has been less applause from SMEs, especially where their business relies on a low-paid workforce.
There are fears that such increases are putting pressure on employers. In 2016, the British Retail Consortium lobby predicted that UK retailers will have to find £3 billion a year by 2020 to handle increases to the National Living Wage. If you employ staff, ensure that you can afford the rise in pay.
Business rates relief to provide third off bills
However, it’s not all bad for small businesses. As part of a £13 billion rates relief scheme from 2016, those who qualify as a ‘small retailer’ will get one third off their business rates bills.
Specifically, your business will only qualify for small business rate relief if your property’s rateable value is less than £15,000 or if your organisation only uses one property. When you get a second property, you’ll keep receiving existing relief on your main property for 12 months.
Provided you meet the criteria, you won’t pay business rates on a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less. If your rateable value is between £12,001 and £15,000, the rate of relief will go down gradually from 100% to 0%.
New Enterprise Allowance has been extended
The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) is a government scheme that provides growth advice and funding for benefit claimants. The initiative is designed to help entrepreneurs and fledgling freelancers get their ideas up and running.
Since 2011, the scheme has been credited with supporting 120,000 businesses. The government has recognised the project’s success and confirmed it will be continuing for another two years from April 2019 – with 30,000 spaces available.
If you’re 18 and have a feasible business plan, you could be entitled to a weekly allowance worth up to £1,274 over 26 weeks. However, this has caught the ire of some individuals, highlighting how the NEA payment offers a quarter less than what Jobseeker’s Allowance provides.
Want to stay informed of tax changes and how they may impact you? Self Assessment software like GoSimpleTax ensures you’re protected against minor mistakes that carry big penalties. With their solution, you can view the real-time reality of your taxes throughout the year, reducing your reliance on an accountant. Try the 14 day free trial now.