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Pre-Budget Report 2009: personal tax

One of the major announcements in Alistair Darling’s pre-Budget Report was the decision to raise employers’ and employees’ national insurance contributions.

Employee, employer and self-employed NICs will rise by 0.5 per cent in April 2011 on top of the 0.5 per cent increase announced in the 2008 pre-Budget Report.

To make sure that those on lower incomes are not hit by the extra charge, the level at which NICs become payable will also go up in April 2011 by £570. This means that people earning less than £20,000 won’t face a hike in their NICs.

There are changes to income tax as well, although they have been deferred. The point at which taxpayers are charged the higher, 40 per cent rate of income tax is to be frozen in 2012/13 at its 2011/12 level, which means more people will be liable.

As widely predicted, the Chancellor felt unable to introduce a promised higher (£350,000) threshold for the inheritance tax allowance. Consequently, the £325,000 threshold is to remain in place for 2010/11.

On the subject of property, the stamp duty holiday, which had been introduced to help boost the housing market, is, as was planned, to come to an end on 1 January 2010.

Employer pension contributions are to be included in the definition of tax income for pension tax relief purposes. But there will be an income floor so that those with pre-tax incomes of less than £130,000, excluding employer pension contributions, won’t be affected.

There is to be a 50p a month levy on landline telephones; the money will be used to fund a superfast broadband network.