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Autumn Budget: 8 personal finance reforms hidden in the small print

Tax and marriage allowance changes going under the radar

Autumn Budget: 8 personal finance reforms hidden in the small print

Stamp duty cuts and income tax reforms might have stolen the limelight in this week’s Autumn Budget statement, but beyond the headlines, a raft of other personal finance reforms also made the cut. 

Here, we take a look at seven changes that didn’t feature in the speech itself, but were instead buried in the small print of the Budget book.

If you’re catching up the Autumn Budget, check out our full coverage at the links below:

1. Marriage allowance to be extended

The marriage allowance is to be extended to widows and widowers from 29 November.

Currently, people who earn less than £11,500 a year can transfer 10% of their personal allowance to their spouse or civil partner, as long as they earn less than £45,000.

Now, surviving spouses of people who died from 6 April 2015 will be able to apply for the allowance.

Any unclaimed marriage allowance will also be able to be backdated by four years.

Find out more: marriage allowance explained

2. Buy-to-let stamp duty relief

While the scrapping of stamp duty for many first-time buyers made waves, there were also reforms to who has to pay the additional rate of stamp duty on second homes and buy-to-let properties.

A new amendment will grant relief to divorced people who need to purchase a new home but must retain interest in their current one because of a divorce-related court order.

3. Self-assessment points system

The Treasury is set to reform the system of charging standard fines for late self-assessment tax returns.

Instead, a driving-licence style points system will be brought in for those who fail to submit their tax return on time.

4. Tax debts to be recovered more quickly

Currently, if the taxman finds out you’ve underpaid, they need to wait until the following year to recoup the cash. This is set to change.

From April 2019, HMRC will use new technology to recover self-assessment tax debts more quickly by adjusting the tax codes of individuals with Pay As You Earn (PAYE) incomes.

5. Credit report boost for first-time buyers

The government will launch a £2m competition for FinTech firms to develop a process for rent payments to be included in credit scores.

There have been suggestions that first-time buyers have been hampered by mortgage lenders being unable to factor a history of paying rent on time into their affordability calculations.

6. Delay in new capital gains tax window

Plans to force people to pay capital gains tax on property sales within 30 days – rather than when they submit their next tax return – have been delayed.

The introduction of the proposed 30-day window has been pushed back until April 2020.

7. Credit unions to be expanded

Credit unions, which offer loans to local residents and employees, will be offered a boost as the government seeks to improve access to ‘reputable’ sources of credit.

Credit unions will now be able to have three million members, rather than the two million previously allowed.

8. ‘Stealth tax’ on investments

The Corporate Indexation Allowance has been abolished.

Currently, anyone with an endowment policy or whole- of-life investment policy is only taxed on the level of return received above the rate of inflation.

From January 2018 insurers will be able to deduct tax on the entire return made by a saver including any money that falls below the inflation rate.

On average people are set to lose between £25-£50 when their policy reaches full maturity but some could lose a lot more.

If you have any concerns about how the change might affect you, be sure to contact your policy provider.

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