Taxation in the United Kingdom
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Taxation in the United Kingdom may involve payments to at least three different levels of government:
central government A central government is the government that is a controlling power over a unitary state. Another distinct but sovereign political entity is a Federation#Federal governments, federal government, which may have distinct powers at various levels of ...
(
HM Revenue & Customs HM Revenue and Customs (His Majesty's Revenue and Customs, or HMRC) is a non-ministerial government department, non-ministerial Departments of the United Kingdom Government, department of the His Majesty's Government, UK Government responsible fo ...
), devolved governments and
local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government refers specifically to a level of administration that is both geographically-loca ...
. Central government revenues come primarily from
income tax An income tax is a tax imposed on individuals or entities (taxpayers) in respect of the income or profits earned by them (commonly called taxable income). Income tax generally is computed as the product of a tax rate times the taxable income. Tax ...
,
National Insurance National Insurance (NI) is a fundamental component of the welfare state in the United Kingdom. It acts as a form of social security, since payment of NI contributions establishes entitlement to certain state benefits for workers and their famili ...
contributions, value added tax, corporation tax and fuel duty. Local government revenues come primarily from grants from central government funds,
business rates in England Business rates in England, or non-domestic rates, are a tax on the occupation of non-domestic property (National Non-Domestic Rates; NNDR). Rates (tax), Rates are a property tax with ancient roots that was formerly used to fund local services t ...
,
Council Tax Council Tax is a taxation, local taxation system used in England, Scotland and Wales. It is a Property tax, tax on domestic property, which was introduced in 1993 by the Local Government Finance Act 1992, replacing the short-lived Poll tax (Grea ...
and increasingly from fees and charges such as those for on-street parking. In the
fiscal year A fiscal year (or financial year, or sometimes budget year) is used in government accounting, which varies between countries, and for budget purposes. It is also used for financial reporting by businesses and other organizations. Laws in many ju ...
2014–15, total government revenue was forecast to be £648 billion, or 37.7 per cent of
GDP Gross domestic product (GDP) is a money, monetary Measurement in economics, measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced and sold (not resold) in a specific time period by countries. Due to its complex and subjec ...
, with net taxes and National Insurance contributions standing at £606 billion.


History

A uniform Land tax, originally was introduced in England during the late 17th century, formed the main source of government revenue throughout the 18th century and the early 19th century. Stephen Dowell, ''History of Taxation and Taxes in England'' (Routledge, 2013)


Napoleonic wars

Income tax was announced in Britain by
William Pitt the Younger William Pitt the Younger (28 May 175923 January 1806) was a British statesman, the youngest and last prime minister of Great Britain (before the Acts of Union 1800) and then first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, prime minister of the Un ...
in his budget of December 1798 and introduced in 1799, to pay for weapons and equipment in preparation for the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic Wars, Europe ...
. Pitt's new graduated (progressive) income tax began at a levy of 2
old pence The United Kingdom, British £sd, pre-decimal penny was a denomination of Coins of the United Kingdom, sterling coinage worth of one Pound (currency), pound or of one Shilling (British coin), shilling. Its symbol was ''d'', from the Roman denari ...
in the pound (1/120) on annual incomes over £60 (equivalent to £ as of ), and increased up to a maximum of 2
shilling The shilling is a historical coin, and the name of a unit of modern currency, currencies formerly used in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, other British Commonwealth countries and Ireland, where they were generally equivalent to 1 ...
s (10 percent) on annual incomes of over £200. Pitt hoped that the new income tax would raise £10 million, but receipts for 1799 totalled just over £6 million. Income tax was levied under five schedules. Income not falling within those schedules was not taxed. The schedules were: * Schedule A (tax on income from United Kingdom land) * Schedule B (tax on commercial occupation of land) * Schedule C (tax on income from public securities) * Schedule D (tax on trading income, income from professions and vocations, interest, overseas income and casual income) * Schedule E (tax on employment income) Later, Schedule F (tax on United Kingdom dividend income) was added. Pitt's income tax was levied from 1799 to 1802, when it was abolished by
Henry Addington Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, (30 May 175715 February 1844) was an England, English Tory statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1804. Addington is best known for obtaining the Treaty of Amiens in ...
during the
Peace of Amiens The Treaty of Amiens (french: la paix d'Amiens, ) temporarily ended hostilities between French First Republic, France and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, United Kingdom at the end of the War of the Second Coalition. It marked ...
. Addington had taken over as prime minister in 1801. The income tax was reintroduced by Addington in 1803 when hostilities recommenced, but it was again abolished in 1816, one year after the
Battle of Waterloo The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815, near Waterloo, Belgium, Waterloo (at that time in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, now in Belgium). A French army under the command of Napoleon was defeated by two of the armie ...
. Considerable controversy was aroused by the
malt Malt is germination, germinated cereal grain that has been dried in a process known as "malting". The grain is made to germinate by soaking in water and is then halted from germinating further by drying with hot air. Malted grain is used to ma ...
, house,
windows Windows is a group of several Proprietary software, proprietary graphical user interface, graphical operating system families developed and marketed by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. For example, W ...
and income taxes. The malt tax was easy to collect from brewers; even after it was reduced in 1822, it produced over 10 percent of government's annual revenues through the 1840s. The house tax mostly hit London town houses; the windows tax mostly hit country manors.


Peel's income tax

The income tax was reintroduced by Sir
Robert Peel Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet, (5 February 1788 – 2 July 1850) was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative statesman who served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1834–1835 and 1841–1846) simultaneously serving as Cha ...
in the
Income Tax Act 1842 The Income Tax Act 1842The citation of this Act by this short title was authorised by the Short Titles Act 1896 The Short Titles Act 1896 (59 & 60 Vict c 14) is an Acts of Parliament in the United Kingdom, Act of the Parliament of the United Ki ...
. Peel, as a Conservative, had opposed income tax in the 1841 general election, but a growing budget deficit required a new source of funds. The new income tax of 7d in the pound (about 2.9%), based on Addington's model, was imposed on annual incomes above £150 (equivalent to £ as of ).Stephen Dowell, ''History of Taxation and Taxes in England'' (Routledge, 2013)


First World War

The war (1914-1918) was financed by borrowing large sums at home and abroad, by new taxes, and by inflation. It was implicitly financed by postponing maintenance and repair, and canceling capital expenditure. The government avoided indirect taxes because they raised the cost of living, and caused discontent among the working class. There was a strong emphasis on being "fair" and being "scientific". The public generally supported the heavy new taxes, with minimal complaints. The Treasury rejected proposals for a stiff capital levy, which the Labour Party wanted to use to weaken the capitalists. Instead, there was an excess profits tax, of 50% on profits above the normal pre-war level; the rate was raised to 80% in 1917. Excise taxes were added on luxury imports such as automobiles, clocks and watches. There was no sales tax or value added tax. The main increase in revenue came from the income tax, which in 1915 went up to 3s. 6d in the pound (17.5%), and individual exemptions were lowered. The income tax rate increased to 5s. (25%) in 1916, and 6s. (30%) in 1918. Altogether, taxes provided at most 30% of national expenditure, with the rest from borrowing. The national debt soared from £625 million to £7,800 million. Government bonds typically paid 5% p.a. Inflation escalated so that the pound in 1919 purchased only a third of the basket it had purchased in 1914. Wages were laggard, and the poor and retired were especially hard hit.


Modern rules

Britain's income tax has changed over the years. Originally it taxed a person's income regardless of who was beneficially entitled to that income, but now tax is paid on income to which the taxpayer is beneficially entitled. Most companies were taken out of the income tax net in 1965 when corporation tax was introduced. These changes were consolidated by the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970. Also the schedules under which tax is levied have changed. Schedule B was abolished in 1988, Schedule C in 1996 and Schedule E in 2003. For income tax purposes, the remaining schedules were superseded by the Income Tax (Trading and Other Income) Act 2005, which also repealed Schedule F. For corporation tax purposes, the Schedular system was repealed and superseded by the Corporation Tax Acts of 2009 and 2010. The highest rate of income tax peaked in the Second World War at 99.25%. This was slightly reduced after the war and was around 97.5 percent (nineteen shillings and sixpence in the pound) through the 1950s and 60s. HM Revenue and Customs has published online a comprehensive set of manuals about the UK tax system. In 1971, the top rate of income tax on earned income was cut to 75%. A surcharge of 15% on investment income kept the overall top rate on that income at 90%. In 1974 the top tax rate on earned income was again raised, to 83%. With the investment income surcharge this raised the overall top rate on investment income to 98%, the highest permanent rate since the war. This applied to incomes over £20,000 (equivalent to £ in terms),. In 1974, as many as 750,000 people were liable to pay the top rate of income tax.
Margaret Thatcher Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (; 13 October 19258 April 2013) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. S ...
, who favoured indirect taxation, reduced personal income tax rates during the 1980s. In the first budget after her election victory in 1979, the top rate was reduced from 83% to 60% and the basic rate from 33% to 30%. The basic rate was further cut in three subsequent budgets, to 29% in 1986 budget, 27% in 1987 and 25% in 1988. The top rate of income tax was cut to 40% in the 1988 budget. The investment income surcharge was abolished in 1985. Subsequent governments reduced the basic rate further, to the present level of 20% in 2007. Since 1976 (when it stood at 35%), the basic rate has been reduced by 15%, but this reduction has been largely offset by increases in
national insurance National Insurance (NI) is a fundamental component of the welfare state in the United Kingdom. It acts as a form of social security, since payment of NI contributions establishes entitlement to certain state benefits for workers and their famili ...
contributions and value added tax. In 2010 a new top rate of 50% was introduced on income over £150,000. Revenue to the Exchequer subsequently went down as top rate earners found methods to avoid taxation. In the 2012 budget this rate was cut to 45% for 2013–14; this was followed by an increase in the tax paid by additional rate taxpayers from £38 billion to £46 billion. Chancellor
George Osborne George Gideon Oliver Osborne (born Gideon Oliver Osborne; 23 May 1971) is a former British politician and newspaper editor who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2010 to 2016 and as First Secretary of State from 2015 to 2016 in the P ...
claimed that the lower, more competitive tax rate had caused the increase. In September 2022 the government announced that from April 2023 the top rate of tax would be reduced from 45% to 40% and the basic rate reduced from 20% to 19%. The abolition of the 45% additional rate of tax was subsequently cancelled through measures set out in the 2022's Autumn statement. Business rates were introduced in England and Wales in 1990 and are a modernised version of a system of rating that dates back to the Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601. As such, business rates retain many previous features from, and follow some case law of, older forms of rating. The Finance Act 2004 introduced an income tax regime known as " pre-owned asset tax" which aims to reduce the use of common methods of
inheritance tax An inheritance tax is a tax paid by a person who inherits money or property of a person who has died, whereas an estate tax is a levy on the Estate (law), estate (money and property) of a person who has died. International tax law distinguishes ...
avoidance.


Overview

Income tax An income tax is a tax imposed on individuals or entities (taxpayers) in respect of the income or profits earned by them (commonly called taxable income). Income tax generally is computed as the product of a tax rate times the taxable income. Tax ...
forms the single largest source of revenues collected by the government. The second largest source of government revenue is National Insurance Contributions. The third largest source of government revenues is value added tax (VAT), and the fourth-largest is
corporation tax A corporate tax, also called corporation tax or company tax, is a direct tax Although the actual definitions vary between jurisdictions, in general, a direct tax or income tax is a tax imposed upon a person or property as distinct from a tax i ...
.


Residence and domicile

United Kingdom source income is generally subject to UK taxation whatever the
citizenship Citizenship is a "relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection". Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and ...
and place of residence of an individual, or the place of registration of a company. This means that the UK income tax liability of an individual who is neither resident nor ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom is limited to any tax deducted at source on UK income, together with tax on income from a trade or profession carried on through a permanent establishment in the UK and tax on rental income from UK real estate. People who are both resident and domiciled in the United Kingdom are additionally liable to taxation on their worldwide income and gains. For people resident but not domiciled in the United Kingdom (referred to as "non-domiciled", or "non-dom"), foreign income and gains have historically been taxed on the remittance basis, that is to say, only income and gains remitted to the United Kingdom are taxed (for such people the United Kingdom is sometimes called a
tax haven A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal person, legal entity) by a governmental organization in order to fund government spending and various public expenditures (regiona ...
). From 6 April 2008, a long-term non-dom (defined as resident in 7 of the previous 9 years) wishing to retain the remittance basis is required to pay an annual tax of £30,000. Since 6 April 2017, non-domiciled individuals who have been resident in the UK for 15 out of the last 20 tax years lose their non-domiciled status and become liable for tax on worldwide income and capital gains, and their worldwide assets become subject to inheritance tax on death. UK-domiciled individuals who are not resident for three consecutive tax years are not liable for UK tax on their worldwide income, and those who are not resident for five consecutive tax years are not liable for UK tax on their worldwide capital gains. Anyone physically present in the UK for 183 or more days in a tax year is classed as resident for that year. '' Domicile'' is a term with a technical meaning. Essentially an individual is domiciled in the United Kingdom if the UK is deemed to be their permanent home. A British citizen may be accepted by the tax authorities as non-domiciled in the UK, but being born in another country, or in Britain to a non-domiciled father, facilitates non-dom status. A company is resident in the United Kingdom if it is incorporated there or if its central management and control are there (although in the former case a company could be resident in another jurisdiction in certain circumstances where a tax treaty applies). Double taxation of income and capital gains may be avoided by an applicable double tax treaty; the United Kingdom has one of the largest networks of treaties of any country.


Non-domiciled status

UK residents whose permanent home is outside the UK may be entitled to non-domiciled status. A non-domiciled UK resident earning less than £2,000 in a year outside the UK does not pay tax on this unless it is transferred to the UK. This would apply to the typical person taking up a temporary job in the UK, being paid, and paying tax on it, in the UK, with possible additional small earnings in the home country. For a person with larger foreign income the rules are rather complex, but, for example, earnings may not be taxed at all in the UK if not brought into the UK, subject to the person paying an annual charge of £30,000. Details are explained on the UK government Web site, and there is a simpler explanation in the context of a particular non-domiciled person on the BBC Web site. The majority of people making use of the non-domiciled tax exemption are wealthy individuals with substantial income from outside of the United Kingdom. Typical non-domiciled UK residents include senior company executives, bankers, lawyers, business owners and international recording artists; see list of people with non-domiciled status in the UK.


The tax year

The tax year is sometimes also called the "fiscal year". A company's accounting year, which has some relevance for corporation tax purposes, can be chosen by the company and often runs from 1 April to 31 March, in line with the fiscal year. The British personal tax year runs from 6 to 5 April in the following year.


Personal taxes


Income tax

Income tax is the single largest source of government revenue in the United Kingdom, making up about 30 percent of the total, followed by National Insurance contributions at around 20 percent. More than 25% of all income tax revenue is paid by the top 1% of taxpayers, i.e. taxpayers with the highest incomes, and 90% of all income tax revenue is paid by the top 50% of taxpayers with the highest incomes. The
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; sco, Scots Pairlament) is the devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameralism, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood, Edinburgh, Holyrood area of the capital ...
has full control over income tax rates and thresholds on all non-savings and non-dividend income liable for tax by taxpayers resident in
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
. The
Welsh Parliament The Senedd (; ), officially known as the Welsh Parliament in English and () in Welsh, is the devolved, unicameral Unicameralism (from ''uni''- "one" + Latin ''camera'' "chamber") is a type of legislature, which consists of one house or a ...
also has some powers over income tax in
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...
, but they have not been used. Each person has an income tax
personal allowance In the UK tax system, personal allowance is the threshold above which income tax An income tax is a tax imposed on individuals or entities (taxpayers) in respect of the income or profits earned by them (commonly called taxable income). Incom ...
, and income up to this amount in each tax year is free of tax. Until the 2027/28 tax year, the tax-free allowance for under-65s with income less than £100,000 is £12,570. Any income above the personal allowance is taxed using a number of bands: Taxpayer's income is assessed for tax according to a prescribed order, with income from employment using up the personal allowance and being taxed first, followed by savings income (from interest or otherwise unearned) and then dividends. Foreign income of United Kingdom residents is taxed as United Kingdom income, but to prevent
double taxation Double taxation is the levying of tax by two or more jurisdictions on the same income (in the case of income taxes), asset (in the case of Wealth tax, capital taxes), or financial transaction (in the case of sales taxes). Double liability may be m ...
the United Kingdom has agreements with many countries to allow offset against United Kingdom tax what is deemed paid abroad. These deemed amounts paid abroad are not necessarily as much as actually paid. Rental income on a property investment business (such as a buy to let property) is taxed as other savings income, after allowing deductions including mortgage interest. The mortgage does not need to be secured against the property receiving the rent, subject to a maximum of the purchase prices of the property investment business properties (or the market value at the time they transferred into the business). Joint owners can decide how they divide income and expenses, as long as one does not make a profit and the other a loss. Losses can be brought forward to subsequent years.


England, Wales and Northern Ireland


= Current rates

= This table reflects the removal of the 10% starting rate from April 2008, which also saw the 22% income tax rate drop to 20%. From April 2010, the Labour government introduced a 50% income tax rate for those earning more than £150,000. Income threshold for high taxation rate on income was decreased to £32,011 in 2013. The coalition government raised this allowance in years following 2014, and the 50% tax bracket was reduced to its current 45% rate.


Scotland

Since 2017 the Scottish Parliament has had the power to set the tax band thresholds (excluding the personal allowance) as well as the rates on all non-savings and non-dividend income of Scottish taxpayers. †Assumes individuals are in receipt of the Standard UK Personal Allowance. ††The Personal Allowance reduces by £1 for every £2 earned over £100,000. This means for incomes between £100,001 and £125,140 the marginal income tax rate is 61.5%.


Exemptions on investment

Certain investments carry a tax favoured status, including: ; UK Government Bonds (gilts) : While all income is taxable, gains are exempt for income tax purposes. ;
National Savings and Investments National Savings and Investments (NS&I), formerly called the Post Office Savings Bank and National Savings, is a state-owned savings bank in the United Kingdom. It is both a non-ministerial government department and an executive agency of HM Treasu ...
: Certain investments via the state owned National Savings scheme are not subject to tax including Index linked Certificates (up to £15,000 per issue) and Premium Bonds, a scheme that issues monthly prizes in place of interest on individual holdings up to £50,000. ;
Individual Savings Account An individual savings account (ISA; ) is a class of retail investment arrangement available to residents of the United Kingdom. First introduced in 1999, the accounts have favourable tax status. Payments into the account are made from after-tax i ...
s (ISAs) : Interest is paid tax free, while dividends are paid along with a tax credit to the investor which can then be offset against dividend tax due. For a basic rate tax payer this means they have no tax to pay on a dividend. There is no overall limit on how much a person can have invested in ISA accounts, but additional investments are currently limited to £20,000 per person per year, either in cash funds,
mutual fund A mutual fund is a professionally managed investment fund that pools money from many investors to purchase Security (finance), securities. The term is typically used in the United States, Canada, and India, while similar structures across the globe ...
s (Units Trusts and OEICs), or individual self-selected shares. ;
Pension A pension (, from Latin ''pensiō'', "payment") is a fund into which a sum of money is added during an employee's employment years and from which payments are drawn to support the person's retirement from work in the form of periodic payments ...
funds : These have the same tax treatment as ISAs in terms of growth. Full tax relief is also given at the individual's marginal rate on contributions or, in the case of an employer contributions, it is treated as an expense and is not taxed on the employee as a benefit in kind. Aside from a tax free lump sum of 25% of the fund, benefits taken from pension funds are taxable. ; Venture Capital Trusts : These are investments in smaller companies or funds of holdings in such companies over a minimum term of five years. These are not taxable and qualify for 30 percent tax relief against an individual's income. ; Enterprise Investment Schemes : A non-taxable investment into smaller company shares over three years that qualifies for 30 percent tax relief. The facility also allows an individual to defer capital gains liabilities (these gains can be stripped out in future years using the annual CGT allowance). ; Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes : A non-taxable investment into smaller company shares over three years that qualifies for 50 percent tax relief. The facility also allows an individual to defer capital gains liabilities (these gains can be stripped out in future years using the annual CGT allowance). *
Insurance bond An insurance bond (or investment bond) is a single premium life assurance Life insurance (or life assurance, especially in the Commonwealth of Nations) is a contract between an insurance policy holder and an insurance , insurer or assurer, whe ...
s : These include offshore and onshore investment bonds issued by insurance companies. The main difference between the two is that corporation tax paid by the onshore bond means that gains in the onshore bond are treated as if basic rate tax has been paid (this cannot be reclaimed by zero or starting rate tax payers). With both versions up to 5 percent for each complete year of investment can be taken without an immediate tax liability (subject to a maximum total of 100 percent of the original investment). On this basis, investors can plan an income stream while deferring any chargeable withdrawals until they are on a lower rate of tax, are no longer a United Kingdom resident, or their death. ; Offshore trusts and companies : Trusts can be offshore if all trustees are non-resident. Such trusts can own foreign-operated companies. Corporation tax rates can be lower in some countries and where we still have double taxation treaties. However, since anti-avoidance rules have been introduced for taxation of trusts, these structures are not advantageous for someone who will remain resident.


Exceptions

Many holdings and income from them are exempt for "historical reasons". These include: * Special, low tax arrangements for the monarchy, such as the arrangement used by the British Royal Family to avoid inheritance tax. * Reduced income tax for special classes of person. For instance non-doms, who are resident in the United Kingdom but not "domiciled", are not subject to UK income tax on their non-UK income provided the remittance basis of taxation is claimed (or applies automatically) and the non-UK income is not remitted to the UK. After seven years of tax residence, the remittance basis can carry a substantial tax charge and UK residents will usually be deemed to be domiciled of the UK after fifteen years of residence without a gap of five years. * An
Act of Parliament Acts of Parliament, sometimes referred to as primary legislation, are texts of law passed by the legislative body of a jurisdiction (often a parliament or council). In most countries with a parliamentary system of government, acts of parliame ...
to protect the Earl of Abingdon and his heirs and assignees from paying income tax on the tolls on the Swinford Toll Bridge. * The income of charities is usually exempt from United Kingdom income tax.


Inheritance tax

Inheritance tax An inheritance tax is a tax paid by a person who inherits money or property of a person who has died, whereas an estate tax is a levy on the Estate (law), estate (money and property) of a person who has died. International tax law distinguishes ...
is levied on "transfers of value", meaning: # the estates of deceased persons; # gifts made within seven years of death (known as Potentially Exempt Transfers or "PETs"); # "lifetime chargeable transfers", meaning transfers into certain types of trust. See
Taxation of trusts (United Kingdom) The taxation of Trust law, trusts in the United Kingdom is governed by a different set of principles to those Taxation in the United Kingdom, tax laws which apply to individuals or corporation, companies. Inheritance tax

The inheritance t ...
. The first slice of cumulative transfers of value (known as the "nil rate band") is free of tax. This threshold is currently set at £325,000 (tax year 2012/13) and has recently failed to keep up with house price inflation with the result that some 6 million households currently fall within the scope of inheritance tax. Over this threshold the rate is 40 percent on death or 36 per cent if the estate qualifies for a reduced rate as a result of a charitable donation. Since October 2007, married couples and registered civil partners can effectively increase the threshold on their estate when the second partner dies - to as much as £650,000 in 2012–13. Their executors or personal representatives must transfer the first spouse or civil partner's unused Inheritance Tax threshold or 'nil rate band' to the second spouse or civil partner when they die. Transfers of value between United Kingdom-domiciled spouses are exempt from tax. Recent changes to the tax brought in by the Finance Act 2008 mean that nil-rate bands are transferable between spouses to reduce this burden - something which previously could only be done by setting up complex trusts. Gifts made more than seven years prior to death are not taxed; if they are made between three and seven years before death a tapered inheritance tax rate applies. There are some important exceptions to this treatment: the most important is the "reservation of benefit rule", which says that a gift is ineffective for inheritance tax purposes if the giver benefits from the asset in any way after the gift (for example, by gifting a house but continuing to live in it). Inheritance Tax is not levied on the estate of persons who died "on active service" or from the effects of wounds sustained on such service...regardless of how long after that may be if it can be proven as the cause of death. In addition as the deceased spouse is subject to an exemption that full nil rate band is transferable to the surviving spouse's estate on the survivor's death.


Council Tax

Council tax is the system of local
taxation A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal person, legal entity) by a governmental organization in order to fund government spending and various public expenditures (regiona ...
used in
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
,Communities and Local Government
Council Tax: The Facts
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
and
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...
to part fund the services provided by local government in each country. It was introduced in 1993 by the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as a successor to the unpopular Community Charge ("poll tax"), which had (briefly) replaced the Rates system. The basis for the tax is residential property, with discounts for single people. As of 2008, the average annual levy on a property in England was £1,146. In 2006–2007 council tax in England amounted to £22.4 billion and an additional £10.8 billion in sales, fees and charges,


Sales taxes and duties


Value added tax

The third largest source of government revenues is value added tax (VAT), charged at 20 percent on supplies of goods and services. It is therefore a tax on consumer expenditure. Certain goods and services are exempt from VAT, and others are subject to VAT at a lower rate of 5 percent (the reduced rate, such as domestic gas supplies) or 0 percent ("zero-rated", such as most food and children's clothing). Exemptions are intended to relieve the tax burden on essentials while placing the full tax on luxuries, but disputes based on fine distinctions arise, such as the notorious "Jaffa Cake Case" which hinged on whether
Jaffa Cakes Jaffa Cakes are a cake introduced by McVitie and Price in the UK in 1927 and named after Jaffa orange The Jaffa orange (Arabic: ‏برتقال يافا), also known by their Arabic name, Shamouti orange, is an Orange (fruit), orange varie ...
were classed as (zero-rated) cakes—as was eventually decided—or (fully taxed) chocolate-covered biscuits. Until 2001, VAT was charged at the full rate on sanitary towels. It was introduced in 1973, in consequence of Britain's entry to the
European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957,Today the largely rewritten treaty continues in force as the ''Treaty on the functioning of the European Union'', as renamed by the Lisbo ...
, at a standard rate of 10 percent. In July 1974, the standard rate became 8 percent and from October that year petrol was taxed at a new higher rate of 25 percent. In the budget of April 1975 the higher rate was extended to a wide range of "luxury" goods. In the budget of April 1976 the 25 percent higher rate was reduced to 12.5 percent. On 18 June 1979, the higher rate was scrapped and VAT set at a single rate of 15 percent. In 1991 this became 17.5 percent, though when domestic fuel and power was added to the scheme in 1994, it was charged at a new, lower rate of 8 percent. In September 1997 this lower rate was reduced to 5 percent and was extended to cover various energy-saving materials (from 1 July 1998), sanitary protection (from 1 January 2001), children's car seats (from 1 April 2001), conversion and renovation of certain residential properties (from 12 May 2001), contraceptives (from 1 July 2006) and smoking cessation products (from 1 July 2007). On 1 December 2008, VAT was reduced to 15 percent, as a reaction to the
late-2000s recession The Great Recession was a period of marked general decline, i.e. a recession, observed in national economies globally that occurred from late 2007 into 2009. The scale and timing of the recession varied from country to country (see map). At t ...
, by Chancellor
Alistair Darling Alistair Maclean Darling, Baron Darling of Roulanish, (born 28 November 1953) is a British politician who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to chancellor, is a senior minister of the ...
. On 1 January 2010 VAT returned to 17.5 percent. On 4 January 2011 VAT was raised to 20 percent by Chancellor
George Osborne George Gideon Oliver Osborne (born Gideon Oliver Osborne; 23 May 1971) is a former British politician and newspaper editor who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2010 to 2016 and as First Secretary of State from 2015 to 2016 in the P ...
, where it remains.


Excise duties

Excise duties file:Lincoln Beer Stamp 1871.JPG, upright=1.2, 1871 U.S. Revenue stamp for 1/6 barrel of beer. Brewers would receive the stamp sheets, cut them into individual stamps, cancel them, and paste them over the Bunghole, bung of the beer barrel so when ...
are charged on, amongst other things,
motor fuel An engine or motor is a machine designed to convert one or more forms of energy into motion (physics), mechanical energy. Available energy sources include potential energy (e.g. energy of the Earth's gravitational field as exploited in hydroe ...
,
alcohol Alcohol most commonly refers to: * Alcohol (chemistry) In chemistry, an alcohol is a type of organic compound that carries at least one hydroxyl () functional group bound to a Saturated and unsaturated compounds, saturated carbon atom. The ...
,
tobacco Tobacco is the common name of several plants in the genus ''Nicotiana'' of the Family (biology), family Solanaceae, and the general term for any product prepared from the curing of tobacco, cured leaves of these plants. Nicotiana#Species, M ...
, betting and
vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicles include wagons, bicycles, motor vehicles (motorcycles, cars, trucks, buses, mobility scooters for disabled people), railed vehicles (trains, trams), watercr ...
.


Stamp duty

Stamp duty Stamp duty is a duty (tax), tax that is levied on single property purchases or documents (including, historically, the majority of legal documents such as cheques, receipts, military commissions, marriage licences and land transactions). A phy ...
is charged on the transfer of
shares In finance, financial markets, a share is a unit of Equity (finance), equity ownership in the capital stock of a corporation, and can refer to units of mutual funds, limited partnerships, and real estate investment trusts. Share capital refers t ...
and certain
securities A security is a tradable financial asset. The term commonly refers to any form of financial instrument, but its legal definition varies by jurisdiction. In some countries and languages people commonly use the term "security" to refer to any for ...
at a rate of 0.5 percent. Modernised versions of stamp duty,
stamp duty land tax Stamp duty in the United Kingdom is a form of tax charged on legal instruments (written documents), and historically required a Impressed duty stamp, physical stamp to be attached to or impressed upon the document in question. The more modern ver ...
and stamp duty reserve tax, are charged respectively on the transfer of
real property In English common law, real property, real estate, immovable property or, solely in the US and Canada, realty, is land which is the property of some person and all structures (also called Land improvement, improvements or Fixture (property ...
and shares and securities, at rates of up to 4 percent and 0.5 percent respectively.


Motoring taxation

Motoring taxes include: fuel duty (which itself also attracts VAT), and
Vehicle Excise Duty Vehicle Excise Duty (VED; also known as "vehicle tax", "car tax", and more controversially as "road tax", and formerly as a "tax disc") is an annual tax that is levied as an excise duty (tax), duty and which must be paid for most types of powered ve ...
. Other fees and charges include the
London congestion charge The London congestion charge is a fee charged on most cars and motor vehicles being driven within the Congestion Charge Zone (CCZ) in Central London between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm Monday to Friday, and between 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm Saturday an ...
, various statutory fees including that for the compulsory vehicle test and that for
vehicle registration Motor vehicle registration is the registration of a motor vehicle with a government authority, either compulsory or otherwise. The purpose of motor vehicle registration is to establish a link between a vehicle and an owner or user of the vehicle. Th ...
, and in some areas on-street parking (as well as associated charges for violations).


Business taxes


Corporate Tax

Corporation tax is a
tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal person, legal entity) by a governmental organization in order to fund government spending and various public expenditures (regiona ...
levied in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
on the profits made by
companies A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity representing an association of people, whether natural, legal or a mixture of both, with a specific objective. Company members share a common purpose and unite to achieve specific, declared ...
and on the profits of permanent establishments of non-UK resident companies and associations that trade in the EU. Corporation tax forms the fourth-largest source of government revenue (after income, NIC, and VAT). Prior to the tax's enactment on 1 April 1965, companies and individuals paid the same
income tax An income tax is a tax imposed on individuals or entities (taxpayers) in respect of the income or profits earned by them (commonly called taxable income). Income tax generally is computed as the product of a tax rate times the taxable income. Tax ...
, with an additional profits tax levied on companies. The Finance Act 1965 replaced this structure for companies and associations with a single
corporate tax A corporate tax, also called corporation tax or company tax, is a direct tax imposed on the income or capital of corporations or analogous legal entities. Many countries impose such taxes at the national level, and a similar tax may be imposed at ...
, which borrowed its basic structure and rules from the income tax system. Since 1997, the United Kingdom's Tax Law Rewrite ProjectTax Law Rewrite
HM Revenue & Customs HM Revenue and Customs (His Majesty's Revenue and Customs, or HMRC) is a non-ministerial government department, non-ministerial Departments of the United Kingdom Government, department of the His Majesty's Government, UK Government responsible fo ...
(HMRC), retrieved 17 April 2007
has been modernising the United Kingdom's tax legislation, starting with income tax, while the legislation imposing corporation tax has itself been amended; the rules governing income tax and corporation tax have thus diverged.


Business rates

Business rates is the commonly used name of non-domestic rates, a rate or
tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal person, legal entity) by a governmental organization in order to fund government spending and various public expenditures (regiona ...
charged to occupiers of non-domestic property. Business rates form part of the funding for
local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government refers specifically to a level of administration that is both geographically-loca ...
, and are collected by them, but rather than receipts being retained directly they are pooled centrally and then redistributed. In 2005–06, £19.9 billion was collected in business rates, representing 4.35 percent of the total United Kingdom tax income.Public Finances Databank
(see section C4), HM Treasury, retrieved 26 March 2007. ''Percentage based on Net taxes & NICs conts.''
Business rates are a
property tax A property tax or millage rate is an ad valorem tax on the value of a property.In the OECD classification scheme, tax on property includes "taxes on immovable property or Wealth tax, net wealth, taxes on the change of ownership of property thr ...
, where each non-domestic property is assessed with a rateable value, expressed in pounds. The rateable value broadly represents the annual rent the property could have been let for on a particular valuation date according to a set of assumptions. The actual bill payable is then calculated using a multiplier set by central government, and applying any reliefs.The rates bill - How is it calculated?
, mybusinessrates.gov.uk


Business and personal taxes

Some taxes are, depending on the circumstances, paid by both individuals and companies, and government


National Insurance contributions

The second largest source of government revenue is
National Insurance National Insurance (NI) is a fundamental component of the welfare state in the United Kingdom. It acts as a form of social security, since payment of NI contributions establishes entitlement to certain state benefits for workers and their famili ...
contributions (NICs). NICs are payable by employees, employers and the self-employed and in the 2010–2011 tax year £96.5 billion was raised, 21.5 percent of the total collected by HMRC. Employees and employers pay contributions according to a complex classification based on employment type and income. Class 1 (employed persons) NIC is charged at several rates depending on various income thresholds and a number of other factors including age, the type of occupational pension scheme contributed to by the employee and/or employer and whether or not the employee is an ocean-going mariner. Certain married women who opted to pay reduced contributions (in return for reduced benefits) prior to 1977 retain this right for historical reasons. Employers also pay contributions on many benefits in kind provided to employees (such as company cars) and on tax liabilities met on behalf of employees via a "PAYE Settlement Agreement". There are separate arrangements for self-employed persons, who are normally liable to Class 2 flat rate NIC and Class 4 earnings-related NIC, and for some voluntary sector workers.


Health and social care levy

On 7 September 2021,
Prime Minister A prime minister, premier or chief of cabinet is the head of the Cabinet (government), cabinet and the leader of the Minister (government), ministers in the Executive (government), executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary syst ...
Boris Johnson Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician, writer and journalist who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 20 ...
announced that a new tax would be introduced from April 2023 in order to fund the
National Health Service The National Health Service (NHS) is the umbrella term for the publicly funded health care, publicly funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom (UK). Since 1948, they have been funded out of general taxation. There are three systems which ...
backlogs arising as a result of the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identif ...
and the reform of social care in England. The tax would have a similar application to NICs and will be charged to both employees and employers at a rate of 1.25% on an individual's earnings. However, it would also be payable beyond State Pension Age, which is not the case for NICs. From April 2022 to March 2023, the 1.25% increase would temporarily apply to NICs. The aim was to give
HMRC HM Revenue and Customs (His Majesty's Revenue and Customs, or HMRC) is a non-ministerial government department, non-ministerial Departments of the United Kingdom Government, department of the His Majesty's Government, UK Government responsible fo ...
time to make the changes required in order for the levy to be introduced. The
Truss ministry Liz Truss Mary Elizabeth Truss (born 26 July 1975) is a British politician who briefly served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from September to October ...
reversed the implementation of this tax and reverted the NICs as of 6 November 2022.


Capital gains tax

Capital gains Capital gain is an economic concept defined as the profit Profit may refer to: Business and law * Profit (accounting) Profit, in accounting, is an income distributed to the ownership , owner in a Profit (economics) , profitable mar ...
are subject to tax at 10 or 20 percent (18 or 28 for capital gains relating to residential property)(for individuals) or at the applicable marginal rate of corporation tax (for companies). The basic principle is the same for individuals and companies - the tax applies only on the disposal of a capital asset, and the amount of the gain is calculated as the difference between the disposal proceeds and the "base cost", being the original purchase price plus allowable related expenditure. However, from 6 April 2008, the rate and reliefs applicable to the chargeable gain differ between individuals and companies. Companies apply "indexation relief" to the base cost, increasing it in accordance with the Retail Prices Index so that (broadly speaking) the gain is calculated on a post-inflation basis (with different rules apply for gains accrued prior to March 1982). The gain is then subject to tax at the applicable marginal rate of corporation tax. Individuals are taxed at a flat rate of 18 percent (or since 22 June 2010, 28 percent for higher rate taxpayers) with no indexation relief. However, if claiming Entrepreneurs' Relief the rate remains 10 percent. Capital losses from prior years can be brought forward. Expenditure on a business (such as a property business) made by an individual can be claimed as an allowance against Capital Gains. Whether expenditure is claimable against income (potentially reducing income tax) or capital (potentially reducing capital gains tax) depends on whether there was improvement of the property: if there was none, it is against income; if there was some, then it is against capital. Transfers between husband and wife or between civil partners do not crystallise a capital gain, but instead transfer the purchase price (book cost). Otherwise, transfers made as gifts are treated for CGT purposes as being made at the market value at the date of transfer.


Tax gap

The 'tax gap' is the difference between the amount of tax that should, in theory, be collected by HMRC, against what is actually collected. The tax gap for the UK in 2013–14 was £34 billion, or 6.4 percent of total tax liabilities. It can be broken down by tax type and behaviour


See also


UK-related

*
HM Revenue & Customs HM Revenue and Customs (His Majesty's Revenue and Customs, or HMRC) is a non-ministerial government department, non-ministerial Departments of the United Kingdom Government, department of the His Majesty's Government, UK Government responsible fo ...
*
Chartered Institute of Taxation The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) is a registered charity (number 1037771) and the leading professional body in the United Kingdom concerned solely with taxation. The CIOT deals with all aspects of direct and indirect taxation. Activit ...
* Government spending in the United Kingdom * Institute of Indirect Taxation * Income in the United Kingdom *
Tax credit A tax credit is a tax incentive which allows certain taxpayers to subtract the amount of the credit they have accrued from the total they owe the state (polity), state. It may also be a credit granted in recognition of taxes already paid or a for ...
* Starting rate of UK income tax *
Economic history of the United Kingdom The economic history of the United Kingdom relates the economic development In the economics Economics () is the social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consum ...
* History of taxation in the United Kingdom ** Why the United Kingdom income tax year begins on 6 April * History of inheritance taxes in the United Kingdom


Local taxation

* Business rates *
Council tax Council Tax is a taxation, local taxation system used in England, Scotland and Wales. It is a Property tax, tax on domestic property, which was introduced in 1993 by the Local Government Finance Act 1992, replacing the short-lived Poll tax (Grea ...
* Local income tax


General category

*
Tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal person, legal entity) by a governmental organization in order to fund government spending and various public expenditures (regiona ...
*
Tax haven A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal person, legal entity) by a governmental organization in order to fund government spending and various public expenditures (regiona ...
*
Tax law Tax law or revenue law is an area of legal study in which public or sanctioned authorities, such as federal, state and municipal governments (as in the case of the US) use a body of rules and procedures (laws) to assess and collect tax ...


References


Citations


Sources

* Stephen Dowell, ''History of Taxation and Taxes in England'' (Routledge, 2013) {{DEFAULTSORT:Taxation in the United Kingdom