The Scottish Budget announced today will see tax raises for many next year, and yet more complexity being introduced into a tax system that most already struggle to understand.
Many individuals earning over £33,000 will see a decrease in take-home pay from next April as a result of the proposed tax increases, with earners on £50,000 forecast to be £655 worse off than their counterparts south of the border. Scottish taxpayers earning over £26,000 will from next April pay more income tax than someone from the rest of the UK who is on the same salary.
There will also be a move from three to five income tax bands, with "Starter" and "Intermediate" bands being added to the existing, and established "Basic", "Higher" and "Additional" rate bands. Perhaps the tax rises are needed to help pay for the cost of administering all this?
The new rates proposed are:
19% starter rate from £11,850 to £13,850
20% basic rate from £13,851 to £24,000
21% intermediate rate from £24,001 to £44,273
41% higher rate from £44,274 to £150,000
46% additional rate from £150,000
The proposals may also place the current system of pensions tax relief under strain. Scottish taxpayers earning between £11,850 and £13,850, and those earning over £24,000, will have an additional incentive to save into their pensions from next April. There are many unanswered questions, however, about how pensions tax relief will interact with the new bands.
In other Budget news, it was also announced that first time buyers in Scotland will receive relief from Land & Buildings Transaction Tax on purchases up to £175,000. This follows the exemption from Stamp Duty Land Tax already introduced in the Autumn Budget on purchases up to £300,000 south of the border.