* Stamp Duty Land Tax on the purchase of second homes will increase by 3% from 1st April (so a while ago now), meaning that anyone buying an additional residential property, whether to live in or buy-to-let, will be liable. This will take the top ‘slice rate’ on properties worth more than £1.5m to 15%.
* Personal allowances for anyone living in the UK, or with income subject to UK tax, will continue, and will increase to £11,500 in 2017/18, from £11,000 in 2016/17. This is good news for expats, after the Chancellor in 2014 raised the spectre of narrowing the scope of personal allowances to exclude non-residents.
* The higher rate band was increased, to £45,000 for the 2017-18 year, from £43,000. This was another boost for property owning expats, as it affects those with rental income from the UK.
* ISA-holding expats got some good news: although you currently aren’t permitted to put savings into an ISA once you’ve moved abroad, unless you work for the UK government, those that do enjoy this right will benefit from increased ISA allowances. From April of next year, the allowance will rise to £20,000 from £15,240.
* A new lifetime ISA, which was quickly dubbed the “LISA”, may benefit UK resident-dependents of expatriates. As outlined by the chancellor, such UK-resident dependents will be able to put up to £4,000 a year into a LISA, with an annual bonus from the government of up to £1,000 paid until they reach the age of 50. Savers will be able to access this at any time without tax implications.
* A cut in the rate of capital gains tax (CGT) was one of the few surprises in the Budget. The higher CGT rate falls to 20% from 28%, and the basic rate from 18% to 10%. Unfortunately for expat property owners, that does not apply to residential property. Here, main residency status remains important.
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