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WHAT DOES THE CHANCELLOR’S BUDGET MEAN FOR YOU?

KATE SOLWAY, 30
FUNDS CONTROLLER AT PRIVATE EQUITY FIRM COGNETAS
Kate is single and lives in rented accommodation. She also owns two investment properties – one a London flat with a mortgage which she rents out, and the other a holiday home under construction in west Africa’s Cape Verde, on which she does not have a mortgage and which she will rent out when it is completed. She earns between £100,000 and £150,000 and is a partner in her firm, receiving a proportion of her salary in quarterly instalments. She does not smoke and drinks in moderation.

PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS’ BUDGET TEAM SAYS:
The rise in capital gains tax rates for non-business assets will potentially affect Kate on the disposal of her investment properties, should she choose to go down that route. Given that she is a higher rate taxpayer the CGT rate on such non-business assets has increased from 18 per cent to 28 per cent.

However, the Budget has reintroduced the tax advantageous furnished holiday let scheme. This applies to any qualifying property in the European Union so Kate is likely to be fully supportive of Portuguese-linked Cape Verde’s recent attempts to join the EU. The increase in the personal allowance for lower earners will unfortunately not benefit Kate given that she is a higher rate taxpayer. The Budget has not announced any revisions to the loss of personal allowance for individuals earning in excess of £112,950 as introduced by the previous government.

The freeze in child benefit will not affect Kate as she does not have any children, though she will enjoy a small financial benefit from the government declining to raise duty on alcohol.

NELEEN STRAUSS, 45
FOUNDER OF CITY RESTAURANT HIGH TIMBER
Neleen set up High Timber in April last year, managing to use cash rather than borrowing start-up funds. She does take a small salary but ploughs most of the profits from the business back into buying wines, mostly from South Africa and Europe. She is not currently planning to sell a stake in the restaurant. She lives in a flat with a mortgage and has a 19-year lease on the restaurant building. Other than that, she owns some stocks and shares and last month sold her old house in Johannesburg. She is single with no dependants, and does not drink a significant amount.

PWC SAYS:
The restaurant will benefit from a reduction in the small company tax rate by 1 per cent from April 2011. There is no proposed increase to the duty on wine, therefore the cost of stocking the cellar shouldn’t increase.

The employer costs should be slightly lower due to the small increase in the threshold for employers’ National Insurance contributions.

As Neleen takes a small salary, assuming she is a basic rate taxpayer she will benefit from the increase in personal allowance from April 2011. It may be that she is taken out of the income tax system completely if her income is on or below £7,425.

As the disposal of her South African property took place before Budget day, any gain will be subject to capital gains tax at 18 per cent even if her combined gain and income for the year exceeds the higher rate tax threshold.

RICHARD DIFFENTHAL, 29
ASSOCIATE AT HOGAN LOVELLS
Richard is a corporate solicitor. He has a nine month old son and rents a property with his wife. They hope to get on to the property ladder soon. They have a car but Richard uses public transport to travel to and from work and plans to cut his travel significantly in a bid to offset his carbon footprint. He takes home between £50,000 and £100,000 a year and contributes to the firm’s pension scheme. Other than a few credit card debts, Richard lives debt free as he has already paid off his student loan. He does not smoke and drinks moderately.

PWC SAYS:
Richard will not benefit from the increase in personal allowance from April 2011, since he is a higher rate taxpayer.

He is wise from a financial point of view to try and offset his carbon footprint by moving from using his car to using public transport, as the new coalition government have proposed to go ahead with the increases in fuel duty announced in Labour’s Budget.

Any entitlement he may have had to tax credits will immediately cease; however, this will be partially offset by the fact that he will continue to receive the same rate of child benefit for his son, since this has been frozen by the new government rather than reduced, as many had feared.

As a prospective first time buyer looking to get onto the property ladder sometime soon, Richard will also benefit from the stamp duty reliefs implemented by the previous government as the same regime remains in place.

There is no increase to the duty on alcohol, a measure Richard will be happy about as he says he drinks moderately.

ADAM HART, 47
CHAIRMAN OF LONDON BRIDGE CAPITAL
Adam is married with three children aged 10, 13 and 14. He has just founded a new corporate finance advisory firm specialising in the environmental economy, and is therefore interested in green initiatives from both a personal and professional perspective. The business is a start-up but he hopes to take home over £150,000 a year in salary and bonus. In addition to his main residence, he has a flat in London and a home in Canada, though the mortgages are paid off. He has a self-invested personal pension plan (SIPP). He does not smoke but does drink a light to moderate amount socially.

PWC SAYS: Adam will be thankful the speculated cut in child benefit has not materialised. This will be frozen at the present level for the next three tax years. The personal allowance increase will not have any impact given that Adam is a higher rate taxpayer.

Company wise he will be encouraged by the decrease in the small company tax rate by 1 per cent to 20 per cent from April 2011. On the flip side if he is planning any capital expenditure he will not be heartened by the reduction in the annual investment allowance from £100,000 to £25,000 from April 2012. The Chancellor announced that plans will be brought forward for a green investment bank and this will appeal to Adam from a personal and professional perspective.

However, the increase in the CGT rate for non business assets from 18 per cent to 28 per cent will have an impact on Adam should he decide to dispose of his London flat or property in Canada.

LAURA MUCHA, 27
ASSOCIATE AT LAW FIRM NORTON ROSE
Laura is currently saving for a deposit to buy property in central London. She makes between £60,000 and £70,000 a year as a first year qualified solicitor in the firm’s disputes practice and contributes to the firm’s pension scheme. She is still paying off her student loan, which she expects to clear within four years. She is not married and has no children. A non-smoker, she reserves drinking to the weekend and the odd work function.

PWC SAYS:
Unfortunately Laura will not benefit from the £1,000 increase in the personal allowance from the 2011/12 tax year as the thresholds have been adjusted so the change will not benefit higher rate taxpayers.

However, as a prospective first time buyer she would stand to benefit from the stamp duty measures introduced by the previous Labour government.

In Alistair Darling’s last Budget in March, the then-chancellor announced that stamp duty would be scrapped for first time buyers on home purchase prices up to £250,000.

Laura will obviously be pleased that there has been no increase in alcohol duty, an area which usually comes in for tax increases on an annual basis.

However, perhaps she will be encouraged to alter her drinking habits and choose cider in the future, given the reduction in duty from 30 June this year. Darling had previously increased tax on the drink by 10 per cent above inflation at the last Budget.

JONNY SAYLE, 26
FOUNDER OF SPIRELIFE, A FITNESS CONCIERGE FIRM FOR CITY WORKERS
Jonny set up his firm, which provides personal training, physio and massage services to clients in their own homes and offices, in December. He is targeting a turnover of £75,000 for the current year but is not likely to take a salary in order to boost company finances. He originally set up the business using his savings but will be looking at further funding options later in the year with a view to establishing a high street presence. Possible options on the table include selling a stake in the firm or securing a banking or government loan for new businesses. He does not have a pension plan or mortgage, but is hoping to buy his first house relatively soon. He is a non-smoker and drinks moderately.

PWC SAYS:
As a small company Jonny’s firm will benefit from next year’s decrease of 1 per cent in the corporation tax rate. The increase in the employers’ National Insurance threshold will be welcome news to him.

The chancellor has promised to provide support to new businesses in terms of financing, so raising capital for the business should be achievable by way of a loan. A fall in the annual investment allowance to £25,000 from £100,000 in April 2012 may result in a tax increase in the future, depending on the amount of outlay on plant and machinery.

In addition, the introduction of a bank levy from January 2011 may have a effect on City salaries and consequently have an impact on Jonny's business. Jonny will suffer the increase in fuel duty proposed by the previous government which occurs in two stages in October and January.