Budget 2015: will you be a winner or a loser?

17 March 2015

Budget 2015: will you be a winner or a loser?

As usual, the run up to Budget day has been full of strategic leaks to the media, detailing what will emerge from the chancellor's red brief case and plenty of financial bods who have their ear to the ground are making predictions.

So, who will be the winners and who will be the losers?

Pensions

First off, pensioners look like they're going to win out again. MPs have been meeting to discuss the possibility of allowing annuities to be traded in for a cash lump sum, allowing more pensioners to jump on the pension freedoms bandwagon.

This will bring to joy to thousands of pensioners who have bought poor value annuities and inflate the tax take in the Treasury coffers further.

However, higher rate taxpayers who haven't got to retirement yet may be in for a nasty surprise. It is thought that this Budget could finally be the year when a government tackles the inequality that is higher rate tax relief on pension contributions that ensure the wealthiest get more of a free top up on their pensions.

This will only happen if chancellor George Osborne is feeling particularly brave, considering he's weeks away from an election.

In lieu of cutting the tax relief, Osborne could decide to cut the annual allowance on pension contributions further although this is Labour policy that again he might not want to endorse this close to an election.

Savings and investments

When it comes to savings and investments, we've already had details of plan to allow ISAs to be inherited but could it be extended further to include children? Some tax experts are hoping so.

This would take the edge of a potential capital gains tax (CGT) rise. There is a rumour that CGT could be increased for higher rate taxpayers from 28% to 35% because the government has raised so little from capital gains.

Property

And when it comes to homes, the big giveaway last year was stamp duty reform that happened in the Autumn Statement. Although the Tories have been against a mansion tax there is talk of a mansion tax by the back door with the abolition of private residence relief (PRR) on homes over £2 million.

PRR means you don't pay tax on your main home when it's sold but this could be taken away from wealthy homeowners, in step with its removal from non-residents.

All of these are currently being discussed but what's not being discussed is of more interest. Apparently Osborne has three big ideas that he wants to announce. Two are already out there: pension freedoms and inheriting ISAs and the third is expected on Wednesday. Watch this space!

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