Autumn Statement 2013: fuel duty frozen in 2014
Among the many tax tweaks unveiled during George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, the biggest cheer was reserved for the chancellor's announcement on fuel duty.
In what is great news for drivers, Osborne said the planned fuel duty rise (of 2p a litre) due to come in next year would be scrapped and fuel duty frozen at the current level. The government said this means it has saved motorists 20p a litre by scrapping all Labour's planned fuel duty increases since 2010.
The average price of petrol in the UK on 4 December was 130.96p a litre and diesel of 138.28p a litre, according to petrolprices.com. In the Budget in March, the Chancellor scrapped a rise in fuel duty that was planned to be introduced in September.
Also in transport, Osborne said that plans to increase train fares by 1 percentage point above inflation from January have been scrapped. They will now rise in line with inflation, saving season ticket holders on average of £25. But train companies will still be allowed a 'flex' of up to 2 percentage points above the rail fare cap in certain circumstances.
Elsewhere in his comments on tax, the chancellor confirmed that the income tax personal allowance will rise to £10,000 from April 2014; and that, from April 2015, the married tax allowance will allow married couples and civil partners to transfer £1,000 of their unused allowance to the higher earner.
Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), said: “Families across Britain will need to look in detail at what the Autumn Statement means for them. The married persons tax allowance is a welcome move in principle, but not everyone benefits.
“Having an allowance restricted to those who are basic rate taxpayers creates an even more complex tax regime, as well as confusion around couples who eventually become higher rate taxpayers. It should be possible for all taxpayers living with a partner to benefit from the allowance.”
Osborne also announced new and wide-ranging measures designed to combat tax evasion and pleased the corporate world by stating there would be no increase in the rate of corporation tax.
He also said non-residents must now pay capital gains tax on residential property sales.
An increase in the general level of prices that persists over a period of time. The inflation rate is a measure of the average change over a period, usually 12 months. If inflation is up 4%, this means the price of products and services is 4% higher than a year earlier, requiring we spend and extra 4% to buy the same things we bought 12 months ago and that any savings and investments must generate 4% (after any taxes) to keep pace with inflation. Since 2003, the Bank of England has used the consumer prices index (CPI) as its official measure of inflation (see also retail prices index).
Capital gains tax
If you buy an asset – shares, a second home, arts and antiques – and then sell it at a later date and make a profit, that profit could be subject to CGT. You don’t pay CGT on selling your main home (which is why MPs “flipped” theirs so regularly) or any securities sheltered in an ISA. Individuals get an annual CGT allowance (£10,600 in 2010/2011) but if you have substantial assets it’s worth paying an accountant to sort it for you.