12 Apr Granny Tax – The Facts
To Chancellor George Osborne it is a
simplification in a complex tax system. To its critics, it is a “granny tax”.
But what exactly does the most controversial measure in Wednesday’s Budget mean
The change in age-related personal allowances – the amount of income that is
tax-free – will save the government £1bn by 2015.
It will mean that millions of people will not be as protected from tax as
they expected to be – which will affect their financial planning as they
So what is my personal
A personal allowance is the first chunk of income that anyone earns that is
Any amount earned above this level is subject to tax at various
And my tax-free income depends on my
Correct. There has been a different level of personal allowance for
pensioners since Winston Churchill introduced it in the 1920s.
Tax terms explained
- Taxable income: Includes money earned from employment,
self-employment, savings, pensions and shares
- Non-taxable income: You do not pay tax on some benefits or
- Personal allowance: The amount you can earn tax-free. From
April, it will be £8,105 per person for those under 65, £10,500 for those aged
65 to 74, and £10,660 for those aged 75 and
So, if you are aged under 65, the first £8,105 of your
income will be tax-free from this April. This will change to the first £9,205 in
the 2013-14 financial year.
If you are aged 65 to 74, then you get a bit more of an allowance. The first
£10,500 is tax-free from April.
If you are aged 75 and over, then the personal allowance is £10,660 from
However, this extra allowance is gradually withdrawn from those pensioners
with a taxable income of between about £24,000 and about £29,000. So pensioners
who earn more than this do not get the extra benefit.
And anyone with an income of more than £100,000 has all their personal
allowance gradually withdrawn, regardless of age.
what will change?
Mr Osborne announced two significant measures in the Budget.
The first is that, while the personal allowance for the under 65s will go up
again in April 2013, the allowance for those aged 65 and over will be frozen at
the same levels as 2012-13.
Secondly, anyone who turns 65 after 5 April, 2013, will not get an extra
allowance at all. They will benefit from the same personal allowance as the
Who is most affected?
Most significantly, those who hit 65 just after April 2013 will not get the
tax-free allowance they might have expected in subsequent years.
They will get a personal allowance of £9,205. In
contrast, someone who turns 65 just before April 2013 will get a personal
allowance of £10,500.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) says this will bring an extra 230,000 into the
income tax system. For many, this will mean having to fill out a self-assessment
tax form every year.
Pensioners with an income of more than about £30,000 will not be affected at
all, because they would not have received the extra allowance anyway. They make
up about 10% of all pensioners.
People on the basic state pension and pension credit will not earn them
enough to pay income tax, so they will be unaffected too. That is about 50% of
That means, it is a “middle-income” range of 40% of pensioners who will not
get what they might have expected from the tax system.
Their income is likely to be made up of state and workplace or private
pensions, as well as some money in savings accounts.
How much will they miss out on?
Figures from HMRC show that, taking inflation into account, this will leave
4.41 million people worse off than they would have expected, by an average of
£83 a year in 2013-14.
People due to turn 65 after 5 April 2013 will miss out on an average of £285
compared with what they expected in 2013-14. The biggest loss is £322 that
However, nobody will have cash taken away from them that they had already
Haven’t these people been doing well from
This is a political argument that has been doing the rounds.
Many pensioners have been spared some potential cuts during the government’s
For example, they still receive help with their fuel bills, regardless of
their income, and many have benefited from the rising value of their homes.
One thing is certain, they are the subject of the biggest tax raising change
announced in the Budget this year.
The move will save the government £360m in 2013-14, rising to £1.25bn a year
Source: BBC News – 23 March 2012