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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 14:38 GMT
Q&A: What the Budget means for you
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Chancellor Gordon Brown has just delivered his tenth budget. Here are the key Budget measures and what they mean for your personal finances.

I have children. Is there any help for me?

The chancellor has confirmed that a payment of 250 will be made into child trust funds (CTF) for all children aged seven; children from poorer homes will receive 500.

CTFs are available for children born after 1 September 2002.

Last December the chancellor announced that tax credits would be more generous in 2006, rising in line with earnings.

In the Budget the chancellor went a bit further, raising the child element of the child tax credit over the next three years by 14%.

The value of childcare vouchers will increase from 50 to 55 a week and grants will be made available to small and medium sized firms to help cover the costs of workplace childcare provision.

I am a pensioner. What is in the Budget for me?

Pensioner groups have expressed anger that last year's 200 council tax rebate is not being repeated.

Many pensioners will, no doubt, be cheered by the promise of free bus travel in all parts of the country from April 2008.

Previously, the government has announced that pensions for a single person will rise by 2.20 to 84.25 a week from April.

The pension for married couples will go up by 3.55 to 134.75 a week.

Pensioners will also receive a 200 winter fuel payment while the over-80s will get 300 - the same as this winter - for the life of this parliament.

I have bought a new car. Will I be paying more tax?

It depends on which type of car you have bought.

BUDGET 2006
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Very low-polluting vehicles will, for the first time, be exempt from road tax.

But at the other end of the scale heavy polluting cars, such as some four-by-four vehicles, will be taxed at a new higher rate of road tax, at 210 a year.

Against a backdrop of rising world oil prices the chancellor decided to freeze petrol duty until 1 September.

My parents have a large home which I am set to inherit. What has happened to inheritance tax (IHT)?

The amount of money that people can bequeath before their estate is taxed is set to go up.

In the 2005 Budget the chancellor announced a series of inflation-busting increases to the IHT threshold.

Current rules mean that 40% tax must be paid on any estate worth more than 275,000 - although not on anything left between civil partners, husbands and wives.

A four by four vehicle
Big polluting cars face higher road tax

This threshold will rise to 285,000 from April and then 300,000 by the 2007/2008 tax year.

This time around, the chancellor pledged that the IHT threshold would rise to 312,000 in 2008/2009 and then to 325,000 by the 2009/2010 tax year.

The chancellor also made it clear that IHT would be levied on pension fund cash held by people over the age of 75 when they die.

But if people leave this pension fund cash to a spouse or charity then it will be exempt from IHT.

My daughter is buying her first home, is there any help available?

The starting point for Stamp Duty Land Tax is to rise from 120,000 to 125,000.

Duty will now be paid at 1% on properties worth between 125,000 and 250,000.

In a bid to increase the supply of land the chancellor said he would make more public sector land available for house building.

In addition, nearly 1bn is being pumped into shared equity schemes to help 35,000 new homeowners get on the property ladder.

I am a saver and investor, is there any help for me?

The chancellor announced that the tax break for investing in Venture Capital Trusts (VCT) would continue.

VCTs invest in unquoted companies (and firms quoted on the AIM and OFEX indexes) which can be some of the most dynamic and fastest-growing companies in the UK.

But the amount of tax relief given for investment in a VCT has been cut from 40% to 30%.

Rules governing what people can do with a pension saving lump sum were clarified.

From 6 April, people who have taken a tax free lump sum out of their pension scheme can reinvest up to 30% of this money into another pension scheme and receive tax relief.

In effect, this opens the door to some pension savers receiving what has been dubbed "double dip" tax relief.

What about booze and fags?

If you are a smoker, you will be hit by the now-traditional increase in duty.

Duty on cigarettes rises by 9p a packet.

There is good news for spirits drinkers once again. For the ninth Budget in a row, the chancellor has frozen duty on spirits.

Duties on cider and sparkling wine have also been kept the same again.

The chancellor is adding another penny on the price of a pint and 4p on a bottle of wine.

I am an employee. Will I be paying more tax?

It depends.

One surprise in the Budget is that tax relief on computers loaned to employees is being abolished from 6 April.

This looks set to apply only to new loans, rather than existing ones.

Even so, it has the potential to increase tax bills for workers, as employees will be taxed at 20% of the cost the computer.

For example, an employee loaned a computer worth 2,000 will be deemed to have extra taxable income of 400.

In addition, employees will only be able to receive one mobile phone from their employers tax-free.

If more than one phone is provided there will be a tax charge.

"This will increase red tape for employers," Anne Redston, fellow of Chartered Institute of Taxation, told BBC News.

"When this type of thing was tried before, under the Conservatives, it proved to be a nightmare to track the supply of phones to employees."

Income Tax Personal Allowances
People under the age of 65: up from 4,895 to 5,035
People age 65-74: up from 7,090 to 7,280
People age 75 and over: up from 7,220 to 7,420
Married couples' allowance: up from 5,905 to 6,065 (applies to people born before 6 April 1935)
Married couples' allowance age 75 or over: up from 5,975 to 6,135
Source: HM Treasury

In his pre-Budget report, the chancellor outlined a 3% increase in personal allowances - the amount of money you can earn before income tax becomes payable.

The threshold at which National Insurance Contributions become payable will rise by a similar percentage.

These increases in allowances have now been confirmed.

Is there anything else?

Legislation to allow the setting up of Real Estate Investment Trusts (Reits), with the aim of boosting investment in house building, is to be introduced.

Reits are tax-efficient vehicles designed to allow small investors to take direct stakes in high-profile developments - such as Canary Wharf or Bluewater - without them being too expensive.

The Treasury is to impose a charge on property companies that want to convert to Reits. This charge will be equivalent to 2% of the value of the property owned by the company.

Reits should be up and running from January 2007.

The Treasury has launched a consultation on taxation of company cars.

It would like to see firms taxed according to how environmentally friendly the cars they supply to staff are.




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