Briefing Note (BN77)

The 10% tax rate: where next?

Date: 21 May 2008
Authors:
DOI: 10.1920/bn.ifs.2008.0077

In Budget 2007, the Government announced the abolition of the 10% starting rate of income tax alongside a wider set of reforms to personal taxes and tax credits to take effect during the period April 2008 to April 2010. Further changes to tax credits and state benefits were announced in PBR 2007 and Budget 2008, some to take effect in 2008-09, some in 2009-10 and others in 2010-11.

During April 2008, the Government said that it was looking at ways of compensating the net losers from these changes (in practice, those for whom the losses from the abolition of the 10% band exceeded the gains from the other measures). On 13 May it announced a £600 rise in the income tax personal allowance for 2008-09, with a corresponding cut in the higher-rate threshold.

In the light of these changes, this note looks at:

  • To what extent the rise in the personal allowance, and other measures in Budget 2007, PBR 2007 and Budget 2008, compensate those who lost out from the abolition of the 10% rate of income tax;
  • To what extent the Government's pre-announced changes to personal taxes, tax credits and benefits for 2010-11 provide compensation for these losers over the medium term;
  • What options the Government has for 2009-10 and beyond.