Budget 2004


Personal Income Tax

Tax Credits

National Insurance Contributions





Capital Gains Tax

Inheritance Tax

Stamp Duty / Stamp Duty Land Tax

Corporation Tax

Business Tax

Value Added Tax

Other Measures

Tax Tables

National Insurance

Budget Summary Introduction

A Chancellor approaching an election does not want to raise taxes or cut public spending. A year ago, Gordon Brown suggested that he would not have to do either, because he made predictions of economic growth - which would keep tax revenues buoyant - which some regarded as over-optimistic. It was rumoured that Gordon Brown had abandoned Prudence, his constant companion of earlier Budgets. However, he closed this year's speech by invoking her again - "Prudence with a Purpose" remains his motto. Even so, he spent some time making it clear that the borrowing required by this year's measures was within his "golden rule", and the books would balance within the economic cycle.

At first sight, there are few major changes that will affect most people - Mr Brown seems to be tinkering with details, rather than rewriting large areas of the tax system. We should be thankful for that. Even so, there were still about 80 press releases issued by the Revenue and Customs giving details of the tinkering. This booklet summarises the main changes and outlines their likely effect on the average taxpayer.

Significant points

  • Income tax allowances increased in line with inflation

  • New cap on approved pension schemes to apply from April 2006

  • Increases in tax rates for trusts

  • Closure of tax avoidance schemes for CGT

  • New charge on "pre-owned assets" from April 2005

  • New minimum tax charge for small companies paying dividends

  • Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise to merge

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