In order to deal with complaints from its backbenchers Gordon Brown, or more accurately his Chancellor Alistair Darling, has announced two changes to the taxation of earnings for 2008-09. The changes attempt to compensate taxpayers on low earnings who were disadvantaged by the loss of the 10% starting rate of income tax.

The additional changes are:

  1. The basic personal tax allowance has been increased by £600 to £6,035, and
  2. The income limit where earnings will be taxed at the 40% higher rate has been reduced from £36,000 to £34,800.

The effect of these changes is to reduce the income tax bill for basic rate tax payers by £120 this year. If you pay your income tax by PAYE as a deduction from your salary, the changes to your tax code will be effective from September 2008 when you could pay up to £60 less tax. The ongoing tax reduction will be £10 per month to the end of the tax year.

As the income limit at which earnings are taxed at the higher rate has been reduced, if you are a higher rate tax payer there will be no change in your total tax bill this year.

Previous changes to address this issue included adjustments to tax credits. We are also promised further assistance for disadvantaged low income groups to be announced in the pre-budget report Autumn 2008.