In the Scottish Budget, which took place on 14 December 2017, Scotland's Financial Secretary, Derek Mackay, announced that two thirds of income taxpayers will pay less next year on their current income. However, new bands of income tax were also announced, which will see taxes rise for Scottish taxpayers in the middle income bracket.
The Draft Budget 2018/19 proposes a progressive income tax policy which protects low earning taxpayers through the introduction of a new Starter Rate of tax.
It was also confirmed that a new intermediate rate of tax of 21% will be introduced, and the higher and top rates of tax will rise to 41% and 46% respectively.
As a result of these changes, and the increase in the personal allowance, all taxpayers earning up to £33,000 will be protected from any increase in tax rates. Those earning more than £33,000 will pay only a proportionate amount more.
A majority of taxpayers (55%) in Scotland will pay marginally less in 2018/19 than they would in the rest of the UK.
It is hoped that these measures will raise an additional £164 million of revenues to support Scotland's investment plans in relation to healthcare without having to reduce spending on police and fire services, social care or education.
Delivering his Budget speech, Mr Mackay said "Our new, fairer, income tax policy will protect the 70% of taxpayers who earn less than £33,000 a year and ensure they pay less tax next year for any given income whilst asking those earning more than £33,000 to pay a proportionate amount more to support our public services."
"Our plans also ensure that over half of taxpayers will pay slightly less in Scotland next year than they would in the rest of the UK, protecting low incomes and supporting the economy."
Income tax proposals for 2018/19 for Scottish taxpayers can be summarised as follows:
- introduction of a new starter rate of 19% for those earning between £11,850 and £13,850;
- a basic rate of income tax at 20% for those earning over £13,850;
- a new intermediate rate of 21% for those earning over £24,000;
- a higher rate of 41% on incomes over £44,273 to £150,000; and
- a top rate of 46% on incomes over £150,000.
In addition, the Draft Budget confirmed that for Residential Land and Building Transaction Tax (LBTT), the Scottish Government will set a new zero rate threshold for first time buyers of £175,000 - taking 80% of first time buyers out of tax altogether. The residential and non-residential rates and bands for LBTT will remain unchanged.