Today's the New Year's Day for people who work in banks, accountant firms and tax offices, as we tick over into the 2017 tax year and loads of new forms have come into being. Some rules have changed too, most notably the loophole that says being on the internet all day counts as a job. Here are the key changes that might make your finances turn out marginally different.
You are now legally allowed to make more money before paying tax, with the universal personal allowance rising to £11,000 from last year's £10,600. That's a small amount less tax to pay for everyone in the country, whether you're a zero-hours Toilet Bowl Operative or a trillionaire banker commuting to work along a bespoke carpet made from the tongues of the poor.
Personal Allowance II: Entering The Higher Band
People lucky enough to operate away from the literal and metaphorical coal faces of UK industry and luxuriate near the higher rate tax band also have a little more wiggle room before paying more in 2016/17, with the dread 40p tax rate now starting when your salary tops £43,000 -- a much rounder number than last year's clumsy old £42,385.
Our statistics suggest you're unmarried and unlikely to ever even hold hands with someone, so this will only apply to your dad and his second marriage. But if he has remarried, he's allowed to transfer £1,100 from his 20-years-younger, earning-less-than-£43,000, met-on-Tinder wife to himself, lessening his own bill and making going through it all again somewhat worthwhile.
Stamp Duty Increases
One big change this year sees buy-to-let landlords whacked with massively increased stamp duty bills, meaning an extra £9,000 or so will need to be dug up when buying a house around the £300,000 mark. That's thanks to an extra 3 per cent being added to all existing stamp duty thresholds for people deemed to be buying houses for reasons other than for themselves to live in.
This is unlikely to hit the likes of us with our meager savings and £500 worth of shares in Lloyds bought at the peak of the market in 2007, but... the CGT bands are dropping by 10 per cent for higher and lower rate earners, meaning anyone who's raked it in through complex offshore investments and losses in the film industry can enjoy less of a bill on any realised profits. The CGT on sales of rented homes still applies, though, so anyone banking a profit on a non-personal house sale is still liable.
Personal savings allowance
Here's a good one for us normal people -- we're allowed to earn up to £1,000 a year in interest before paying any tax on it, thanks to the new personal savings allowance. With current interest rates at historical lows not seen since money was invented by the, er, Egyptians probably, that's not entirely a winner, as you'd need to have tens of thousands of spare pounds in the building society to make anything like that much, but still. It's something to aspire to *puts 2p in empty bottle*.
Innovative Finance Isa
This is quite exciting if you live in a modern digital sphere. The Innovative Finance Isa is the same as a normal Isa, only the money you put into the tax-free wrapper can be invested in alternative funding vehicles, such as crowd-funded lenders like Zopa and Funding Circle. Funding Circle says you can hope/expect a 7 per cent tax-free return, should you live in a universe in which you have a spare £15,240 to put into it.