As we move into the 2024-25 Tax Year, understanding the intricacies of the Budget alongside the tax landscape is crucial. Both can have significant implications on your personal finances.

Spring Budget highlights

  • National Insurance Contributions (NICs) decrease: for self-employed barristers, this means the main rate of Class 4 NICs reduced from 8% to 6% from 6 April 2024 and for employed barristers, Class 1 NICs cut from 10% to 8%.
  • VAT Registration Threshold increased from £85,000 to £90,000 from 1 April 2024.
  • Additional £5,000 UK Individual Savings Account allowance to current £20,000 limit.
  • Higher rate of CGT for residential property disposals cut from 28% to 24% from 6 April 2024.
  • High Income Child Benefit Charge increased to £60,000 from April 2024 and halving the rate at which it is charged so it is not fully withdrawn until individuals have an income of at least £80,000. This will apply on a household rather than individual basis by April 2026.
  • Furnished holiday letting tax regime abolished from 6 April 2025. Non-UK domicile rules replaced with a regime based on residence from 2025.

Maintaining the status quo

Whilst the above changes signify an ever-changing tax landscape, they are arguably of limited benefit to higher earners at the Bar and have negligible impact on a pound and pence basis. I would suggest it is more important to focus on the unchanged provisions:

Inheritance Tax Regime (IHT)

Despite much pre-budget speculation, the IHT regime remains untouched. A couple leaving their estate (inclusive of residential property) to direct descendants still have £1m allowances combined before IHT becomes payable. If left to non-direct descendants or no residential property forms part of the estate, this decreases to £650,000 combined.

IHT is often described as a ‘voluntary tax’ paid by those whose favourite beneficiary is HMRC. Have you recently reviewed your liability and are you taking steps to mitigate it as far as possible? Savings that could be made for your estate could be far greater than savings made from the Budget.


As we move into the 24-25 Tax Year, the Annual Allowance remains at £60,000 (subject to tapering or to the Money Purchase Annual Allowance). You may also have unused allowance from the previous three tax years that can be carried forward.

So why should we focus on pensions rather than the changes in the Budget? Currently, pensions remain outside your estate for IHT. They also provide huge income tax savings, through tax relief on the contribution you make (as a sole trader) and additional tax relief potentially claimable via your tax return, depending on tax bracket. Where opportunities are available to capitalise on tax allowances and benefits, it is essential to utilise them.

Planning ahead

Seeking financial advice is more important than ever. For a summary of the main changes and tax allowances, or to arrange a no obligation initial chat, please visit; email:; or call us on tel: 01962 353153.

* National Statistics HMRC Tax Receipts and National Insurance Contributions for the UK (Monthly Bulletin), February 2024.

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