Tax briefing room

TV licence fee

TV licence fee What is it? The TV licence fee is a tax on receiving live broadcast television. Broadcast receiving licences were introduced by the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1904, and were made permanent by the 1924 act. When the BBC introduced television services in 1936, it was covered under the... Read more...

Capital gains tax

Capital gains tax What is it? Capital gains tax (CGT) is a tax on the gain in value of most assets between purchase and sale. A personal allowance is deducted from ‘chargeable gains’, and the rest is then taxed. From 1988 to 2008, the rate was the same as the... Read more...

Value added tax

Value added tax What is it? Value added tax (VAT) is a tax on the purchase price of most goods and services. VAT was introduced in 1973 to replace purchase tax, a 33.3 per cent tax on goods classed as ‘luxury’ which was introduced in 1940 to discourage waste. The... Read more...

Insurance premium tax

Insurance premium tax What is it? Insurance premium tax (IPT) is a tax on general insurance premiums. It was introduced in 1994 at a single rate of 2.5 per cent. A second higher rate was introduced in April 1997 on travel, household appliances and some motor vehicle insurance. The history... Read more...

National insurance

National insurance What is it? National insurance is a collection of taxes on earned income and provides the second largest receipts after income tax, delivering HM Treasury almost a fifth of the total. It was introduced by the National Insurance Act 1911 as a contributory system of payments linked to... Read more...

Corporation tax

Corporation tax What is it? Corporation tax is levied on the profits of companies. It was introduced in 1965 and replaced the practice of taxing companies on their income as if they were real people. The main rate was initially 40 per cent before rising to 52 per cent. After... Read more...

Vehicle excise duty

Vehicle excise duty What is it? Vehicle excise duty (VED) is a levy paid to drive or park vehicles on public roads. A locomotive duty was introduced in 1889. VED was introduced in 1921 and the revenues were initially hypothecated to road spending, prompting the duty to be known as... Read more...

Stamp duty land tax

Stamp duty land tax What is it? Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) is a tax on the purchase of property payable by buyers. It was introduced in 2003 but replaced stamp duty, which was first introduced in England in 1694. A single 1 per cent rate of stamp duty above... Read more...

Council tax

Council tax What is it? Council tax is charged by local authorities to the occupiers of residential property. Council tax was introduced in Great Britain in 1993 to replace the community charge (commonly known as the ‘poll tax’), which replaced domestic rates in 1990 in England and Wales (and in... Read more...

Income tax

Income tax What is it? Income tax is levied on most personal income and provides the largest receipts of any tax, over a quarter of the total. It was first introduced in Great Britain (but not Ireland) at 10 per cent on annual incomes above £60 in 1799 to fund... Read more...

Business rates

Business rates What are they? Non-domestic rates, commonly known as business rates, are a tax on the annual rental value of most non-domestic properties. Business rates, along with the community charge (or ‘poll tax’), were established in 1990 to replace the rates system. Rates were set out in the Poor... Read more...

Apprenticeship levy

 Apprenticeship levy What is it? The apprenticeship levy is a payroll tax on larger companies which was introduced in April 2017. Its revenues are hypothecated for expenditure on funding apprenticeships. The rate is 0.5 per cent on all payroll bills as defined by employer national insurance contributions and there is... Read more...

Inheritance tax

Inheritance tax What is it? Inheritance tax (IHT) is an estate tax charged on the estates of the deceased. The probate duty was introduced in 1694 and was replaced in 1889 by estate duty. That was replaced in 1975 by the capital transfer tax which included lifetime gifts in its... Read more...

Bank corporation tax surcharge

Bank corporation tax surcharge  What is it? The bank corporation tax surcharge is an additional tax on banking profits calculated on the same basis as corporation tax. It was introduced in 2016 at a rate of 8 per cent on profits over £25 million. What’s the problem with it? Bank... Read more...

Stamp duty on shares

Stamp duty on shares What is it? Stamp duty on shares refers to two taxes on the purchase of most shares and some other financial instruments payable by the buyers. Most bond transactions are exempt. Stamp duty reserve tax (SDRT) applies to electronic transfers of shares. It was introduced in... Read more...

Fuel duty

Fuel duty What is it? Fuel duty is an excise duty on hydrocarbon oils, biofuels and road fuel gases such as liquid petroleum gas. Petrol duty was introduced in 1908 at 3d (old pence, equivalent to 1.3 new pence) per gallon. Between 1978 and 1980 diesel was charged a higher... Read more...

Petroleum revenue tax

Petroleum revenue tax What is it? Petroleum revenue tax is a tax on the profits from oil extraction from fields where consent was given before 16 March 1993. It was introduced under the Oil Taxation Act 1975 but was effectively abolished in the 2016 budget when the rate was set... Read more...

Air passenger duty

 Air passenger duty What is it? Air passenger duty (APD) is a levy paid by passengers to depart from UK (and Isle of Man) airports on most aircraft. Onward-bound passengers on connecting flights are not liable, nor those on aircraft weighing under 10 tonnes or with fewer than 20 seats.... Read more...

Bank levy

Bank levy What is it? The bank levy is a tax on bank liabilities. It was introduced in 2011 following the financial crisis as a way to charge banks for the implicit bailout guarantee they enjoyed from the government. There is a standard rate, originally planned to be 0.075 per... Read more...

Alcohol duty

 Alcohol duty What is it? There are four categories of alcohol duty: beer; cider and perry; spirits; and wine and made-wine. Alcohol has long been subject to specific and varying taxation, most notably under the Gin Act 1751 following the ‘gin craze’ depicted by Hogarth’s Beer Street and Gin Lane.... Read more...

Climate change levy

Climate change levy What is it? The climate change levy is a tax levied on most non-residential users of most forms of energy. It was introduced in 2001 as part of the government’s climate change programme. Users can participate in climate change agreements which reduce liabilities for the levy by... Read more...

Tobacco duty

Tobacco duty What is it? Tobacco duty is a levy paid on tobacco products. Different systems operate for cigarettes, cigars, hand-rolling tobacco and other products. Since 20 May 2017, cigarettes are subject to a minimum duty of £280.15 per 1,000 (or £5.60 for a pack of 20). Above a retail... Read more...

Soft drink industry levy

Soft drink industry levy What is it? The soft drinks industry levy, popularly known as the sugar tax, is a flat-rate tax of 18p a litre on soft drinks with a sugar content of at least 5 grams in 100 millilitres. A higher rate of 24p a litre will apply... Read more...