Tax year-end has an impact on how much you can save tax-free each year, making it a perfect time to do some financial planning to get a head start and to look at your savings, in particular your Individual Savings Account (ISA).
The deadline for using your ISA allowance is 5 April, so if you haven’t used the full amount, it might be worth adding now to your ISA so it counts towards this year’s allowance. Any unused allowance doesn’t roll over, so use it or lose it.
Do remember that any of the solutions suggested could put your capital at risk. Any tax benefits will be individual to you, and tax rules can, and do, change. It’s also worth pointing out that rules vary between different regions of the UK and we recommend speaking to a tax specialist for your regional rules.
Alongside your ISA, we’ve also compiled a few things to consider so that you can start doing some forward-planning for the tax year-end.
Why you should use your ISA allowance
When you save or invest, you’ll pay tax on earnings and gains. By using your annual ISA allowance, up to £20,000 can be paid into an ISA without the need for Income or Capital Gains Tax. This amount cannot be rolled over to future tax years, so if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
Junior ISA (JISA)
With a JISA, you can make regular contributions or a lump sum of up to £9,000 per tax year. As an ISA, they’re tax efficient and they transfer to standard ISAs once the child becomes 18, which is when they can start withdrawing the funds.
Reviewing your pension contributions
Don’t forget to consider your pension as part of your tax year-end planning. As a way of encouraging you to save more, when you save into a pension, the government gives you a top up in the form of tax relief at your highest rate of Income Tax. While basic rate taxpayers receive tax relief of 20%, higher rate and additional rate taxpayers can claim back 20% and 25% through tax returns.
Using your self-invested personal pension (SIPP) allowance
SIPPs are often referred to as ‘DIY’ pensions, and enable you to choose and manage the investments you have made. SIPPs allow you to start withdrawing funds at the age of 55 if this option suits you and your family. It’s worth noting that other investments can be transferred to SIPPs, if this is the right option for you. For every £80 saved, the government will add £20 – if you’re a higher rate earner, you can claim back even more via your annual tax return.
Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
Assets are subject to CGT when sold if they have increased in value, however there are ways to reduce this obligation. Currently the tax-free allowance is £12,300. If assets were to be sold at a loss, this could help offset the overall CGT liability. It is also worth noting that assets can also be transferred to a civil partner or spouse, which doubles the allowance and shares liabilities between two people’s annual allowance.
Charitable donation considerations
One way to reduce CGT in particular is to consider giving money to charity. By donating land, property or qualifying shares to a charity, some Income Tax and CGT relief may be available.
Gifting and Inheritance Tax (IHT)
The first £325,000 (or £650,000 for a married couple or civil partner) of a person’s estate, which includes their property, money and possessions, does not incur IHT. However, if your estate is over this threshold you will incur a 40% standard IHT charge on the part of your estate that is above the threshold.
Your estate is worth £500,000 and your tax-free threshold is £325,000. The IHT charged will be 40% of £175,000 (£500,000 minus £325,000).
You can pass a home to your husband, wife or civil partner when you die. There’s no IHT to pay if you do this. If you leave the home to another person in your will¹, it counts towards the value of the estate².
If you own your home (or a share in it) your tax-free threshold³ can increase to £500,000 if:
- You leave it to your children (including adopted, foster or stepchildren) or grandchildren
- Your estate is worth less than £2m
Giving or gifting away some of your wealth might result in reducing your IHT contributions. However, it’s important to note that gifts may only be realised if they are given seven years before the asset owners’ death. While this is a complicated area and the rules change regularly, we can guide you through this.
Now is the perfect time to make sure you are ready for when the tax year-end comes around. There are many things you can be doing between now and April to make the most out of this tax year and set yourself up well for the next one.
Get in touch today to speak to us about how we can help you with your financial planning.
Please note that any tax benefits will depend on your personal tax position and rules are subject to change. The value of investments can go down as well as up, and you may get back less than you invested.