No one likes to pay tax on their hard-earned money. But due
to the complexities of the tax system, without expert professional financial advice,
some individuals could be paying more tax than necessary. Before the end of
every tax year on 5 April, you have the opportunity to save money on taxes and
plan for the year ahead.
As we approach the end of the tax year, now is the time to
review your tax affairs to ensure that you have taken advantage of all reliefs
and options available to you. If you think you may be overpaying tax, here are
some ways in which you might be able to reduce your bill. This information
should not be construed as advice and is applicable to the 2020/21 tax year
Keep your personal allowance
Income Tax rules appear simple at first: income under
£12,500 is within your tax-free personal allowance, and increasing rates apply
to income in higher bands.
But there is an additional rule: for every £2 you earn over
£100,000, your personal allowance reduces by £1. Once you reach £125,000 your
personal allowance is zero.
If you’re close to the £100,000 threshold, it may therefore
be sensible to request tax-efficient alternatives to bonuses or salary
increases, such as higher pension contributions.
Transfer assets to your partner
If you’re close to the £100,000 threshold and you have other
income yielding assets, you could consider transferring these to a partner with
a lower taxable income.
Claim tax relief for working from home
If you’re currently working from home due to the coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic you may be entitled to tax relief for your increased costs,
such as heating or broadband. You could claim the exact amount, based on bills
and receipts, or a set amount of £6 per week.
Review your child benefit
Individuals with a taxable income of over £50,000 who claim
Child Benefit will pay a higher income Child Benefit charge, which could be equal
to the benefit you receive.
Your options for reducing this charge include keeping your
taxable income below the threshold (by exchanging salary for tax-efficient alternatives),
temporarily stopping your Child Benefit, or deciding not to claim.
Use your dividend allowance
Dividend income is taxed differently to other income. Every
taxpayer has a tax-free dividend allowance of £2,000, above which dividend income
is taxed at 7.5% in the basic rate band, 32.5% in the higher rate band, and
38.1% in the additional rate band.
Company owners can therefore benefit by taking income from
dividends rather than salary.
CAPITAL GAINS TAX
Use your capital gains allowance
Every taxpayer has a tax-free allowance of £12,300 when
realising capital gains. Careful consideration of the split of assets between spouses
can have a significant beneficial impact on a couple’s Income Tax burden.
If you’re approaching this limit, you may want to consider
transferring assets to your partner to use their allowance.
Invest for capital gains
Capital gains are currently treated more favourably than
income and dividends for taxation purposes, at a maximum rate of 20% (28% for
residential property), although this is currently under review.
So, for investments outside of a tax-efficient wrapper, for
example, an Individual Savings Account (ISA), it can be more tax-efficient to target
a return through capital gains than through interest or dividend income.
SAVINGS ACCOUNT (ISA)
Use your ISA allowances
All UK residents over the age of 18 have an annual ISA
allowance of £20,000, which can be saved or invested in a tax-efficient
environment. Under-18s have an allowance of £9,000 each.
Contributions into a Lifetime ISA qualify for a 25% government
bonus. This can be a tax-efficient way to help adult children buy a home.
PENSION TAX RELIEF
Review your pension contributions
Whether you are about to retire or are still working towards
putting your fund together for retirement, there are many things that you
should consider when it comes to planning your pension.
Pension contributions made through your employer are often
the most tax-efficient. So, discuss options with your employer to exchange some
of your salary for larger pension contributions. If you own the company, this
could also help you save on Corporation Tax.
Carry forward your pension allowance
Your pension annual allowance (the amount you can make in
contributions while claiming tax relief) is capped at £40,000 and reduces for
higher earners who exceed the limits on threshold income and adjusted income
(as a guide, this typically applies only if your income is above £200,000).
So, if your taxable income increases above these thresholds,
your annual allowance could drop dramatically. Carrying forward unused annual
allowance from up to three previous years could allow you to claim more tax
Make pension contributions for others
If you have used your annual allowance, you can still
contribute to other people’s pensions, including your children and grandchildren,
and they will receive tax relief.
Protect your pension
There is a Lifetime Allowance on pension savings, currently
£1,073,100. Above that limit, you’ll be taxed severely when taking benefits. If
you’re approaching that limit, you should seek advice on applying for protection
before accessing your pension.
INHERITANCE TAX (IHT)
Use your IHT nil-rate band
Your nil-rate band for IHT is £325,000, plus any unused
nil-rate band from a deceased partner. You also have an additional nil-rate band
of £175,000 when leaving a home to a direct descendant.
Claim IHT relief on charitable gifts
If you leave at least 10% of your total estate to charity, IHT
is applied on the portion outside of your nil-rate band at a reduced rate of 36%
Use IHT reliefs while available
IHT reliefs currently under review include Agricultural Relief
and Business Relief. Business owners in particular should look at how their
estate is arranged to ensure their wealth can be passed on efficiently.
Update your will
When there is any significant change in your financial
circumstances, or to tax rules, reviewing and updating your Will can help to
reduce your IHT exposure.
READY TO TALK TAX?
How can you help yourself and reduce the impact that these
tax burdens could have on your financial affairs? If you would like to have an
informal, no obligation conversation or have any questions to discuss ways of
reducing tax in your individual circumstances, contact us for more details.
THE FINANCIAL CONDUCT AUTHORITY DOES NOT REGULATE
TAXATION AND TRUST ADVICE AND WILL WRITING.
INFORMATION IS BASED ON OUR CURRENT UNDERSTANDING OF
TAXATION LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS. ANY LEVELS AND BASES OF, AND RELIEFS
FROM, TAXATION ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
THE VALUE OF INVESTMENTS AND INCOME FROM THEM MAY GO
DOWN. YOU MAY NOT GET BACK THE ORIGINAL AMOUNT INVESTED.