Year End Tax Planning
With the end of the 2007/08 tax year approaching, this is the traditional time to:
- make sure that this year’s allowances are fully utilised and
- plans are put in place to take full advantage of next year’s.
Although saving tax is the Holy Grail for financial planners, it is very important never to let “the tax tail wag the investment dog”. For this reason, it is vital that wealth management and financial planning works hand in hand with advice from your accountant. This in turn means that if anything is to happen, it needs to happen sooner, rather than later!
This very brief note deals with the four main areas that will be of interest to clients. (There may be others.) We will be talking to clients individually, but in the meantime, if there is anything which is of immediate interest please get in touch.
WEALTH MANAGEMENT & CGT
With the recent corrections in the markets, now may be a good opportunity to crystallise historic gains and effectively rebase these ready for the future CGT regime. Taper Relief and Indexation will disappear from April. Is it better to cash in an investment now or wait until after April when tax will be 18%? – the answer isn’t always obvious.
Each of us has an allowance of £9,200, up to which crystallised gains can avoid tax.
WEALTH MANAGEMENT & INCOME TAX
A surprising number of people still do not make full use of their income tax personal allowance, which in the current tax year means everyone can earn £5,225 without paying tax. Some simple manoeuvring of assets between husband and wife could possibly save some income tax. Next year, there will be no 10% band and basic rate will reduce to 20%. It may be too late for this year, but now is the time to plan for next.
Up to £7,000 can be wrapped up in a tax efficient ISA. Next year it will rise to £7,200, and it will be possible to transfer Cash ISAs into Equity ISAs (that’s not always a good idea!).
Under the new pension rules, it can make a great deal of sense in invest in ISAs instead of Pensions. Clients that have been investing in ISAs for many years now have a very substantial pot of money that ultimately will be able to provide a tax free income. If you (or members of your family) have not yet used the allowance – let us know. If nothing else, at least £3,000 should be invested in a Cash ISA.
WEALTH MANAGEMENT & PENSIONS
Where financial independence is the objective, using approved pension arrangements is often sensible. But unless a commercial property is involved, contrary to received wisdom, it is not necessary to go to the expense of setting up a Self Invested Pension Plan (SIPP).The end of the tax year signifies a lost opportunity to maximise pension investments, and under the new pensions regime it is no longer possible to make up for lost years. Clients who are considering pensions need to decide now whether or not to make use of this year’s allowance – or lose it.