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Griffins Financial Solutions Limited is authorised and regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority. Griffins Financial Solutions Limited is entered on the FSA register under reference: 118099. The advice and/or guidance contained within this site is subject to the UK regulatory regime and is therefore targeted at customers based in the UK.

A seasonal bonus for pensions?

Posted: Feb 14, 2019

The tax year end can focus the mind. Particularly with regard to pension funding - if allowances are not used now, they may be lost forever.  But where can you find the ‘cash’ to top-up your pension?

One solution may be to use any year-end bonus payments.

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Tax year end planning 2019 - top 10 checklist

Posted: Feb 14, 2019

With the end of the tax year just around the corner, it’s time to check you are making the most of your tax reliefs and allowances to save for a brighter future. There’s a lot to think about.

We’ve created a checklist of our top 10 planning opportunities to explore, together with the key information you may need to make these a reality. 

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Protecting the state pension for stay-at-home parents

Posted: Feb 07, 2019

An issue concerning how the high income child benefit charge (HICBC) can potentially affect stay-at-home parents has emerged.

The HICBC claws back child benefit payments where either parent has income over £50,000 a year, and removes the benefit entirely if either parent has income over £60,000. For couples where one person earns over £60,000 whilst the other stays at home to look after children, it can appear that it is not worth claiming a benefit that is completely withdrawn.

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Inheritance tax reductions ahead of potential reform

Posted: Feb 07, 2019

Inheritance tax (IHT) will be slightly reduced for some from 6 April 2019, but greater reforms may arrive soon.

The IHT residence nil rate band (RNRB) increases by £25,000, bringing it to £150,000 for the 2019/20 tax year. In theory that means a married couple can pass on up to £950,000 (2 x nil rate band of £325,000 + 2 x RNRB of £150,000) to their heirs free of tax.

In practice matters are much more complicated, as eligibility for the RNRB comes with a variety of conditions primarily designed to limit the cost to HM Treasury.  

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Preparing for the new tax year

Posted: Feb 07, 2019

One of the few certainties about 2019 is that the new tax rates and thresholds will take effect from the start of the 2019/20 tax year on 6 April.

Whilst the focus tends to be on year end tax planning at this time of year, it is important to look forward to the new tax year and the changes that it will bring.

From 2019/20 changes will come into effect for key income tax rates and thresholds, as well as pensions.

There are two inflation-busting income tax changes:

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Money pouring in to VCTs, despite the risks

Posted: Feb 07, 2019

Investment in venture capital trusts (VCTs) is continuing to rise as we head in to 2019/20.

VCTs have been growing in popularity in recent years, as the graph shows. Nearly £750 million was invested in VCTs in 2017/18, the highest figure since 2005/06, when the rate of income tax relief was temporarily boosted to 40% (against the current 30%).

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Happy birthday to tax-free savings

Posted: Feb 07, 2019

The arrival of the new tax year on 6 April means it is time to consider your Individual Savings Accounts (ISA) investments, which will celebrate their 20th birthday in April.

Over the last 20 years, the maximum annual contribution has risen from £7,000 per tax year to £20,000 for 2019/20. If you managed to set aside the maximum each tax year since 1999/2000, you would now have placed over £205,000 into ISAs and largely out of HMRC’s reach.

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Filling the pensions hole for the self-employed

Posted: Jan 31, 2019

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is aiming to expand pension coverage among the self-employed.

Pension automatic enrolment has become a major success since it was launched nearly seven years ago, with almost 10 million people joining a workplace pension arrangement. Take-up rates have been much higher than some pundits had forecast – the latest calculation from the DWP showed that in 2016/17 the overall opt out rate was just 9%.

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Understanding the Child Benefit Charge

Posted: Jan 31, 2019

7 January marked the fifth anniversary of the tax on child benefits, an imposition that is still not widely understood.

The High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC), to give child benefit tax its correct name, was introduced in a rush by George Osborne – so much so that it began three months before the start of the 2013/14 tax year. It was, and remains, a classic example of the type of tax system tweaking beloved of Chancellors and disliked by those who have to deal with the consequences.

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