News

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Goodbye, Help to Buy ISA

Posted: Sep 26, 2019

The Help to Buy ISA (HTBISA) will be closed to new savers after 30 November 2019. Existing savers will be able to continue making contributions for a further ten years.

Nearly 220,000 homes have been bought using the HTBISA since its launch in 2015. The demise of this type of ISA is due to the launch in April 2017 of the Lifetime ISA (LISA), which also incorporates a tax incentive for homebuyers.

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Homing in on capital gains tax

Posted: Sep 26, 2019

Draft legislation confirms a further tightening of the rules on capital gains tax (CGT) and your home.

The government has been reforming the tax system to make investment in residential property less attractive. Actions have included increasing stamp duty land tax (mirrored in Scotland and Wales), reducing tax relief for mortgage interest and, from next tax year, creating a 30-day time limit for paying CGT on any residential property sale profits.

There will be two further new changes from April next year:

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Workplace pensions – good start but not enough

Posted: Sep 26, 2019

This October marks the seventh anniversary of the start of workplace pension auto-enrolment, perhaps proving that some grand government schemes can be a success.

Auto-enrolment has hugely increased the number of people in workplace pensions. By April 2018, nearly nine out of ten eligible employees were workplace pension members (85% in the private sector, 93% in the public sector), according to recently issued figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

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Time for a university fees shake-up?

Posted: Sep 26, 2019

A review of post-18 education in England has put student financing under the spotlight yet again – and could be the subject of another bout of reform.

The review suggested several major reforms in response to growing criticism of the level of university tuition fees. While these reforms focused on the system in England, they could prompt a response from other parts of the UK as well. The main proposals were:

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Future-proofing your finances

Posted: Sep 26, 2019

The unknowns in your financial outlook can always shift, especially when you come up to retirement.

One of the best tools for looking at the future is to use long-term cash flow planning to project your likely long-term expenditure and the income required to meet it.

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Taking the long view on your investments

Posted: Sep 26, 2019

Trade wars between the US and China, as well as Brexit and tensions in various parts of the world, have all made markets more volatile in recent months. Unsurprisingly, private investors have become more nervous.

A recent survey by leading investment house Schroders revealed that almost three-quarters of UK investors said they were influenced by political developments and market movements and check their investments at least monthly. Nearly one in five investors said that they were waiting for the dust to settle before making investment decisions.

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Simplifying inheritance tax rules?

Posted: Sep 26, 2019

Major changes proposed to inheritance tax (IHT) could alter your estate planning.

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) spent 18 months looking at IHT and has now produced two linked reports. The second contains a wide range of proposals that could have a big effect on your estate planning. These include:

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The lasting power of peace of mind

Posted: Sep 26, 2019

More people are now setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), not just those in later life.

The growing use of LPAs is not surprising given the ageing population, but it is a mistake to think that they are just for the elderly or those in failing health. Accident or illness can occur at any time of life.

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Could we see the back of inheritance tax?

Posted: Jul 26, 2019

A paper presented to the Labour Party has suggested the abolition of inheritance tax (IHT).

Labour Party proposals to kill off inheritance tax (IHT) and replace it with a gifts tax were reported across several newspapers last month. The coverage was somewhat creative, as the idea was plucked from a paper prepared for the Labour Party primarily focused on reforming the taxation of land. The gifts tax section covered just half a page and did little more than regurgitate a structure proposed over a year ago by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

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