News

Just one more year…

Posted: Jun 27, 2017

The next increase in State Pension Age has edged nearer.

Do you know when you will start to receive your single-tier State pension? You can use the government website to tell you, but the answer may not be the correct one for much longer.

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Company cars: two turns of the screw

Posted: Jun 27, 2017

If you have a company car, the new tax year brought two pieces of bad news. Firstly, in most instances there was a 2% increase in the car benefit rate – the percentage applied to the car’s list price to calculate its taxable benefit. Because the 2% was almost universal, the highest proportionate tax increases were for the lowest emission vehicles. Secondly, if your company car is part of a salary sacrifice arrangement, then be warned that when you change cars (or April 2020 if earlier), you will be taxed on the salary foregone unless the taxable value of your car is higher.

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Think before you phase retirement

Posted: Jun 27, 2017

If you are planning to retire gradually, the Chancellor is making things more difficult.

“Simplification” was once a word applied to the reform of pensions taxation. These days, with a nod to the past, pension experts talk about “complification” instead. What started out as relatively straightforward in 2006 has become fiendishly complex as successive Chancellors have attempted to reduce the expense of pension tax reliefs. For 2015/16 their cost was estimated at £38,200 million – a tempting target for the Treasury scissors.

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Diversifying your investments

Posted: Jun 27, 2017

We have seen how unexpected events can impact on investment markets – with Brexit, Donald Trump becoming President of the United States, the run up to the French Presidential polls and Theresa May calling a surprise UK general election.

With the lesson of uncertainty in mind, how can we arrange our investments to cope with future uncertainty? Diversification is key, with the aim of creating a set of investments – a portfolio – that includes a range of types of assets that will behave in different ways whenever events occur.

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The residence nil rate band – not all it seems

Posted: Jun 27, 2017

The inheritance tax (IHT) residence nil rate band is now available, potentially cutting the IHT bill on your estate by £40,000. This new relief could be valuable for many families, especially as the general nil rate band (NRB) has been frozen until at least April 2021.

The residence nil rate band (RNRB) finally went live on 6 April 2017 and this is how it works:

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The ISA family grows again

Posted: Jun 27, 2017

6 April marked the launch of the Lifetime ISA, an important addition to the ISA family.

There are now up to seven different ISAs, depending upon how you count. The latest is the Lifetime ISA, or LISA. The LISA is significantly different from her siblings, as a quick look at her main features reveals:

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Budget tax changes – set for a comeback

Posted: Jun 27, 2017

The Spring Budget contained a few surprises, but came before the big surprise – a snap election.

Mr Hammond’s first and last March Budget was a relatively low-key affair which almost disappeared once the general election was announced and most of its proposals were shelved. However, some measures are still worth bearing in mind.

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The importance of reviews

Posted: Jun 27, 2017

Several important changes to tax and benefits were introduced at the beginning of 2017/18. So it makes sense to review your financial planning regularly to make sure it’s still fully effective. After all, last year’s sensible strategy could be this year’s tax trap.

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Estate Planning with your Pension

Posted: Apr 10, 2017

It may sound strange, but your pension could be the last thing you should draw on in retirement.

Over the last five tax years the amount paid in inheritance tax (IHT), nearly all of which is collected on death, has risen by over 70%. However, there is one area where the IHT rules have become noticeably more favourable pensions.

A range of reforms has made defined contribution (money purchase) pensions, such as personal pensions, a valuable tool in estate planning. The broad rules are now:

• Pension death benefits are generally free of IHT. 

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