Relief as pension tax stays untouched

Posted: Mar 08, 2016

The Chancellor's decision to defer any major changes to pension tax relief is a sensible one, with automatic enrolment at its peak and the pension freedoms still bedding in. The fact that the Government has conducted such an open debate on incentives to save has been useful though. Not least, it has reinforced how important it is to make the most of the current pension tax system.

With retirement savings very much in the news, now is a good time to recap the true value of the current incentives to save in to a pension.

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How to avoid a tax charge after April's Pension Lifetime Allowance cut

Posted: Jan 06, 2016

The Government has published draft details of the protection regime that will apply after the lifetime allowance (LTA) is cut in April. Chancellor George Osborne announced the cut, which will see the LTA reduce from £1.25 to £1m, in the 2015 Budget. 

The Government's draft finance bill, published in December, provides information on how savers who have already built up pensions worth more than £1m can avoid a tax charge. 

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Can you really avoid inheritance tax?

Posted: Jun 24, 2016

Inheritance tax (IHT) was once famously described as "a voluntary levy paid by those who distrust their heirs more than they like the Inland Revenue" by Roy Jenkins, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer. 

When Gordon Brown was Chancellor of the Exchequer, he called IHT a  "voluntary tax" because he said there were many ways to avoid it.

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Stay covered for the rainy days

Posted: Jun 24, 2016

Whatever your view about the principle of providing people with social security benefits if they are ill or unemployed, it is inadvisable to try living solely on what the State provides in such circumstances. The so-called "safety net" is lower than you may think it is.   

After the recent U-turn on the Personal Independence Payments (PIP), the government has said there will be no more benefit cuts beyond those already planned, but that does not mean that you or your family could comfortably rely on State support to make ends meet during such times.

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Don't fall into the gifting tax traps

Posted: Jun 24, 2016

New tax rules introduced in April have changed your options when investing for children.

If you give money or investments to your unmarried minor child, then the tax rules can catch you out. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is suspicious that such gifts are an attempt to avoid tax on the part of the donor, so the law says that if the total income generated from all such gifts exceeds £100 per tax year, that income is taxed as that of the parent. The rule operates on a per parent, per child basis, but it can still be difficult to avoid crossing the £100 threshold.

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Buy-to-let: strike five

Posted: Jun 24, 2016

The buy-to-let sector is under Treasury attack

The government appears to have taken aim at buy-to-let investors in its efforts to help "generation rent" become first time buyers.

In the last year there have been five important announcements:

1. A phased reduction in tax relief for mortgage interest down to 20% by 2020/21;

2. The replacement in 2016/17 of the 10% wear-and-tear allowance with one based on costs the landlord has actually incurred;

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How much lower for longer?

Posted: Jun 24, 2016

March 2016 marked the seventh anniversary of a 0.5% Bank of England base rate, but other interest rates are still falling. 

"Lower for longer" is now a commonly used phrase when economists and bankers discuss the future of interest rates. The view is supported by banks and other deposit takers, which continue to reduce savers' rates. Shortly after Easter, National Savings & Investments (NS&I) joined the rate cutters. From June Income Bonds and the Direct ISA will then pay only 1%.

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On the lookout for LISA

Posted: Jun 24, 2016

Will next year's Lifetime ISA be a real pension alternative?

The rumour machine that operates before each year's Budget went into overdrive in 2016. First there was a steady flow of stories about changes to pensions that would see flat rate tax relief replace full income tax relief on pension contributions. Then, shortly before the Budget, there was a widely covered unofficial statement that the Chancellor had decided to make no changes. As it turned out, both rumours had an element of truth.

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Budget 2016 tax changes: new moves

Posted: Jun 29, 2016

This year's Budget contained many measures which could affect your long term financial planning.

Budgets have become a regular feature of the financial landscape. The March 2016 Budget is the third in twelve months and it revealed some important tax changes:

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Brexit Fallout: what are the implications?

Posted: Sep 18, 2016

The implications for investors of the result of the UK referendum on EU membership will be played out over the months ahead and it is very likely that volatility will persist in the near term. Although we understand investors' concerns, you should not need to make dramatic changes, provided you have a well-diversified portfolio.



Financial risk needs a different reaction

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