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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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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Financial planning: get ready for 2016

Posted: Jan 06, 2016

The new year will be marked by many changes that could affect your personal finances. 

The first year after a general election is often the time when major reforms take effect, especially those which create losers as well as winners. 2016 will be no exception. 
 

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Company dividends - are you ready for the changes?

Posted: Jan 06, 2016

From April 2016, the government will replace the current 10% notional tax on dividends with a £5,000 allowance. As a result, directors of small and medium sized businesses may find that paying a dividend is no longer the best way for them to extract profits from the company. 
 

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New tax rules for dividends and interest

Posted: Feb 19, 2016

The tax treatment of your savings will be changing in April with important consequences.

The two Budgets of 2015 both made changes to the 2016/17 tax treatment of investment income.

Personal Savings Allowance

This new allowance will mean that if you are a higher rate taxpayer, the first £500 of interest you earn in a tax year will be free of tax. If you are a basic rate taxpayer, your allowance is £1,000. Additional rate taxpayers will not receive any of the new allowance.

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Should you still plan for inheritance tax?

Posted: Feb 19, 2016

Some people may have gained the impression from the last Budget that inheritance tax (IHT) is no longer an issue for most families.

After all, hasn't the IHT threshold  the nil rate band - been increased to 1 million? Unfortunately not. Since April 2009 there has been no IHT due on the first £325,000 of an estate. In the Summer Budget 2015 the Chancellor announced that this nil rate band would remain frozen at £325,000 until April 2021. This can be increased to as much as £650,000 by using the unused nil-rate band of a deceased spouse or civil partner.

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Highlights from the Autumn Statement

Posted: Feb 19, 2016

The Chancellor's third set piece of last year was almost another Budget.

After a Budget in March and another in July, it might have been thought that Mr Osborne would have little new to say in his Autumn Statement, but this proved not to be the case in two important areas.

Tax and additional homes

In his July Budget the Chancellor announced two measures aimed at individual investors in the buy-to-let market and the Autumn Statement added two more.

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The more expensive company car

Posted: Feb 19, 2016

The new tax year will again see higher company car tax scales for most drivers.

In 2016/17 the increase will be greater than in previous years for many drivers, because with few exceptions, the scale charge will rise by two percentage points rather than the normal one. Until the Autumn Statement, the tax bill for diesel cars had been due to go down from April 2016, but the Chancellor - probably with VW in mind - decided to delay this cut until 2021/22. You could be better off leasing your own car.

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Tax planning ahead of the spring Budget

Posted: Feb 19, 2016

You may want to step-up your year end tax planning in anticipation of the third Budget in the space of 12 months.

Year-end tax planning is normally best completed before Budget day and in 2016, this principle means acting before 16 March. Not only is there a risk of anti-forestalling measures, but the Easter holiday falls between the Budget and tax year end. The 2015/16 tax year end checklist is dominated by pensions, but there are other areas - both familiar and new - to consider:

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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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