As we draw close to 5th April, it’s worth just highlighting a few sensible tax planning measures that you might be able to take to either reduce, or delay, your personal tax burden. Nothing here is rocket science, nor does it come within the (politically charged) definition of tax evasion / avoidance, but it may just be worth you considering these points, then acting immediately on them (for many of the points the second half of March is already too late to effect any changes)
- Income forecast. Is your income for the current tax year likely to place you close to one of the tax rate thresholds (£40k , £100k or £150k)? If so, then does it make sense to either delay some income into next tax year (e.g. delay a dividend) or increase your tax bands (e.g. by making a personal pension contribution or gift-aiding)?
- Have you utilized your (or your spouse’s) personal allowance, or do you have scope to take additional dividends this tax year without breaching the higher rate tax bracket?
- If your earnings are in the range £50k-£60k, are you affected by the higher rate child benefit charge? Are there any steps available to you to mitigate this?
- If you make pension contributions, either personal or employer, have you maximized your personal allowance for contributions for 14-15? Can you utilize previous years’ unused allowances?
- Have you made full use of your 14/15 ISA allowance of £15k?
- How about contributions to a Junior ISA for either children or grandchildren?
- If disposing of an asset, can you bring this forward to this tax year to take advantage of your £11k annual Capital Gains Tax exemption?
- Have you thought about instigating regular gifts from income to reduce your Inheritance Tax liability? Or have you used your IHT gifting exemption for this tax year?
As always with tax planning, you need to proceed with a degree of caution and obtain professional advice to ensure that one move does not then have unintended consequences elsewhere. Please therefore arrange an appointment with us to discuss any of these measures before proceeding.