The right advice can make a real difference in the run up to the end of the tax year to ensure that you avoid missing out on the valuable tax-saving allowances and opportunities that would otherwise be lost after 5 April. This is a time of the year when individuals and couples are given an opportunity to help ensure their long-term financial plans are on track, by using reliefs and allowances that would otherwise be lost and in some respects, the scope for tax-free saving has never been better.
Take control of your Isa plans
The annual ISA allowance for an individual climbed to £20,000 in April 2017, another boost for this popular savings vehicle that provides a great opportunity to generate income and capital growth free of any further liability to Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax. However, if you don’t use your allowance before 6 April, it will be lost forever.
Latest HMRC figures show that contributions to Stocks & Shares ISAs in the last tax year rose by nearly 6% to £22.3 billion. On the other hand, Cash ISA subscriptions fell by a staggering 33%. It appears that savers are waking up to the greater potential of Stocks & Shares ISAs to create tax- efficient capital growth and income for the future. That is the opportunity in the run-up to the end of the tax year.
Tax Year-End isn’t just about ISAs, there is also the need to review wider retirement planning strategy because the fundamental problem remains that individuals are not making sufficient provision for life after work. The tax advantages of pensions are still hard to beat. If you can afford it, and subject to your eligibility, you should consider maximising contributions into your personal pension to take account of tax relief, which boosts the value of your contribution from day one.
Review your ISA portfolio
It’s not just those with existing Cash ISA holdings who should consider whether their accumulated ISA savings are working as hard for them as possible. Investors with Stocks & Shares ISA portfolios should review them regularly, and the end of the tax year is as good a time as any. How are the funds or underlying investments performing? Does your portfolio still match your attitude to risk or current needs? Could you improve the income-generating potential of your ISA portfolio?
Make market volatility work to your advantage
Last year, stock markets around the world registered their least volatile year since before the financial crisis over a decade ago. For those worried about investing at the wrong time, saving regularly, perhaps into a Pension or a Stocks & Shares ISA is an ideal way to make the most of your respective allowances. It’s a tried and trusted way to help control risk over the longer term. By drip-feeding your money into the market, you have the potential to buy more units when share prices are falling or lower than they could be in the future.
Don’t overlook the opportunity to save for children
Given the future financial challenges faced by the children of today, it’s important not to overlook the opportunity to give them a head start by investing into a Junior ISA. A Junior ISA can hold stocks and shares or cash, and it cannot be accessed until the child reaches 18 years of age. In other words, for parents and grandparents who start saving early, it’s a long-term investment and an opportunity to build up a tax-efficient fund to help meet the future expenses and plans.
A Year-Round Activity
Tax planning should be a year-round activity, but it is particularly important to maximise the available opportunities as the tax year draws to a close.
Effective tax planning requires knowledge and expertise, to discuss this, and any other financial planning needs, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time and are generally dependent on individual circumstances.
The favourable tax treatment of ISAs may be subject to changes in legislation in the future.