For those aged 55 and over and with a SIPP or other money purchase schemes, the new flexible pension rules commence on 6 April 2015. The new rules allow such pensioners to withdraw as much or as little income as they like from their fund but the income drawn will be taxed at their marginal tax rate.
Those affected should discuss the options with an Independent Financial Adviser who will need to work closely with us as the tax payable on the pension will depend upon their level of other income.
Make charitable payments under gift aid to save more tax!
Higher rate taxpayers should make any charitable payments under Gift Aid so that you obtain additional tax relief. The charity will also be able to reclaim the basic rate tax from HMRC.
Year end capital gains tax planning
Have you used your 2014/15 annual exemption of £11,000? Consider selling shares where the gain is less than £11,000 before 6 April 2015. Also, if you have any worthless shares consider a negligible value claim to establish a capital loss. You may even be able to set off the capital loss against your income under certain circumstances.
Take advantage of your 2014/15 ISA allowances
Your maximum annual investment in ISAs for 2013/14 is £15,000. Your investment needs to be made before 6 April 2015. In addition, have you thought about investing for your children or grandchildren by setting up junior ISAs or pensions? In the 2014/15 tax year, you can invest £4,000 into a Junior ISA for any child under 18 who does not have a Child Trust Fund.
Other tax efficient investments
If you are looking for investment opportunities, have you considered the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), which offers income tax relief of 30 per cent as well as capital gains tax relief when you buy shares in certain qualifying companies? An even more generous tax break is available for investment in a qualifying Seed EIS company where income tax relief at 50 per cent is available. It is possible to shelter 50% of your capital gains in 2014/15 and there is a capital gains tax exemption when the shares are sold. Note however that qualifying Seed EIS companies tend to be risky investments so professional advice should be taken.
A 30% income tax break is also available by investing in a Venture Capital Trust.
Inheritance tax planning before 6th April 2015
Have you made use of your annual inheritance tax exemptions? The general annual exemption is £3,000 per donor (plus last year’s £3,000 exemption if you did not use it). Also consider making regular gifts out of your income to minimise the growth of your estate that will be liable to IHT.