New tax planning & tax advice service from Taxfile

New: Tax Advice & Planning Service

New tax planning & tax advice service from Taxfile

You can now get tax planning and tax advice from Taxfile. We have highly experienced senior accounting staff who can give you the right tax advice when you need it most — for example, when your circumstances are changing, if you’ve had trouble keeping on top of your tax commitments and need to bring things up to date, or perhaps a friend or relative simply needs a bit of reassurance with regard to their tax situation. Perhaps you have assets or income abroad as well as income in the UK and want to make sense of your tax position. Or, perhaps you have recently made a tidy profit trading crypto coins like Bitcoin and want to know where you are from the standpoint of Capital Gains or Income Tax. Maybe you need to disclose income from property rental that you have previously not told HMRC about (more about that in a later post). Those are all examples of typical situations where our new Professional Tax Advice and Tax Planning services can help you to see the wood from the trees.

A Free Telephone Consultation

In the first instance, we are inviting clients to speak for just 15 minutes with one of our resident tax planning experts. This will be in the form of a free, introductory telephone call, perhaps in February or March if it suits you. We can then see what’s needed and take it from there. We can, of course, discuss any costs with you before you commit to anything further, and there is no obligation.

Whether it’s about labour taxes, investment taxes, business taxes, disclosures to HMRC or even professional help to support you during an HMRC tax investigation, we can make sense of all the options for you and — in a fair and ethical way — help to make sure you are paying no more tax than you should do. With decades of experience in accountancy and tax planning, we know exactly what’s what when it comes to tax, so can definitely help you. Call 0208 761 8000 to arrange your free 15 minute telephone appointment with a tax expert, at a mutually convenient time. Alternatively, Read more

George Osborne

Highlights from the Chancellor’s Budget, 18 March 2015

Along with some encouraging news about the UK economy, some interesting new measures were announced in the Chancellor’s Budget yesterday and below we highlight those which we feel will directly impact the majority of UK taxpayers:

  • As widely forecast, the tax-free allowance will increase. The amount people can earn before paying tax will rise to £10,800 from 2016-17 and then to £11,000 from 2017-18. At the same points in time, higher earners will also receive a two stage increase to the threshold at which they start to pay a 40% rate of tax, with the threshold increasing to £43,300 by 2017-18.
  • The Chancellor also announced a brand new Personal Savings Allowance whereby the first £1,000 of interest (£500 for higher rate taxpayers) will be tax tree. This new allowance will kick in from April 2016 and will take 95% of taxpayers out of savings tax completely. (Fact Sheet available here).
  • Another new scheme announced was the introduction of a new ‘Help to Buy ISA’ aimed at prospective first time buyers. This fairly generous scheme means that the Government will chip in up to £50 extra per month (up to a ceiling of £3,000) when an eligible saver saves up to £200 per month towards their first home. (Fact Sheet available here).
  • In another ISA reform, savers will now be able to withdraw money from a new Flexible ISA and deposit it back later in the same financial year without losing any of their usual ISA tax benefits. £15,240 will be able to be put into this re-styled savings vehicle. Read more

(Time Sensitive): Tax Year End Changes for Pension Allowances

The start of the new Tax Year on 6 April 2014 – just 6½ weeks away at time of writing – will see two very important changes in relation to pensions allowances.

The first change will affect the ‘Annual Allowance’ (or ‘AA’) which is the annual limit on pension savings attracting tax relief. This limit will be reduced from £50k to £40k (having been as high as £255k back in 2010/11) and includes contributions made by anyone into your pension whether that’s you or your employer. Should your pension savings be greater than this amount then you will have to pay a tax charge and include such information on your Self Assessment tax return. A calculator is available to work out whether you have any unused annual allowance available, this being particularly useful because you are eligible to carry forwards any unused allowance if it exists from the 3 previous tax years. If present the unused allowance can be used to offset against any tax charge.

The second change will affect the ‘Lifetime Allowance‘ (or ‘LTA’) which is the amount payable from a private and/or work pension scheme (excludes State pension) before tax also becomes payable. Having already recently been cut from £1.8 million the LTA is currently set at £1.5 million but will be reduced to £1.25 million from 6 April 2014. The LTA is only applied to pension savings when you actually take your pension benefits, or at certain key events such as reaching the age of 75. Other examples of applicable key events are explained here. Read more

Time for ‘tax year end planning’ (pre-Budget)

The budget will take place on March 19th 2014 so that gives us all just 5 weeks (at time of writing) for ‘tax year end planning’. So perhaps now is the time to start reviewing investments.

N.B. We’re not financial advisers (we are tax agents and accountants) so we can’t give advice on investments. But let us simply point out that if a portfolio shows signs of some gains, one can usually realise up to £10,900 in capital gains for the tax year 2013/2014, without a capital gains tax (CGT) liability coming into force.

It might also be worth considering making the most of ISA allowances before the tax year ends (April 5th). £11,520 can currently be invested into an ISA for the tax year 2013/2014, of which £5,760 maximum can be in a ‘Cash ISA’. Because you cannot carry forward ISA allowances into a new tax year, there is only very limited time remaining to make the most of the current ISA allowance. Tax benefits in relation to ISAs are well recognised in the UK, so much so that the Treasury has already looked at the possibility of capping their total value … and who knows what news the coming Budget will bring in this regard, particularly bearing in mind the continued need for austerity measures to reduce the budget deficit during these troubled economic times.

If you would like independent financial advice, Read more

Stocks & Shares ISAs …

The Pros and Cons of ‘Pound Cost Averaging’

ISAs represent a tax-efficient vehicle for savings because any interest gained on them does not attract tax. At Taxfile, particularly in respect of Stocks & Shares ISAs, we’re often asked whether a lump sum investment is better or worse than a regular ‘drip-feed’ of smaller payments. If the two total the same amount over the course of a year, which is the best method of paying into an ISA?

Well, it all comes down to market conditions, timing and ‘Pound Cost Averaging’. A regular drip-feeding of smaller investments can take the worry out of investment decision-making because it reduces exposure when markets are falling and also it results in a smoother, less volatile, ride. If a larger lump sum were invested and the market fell, it could clearly be a disaster. Compared to that, regular, smaller payments would mean that only a small amount was invested while the market was at its lowest – and even then it would have purchased comparatively more shares because they were then much cheaper (an opportunity which would have been missed with the earlier one-off lump sum approach). Similarly, with a regular drip-feed of smaller payments, fewer shares are purchased when they are at their most expensive. Read more