The UK government is financed with an impressive array of taxes that gather about £3.50 out of every £10 that the economy makes, and personal taxes make up a significant proportion of the total.
Each year, the tax legislation changes, with a raft of new sections and paragraphs in the Finance Act – as well as reams of new regulations, cases and other provisions. Even people with relatively straightforward tax affairs can find it hard to keep on top of their tax position. The tax authorities are increasingly unforgiving of late returns, payments or mistakes.
If your aim is to pay less tax – and with tax as possibly your single biggest outgoing, this would not be surprising – the challenge is even greater.
The aim of these papers is to help you understand some of the key issues, so that you can develop your tax and financial strategy in partnership with us.
Strategies for a high tax environment
Personal tax levels in the UK have been rising for some years in response to the surge in government borrowing stemming from the 2007/08 financial crisis. It is therefore important to plan your affairs so that you pay the least amount of tax consistent with your other aims and circumstances.
Year end tax planning
The end of the tax year is an important time to review the possibilities for saving tax. It may be necessary to act well before the end of the tax year, or in some instances, defer action until the new tax year has started. In general, the strategy should be to make use of available allowances and reliefs, and to reduce any higher rate tax, as far as possible.
You and yours – estate planning
Estate planning involves tax, but it encompasses much more. As with most tax planning, the key is to know what you want to achieve - who should benefit after your death and what they should receive, but also who might you want to make gifts to now and in what form. As your circumstances and the tax rules change, it is important to keep your estate planning under review. The earlier that you start planning, the easier it may be to achieve your objectives.
Making the most of ISAs
When Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) first appeared in 1999 as a replacement for PEPs and TESSAs, they were a relatively straightforward offering. In the 18 years since, what was once simple has become more complicated but all ISAs have a number of features in common.
The taxation of investments has never been a simple matter. In recent years it has become more complex as successive governments have chosen to tax different sources of investment income in different ways, mostly with the aim of adding to the Exchequer’s coffers.
Taxation of property
Buy-to-let has been an attractive proposition over recent years for anyone who has been able to raise the necessary deposit. Given a prolonged period of low borrowing costs and generally rising property values this is hardly surprising. However, recent tax changes and tighter lending rules have had a major negative impact on the buy-to-let market. So if you are thinking of becoming a landlord you will need to carefully consider the pros and cons, especially the tax implications.
Levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation are subject to change and their value depends on individual circumstances.
This publication is for general information only and is not intended to be advice to any specific person. You are recommended to seek competent professional advice before taking or refraining from taking any action on the basis of the contents of this publication. This publication represents our understanding of law and HM Revenue & Customs practice as at 31 January 2018.