It’s important to remember that the Government doesn’t just take tax, it also gives you a number of generous allowances and benefits each tax year. Here are some of the easiest ways to make the most of them:
Using your ISA allowance
You have £20,000 to invest tax-free in your ISA before it resets on 6 April, but if you don't use it you'll lose it. You also don’t have to declare ISAs on your tax returns.
If you feel like you’re missing out because you don’t have any new money to invest, do you have any investments in other accounts that you could sell? You could then move the proceeds into your ISA. This is a common way to make the most of your tax-free ISA allowance (although this will also use some of your Capital Gains Tax allowance).
Paying into your pension
Your annual pension allowance is £40,000 (but it is limited by the amount you earn each year). This can be carried over from the past three years if unused, meaning you could save up to £120,000 extra before the end of this tax year. Find out more about pension carry forward.
The Government tops up pension contributions by 20% automatically. However, higher or additional-rate taxpayers receive an extra 20-25% tax relief when they submit their tax return.
The Dividend Allowance
You can currently receive £5,000 of dividend income before having to pay any Income Tax. But it is important to remember that this is reducing to £2,000 on 6 April 2018 – the start of the new tax year.
If you rely on dividend-paying investments for an income, could you sell the investments and rebuy them in your ISA? This will allow you to avoid paying unnecessary tax on any dividend payments. Again this will use some of your Capital Gains Tax allowance.
Capital Gains Tax
This is the tax you pay on any profits from selling assets. The allowance is £11,300 and you cannot move it across to the next tax year if you don’t use it – so you have until 6 April to make sure you've made the most of it.
If you’re concerned about the allowance changing or about a future tax charge, you could consider selling some of your assets this tax year so you don’t waste your allowance.
More sophisticated options
Some other, more sophisticated options to consider are Venture Capital Trusts, the Enterprise Investment Scheme and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme. These investments offer high levels of tax relief because they are very risky – they invest in small and young companies. They are only suitable for certain investors who can tolerate these risks and are planning to invest for at least 5 years.*
You can see whether these sophisticated options would be right for you by downloading our tax-efficient investing guide.
Speak to an expert
Our financial planners can help you with using your tax allowances. Book a no-obligation initial consultation to find out what they could do for you.
To book your consultation, or if you have any questions about your investments, call us on 020 7189 9999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was previously published on Tilney prior to the launch of Evelyn Partners.