New Year Resolutions To Save Tax

At this time of year, we think about New Year’s resolutions. It is also a good time to start planning your tax affairs before the end of the tax year on 5th April. An obvious tax planning point would be to maximise your ISA allowances for the 2022/23 tax year (currently £20,000 each). You might also want to consider increasing your pension savings before 5 April 2023 as the unused annual pension allowance from 2019/20 lapses after three years. Many of us get together with the family at Christmas and that prompts us to think about making or updating our Will.


For most taxpayers, the maximum pension contribution is £40,000 each tax year, although this depends on their earnings. This limit covers both contributions by the individual and by their employer. Under the current rules, the government adds to your pension contributions at the 20% basic rate. For instance, if you save £4,000 in a personal pension the government tops this up to £5,000. If you are a higher-rate taxpayer there is a further £1,000 tax relief when your tax liability is calculated, reducing the net cost to £3,000. This can be even more effective if your income is between £100,000 and £125,140 where the effective tax rate is 60%. Remember that pension fund investments can go down as well as up.


The top of the New Year to-do list for many individuals is to make or update their Will. Many think this is something to leave until later in life, but it is important to get things in place once the property is acquired or when children come along. In the absence of a will, there are statutory rules which dictate how your assets are distributed on death. Those statutory intestacy rules may not be tax efficient and you might want to make specific provisions in your Will for people e.g. the guardianship of your children.


When considering the wording of your Will you should note that the inheritance tax (IHT) nil rate band continues to be frozen at £325,000 until 2028. There is an additional nil rate band of up to £175,000 for passing on the family home to direct descendants on death. We can work with your solicitor to make sure your Will is tax efficient. Where the nil bands are unused on the death of the first spouse, the balance is available on the death of the surviving spouse. This, potentially allows a married couple (or civil partners) to pass on assets of up to £1 million without paying IHT. The residence nil band is even available when you downsize to a cheaper property. For example, if a married couple currently lives in a large house worth £500,000 and downsizes to a flat worth £300,000 they could give away some of the proceeds during their lifetime. They could still benefit from inheritance tax relief based on the higher-valued property.  They could even sell the house and move into a rental property or a care home and still benefit from this additional relief. In these circumstances, certain conditions must be met, so please speak to us if you think it may affect you.


The CGT annual exempt amount reduces from £12,300 to just £6,000 for gains made in 2023/24. Remember that the 2022/23 allowance is lost if not used by 5 April 2023. You might want to consider bringing forward disposals of chargeable assets where possible. If a married couple that is higher rate taxpayers own a buy-to-let property, bringing forward the disposal from 2023/24 could potentially save £3,528 CGT (£24,600 – £12,000 @ 28%). It would be important to exchange contracts before 6 April 2023 as that is the critical date for CGT.


The 130% super-deduction for the investment in plant and machinery was introduced in the March 2021 Budget. The enhanced tax deduction is available to limited companies that acquire new plants and machinery between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2023. Companies should consider bringing forward plans to acquire new plants, to benefit from this generous tax allowance. Note that the expenditure must be incurred before the 31 March 2023 deadline.

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