Personal tax tips

 

Income tax annual allowance

Every individual has a tax free annual allowance which means they pay no income tax unless their income is above the threshold. If you are married or in a civil partnership, make sure you both make use of your tax free allowances by sharing the ownership of business and private assets in a tax efficient manner between you.

Sometimes you can pay too much tax without realising it. A change of employment, tax code or incurring job related expenses could mean that you are eligible for a tax refund.

Tax credits

Check your eligibility for tax credits and any other allowances you may be missing out on. Depending on your circumstances, we may be able to help you arrange your finances more efficiently to help you qualify for tax credits and other reliefs.

Employment expenses

Make sure you claim relief for business expenses incurred whilst performing your job. Flat rate deductions are available for things like tools and clothing and you may also be eligible for capital allowances.

You can also claim mileage allowances for business travel you do as part of your job. If your employer doesn't pay you the full approved rate, you are eligible to claim relief for the difference.

State pension

You should make sure you have enough qualifying years for the full sate pension. You gain qualifying years by making National Insurance Contributions, but it is possible to make voluntary contributions if you do not have sufficient qualifying years. Follow this link if you think this might apply to you: GOV.UK - state pensions

Personal pensions and gift aid

When you contribute to a personal pension, the government also gives you tax relief on your contributions, which means they effectively top up your pension fund for you at your highest rate of tax. This can be especially attractive if you are a higher rate taxpayer. 

You can also contribute into a pension scheme for your non-working spouse or children and they are deemed to have made the contribution net of basic rate tax even if they are non-taxpayers.

By contributing to a personal pension or by making charitable donations that qualify for 'gift aid', you may be able to bring yourself under certain tax thresholds such as the higher rate tax threshold and the tax credits thresholds. Charities also benefit by receiving a tax credit from the government when you complete a gift aid donation. However, do not give to charity via gift aid if your income is low as you may become liable to repay the tax credit claimed by the charity.

Savings and investments

Basic rate taxpayers can earn £1,000 of savings interest tax free. Higher rate taxpayers can earn £500 tax free. Everyone can also receive £2,000 of dividend income tax free regardless of their other income.

In addition to this, you should also make use of tax free savings accounts such as ISAs.

Children are not exempt from tax but they do have their own personal allowances too. However, if you place money into investments in your child's name, any income will be taxed as yours, unless it comes to less than £100 per year (per parent per child). If this affects you, you should consider a tax free savings account for you child such as a Junior ISA.

Marriage allowance

The marriage allowance lets you transfer some of your unused personal allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner - if they earn more than you.

Trading and property allowances

From April 2017, the government has announced the introduction of a £1,000 trading income allowance and a £1,000 property income allowance. These are aimed at ‘micro-entrepreneurs’, such as those letting out property or trading via ‘sharing economy’ websites.

Where individuals are in receipt of income below the new allowances, the income will not be subject to tax and will no longer need to be reported to HMRC.

Where gross income receipts are in excess of these amounts, the recipient can simply take the £1,000 allowance as a deduction against their gross income to arrive at their taxable income figure, rather than having to calculate and deduct the actual expenses they have incurred to arrive at their taxable profit.

Salary sacrifice and childcare

Salary sacrifice schemes may be offered by your employer which can help you save tax and National Insurance Contributions. It is often more tax efficient to receive a lower salary in return for certain tax exempt benefits.

Capital gains tax and inheritance tax

Please read the following pages to learn more about tax planning for CGT and IHT:

> Capital gains tax

> Inheritance tax and gifts

 

Disclaimer

This information is not meant as a substitute for professional advice and by no means covers every scenario. Almost every rule described here will be subject to many exceptions and caveats. Tax legislation is extremely complex and can be difficult to understand. You should discuss your circumstances with a qualified professional before acting on any information contained within this website. Tax legislation is constantly changing and the information contained within this website is written from our current understanding and interpretation of the tax system as of 6 April 2020.

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