Focus on tax year-end planning
With Christmas and New Year behind us, tax year-end planning should now be on your radar.
The 2021/22 tax year will end on Tuesday 5 April. This year there is no Spring Budget and Easter arrives on 15 April, so no obstacles stand in the way of year-end tax planning. Nevertheless, the sooner you start the better, as some decisions cannot be made quickly. There are some key areas to consider.
Making pension contributions is one of the few ways that you can receive full income tax relief and reduce your taxable income. The second benefit matters in a world where your level of taxable income can determine whether you suffer the High Income Child Benefit tax charge or retain entitlement to a full personal allowance. The end of the tax year is a good time to assess how much you can contribute as you should have a good idea of your income for the year.
Now that we know the Chancellor does not have any plans for major reform of inheritance tax (IHT), there is a stable framework on which to plan. As ever, first on the list to consider is use of your annual exemptions, such as the £3,000 annual gifts exemption. With the nil rate bands currently frozen until April 2026, it is more important than ever not to let these go to waste.
Capital gains tax
As with IHT, the Chancellor has recently clarified his plans for capital gains tax (CGT). The annual exemption, which currently allows you to realise CGT-free gains of up to £12,300 each tax year, will not be slashed, nor will the tax rates be raised to income tax levels. That has simplified the year-end planning process, as there is now no point in realising gains above your annual exemption in case there would be more tax to pay in the near future.
If you think your personal finances could benefit from year-end planning, do not wait until the last moment to seek advice. Calculations will often need data that can take time to collect, particularly on the pensions front.