20th Apr, 2021

RISING COST OF A SECOND HOME

2021-04-20T12:26:22+01:00

TODAY’S BLOG

RISING COST OF A SECOND HOME

Second home owners face a clampdown over a tax loophole that can save them money by claiming the properties are available for holiday lets. Currently around 60,000 properties classed as holiday lets are liable for business tax rather than council tax, which in the vast majority of cases currently means paying nothing at all. The Treasury said it would “ensure that owners of properties that are not genuine businesses are not able to reduce their tax liability by declaring that a property is available for let but make little or no realistic effort to actually let it out”. It was announced as part of a raft of consultation documents on tax published by the Treasury which also included plans to shake up air passenger duty (APD).

SOLOMONS IFA RISING COSTS OF A Holiday Home

THE TAXMAN COMETH

The holiday lets move relates to properties in England which the owner declares are intended to be made available to let 140 days in the coming year, making them liable for business rates rather than council tax. In about 96% of cases, they have such a low rateable value that they qualify for small business rates relief which means they pay nothing at all.

There is currently no requirement for checks to verify that the properties are actually commercially rented out.

Following a consultation launched in 2018, the government said it would now legislate to tighten the rules. Also included in the series of consultations were proposals to cut down on inheritance tax red tape, reducing the paperwork families need to fill out. The government also published an interim report on its review of the business rates system – long the subject of calls for change from the retail sector – detailing responses from some firms. But a final report will not be published until the autumn.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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RISING COST OF A SECOND HOME2021-04-20T12:26:22+01:00
16th Mar, 2021

TECHNOLOGY IMPROVEMENT

2021-03-16T14:23:37+00:00

TODAY’S BLOG

TECHNOLOGY IMPROVEMENTS

We are gradually attempting to increase efficiency by minimising the actions required to get things done. We have adopted electronic signatures for documents where this is possible. This makes life considerably easier for you – no need to sign and post a form. We are using DocuSign, which is one of the leading software providers for this sort of secure signature process.

You automatically get a pdf to save on your computer, but invariably we will also save a copy to your file within our portal.

DOCUSIGN

The process takes a few moments, most of the forms we use are ones that you will have seen regularly, but are often required for tax-year payments, ongoing declarations of your tax status and UK residence as well as our fees.

If you have any difficulties using the DocuSign system, please do not hesitate to contact the team on 0208 542 8084 or send an email to debbie@solomonsifa.co.uk and we will be very pleased to help.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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TECHNOLOGY IMPROVEMENT2021-03-16T14:23:37+00:00
16th Mar, 2021

WONDERVISION

2021-03-16T08:48:52+00:00

TODAY’S BLOG

WONDERVISION

Its not a typo, I am well aware that the latest Marvel series is WandaVision, which far from being about superpower, is all about the very real human feelings of grief and loss. So no, today I am not talking about that.

This morning (too late?) ok, so tomorrow morning when you wake up, I’d like you to think about how many companies have been involved in your morning routine. Let’s face it, morning routines have been fairly routine for months now, so this may require very little effort as many of us are on autopilot.

RISE AND OBSERVE

To the matter at hand. I am going to assume that you are waking in your bed, with a pillow in your own room. Can you remember where you bought these from? Or who made them? How about your bedside table, lamp, clock, book (and pen?) what about your nightwear, sheets, carpet? How much “stuff” can you observe that you have bought before you have even put a foot into your slippers or directly onto the floor? A surprising number already I imagine. Where is your smartphone at this point? Do you have lots of applications running?

The image below is one that I have been using recently, but it is very flawed, there are about 100 companies shown here, there are about 1600-1800 in the global equity part of your portfolio. So that’s about 5% of the list. Note the size and position of each logo means absolutely NOTHING.

SOLOMONS IFA - INVESTING 1800

X-RAY VISION

Now for the superpower, imagine that you have x-ray vision. You can see all the components of all the objects around you, the springs and stuffing in your bed, the wires and plumbing, the bricks, plaster, cement, the metal window locks, the PVC, glass, the screws, nuts and bolts. How about all those automatic things that are also supporting this modest existence of yours? The utility company, your broadband provider, your insurance policies, water supplier, your bank accounts and so on. A vast number right? So many you probably gave up or did not attempt to count.

Most of those products and services are provided by companies found listed on the world stock markets. They are also in your portfolio, no matter how big or small it may be. They are there. This is investing. Deploying your money to back businesses that we all use, many of which we do not even realise. Even with the huge rise in technology where you will be using software on hardware that perhaps you are so familiar with it does not even register until its replaced, upgraded or fails…much like (exactly like) all the things you have just observed.

You own a part of all of this. A small part, but your money is backing those companies to improve what they do. We all know that the future will be different, and some businesses will need to adapt to the changes or fail, but new ones will emerge for things that none of us can imagine clearly (if you can, please get backing (money) to make it).

This is what your investments do.

Should you wish to see the mini-series WandaVision about Wanda and Vision, it can be found on the Disney channel, another holding in your portfolio.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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WONDERVISION2021-03-16T08:48:52+00:00
3rd Mar, 2021

THE BUDGET 3 MARCH 2021

2021-03-15T15:41:08+00:00

TODAY’S BLOG

THE BUDGET 03 MARCH 2021

The House of Commons was unusually civil during the Chancellors Budget Statement largely because hardly anyone was there due to social distancing and making the task rather easy to identify who is behaving like a spoiled child. Normally the Speaker has a harder job. As for the Budget – well, it’s a good job I am not a betting man.

The Chancellor believes that support over the pandemic will run to £407bn in various forms. This needs to be repaid if future generations are not to be saddled with debt forever, thereby hampering how future Governments can help them.

I did warn that taxes would rise, I thought capital gains tax would be the most obvious tax to increase. It has not. The only actual increased tax rate is Corporation Tax, which impacts business owners running profitable businesses (with profits over £250,000). Corporation tax will rise from 19% to 25% – that’s an increase of 31%. It may surprise you to learn that only 10% of businesses claim to make profits over £250,000.

Almost everything else stayed the same – but staying the same really means changing. Of course, this knock-on effect means reduced profit to share out in the larger businesses (like those you invest in via a fund) so returns may be dampened – but then this is simply a UK issue and most of your equity holdings are not in the UK now (your portfolio is global).

SOLOMONS IFA FROZEN ALLOWANCE BUDGET

THE SAME DOES NOT MEAN NO CHANGE

Pensions, Capital Gains, Inheritance tax all remain unchanged, which means that as incomes or the values of assets rise, the excess taxes begin to hurt rather more.

Those approaching retirement have the spectre of a 5-year freeze of the Lifetime Allowance at £1,073,100. Anything above this sees the excess taxed at 55% – so more likely. How much and how you can contribute to pensions is also frozen, as it is for ISAs and Junior ISAs. These are probably the “nice to have” problems if you are running a business that is struggling or have an income that has fallen dramatically due to the pandemic.

Your Personal allowance (income you can have at 0% tax rate) rises by £70 on 6th April to £12,570 but then stays at that level for 5 years. Higher rate and Additional Rate tiers also remain frozen. What this really means is that if your income rises due to inflation or promotion etc, you will pay more tax.

The most notable help to younger generations is the Apprentice Scheme and the re-opening of 95% mortgages by lenders, who have been given Government guarantees. There may be some window dressing here, a borrower will still be made to jump through a variety of hoops to prove that they can become an owner (or more accurately, a borrower) rather than a renter, with a 5% deposit. Those that have taken advantage of the reduce Stamp Duty ending in March, have a little longer to complete their purchase.

If you are asking me what I would have done differently, (you aren’t) well there is a very long list and most of it involves simplifying pensions and tax rates. Complexity enables some to thrive and others to become rather entangled. HMRC are due to have a whopping £180m spent on further technology to help ensure you report your taxes correctly with fairly dire consequences for those that do not. I do hope that the track and trace lot are not “awarded” the HMRC technology contract.

DETAIL IS A DEVIL

Politicians rely on our short-term memories, they must do otherwise so few would ever be re-elected. When you cut through the words it is best to look at the numbers. These are some key forecasts that I have pulled from the Budget Statement (which you can see here).

SOLOMONS IFA BLOG BUDGET ASSUMPTIONS

How you view life will likely influence how you select data from the table above (which is all lifted directly from the Budget) I have only shown the year on year changes as a percentage and drawn attention to some of the data (of which there is a lot!). Long story short, we will be paying more income tax. The Chancellor seems to be expecting unemployment  to increase by 500,000 over the next 2 years before reducing, but still above current levels. Inheritance tax receipts peak in the coming tax year perhaps reflecting the consequences of the fatalities from the virus.

The property market looks predicted to return to normality shortly, but really picking up next year. Council tax looks likely to increase rather faster than inflation. Fuel duties will begin to rise, and oddly over the next 12 months, once hopefully this is over, duties from alcohol actually fall in 2021/22 (which I think is odd unless you have all been knocking back the booze over the last year or so more than normal with a plan to cut back).  Air Passenger duty has rather obviously collapsed and will likely return to pre-pandemic levels in 4-5 years time, that’s quite a slow recovery.

Corporation tax will really bite in 3-4 years time. Business rates also begin to pick up, which when combined with loan repayments and more VAT, I imagine that some business owners may be looking at cost reductions. There may well be “pent up demand” and a good supply of labour, the Chancellor is understandably encouraging investment in growth, through new technology and digital business combined with Apprenticeships. It (business growth and development) is certainly what needs to happen, but whether it will remains to be seen.

Every Budget has lots of assumptions about the future, but you will be paying more tax, so use the allowances you can.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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THE BUDGET 3 MARCH 20212021-03-15T15:41:08+00:00
23rd Feb, 2021

I CARE A LOT

2021-02-23T16:30:14+00:00

TODAY’S BLOG

I CARE A LOT

Many of us have been under something akin to house arrest over the last year. One of the recent movies that you may have come across on your media platform is “I Care A Lot”. Why am I writing about film again? Well, it’s a pertinent story, here is why…

RESIDENTIAL CARE

Many of us may have to contemplate Residential Care for ourselves or our loved ones. I have very few clients that relish this prospect. Most prefer to stay in their own home for as long as possible, retaining their independence and dignity as they see it. Most people will therefore be likely to only find themselves in care if a life, lived at home is not really possible. The cost of residential care can be significant, the weekly fees can be eye-watering and probably far exceed any weekly that you have achieved in your entire lifetime. Those of you that have faced this already will know this already.

THE LETTER OF THE LAW

The basic plot of the movie “I Care A Lot” sees lawyer Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike) present the façade of caring for people in this predicament. She is using the law to imprison people in a care facility and then take over managing their assets making a fortune in fees in the process.

She abuses the system, fools the judiciary, bribes the medics, funds the care home managers and manipulates her way to a fortune. The first 30 minutes of the movie had my blood boiling as she serenely executes her targeted imprisonment of Jennifer Peterson, (Dianne Wiest) someone that is clearly able to look after herself and is well resourced. In a courtroom Marla’s arguments are well rehearsed, tried, tested and watertight – they seem reasonable. “You can’t care for someone by doing what they want. You have to do what they need and I can care better than a family member.” We suspect and the court knows that this is sadly often the case. We are left to face the uncomfortable truth that we can see the legal point, even if its wrong.Sadly, this part of the film is alarmingly believable, later elements are not, but I will leave those for you to discover.

SOLOMONS BLOG I CARE A LOT MARLA - ROSAMUND PIKE

TAKING CONTROL

In the UK having Power of Attorney can or should ensure that this sort of abuse of power cannot happen. Whenever the State is permitted to step in, there will always be strings attached and likely little contextual thinking as the State is an institution, designed for box-ticking and box sorting to answer bigger questions of taxation rather than the nuances of individuality.

Having a Will and Power of Attorney drawn up properly and discussed with the people you intend to hold positions of responsibility (Attorney, Executor or Trustee) is a fundamental task of good financial planning for the future.

TRUSTED ADVISERS

We might all want professionals to be trustworthy, but we know that they are simply people and have their own pressures. Money is a sure way to attract the wrong people and illicit the worst responses from them. As also developed in the excellent six-part mini-series “Behind Her Eyes” starring Simona Brown, Eve Hewson and Tom Bateman (also on Netflix).

TAKING INITIATIVE, PLANNING AHEAD

Last week I took on a very bright new client who has given this much thought. Perfectly capable today, but with a clear appreciation that the day may come when that is no longer the case, and perhaps (probably) “I wouldn’t even know”. Your planning should be designed to give you peace of mind, not anxiety. The great difficulty is finding someone in whom you can place a high degree of trust. Following the law does not demonstrate trust, clarifying, documenting and understanding your own expectations is, which is why reviewing and checking progress with you each year is so important. A year ago, few would have considered the challenges that we have faced together. They have presented tests for our values and hopes. Have you kept us up to date with any changes to yours?

For a dramatic way to grab your attention, here are the trailers for the movie and the series mentioned.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

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I CARE A LOT2021-02-23T16:30:14+00:00
9th Feb, 2021

Nucleus and James Hay

2021-02-10T09:33:37+00:00

TODAY’S BLOG

NUCLEUS AND JAMES HAY

The world of Financial Services can often seem dull, but many of us that have been around for a little longer than a week are very familiar with the frequent merging of financial services companies. This morning it has been announced that Nucleus have accepted an offer to be acquired by the James Hay Group. Many of our clients have holdings on the Nucleus platform.

Change is unsettling, the reality is that we can never prevent change, we simply must face it. Nucleus is, to be blunt, a rather brilliant company that we have been using for many years. The technology works and the culture which in no small part directly derives from David Ferguson have been a beacon in my sector. One of integrity, innovation, and transparency.

James Hay is a very large financial services company that mainly specialises in pensions. We have always been able to use them for our clients. We review the platforms we use each year and this is based on various criteria from “does it work?” to financial resilience. In truth, it would be improbable that Nucleus remains your platform forever – technology will always evolve.

Nucleus and James Hay

THE EVOLUTION CONTINUES

On the face of it, this looks like a sensible and good deal, but as always, we will keep things under review. Should we advise something different, we will do so. However, at this stage that would seem highly unlikely. We will watch the usual criteria and hope, as I am sure both firms do, that 1+1=3 where there are improvements and advantages (such as price reductions for clients on either or both).

David Ferguson, the Nucleus CEO who I interviewed for our last edition of Spotlight, says

Since we launched in 2006 we’ve always put the customer centre stage and while that has made us a little bit different it’s carried us to £17.4 billion in AUA and to a point where the sentiment of our users and our people has never been better. Becoming part of this enlarged group gives us a key role in a much bigger story where we can create a leading independent platform of scale with a high tech, high touch proposition and philosophy. I think the combination of our people’s talents and the size of the opportunity can see us carefully navigate the roadmap to deliver on this collective medium-term goal. I look forward to getting to know our new colleagues and moulding a group culture that is centred on doing the right thing and building a market-defining product that really delivers for advisers and their clients.”

I remain open-minded and aware that change ushers in anxiety. There is nothing significant that has altered but in time we hope for improvements, if these are not forthcoming we shall of course review the platform we are using for you. Please also note that one of the many reasons for selecting Nucleus is that there are no exit penalties. It is my hope that this will simply be nothing more than an advantage.

In the interests of the absence of doubt, I have never directly owned shares in any financial services company. In the beginning advisers were very much part of the Nucleus set-up and it was a requirement for them to have some financial stake in the company as part of its backing. I felt that this was a potential conflict of interest and didn’t buy shares (so I do miss out on this deal). I believe that I was the first or certainly one of the first advisers that Nucleus permitted access without buying shares. I may be wrong on that, but that’s what I understood to be the case.

In summary – I am not concerned, if this changes we will make changes – as you would expect.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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Nucleus and James Hay2021-02-10T09:33:37+00:00
29th Jan, 2021

TAX YEAR END 2020/21 PLANNING

2021-02-01T12:02:09+00:00

TODAY’S BLOG

TAX YEAR END 2020/21 PLANNING – OVERVIEW

It probably goes without saying, but the tax year end is something that we are always mindful of. There has already been a lot of coverage in the media about what the Chancellor might do. We get to find out on 3rd March 2021. The reality is that due to the pandemic and enormous spending by the Government (and some very expensive contracts awarded to Conservative party donors), there is a obvious pressure to refill the public purse.

Last year, Autumn arrived without an Autumn Budget. To be fair, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, had already presented one 2020 Budget – in March – and the pandemic made forecasting for 2021/22 all but impossible. The result was that, for the second year running, the Budget was deferred to the Spring. Whether Mr Sunak’s reading of the economic runes will prove any easier on 3 March 2021 is a moot point.

It is equally difficult to assess what the Chancellor might do in his second Budget. On the one hand, he will be ending the current financial year with a record-breaking government deficit of around £400bn. On the other hand, he will be wary of trying to fill the large black hole with the near inevitable tax increases until an economic recovery is well under way. It could be one of those Budgets where the bad news is announced but has a deferred start date or is, at least initially, targeted at the more affluent.

Every year there is speculation about tax relief reducing or ending. Every year. Every year I largely ignore the speculation. However this year, to be blunt, the changes to taxes are more likely than any in the last 3 decades. There are some things that we can consider together. In truth as the Budget is 3rd March, time is against us. Whilst normally we expect Budget announcements to forewarn of rules for the following April, George Osborne was one of the few Chancellors to initiate immediate pension changes. You have been warned. As the tax year end is on the Easter Bank Holiday, the reality is that the last week of March is really your deadline. If you make allowance for slow post, many working from home, the normal efficiency of a tax year end is arguably “not as normal”… so the sooner you take action on anything important the better.

GET TUIT TAX YEAR END PLANNING SOLOMONS IFA

PENSIONS

A change in the personal tax relief on pension contributions from marginal income tax rates to a single flat rate is a regular pre-Budget rumour. That could mean a cut from a maximum rate of relief of 45% (46% in Scotland) to perhaps a flat rate of 20%-25%. Higher and additional rate taxpayers would thus lose out.

Depending upon where the Treasury pitched the flat rate, it could save billions while making most pension contributors – basic rate taxpayers – better off or at worst unaffected. Even without the revenue benefit, the result has a clear appeal to a government that regularly talks of ‘levelling up’.

Last year Mr Sunak increased the cost of pension tax relief by adding £90,000 to the two income thresholds that govern the tapering of the annual allowance. That could mean in 2020/21 you have an opportunity to make a higher contribution than in previous tax years. In any case, it is worth checking whether you have scope to take advantage of unused annual allowances from the past three years (back to 2017/18) at current rates of tax relief.

ISAs – INDIVIDUAL SAVINGS ACCOUNTS

Plans to put a cap on ISAs were reportedly considered by the Treasury in 2013, an idea that was recently revised by the Resolution Foundation in a paper examining ways to repair public finances. As with reforming pension contribution relief, the main impact would be on those who pay tax at more than the basic rate. For most basic rate taxpayers, the combined effect of the personal savings allowance, dividend allowance and CGT annual exemption is to render ISAs of little relevance.

If you pay tax at more than the basic rate, all types of ISA offer a quartet of tax benefits:

  • Interest earned on cash or fixed interest securities is free of UK income tax.
  • Dividends are also free of UK income tax.
  • Capital gains are free of UK capital gains tax (CGT).
  • ISA income and gains do not have to be reported on your tax return.

In addition, if you are eligible, the Lifetime ISA (which the Resolution Foundation said should be scrapped) gives a 25% government top-up on contributions.  The overall total contribution limit for ISAs has been frozen since April 2017 at £20,000 (of which the Lifetime ISA ceiling is £4,000). However, the limit for Junior ISAs was more than doubled to £9,000 in last year’s Budget.

CAPITAL GAINS TAX

In July 2020,Rishi Sunak asked the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) to review Capital Gains Tax (CGT). The request came out of the blue but arrived at a time when increasing the CGT tax take was being discussed by several think tanks. It had also been proposed in the 2019 Election manifestos of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Mr Sunak would not be the first Chancellor to ‘borrow’ money-raising ideas from the Opposition.

The OTS published the first of what will be two reports on CGT reform in November. Its suggestions included:

  • ‘More closely aligning Capital Gains Tax rates with Income Tax rates’, which could mean more than a doubling of the current tax rates in some instances.
  • Reducing the level of the annual exemption from the current £12,300 to an ‘administrative de minimis’ of between £2,000 and £4,000.
  • Removing the rule which gives a capital gains tax uplift on death. As a result, if you inherited an asset its base value for CGT purposes would be that of the deceased, not the value at the date of death.

That trio of measures, which could be introduced with immediate effect on 3 March, is a good reason to review the unrealised gains in your investments as soon as possible. Although it is no longer possible to sell holdings one day and buy them back the next to crystallise capital gains, there are options which can achieve a similar effect, such as making the reinvestment via an ISA or a pension.

INHERITANCE TAX

A report on CGT is not the only OTS document on capital taxes occupying the Chancellor’s in tray. On taking over the job last February, he inherited a pair of reports on Inheritance Tax (IHT) which had been commissioned by Philip Hammond. These had been expected to feed through into last year’s Spring Budget. They may still do so in the forthcoming Budget, possibly alongside – and complimentary to – CGT reforms. The consequence could be a radical restructuring of capital taxation.

Ahead you should consider using the three main IHT annual exemptions:

1.    The Annual Exemption Each tax year you can give away £3,000 free of IHT. If you do not use all of the exemption in one year, you can carry forward the unused element, but only to the following tax year, when it can only be used after that year’s exemption has been exhausted.

2.    The Small Gifts Exemption You can give up to £250 outright per tax year free of IHT to as many people as you wish, so long as they do not receive any part of the £3,000 exemption.

3.    The Normal Expenditure Exemption  The normal expenditure exemption is potentially the most valuable of the yearly IHT exemptions and one most likely to be reformed. Currently, any gift is exempt from IHT provided that:

a.     you make it regularly;

b.    it is made out of income (including ISA income); and

c.    it does not reduce your standard of living.

If you have the surplus capital available, you should also think about making large lifetime gifts. This could include gifting investments, thereby also using your CGT annual exemption. One of the OTS reform suggestions was the abolition of the normal expenditure rule and the introduction of an annual limit of IHT-free lifetime gifts.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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TAX YEAR END 2020/21 PLANNING2021-02-01T12:02:09+00:00
29th Jan, 2021

The State Pension – What’s Ahead

2021-01-28T17:03:57+00:00

TODAY’S BLOG

THE STATE PENSION INCREASE

In early December the Department for Work & Pensions announced the proposed increases to benefits for 2021/22. Most of the working age benefits and the earnings-linked pension benefits, such as the old State Second Pension, will rise by 0.5%, in line with annual CPI inflation to September 2020. However, the new state pension and its predecessor will both increase by five times as much.

The costly Triple Lock

Both new and old (basic) state pensions benefit from the Triple Lock, which currently requires an increase which is the greater of:

  • Earnings growth;
  • Price inflation (as measured by the CPI); and
  • A floor of 2.5%.

For the 2021/22 increase, the 2.5% minimum was a clear winner, with earnings growth at the bottom of the trio. As the chart shows, in this context earnings growth is a misnomer; earnings fell by 1% over the year because of the impact of the pandemic.

State Pension 2021/22 Triple Lock

10 YEARS LATER… NOT ON PLAN

Over the ten years to 2021/22, the 2.5% floor has been the basis for four increases, something which was probably not anticipated when the Triple Lock was announced by the coalition government in 2010. Then, as now, the Bank of England’s inflation target was 2.0%. Earnings were expected to outpace inflation by 1% or more, making the 2.5% floor a safety net that probably would only be called upon in a deep recession.

It has not worked out that way. Earnings and inflation have virtually matched each other over the period at just under 2%. In other words, there has been no increase in the buying power of average earnings over the past ten years. In contrast the Triple Lock has delivered a real terms increase of almost 11%. If you are on the receiving end of the Triple Lock, that is good news, but if you are under State Pension Age (66 now, don’t forget) it means more government expenditure you have to finance.

Looking ahead

The Triple Lock has been widely criticised by experts ranging from the Institute for Fiscal Studies to the Pensions Select Committee for being an unnecessarily expensive protection that creates intergenerational unfairness. In private politicians would generally agree but, at the last Election, all of the mainstream political parties committed to retaining the Triple Lock. The pensioner vote is not one to put at risk.

The pandemic may have changed that mindset. Last year the government introduced emergency technical legislation to ensure the Triple Lock would work in the face of zero earnings growth. However, the measures put in place only applied for a single year. There have been suggestions that, if no action is taken, an earnings bounce in 2021 as the economy recovers could mean a 5% 2022/23 increase under the Triple Lock formula at a time when inflation is below 2%. Given the dire position of public finances, such a scenario would offer Rishi Sunak the golden opportunity to justify a reworking of the Triple Lock.

But…  

Despite the new state pension’s outpacing of inflation and earnings growth, it will remain a distinctly modest sum in April 2021: a maximum of £179.60 a week. Viewed another way, that is equivalent to just over 20 hours’ work at the National Living Wage rate for 2021/22 (£8.91 an hour) or a little under one-third of current average earnings (£560 a week). No wonder the UK is likely to remain in bottom place of the OECD’s league table based on the proportion of earnings replaced by state pensions…

ACTION

If you want to check your projected state pension benefit, CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE STATE PENSION SITE.

The state pension is not enough for a comfortable retirement. Make sure you talk to us about how you should be supplementing it – preferably before the Budget.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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The State Pension – What’s Ahead2021-01-28T17:03:57+00:00
28th Jan, 2021

EROTICISM AND FANTASY IN YOUR FINANCIAL PLAN

2021-01-28T13:27:19+00:00

TODAY’S BLOG

EROTICISM & FANTASY? IS THIS ANOTHER CLICKBAIT TITLE?

Whilst some of you are new to the blog and proper financial planning, many of you are aware that financial planning, when done well, is not really about money. Its about you. Your values, your hopes and your lifestyle.

In 2020 most of us took a battering, a year unlike any we had known. Whilst we greeted 2021 with the relief that 2020 was over, we have come to realise that things are far from normal and that there is much that keeps us living with a deep sense of frustration and perhaps fear. As the UK passed 100,000 covid deaths, we recognise another rather depressing landmark.

The restrictions of the pandemic have not been easy, exposing the pressures in our lives and creating new ones. Whether you are married or single, many have found relationships and normal aspects of life to be under pressures that they never imagined. Working from home has its benefits, but the confinement isn’t always helpful. Perhaps your home is empty, perhaps it is rammed full of people, attention and connection has been ruptured. Not being able to hug or kiss friends and family, to enjoy the normality of human interactions has reminded us of who and what is important.

Eroticism and fantasy

THE IMPACT OF LOCKDOWN

In February and March we all paid the price of investing with exaggerated market volatility, this was mercifully short-lived. It was also within our financial expectations, these things happen, regularly. The cause may be different, but the impact is not. The Government has been spending and it would seem handing out large sums of money to friends, this will have to be repaid by you and me, but what about the price our relationships have paid?

You may now be thinking to yourself, hang on, a financial planner has nothing to do with my relationships, where is this going? Let me cut to the chase. Money is often cited as a major cause of relationship breakdown. I don’t really believe it is. Not having enough or using it how you would like to can be. However, its deeper and more than that – it’s about your expectations which are a concoction of past experiences (“good” and “bad”) and your hopes for the future fused in the present.

Our hopes have been challenged and many have struggled with a sense of the future, particularly for young people. The magnitude of the stress on our wellbeing is significant. We have had many delights and joys removed and we have had to do the work of imagining, finding, creating and trying new ones. The loss of hope can be overwhelming, devastating, flattening and in many cases final.

REGAINING “EROTICISM AND FANTASY” 

So, I am going to offer you another real challenge. In our culture, we have little or no education about relationships – in all forms. That’s not to say that we aren’t blasted with messages about them, that is constant, but rarely does intimacy in its broadest sense get discussed. Irrespective of whether you are in a relationship or not, have a look at some of the work by Esther Perel (an expert!).Yes, I am even going to suggest you do pay attention to her work on the erotic, (a word neither of us expected me to use in a financial blog!) a term that she uses broadly. In fact I am going to suggest that you invest (I use the word quite deliberately) all of 46 minutes watching her webcast on YouTube “How Eroticism and Fantasy Can Help You Embrace A New Year”. Now there is a title to frighten you right? …

Perhaps to put your mind at ease, Esther playfully uses the term erotic when “creativity” is the word that resonates. Her talk is about life, not about sex. I appreciate that this may evoke mixed feelings within you, but my intention is simply to offer some access to meaningful hope. Hope and optimism are the oxygen of investors and financial planning.

Don’t worry, I am not going to go any further with this, other than to say that if a financial plan is simply about money, it isn’t really your plan, its probably someone else’s. Your plans are unique to you and I know that at the heart of them is relationship and a sense of connectedness. Remember the redemption of Mr Scrooge just a month ago?

With my very best intentions, I challenge/encourage you to watch… If I have overstepped the mark, accept my apologies, if it’s helpful let me know. You need to start the video at 1:30 – it was a livestream broadcast.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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EROTICISM AND FANTASY IN YOUR FINANCIAL PLAN2021-01-28T13:27:19+00:00
30th Dec, 2020

NEW YEAR, SAME OLD PROBLEMS

2020-12-30T16:36:43+00:00

TODAY’S BLOG

NEW YEAR, SAME OLD PROBLEMS?

The year finally draws to a close, thoughts turn to resolutions for 2021. Perhaps thinking 12 days ahead is easier than 12 months. Yet we all hope that the vaccine will be rapidly and successfully deployed so that we can pick ourselves up and face a new year, with some degree of reduced anxiety.

This may take a while and so can I urge to you complete your 10 Minute Challenge items. If you really cannot bring yourself to tick off these important tasks, can I ask you to simply jot down on a piece of paper your plans for 2021. Then send it to me as an email (preferably placing it on the portal).

HAPPY NEW YEAR

FORGET THE RESOLUTIONS – MAKE IT EASY

I am not interested in resolutions. Most of us find these rather like hopeful pie-crust promises – easily made, easily broken. No I am after some of the practical goals and tasks that you want to get done this year, things that I can have input into or help with… so that’s things like (and of course any such list it not exhaustive and needs adapting to your circumstances).

  • Your bank balance – rates are awful, but what is your comfort cash balance?
  • Your monthly savings level (how much you want to squirrel away each month)
  • When you intend to retire
  • If you are retired, what challenge are you facing in 2021?
  • What income you need
  • Clearing or reducing your mortgage
  • Your job or career – any changes to work patterns, promotions, redundancy concerns?
  • Expectations for your business or perhaps starting one (or another one)
  • Where you live – any plans to make alterations to anything that requires finance?
  • Any big purchases? Electric car? Alternative energy?
  • How you will measure 2021 as a successful year.

You will appreciate that some of our clients work in the NHS, we also advise a few teachers. Most of us will have some time to note down some thoughts. PLEASE send these to me. This is precisely what proper financial planning is all about – where your life, values and money all meet. You may think your plans are not terribly ambitious or hanging on the hopes of “normal life resuming”. I offer no judgement, simply want to know so that we can do an even better job for you in 2021.

Enjoy New Year’s Eve and the zoom calls with your friends and family. We will be ready to go again on Tuesday and I look forward to it.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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NEW YEAR, SAME OLD PROBLEMS2020-12-30T16:36:43+00:00
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