Death of inheritance tax?

Dominic Thomas
Oct 2023  •  3 min read

Death of inheritance tax?

There are a number of elections around the world – the pontifications, point-scoring, own goals and blotted copybooks are all about to garner increased scrutiny. Whispers of good news into ears in attempts to win over voters. The next UK election has to be held by 28th January 2025 and we all tend to suspect that the current bunch will continue to attempt to restore a modicum of decency and sound policy before announcing one.

The rumours of the death of inheritance tax appear to have gained some traction, this is of course all largely leaked hearsay, or in other words think tank testing popular opinion. The conundrum of taxes is simply that we all know that they are needed, but few of us can see that the money is used wisely. Some of our fellow humans seem to enjoy paying tax, able to clearly see the collective value in how, what and why it is deployed. Here in the UK, we may get a standardised pie chart of where it went, but the numbers are invariably so vast that they have very little connection with us.

Inheritance tax is one of the most loathed taxes. This is probably because most of us (the middle classes) have earned income, which has already been taxed. Savings or investments, entrepreneurial or retail have had taxes applied, albeit with some allowances granted. IHT is a bit like being given a tax bill again, once you have done all the sensible things and have something left to leave your family or beneficiaries.

A tax rate of 40% also seems fairly high (by tax rate standards) much higher than capital gains taxes and higher than most people pay as income tax. It was seven Chancellors ago when a certain George Osborne who last messed around with IHT, adding an allowance for those who had a home and children to inherit it. The Main Residence Relief was ushered into existence from 6th April 2017, now granting an extra £175,000 of exemption (in addition to the £325,000 nil rate band that everyone gets). It would be too easy to have simply increased the latter to £500,000, instead, this is the making of the Humphrey Appleby’s where what you appear to have can be withdrawn in the wrong or right circumstances, depending how you count and what you count.

So the latest whispers of the abolition of inheritance tax, garner a keen ear and of course the intention is that those convert into votes. Taxes as bribes? It was ever thus. IHT has been raising substantial sums for HMRC over the years and each year the sums tend to increase. The latest data April to August 2023 showed IHT receipts of £3.2bn, up £0.3bn. In the tax year ending 2022-23 £7.1bn of the total £786.69bn HMRC received from all sources. I make that about 1% in round numbers.

Combined with this potential good news is a classic ‘Humphreyism’ in that the current inheritance tax exemption on pension funds may be … well, challenged. There already are possible taxes, depending on how conveniently you can arrange your death before age 75 or how the money is taken. However, this appears to be within the range of the ministry of misinformation and may well be that classic case of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

We will keep you posted with facts as they arise, assuming they are clearly disclosed by Humphrey and his chums.

For the record:

Osborne, Hammond, Javid, Sunak, Zahawi, Kwarteng, Hunt.

Death of inheritance tax?2023-12-04T12:14:36+00:00

The November budget

The November budget

The problem of having a deadline for publication is that life tends to throw up some new important information just at the wrong time. The chaos of the ‘mini-budget’ resulted in a new Prime Minister and Chancellor. The Budget on 17th November was set to herald tax rises. So, what has been announced?

NOVEMBER – INCOME TAX

Tax thresholds have been frozen, save the additional rate of tax threshold, which now begins sooner, meaning that more people will pay 45% tax, starting at £125,140 instead of £150,000. What this means in practice for someone now brought into additional rate (earning £150,000) is that they pay 5% more income tax on their earnings above £125,140.  If you earn £150,000 you would pay £1,243 more income tax as a result of this change, (£11,187 as opposed to £9,944) effectively £103.58 a month more. Whilst politicians talk of short-term pain, the projections show this measure for 5 years.

NOVEMBER – CAPITAL GAINS TAX

Capital Gains allowances have been cut substantially, reducing from £12,500 to £6,000 from April 2023 and then to £3,000 from April 2024.  Trusts have a CGT allowance of half the personal allowance. So realising gains this tax year will be more effective than in future years.

As a reminder, this is the permitted gains on assets being sold with a 0% tax rate before being taxed at 10% or 20%, unless that asset is a second property in which case its 18% or 28%. So if you are a landlord, sell before April 5th to maximise your allowances.

I had expected the rates of tax to increase in line with income taxes rather than the allowance being altered and mostly scrapped entirely. In any event, capital gains tax allowance reductions makes your annual ISA, Pension, VCT, EIS allowances all even more attractive, sheltering funds from CGT in different ways.

NOVEMBER- DIVIDENDS

The Dividend allowance has also been slashed. This will mostly impact those with a small business whereby family members or staff can have a share of profits (dividends) tax free. The first £2,000 of dividends are currently tax free, this will reduce to £1,000 from the new tax year and then £500 in the next ..

NOVEMBER – PENSIONS

It would seem that there are no changes, which is frankly a bit of a surprise. The annual allowance remains at £40,000 unless you have income over £200,000 when a reduced (tapered) allowance would apply. The Lifetime Allowance has remained in place. If you are an NHS employee, I cannot find anything in the 70 page statement to help you with your annual allowance problems and there is nothing about the tapered annual allowance. So, sadly, more senior doctors will likely reduce their NHS hours or otherwise face tax charges on income that they have not had. We can help crunch the numbers, but if anyone is in a position to ‘get it’, Mr Hunt is but seems to have chosen not to.

NOVEMBER – STATE PENSIONS

If you are receiving your State Pension, it’s going to increase by 10% in April. If you haven’t started taking yours, well you are also likely to have to wait until you are much older to get one. Everyone knows this is a political ‘hot potato’ and the younger generations are unlikely to receive a State Pension until at least 68 (and this will probably be increased in the announcement in early 2023).

NOVEMBER – FEELING FROZEN?

You are going to need to ‘let it go’ … that is – hopes of seeing the end of frozen allowances ending any time soon. The personal allowance, slice of basic rate and higher rate tax tiers were all frozen anyway, but the deep freeze has been extended by two further years. Due to inflation and rising salaries, this will in itself raise more tax. This is part of what critics call ‘stealth taxes’ – the sort you don’t really register (much like inflation eroding your cash) – you only tend to notice after a few years of going backwards.

The Energy Price Guarantee will be maintained through the Winter, limiting typical energy bills to £2,500, this will increase to £3,000 from April. It is generally expected that energy prices will remain high for the next 12 months. To be blunt, nobody knows because it all rather depends on the Russians. One point to note is that the energy savings you may be making now will likely continue as the Government intend to reduce energy consumption by 15% by the end of the decade. To put that into perspective, that’s about the same as making your use of energy in 10 months last a year.

PROPERTY

The British obsession with houses continues to be supported by Government policy. The tax when buying property (Stamp Duty Land Tax) was reduced in September doubling the first tier of SDLT with a 0% tax rate from £125,000 to £250,000. For First Time Buyers this is extended from £300,000 to £425,000. These measures will end on 31st March 2025. If you are going to move or buy your first home and want to benefit from this fully, do so before March 2025.

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

The November budget2023-12-01T12:12:41+00:00

THE AUTUMN BUDGET 2021

TODAY’S BLOG

THE AUTUMN BUDGET 2021

In terms of your personal finance, not a lot has changed. Indeed, most of the announcements merely confirmed previous announcements, such is the way of our politicians. As a reminder, the next tax year begins on 6th April 2022. The main changes for most are really for those that receive dividends or pay National Insurance

iNCOME TAX RATE ON DIVIDENDS 2022/23 2021/22 (NOW)
Basic rate taxpayer 8.75% 7.50%
Higher rate taxpayer 33.75% 32.50%
Additional rate taxpayer 39.45% 38.10%
Rate for Trusts 39.35% 38.10%

National Insurance for employers increases from 13.8% to 15.05% which basically makes it more expensive to employ people. Employees will also pay rather more at the main rate, rising from 12% to 13.25% and then at the upper or higher rate increased from 2% to 3.25%. Remember the thing about National Insurance is that there is a threshold for the main rate after which you simply pay a flat, reduced rate (currently 2% but increasing to 3.25%). The self-employed main rate increases from 9% to 10.25%. Self-employed people do not fully enjoy the same benefits for their NI payments.

MAIN ALLOWANCES

For those of you using your pensions, the annual allowance remains at £40,000 but if you have begun drawing income from investment-based pensions it is restricted to £4,000 the delightfully named “Money Purchase Annual Allowance” or MPAA. The Lifetime Allowance (the total value of your pensions permitted before excess charges) remains frozen as previously indicated at £1,073,100. This is equivalent to a pension income of £53,655.

ISA and JISA limits remain as they were (£20,000 and £9,000) which are fairly substantial allowances but indicate a “kick the can down the road” policy of Government worrying about tax in the future. Capital Gains Tax (CGT) allowances and rates remain as they are (which is daft).

If you own a second property or inherit one, the capital gains rate and requirement for payment are important to understand. However, one small improvement is that you now have 60 days to pay the liability rather than 30 (with immediate effect). I imagine one of Rishi’s friends was offloading and was worried about an extra charge (surely not!).

As for inheritance, the nil rate remains at £325,000 per person and those with children inheriting the family home the residential nil rate band adds a further £175,000. However, this is tapered when an estate is worth more than £2m.

In short, for all the bluff and thunder and 200 pages, not much is in it for you and I. Remember – death and taxes.

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

THE AUTUMN BUDGET 20212023-12-01T12:13:01+00:00

ARE YOU MISUSING YOUR CASH ISA?

TODAY’S BLOG

ARE YOU MISUSING YOUR CASH ISA?

You may have gathered that I am not a fan of the Cash ISA. If you really must have one, then you need to be clear that you are getting a top rate of interest (less than 1% at the moment) and that you are not locked in for too long. If you expect rates to rise, why on earth would you lock in to one?

We all have a personal savings allowance. That’s £1000, £500 or nothing depending on your highest rate of tax. Basic rate (20%) taxpayers have a £1000 savings allowance (interest from savings) and those that are higher rate (40%) have a £500 allowance. Therefore, majority of people will have at least £500 of interest that they can earn tax free. Today that means holding around £50,000 of cash, which is a little under twice the average national income. According to ONS data to the end of the 2019/20 tax year, that’s £29,900 (median household income).

As I have said before, I am a great believer in holding cash. It provides for projects and emergency. Good planning – which is something that you already do better than most because you are here today, means getting a realistic estimate for something you intend to do and setting that aside prior to starting the project. This is therefore based on your research, quotes, and prudence to allow a sensible margin for error, or builder maths.

Wheat and Chaff

CASH FOR EMERGENCIES

Then there is your emergency fund. This is entirely subjective. It is an amount that enables you to sleep at night knowing that if something disastrous happened by the time you woke, you and your family would be able to cope financially. Things like loss of your job, the boiler breaking down, your car being vandalised or stolen, perhaps even a quick getaway fund from an abusive relationship. You might relate this number to how much you normally spend each month and hold a multiple of that.

RISKS CHANGE AS YOU AGE

Those that have a guaranteed income (people that are retired and living on State Pensions, annuities, or final salary pension benefits) arguably don’t need to worry about the loss of a job or their income. Its more likely that, if that’s you, you think of the extra income sources – from your investments or perhaps a holiday home that is let during a pandemic.

Most people will probably not need more than £50,000 (in 2021) but I did say it was subjective and personal to you. Cash doesn’t really work for you; it works for a bank who lend your money out at a rate that makes them rather more than they offer you to “store” it with them. If this drags on for months and years, you will undoubtedly see the spending power of your money reduce due to inflation. It needs to do some heavy lifting, which means investment. This comes at the price of market volatility in the short term, but if done properly, will deliver greater yields.

PARABLES ABOUT BARNS AND GRAIN

To my mind, it’s like an arable farmer keeping all their seed (cash crop) in a barn and not sowing enough. At some point, the barn will run out as its consumed or rots, missing out on all that multiplication and future harvests.

Anyway, given that most people don’t need to hold much more that £50,000 and would get the interest on it tax free anyway, there is no point using your valuable ISA allowance to give you something you already have.

Of course, this is what a plan will help determine and why understanding what the money is for and the reasons for your anxieties about money. Do get in touch.

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

ARE YOU MISUSING YOUR CASH ISA?2023-12-01T12:13:02+00:00

TAXED INCOME ?

TODAY’S BLOG

TAXED INCOME?

We have all applauded those that work in the NHS to help reduce deaths and improve recovery of anyone suffering from COVID19 or frankly any other life-threatening condition. We have also become aware of our reliance on people, who are not terribly well paid, but ensure that our local food is picked, packed, stocked, stacked and delivered and or course countless other services.

We have marvelled at the amount of money raised by a man aged 99 who celebrated his 100th birthday and was honoured for his efforts. These are all good things, but it must surely leave you wondering why the extra money is needed to pay for the NHS. Blaming multinationals like Amazon is all too easy, perhaps we need to reflect on our own tax system.

Here is my problem – we know that taxes are required, but we also know that the State wastes money. We all have an opinion on who, what, why and how our taxes should be made available to. My job is to help you to ensure that your money outlasts you. I do this by using investments, getting you to think and plan ahead for all manner of possibilities and I use the prevailing legitimate tax system properly.

INCOME TAXED

£2,500 A MONTH – THE NEW BASE LINE?

The Government seem to believe that most people can survive on £2,500 a month (taxable), that’s £30,000 a year. In practice excluding national insurance, that would be a net income of roughly £26,500 with basic rate tax paid of £3,500. I have also excluded any pension payments or charitable giving. You will recall that there is a personal allowance of £12,500 (0% income tax) for those with income below £100,000.

By way of simply showing how an adviser can achieve this level of income for you (tax free) here are some options. Doing them all would far exceed the target £26,500 income, but hopefully you will see my point.

  • If aged 55 but not yet drawing a State Pension. You could crystallise £16,665 of an investment-based pension. This would generate £4,166.25 as tax free cash and £12,498.75 as taxable income, but as it is within the £12,500 threshold there would be no income tax to pay. However you would then find yourself restricted to a maximum £4000pa of new contributions to pensions (called the Money Purchase Annual Allowance or MPAA).
  • Alternatively, you could simply crystallise £106,000 of an investment based pension, take 25% (£26,500) as tax free cash and leave the balance to grow.
  • An investment portfolio will regularly have gains (that’s the point after all). A growth of say 5% over a year on a fund of £234,000 can use £12,300 of the capital gains tax allowance – 0% tax. Trigger a larger gain and the gains above £12,300 are taxed at a lower rate of 10% or maybe 20% (but not if you do these other things).
  • Perhaps rent a room for a tax free £7,500 a year
  • Draw 5% of your capital back from an investment bond, so a Bond of £100,000 would provide £5,000
  • Any money drawn from ISAs would be tax free, but taking say £8,535 from an ISA would take the total “income” from all these to £50,000 and not a penny of income tax would be paid.

EARNED INCOME IS TAXED MORE

Yet if this was earned income in 2020/21 income tax of £7,498.20 would be due with a further £4,860 of National Insurance a total of £12,358.20 leaving a net income of £37,641.80. This is makes full use of the basic rate tax, any income above this would be taxed at 40% or 45%.

The point I am making is that how much tax is paid is very much dependent on where your money is and how it is generated. It’s certainly the case that not everyone has these sums of money (which are likely to have been taxed before). However, this is only the basic stuff and exposes the problem of a complex tax system that punishes those earning income far more than those with capital.

IF YOU ARE NOT A CLIENT

If you are reading this and not a client, do not conclude that the above is advice to you, it is not. The calculations that we do can be complex and relate to each individual situation, never rely on generic information about money, except for spend less than you earn.

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

TAXED INCOME ?2023-12-01T12:13:17+00:00

Business Owners and EIS

Business Owners and EIS

This item is aimed at business owners and how an EIS might be of use.

Many business owners are growing increasingly frustrated about the tax associated with extracting profit from their companies. Often referred to as “double taxation”, a company owner must first face corporation tax on profits made by their business and again when they decide to pay themselves a dividend/salary. It can at times, feel like you are working for HMRC.

An Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) can be used to extract profit from a business tax efficiently. EIS was introduced by the UK Government in 1994 in order to induce investment into UK smaller companies. In order to make investing in smaller companies more attractive, compensating the additional risks, there are a number of tax reliefs available through EIS investments (providing you hold your investment for at least three years).

Income Tax Relief CGT deferral IHT relief
Reduction in income tax liabilities amounting to 30% of the total investment Facility to defer paying CGT on all, or part, of a chargeable gain by investing the gain into EIS qualifying shares EIS companies qualify for Business Property Relief (BPR)
Relief can be applied to the current or previous tax year Investors can defer CGT by using EIS up to 12 months before crystallising gains or up to 36 months afterwards As long as shares have been held for 2 of the last 5 years and are held at time of death and remain BPR qualifying, the value of the EIS investment will count as part of your estate but will have a nil value for IHT purposes
The maximum amount of income tax that can be claimed is £300,000 for the current tax year and £300,000 for the previous tax year
Relief cannot exceed the amount which reduces an investor’s income tax liability to nil

Business Owner – Double Tax

Mr Williams, normally a higher rate tax payer, owns a small business. He pays himself a £10,600 salary per year in order to stay within his personal allowance; no income tax is paid on this amount. In addition to this salary he pays himself a dividend each year which attracts an income tax liability. However, he is still frustrated with the amount of tax paid on the dividends.

If Mr Williams pays himself a £50,000 dividend, he will owe 25% (£12,500) in income tax on this (once we take the tax credits into account). This will leave him with £37,500 of net funds in his account after paying the tax.

If Mr Williams invested £50,000 into an EIS, he will be entitled to 30% income tax relief (£15,000). This tax rebate can be used to wipe out the £12,500 due on the dividend. It also leaves him with an extra £2,500 of income tax relief to set against other income tax he has paid across the current and/or previous tax year.

He is left with a £50,000 EIS investment, which he can liquidate once he has held the investment for three years. Providing the EIS investment has, at least, preserved its value Mr Williams has saved £15,000 in tax as a result of this investment.

Any growth within his EIS investment is tax free, as per the EIS rules.

My example, implies that Mr Williams has adequate resources elsewhere, so that he can invest £50,000 rather than it being needed for income. The word or note of caution, is that an EIS is obviously an investment and at the higher end of the risk spectrum (though running your own business obviously carries risk). Whilst investing in smaller companies often involves higher levels of risk and worse levels of liquidity, many investment companies offer EIS investments that target capital preservation. These investments involve companies with long-term, index-linked and stable cash flows.

Want to know more? – get in touch.

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

Business Owners and EIS2023-12-01T12:19:46+00:00

Estates: Your Will online forever

Estates: Your Will online forever

You may not be aware that the Government has now made it possible to search for Wills online. So once you are gone, your last Will and testament is available for anyone to see, should they wish to. Essentially it is nothing more than a searchable database which enables anyone to pay £10 to obtain an electronic copy of historic Wills, assuming the system works, you will receive your copy within about 10 days. It is free to search, but the Will itself costs £10.

It is estimated that there are over 41 million Wills and Grants of Probate on the database, which are compiled from 1858 onwards for England and Wales. I’m reminded of the film “Waking Ned Devine” which is a comedy about a man who wins the lottery but dies from shock, to collect his winnings, he has to be alive, leaving his community to concoct some creative solutions.

Implications

There will be some people who certainly won’t relish the prospect of their Will being published online – perhaps a few celebrities or even Royalty. Remember that for some people a Will reveals the state of family relationships at the point the Will was made.

HMRC better informed?

Perhaps the more important point about a Will or Grant of Probate is that assets are valued and those that are inherited ought to be more visible. This essentially provides a money trail for HMRC to follow. Remember evading tax is illegal, but with this approach it really ought to be the case that HMRC are able to now close in on those that don’t declare sufficient assets in their estate.

There are also implications for capital gains tax too – if you inherit an asset, then unless you sell it, or gift it, there is reasonable grounds to assume that you still own it. If it disappears from your asset inventory, surely questions would be asked which have a knock on effect for prospect of unpaid capital gains tax and perhaps even income tax (if the asset generated income). In short, anyone that isn’t being crystal clear about  their assets is likely to come under greater scrutiny.

Other implications also revolve around more “joined up thinking” in that your DVLA licence and car insurance are connected and if you now try to rent or hire a car, you need to input your NI number so that a DVLA permission certificate can be generated. This could be used to link to your investments (pensions and ISAs in particular) but why not your household insurance policy, meant to insure your physical assets.

All in all, I think this will lead to deeper and better information about us all, which will to some extent be publicly available, but more importantly available to HMRC. So make sure you declare your assets and taxes properly. Above all make sure your Will is current and reflects your wishes.

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

Estates: Your Will online forever2023-12-01T12:40:15+00:00
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