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

70 years – a Jubilee

Jemima Thomas
Jan 2023  •  4 min read

70 years – a Jubilee

We have spent the weekend reflecting on our Queen’s 70 years of service as monarch. An achievement that none of us will see repeated, barring the awful prospect of life being extended dramatically by new medication. HRH Prince Charles is 71; a reign of 70 years would make him 141. HRH Prince William is 40 later this month and so would have to live until at least 110 and would need to become King immediately (for the maths to work).

It is an achievement of longevity. The ONS data for England implies that the average life expectancy of a female aged 96 is another 2.8 years. A male now 71 has an average 16.23 years, whereas a male age 40 has an average 43 years remaining. Mortality statistics are most definitely all about survivors and it may strike you as a little odd that someone aged 40 appears likely to not live as long as someone aged 84. This has the really awful description of ‘mortality drag’ – the statistical reality of “the older you are, the longer you live”. Evidently the Windsor family have some above average advantage of longevity, with HRH Prince Philip living to age 99.

THREE FUTURE KINGS

You probably saw images of the balcony at Buckingham Palace of future monarchs ranging from age 8 to 71. I paused to reflect on the reality of this … most of us have not been in the same ‘job’ for 70 years, and none of us have been waiting for it to start for 71 years!  Most of our clients are eager to retire and thereby determine how they set the agenda for each day rather than being held to account for a daily commute, however brief. Imagine having been in training for a role for 71 years.

Irrespective of views about monarchy in 2022, I think it fair to say that we have been witness to a unique milestone, a theme that we discussed in the latest edition of Spotlight (let us know if you have not received your copy yet). In theory we know who the next three Kings will be, whether they all eventually become King is another matter entirely. As much as I like to plan and help you to do so, I am glad of uncertainty and not having a life mapped out from the cradle, with rather limiting choices.

70 years of public service is an enormously big deal. The only people that I suspect may achieve similar lengths of service in their ‘career’ are those in religious orders; and however much the State Pension is mucked around with by politicians, it’s worth noting that working for precisely half that time would entitle you to a full State Pension. You would obviously require rather more than the State Pension to run a Palace, but mercifully we don’t have to worry about that problem – although your most recent energy bill may have you wondering if you are.

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

70 years – a Jubilee2023-12-01T12:12:49+00:00

Leveson Report: Reaction Is The Problem

Leveson Report: Reaction is the problem

If you are living in Britain, you probably cannot escape the coverage of the Leveson report. I admit that I have not read the report and am therefore not going to comment on its content. However, as I was listening to morning radio on the way to work, it occurred to me how many people (politicians in particular) were keen to commend the report as “very good” whilst at the same time admitting that they had not read it fully. What precisely did they like? the name on the cover? the binding? its thickness? the executive summary? This does not inspire confidence.

Leveson: Focus Too Narrow

I came across a good piece by Graham Jones entitled “Leveson has wasted his time”. Its an article worth reading and notes the flaws within the report that basically focusses on printed newspaper journalism rather than the wider “media” which as we know would include blogs, tweets, facebook and an array of “media”. The short truth is that the existing laws were broken and had these been abided by the scandals would not have occurred.  The problem is really one of access to justice and the general assumption that “there’s no smoke without fire” which in media terms is really saying, we believe you are guilty, so whilst we don’t have proof, we will charge you as such. Lord McAlpine was one of those that experienced this sort of folly. The damage to individuals and businesses is largely done by whispering masses, which in 2012 is the on-line world.

Reacting to Reactions – What Happened to Principles?

The current Leveson story will soon be over, but often revisited. The main issue I have is not one of freedom of the press, (which I take to be an obvious requirement in a democracy) but of the constant perceived need to have a quick answer or response, a sound-bite. One must ask whatever happened to contemplation, reflection and assessment. This is actually the problem within media of all forms. The constant need for reaction. This is a cultural issue too, just applying this to my own field of expertise – many play the game of reacting to events. The stock markets – up or down – what is your move? what is the reaction? how will you position the portfolio this afternoon?  this misses the point of long-term investing which is based upon rational principles that should not be changed hurriedly. My own view is that this approach to life is rather adolescent at best – unable to yet move into adult responsibility, but rather blown by the wind.

Freedom Brings Responsibility

As has been said before “with freedom comes responsibility” and that has been sadly lacking, (but not purely by newspaper journalists – some television “documentaries” that I have seen in the last year are a very good example of very weak or very poor investigative journalism). However, we all make mistakes and have a tendency to say the wrong thing, but freedom of the press – or our own free speech, should never mean that its OK to insult people just because you can. Sadly the financial adviser blogs are often places where many seem to relish the opportunity to release toxic vitriol upon anyone in their sights – invariably this is the regulator. So before we are drawn to conclude the newspaper industry needs reforming, many could do with some time for self-reflection. Myself included.

Leveson Report: Reaction Is The Problem2023-12-01T12:23:13+00:00
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