THE BUDGET 3 MARCH 2021

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.

=

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.

=

THE BUDGET 3 MARCH 20212021-03-15T15:41:08+00:00

TAX YEAR END 2020/21 PLANNING

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.

=

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.

=

TAX YEAR END 2020/21 PLANNING2021-02-01T12:02:09+00:00
Go to Top