Tax never stands still…
There are important income tax changes due in April.
Would you like to have up to £5,000 of savings income, free of tax, and also effectively increase your tax-free personal allowance to £11,660(rather than the normal £10,600) in the coming tax year?
In theory both will be possible from next 6 April 2015. In practice you may find yourself prevented from taking advantage of these potential tax savings by the various rules that surround them.
The opportunity to enjoy £5,000 tax-free income stems from a change to the starting rate band, and was announced by the Chancellor in the 2014 Budget. At present that band is £2,880 wide and savings income within it is taxed at 10%. From 2015/16 the band will expand to £5,000 and will be taxed at a 0% rate. However, you can only take advantage of this starting rate band if it has not already been taken up with earnings and/or pension. So broadly speaking, your earnings or pension should be no more than your personal allowance. You must also have the right type of investment income, which in most instances means interest rather than dividends or rental income.
The extra £1,060 of allowance is the result of the introduction of the transferable tax allowance (TTA) for married couples and civil partners, which allows a fixed 10% of the personal allowance to be transferred. The TTA is easier to access than the starting rate band: both you and your partner must pay tax at no more than basic rate in 2015/16. The maximum tax saving from the TTA will be £212 if one of the couple is a non-taxpayer and the other is a basic rate taxpayer.
These changes to the income tax rules add further complications to a system already groaning under the weight of complexities and incoherence heaped upon it by successive Chancellors. In the words of the former US Treasury Secretary William Simon, a country should have a tax system that looks “like someone designed it on purpose.” While the UK fails to meet that seemingly modest benchmark, it is almost inevitable that you will need advice to minimise your income tax bill.
The value of tax reliefs depends on your individual circumstances. Tax laws can change. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice.
The information in this article does not constitute advice and should be used for informational purposes only. This content has been provided to Helm Godfrey by Taxbriefs.