As we draw near to the end of the tax year, you will read helpful hints in all the money supplements. The curious thing is that however many times the journalists and financial advisers recommend making use of the various tax allowances, many of us still overlook the opportunity to get some tax back from the Government or the facility to pay less tax. Why do we do this? I suspect that there are a number of reasons: we cannot be bothered, we do not think we have sufficient money or assets for it to make any difference, or we have no money to invest.
The reality is that there is something that most people can do which involves a re-arrangement rather than spending money which you do not have. The first essential is that everyone who pays tax with any money in a building Society should have the first £5,340 invested via a cash ISA in order to obtain tax-free interest, it maybe a bit late for you to benefit much in the current tax year but it will stand you in good stead for the new tax year and if you have sufficient capital to invest you can make one contribution now and a further £5,340 after 6 April. I suggest you find an account giving you instant access so that the account can be used like an ordinary Building Society account but with tax-free interest.
If you normally make a contribution to a stocks and shares ISA you may feel that you are unable to commit to the investment this year. However, there is still something you could do, have you any existing investments in shares or collectives which have not been doing well? they may even be in a loss situation. Why not take the opportunity to transfer the investment into a stocks and shares ISA for this year. You can keep the same investment but it will be treated as a disposal for CGT purposes, so by making this transaction you have benefited in a number of ways, you may have created a loss for capital gains purposes which can be carried forward to set against future gains and your investment can now grow in a CGT free environment.
On the subject of CGT many articles will be suggesting that you take advantage of your annual allowance for CGT purposes before the end of the tax year. In the current climate it may be that your gains are few and far between but you should consider your losses, why not make some sales and create losses which can be carried forward against future gains – as and when the economy recovers.
If you are currently investing in a self invested personal pension, you may feel unable to make a contribution, but it is possible to make an in specie contribution which means that you can transfer in an asset rather than cash. You could consider transferring in a shareholding on which you have made a loss, the loss can be carried forward for CGT purposes and you will receive tax relief without having to find cash for the purpose.