Money purchase annual allowance penalties – pick a number

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request has revealed a gap in HMRC’s knowledge about how many people have been hit with penalties around the annual allowance. The annual allowance, which effectively sets the tax-efficient ceiling on annual pension contributions, used … Continue reading

Light at the end of the tunnel for inheritance tax simplification?

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) published its long-awaited second report on inheritance tax (IHT) in July with a range of useful proposals. The report, focused on simplifying the structure of IHT, contained some surprises, not only in the recommendations … Continue reading

New prime minister, new tax policies

July ended with a new prime minister in Boris Johnson and a new chancellor in Sajid Javid, both with different ideas from their immediate predecessors. There is already speculation about what Mr Javid might produce in his first Budget and … Continue reading

Student fees may be coming down

A government-commissioned report has proposed significant changes to the funding of university students in England. Students resident in England (different rules apply in other parts of the UK) pay a maximum university tuition fee of £9,250 per year, financed by … Continue reading

Could we see the back of inheritance tax?

A paper presented to the Labour Party has suggested the abolition of inheritance tax (IHT). Labour Party proposals to kill off inheritance tax (IHT) and replace it with a gifts tax were reported across several newspapers last month. The coverage … Continue reading

When it comes to funds, the best advice is personal

The recent problems with the suspension of dealings in a heavily promoted UK equity income fund have exposed the blurred line between advice and guidance. According to the Investment Association (IA), there are around 3,500 funds on sale in the … Continue reading

2019 defies analysts’ predictions

The world’s share markets had a buoyant first six months. Index 2019 H1 Change FTSE 100 + 10.4% FTSE All-Share + 10.4% Dow Jones Industrial + 14.0% Standard & Poor’s 500 + 17.3% Nikkei 225 + 6.3% Euro Stoxx 50 … Continue reading

How well do you understand inheritance tax?

A survey by HMRC published in May concluded that the public have a relatively poor knowledge of inheritance tax (IHT) rules and lack of confidence in what they do know. HMRC recently commissioned a survey of 947 people who had … Continue reading

Dividends wobble with 40% cuts

Recent dividend announcements have been an unwelcome reminder for some investors that peaks also have downsides. Dividends matter to investors in UK shares. The UK stock market has historically been one of the higher yielding of the world’s major share … Continue reading

Brave new world of UBI?

If those three letters mean nothing to you now, they may do soon. Universal Basic Income (UBI) has become a topic attracting attention among some think-tanks and political parties, both in the UK and overseas. The idea behind UBI is … Continue reading

Pension flexibility: too taxing for many

Recent HMRC statistics highlight the over-taxation of some pension benefits. More than one million people have received flexible pension payments thanks to therules introduced just over four years ago. HMRC’s most recent statistics, to the end of March 2019, show … Continue reading

A popular peak for venture capital trusts

Figures recently released for last tax year show the highest level of VCT investment since 2005/06. The Association of Investment Companies was quick off the mark after 5 April in announcing a near record level of fund raising for venture … Continue reading

Ripple effect widens for China investors

It is not only Chinese mainland shares which are now attracting investor attention. Over the past few years, the relevance of shares quoted on the mainland Chinese stock exchanges to global investors has grown considerably. China has opened access to … Continue reading

Riding out investment bends

Professional investor interest has been focusing on US government bond yields, with potential lessons for long term investment. On 22 March the US stock market caught a sudden – and brief – chill. One of the main reasons was the … Continue reading