LISA left standing

The Lifetime ISA is now on its own as the ISA option for first time buyers. At the start of December, the Help-to-Buy ISA was withdrawn for new investments. Its disappearance means that the Lifetime ISA (LISA) is now the … Continue reading

Life expectancy shortens…or does it?

New calculations from the Office for National Statistics have lowered life expectancies. Source: ONS Every two years, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recalculates its national population projections (NPP). As part of the exercise, the ONS reviews and updates its … Continue reading

New government, new tax targets?

How will the new government affect your financial planning?   December’s general election delivered a Conservative government with the sort of majority which consigns the knife-edge parliamentary battles of recent years to the past. So what will the new government … Continue reading

HMRC keeps an eye on offshore fund investors

In early November, HMRC undertook a distinctly non-festive bulk mailing. “We receive information about investment funds and this information shows that you may have invested in Offshore Investment Funds.” Those slightly discomforting words are contained in a letter which HMRC … Continue reading

Calling a halt on mini-bonds

The Financial Conduct Authority has announced a temporary ban on the promotion of most ‘mini-bonds’. Have you ever been tempted by those advertisements offering 8%+ yields on property-backed bonds? If you have, then you’ve probably been looking at a promotion … Continue reading

Factor inflation into your planning cycle

Inflation has fallen to its lowest level in almost three years, but you should still take it into account. Source: ONS The October measure of annual inflation was lower than most experts had expected. At 1.5% on the CPI yardstick, … Continue reading

Higher state pension increases on the cards

Recently released economic data suggest a relatively large increase in the main state pensions for the next tax year, but it’s still inadequate for a happy retirement. The new levels of state pension for the coming financial year (2020/21) are … Continue reading

Time to start your year end tax planning

The Autumn Budget may have been deferred, but the tax year clock is still ticking. The deferral of the Autumn Budget, originally due on 6th November 2019, created several problems.  It meant that the political parties went into the election … Continue reading

What price our tax reliefs?

When you look at your annual tax statement, have you ever wondered about the overall cost of the tax reliefs you enjoy? HMRC has published its latest annual assessment of the cost of various tax reliefs, and there are some … Continue reading

Probate fee increases abandoned

The planned reform of probate fees in England and Wales has been scrapped. A year ago the government tabled proposals to increase the level of probate fees in England and Wales. The idea was to move from the current single … Continue reading

UK dividend growth continues, but for how long?

Recent data show that dividends from UK shares rose by nearly 7% year-on-year in the third quarter. Source: Link Asset Services The latest Dividend Monitor from Link Asset Services, the share registrars, shows that dividends from UK shares continued to … Continue reading

New thinking for Labour on taxes?

New proposals for reforming capital gains and income tax have been published by an influential think tank which could make their way into an election manifesto. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) is “the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank”, … Continue reading

Could your protected pension allowance tip over the edge?

An obscure adjustment to old pension benefits, mandated by the courts, might cost some pension owners many thousands in additional tax. The problems caused by the tapering of the annual allowance have been making the pension headlines for some time. … Continue reading

Blue chips take a knock as Marks & Spencer relegated

Marks & Spencer was demoted from the FTSE100 in September. Source: London Stock Exchange The FTSE100 is subject to a quarterly review of its 100 constituents. The process is not quite as simple as picking the 100 largest companies listed … Continue reading