New Year Resolutions to save tax
At this time of year, we think about New Year’s resolutions. It is also a good time to start planning your tax affairs before the end of the tax year on 5th April.
An obvious tax planning point would be to maximise your ISA allowances for the 2023/24 tax year (currently £20,000 each). You might also want to consider increasing your pension savings before 5 April 2024, as the unused annual pension allowance from 2020/21 lapses after three years.
Many of us get together with the family at Christmas and that prompts us to think about making or updating our Will.
TIME TO REVIEW, OR MAKE A WILL?
At the top of the New Year to do list for many individuals is to make or update their Will. Many think this is something to leave until later in life, but it is important to get things in place once property is acquired or when children come along.
In the absence of a will there are statutory rules which dictate how your assets are distributed on death. Those statutory intestacy rules may not be tax efficient, and you might to want to make specific provision in your Will for your unmarried partner or for the guardianship of your children.
People often think that if they die without making a Will, their spouse (or civil partner) will automatically inherit everything, but this is not necessarily the case. According to the laws of intestacy in England, for deaths occurring on or after 26 July 2023, the surviving spouse would inherit a statutory legacy of £322,000, all of the personal effects, and half of the remaining estate. The deceased’s surviving children (or their descendants) would split the remaining half of the estate equally. If those descendants are under the age of 18, their inheritance is kept back for them until they turn 18. Note that intestacy rules are different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
LEAVING MONEY IN YOUR WILL TO CHARITY
If you leave at least 10% of your estate to charity, the rate of Inheritance tax on the amount chargeable Is reduced from 40% over the nil rate bands to just 36%. This would reduce the amount passing to other beneficiaries and needs to be carefully considered.
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