Tax year end planning: pensions

Tax year end planning: pensions

The new tax rules are due from 6 April, but there is still plenty to consider before then.

The current tax year has been a transitional one on the pension front. It has seen the annual allowance reduced by 20% to £40,000 and the lifetime allowance cut by a sixth to £1.25m. There has also been a raft of temporary transitional provisions introduced ahead of the new regime for 2015/16 onwards.

The key area to consider for both this and next tax year is whether to make some one-off contributions. There has been much political discussion about changing tax relief on contributions:

  • The Labour Party has said that it will reduce higher rate tax relief on contributions to fund job creation. More details should soon emerge in their manifesto.
  • The Liberal Democrats, and in particular the current Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, are considering a single flat rate of relief on pension contributions between 20% and 30%.
  • The Conservatives have made no announcements, but a leading think tank closely associated with the party has also proposed moving to a flat rate relief system.

Income tax relief on pensions cost £27.9bn in 2012/13, with another £15.2bn cost for national insurance contribution relief on employer’s contributions, according to HMRC. Given the current state of government finances, any post-election Chancellor could be tempted by such low hanging fruit.

If you wish to make large pre-emptive pension contributions, please contact us as soon as possible. Maximising contributions can require a considerable amount of data to be collected, which takes time.

** The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The value of tax reliefs depends on your individual circumstances. Tax laws can change. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice.

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