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2012 Autumn Statement Tax and Pensions

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Taking with one hand

When it came to personal investments in his Autumn Statement on 5 December, Chancellor George Osborne gave with one hand and took away with the other. He extended the Isa allowance for the 2013/14 tax year to £11,520 – up from £11,280 in 2012/13 – and the government is consulting on whether to allow Aim shares to form part of an Isa. The Chancellor also raised the child trust fund and junior Isa limits – from £3,600 to £3,720 a year. Equally, he made a small extension to the capital gains tax allowance – from £11,000 in 2014/15 to £11,100 in 2015/16.

However, pensions were subjected to a raid. The annual contribution limit was reduced from £50,000 to £40,000 for the 2014/15 tax year. This was mitigated to some extent by some changes in the carry forward rules, which mean that investors are now able to carry forward any unused allowance from the previous three years to the current tax year. Meanwhile the lifetime allowance is to be reduced from £1.5m to £1.25m from 2014/15.

That said, the Chancellor was more generous with drawdown limits, which are to be increased from 100% of the value of an equivalent annuity to 120%. Some commentators suggested the basis for the calculation should move away from the 15-year gilt yield and, until this happens, income levels were likely to remain low and fluctuate over time. Osborne also made some changes to business tax rates, including extending the temporary doubling of the Small Business Rate Relief scheme until April 2014.

To discuss how these changes may affect you and to discuss how to utilise tax savings opportunities, please contact us at SWLaw Investment and Financial Planning Ltd.

Graham Westhall, BSc (Hons)  CAifs  APFS  Chartered Financial Planner