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 for ‘mini-bonds’. These investments are not always what they seem and have already resulted in…

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The Autumn Budget may have been deferred, but the tax year clock is still ticking.   The deferral of the Autumn Budget, originally due on 6 November 2019, created several problems. It meant that the political parties went into the election with just a government-sanctioned economic forecast produced back in March, alongside Mr Hammond’s Spring Statement.…

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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 usually revealed in or alongside the Autumn Budget statement. But as 2019 has been a strange…

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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 sent out in early November. It was sent to a subset of taxpayers whose tax…

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Inflation has fallen to its lowest level in almost three years, but you should still take it into account. The October measure of annual inflation was lower than most experts had expected. At 1.5% on the CPI yardstick, it was the lowest since November 2016 and 0.5% below what is still the Bank of England’s central…

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Venture Capital Trusts have started their fundraising for 2019/20.   There was a time when tax year-end planning didn’t begin until a March Budget was nearing. This rhythm has now shifted. The last months of the tax year are still important. That’s because they are the point at which you should have a reasonable idea of…

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Are you reluctant to make a lump sum investment in case the timing is wrong?  FTSE 100: 1 January 2017 – 31 October 2019 It’s been both a rollercoaster and a trip to nowhere for the FTSE 100 index in recent years. The fluctuations can be seen in the graph above showing the performance of…

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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 eye-opening numbers.   If you were the Chancellor of the Exchequer, looking for a way to…

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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 fee approach (£155 via a solicitor, £215 otherwise) to a sliding scale, based on estate…

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Recent data show that dividends from UK shares rose by nearly 7% year-on-year in the third quarter.  The latest Dividend Monitor from Link Asset Services, the share registrars, showed that dividends from UK shares continued to grow faster than inflation in the third quarter of 2019, despite all the political turmoil the UK experienced over…

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