Starting early for tax year end investments

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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One step at a time – investing slowly

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

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

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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.  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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New thinking for Labour on tax?

New tax proposals from the IPPR

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”, according to its website. This may sound like boasting, but it is probably a fair…

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Blue chips take a knock as Marks & Spencer relegated from FTSE 100

Marks and Spencer shares dropped out of the FTSE 100

Marks & Spencer was demoted from the FTSE 100 in September.  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 on the London Stock Exchange, but it’s not far off. The latest review took effect on 23 September…

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Interest rates back on the slopes

Interest rates are falling below inflation

In September the US and European central banks cut interest rates, again. When the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, cut its main interest rate by 0.25% at the end of July, it was the first reduction in over 10 years. Less than two months later, the Fed announced a second cut by another 0.25%. …

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Annuity rates hit 25-year record low

Annuity rates have hit a 25-yearlow

Annuity rates hit their lowest level since 1994 in September, with implications for those making retirement decisions.  Since the introduction of pensions flexibility in 2015, annuities have become much less popular as a way of converting a pension fund into income. The most recent figures from the Financial Conduct Authority show that over five times…

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Tax planning: who are the top 1% of income tax payers?

A recent report looking at who pays the most income tax reveals some interesting findings.  The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) published a briefing note in early August with a detailed answer to the question of what it takes to enter the 1% club. Around 310,000 people make up this cohort, with some predictable and not…

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