Posts Tagged ‘Pensions’

Tax free pensions advice

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

People planning their retirement will be able to withdraw up to £1,500 from their pension pots tax-free to pay for financial advice, under recent plans unveiled by the government.


The new Pension Advice Allowance, first announced at Autumn Statement 2016, will enable people to withdraw £500 up to three occasions from their pension pots tax-free to put towards the cost of pensions and retirement advice from April 2017.


Following an 8-week consultation, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby, has today confirmed that the £500 allowance:

  • can be used a total of three times, only once in a tax year, allowing people to access retirement advice at different stages of their lives, for example when first choosing pension or just prior to retirement
  • will be available at any age, allowing people of all ages to engage with retirement planning
  • can be redeemed against the cost of regulated financial advice, including ‘robo advice’ as well as traditional face-to-face advice
  • will be available to holders of “defined contribution” pensions and hybrid pensions with a defined contribution element, not “defined benefit” or final salary type schemes


Pension providers will be able to offer the allowance to their members from April 2017.


Research has found that when approaching retirement only 22% of people know the value of their pension pot and only 14% of people would be confident planning their retirement goals without financial advice.


According to Unbiased, UK savers with a pension pot of £100,000 save an average of £98 more every month and receive an additional income of £3,654 every year of their retirement if they take financial advice.

Tax changes announced last week

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

Last week, Philip Hammond presented his first Autumn Statement to parliament.

In some respects, it was a bit of a damp squid as there were no stand-out revelations. However, there were a few tax changes that are worthy of note:

Pension pot reinvestment

The over 55s have been making good use of George Osborne’s facility to flexibly access their pension savings. Many have also reinvested their pension pots in further pension arrangements and reaped the benefit of additional tax savings. To temper enthusiasm for this strategy the Money Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA) was introduced. This effectively limited tax relief on reinvested funds to £10,000.

The government now believes this is too generous, and from April 2017 this MPAA will be reduced to £4,000.

Check with your pensions advisor to see how this change may affect your pension opportunities if you are considering, or have recently completed, flexible access to your pension pot(s).

VAT Flat Rate Scheme (FRS)

In order to curb what HMRC sees as aggressive use of the FRS, registered traders with limited costs subject to VAT may have to use a compulsory 16.5% FRS rate in place of their existing FRS rate from April 2017.

In certain circumstances, traders using FRS can make a cash “profit” from using the FRS. In particular, this benefits businesses who have low purchases of goods and overheads subject to VAT – HMRC describes these FRS users as a “limited cost trader”.

Businesses using the FRS will need to see if they are affected as continued use of the special scheme may be cash negative from April 2017.

The end of tax-free perks?

HMRC aim to limit the number of benefits provided by employers from April 2017, that are effective from a tax point of view.

The only benefits that will be exempt from the new reclassification are: pensions, pensions advice, childcare, cycle to work schemes and the use of ultra-low emission cars.

The idea is to curb the use of benefits as a means to sacrifice salary for tax perks, and save tax and National Insurance.

We may be witnessing the end of tax-free use of mobile phones and other benefits, although HMRC have said that benefits in place before April 2017 will be protected for at least one year, and in some cases, for four years.

State benefits that are taxable

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Many newly retired pensioners may not be aware that the State Pension they receive is taxable income. Also, the amount paid is not taxed at source. Although a pensioner’s State Pension may be covered by their annual tax-free personal allowance (£11,000 for 2016-17) and therefore potentially no tax would be payable, the situation is more complex if other private pensions and investment income are received. At the end of a tax year any tax collected by deduction from pensions may not be sufficient to clear liabilities.

The most common benefits that you pay Income Tax on are:

  • the State Pension
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance (contribution based)
  • Incapacity Benefit (from the 29th week you get it)
  • Bereavement Allowance
  • pensions paid by the Industrial Death Benefit scheme
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance
  • Widow’s pension

The most common state benefits you don’t have to pay Income Tax on are:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income related)
  • Income Support – though you may have to pay tax on Income Support if you’re involved in a strike
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Child Benefit (income based – use the Child Benefit tax calculator to see if you’ll have to pay tax)
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Winter Fuel Payments and Christmas Bonus
  • free TV licence for over-75s
  • lump-sum bereavement payments
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefit
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • War Widow’s Pension
  • Young Person’s Bridging Allowance

If you do receive a bill at the end of the tax year make sure you check HMRC’s calculations, they have been known to get it wrong!

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