Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Last Chance To Claim Tax Allowances UK Tax Year Ends Tomorrow 5 April

The UK tax year ends tomorrow, 5 April 2018. If you're planning to make full use of your ISA or Pensions/SIPP (Self Invested Personal Pension) this year, you must act soon. I have been talking about this since February in my Money Tips Daily blog and Podcast, so don't say I didn't warn you!

There are hundreds of banks and pension providers out there. You can invest online or in the High Street branches, but you only have just over 24 hours left.

If you're not sure where to invest, there's a simple solution. You can just add cash to secure your ISA and SIPP allowances now and choose investments when you're ready.

As always, I'm giving you information, not offering advice, so take advice from an independent financial adviser and remember that investments can fall as well as rise in value so you could get back less than you put in.

Here are the basic rules for ISA’s and SIPPs.


An ISA is simply a savings account where you can shelter up to £20,000 from UK tax as long as the money is held in the account and ISA wrapper. You can also invest funds into a ‘stocks and shares’ ISA, where your money is invested into shares or a fund holding shares. Again, the tax free wrapper applies, but the investments can fall as well as rise in value.

When I worked in the bank many years ago, some customers would have hundreds of thousands of pounds tied up in accounts which not only paid a low interest rates, but were also taxed. By simply moving their money into ISA’s they could avoid taxes forever on their savings and earn more money on their savings, as interest rates were also higher in the ISA accounts. 

Remember that banks have a habit of churning accounts and reducing the interest rate on those accounts making them effectively obsolete. Despite all the benefits, many of them would say “no, I’m happy where it is” and refuse to move their money!

If you had invested the maximum allowable amount each year into ISA’s or similar accounts since they were introduced you would now have over £1,000,000 in a tax free wrapper. It's also far less hassle when doing your tax returns.

The Stocks and Shares ISA allows you to invest in shares or funds which invest in the stock market on your behalf. These funds can go up or down and obviously carry more risk than a cash ISA. If you already own shares, it makes sense to shelter them in an ISA wrapper to avoid tax on dividends and CGT or capital gains tax.

Companies like Hargreaves Lansdown offer this ISA service and has a good online platform.
You can invest in an ISA by making regular monthly contributions or a single lump sum each year.

Check out the best deals online (e.g. at or similar comparison sites) and now is the time to start shopping around rather than leaving it until the last minute and risk losing out.
In addition to the ISA allowance, all UK basic rate tax payers can now earn up to £1000 a year in interest without paying tax on it. With base lending rates standing at .5% as I write, you’d need quite a lot of money on deposit to earn £1000 of interest on your savings. Assuming a savings rate of .25%, you would have to have £400,000 on deposit in order to earn £1000 in interest.

ISA Features
  • Save tax - Grow your money free of UK income and capital gains tax (stocks and shares ISA)
  • Accessibility - although investing is best for the long term, you can take your money out whenever you need to
  • Wide investment choice - choose from deposit based ISA to thousands of managed funds, UK and international shares, investment trusts and more.
Tax rules can change and the benefits of investing in ISAs depend on your ongoing circumstances. 


A SIPP and most other approved pension schemes allows you to gain 20% tax relief on qualifying funds you invest into your pension plan. A SIPP generally gives you a wider choice of investments than a pension plan with a single pension provider.

SIPP Features
  • Save tax - Grow your money free of UK income and capital gains tax
  • Great value - 0.45% p.a. to hold your SIPP investments. 
  • Wide investment choice - choose from 2,500 funds, UK and international shares, investment trusts and more
Pensions are more complex and the right plan for you will depend on your circumstances, for instance, your tax status, age and whether you are employed, self employed or a company director. Seek advice.

Tax rules can change and the benefits of investing in a SIPP depend on your circumstances. At present, you can only access the money in a SIPP from age 55 (57 from 2028).

Business owners and the self employed should consult their accountants to see if they can make any last tax plans before the end of the tax year. After the year end might be too late to claim allowances against your profits. In my experience most accountants and reactive rather than proactive and only talk to you when it's all over, and then say "you could have done this or that last year...".

Bonus tip. Get into the habit of saving a percentage of your income no matter how small to start with. The sooner you start saving the better, as compound interest (interest on interest) will work in your favour. Albert Einstein described compound interest as one of the greatest forces on Earth.

Acton. See an independent financial advisor and do your own research online.

Check out my Podcast episode "Last. Chance To Claim UK Tax Allowances Tax Year Ends 05/04" on Anchor! Also available on itunes.

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