End of tax year checklist 2013

6 min Read Published: 28 Mar 2013

Time is running out to complete those tax year sensitive tasks before the 5th April. But what are they? Below is an abridged version of an end of tax year to-do list which I produced for lovemoney.com. You can find the full list here.

Pensions

  1. Pay into your pension – pensions offer a tax efficient way to invest for your retirement, but remember that your money can’t be accessed until you are 55 . A pension fund grows tax-free and any contributions you make into the plan also receive income tax relief at your highest marginal rate. The maximum someone can contribute to a personal pension and receive tax relief, is 100% of their earnings or £3,600, whichever is greater. This is capped at the Annual Allowance of £50,000. Making pension contributions can lower your income tax bill, restore lost personal allowances or help you avoid the new child benefit tax charge. Also with the highest income tax rate  falling from 50% to 45% from April 2013 the wealthy could get an extra 5% tax relief if they contribute to their pension this tax year!

  2. Carry forward pension contributions -  unused pension contribution Annual Allowances can be carried forward, and used, from the previous 3 years. So that means that if you have an unused allowance relating to 2009/10 tax year you will lose it if after 5th April 2013, if you don’t use it.  I cover this in more detail here.

  3. Pay into your spouse’s pension – even non-earners such as housewives can get tax relief on pension contributions. A non-earner can pay £2,880 each tax year into a pension and receive an additional £720 from the tax-man (effectively free money!). More here.

  4. Boost your state pension - by topping up any shortfall in your National Insurance contributions. Normally you have to do this within six years of the end of the tax year for which the contributions are being paid. Full details of time limits, rates and exemptions can be found here on the HMRC website.

Investments

  1. Use your annual ISA allowance - You can shelter up to £11,280 this tax year in a Stock and Shares ISA (also called an investment ISA) or save up to £5,640 in a cash ISA, where all income, interest or a capital gains are tax-free!  Remember you can still secure your Stocks and Shares ISA allowance even if you don’t know which fund to invest in.

  2. Utilise your Capital Gains Tax (CGT) allowance – If the value of your investments have increased enough during the current tax year to exceed the capital gains tax allowance of £10,600, you may want to consider selling enough of your units or shares to use that allowance. Or even consider  ‘bed and spousing’ or ‘’bed and ISA-ing’ whereby you sell your investments one day and buy them back via your wife or ISA the next day so using your CGT allowance. For more on this plus other ideas on how to cut your CGT bills then read my post How to realise capital gains without paying tax.

  3. Pay money into your child’s Junior ISA  - up to the maximum of £3,600 in any tax year. Unused allowances are lost and can’t be carried over to the next tax year.

  4. Consider tax incentivised investments - certain legitimate investments, such as Venture Capital Trusts (VCT’s), attract generous tax reliefs which are tax year sensitive. However, these investments are only suitable for sophisticated investors. But never make an investment just for tax reasons and always seek independent financial advice.

Tax

  1. Consider disposing of any capital losses to offset against capital gains made elsewhere which may be liable to capital gains tax.

  2. Use your spouse’s tax allowances - if your spouse has unused tax allowances then you may be able to use them by moving assets into their name. Read my article 'How do I use my spouse's unused tax allowances'.

  3. Be generous and reduce your Inheritance Tax (IHT) bill – there are a number of annual IHT allowances which are tax year sensitive. By using them you can reduce any potential IHT bill payable on your death. IHT is charged at 40% on estates over £325,000. Each tax year you can give away :

  • £3,000 and if you don’t make full use of your exemption in one year you can carry it forward to the next year, for one year only.
  • up to £250 a person (but not in conjunction with any other inheritance tax allowance).

  • £5,000 to a child who is getting married.

  • regular gifts from income which are IHT free. Size is irrelevant as long you can maintain your normal lifestyle after making them. But grandparents could use these to fund a pension for a grandchild which is obviously tax year sensitive.

  • For other ways that to  reduce your tax bill see my 15 ways to cut your Inheritance tax bill.

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