The tax year 2018/19 ends on Friday 5 April, which means it is time to start planning for the new tax year and tie up the loose ends of the old one.

Planning for the new tax year is now affected by the shift of the Budget schedule to autumn. The result is that changes announced in October, or in Scotland’s December Budget, have now passed into legislation in time for the new tax year. So, what does 2019/20 hold in store?

A higher personal allowance: The first £12,500 of income for most people in the UK will be free of income tax.

An increased higher rate threshold, outside Scotland: The higher rate income tax threshold (the personal allowance + the basic rate band) will be £50,000 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The jump of nearly 8% could mean it is worth reviewing how married couples and civil partners own their investments to ensure income falls in the right hands. In Scotland, the threshold stays unchanged at £43,430.

An increased national insurance contributions (NICs) upper threshold: The UK-wide upper threshold for full rate NICs (12% for employees) will also increase by nearly 8% to £50,000 from 6 April, potentially clawing back some, or in Scotland, almost all of your income tax savings. However, the increase does offer more scope to potentially gain benefits from salary sacrifice arrangements for pension contributions.

Personal pensions: The lifetime allowance will rise by almost £25,000 to £1.055 million for 2019/20. The annual allowance and its associated taper limits remain unchanged. Check whether you have any unused allowance from 2015/16 to carry forward before 6 April arrives and the opportunity disappears.

Employer pensions: The minimum level of pension contributions for automatic enrolment increases from 6 April 2019. For employers, the minimum rate rises from 2% to 3% of ‘band earnings’ (£6,136–£50,000 in 2019/20), while employees must pay enough to bring the total up to 8%.

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs): Only the Junior ISA investment limit will increase in 2019/20, and that by just £9 a month. It will be the third successive
year the overall ISA limit has been fixed at £20,000, a reminder of the wisdom of contributing as much as you can each year (including 2018/19, if you have not already done so). The Help-to-Buy ISA will disappear for new investors (aged 16 upwards) from December 2019.

Capital gains tax (CGT): The CGT annual exempt amount increases to £12,000 in 2019/20. The exempt amount could result in a potential tax saving of up to £2,400 (£3,360 in the case of residential property). If you still have your 2018/19 exemption, combining the two with sales straddling the tax years could remove £23,700 of gains from tax. That might provide the funds to top up ISAs and pensions.

For more information on any of these changes please contact us now.

The value of tax reliefs depends on your individual circumstances. Tax laws can change. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice. The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

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