Pearson May Financial Update: The end of the tax year is approaching – do you need to take action?

March 4, 2020

As the end of the 2019/20 tax year approaches on April 5 it is a good time to review your affairs, making the most of opportunities to maximise your income and minimise your tax. Some tax planning may require action to be taken before April 5. Pearson May partner Jacqui Bowden highlights a few of these below. However, the points mentioned may need to be reviewed in light of any relevant announcements in the Budget next Wednesday, March 11.

Gift Aid Payments 

Don’t forget that, in respect of the 2019/20 tax year, higher rate taxpayers can claim an extra 20% of the ‘grossed-up’ donation from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for donations made during the tax year. For example, if a donation of £80 is made to charity under Gift Aid during the year, the higher rate tax relief that HMRC will give you will be 20% of £100 i.e. an additional £20. For additional rate taxpayers (those with taxable income above £150,000 for the year), the extra relief would be £25.

Pension Contributions

If you regularly make contributions to pension schemes, you may wish to consider a one-off additional payment to be made before April 5, particularly if your total income for the current year may take you into the 40% (or even higher) income tax rates. For most individuals, the 40% rate starts to apply once income reaches £50,000. The tax relief for personal pension contributions works in a similar manner to Gift Aid payments as mentioned above and, as a result, tax relief is available at your marginal rate of tax. You may however need to bear in mind and take specific advice concerning the annual allowance, which limits the amount that can be contributed to a pension each year while still attracting tax relief. For most individuals, the annual allowance is £40,000 but this could be more or less in certain situations, depending on factors such as the level of your income, amount of pension contributions made in earlier years and whether you are already drawing a pension, etc.

High Earners

High earners also need to bear in mind that they may be at risk of losing their personal allowance.  Those with ‘net adjusted income’ in excess of £100,000 for 2019/20 will lose the whole or part of their personal allowance of £12,500. For every £2 of income in excess of £100,000 the allowance is reduced by £1, leading to an effective marginal rate of income tax of 60% in the band between £100,000 and £125,000. Once net adjusted income reaches £125,000 the allowance is completely eliminated.

With both Gift Aid donations and pension contributions, it is certainly worth considering making a one-off payment before April 5 if you are in danger of losing all or part of your personal allowance, or being subject to the High Income Child Benefit Charge (which applies when ‘net adjusted income’ exceeds £50,000).

The gross amount of any Gift Aid donations and pension contributions are deducted from total income when calculating ‘net adjusted income’ for these purposes. For example, if you are expecting your total income for 2019/20 to be £110,000 (and assume for these purposes that you haven’t yet made any pension contributions in the tax year), making a net pension payment of £8,000 before April 5 could save you additional income tax of £4,000, over and above the basic rate relief, meaning the effective cost (after tax relief) of the pension payment is actually only £4,000. In other words, you obtain the benefit of £10,000 being contributed to your pension scheme at a cost of only £4,000 – a massive 60% relief.

Inheritance Tax

Small gifts of up to £250 to as many individuals as the donor wishes to benefit can be made. This allowance cannot be used to cover part of a gift or gifts totalling more than £250 to the same individual during the same tax year.

If you wish to make use of the annual inheritance tax gifts allowance for larger gifts not covered by the above exemption, up to £3,000 can be given in total to all recipients for the year ended April 5, 2020. If the allowance was not used for the year ended April 5, 2019, that can also be utilised for gifts now, i.e. up to £6,000 could be gifted if there have been no earlier gifts in the past two years.  This could save up to £2,400 of inheritance tax.

Furthermore, recurring gifts which form part of normal expenditure out of surplus net income may be made in addition to the above. This can be an extremely important relief that is often overlooked.  You must however maintain careful records of your gifts and expenditure in order for your executors to be in a position to prove that you were able to maintain the same standard of living after making the gifts. If your Income Tax returns and tax calculations are retained, clearly, they will go a long way to providing details of your taxable income.

The above are only a small selection of some of the tax planning points included in our annual publication Financial Perspectives – End of Tax Year Guide Spring 2020 available on our website or to anyone who would like to phone our offices or e-mail us at Copies of this will be provided free of charge.

The above is for general guidance only and no action should be taken without obtaining specific advice. Such advice in relation to pension schemes should be obtained from your pension adviser or an independent financial adviser.




Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across the Bath area for just £75 a month. Email for more information.