The clocks changed last night: this is how British people refer to daylight savings. I realised it is not universal, but since this is a post focusing on the UK tax year we can just start there.
So, the clocks changed, the snowdrops are out, and its raining rather than snowing. That can only mean one thing: the end of the tax year. I’ve been talking about this – like all of it, the flowers, the weather and the financial planning – over on my IG page. Do come and join me, a lot of this is more fun with pictures.
Since 1753, for various nefarious reasons, the UK tax year runs from 6th April-5th April the next year. That means there is a week until the 5th April deadline for the 2022-23 year ends, and since the 6-10th April are also public holidays (quaintly referred to as Bank Holidays, honestly I didn’t appreciate how idiomatic British English is until I moved away) there are just eight working days to put in play any transactions relating to this tax year.
There are a couple of big things to be aware of in terms of the tax year:
- If you self assess for tax, you will need to get ready for the end of the year and for doing your tax return;
- There may be changes announced which will impact you from 6th April which you should be aware of; and
- Each tax year you get tax-free allowances which mean you get to keep more of your money through savings, pensions and other approaches. It’s all very simple but if you don’t use the allowances you lose them.
Of these, I will come back to planning your tax return (clue – I *love* doing mine). As more of a global blog I won’t go into the details on the second point but key things to look into are a raise in minimum wages for 21-22 year olds, but also a raise in national insurance in order to pay for social care. For this post I want to talk through some of the allowances, just in time for you to put them into play.
- You can max out tax free savings vehicles. The main one for most people is an Individual Savings Account, or ISA. There are multiple different types in the UK, but your money grows tax free. You can invest up to £20,000 per year. There are tons of benefits here – you don’t pay tax on any of the growth, ever, and since you can place it in a stocks and shares ISA you have a decent chance of it growing a lot. There are other options including Lifetime ISAs (though these are open only to people below 40, and are closing out). ISAs need to be opened or rolled over each year and money needs to be paid in before 5th April. If you don’t reach the £20,000 contribution allowance you just get it again next year – and it’s totally worth setting one up however much or little you can put in.
- This is also true for savings vehicles for your children. Junior ISAs (JISA) have an allowance of £9,000 per child per year and with stocks and shares JISAs and the power of compound interest, this can make a huge difference in financial planning for your children.
- Also thinking of savings for kids, there is the option to open a Self Invested Pension Plan (SIPP) just as there is for adults. The allowance is £3,600 per child per year and whilst the account moves into their name at 18, they cannot access the money until age 57. Again, the power here is from compound interest so even a tiny amount can be worth it with the tax benefits thrown in as well.
- For adults, the SIPP allowance is also worth investigating, especially if there are limits to your workplace pension or other options. This year you can pay in up to 100% of your gross annual earnings up to a maximum of £40,000 which will increase in 2023-24 to £60,000.
- If you are married then there are tax free allowances you can take advantage of. It’s possible to ‘share’ a tax allowance with a spouse depending on your different earning levels. Doesn’t apply to me so have not looked into it deeply, but it’s worth noting.
- Finally, check your tax code. It is your responsibility to do this – whilst there is a tax free allowance for income tax each year, the wrong tax code can mean that you’re paying too little or too much, and that can come back around when you least need an extra bill.
I hope that has been useful! Remeber – with the time left, you could open a new account and max out the allowances before the end of the year.
Reminder on the disclaimer: I am not a qualified financial planner or advisor and none of this blog or post constitutes ‘advice’. Treat is as seriously as if you were chatting to someone super interested in a subject at a bar. So you might find out something intersesting but you definitely wouldn’t act on it until you took other advice. Cool? Cool.