State Pension – Calculation Errors

A Financial Times report in June revealed that many thousands of people have been receiving the wrong amount of state pension.  The errors have resulted in both under and over payments so that some pensioners will see a fall in the amount they receive when the corrected figures are implemented (they will not have to […]

Premium Bonds – A good Investment?

Premium Bonds are an incredibly popular savings vehicle with over 21 Million bond holders and around £72 Billion ‘invested’.  Yet, they really aren’t a savings vehicle at all.  There is no interest rate although NS&I provide a guide ‘return’ of 1.4% (effective from 1st December 2017).  But this return is in the form of ‘prizes’ […]

Lasting Powers of Attorney – Avoid a Lifetime Legacy of Worry

Around 31 million British adults have no will according to a recent survey by Which? There is a regional split of those without a will – 42% of adults in England say they have a will, 35% in Wales and 31% in Scotland.  The reasons quoted for not having a will are pretty varied but […]

Financial Scams

It is estimated that financial crime costs the UK an eye watering £52bn according to the Economic Crime Directorate at the City London Police. That may be the tip of the iceberg as, apparently, 88% of all cybercrime goes unreported. Many of these scams do look and sound perfectly legitimate so it does pay to […]

Inheritance Tax Hits New Heights

In the 2017/18 tax year some £5.2 billion was paid in inheritance tax (IHT). That’s £400 million more than in 2016/17 and the highest IHT ‘take’ on record. On one level, this isn’t a surprise, the ‘nil rate band’ – the amount of an estate which is not subject to IHT – has been frozen at its […]

The Pensions Regulator

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has been active this year.  Back in February a bus company and its owner were fined just over £31,000 for ‘wilfully failing to comply with the law on workplace pensions’ by failing to Auto Enrol a total of 36 staff into a pension scheme.  That was the first prosecution for auto-enrolment […]

Pension Tax Relief

Pensions have always been and still are the most tax-efficient form of investment, but limits on contributions and total savings have been reduced dramatically. A major part of the reason is that higher rate tax relief on pension contributions is costing the Exchequer £38 billion annually and questions remain as to how long the government […]

Encouraging Enterprise

In his Spring statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that consideration was being given to introducing a new higher-risk variant of the Enterprise Investment Scheme (‘EIS’), to encourage investment in new “knowledge intensive” technology companies. EIS was introduced in the 1990s and offers investors in companies that meet the criteria and have assets of less than […]

ISA Investment Options

The annual ISA allowance is a “use it or lose it” investment opportunity. Hence the proliferation of press advertisements exhorting investors to utilise the allowance before the tax year end. The allowance currently stands at a very meaningful £20,000, which compares with £15,240 maximum investment in the tax year 2016/17 and just £7,000 in 2006/7. […]

No more March Budgets!

Until 2017, the Chancellor of the Exchequer traditionally delivered a Spring Budget, usually in March, and in more recent years this was preceded by an Autumn Statement to announce interim changes. But no more! Chancellor Philip Hammond has broken the mould, and there will in future be a single Budget each year, which will be […]