Back to school, back to the last few months of 2015

11 September 2015

Sorry to mention the festive season so early, but it will be upon us before we know it and the ever increasing cost needs to be budgeted for. This is obviously set against a backdrop of significant market volatility in recent weeks, and we have commented on this situation in our recent blog here: http://www.chaptersfinancial.com/shanghai-is-around-8,000-miles-away.html

The autumn edition of the Chapters Financial client and professional connections newsletter should be available in September and if you would like a copy then please send us an email.We have looked at the significant changes to the State Pension that are due to occur over the next year and these are also detailed at length in our recent blog here: http://www.chaptersfinancial.com/the-state-pension-%E2%80%93-changes-and-options.html

You can see that we have been busy over the summer keeping our clients and enquirers updated!

In addition to this, there are a few financial planning events and issues that may crop up over the next few months that you might want to look out for, other than the immediate costs of school or university fees, if you need to fund these. We have made some notes below, almost a 'ready reckoner', of some of the points you might want to plan for.

HMRC Pensions Fixed Protection 2015

If you plan to apply for Fixed Protection for your existing pension benefits in 2015 (to Lifetime Allowance Limit (LTA) of £1.25m), then the HMRC forms should become available in the autumn. In our experience, historically these forms have usually been made available in the final months of the year. HMRC Individual Protection 15 should also become available for those with existing accrued benefits above £1.25m). The LTA will fall to £1m from 06 April 2016.

HMRC Income Tax returns submission dates

Remember, the last day to submit paper tax returns is 31 October 2015, and the last date to register to submit your return is 05 October 2015. The time to pay any personal income tax you owe is 31 January 2016, which is also the last date for any online return.

If you are a higher rate taxpayer (income over £42,385 pa gross in the tax year 2015/2016), you may need to claim higher rate pension tax relief through your tax return and please ensure that the right boxes are noted with your contributions over the last tax year (2014/2015).

Workplace Pensions

The number of employers needing to comply with the auto-enrolment regulations and sign employees into an appropriate pension scheme (usually with contributions from both employer and employee) is increasing dramatically over the next year. If you're not already in a pension scheme, be ready for the change which may happen soon. You can find more on this legislation here: http://www.chaptersfinancial.com/auto-enrolment.html

Autumn Budget 2015

The Chancellor, George Osborne, will I am sure declare the date for his next Budget later in the autumn (last year it was in December) and I am sure more welfare cuts will be announced in an attempt to balance the books. To me, one of the highlights of the Budget is the tax allowances that are available, including this tax year's ISA allowance (£15,240), the capital gains tax (CGT) allowance (£11,100) and personal income tax allowance of £10,600 gross. We would recommend that you seek good financial advice to ensure these allowances are not lost in this tax year (2015/2016).

Other tax changes due in the new tax year (2016/2017) include a change to the way dividends from shares are taxed and we have noted this here: http://www.chaptersfinancial.com/all-change-to-dividends-and-their-tax.html

Summary

I hope these additional topical financial planning notes are helpful as we start to lead up to Christmas and its associated jollity...and cost! Some may not be relevant to your personal circumstances (we are all different), but I hope you can take something from this.

As always, no individual advice is provided during this blog. If you would like advice on your autumn financial planning then please contact me or the team at our offices in Guildford or Woking.

Keith Churchouse FPFS
Director
Chartered Financial Planner
Certified Financial Planner
ISO22222 Personal Financial Planner

Chapters Financial Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, number 402899.