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Fiscal attraction

In a perfect fiscal world, tax planning strategies would be considered and put into action all year round. But, in real life, people are busy with other more commercially pres-sing matters for much of the year, such as generating eno-ugh income and assets to need tax planning in the first place.

The approach of the end of the tax year provides opp-ortunities to maximise the use of personal allowances, reliefs and exemptions for the year. Properly addres-sed, this objective can be achieved as part of an overall financial plan.

In some cases, if allowances are not claimed, they will be lost for ever. Furthermore, some allowances or reliefs may cease to be available as a result of any changes in legislation that may be proposed in the spring Budget.

If ever there was a time in the tax year to consider tax planning strategies, it is now. It is also a good time to lay plans for tax reduction in the next tax year.

As ever, many tax planning opportunities exist and, with the prospect of more “stealth” taxes being used to raise money to improve the NHS, tax planning is likely to be high up the financial agenda of many individuals.

In this special report, I will cover the main tax planning opportunities open to UK residents for the tax year ending on April 5 this year. Naturally, the situation may change as a result of the forthcoming Budget which, unlike recent years, falls after the beginning of the new tax year.

As it is unlikely that any legislative changes that are newly proposed in the Budget will have retrospective effect, this means that there is a wider window of opportunity than in recent years. However, early consideration of the appropriateness of the many opportunities available is still strongly recommended.

Four main areas for planning will be considered – pensions, income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax.

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