Life & Culture

The best ways to save in 2024-25

A friend has told me that all the tax-free limits on savings are being reduced this year. Is this true? And is there anything I can do about it? I have already bought an ISA for the current tax year.


All change: the capital gains allowance is halving from 6 April

Your friend is sort of right, the capital gains allowance is halving from the beginning of the new tax year, which starts on 6 April.

The two easiest ways of reducing the amount of tax payable on your investments are by saving into an ISA and/or pension. You say you already have an ISA for the current tax year, which is great news, and the earlier you can invest for next year the longer you’ll have to benefit from its tax-free status. If you don’t save via an ISA, you can earn up to £1,000 of interest tax-free each year as a basic-rate taxpayers and £500 as a higher-rate taxpayer.

The other option is pension savings. The government raised the maximum annual amount you can save into a pension to £60,000 from £40,000 in April last year. They are an extremely tax-efficient way to save . As a basic-rate taxpayer for every £80 you pay in, the taxman will add another £20, higher and top-rate taxpayers can reclaim an extra £20 or £25 directly from HMRC.

Saving via a pension has other benefits. Sean McCann, a financial planner at NFU Mutual, told me: “Pensions can help reduce your income, which in turn can trigger other tax benefits. For instance, reducing income below £50,000 may allow you to avoid the Child Benefit Tax charge. High earners who can reduce their income below £100,000 can retain their full tax-free personal allowance, avoiding the punitive 60 per cent tax charge on income between £100,000 and £125,140.”

The biggest incoming change, the one your friend was talking about, is the reduction in the capital gains tax (CGT) allowance, which is falling to just £3,000 from the next tax year. It was slashed from £12,300 to £6,000 last April. If you have any capital gains from investments above this £3,000 level it may be worth taking the profits by selling the shares and then reinvesting the money back into the stock market. Remember investments directly in gilts do not attract capital gains tax.

However, there are rules that stop you from making a gain by selling shares or funds and buying the same share or fund back within 30 days. There are a couple options to get round this. You can either sell the shares and then buy them back via next year’s ISA allowance or through your pension – although this will need to be a Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP), which allow you to choose your investments. Alternatively, if you are married, you can sell the shares and take the profit, then gift the money to your spouse, which you can do capital gains tax-hfree, and then let him or her use the money to buy back the same shares or fund in their name.

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