26th November 2015
Fund Calibre boss and Chelsea Financial Services managing director Darius McDermott, takes a look at what 2015’s Autumn Statement means for your pensions and investments…
There was very little change announced regarding investments and pensions in this year’s Autumn Statement, but quite a few points clarified, a number of things delayed and some future changes signalled. The documents supporting the 2016 Finance Bill will certainly make interesting, if not happy, reading.
Savings & Investments:
The band of savings income that is subject to the 0% starting rate will be kept at its current level of £5,000 for 2016-17
The annual subscription limits for ISAs, Junior ISAs and Child Trust Funds will remain at their current level for 2016-17 (£15,240 and £4,080).
The list of qualifying investments for the new Innovative Finance ISA will be extended in the Autumn of 2016 to include debt securities offered via crowd-funding platforms. The government will continue to explore the case for extending the list to include equity crowdfunding.
Venture Capital Schemes:
With effect from 30 November 2015, the provision of reserve energy generating capacity and the generation of renewable energy benefiting from other government support by community energy organisations will no longer be qualifying activities. In addition, these activities will not be eligible for Social Investment Tax Relief when it is enlarged. The government will exclude all remaining energy generation activities from the schemes from 6th April 2016, as well as from the enlarged Social Investment Tax Relief. The government will also introduce increased flexibility for replacement capital with EIS and VCTs subject to state aids approval (Finance Bill 2016).
More bad news for buy-to-let investors as higher stamp duty land tax will be payable on additional residential property purchases (above £40,000) such as second homes and buy-to-let. The higher rates will be 3% above the current rates. The higher rates will not apply to the purchase of caravans, mobile homes or house boats or to corporates or funds making significant investments in residential property. The government will introduce a seeding relief for Property Authorised Investment Funds (PAIFs) so that stamp duty land tax does not arise on the transaction of units (Finance Bill 2016).
Capital Gains Tax:
From April 2019, a payment on account of any capital gains tax due on the disposal of a residential property will be required to be made within 30 days of the completion of the disposal. A draft legislation for consultation will be published in 2016 (Finance Bill 2016).
The pensions tax relief consultation, which was launched in the Budget earlier this year, has now taken place and the government is considering the responses received. A response will be published in the 2016 Budget. The starting rate for the full new State Pension has been set at £155.65 per week and will take effect from 6th April 2016. The government will increase the basic State Pension by the triple-lock for 2016-17, meaning a full basic State Pension will rise to £119.30 a week. Legislation will be introduced to simplify the test that takes place when a Dependant’s Scheme Pension is payable (Finance Bill 2016). Automatic enrolment minimum contribution rate increases have been delayed by six months to bring them in line with the start of the tax year.
The government will remove barriers to creating a secondary market for annuities, allowing individuals to sell their annuity income stream. Further details of this will be released in December (Finance Bill 2017). The government will legislate to ensure charge to inheritance tax will not arise when a pensions scheme member designates funds for drawdown but does not draw all of the funds before death. This will be backdated to apply to deaths on or after 6th April 2011.