The government creates many legitimate opportunities to reduce the amount that an individual, a company or a deceased’s estate pays in tax. However, tax is a complex area, and as such many of these tax saving opportunities are missed simply due to apprehension about considering the options and plans available.
Many of these schemes are becoming far more widely available, and as Independent Financial Advisers, Optimum are perfectly positioned to bring these specialist tax efficient investments to our clients. We also work closely with like-minded Accountant and Solicitor firms to ensure all areas of tax planning are considered in our advice process.
Inheritance Tax (IHT) Solutions
HMRC will claim up to 40% of someone’s estate (above a £325,000 threshold) when they die. There are various IHT solutions designed to help someone pass on as much of their hard-earned wealth as possible.
There are investments that fall outside the estate after just two years, as long as it is still held at the time of death (unlike traditional IHT solutions, such as gifts or trusts, which can take seven years to gain exemption from inheritance tax). What’s more, most of these solutions allow the investor to maintain control of their money at all times.
Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS)
Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) were introduced by the government to encourage investment in small unquoted companies. Typically they involve a higher degree of risk than investments in larger companies, such as those traded on the London Stock Exchange.
Investors may be eligible for the following tax reliefs:
- 30% upfront income tax relief on investments up to a £1 million for the current tax year and/or £1 million carried back to the previous tax year, as long as they keep their EIS shares for at least three years.
- 100% inheritance tax relief after two years, provided they still have the EIS shares at the time of their death.
- Capital gains tax deferral for the life of the investment.
- Tax-free growth, provided the investor qualifies for income tax relief.
There are schemes available that focus on capital preservation by investing in renewable energy projects that qualify for government-backed payments scheduled to run for 20 years or more. Alternatively, other options have more of a growth focus and can invest in a combination of unquoted companies and stocks listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
Venture Capital Trusts (VCT)
VCTs are listed in the London Stock Exchange and provide finance for small, expanding companies with the aim of generating returns for investors. They’re a tax-efficient way to invest in smaller companies. Investors can benefit from:
- up to 30% income tax relief, for investments between £5,000 and £200,000 in any tax year (to retain this relief the VCT shares need to be kept for at least five years)
- tax-free dividends
- no capital gains tax
Personalised Specialist Tax Advice
Specialist tax advice from Optimum will be specific and bespoke to our clients individual circumstances and will consider their personal financial goals, tax position and preferred balance between risk and return.
I have always found Optimum extremely helpful and the advice they have given on Private Wealth investments, Inheritance Tax, and Self Invested Pension Plans has been very sound indeed; nothing is too much trouble. Peter Smith