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focusJanuary is the month named for Janus, the Roman god who was depicted with two faces – one looking back and one looking to the future. And that is precisely what we should be doing now in respect of our financial planning.

Successful financial planning is a cyclical activity. It is important to review your planning regularly, at least once a year, and January is a good time with the new tax year just a few weeks away.

Look back: Review your previously specified objectives (and risk profile).

Look forward: Assess the effects of any changes in circumstances (yours, those in the tax regime and those in the investment markets) and whether they affect your goals, attitudes, assets or liabilities.

Income Tax: Check your Income Tax position to ensure you benefit as far as is practical from all allowances and reliefs.

Pension Contributions: Build for the future but remember that the rules and limits have changed recently – £40,000, or 100% of your earnings if lower, is the annual allowance maximum but that reduces to £4,000 in some situations if you have started to draw from a Defined Contribution Pension. The maximum annual allowance is also reduced if you earn more than £150,000. Take advice and, when doing so, check if you can benefit from carrying forward any allowances from the previous three years.

Capital Gains Tax: Will you be able to benefit from this year’s CGT tax-free allowance £11,300. Do you have any carry-forward losses to help increase the amount of gains you can take tax-free?

ISAs: Are you contributing as much as you can to your ISAs (up to £20,000 per individual this year)?

Inheritance Tax: Do you take advantage of any IHT annual exemptions? There are many, including the £3,000 annual ‘gift allowance’ (didn’t use it last tax year – and carry it forward to this year so £6,000 could be available), other gifts up to £250, wedding gifts, gifts from ‘surplus’ income.
Ensure you allow sufficient time to take action. The clock is ticking …

We have set out above what is only a brief summary of some points that involve quite complex rules. Always take relevant professional advice before taking, or refraining from taking, any action.

Barry Fleming & Partners has grown from a tax advisory background into a broader business that encompasses investment management. Both things matter for wealth management, retention and creation. That expertise makes the company strikingly different from others.

This capability allows Barry Fleming and Partners to use its strength in tax advice to take a 360-degree-view of a financial situation to give much broader, more comprehensive advice.

We bring together up to the minute tax, estate, investment and retirement planning advice to create individual, ‘joined up’ financial strategies. This allows our clients to understand and have confidence in how they can best control, retain, and build their assets and income to achieve their objectives with least risk.

A high level of service is key to our long-term client relationships. We work collaboratively. That means our clients can benefit at all times from having ready access to our team of financial planners.

Barry Fleming & Partners are an independent financial advisor specialising in ISA’s, Pensions, Tax, Trusts, Estate Planning, Inheritance Tax Planning (IHT) and other Financial Planning areas. Please don’t hesitate to call on 01488 608 686 and ask to talk to one of our financial advisors. Alternatively use the contact form on our home page.