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The End of the Financial Year

The End of the Financial Year

The end of the financial year is always a chaotic time. Decisions and action that should have been taken weeks, even months ago are suddenly upon us. Whether it’s using your annual ISA allowance or switching before a regulation change, that deadline is upon us and then gone. Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) are only too well aware of the dangers of rushing when dealing with important financial choices – or taking a course of action simply to take advantage of a tax break. They urge caution – and the long-term view. ‘Doing nothing can often be better than making the wrong choice in the financial world. This year seems worse. As well as the usual deadlines, the brave new world of pension freedom is becoming a reality. The media are bombarding us with information about the choices now available in regards to our pension pot, provided we have reached the age of 55; they also warned us to be on our guard from those wishing to grab a share...

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Learning From Your Financial Mistakes

Learning From Your Financial Mistakes

Learning from your mistakes can be a real asset. There is nothing more demoralising that realising you have been through this once before and how did you manage to let it happen again! Learning from the mistakes of others is just as useful – and a lot less stressful and potentially damaging. That is especially true in the financial world. With the frequency of changes to regulations concerning investments, tax and pensions, plus the inventiveness of scammers to get hold of other people’s money, it makes sense to monitor newspapers, TV, the internet and the radio. Don’t forget the radio. Paul Lewis and his Radio 4 “Money Box” programme – Saturday lunchtime and Wednesday afternoon – is not only a great way of keeping up-to-date, but it also frequently includes guests who are experts in a particular financial area and listener phone-ins. As ever, the listener must take further advice before making final decisions. But at the very least, it gives valuable background information so that any worries and questions...

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The Pensions Revolution

The Pensions Revolution

The new rules and regulations, announced by chancellor George Osborne in last year’s March Budget, were long overdue after successive generations had suffered under the “annuity” rule.

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Playing the Equity Card

Playing the Equity Card

The ‘baby boomers’ are sitting pretty, property-wise. Some have lived in the same house for over quarter of a century and seen its value rise many times, and that increase is all tax free.

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Tax Avoidance or Tax Evasion

Tax Avoidance or Tax Evasion

Once again, the blurred edges of “tax avoidance” and “tax evasion” have been highlighted. The waters have been muddied to such an extent that making any effort to save tax might be regarded as “dodgy”. It started with the revelation that the bank, HSBC, had been assisting clients to put (hide) money in secret Swiss bank accounts, then the tax inspectors at HMRC failed to prosecute a UK resident who had not submitted a tax return or paid any tax for 24 years. The chairman of HSBC during this problem time was Stephen (Lord) Green who was appointed as a trade minister in the Coalition (and made a life peer) in 2010 by David Cameron. The Prime Minister has refused to confirm whether he discussed “tax avoidance” with Green before his appointment. A few days later Labour’s shadow chancellor Ed Balls entered the avoidance debate by admitting that he always asked for a receipt, even if it was just the £10 charged to cut his hedge, because it was...

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