Category Archives:

Consumer

New FCA website: ScamSmart

It is estimated that £1.2bn is lost to Investment Fraud each year, so in response the FCA website has created a specific site giving details of scams with warnings: ScamSmart

Latest scams include emails appearing to be from companies such as Pay Pal and Apple indicating there is a problem with your account, or that a purchase has been made using your details. You are then directed to a site to confirm these details and are requested to enter your bank/card details.

This is a scam – no company will ask you to confirm your bank or card details in full online. If you’re suspicious, contact the payment provider or store and your bank immediately.

Budget 2016: Eight key announcements

As ever, the Chancellor’s Budget contained a raft of information that could affect our clients and their families. Here we take you through the most important updates:

1. Lifetime ISA: a new £4,000 ISA that you can use to save for retirement or to buy your first home

From April 2017, any adult under 40 will be able to open a new Lifetime ISA. Up to £4,000 can be saved each year and savers will receive a 25% bonus from the government on this money.

Money put into this account can be saved until you are over 60 and used as retirement income, or you can withdraw it to help buy your first home.
The total amount you can save each year into all ISAs will also be increased from £15,240 to £20,000 from April 2017.

2. The Personal Allowance will increase to £11,500, and the higher rate threshold will rise to £45,000 in April 2017

The Personal Allowance is the amount of income you can earn before you start paying Income Tax. This is currently £10,600 – it will already rise to £11,000 in 2016, and will now increase further to £11,500 in April 2017.

The point at which you pay the higher rate of Income Tax will increase from £42,385 to £43,000 in 2016 and to £45,000 in April 2017.

3. New tax allowances for money earned from the sharing economy

From April 2017, there will be two new tax-free £1,000 allowances – one for selling goods or providing services, and one income from property you own.
People who make up to £1,000 from occasional jobs – such as sharing power tools, providing a lift share or selling goods they have made – will no longer need to pay tax on that income.

In the same way, the first £1,000 of income from property – such as renting a driveway or loft storage – will be tax free.

4. Cutting business rates for all rate payers

From April 2017, small businesses that occupy property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less will pay no business rates.

Currently, this 100% relief is available if you’re a business that occupies a property (e.g. a shop or office) with a value of £6,000 or less.

There will be a tapered rate of relief on properties worth up to £15,000. This means that 600,000 businesses will pay no rates.

5. Capital Gains Tax rates will be cut from 6 April 2016, but residential property will still be taxed at current rates

Capital Gains Tax is a tax on the gain you make when you sell something (an ‘asset’) that has gone up in value. It is paid at a basic or higher rate depending on the rate of Income Tax you pay.

From April 2016, the higher rate of Capital Gains Tax will be cut from 28% to 20% and the basic rate from 18% to 10%.
There will be an additional 8 percentage point surcharge to be paid on residential property and carried interest (the share of profits or gains that is paid to asset managers).

Capital Gains Tax on residential property does not apply to your main home, only to additional properties (for example a flat that you let out).

6. Employers will pay National Insurance on pay-offs above £30,000 from April 2018

From April 2018 employers will now need to pay National Insurance contributions on pay-offs (for example, termination payments) above £30,000 where Income Tax is also due.

For people who lose their job, payments up to £30,000 will remain tax-free and they will not need to pay National Insurance on any of the payment.

7. Corporation Tax will be cut again to 17% in 2020

The main rate of Corporation Tax has already been cut from 28% in 2010 to 20%, the lowest in the G20. It will now be cut again to 17% in 2020, benefitting over 1 million businesses.

8. Class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs) for self-employed people will be scrapped from April 2018

Currently, self-employed people have to pay Class 2 NICs at £2.80 per week if they make a profit of £5,965 or over per year. They also pay Class 4 NICs if their profits are over £8,060 per year.

From April 2018, they will only need to pay one type of National Insurance on their profits, Class 4 NICs.

Paying Class 2 NICs currently enables self-employed people to build entitlement to the State Pension and other contributory benefits.

After April 2018, Class 4 NICs will also be reformed so self-employed people can continue to build benefit entitlement.

UK inflation falls to 2% target rate

The UK’s inflation rate, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, fell to 2% in December, down from 2.1% the month before.

It is the first time UK inflation has been at or below the government-set target of 2% since November 2009.

The Office for National Statistics said the fall was caused by slower increases in the prices of food.

Inflation as measured by the Retail Prices Index (RPI) rose to 2.7% from 2.6% in November.

Inflation 2000-2013

The ONS said the rise in prices of both food and non-alcoholic drinks was the smallest it had been since 2006.

Phil Gooding from the ONS told the BBC that a slowdown in the increase of fruit prices, particularly bananas and grapes, as well as meat prices helped to drive the fall in the inflation rate.

Discounts in the run up to Christmas also helped lower the inflation rate, economists said, with the prices of toys and computer games falling at a faster rate last month than a year ago.

However, hikes in gas and electricity bills as well as rising petrol prices had an upward effect on inflation, the ONS said.

The ONS figures were published the day before supermarket chains Tesco and Asda plan to reduce their petrol and diesel prices by up to 2p a litre.

Asda said from Wednesday motorists would pay no more than 126.7p a litre for petrol and 133.7p a litre for diesel, its lowest price for diesel since July 2012.

To read more: click here

SOURCE: BBC NEWS 

Majority of consumers see value of financial advice

Financial advisor

More than half of consumers believe they would benefit from seeking financial advice, according to a report out October 28th.

The research from unbiased.co.uk found that 52% of Brits think they would benefit from seeking whole of market financial advice.

This sentiment is especially strong among the younger generations, with only 6% of people in their 30s saying they do not think they would benefit at all from receiving advice.

Private pensions, mortgages and stocks and shares ISAs top the nation’s wish-list of areas they would like help on from a financial adviser, with the UK’s 20 and 30 somethings placing mortgages as the number one area they would consider seeking advice for.

For the ‘at retirement’ generation (60-69 year olds), annuity purchases topped the list.

Despite concerns over the impact of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) on the demand for advice, unbiased.co.uk, which lists details of over 25,000 advisers on its online ‘find an adviser’ search, has seen a strong demand for whole of market advice since the start of 2013.

The website has reported an 18% increase in visitors to its ‘find an adviser’ search, year on year.

Karen Barrett, chief executive of unbiased.co.uk, said: “Our research has brought to light the fact that consumers see a clear benefit in seeking whole of market advice, which is a really encouraging sign. Most people wouldn’t consider fixing their car or doing legal work for their house purchase without professional help, so why should finances be any different?”

Unbiased.co.uk has re-vamped its ‘find an adviser’ checklist to help consumers find the right adviser for their needs.

Barrett added: “A qualified expert can help you make the right choices on some of the most important decisions of your life, can save you time and money and can give you confidence that your finances are being looked after well.

“Like all other professional services financial advice will cost you money but the ongoing benefits outweigh the cost. Each of us has different financial priorities and a chat with an adviser using our checklist can be the first step in helping you identify the ‘right’ financial adviser to tackle your finances.”

If you would like our tailor-fit financial advice, contact us. 

Source: IFA Online