Tax year-end financial planning checklist


In wealth management we still see adverts promoting ‘ISA season’ and ‘tax year-end’ planning, which at times are a necessity. However, the greatest change to wealth management and financial planning in the last decade has been flexibility - meaning, for example, you can replenish your ISA during the tax year and access your pension flexibly.

The key is to spread your financial planning requirements throughout the year and not to wait until the end of the tax year, where your planning is in fact a reactionary rush.

With the tax year-end now in sight, it’s important to review your allowances – a number of key allowances and thresholds are currently frozen until at least 5th April 2028 – and whether you will have made full use of them by the end of the tax year.

The following checklist provides the areas you may need to consider:  

Pension allowances

Tax relief is continually coming under increasing scrutiny. A flat rate of tax relief for all pension contributions has long been argued over, which, if adopted, would affect those in the higher tax band and above. Now might be a good time to review and make use of any unused allowances. The annual allowance – the maximum amount of pension savings you can make each year and still received tax relief – increased to £60,000 in April 2023, up from £40,000.

Carry forward allows you to make use of any annual allowance that you might not have used during the three previous tax years, provided that you were a member of a registered pension scheme during the relevant time period. You have until the end of the current tax year to use this past allowance or lose it completely.

Unsurprisingly, there are specific rules, and the calculations can quickly become complex, so getting advice is crucial if maximising “today’s” pension tax relief is important to you.

Income tax personal allowance

Fiscal drag happens when tax thresholds do not increase in line with pay. For example, you receive a three per cent pay rise, but if the tax threshold has not then moved in line with this, you could be dragged into a higher tax bracket. This fiscal drag has the effect of raising government tax revenue without explicitly raising tax rates.

There are many areas that could be considered here, for example, if your income is above £50,000 and you have or live with someone with children, you could be subject to the High-Income Child Benefit Charge. Bringing your taxable income down – by making a pension contribution or charitable gift for example – could reduce or even eliminate that charge. There are similar opportunities above the £100,000 threshold when the phasing out of the personal allowance begins and also at the additional tax threshold for those earning £125,140 and over.

Explore Inheritance Tax allowances

With the basic Inheritance Tax (IHT) threshold now frozen at £325,000 until 2028 it’s expected that many more people will be caught out by IHT over the coming years, as estate values rise, supported by increased property prices over many years and/or investment returns

Currently, you can make annual gifts and regular gifts out of disposable income, and you also have the ability to make any larger lifetime gifts to help reduce your IHT liability.

However, the rules though around IHT can be complex, and the amount of tax, and even the overall rate that will be paid, will depend on how your finances are structured during your lifetime, how you dispose of your assets and to whom you leave them. Seeking independent tax and financial advice can help you pass your assets to the people you want to benefit and potentially mitigate some or all of the IHT liability.

ISA allowances

Maximise your annual tax-free allowance – currently £20,000 per person per year. It is lost if you don’t use it. Don’t forget if you have taken any money out of your ISA, you can still replace it during the current tax year, and it won’t affect your current year’s allowance.

Currently, you can only take one of each type of ISA each year, but the Chancellor announced in his Autumn Statement that from April 2024 multiple subscriptions will be allowed. Plus, the Government will allow partial transfers of ISA funds between providers during the year.

Capital Gains Tax changes

Additionally, there are changes due to be implemented in April that may affect those who have sold assets and are required to pay Capital Gains Tax. For the 2024/2025 tax year, and subsequent tax years, the Annual Exempt Allowance (AEA) will be reduced from £6,000 to £3,000 for individuals and from £3,000 to £1,500 for most trustees.

Invest in good financial planning

By planning ahead and utilising all of the available  investment allowances, pension contributions and tax changes will ensure you make the most of the reliefs available to you and pay the correct amount of tax. There are many other advantages to planning ahead including being able to spread the contributions you make throughout the year rather than committing all in one go.

Armstrong Watson has experienced Financial Planning and Tax Consultancy teams who can provide both a bespoke and joined-up service. Both Financial and Tax planning are subject to individual circumstances and all the options and allowances mentioned are not suitable for everyone. Please note, some of the areas such as making pension contributions are provided by our Financial Planning Consultants. Advice on IHT issues could be provided by a mixture of the two services.

For more information or advice, get in touch with our financial planning team on 0808 144 5575 or email

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