Finance manager shares how to ‘avoid tax legitimately’ – steps to reduce your tax bill

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From inheritance to investment portfolios, there are a lot of different ways one could end up with a lot of money, but many don’t know how to use that income to its full advantage. Ian Lowes, MD of Lowes Financial Management, explained his best tips on making money go further.

Understand the difference between investing and speculating

Speculation is also the practice of engaging in risky financial transactions in an attempt to profit from short term fluctuations in the market.

Mr Lowes explained: “The dictionary defines it subtly – investing is putting money into financial schemes, assets and arrangements with the expectation of making profit whereas speculating the other with the hope of making a profit.

“Speculating can reap high rewards – and catastrophic losses.  Investing shouldn’t be considered short term.”

The shorter an investment term, the higher risk one faces to their investment but high risk investments spread out over the long-term can lower the overall risk one faces.

When it comes to investing, don’t overlook structured products

Structured products are pre-packaged and structured financial investment strategies based one either a single security or a basket

These can be customised packages and some may offer some form of capital protection while others won’t so researching all available options thoroughly beforehand is paramount.

“Considered niche by some simply because they are not mainstream but those who know, know they are certainly worth a look. 

“Perhaps one of the ‘best kept secrets of the investing world’, Autocall structured products linked to the FTSE 100 have an exceptional track record, have easy to understand outcomes and are typically offering around seven percent per year.”

Avoid tax! Legitimately! 

“Your money will go a lot further if you don’t end up giving a lot to the tax man,” he commented.

“Do so by opting for investments where gains are subject to capital gains tax, rather than income tax.

“We all have an annual capital gains tax exemption (£12,300 in current tax year) and only if all gains in a tax year exceed this amount will capital gains tax be due – and then its currently half the income tax rate. 

“Use ISA allowances – even if you don’t expect to pay tax, better have your money sheltered than not.  Save using pension allowances and get tax relief, as well as tax sheltered returns.”

Don’t pay inheritance tax at 40 percent

“If you’re fortunate to have an estate that is subject to inheritance tax, or you’re inheriting one, fairly simple changes can see the rate of tax due reduce from 40 percent to 36 percent.  

“This does admittedly involve giving some of your inheritance to charity but by re-directing 10 percent of the taxable element of the estate to charity, for every pound you / the beneficiaries give up, charities can benefit to the tune of up to ten times as much. 

“What’s more is you don’t need to decide on which charities straight away – use a Charites Aid Foundation account and effectively you have a cheque book to allocate the money to charities at a later date,” Mr Lowes concluded.
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