There are a number of products available in which your investments can be held. How appropriate each solution is will depend on your requirements, circumstances and tax position. Below are the most obvious and popular products to help clients manage their assets in a tax efficient manner. This list is by no means exhaustive and should you require advice on products not listed below, please contact one of our advisers.
Investments grow free of any type of tax and can offer complete access to your money at any time. Any fund switches you make within the ISA are also free of any liability. The downside is that you are limited to a maximum investment each tax year of £20,000 (2019/20) so it is often sensible to make full use of your allowances.
> COLLECTIVES (UNIT TRUSTS/OEICS)
For investors that have made full use of their ISA allowance this may well be the next choice and just like an ISA you have full access to your investment.
Within a collective wrapper any sale of units/shares, including fund switches, will be deemed a disposal for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) purposes and may incur a tax charge if the level of gains exceeds your annual allowance of £12,000 (2019/20). Income tax on dividends has changed dramatically with all dividend income over £2,000 now being taxed at 7.5% for basic rate taxpayers and 32.5% for higher rate tax payers.
Like an ISA, pension funds grow virtually free of any tax but by far the biggest advantage is the tax relief available on any personal contributions you make; effectively boosting the value of your investment overnight by as much as 45% dependent on your marginal rate of tax. The government’s generosity does, however, come with certain restrictions. Once invested, the earliest you can access your investment is age 55 and even then you can only take 25% of its value as a tax-free lump sum. The rest has to be paid as an income which will be subject to income tax.
> ONSHORE INVESTMENT BONDS
Onshore Investment Bonds have become less popular over the years compared to collectives because all returns are subject to a company life office tax of between 16% and 20%, irrespective of the investors tax status; with higher rate payers subject to a further charge on top. These may still appeal to higher rate tax payers wanting to take an income from their investment as they can withdraw up to 5% each year and defer the tax calculation to a time in the future when they become a basic rate tax payer.
> OFFSHORE INVESTMENT BONDS
Offshore investment bonds will not be subject to tax whilst they remain outside the UK. However, investors should remember that any gains are taxed at their marginal (highest) rate of income tax when they remit them back to the UK. The ability to assign all or part of these bonds to non-tax payers can make them attractive to investors wishing to make gifts to children or grandchildren.