The amount invested in cash Isas fell by £20 billion or almost a third in the year to April, says the Financial Times.  The reason was falling interest rates, with many non-Isa accounts now paying more than equivalent Isa accounts.

For the first time, the amount invested in Stock & Shares Isas at £22.3 billion was greater than the amount going into cash ISAs. The value of all investments in Stocks & Shares Isas is now £315 billion compared with £270 billion for Cash Isas.

Cut in tax allowances confirmed

Cuts in allowances that were in this year’s Budget but were scrapped in the Finance Bill rushed through Parliament before the election will be reintroduced in a new legislation in November, says the Times. The most important is the cut in the dividend allowance from £5,000 to £2,000 a year, which is expected to result in 2.3 million investors paying more income tax. A basic rate taxpayer with £5,000 of dividends will pay £225 more tax each year. The amount people can save into pensions after they have taken all their tax-free cash will also drop from £10,000 to £4,000.

‘Free’ childcare will require parental contributions

The 30 hours of free childcare promised by the government – an extra 15 hours per child from this autumn – will result in parents having to contribute, says the Financial Times, since the amount paid by the government to nursery providers is less than their actual costs of operation. Half the nursery providers surveyed said they planned to raise charge for hours outside the ‘free hours’, and about the same proportion said they would be adding charges for snacks and trips. Providers said the scheme should be rebranded with the extra hours described as ‘subsidised’ rather than free.

Warnings on secret accounts

Millions of Britons have been warned about the dangers of holding secret bank accounts, says the Financial Times. Advisers and banks have told them about new schemes that give HMRC access to information from 100 other countries about assets held overseas. The letters also remind them about the penalties for not declaring overseas income or gains on assets held overseas. However, the amount HMRC estimated it would collect in tax after it gained data from the Channel Islands was cut from £1 billion in 2013 to £270 million in 2016, which experts said reflected the lack of resources HMRC had to investigate potential tax evasion.

Move costs deter downsizers

The costs of moving are deterring older people from downsizing, says the Mail. Surveys show around 5.5 million older people would like to downsize if they could find a suitable property, but moving costs are a major obstacle.  The move from an average 4-bed home (national average value £490,000) to a 2-bed one (average value £293,000) would typically cost £29,000 by the time stamp duty, lawyers’ The most important is the cut in the dividend allowance from £5,000 to £2,000 a year, which is expected to result in 2.3 million investors paying more income tax. A basic rate taxpayer with £5,000 of dividends will pay £225 more tax each year. The amount people can save into pensions after they have taken all their tax-free cash will also drop from £10,000 to £4,000.

Tax codes on the blink

A new PAYE coding system introduced by HMRC in July is resulting in ‘aggressive’ tax deductions, says the Financial Times. Experts point to flaws in the new ‘dynamic coding’ system, which is meant to alter tax codes in response to changes in income. The problem is that it generates large tax demands in response to big bonuses paid early in the tax year, while employees returning from foreign assignments do not get credit for foreign tax they have already paid.

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