Isis Financial Planners' Maggie Fleming is one of the most experienced tax advisers in the country.

Most investment and pension advisers are not tax experts. But at Isis Financial Planners Ltd we work together as a team to make sure that your savings and investments are as tax-efficient as possible. I can help my colleagues decide on the optimum amount of pension contribution to maximise higher rate tax relief. I can comment on the tax pros and cons of particular investments in a client's particular circumstances. When it comes time to prepare the tax return, my colleagues are able to provide me with accurate figures on investment income and pensions - an integrated, seamless service.

Income tax

In these tough times, it's important to make sure that you are not paying too much tax. If you pay tax at the 40% or 45% tax rate, have you claimed the additional tax relief due on pension contributions or charitable donations? Are you paying tax on investments that could be sheltered in an ISA?

Did you know that, if your taxable income is over £100,000, your personal allowance (currently £11,850) can be lost, in whole or in part? If you are in this position, it may be possible to claw back some of your lost allowances by making a pension contribution.

If you are married or in a civil partnership, have you ensured that interest-bearing investments are held in the name of the partner paying tax at the lowest rate? For married couples or civil partners who own a buy to let property jointly, HMRC will assume that the income is taxed on a 50:50 basis and you may wish to consider a deed of trust splitting ownership in a different manner (say 95:5) if one of you pays tax at a higher rate than the other.

One client recently received a cheque for over £2,000. This was higher rate tax relief which he had never claimed on his monthly pension contributions. We were able to claim relief for past years - and HMRC paid him interest as well!

Another client had made a substantial gift to an opera house in a previous year but was not aware that she could claim tax relief on the payment. We made a claim on her behalf and she received £950 tax back - again including interest!

National Insurance

The tax that everyone forgets is becoming increasingly important to the Government. Somehow, 'NIC to go up' doesn't look so bad on the newspaper billboards as 'basic rate of tax rises' - especially for politicians who pride themselves on having brought the basic rate of income tax down!

Most people pay the correct rate of NIC but people who have two jobs or those who are both employed and self-employed may find that they have overpaid.

Self-employed people earning less than £6,205 in 2018/19 do not have to pay Class 2 NIC. However, if they do not have the 35 qualifying years needed for a full State pension on retirement, they may wish to consider paying Class 2 voluntarily as, at £2.95 per week, it is the cheapest way to build up qualifying years. By comparison, Class 3 voluntary contributions are currently £14.65 per week.

For all enquiries: tel: 0345 1300 778, email: postbox@isis-financial-planners.co.uk
post: PO Box 327, Carterton, OX18 1XZ, United Kingdom
Isis Financial Planners Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, reference number 207297

Registered at Paje House, 164West Wycombe Rd, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP12 3AE
Registered in England & Wales No. 4284325

Isis Financial Planners Limited - Chartered Financial Planners - providing financial advice and wealth management advice to Oxford, Oxfordshire, London, The Cotswolds, Brighton & Hove, Sussex from locations in Oxford and Brighton & Hove.

logo-financial-planners