Interest rate rises fuelling increased tax take

September 18, 2023

Interest rate rises fuelling increased tax take

The Bank of England base rate increase is impacting on the government’s tax takes, with more taxpayers paying tax on savings income due to higher interest rates. Increased mortgage rates are contributing to rocketing capital gains tax (CGT) takings too.

The impact of savings on tax

National Savings & Investment is offering a 5% return on its one-year bonds, and some financial institutions are offering 6% for a similar investment. So, a higher rate taxpayer with £10,000 or more invested will easily exceed their £500 savings allowance. In fact, it is estimated that the number of taxpayers paying tax on their savings income for 2023/24 will be a million more than the previous year.

There are two options to minimise tax liabilities:

  • You could move savings into ISA accounts, up to an annual investment limit of £20,000. This limit could restrict the scope of such planning for some.
  • You could invest in tax-free premium bonds. Although not paying interest as such, the expected annual return for larger investments is 4.65% – equivalent to a gross 7.75% for a higher rate taxpayer.

It’s advisable to keep careful track of your savings income for tax purposes. If tax is owed, it will be paid through self-assessment or via a PAYE coding adjustment.

Why is capital gains tax revenue increasing now?

The substantial increase in CGT receipts reported recently is partly explained by the number of buy-to-let landlords who are selling up. A buy-to-let was a good investment choice when mortgage costs were low, property prices were increasing, and cash savings accounts offered a very poor return in comparison. But all three of these factors are now in reverse, and landlords will often be able to get a better return investing their funds elsewhere.

Uncertainty around possible future increases to CGT is also pushing landlords to sell sooner rather than later.

If selling up, landlords can keep CGT bills as low as possible by:

  • Making sure any qualifying expenditure is claimed, including any enhancement expenditure which hasn’t qualified as a deduction against property income.
  • Disposing of any other investments standing at a loss in the same tax year, because capital losses cannot be carried back to earlier tax years.
  • Putting property into joint ownership with a spouse or civil partner prior to disposal.

These measures can help alleviate some of the seemingly punitive rates of CGT.

HMRC information on the taxation of savings income on can be found here [savings interest] and we are always happy to advise you on your options.

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