Sunak Raids on Savings as Tax Bills Expected to Hit More People

04 October, 2021 by Denzil Otieno 5 mins read Category:  Money Personal Finance

The state pension is set to get its most significant boost in a decade—with inflation forecast to hit 4% by the end of the year. The government has lifted the triple lock, which means that the state pension will not rise in step with average wages, which now stand at more than 8%. 

However, the Bank of England’s inflation estimate indicates that savers will still profit from a modest hike. On the other hand, private pension savings may face a tax bill soon, according to analysts.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak suspended the pension lifetime until March 2016, and the savers have been cautioned that and as a result, more individuals may face costs in the near future.

This comes as new statistics revealed that 42,350 taxpayers reported pension contributions over the yearly limit totalling £950 million in 2019-20—up from £820 million the previous year.

Additionally, pension plans recorded 8,510-lifetime allowance charges totalling £342 million in 2019-20, a 21% increase from £283 million in 2018-19.

According to Andrew Tully, technical director at Canada Life, these data indicate that more depositors would face tax issues in the near future.

He also told FT Adviser that these statistics reveal a considerable rise of 21% in the lifetime allowance charge for the most recently reported tax year, with an additional tax of $8,500 being levied on 8,500 persons.

He went on to add that he expected more individuals to be affected by this fee as those who use drawdown reaches the age of 75 and face the second check, which would be worsened by the fact that the limit has been frozen for the next five years.

Head Of Retirement Policy Speaks Out 

The amount raised by the yearly and lifetime allowances in the perspective of the UK’s budget is very tiny, with awful complexity in the retirement system the price we all have to pay, according to Tom Selby, head of retirement policy at AJ Bell.

The idea to keep the lifetime allowance at £1,073,100 until the end of the Parliament would undoubtedly entice more individuals to pay lifetime allowance charges, increasing Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s offers even more.

However, increasing the threshold at which the yearly allowances taper begins by £90,000 from 2020 or 2021 onwards will lower the Treasury’s amount of money from pension savers.

According to HMRC data, the cost of pension tax relief grew by £4.4 billion between 2017-18 and 2019-20, reaching £41.3 billion.

The Chancellor will indeed be looking with keen interest at the stated headline number of £41.3billion for the cost of pension tax relief. However, the numbers are insufficient to justify a Budget attack on pension tax relief, said Karen Goldschmidt, pension tax specialist at consultancy LCP.

The growth represents millions of additional employees’ retirement savings and should be embraced rather than exploited to justify cuts.

Additionally, a significant portion of the apparent cost of tax relief is related to the cost of public service programs, where a relief cut would either result in substantial tax bills for government employees or produce little up-front income for the government.

Institute of Economic Affairs Feels Lifetime Allowances Should Be Abolished 

Last month, an analyst at the Institute of Economic Affairs informed that the lifelong pension allowance should be scrapped.

According to Julian Jessop, the strategy made retirement planning a challenge, and they should just get rid of it. He also added that he believes it is an unneeded complication that makes it harder for individuals to manage their pensions. The only people who gain from it are tax consultants and accountants.

If you want to raise funds, there’s a better argument to be made for doing anything with the tax-free lump amount you receive after retirement.

Instead, you might eliminate the higher rate tax assistance; it appears strange that higher rate taxpayers receive more tax relief from the state than impoverished individuals. That is a possible inequity that might be corrected.

However, the lifetime allowance is just a poor component of the taxation system that should be eliminated.

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