There’s nothing like the beginning of a New Year to focus your mind on getting around to reviewing your money matters.
Even with inflation now rising at a much slower rate and back into single figures, there are still pressures on finances such as personal taxes, and expensive household outgoings, which means the coming year could require some planning to make sure you’re in control.
Keeping key financial dates in mind is crucial if you want to stay on top of incoming changes and to make the most of your investments.
Here are some of the dates and changes you need to know about in 2024.
6th – National Insurance cuts
Class 1 primary National Insurance paid by employees and currently charged at 12% is being cut by 2 percentage points to 10%. For an average worker earning an annual salary of £35,400 they will be just over £450 better off.
31st – Self-assessment deadlines
- By the end of the month those who are required to fill out a self-assessment tax return – which includes the self-employed, high earners and those with income not taxed at source – must file and sign their online return.
- It’s also the deadline for the self-employed to pay the tax they owe for 2022/23 as well as a payment on account for the self-employed.
- Deadline for Capital Gains Tax payments on any assets including investments (but excluding residential property) sold in the 2022/23 tax year.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will set out a Spring Budget on 6th March, which could bring new tax measures. One to look out for.
5th – End of tax year
- Investors have until 5th April to use up their £20,000 ISA allowance – if you don’t use it, you lose it. Be sure to check the cut off times if you’re likely to leave it until the last day. Better still, don’t leave it until the last minute – put a note in your diary in the new year to sort out in advance.
- The end of the tax year is also the date by which you should use up your annual pensions allowance. In the 2024-25 tax year, you can receive tax relief on up to £60,000 of pension contributions each year (or 100% of your earnings, or minimum of £3,600 if earnings are lower), whichever is lower. Lower allowances may apply if you have already started drawing a pension, or if you are a higher earner with income plus pension contributions that total more than £260,000.
- The capital gains tax allowance is shrinking from £6,000 to £3,000 from 6th April, when the new tax year begins. It’s worth considering the timing of any capital gains you might be making so you can utilise this year’s higher allowance.
6th – Start of new tax year
- There’s a fresh allowance for ISAs of £20,000 per person (£9,000 for a Junior ISA).
- Early bird ISA investors can benefit from investing at the start of the tax year as potential compound growth over the next 12 months could provide a valuable boost to your portfolio.
- While most people don’t have £20,000 waiting in the wings to be invested in an ISA, the good news is that you can still benefit from compounding returns by investing smaller amounts regularly, as soon as the tax year starts.
- Savers and investors will see more flexibility within ISA rules from the new tax year.
- Under current rules you can open multiple accounts in a tax year but they need to be different types of ISAs. For example, you can open a cash ISA and a stocks and shares ISA, but not two cash ISAs or two stocks and shares ISAs. From 6th April, savers and investors will be able to open more than one of the same type of ISA each tax year.
- ISA holders will also be able to partially transfer ISA funds in-year between providers from April. Currently if you want to transfer money you’ve paid into an ISA this tax year, you have to move it all. Partial transfers are only allowed for money invested in previous tax years.
- ISA investors will be allowed to hold certain fractional shares contracts in their ISA.
- Investors using an Innovative Finance ISA will be able to invest in open-ended property funds and Long-Term Asset Funds from 6th April 2024.
- The age at which you can apply for an adult cash or stocks and shares ISA will be aligned to 18. Currently you can apply for an adult cash ISA from age 16.
- Pensions Lifetime Allowance
- As of 6th April 2024 there will no longer be a Lifetime Allowance (LTA) which limits the amount of pension savings that you can build up. The limit is currently £1,073,100, and anything above that was previously taxed at a maximum of 55%. As of April 2023 the charges were abolished, and in April 2024, legislation will get rid of the allowance entirely.
- The dividend tax-free allowance drops from £1,000 to £500 per person and the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) allowance falls from £6,000 to £3,000.
- Investors who hold money in funds or shares outside a pension or an ISA will face a greater tax burden from now, which is a reminder of the value of ISAs in protecting investors from having to consider CGT or dividend tax.
- State pension increase
- The beginning of the new tax year sees the State Pension rise by 8.5%. This means that the full state pension will increase from £203.85 per week to £221.20 per week (£11,502.40 per year). The maximum basic state pension for those who reached state pension age before April 2016 is currently £156.20 a week and will rise to £169.50 a week (£8,814 per year).
- National Insurance
- National Insurance is to be cut for the self-employed. Class 2 National Insurance contributions are being abolished from 6th April, saving £192 per year for the self-employed. There will also be a 1 percentage point cut to Class 4 National insurance payments from 9% to 8% from 6th April, therefore saving the average self-employed person on £28,200 a year £350 in 2024/25.
31st – Tax payment on account
There’s usually a second payment deadline of 31st July if you make advance payments towards your bill known as ‘payments on account’.
The date will be set closer to the time, but November is typically the month when the Chancellor makes the main Budget statement for the year which could bring yet more new measures. In 2023 it was held on 22nd November.