Tax efficient investments
- You can invest an amount in an ISA every year. The amount invested does not attract tax relief but the income and gains on the investment are tax free, so any taxpayer will benefit from the tax shelter on the income arising. Tax credits on dividend income cannot be recovered.
- The limits for ISA investments are £11,280 in total (with up to £5,640 in a cash ISA).
Enterprise investment scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs)
- These two schemes allow ongoing tax relief on investments that are channelled into venture capital for smaller and growing businesses. By their very nature they are considerably more risky than ISA’s and other similar investment vehicles.
- The EIS scheme provides 30% tax relief on investments of up to £1,000,000 in a tax year, and investments can be carried back by up to one year provided the limit in the previous year was not reached.
- EIS shares are exempt from capital gains tax once they have been held for three years.
- Capital gains tax on the disposal of other assets can be deferred by reinvesting the proceeds in EIS shares. This relief is slightly different from the basic EIS relief, as there is no limit on the gain that can be reinvested in this way. However, the tax on the original gain will become payable when the EIS investment is sold. The reinvestment can take place up to three years after (or one year before) the original disposal.
- VCT investments are made through a fund, so the risk on individual investments is spread across the fund. The tax relief is 30% of the amount invested, with a limit of £250,000 in any tax year.
- VCT investments are not subject to capital gains tax if they are held for 5 years. Dividends are not subject to higher rate tax, but the tax credit is not repayable.
- Pension contributions are paid net of basic rate tax, and the pension provider recovers the tax element. Up to £3,600 per year (gross) may be invested by any individual irrespective of whether they have earnings to match it or not.
- Pension contributions also save higher rate and additional rate tax for those liable, and this relief is normally given through the self assessment return.