The tax year end is approaching- start your tax planning now.

With the tax year end fast approaching, it is not too late to make the most of what is available in terms of tax exemptions and benefits.

Please be aware that tax rules and legislation change over time meaning any benefits of tax breaks and shelters depend on your own particular circumstances.

Here are some things to consider before 5 April 2017:

Use Your Pension Allowance

Contributions to your pension receive between 20-45% tax relief meaning this type of planning is one of the most efficient and 5 April 2017 is your last opportunity to contribute this tax year. With tax relief being cut every one of the last 4 years, it may be a wise move to make a contribution before the budget on 8 March 2017 just in case changes are announced.

Open Your ISA.

Up to £15,240 from income and capital gains tax can be sheltered using your ISA. It is such an effective way to save your investments from tax you need to remember to use it before 5 April 2017 or it will be lost forever. Due to its simplicity, over 12m people in the UK opened an ISA last tax year.

You can also choose to open a Junior ISA. Due to rules changing last year, all children are now eligible. The Junior ISA allowance this tax year is £4,080 and this type of ISA attracts the same tax benefits as a standard ISA.

Consider A VCT (Venture Capital Trust)

A VCT aims to make money by investing in other companies. These are typically very small companies which are looking for further investment to help develop their business.

VCTs offer a chance to invest in small, often risky but with a high potential return, UK companies as a long term investment. Due to the risk of such investments, the investor can receive a tax rebate of up to 30%.

Reduce Your Inheritance Tax Liability.

£3,000 can be gifted from capital each tax year, which will be exempt from inheritance tax.

Also, you have the ability to carry over any unused amount from the tax year before, meaning a married couple could gift up to £12,000 between them (£6,000 each) by 5 April 2017.

Use Your Capital Gains Tax Allowance.

You can realise up to £11,100 worth of gains without paying any tax. Shares and funds that are being held outside a tax wrapper could be sold and then reinvested into an ISA or SIPP.  Alternatively, you could consider timing the disposal of assets either side of the tax year deadline to make use of the 2016/17 and 2017/18 allowances in a short period of time.

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