Do you have a formal shareholder/partnership agreement in place to protect your financial interests?
Keyman Cover / Business Recovery Planning
Which people are most important to the business and what are the financial implications to the business if those people were not able to continue to work? How much would it cost to replace lost profits as a result?
Personal Life Assurance (Ltd Co Only)
Are you paying for your life assurance personally or through the company? You can now put your life cover through the business as a legitimate company expense with no benefit in kind charge.
Is the policy written in trust to avoid the proceeds that are paid out forming part of your estate on which Inheritance Tax could be payable?
Staff Pension Planning
Have you made provision with regard to the impending legislation which makes employer and employee pension contributions mandatory?
Do you require assistance in meeting the new pension legislation for employers and employees?
Are you making contributions to a pension and if so are you making them personally or through the company?
Pension Contributions by Individuals
If you are a higher or additional rate taxpayer, have you claimed all the tax relief (at 40 per cent or 45 per cent) to which you are entitled on your pension contributions? Have you used the carry forward rules in order to benefit from any unused allowances from the previous three tax years?
How much is your pension fund worth?
You need to check it will not exceed the lifetime allowance (which is currently £1.5 million, but from April 2014 it will be reduced to £1.25m) when you start to draw your pension, to avoid high tax charges. A large pension fund that built up before 6 April 2006 can be protected from such charges. Deadline for fixing the lifetime allowance at £1.5m is 5 April 2014. Or do you need to apply for individual protection?
The temporary increase in the Annual Investment Allowance from £25,000 means that you have a fully tax-deductible expenditure allowance of £250,000 available for the year from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014 and £187,500 (9/12 of £250,000) between 31 March 2014 and 31 December 2014.
Research and development (R&D) tax credits
Have you claimed for all your eligible R&D projects to take advantage of the significant benefits available? The rate of relief for small businesses is now 225 per cent, enabling them to reduce the income on which corporation tax is paid by a further £125 for every £100 of qualifying costs.
Do you have personal loans and business loans? Are you obtaining the maximum income/corporate tax relief? And will you benefit from an Inheritance Tax Relief?
Is your Will up to date? Make sure you make a new Will if you marry/divorce. If you don’t have a valid Will, your spouse or partner will not automatically inherit all your assets, and may be left with insufficient funds to support themselves.
Gifts out of income?
Do you make regular gifts out of your income? All such gifts are free of inheritance tax once a pattern is established and the total gifted does not reduce your standard of living or your capital assets.
IHT annual gift allowance
Remember you can make gifts of up to £3,000 per tax year free of inheritance tax in any event. If you did not use this exemption last year, you can make gifts of up to £6,000 in this tax year.
IHT gifts above the annual gift allowance
If you want to make larger gifts, consider making those gifts as soon as possible. If you live 7 years after the date of the gift, the amount is not counted in the total estate subject to inheritance tax on your death.
If you give to charity have you made a gift aid declaration so that the charity can reclaim the basic rate tax relief on the gift, and if appropriate, you can claim the higher/additional rate tax relief?
Have you used your maximum annual investment of £11,520, (up to £5,760 of which can be saved in a cash ISA)?
In the 2013-14 tax year, you can invest £3,720 in a Junior ISA for any child under 18 who does not have a Child Trust Fund
Capital gains tax (CGT)
Have you used your 2013/14 annual exemption of £10,900?
Have you disposed of investments and/or bonds crystallising a capital gain or closed deposit accounts? Do you need investment advice?
Is there any scope to improve the interest you earn on cash deposits?
Assets to be held between spouses/civil partner or not?
Are your investments held between you and your spouse/civil partner so as to minimise your income tax? If you pay 40% or 45% tax and your spouse/partner pays 20% or less, you should consider transferring some income producing investments to your spouse/partner to reduce the higher rate tax you pay.
Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)
These investments offer income tax relief at your highest rate and a capital gains tax exemption on disposal. Budget 2013 also introduced capital gains tax reinvestment relief on 50 per cent of a capital gains realised on the disposal of any asset during the 2013-14 or 2014-15 tax years when it is reinvested into an SEIS investment, up to a limit of £50,000. With both EIS and SEIS investments, detailed conditions apply to both the investor and the investee company.
Venture Capital Trust (VCT)
These investments provide income tax relief of 30 per cent, as well as tax free dividends and capital gains tax reliefs.