Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Pensions still the most effective savings option, says IFS


Pension – The Most Tax-Efficient Kind of Savings

Pensions still tends to be the most tax-efficient kind of savings, inspite of the tax changes, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies – IFS. It seems to be the big winners since they are subject to various tax advantages. The pension contributions are taken out of untaxed income resulting in paying into a pension that actually lowers the income tax bill.

Moreover, the returns on your investments are not taxed though one tends to pay tax on withdrawals. Besides this one tends to take 25% of the pension as a lump sum without having to pay a penny in tax. According to IFS, `pension saving is in effect subsidised’.

 The IFS had made a comparison of saving in a pension with buying a house, putting funds in an Individual Saving Account –Isa, or investing in buy-to-let property. The foremost motive is that under the auto enrolment programme, employers tend to match employee contributions resulting in workers getting 60% increase to their pension, according to IFS. According to the report, since the employers seldom make equivalent offers matching employees’ contribution, for instance in an Isa or a house, it tends to make savings in a pension more attractive comparative to other assets.

Personal Savings Allowance – PSA

The research took into accountthe new Personal Savings Allowance – PSA as well as the changes to dividend taxation which will be effective in April and probable changes to pension taxation. The government had earlier mentioned that any such changes would motivate people in saving. When the PSA tends to become effective, basic rate taxpayer would not pay tax on the first £1,000 of their saving income while higher rate taxpayers would be getting an allowance of £500.

IFS have mentioned that due to this, the 16m people would stop paying any interest on their income savings and 95% of the people would no longer have their savings taxed. But the report has stated that the change would weaken the incentive for several people in saving in an Isa.

It stated that for most of the people, the ordinary bank account would in effect be tax-free just the same way as cash Isas and there would be little incentive in saving in a cash Isa. Moreover, the PSA would also mean an end to tax deduction at source on the saving accounts that would be of certain help to pensioners.

The research also observed that people desiring to invest in property would make a much better tax-efficient choice by investing in their own home instead of becoming buy-to-let landlords. The report further states that `investment in owner occupied housing is significantly more tax-advantaged than the investment in property to-let, prior to recently announced changed to the treatment of mortgage interest for landlords.

There have been plenty of talks regarding further changes to pension that would be announced in the next month’s Budget. The present thinking seems to be that the government would be setting a flat rate of around 30% and this would essentially represent a further increase to pension saving for basic rate taxpayers who tend to currently enjoy tax relief of 20% on their contribution.

 However, it will dip the appeal of pensions to higher rate as well as additional rate taxpayers who tend to enjoy tax relief of 40% and 45% presently.

The current thinking seems to be that the government will set a flat rate of somewhere around 30%. This will actually represent a further boost to pension saving for basic rate taxpayers, who currently enjoy tax relief of 20% on their contributions, but will dent the appeal of pensions to higher rate and additional rate taxpayers who enjoy tax relief of 40% and 45% at the moment.


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