The latest Clay Shaw Butler Money Matters column from the Carmarthenshire Herald


The latest Clay Shaw Butler Money Matters column from the Carmarthenshire Herald.
By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants.


According to figures from the taxman at HMRC, more than 230,000 people have used the new pension freedoms introduced one year ago and accessed over £4.3 billion in pensions savings.
In April 2015, the government introduced significant pension reforms giving people the ability to access their pensions savings how and when they want.
The statistics show that in the first year of these new rules being available, more than 232,000 people have accessed £4.3 billion flexibly from their pension pots.
The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Harriett Baldwin said:
“It's only right that people should have a choice over what they do with their money and in their first year our successful pension freedoms have already given thousands of people access and responsibility over their hard-earned savings.
“We will continue to make sure that the pension freedoms work well for everyone, including through working with our partners to ensure consumers are protected and that there is simple information to help people understand their options.
“The government has already taken action to ensure the new freedoms work for consumers and that they have the right information to make informed decisions.
“It has announced that it will be capping early exit fees, allowing earlier access to Pension Wise guidance, and working with industry to introduce a Pensions Dashboard.
“It has also announced that it is extending the popular freedoms even further, giving millions more people the right to sell their annuities if it's best for them from April 2017.”
Since the pension flexibility rules took effect from 6 April 2015:
232,000 individuals have accessed their money flexibly
People have flexibly accessed over £4.3 billion of their own money through 516,000 payments.
In the most recent quarter, 74,000 individuals withdrew £820 million. In the previous quarter, 67,000 individuals withdrew £800 million.
Figures are taken from information voluntarily reported to HMRC by pension scheme administrators from 6 April 2015 to 31 March 2016. It is not mandatory for scheme administrators to flag these up as pension flexibility payments until April 2016.
HMRC statistics cover 'flexible payments', which means partial or full withdrawal of the pension pot, taking money from a flexible drawdown account, or buying a flexible annuity.
If you would like advice on the tax implications of pensions freedom please contact us at Clay Shaw Butler.
In other news, changes have been made to the rules which allow farmers to average their profits for tax purposes.
Under the new rules unincorporated farmers will be able to average their profits for income tax purposes over five years rather than the previous two years.
The amendment to the rules which took effect from 6 April 2016 is aimed at helping farmers with fluctuating profits better manage the 'risk and the impact of global volatility which has become an inherent feature of the agricultural industry'.
Chancellor George Osborne said:
“… reforms will provide farmers with additional security to plan and invest for the future, allowing them to spread profits over a longer period of time. Over 29,000 farmers can benefit from the changes, saving an average of £950 a year.”
As well as having the new option to average tax over five years, farmers will also retain the choice to average profits over two years.
If you would like guidance on how these rules will affect you please get in touch with us at Clay Shaw Butler.
Meanwhile, HMRC have issued details of the updated VAT fuel scale charges which apply from the beginning of the next prescribed VAT accounting period starting on or after 1 May 2016.
VAT registered businesses use the fuel scale charges to account for VAT on private use of road fuel purchased by the business.
Please do get in touch for further advice on this or other VAT matters.

You can find out more about money matters on the Clay Shaw Butler website (under our news for business section) -
http://www.clayshawbutler.com/news/latest-news-for-business
We have a strong and experienced team with great local knowledge all geared-up to helping you get the very best from your finances – whether that is as an individual or as a business.
We stay ahead of the game by putting great store by continual professional development for our staff.
With Investors In People status at Clay Shaw Butler, we care passionately about making sure our staff have all the tools they need to serve you, our customers.

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