From April 2017,adults under the age of 40 will be able to open a Lifetime ISA (LISA) and pay in up to £4,000 each tax year. They will be able to continue making contributions up to the age of 50. The government will add a 25% bonus to these contributions. This means that individuals who save the maximum will receive a £1,000 bonus each year from the Government.
The tax-free funds, including the Government bonus, can be used to help buy a first home worth up to £450,000 at any time from 12 months after first saving into the account. The funds, including the Government bonus, can be withdrawn from the LISA from age 60 tax-free for any purpose. LISA holders will also be able to access their savings if they become terminally ill.
If savers make withdrawals before age 60 for other purposes a 25% charge will apply to the amount of withdrawal. This returns the bonus element of the fund (including any interest or growth on that bonus) to the Government.
“Help to Save”, aimed at supporting people on low incomes to build up their savings will follow in 2018. That scheme will add a 50% Government bonus on savings up to £50 a month for up to four years. Help to Save will be available through NS&I to any adult who is receiving working tax credit or universal credit with minimum household earnings equivalent to 16 hours a week at the National Living Wage.
DON’T FORGET YOUR 2016/17 ISA ALLOWANCE
The current ISA allowance is £15,240, rising to £20,000 for 2017/18. Remember that there is no longer a 50% restriction on the amount that you can invest in a cash ISA; the £15,240 annual limit covers all ISA investments which could be in shares, bonds, cash or certain other investments.
AND MAKE PENSION PAYMENTS BEFORE 6th OF APRIL
The current annual pension limit remains at £40,000. In addition, unused relief from the previous three tax years may be utilised once the current £40,000 limit has been used. However, the relief from 2013/14 will lapse on 6 April 2017.
If, for example, you have £10,000 unused allowance from 2013/14 you would need to make pension contributions of at least £50,000 by 5 April 2017 to avoid losing your 2013/14 relief. Remember also that pension savings continue to qualify for higher rate tax relief and may help to reduce your payments on account.