The end of the tax year - checklist for investors

As we are fast approaching the end of the current tax year (5.4.17), there is still a bit of time to check and make sure you have ticked all the boxes to maximise your benefits. As always, not everyone of the tax efficient investment ideas may be relevant to you but make sure you do all the ones that are. Lets get started:

1.ISA

This one really is a no-brainer for almost everybody. This years' allowance per adult person is $15,240 and can be put either into a cash ISA or Stocks&Shares(S&S) ISA or a combination of both. As flexibility has increased such that you can now move from one to the other and back if needed, this should make the decision to do one easier. If you have long term funds available, the S&S ISA should be your choice, filled with quality investments that will likely increase your capital over time.

Please remember that the ISA itself is only a wrapper - just like a paper bag- which you can then fill with investments (or cash).

If you are unsure if you need the money back for other purposes within the next five to ten years, you may want to opt to fill you ISA with cash.

Next year, there will be even more options available and the limit will increase to £20,000, but we will talk about that after the 6.April 2017.

Don't forget, however, that children now also have an ISA allowance of £4,000 in a junior ISA, with the same benefits as above. A great way to set the children up for a good start when they turn 18.

2. Pensions

This is a big one, as access to your pension has been made much more flexible over recent years and there are still massive benefits to be had.

They also still provide tax relief at your marginal rate or, even if you are a non-tax payer, you still qualify for 20% tax relief. This is particularly interesting to investors aged 55 or above, who could "retire" and hence, access their money immediately.

If you are a higher rate tax payer and you have not yet reached/exceeded you lifetime limit, using your pension allowance (max. £40,000) is a no-brainer, as you will obtain 40% tax relief. If you have not already done so, you can also use your allowances 3 years back (you have to use this year's allowance first, though). This is particularly important this year, as it is your last chance to use the higher allowance of £50,000 for the tax year 2013/14.

But even as a non-tax payer it makes perfect sense to use your allowance. Here, I will give you a "real life" example:

Lets assume you are age 55 or older and you have no relevant income. (it still works if you have a small income of up to £8500!)Therefore, you are not liable to income tax, as income tax only starts at £11,000.