It’s February, let’s talk

Here at Lewis & Co, as accountants, we always breathe a sigh of relief when February comes along and all our clients’ self-assessment tax returns have been completed and filed with HMRC. For businesses, with these figures now up-to-date, it’s a good time to work out where you are and make plans for the future or even launch a new business.

While we’re always ready to support your business plans, alongside helping you to minimise your future tax bills, we typically have more time to chat after the sometimes frantic run up to 31 January deadline. We can help you to take the long view of your company and provide you with a route map for your business.

This time of the year is also the best time to consider how you can make the most of any unused allowances and exemptions. There are a range of options from maximising personal allowances, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax exemptions, through to transferring allowances between spouses and making tax-efficient pension contributions.


Personal allowances
It is important to consider using your personal allowance, which is £12,570 for 2023-2024. If you have your own company and have not already drawn anything, then you could consider a salary of up to £11,908 as this will not incur a national insurance liability, although you do receive a credit towards your state pension.

If you and your spouse are basic rate tax payers, it is possible to transfer up to 10% of unused personal allowances to a spouse or civil partner.


Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
Transfers between a spouse or civil partner can be made at no gain/no loss. This means that a transfer ahead of a disposal can mean that both annual allowances could be used.


Inheritance Tax
You can gift up to £3,000 a year without any Inheritance Tax (IHT) implications and this allowance can be carried forward to the next year (but only for one year). There’s no IHT to pay on gifts between spouses or civil partners.


Pensions have traditionally been an area where tax savings can be made, with tax relief for pension premiums continuing to be tax efficient. If you’re a UK tax payer, in the tax year 2023-2024, the standard rule is that you’ll get tax relief on pension contributions of up to 100% of your earnings or a £60,000 annual allowance, whichever is lower.

Any contributions you make over the limit won’t attract tax relief and will be added to your other income and be subject to Income Tax at the rate which applies to you.

It is important not to overlook the lifetime allowance. For 2023-2024 this is £1,073,100. It applies to the total of all the pensions you have, including the value of pensions promised through any defined benefit schemes you belong to, but excluding your State Pension. If you come close to breaching these limits, then consider contributions to your spouse or civil partner.


This time of year is the ideal time to have a catch up and review your affairs, whether business or personal. Please call our team on: 01892 513515 or email: