Why should I use a mortgage broker?

The main reason most people use a mortgage broker is that they take out most of the leg work of looking for a mortgage. They will search the market and compare the different deals that are available to you. A mortgage broker will not only look at interest rates, but also other charges such as valuation fees, which could affect the overall cost of your mortgage.

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Marriage tax allowance

 If you’re a low-earner and your spouse (through Marriage or Civil partnership) is a basic rate tax payer, you can apply to transfer your unused personal tax allowance to them.

The higher earning person will receive a tax credit equivalent to the amount of personal allowance that has been transferred to them. The amount is deducted from the amount of tax they would usually have to pay.
The full amount that can be transferred is £1,185 and if you decide to transfer any allowance, you must use the full amount.

The low earning partner’s pay before tax must be less than the personal allowance - which in 2018/2019 is £11,850.

The threshold for basic rate taxpayers in 2018-19 for most of the UK is £11,850-£46,350, so the higher earning partner’s salary must fall between these boundaries.

In Scotland, the thresholds for basic tax rates are different, so the higher earning partner’s salary would have to be less than £43,430. Those claiming marriage allowance in Scotland can continue to do so at the current rate of 20%.

To apply for this tax for the allowance, the lower earner needs to apply to the HMRC to request the personal allowance to be transferred to their spouse.

To ‘Buy to Let’ or not to ‘Buy to Let’ that is the question!

As an IFA I have often discussed with my clients the possible financial returns and also the responsibilities of considering investing in the ‘Buy to Let’ property market as opposed to

Unit linked investments such as ISA’s or a Pension. Recently, the Chancellor has decided to financially hit ‘Buy to Let’ investors quite hard which may tip the balance against this option, encouraging many to invest in other areas. Thus, from April anyone buying a property for investment will be required to pay a ‘special ‘ stamp duty of 3% with a starting rate of zero and this will be in addition to the residential tax duty rates which apply for properties above £125,000.

Also, from April 2017 Mortgage Interest Relief is also being overhauled. The changes are being

phased in, but by 2020 all mortgage interest on ‘Buy to Let’ mortgages will no longer be able to be

deducted from the rental income received, for tax purposes. This is especially significant for Higher Rate Tax payers with tax relief set at a maximum of 20 per cent.

Whilst many clients will still perceive property as a safer investment than that of an investment

ISA or pension, for example, it is important, however, to consider these new tax changes when

you are planning retirement and discussing your tax issues with your Independent Financial


Maximising State Pension

Maximising state pension benefits.

A key part of financial planning often overlooked is making sure that you receive the maximum state pension in retirement. To get a state pension forecast simply use the tool on the website https://www.gov.uk/check-state-pension.

If there is a shortfall, there are 2 options:

-          If there are likely to be tax years in the future where the client will not achieve a qualifying year because of insufficient earnings or Credits, then in those years, it is possible to pay Voluntary or Class 3 NICs.

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Pension Freedoms

Pension Freedoms.

There is an old adage that “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” however, according to the Association of British Insurers,  over £3 billion has been paid out in lump- sum cash payments from British pensions. If you choose to access your pension- pot ‘as a lump sum’ then 25% of it is paid tax free which means the remaining 75% you will be paying tax at your standard marginal income tax rate.

It is important to remember that, if you are still earning, then any extra pension monies you take out will be included in your total tax liabilities before working out your tax levels.

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New Life together in a new home

Often when people get married the thought of saving for a home is not far behind. As both an Independent Mortgage Broker and a Financial Advisor I am often asked about the best way to save for a new home and deposit. The government has just announced the launch of the ‘Help to Buy ISA’. This means that the government will boost your savings by 25% so for every £200 you save you will receive a government bonus of £50. The maximum amount of bonus you can receive is £3000. The ISA’s are available to each first time buyer so if you are planning to buy with your partner you could receive a government bonus of up to £6000 towards your first home! To kick start your savings you can save up to £1200 in your first month and then up to £200 per month after that.

Something to note that as well as being subject to the usual ISA rules the bonus is applied by your solicitor upon purchasing a property costing under £250,000 (£450,000 in London). For me this is a ‘no brainer’ for anyone wishing to save (or indeed saved) money and as well as the ‘bonus’ there are some attractive rates of interest. Dare I say I would also see this as a good way of parents and grandparents assisting kids on getting on the property ladder.

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