Utilising tax losses

Utilising tax losses

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We have listed below a few of the ways you can make best use of tax losses. Generally speaking, a tax loss arises when a claim for expenses and other allowances (for example capital allowances for equipment purchases) exceeds the income of the relevant trade.

Many losses arise as a direct result of a difficult period of trading. Accordingly, the loss has in most instances reduced your business working capital and in particular your cash flow.

If possible, it is a good idea to utilise these losses as quickly as possible so that any recovery of tax already paid, generally when trading was better, can be recovered to help re-establish cash flow. The remainder of this post sketches out the choices available.

Ongoing trade losses

These losses can be used in a number of ways:

  • You can set losses against income, or possibly against capital gains, of the same year or an earlier tax year.
  • You can set-off against profits of the same trade in future years.
  • You can set-off against income from a company to which you transferred your trade.

Not all losses may be claimed in all of these ways and sometimes the amount of loss you claim is restricted or limited.

Terminal losses

These arise when a trade finishes and makes a loss in the final period of trading. It is possible to make a claim for losses in the final 12 months of trading to be used in the tax year that you make the loss or the previous three tax years.

There are caps on the amount of loss you can utilise in any one tax year. And care should be taken when making claims to ensure that you do not lose entitlement to your personal tax allowance when making a claim.

If in doubt seek professional advice.

Is the State Pension taxable?

Short answer, yes it is…

The State Pension is worth between £6,359.60 (the old version), and £8,296.60 (the new version), and many pensioners may receive additional payments based on additional contributions made in prior years. In both cases, this pension income is treated the same as earned income for income tax purposes.

For 2017-18, every person resident in the UK for tax is allowed to earn £11,500 tax free. Accordingly, if your only source of income is the State Pension you will have no tax to pay. A potential problem can arise if you have other income, say taxable investment income or other earnings, that when combined with your State Pension, add to more than your personal allowance.

Your State Pension is paid to you without a deduction of tax. Many pensioners rely on these payments to fund their day to day expenditures so there is a temptation to spend what you get. Unfortunately, if your total income (State Pension plus other earnings and investment income) exceeds your personal allowance, you may end up with a tax bill at the end of the tax year and the first you may hear about this is when the bill from HMRC drops through your letter box.

Our advice, is do the sums. If your estimated income from all sources is likely to exceed £11,500 for 2017-18, you may need to save for any year-end tax due. The sums can be complicated as there are reliefs other than your personal tax allowance that you may need to consider.