Monday, 10 December 2018

180,500 new homeowners benefit from stamp duty tax relief

According to statistics published by HMRC more than 180,500 first-time buyers have benefitted from First Time Buyers Relief (FTBR). The relief introduced in November 2017 has saved eligible first-time buyers an estimated total amount of more than £426 million.

Mel Stride MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

‘These statistics show that the government was right to offer a helping hand to first time buyers. Without this investment more than 180,500 new homeowners may have struggled in getting onto the property ladder. Maintaining the status quo was not an option.’

FTBR is a Stamp Duty Land Tax relief for eligible first-time buyers. The tax relief can be used when buying a residential property where the purchase price is no more than £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland. Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and Land Transaction Tax apply to property in Scotland and Wales.

The press release goes on to state:

‘The amount of relief reported should not be used to infer average house prices for first time buyers; first-time buyer purchases below £125k and above £500k are not included in the statistics as they are below the lower SDLT threshold (£125k) or ineligible for the relief (above £500k).For purchases up to £300,000 no SDLT is payable. Where the purchase price is between £300,000 and £500,000 SDLT at 5% is due on the amount above £300,000. For example, a property purchased for £450,000 would pay £7,500 SDLT (5% of £150,000). This gives a saving of up to £5,000 for each first-time buyer.’

Extension of FTBR 

It was announced in the Autumn Budget 2018 that the relief for first-time buyers will be extended to purchasers of qualifying shared ownership properties who do not elect to pay SDLT on the market value of the whole property when they purchase their first share. Relief will be applied to the first share purchased, where the market value of the shared ownership property is £500,000 or less. This relief will apply retrospectively from 22 November 2017, meaning that a refund of tax will be payable for those who have paid SDLT after 22 November 2017 in circumstances which now qualify for FTBR.

Internet link: HMRC press release

For more information please do not hesitate to contact the team at Ward Williams Financial Services Ltd on 01932 830664 or by email on

 Photo credit:

Monday, 26 November 2018

A Pension is for Life not just for Retirement . . .

As independent financial advisers we will be the first to emphasise that securing your own financial wellbeing when you stop working for whatever reason is a fundamental part of financial planning. However, for those individuals who are in the fortunate position of regularly saving an adequate sum for their own retirement and still have some surplus income, other goals and “nice to haves” become apparent.

For parents, that will likely take the form of a home, education and a financial “leg-up” as a young adult for their children.

The beauty of planning ahead is the earlier the plan is put in place, the bigger the goal that has the potential to be achieved.

The high cost of higher education

University tuition fees loom large in the minds of parents and young people alike and with the current maximum fee of £9,250 per annum in England and Wales this can add up to a substantial sum over three years when also factoring in living costs. Students are graduating with an average debt of c. £51,000.

For the majority of parents it may be a bridge too far to pay for even one child to leave higher education debt-free. What might be possible is to build up a pot of money that can substantially reduce the amount of debt that a young adult graduates with.

A £250 per month pension contribution in a parent’s own name over 22 years could build up, in today’s money a c. £140,000 pension fund. £35,000 of this could be taken as a tax-free lump sum and careful planning could allow the drawing of (in today’s money) c. £12,500 a year tax-efficiently. This could go a long way to paying off student debt.

A foot on the ladder

University isn’t for every young person and the funds built up may be a useful contribution to a house deposit or professional or trade qualification costs.

Parental control can be important. Whilst a Junior ISA is an alternative well worth considering, 80% of parents have said that they do not want to tell their children that the money exists. You can choose how much and when you are gifting capital to your children.

The added benefit is that this forward planning has the potential to provide a legacy decades after you made the decision to help your children who may still be in nappies.


At Ward Williams Financial Services Ltd we believe that very long term plans can make even the biggest goals achievable and ensuring that your children embarking on adulthood have a helping hand is one of the biggest and most rewarding.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact the team at Ward Williams Financial Services Ltd on 01932 830664 or by email on

 Photo credit:

Monday, 19 November 2018

Personal tax changes - allowance and basic rate band increases

At the Budget, the Chancellor announced that increases to the personal allowance and basic rate band for 2019/20.

The personal allowance is currently £11,850. The personal allowance for 2019/20 will be £12,500. Also for 2019/20, the basic rate band will be increased to £37,500 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies is £50,000 for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance. The additional rate of tax of 45% will remain payable on taxable income above £150,000.

The government had pledged to raise the thresholds to these levels by 2020/21.

Internet link: GOV.UK income tax

Photo credit: rawpixel