With the UK in the midst of a sharp tax-raising drive, understanding the full impact of fiscal changes on investments has arguably never been so critical. One area that has been subject to particularly draconian reductions is Dividend Allowance, with changes in this area likely to have a significant impact on many investors.
The annual tax-free Dividend Allowance was first introduced in 2016/17 and originally stood at £5,000. In 2018/19, it was reduced to £2,000, and was then halved to £1,000 from the start of the current tax year. This figure is set to halve again next April to stand at £500 – overall, this equates to a 90% reduction in the value of the allowance in the space of just six years.
Once an investor uses up their annual allowance they are liable for Income Tax on dividends, with the rate payable based on the Income Tax band they fall into. These changes will therefore inevitably increase the tax pressure on any individuals who own significant dividend-paying stocks or rely on dividends as a primary source of income.
The Dividend Allowance is just one of the tax-free allowances investors can utilise in the UK. As a result of the cuts, it could therefore be increasingly beneficial for dividend-heavy investors to explore routes that offer exemption from dividend tax on qualifying shares, such as ISAs (which are also free of Capital Gains Tax). Alternatively, it may be appropriate for some investors to consider equity options that prioritise long-term capital growth over dividend payments.
The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. The past is not a guide to future performance and past performance may not necessarily be repeated.