Merry Christmas Mr. Scrooge!

Here’s the season to be jolly …. But make sure you still pay your taxes! Read Mr Scrooge as the Inland Revenue, Hacienda or any other tax authority you care to name!

It’s not all bad news though when it comes to keeping as much of your hard-earned money away from Scrooge’s coffers. Despite the various and continuing attempts to close doors that allow for him to be beaten, there remain options open to beat him!

For example, a lot of folk here are retired and rely heavily on pension and investment income. They probably get taxed on both subject to levels of income and, for their investments, where and how their capital is placed. Despite the EU Directive implemented in the summer of 2005 to apply a ‘withholding’ on certain incomes and also to allow reporting to revenue authorities, there remain windows that can be exploited legitimately to avoid both. That can make a big difference to ordinary folk; a saving of 30% of your income is not to be ignored.

And then there is question as to whether borrowing to buy here, or even to release equity, is viable. When you consider the potential economic benefits of doing so, especially via ‘Interest Only’ mortgages, it is surprising to me that anyone would want to repay a mortgage using capital and interest, if ever! The effects of cheap financing, positive investment returns long term, mitigating Inheritance Tax and so on, make the decision pretty clear cut in my eyes. But then I am bound to say that I hear you say! But numbers seldom lie if you take the time to scrutinise them fully …and the tax man has a habit of doing that! So why not take a leaf out of his book and see if you can beat him at his own game?

Merry Christmas to all of our readers …and especially to Mr Scrooge!