Budget 2020 - Top Slicing Explained: Will I pay more tax on Life Insurance Investment Bonds?
Top Slicing is a term used to determine whether further tax is due for UK residents once an investment bond has been surrendered or partially encashed.
However, HMRC argued that the WHOLE GAIN should be added to your income when doing the Personal Allowance test. In normal circumstances for every £2 ‘income’ that you have above £100,000, then your 0% tax personal allowance is reduced e.g. £110,000 income = £10,000 over £100,000k, on a £2 over for £1 allowance reduction = £10,000/2 = £5,000 reduced personal allowance from £12,500 to £7,500. This means even more of you income could be taxed at 40% and 45% and more investment bond top slice gains at 20% and 25%.
This was defeated in court despite HMRC arguing the case and now the Chancellor will make it law that the total chargeable gain cannot be added to income to perform any Personal Allowance reduction test.
Example: Gross Income £40,000pa + £90,000 chargeable gain from investment bond (made over 10 years meaning the slice is £90,000/10= £9,000pa TOP SLICE GAIN)
What HMRC Wanted – High Taxes
Personal Allowance Test (what HMRC argued for) - Personal Allowance Test £40,000 + £90,000 = £130,000.
Meaning £30,000 over the £100,000 meaning = £30,000/2 = £15,000 personal allowance reduction i.e. you have lost your personal allowance.
Top Slice Calculation:
Income £40,000, nil personal allowance, meaning £37,500 taxable at 20%, 2,500 taxable at 40%.
Add £9,000 TOP SLICE GAIN – the whole 100% of the £9,000 TOP SLICE GAIN when added to income is in the 40% income tax bracket – i.e. 100% of the gain is taxable.
£90,000 gain is taxable in the 40% Band (i.e. 20% tax deemed to paid, 20% tax payable)
£90,000 X 20% = £18,000 tax due on bond gains + income tax as normal on other income
Budget 2020 Confirmed This Method
Personal Allowance Test - Personal Allowance Test £40,000 + £9,000 TOP SLICE ONLY
Meaning Total Income £49,000 i.e. No Personal Allowance reduction i.e. you have NOT lost your personal allowance.
Top Slice Calculation:
Income £49,000, £12,500 personal allowance + £37,500 20% tax taxable band meaning 100% of the TOP SLICE GAIN IS WITHIN Basic rate band
Within 20% Basic Band – TAX is Deemed Paid on the TOP SLICE GAIN
Meaning i.e. 100% of the whole gain has no tax further to pay .
= £18,000 tax saved!