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Holly's Blog: Our 2019 Best Buys

By Mike Narouei, Content Producer at Boring Money

1 Mar, 2019

This week we had our very own Oscars and announced our 2019 Best Buys winners for online investing services. This is the result of 3 months’ research work by the Boring Money team, putting over 30 online investment providers through their paces.

We’ve measured call response times, timed investment journeys, assessed trading, communications, apps, lost passwords, dug out tax certificates – you name it, we’ve done it. That’s how rock and roll we are chez Boring.

You can check out our updated Best Buy pages, methodology and individual scores. You can also filter your search by what matters to you – low charges, good for beginners, customer reviews, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA, an ethical option and so on.

I’m proud that we have collected over 2,000 customer reviews which feed into these ratings which I think make it truly representative. Thanks a lot to our readers who have taken the time to share their experiences. We’ve had over 40,000 visitors to our site and these pages over the last month – it’s exciting to see the growth and please help us to spread the word if you like what we do.

3 tax year tips – 5 weeks left folks

Tip One - we all have up to £20,000 a year we can put into tax-free ISAs. If you haven’t got any spare cash this year you might still be able to use your allowance. How? Something which the investment industry in a true display of 'how not to give things catchy names', calls “Bed and ISA.”

Here’s an example of how it works. If you have say £5,000 of shares or investments knocking about but outside the tax quarantine that is the ISA, you could consider selling these. If they’ve gone up since you bought them, you can use up some of your annual capital gains tax exemption and not pay any tax on the profits. This year we have up to £11,700 we can make in capital gains, and not pay any tax on this. And then you buy them back in a tax-free ISA environment. Cunning n’est-ce pas? So you’re basically moving stuff into a tax free environment and removing your obligation to pay tax on future profits.

Tip Two - Pensions. Don’t go cross-eyed. If you’re a higher rate taxpayer, any money you pay into a pension this tax year, will lower your total tax bill this time next year. Here’s an example. If you stick in £80, your provider will add another £20 to the pot (this is true for basic rate taxpayers too) and the higher rate club can claim a further £20 off their next tax bill. So you effectively get £100 for £60. (It’s a wee bit different if you’re in Scotland where tax rates differ.) Most of us can pay up to £40,000 a year into a pension but read the Ts and Cs. Hargreaves Lansdown have a pensions tax relief calculator (https://www.hl.co.uk/pensions/tax-relief/calculator) you can have a play with tonight, if you’re bored of Masterchef and not on a hot date. (Please tell me that is not just me!?)

Tip Three - Lifetime ISAs. Under 40 and dead set on buying a property at some stage? Set up a LISA and for every £4 you pay in, the Government will give you a free £1 bonus. Contributions are capped at £4,000 a year. Only worth doing if you’re sure you’ll be a future buyer or you’ll be hit with exit penalties. Read up more here.

Have a great weekend all. I am hosting a kids’ party chez moi, after the planned roller disco fell through – double booking. So I am in bad-Mummy overcompensating mode, and have promised treasure hunts, vast amounts of sweets and generally unattainable standards of cake and entertainment.

Holly