Self-employed favour last minute pension contributions

More than a third (36 per cent) of pension contributions by self-employed workers are made between 1 March and the end of the tax year, according to research by Hargreaves Lansdown.

It also found that ‘DIY pension savers’, including those with self-invested personal pensions (SIPP), made 31 per cent of their contributions during this period, with 10 per cent of those contributions coming in the last week before the new tax year.

Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst, Nathan Long, explained that last minute pension contributions could “prove incredibly rewarding” as they would take maximum advantage of the tax relief and tax return offered on pension savings.

He said: “We’ve all got tedious things we cannot face doing until the last minute, such as homework, packing for holiday, ironing work shirts and making pension contributions. Paying into a pension at least has the bonus of giving you back some of your hard earned money from the taxman.

“Less than one in 10 of us are expected to be higher rate taxpayers in retirement, so if you are paying more than 20 per cent income tax now, you could benefit from paying tax at the basic rate when the time comes to finish work.”

A worker earning £30,000 would have to pay £8,000 for a pension contribution of £10,000, while someone earning £60,000 would pay £6,000 and those earning between £110,000 and £160,000 would only have to pay in £4,000.

However, those earning more than £160,000 per year would have to pay £5,500 for a £10,000 contribution as they receive less tax relief and a lower tax return.

Hargreaves Lansdown’s research also revealed that the top three funds invested in last year were Asia Pacific funds First State Asia Focus, Fundsmith Equity and Lindsell Train Global Equity.

Long added: “It’s important not to be side-tracked with a case of the Brexit butterflies. Pension investing is a long term game for most people so they’ll have plenty of time to ride out any short term fluctuations, although in the last 30 years the longest investors in the UK stock market have had wait to recover from a drop is only a touch over five years.

“If you’re still not sure, you can scoop up that all important last minute tax relief but defer making an investment by holding your contribution in your pension as cash.”

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