Tax strategies for high-net-worth individuals in the tech sector

Jun 20, 2024 | Blog

Tax obligations are crucial for high-net-worth individuals, particularly those in the tech sector. The right strategies can optimise tax efficiency, ensuring compliance while maximising financial benefits.

This blog will outline key tax strategies tailored for individuals with significant wealth derived from the technology industry.

Understanding tax liabilities

High-net-worth individuals often face a myriad of tax obligations, including income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, and more. Understanding these liabilities is the first step towards effective tax planning.

  • Income Tax: High earners in the tech sector must be aware of the 45% top income tax rate on earnings over £125,140.
  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT): Profits from selling shares, properties, or other investments are subject to CGT. For higher-rate taxpayers, this is 20% on most assets and 24% on residential property.
  • Inheritance Tax (IHT): With a standard rate of 40% on estates above the £325,000 threshold, planning for IHT can protect your wealth for future generations.

Optimising income tax

There are several strategies to optimise income tax liabilities, ensuring you retain more of your earnings.

  • Utilising allowances: Make full use of personal allowances and reliefs available. The standard personal allowance for 2024/25 is £12,570, which is tax-free.
  • Pension contributions: Contributing to a pension scheme can reduce taxable income. The annual allowance for pension contributions is £60,000, potentially saving thousands in income tax.
  • Salary sacrifice: Sacrificing part of your salary in exchange for benefits such as pension contributions or childcare vouchers can reduce your taxable income.

Managing capital gains tax

Effective management of capital gains can significantly reduce tax liabilities.

  • Annual CGT allowance: The first £3000 of capital gains is tax-free. Spreading asset sales over multiple tax years can ensure this allowance is utilised.
  • Gifting assets: When transferring assets to a spouse or civil partner, you can use your CGT allowance, potentially doubling the tax-free amount.
  • Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS): Investing in EIS or SEIS-qualified companies can defer CGT liabilities and offer other tax reliefs.

Inheritance tax planning

Planning for inheritance tax is essential to preserve wealth for future generations.

  • Gifting: Regular gifts from surplus income made more than seven years before death are exempt from IHT.
  • Trusts: Setting up trusts can help manage and protect assets, potentially reducing IHT liabilities.
  • Business Property Relief (BPR): If you hold qualifying business assets for at least two years, they can be passed on free from IHT.

Leveraging tax-efficient investments

High-net-worth individuals can benefit from various tax-efficient investment opportunities.

  • ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts): Investment returns within ISAs are free from income tax and CGT. The annual ISA allowance is £20,000.
  • Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs): VCTs offer income tax relief of 30% on investments up to £200,000 per tax year, provided the shares are held for at least five years.
  • Offshore bonds: Investing in offshore bonds can defer UK tax liabilities until gains are realised, offering more control over the timing of tax payments.

Seeking professional advice

While the above strategies offer a robust starting point, the complexities of tax planning for high-net-worth individuals in the tech sector necessitate professional guidance. Working with a knowledgeable tax advisor ensures that your financial strategies comply with current legislation and are tailored to your unique circumstances.

At Richardsons, we specialise in providing bespoke tax planning services for high-net-worth individuals in the technology sector. Our team of experts is dedicated to helping you navigate your tax obligations with precision and confidence.

Contact us today to discuss how we can support your financial goals.

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