To follow on from my comments on the Chancellor’s Statement and the changes to dividend and capital gains tax, it emphasises the importance of minimising tax liabilities.
It is important for both income and capital gains to hold your shares in ISAs or SIPPs which makes them both tax free. If you have maximised your holdings in ISAs and SIPPs then if you want tax free dividends one option to look at is Venture Capital Trusts where dividends are tax free and you also get tax relief on investment in new shares. Or you can simply buy them in the market where you won’t get the initial tax relief but will avoid the prompt decline in your investment value as they normally trade at a significant discount to NAV – currently between 5% and 12% for generalist VCTs.
The dividend yields on VCTs are also typically quite high mainly because they tend to only maintain capital values while converting capital profits into dividends. The AIC web site can provide a summary of all VCTs, their dividends and past price performance.
VCTs have not been performing well of late as their focus on unlisted and AIM shares in small companies which are out of market favour has damaged their share price performance after a period of excess exuberance particularly in technology company shares. But now valuations in small companies have become more reasonable so it might be time to consider more investment in VCTs.
Investing in ISA and SIPPs do not of course give you cash dividends to spend but you can put money into ISAs and then take out the cash accrued from dividends tax free, except for Lifetime ISAs.
From my past investment in VCTs I now have a substantial proportion of my income tax free. But VCTs and their taxation are complex subjects so make sure you understand them and/or take professional advice on them. My comments above are based on my understanding of the position but I do not guarantee that it is correct.
As regards minimising capital gains tax one solution is simply to not sell holdings that are showing a profit, or offset them with sales of holdings showing a loss.
The other big issue raised by the Chancellor’s statement was how to protect a portfolio from the ravages of inflation. A half-year report from Value and Indexed Property Income Trust (VIP) this morning shows how they are providing that. For example they say: “VIP’s dividend per share has risen every year since 1986 when OLIM’s management began. It has risen by 932% over the 36 years, against the Retail Price Index rise of 232%. The medium term dividend policy is for increases at least in line with inflation, underpinned by VIP’s index-related property income.”
The net asset value per share fell during the half year but this is explained by these comments: “….rising bond yields and slower rental growth force property valuation yields up and capital values down. All sectors will be affected, with offices declining further, retail giving back its recent gains and the industrial sector suffering worst in the short term as it had become the most overheated. With consumer confidence at an historic low, and mortgage rates rising rapidly, stagflation may be here to stay, for at least as long as the war in Ukraine lasts.
Property transaction volumes have slowed down markedly since the summer, especially in the previously strongest sectors such as industrials and retail warehousing, with many sales only going through after agreed prices have been “chipped” by buyers and many more properties having to be withdrawn from the market unsold. Buyers now are few and far between as they wait to see how far yields move out. Property unit trusts have become forced sellers to meet withdrawals, proving yet again that open-ended vehicles are the wrong way to invest in property. Some pension funds will also need to sell after they were caught short of cash to meet margin calls on their dangerous LDI (Liability Driven Investing) schemes.
Land Securities has just sold a prime long-let London office at 9% below its March valuation, while the market for older or secondary offices has fallen off a cliff, with some now virtually unlettable and unsaleable where they do not meet environmental standards. The deep “brown discount” for properties in all sectors with non-compliant Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) is the clearest evidence so far of the growing market impact of ESG. Two-thirds of car showrooms, for example, are currently estimated to have non-compliant EPCs.”
Property REITs are another sector out of favour at present for those reasons but longer term I would expect them to provide some protection against inflation.
Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson )
You can “follow” this blog by entering your email address below. You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.