Pick of the Pundits: Beat the Budget: Experts on the different aspects of personal finance talk to Vivien Goldsmith and Maria Scott about the prospects for 1993 as signs of recovery grow firmer: Moira Elms

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The Independent Online
Moira Elms, group manager, personal financial planning, at the accountants Coopers & Lybrand, identifies a number of tax considerations that could be worth a look before the Budget in April.

'One of the big questions is whether the Government will be forced to put up taxes in the Budget to improve public finances. It may be worthwhile considering bringing forward the payment of bonuses in case there is a higher rate of tax after 5 April,' she says.

'VAT could be increased - we do not have the highest rate of VAT in the European Community. National Insurance contributions could also be increased.

'From April next year married couples will have a choice about how they use the married couple's allowance - currently pounds 1,720 - which now goes automatically to the husband. At the moment he can pass it on to his wife if he cannot use it all, but she does not get it by right. If the husband is a basic rate taxpayer, using up all the married couple's allowance, and the wife is paying higher rate tax, the couple cannot use the allowance against her income to reduced the household's tax bill.

'From April they have three choices. The husband can use it all, the wife can use it all or they can divide it in half. If they do not agree on how it should be allocated the wife can claim half by right.

'But couples need to write to their tax inspectors before 5 April to state how they want to use the allowance.'

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