The end of the tax year is just around the corner. This year’s deadline is 5 April – and there’s no better time to prepare for it than now.

There’s often a rush to get one’s finances in shape in March. For most people, the end of the tax year is nothing to worry about, but it’s still always good to check your allowances – you may be able to find more tax relief on your savings and investments.

With less than a month to go, here is everything you need to do before the deadline.

  1. Top up your ISA allowance

You have a limit of £20,000 for your savings and investments to be put securely in an ISA account, which is a tax-free wrapper.

Crucially, if you haven’t already used your annual ISA allowance by the end of the tax year, the remaining allowance doesn’t roll over – you lose it forever.

With stocks and shares ISAs and the Lifetime ISA (LISA), there is no tax to pay on income or capital gains from your investments. With a cash ISA, the interest is tax-free.

Also, don’t forget about investing in a Lifetime ISA if you’re looking to invest in a property or in your pension. People aged 18 to 40 can invest money in a Lifetime ISA, which benefits from a 25% government bonus. For example, a maximum saving of £4,000 a year into a LISA will become £5,000 with the bonus.

  1. Use your pension allowance

It may be useful to consider topping up your pension to increase your savings for retirement.

You can claim income tax relief on pension contributions up to a limit of £40,000 a year according to HMRC, but the exact amount depends on your personal circumstances.

You can also claim unused allowances from three previous years if you were a member of a registered pension scheme during that time.

  1. Capital gains allowance – for 2021/2022

The Capital Gains Tax (CGT) allowance , or ‘Annual Exempt Amount’, is £12,300 in the 2021/22 tax year. This means you won’t be taxed on profits below £12,300 if you sell your assets such as property or stocks and shares.

It’s worthwhile considering using as much of this allowance as possible each year if you have a large portfolio of shares outside an ISA, for example, by selling assets that have risen in value, or you could be storing up a large exposure to capital gains tax for the future.

  1. Inheritance tax planning

Don’t leave inheritance tax planning until it’s too late – it’s always good to have your finances in check in preparation for life’s unfortunate events.

Inheritance tax planning is not just for elders. Families should focus on not letting excess income build up in their accounts if they don’t need it.

The money can be gifted to dependents or through a trust. You can give away £3,000 each year or as many gifts of up to £250 per person as you like without being subject to IHT. Parents can also give £5,000 to each of their children as a wedding gift, while grandparents can give £2,500.

  1. Dividends

If you own investments that pay a dividend, you will be exempt from paying tax on those dividends up to the level of the income tax personal allowance, which is currently £12,570. This could however be eaten up by salaried income if you are still in work.

Beyond this, taxpayers can reduce their dividend allowance by using tax efficient wrappers and tax allowances. For example, basic-rate taxpayers can gain interest of up to £1,000 in their savings allowance while not paying income tax. Taxpayers on a higher rate can earn up to £100 interest tax-free.

Be wary that dividend tax is also set to rise from 6 April. The higher rate of dividend tax will go from 32.5% to 33.75%. This will mean that for every £1,000 dividend received, an extra £12.50 will need to be paid.

  1. Think about the children

If you have children, a good idea is to start saving money as soon as possible. This way, by the time they turn 18, the children can enjoy a larger pot of money to accomplish their next objectives, whether that be heading off to university or even saving up for a deposit on a property.

Parents and guardians can open a Junior ISA (JISA) on behalf of their children, and they can only access the money after they turn 18.

The returns on money made within a Junior ISA are free of UK tax. However, there’s a limit to how much you can put into a JISA of only £9000 per year in 2021/22.