Will planning - some practical considerations - Part II »
This month we continue to look at practical considerations
surrounding making a will. In particular, we will look at the role
of executors and trustees and at specific issues arising in
connection with business assets and digital assets. We will also
consider the pros and cons of avoiding probate by transferring
assets to a trust during lifetime.
Reducing income tax and capital gains tax with the help of pension contributions »
Most taxpayers, especially higher rate/additional rate
taxpayers, would be happy to hear about the possibility of saving
income tax and/or capital gains tax whilst at the same time
benefiting from tax relief. The key to this is the payment of
contributions to a registered pension plan linked to the personal
tax situation of the individual taxpayer.
The capital gains tax annual exemption - a valuable asset »
Following the reduction, with certain exceptions, in the rates
of capital gains tax (CGT) from 6 April 2016, the CGT annual
exemption still remains valuable, particularly if it can be used
each year. For tax year 2016/17 the annual exempt amount is £11,100
for individuals and £5,550 for trustees, subject to dilution when
the same settlor has created more than one trust (see below for
more on this).
Life after FURBS »
Funded Unapproved Retirement Benefit Schemes (FURBS) became part
of the pensions landscape when the earnings cap was introduced for
approved pension schemes in 1989. HMRC recognised that those
subject to the 'earnings cap' (initially a limit of £60,000 on
pensionable earnings) would still wish to make some kind of pension
provision and by introducing FURBS to the available options, HMRC
was able to exercise some control over those options.
Personal portfolio bonds »
At the 2016 Budget it was announced that the government would
review the categories of permitted investments which could be held
in a policy of life insurance, life annuity or capital redemption
policy without it becoming taxable as a personal portfolio bond
Inheritance tax and trust review for non-UK domiciled individuals »
Despite the previous announcement of the end of this series, I
am delighted to continue sharing my trust and estate planning
thoughts with you.
Back to business »
With the Brexit Referendum a distant memory it remains to be
seen how pensions and employment legislation will be affected.
Against this background, Parliament is due to return from summer
recess on 5 September, at which point the report stage of the
Finance Bill will commence, although this will of course be
interrupted again when the party-conference season starts. Here is
an explanation of what we are expecting from the Bill.
Markets misbehaving nicely »
The real difficulty is not in predicting whether
markets will react or how they react, but by how much they will
react. In July last year, the population of Greece voted to reject
the bailout terms proposed by the European Commission, the
International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. This was
a major event since it was Greece's first referendum since 1974.
The bailout was rejected in all regions of Greece, as well as
across all Greek constituencies, giving the country's government an
exceptionally strong mandate with which to repudiate its
obligations. Bad news for the stability of the Eurozone? You would
think so, and so did the European stockmarket falling 9% between
the date of the announcement of the referendum and the vote to
reject the bailout.
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and Buy to Let Complaints »
So your firm does the occasional bit of buy to let mortgage
finance for investor landlords (BTL). BTL products are not and
never have been regulated - right?
Brexit and Investment »
Where now for the UK? The referendum asked us whether we wanted
to be 'in' or 'out', but not what kind of 'out' we wanted. This is
unfortunate, as the question is a critical one for the future of
our country. Politicians will have to infer an answer, knowing that
the question was never properly debated. Do we want the 'lite' form
of Brexit enjoyed by Norway, Switzerland and others, where nothing
much changes? Brexit-lite would minimise economic uncertainty by
maintaining existing trade arrangements with the European Union
(EU); it would probably help foreign investment into the UK to
resume and the Pound to recover much of its losses. Or do we want a
more extreme, Canadian-style arrangement where we are clearly in
control of immigration from the EU but, commercially, more
isolated? This would take longer to negotiate, maximising economic
uncertainty and prolonging weakness in the Pound.