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Technical articles

Defined benefit green paper

01 March 2017
The long awaited Green paper issued by the Department for Work and Pensions is a significant document in both number of pages and the depth of the content. It followed an informal consultation in 2016 which wa ...

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Trust disputes - interesting decisions from 2016

17 February 2017
Court decisions are very useful in reinforcing knowledge and understanding, especially in the area of trust law. Recently we have looked at ...

Rectification of trust mistakes

19 January 2017
It is a well-known fact that once a trust deed has been executed it cannot simply be amended subsequently. Certainly, changes will not be a ...

The inexorable rise in demand for bridging loans

12 January 2017
The bridging industry has gained both ground and reputation in the past few years. The credit crunch, while creating problems for the lendi ...

Ongoing lifetime allowance enhancements and reductions

28 November 2016
The lifetime allowance is one of many aspects of pension legislation that is getting ever more complex as we get further away from A-day in ...

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 (PPB).
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.
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