One of the most common questions asked of expat financial services firms is what should clients do with their pensions. Some wish to keep all their money in a UK-based pension, some will look to transfer to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) and others will want to take a tax-free lump sum from their fund. In short, what an individual chooses to do will depend heavily on their personal circumstances together with any advice they receive from their expat financial services professional.
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Spanish Inheritance Tax Explained
As retirement draws near, many of us begin to think about how we want our hard-earned earthly possessions to be distributed amongst our nearest and dearest. Making a will, of course, is a good starting point, but you also might want to think about the slice of the pie that the taxman will take from our relatives’ inheritance.
Tax avoidance and tax evasion have received substantial media attention in recent years, with reports on the tax avoidance strategies employed by wealthy individuals and corporations hitting the headlines.
In 2012, it was revealed that comedian Jimmy Carr was one of many high net worth individuals involved in the Jersey-based K2 tax scheme, which sheltered a portion of his income from HMRC. In the ensuing public backlash he issued an apology and withdrew from the scheme.
The value of having expat regular savings has been underlined by a recent survey which showed that the typical 55-year-old borrows £6,785 against the value of their home in order to take a holiday, with others borrowing an average of £58,850 in order to buy a holiday property.
“With an average spend approaching £7,000 for holidays, travel is a popular choice for those unlocking cash from their homes, often alongside other uses to improve their lifestyle in retirement,” said Dean Mirfin, technical director at Key Retirement, the firm behind the survey.
France revealed to be the most popular country with expats
More expats end up in France than any other country, according to MoveHub, which has recently released a report detailing global moving trends and revealing the favoured destinations of job-seeking migrants from all over the world. The international removal company analysed more than 180,000 move enquiries from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 to see the most popular choices when it comes to relocating abroad.
In particular, the report looked at the moves of what it defined as 'professional migrants'. This means individuals who are motivated to leave their country of origin by better job prospects and the lure of growing economies, which could lead to a better quality of life. The countries that attracted the most movers were France (1st), the United Kingdom (2nd), and the USA (3rd).
Residence or domicile? That is the question
One of the most frequently-asked questions asked by many of the 300,000 Expats living here in Spain is ‘am I resident or domicile?’ It is a good question, and one worth finding the answer to, as your residential status when living abroad affects the way in which you pay tax and how much you pay.
There are very few life changes as profound as those that come with retiring. Increasingly, science is making clear what many retirees know already: that a fulfilling and long retirement is invariably a busy retirement. You might retire from your working age career, but the best way to enjoy your sunset years is to keep active, whether it is playing sport, creating art, being part of a community or having a “second career phase”.
Of course, in order to have an empowered retirement it is necessary that you make the right financial choices and if you are a UK expat in France, chances are that a QROPS will form part of your plan. Not only will your lifestyle change, but your spending habits will also follow suit.
Do you live in Spain and still have UK and Offshore Investments?
Many UK nationals have accumulated savings and investment portfolios using an array of options, such as National Savings to Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs), Personal Equity Plans (PEPs) and Premium Bonds. Unfortunately, once you take up residence in Spain, the tax incentives provided by the UK schemes fall away and the income and gains may become wholly taxable under Spanish law.
When you move to a new country, it is a major change and should prompt a complete review of your wealth management to ensure it is as effective as possible for your new life. Similarly, if you have lived in Spain for a number of years, it would be wise to have a full review of your saving/investment/pension position to ensure optimum benefits. We take a look at some of the most common investment types and what your move to Spain might mean for your finances.