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Read the latest from our news desk, investment team and industry experts.

No More Tax Exemptions

No More Tax ExemptionsHands up if you still own a property in the UK, but have residential status in Tenerife, or indeed anywhere else in the world?  

If you’re one of the many thousands of expats, who decided to keep a foothold in the UK property market, ´just in case´, then potentially, you may well be out of pocket when you decide it´s time to sell.   This is yet another one of the latest steps in a series of significant changes affecting the taxation of UK residential property in recent years.   Up until the 6th of April 2015, non-UK residents have always enjoyed being exempt from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on private residences, and also had the right to claim Private Resident Relief… regrettably for many, this is no longer an option – the rules have now changed!  Capital Gains Tax (CGT) has been extended to non-UK residents with effect from the 6th of April this year.  

GREXIT

Grexit

Yet again what another country does or doesn’t do could have huge implications of the rest of Europe and the Western world. 

The clock is ticking for the Greek government to pay back the International Monetary Fund over €1bn (£720m) in loans in early May, as well as fund €1.4bn Treasury bill redemptions, and other major payments, including coupon payments on Greek government bonds.

It would appear that the Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has been sidelined in Greek debt negotiation talks, but as Holly Cook from Morningstar says “The situation hasn’t changed that much, no matter who is actually doing the talking, they can’t stray too far from what their original mantra was, because their original mantra was all about anti-austerity… They’ve got a relatively tight margin for maneuver.”

More Taxing Times Ahead

From April 6th this year, individuals who do not spend sufficient time in the UK, or have insufficient ties with the UK to be resident there for tax purposes but who nonetheless own a home in the UK, may now need to pay capital gains tax (CGT) on any gains arising on the eventual sale of the property. 

How will the tax work?

Only gains made from 6th April 2015 are taxable in calculating the gain on the property disposal i.e. non-UK resident property owners will substitute the value of the property as at 6th April 2015 for its actual acquisition cost, thereby rebasing the value to its market value as at that date. Alternatively, property owners may elect to calculate the gain by using the actual acquisition cost but paying tax only on the time-apportioned post-5th April 2015 part of the gain.

If the non-resident usually files a UK self assessment tax return any gain must be included in the appropriate year’s return, otherwise any tax must be paid within 30 days of completion.  Non-residents will continue to be exempt from CGT on disposals of commercial property and other assets.

Banks competing for ex-pat money

I had a little laugh to myself this week reading some news from the UK. It appears that the banks may have developed a bit of a conscience.

Despite base rate remaining stagnant, there are signs that banks are competing for savers’ money by trumping deals offered by rivals. I have outlined some of the offerings below, read it and weep.  We at Blacktower would be ashamed if we were only offering the sadly low returns that the Banks are.

Pension freedom or Pension Nightmare

Ever since the UK chancellor announced he was going to allow pension freedom on UK private pensions from April 2015 the papers have had articles galore on what you can spend your money on, then some started to focus on the fact that there was a nasty sting in the tale for many people who cash in their pension and that was TAX. Now the time is nearly upon us the main concern seems to be the number of scammers and fraudsters that are after your money.  

Offshore Is Dead; Long Live Onshore

On Monday, the Guardian, the BBC, Le Monde and 50 other media outlets reveal that HSBC’s Swiss banking arm helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of dollars of assets, doling out bundles of untraceable cash and advising clients on how to circumvent domestic tax authorities. The HSBC files consist of thousands of pages made available via the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Covering the period 2005-07, they amount to the biggest banking leak in history, shedding light on some 30,000 accounts holding almost $120bn (£78bn) of assets. Many of the accounts allegedly belonged to prominent figures in business, film, music and sport, to name a few.

I Have Retired; Time To Move Abroad

 

I’ve spent the last 40 years working and saving – so what’s next? Should I remain in the UK or consider pastures new? Well someone once said, “The grass is not any greener on the other side” – but what if it was?

Expats may be able to benefit from generous tax legislation in some popular retirement destinations if they decide to make use of new flexible pension rules.

Changes from April 6 will allow those, remaining in the UK and over 55, to withdraw all the money from their scheme, with 25pc as a potentially tax-free lump sum. Alternatively, they can withdraw it in chunks with 25pc tax-free and the remainder taxed at their marginal rate. 

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