Thursday, 26 November 2015

Transparency and trusts: an update

Many of you will know that the UK has now passed legislation requiring the beneficial ownership of UK registered companies to be held on a publicly available register by June 2016.  The exact detail of what has to appear on the register at Companies House is yet to be confirmed.

With companies in the spotlight, it was only a matter of time before trusts came under similar scrutiny.  It was clear from the recitals to the EU’s 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4AMLD) that trusts and similar structures should not be given comparatively favourable treatment.  Therefore Article 31 of the 4AMLD provided, among other things, that Member States should require trustees to hold accurate information about the settlor, trustees and beneficiaries.  The trustees should also provide that information to a central register.  However, only trustees of a trust which ‘generates tax consequences’ were obliged to do so. 

Separately, in November 2014 at the G20 Brisbane summit, the UK Government committed to implementing the G20 High Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership Transparency.  What this commitment will involve has now been published and essentially we have a flavour of how the UK Government will interpret its obligations under the 4AMLD.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

UK residential landlords – significant tax changes may lie ahead

The Government has passed legislation which will increase UK tax bills for most individuals (whether UK resident for tax purposes or not) owning UK residential let property, where the property has been part financed through mortgage debt.  The changes take effect from 6 April 2017.  Those with high gearing and significant interest payments will be particularly affected.

The changes come on top of an alteration to wear and tear allowance for landlords of furnished residential lets, coming into effect in April 2016, but in this blog, I focus on residential landlords with mortgages.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

‘Will you still need me, will you still keep me…?’ Offshore trusts and non-doms

We now have further details of the proposed changes in April 2017 to the UK’s remittance basis of taxation for non-doms, courtesy of the Treasury’s September 2015 consultation paper. 

The changes to how non-UK (i.e. offshore) trusts will be treated is particularly dramatic.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Will your client’s choice of executor mean more tax?

How do your clients choose the executor(s) of their Will? 

Being married to the will-maker is often the only qualification needed to secure an appointment!  Otherwise it might be the person’s suitability to the demands of the role, or their willingness to act.

Tax efficiency is often overlooked.  However, a will-maker’s choice of executor (and trustee of any trust incorporated within the Will) can sometimes make a big difference for UK taxes, so it’s good to understand how the rules of the game work.  

Thursday, 1 October 2015

IHT Same Day Additions – where are we now?

Does using multiple trusts save Inheritance Tax (IHT) still, or has IHT planning with multiple trusts been effectively abolished?  When the second Finance Act of 2015 comes into force later on this autumn, we will finally have the answer.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Losing the plot over CGT principal residence relief

In the UK, we take for granted that if we sell our main home, we don’t have to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT).  Yet, selling a home is still a disposal for CGT purposes.  The main thing that prevents a CGT bill from being triggered by a sale of the home is CGT principal residence relief (PRR).  As it can prove to be such a valuable relief, it’s worth any homeowner getting to grips with PRR.  Otherwise, if your home comes with a bit of land for example, you could end up with an unwelcome CGT bill if you decide to sell up.  That was the fate of Mr and Mrs Fountain, in the recent case of Fountain v HMRC ([2015] UKFTT 0419 (TC)). 

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Calling all EU asset owners: you’ve got mail (from Brussels)

Finally, the EU Succession Regulation (Brussels IV) is fully in force.  It’s been a long time coming.  Part of it came into effect as long ago as 2012 but in recent months, as 17 August 2015 (‘coming into force’ day) approached, there has been much more discussion about what Brussels IV is going to mean in practice.  Essentially, if you or your clients hold assets in virtually any EU state, or have a residency or nationality connection with an EU state, Brussels IV affects you.  This blog does not attempt to explain what Brussels IV is (see my September 2013 blog for the basics).  Instead, it gives the latest thinking on how Brussels IV might apply in practice and what to do now.