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Tax free income for life ?

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Many business owners restrict their remuneration to avoid higher rates of tax. Consequently, cash builds up within the company. They could be missing an opportunity to set up a tax free dividend stream for life ! An investment into a Venture Capital Trust...

Estate planning using pension funds

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Are you in the fortunate position of having a pension fund that you do not need to draw on?   Would you be interested in ways of passing some of this on to your family free of inheritance tax whilst you can have the joy of seeing them benefit when...

The 'problem' of Company cash

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  It may be a good problem to have but … what can you do with excess cash held by a company?  You may have considered increased salary and/or dividend or further pension contributions. Where do you turn when you have exhausted those...

Minimum Wage Rates - October 2016

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The National Minimum Wage rates are updated each October. The National Living Wage is updated in April. New rates from 1st October 2016 are as follows. £7.20 for workers 25 and over £6.95 for workers aged 21 - 24 £5.55 18-20 yrs ...

Lifetime ISA

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THE LIFETIME ISA George Osbourne’s March budget unveiled the proposed Lifetime ISA (LISA) to be rolled out in April 2017. “…25% bonus contribution from the UK Government…” Much like the Help-to-Buy ISA currently on...

Beware of Witholding Financial Information on Divorce

Carolyn Thomas
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On the 14th October 2015, the Supreme Court made a ruling which made it clear that dishonesty in financial dealings upon divorce will not be tolerated and settlements based on dishonest information are susceptible to being set aside. Alison Sharland and...

SDLT on purchase of an additional residential property

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Are you prepared for the changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax? The government is proposing an increase in the rate of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) for those who complete the purchase of  a second home or additional property after 1 April 2016.  The new...

Maintenance for Ex Partners: The Meal Ticket for Life?

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In a News item earlier in the year  we looked at the decision from the Court of Appeal in the case of   Wright v Wright . The case highlighted a definite shift in the attitude of the courts towards long term financial dependence by one ex-spouse...

Helping You on to the Housing Ladder

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In his Spending Review and Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced, a number of measures aimed at helping buyers to own their own homes. These included: -Government fund to enable 200,000 starter homes to be made available at a 20% discount for first...

To Buy...To Let? No More ?

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Buy to Let has become rather less attractive as an investment after a number of measures introduced by the Chancellor in what he has described as levelling the playing field for home buyers as against buy to let investors. For wealthier landlords –...

Help to Buy ISA

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The 2015 budget saw the launch of this initiative to help first time buyers.  Savings of up to £200pm will be topped up by the government by 25% with a cap of £3000. Further information is available on the Gov.UK website : Help to Buy: ISA...

New Responsibilities for Landlords

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The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015  came into effect on 1st October. The regulations apply to existing, as well as to new, tenancies. Landlords must ensure that  during any period beginning on or after 1st October 2015...

Changes in Assured Shorthold Tenancies

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Changes to Assured Shorthold Tenancies came into force today, 1st October 2015. These have important implications for Landlords. The effect of new provisions in s 21A & 21B Housing Act 1988 is that a Landlord cannot serve a notice requiring...

New National Minimum Wage Rates from 1st October 2015

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The National Minimum Wage rates are updated each October. New rates come into effect today (1st October 2015) as follows. £6.70 for workers 21 and over £5.30 18-20 yrs £3.87 for 16-17 yrs, who are above school leaving age but...

Owners Abroad Relief from Forced Heirship

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From August 17th, there are changes in European succession rules – after a very long gestation period.  The new regulation has implications for those ‘habitually resident’ in the UK  who are now able to elect that the rules of...

Disinheriting Family...A Cautionary Tale

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The Court of Appeal made a landmark ruling* on 27 July 2015 which has significant implications for the preparation of Wills. The Will of Melita Jackson left her entire estate valued at over £485,000 to be divided equally between three charities; it...

Facing a CGT Bill on Selling a Property or Other Investment?

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We do from time to time meet clients who feel constrained by the unrealised gains on portfolios of property or share investments. In some  cases, these are more elderly clients who are also concerned about the Inheritance Tax bill that could be facing...

Saving Tax Following Sale of our Business

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Perhaps you have sold a business within the last three years. Or maybe you are going through that process now? The obvious tax consequence is the exposure to Capital Gains Tax liability on the sale. A less obvious consequence is that your potential...

Extracting profit from your company

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You are running a successful business. Typically, you are drawing a modest salary and topping up your income by taking dividends. You may well be restricting your income in order to avoid higher rate liability. Additional funds are likely to be extracted...

Inheritance Tax (IHT) - Some of the Options

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Most of our clients prefer to avoid, or reduce, the IHT bill on their estates. Quite understandably, they would rather see their family benefit than the Chancellor. There are a number of ways to deal with the IHT liability. They tend to be variations on the...

Tax Implications of Selling Business Property

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If you own a business (or business property), you (or, at least, your beneficiaries) will benefit from a reduction in the Inheritance Tax (IHT) payable on your estate on your death. The sale of such assets leads to a loss of Business Property Relief (BPR)...

Facing a Tax Bill.. Could a VCT Help You?

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Investment into a Venture Capital Trust offers a number of tax incentives which could help you  reduce your income tax bill. Perhaps you recognise one of these scenarios: “I would like to draw more profit out of my company but I don’t want...

Inheritance Tax Changes July 2015 Summer Budget

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Have you prepared your estate to take advantage of the upcoming changes to Inheritance Tax? The Chancellor presented the second Budget of 2015 on the 8th of July in a speech that set out new inheritance tax changes.  Under the proposals, an additional...

Pension Freedom - What is it all About?

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New options for taking benefits from a defined contribution (money purchase) pension scheme came into effect from 6th April. The freedom applies to everyone from age 55.  What should you consider? The first step is to think about your personal...

Inheritable ISAs - A New Option

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An important tax change should not be overlooked by the executors and beneficiaries of an estate as well as by those advising them. This provision applies to the estate of any ISA investor who died on or after 3rd December 2014. With effect from 6th April...

Meeting The Costs of Care

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Affording the cost of care in later years is currently a concern for many of our aging UK population. To address these concerns, Chancellor George Osborne, announced that the cost of care for anyone of 65 will be capped at a lifetime contribution of...

FROM AUSTERITY TO PROSPERITY?

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Budget 2015, March 20th With the General Election a matter of weeks away, the coalition government’s 2015 Budget managed to hail economic recovery, gloss over spending cuts and serve up a raft of measures designed, among other things, to support...

Loss of Capacity: Think Ahead

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Mental capacity and planning for the future If a person loses mental capacity, and they have not properly prepared Power of Attorney forms, their affairs cannot be managed without an application to the  court to appoint a...

SDLT Changes

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A major reform of Stamp Duty Land Tax was announced in the Autumn statement. As a result 98% of residential property buyers will see a welcome saving whilst only those paying over £937,000 will see an increase in SDLT. Each rate will be paid only on...

Pensioners Bonds - Rates Announced

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Pensioners Bonds were announced by the Chancellor in his Spring Budget. They will be available in January 2015, via National Savings & Investment (NS&I). It appears that the full Terms and Conditions (T&C) will not be released until January....

Entrepreneurs Relief on Value of Goodwill...

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The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement included the announcement that Entrepreneurs’ Relief will no longer be available on a disposal of ‘the reputation and customer relationships associated with a business’  –  ie the...

Pension Changes April 2015

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The proposed changes to pensions from April 2015 – Defined Benefit (DB) pensions The Chancellor has expressed his intentions to allow members of DB pension schemes more freedom of choice in their retirement benefit options, via transfer to defined...

A Budget for the Makers, the Doers, and the Savers...

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… as the Chancellor of the Exchequer put it in commending his budget to the House yesterday. The full text of George Osborne’s speech is here.  The supporting documents are available on the Gov.UK website. There is an important...

Profits Tied up in Your Company?

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Are you one of the many business owners who restricts salary and dividend to limit exposure to higher rates of  tax. Taking more profit out of the company would lead to further tax liability of at least 25%. You have probably exhausted the scope for...

Looking to Save Inheritance Tax...?

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...but not wanting to give up income or capital ? More and more people are being dragged into the Inheritance tax net. Property prices and investment values are rising but the Nil rate band is held at £325,000 (£650,000 for a couple). Regular...

Could You Claim a Tax Refund?

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Did you pay a heavy tax bill this year?   Would you like to get some of it back? Changes in taxation have seen increasing numbers into the higher rate tax brackets. The effective rate  of tax is increased further as other allowances are...

New Year Resolutions...

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Whether or not you resolved to put your financial affairs in order in 2014,  it is likely that you should review your financial plan.  Here are some of the questions to ask: -Is my retirement planning on track to enable me to enjoy the sort...

Need Help to Buy a New Build...?

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Help To Buy – Phase 1 – New Build Phase 1 of the government’s Help to Buy scheme is the “Equity Loan” which is available for new build properties only.    In effect it is a shared ownership mortgage.  The...

Help to Buy 2 : Mortgage Guarantee Launch

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Help To Buy – Phase 2 – The Mortgage Guarantee One of the biggest obstacles to owning your own home is that of raising the deposit and not everyone can rely on family to help!  Things will be a bit easier from today as the second phase of...

What Are Your Retirement Plans Built On?

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Annuity and savings rates are low while property prices and rental yields are high.  As a result, buy-to-let properties are becoming more common place as part of a retirement plan.  Whilst this can be a good strategy, it is important to understand...

Pension Advice at Retirement

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The Importance of Taking Independent Financial Advice at Retirement. Two recent cases illustrate the importance to taking advice at retirement. In the first case, I was  approached by Mr Smith who wanted some guidance about taking the benefits from...

Farming - Protecting a Lifestyle

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Farmers plan the annual cycle of production in the expectation of a harvest later. As a farmer you regularly invest time and money today for a reward in many months’ time. Yet the irony is that you may not devote much time and thought to protecting the...

Mortgage Shortfall Fears

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Mortgage Shortfall Fears The new Financial Conduct Authority has suggested that approximately 2.6 million people will not have saved enough money by the time their interest only mortgages mature to repay them with the average shortfall being in the region...

Risk Management and Succession

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Managing risk You are in business for a variety of reasons but first and foremost to make a profit.  Without profit there is no reason to continue and no opportunity to invest, adapt and grow the business.  As a business owner/manager ...

A Better Deal for your Retirement

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You are about to take the benefit of all those years of building up your pension savings. You have been notified how much income to expect. It seems obvious to buy the pension annuity from the pension provider holding your retirement fund. That is precisely...

Over £7,000 Raised for Charities

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SWLaw are very pleased that the ‘Make a Will’ promotion has raised over £6,000 for charity.   This is a significant achievement, and we are grateful to all those clients who have generously contributed to this fundraising promotion...

Unlocking the Value in Your Home

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The term ‘capital rich, income poor’ describes the position of many people in their later years.  There is value locked up in the home but there is little income and little in the way of savings.For many people their most valuable asset is...

The Flat Rate State Pension

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Changes to the State Pension. When the state pension was introduced in 1909, the maximum payment was five shillings (25p) a week – the equivalent of about £20 today and was not payable until the recipient reached age 70. There was also a...

Increased Income from Pensions?

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The traditional way of taking income from a pension plan is via annuity purchase. With this route the capital sum in the pension (less any tax-free cash) is exchanged for a lifetime income.  Various options can be included such as a dependents...

Child Benefit Tax Charge

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Child Benefit: Income Tax Charge for those on Higher Incomes The recent change to child benefit rules apply to tax payers with income exceeding £50,000 in a tax year and who are in receipt of Child Benefit, and to tax payers with income exceeding...

RPI is dead? Long live RPI!

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Today, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced its decision not to proceed with its recent proposal to recommend an “improvement” in the calculation of the Retail Prices Index (RPI). The RPI uses a number of formulae, one of which is...

ISA Myths

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With 2012 now behind us it is time to look forward to the end of the next year – 5 th April 2013.  For many this signals the rush to make use of unused tax allowances before they are lost.  With that in mind I thought it time to...

2012 Autumn Statement Tax and Pensions

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Taking with one hand … When it came to personal investments in his Autumn Statement on 5 December, Chancellor George Osborne gave with one hand and took away with the other. He extended the Isa allowance for the 2013/14 tax year to £11,520...

SAVING OR INVESTING

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… can they help beat inflation ? The BBC has published on its website an interesting article by Nick Sketch in which he considers the comparative returns from savings in cash deposits and those from investment in stockmarkets. It gives a simple...

Wills Dont Have to be Dull

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(A light-hearted look at Wills,  Lasting Powers of Attorney and matters financial) As a firm we are passionate about helping people to understand the usefulness of these vitally important documents. We recently gave a presentation to a large and...

Green Deal or No Deal?

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by Nigel Stannard The Department of Energy and Climate Change  has recently issued the Green Deal Code of Practice and the legal framework came into force on the 1st October 2012. This means that Green Deal providers, assessors and installers can now...

Tax Efficient Life Cover for Small Business Owners

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Relevant Life Assurance As an owner or director of a Limited company there are now additional benefits available that could save up to 50% of the cost of providing life cover for both yourself as Director and to your employees. The true cost of providing...

Time to Purchase An Annuity?

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Purchasing an annuity with your pension plan could cost you more after 21 st  December 2012. If you are thinking about purchasing an annuity with your pension fund in the near future, changes that come into effect on 21 st  December 2012 could...

Care costs...Deadline For Recovery

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The costs of care are often a cause of great worry for those in their later years. In many cases, residents are wrongly assessed to pay contributions when they ought to be receiving free care. The NHS is responsible for the fees where the primary reason a...

New Tax Year

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The Individual Savings Account (ISA)  allowance for the 2012-13 tax year is £11,280 and can be taken up now. Up to half of the total (£5640) can be put into a cash ISA. Up to £3600 can be paid into a Junior ISA. The cash ISA gives...

Budget 2012

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HM TREASURY  : The Government is committed to creating a sustainable tax system that is fair and supports growth. It will bring forward plans to reward work and support families; reduce headline tax rates to increase the competitiveness of the UK tax...

Paying for Financial Advice

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The Retail Distribution Review (‘RDR’) is going to have a big impact on the market for financial advice. At SWLaw we welcome it and the opportunities that come with it. It is something of a ‘coming of age’ for financial planners and...

Banks Give Bad Advice

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Which? Reports (again) that high street banks and building societies are giving poor advice and recommending inappropriate investment products to elderly and potentially vulnerable consumers. An undercover investigation showed that only 5 out of 37 advisers...

Tax Simplification

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David Gauke, Exchequer secretary, has set out “the Government’s vision for a more transparent, open, and easier to understand personal tax system”. The pithily-titled discussion document  “Modernising the administration of the...

What Next For The Euro?

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The Eurozone is in no position to support Italy as it struggles to deal with its debt mountain. The European Central Bank has been buying up Italian bonds in an effort to stabilise the market but, as was once famously said “you can’t buck the...

Litigation Funding

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In some cases, the legal costs of taking a matter to court are covered under the terms of a policy of insurance eg: household, commercial, motor, travel, landlord’s property etc. The cover is taken out before the incident giving rise to the claim...

Farmers and IHT

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Agricultural Property Relief is valuable to farmers in reducing the impact of Inheritance Tax (IHT) on their estates. The farmhouse, or other living accommodation, often gives rise to difficulties. In a recent case before the Upper Tribunal (Tax &...

Equity Release to Pay For Care

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It is being widely reported that consideration is being given to the controversial step of forcing pensionsers to remortgage their homes to pay for personal care. The Dilnot Commission reported in July this year – see news item on  ‘Long...

Berlusconi To Step Aside?

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Berlusconi denies that he is intending to resign. Nevertheless markets reacted positively to the speculation that he may be forced to step down. A vote tomorrow on the public finances may leave the centre right coalition facing early elections. After...

Greek Referndum

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Papandreou’s call for a referendum on the bailout shocked and angered other Eurozone leaders as it brought uncertainty back to markets as the prospect of what has been termed a ‘disorderly default’ loomed. It was perhaps understandable,...

Greek Referendum Risk Recedes

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Update: The risk of a Greek referendum on the bailout plans has receded during the course of the day and markets have reacted positively with the FTSE 100 finishing up over 1% and major European markets advancing by almost 3%. Papandreou has warned the Greek...

Feed-In Tariffs

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Feed-in tariffs (otherwise “The Clean Energy Cashback Scheme”) for electricity generated from solar PV installations are under review. The Department of Energy and Climate change has launched a  consultation  on the first phase of the...

No Win, No Fee

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“No win, no fee” offers access to the courts for those who might otherwise be unable to afford the costs of pursuing a claim. When Legal Aid was (for most types of claim) withdrawn, it was important to find other ways to fund court action. The...

Greeks and the Gift Horse

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We may be forgiven for wondering whether the Greek capacity for self-destruction knows any bounds. The terms of a bailout for the highly indebted economy were agreed last week by Eurozone leaders. The Greek PM, George Papandreou, has now announced that the...

RGF Support for Princess Yachts

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Princess Yachts is one of a number of businesses in the region to have received support from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund. It plans to create a new boat building facility in the Devonport Dockyard’s South Yard. The site will be used to...

Junior ISAs

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The Junior ISA will be launched tomorrow, 1st November. Parents of eligible children will be able to open and manage the Junior ISA which will be held in the child’s name. Children who were eligible for a Child Trust Fund – those born between...

The Euro is Still Alive...

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… For the time being … but in the high dependency unit! European leaders have agreed a basis to ‘resolve’ the crisis posed by the high levels of debt in Greece. Under the deal, Greek debt would drop from 160% of its GDP to 120% by...

Majority of People Don't Have Wills

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The  BBC reports today on a survey by HSBC  showing that two-thirds of UK parents do not have a Will. Dying without have made a Will (‘intestate’) brings into effect a ‘Statutory will’ – the devolution of your estate...

Supreme Court Rules on 'Residence'

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By a majority of 4 to 1 (Lord Mance dissenting) the Supreme Court dismissed appeals by (1) Davies and James and (2) Gaines-Cooper against earlier decisions of the Court of Appeal. The ruling puts into question the tax status of expatriates. It can no longer...

Rugby Injury Award Overturned

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Jack Sutton suffered a severe injury to his knee during a training session at Syston Rugby Football Club. The County Court judge awarded him damages of £54,000. The award was overturned by a unanimous Court of Appeal in a judgment handed down on 20th...

World Population Hits 7 Billion

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According to one world population clock the global population will hit 7 billion today. The US Census Bureau estimates that it is currently about 28 million short of that figure. Either way the population will hit 7 billion very soon. National Geographic...

Can The Euro Survive?

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… a definite “maybe” but at a cost! It has never been apparent that a single currency, with centrally fixed interest rates, could be appropriate for economies as widely diverse as Germany, France, Greece, Italy etc. Surely, it could...

Italy To Default?

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The Centre for Economics and Business Research (‘CEBR’) remains pessimistic on the prospects of survival of the Euro. Writing today, 4th August, the chief executive Douglas McWilliams identifies Italy as being at risk of default: its tight budget...

Interests Rates Held...Again

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The Monetary Policy Committee has held the base rate at 0.5% – the level to which it was reduced in March 2009. Growth has been held back by low consumer spending and by government austerity measures starting to bite. Nevertheless, inflation has...

The Ailing Euro

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According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), in a  press release of 11th July , on the euro: “ Greece is a sideshow ”, “ the real issue is whether Spain and Italy can stay in ” and the conclusion is that...

Long Term Care Costs

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Dilnot Commission on Funding of Care and Support . The  report of the commission , led by economist Andrew Dilnot, was published on 4th July. One of the key recommendations is a cap, suggested to be £35,000 on the sum that anyone can be required...

Interventions and ISAs?

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Early intervention as an investment opportunity ? The case for early intervention to tackle social problems and break the cycle of crime has been argued in a report  ‘Early Intervention: Good parents, great kids, better citizens’ written...

Austerity Measures and Strikes

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Greek bailout … Members of the Eurozone are again being asked to bail out the ailing Greek economy. Aid of 110bn euros was agreed last year and the details of a further 120bn euro bailout are being drawn up. The indications are that the Prime...

Tax Code Confusion?

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You are not alone! HMRC have admitted that, not for the first time, errors in the way they calculate tax codes used for PAYE have affected millions of people. HMRC will now be issuing revised calculations. Many will be receiving rebates of overcharged tax...

Resident for tax purposes?

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Statutory definition of tax residence The government is intending to introduce a statutory residence test for individuals. The intention is to introduce some clarity to an area that is complicated and unclear. Proposals include an interactive online tool to...

Gifts of art to the Nation

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Gifts of pre-eminent objects and works of art to the nation As foreshadowed in the March 2011 Budget the government is seeking to encourage gifts of pre-eminent works of art or historic objects to the nation in return for tax concessions. It is looking to...

State Pension Reform

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Consultation on ‘A state pension for the 21st century’ The consultation  ‘A state pension for the 21st century’  was launched on 4th April 2011 and ended on 24th June. It sought views on a number of options for reform....

Charitable Legacies - IHT incentive

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Inheritance Tax incentives to be introduced for charitable legacies Following the announcement in the 2011 Spring Budget, HMRC issued a consultation on 10th June –  ‘A new incentive for charitable legacies’ . It is anticipated that...

"The Killing Wards"

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Sunday Times Magazine feature by Tim Rayment ​ It is a given that there will always be shortages within the NHS. Advances in medicine, new procedures, increased longevity will all combine to ensure that no budget is enough to meet everyone’s...

Public Sector Strike Action

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Closure of schools and time off for parents The closure of a school because of industrial action is likely to be a breakdown of care arrangements particularly for younger children. Parents are entitled to  unpaid  leave to deal with such...

Mortgage Market Review

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At the FSA public meeting on 23rd June Hector Sants, the Chief Executive, announced the delay of the Mortgage Market Review (‘MMR’): “… the principal issue that MMR is looking to address is the generally agreed failing in the...

Consumer Rights - New EU Rules

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The European Parliament has passed a range of new rules to protect consumers. Traders will be prevented from imposing unfair charges on consumers paying by credit card. They will restrict charges to the actual cost borne by the trader. This will impact, for...

New EU Rules on Maintenance Payments

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European Commission – Press Release … Children and families to benefit from new EU rules on maintenance payments Brussels, 21 June 2011 – Under new EU-wide rules which apply as of this week, children across the EU will benefit from...