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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...

Harassment and Discrimination

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Harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation A male homosexual employee at HM Land Registry had openly come out to his colleagues at Lytham. He was later promoted to a position at Coventry but did not immediately disclose his sexual...

Estate Preservation

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Estate Preservation is concerned with maximising the value that you are able to pass to your family or other chosen beneficiaries. This does not just mean protecting your estate from Inheritance Tax.  You also may wish (eg)  to: Protect...

Dog Friendly Hotel ?

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Old Keith asked me to draft a letter because he was really browned off with posh jumped-up merchants and Bullingdon Boy-type bullies who irritated him to the core when they visited his Hotel in a leafy region of Falmouth for some Rag stunt or on a Stag...

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 –...

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...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

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....

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...

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...

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...

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...

Did the Lady Bite the Right Dog ?

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Identification evidence is the weakest form of evidence that exists. As a result of R. v. Turnbull [1977] QB 224 a judge has a duty to warn a jury of the dangers of relying on identification. The dangers apply equally to civil and criminal cases....

I Cant Afford to go to Court

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Litigation is not for the faint-hearted. It can be time-consuming, stressful and expensive. Yet surely you have a right of access to the courts to make your claim or enforce your rights? With the decline of legal aid, other means of helping clients have...

Disclosure & Barring Service

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The DBS was formed by the merger of the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority established under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 . DBS launches its new online update service on 17th June 2013.Applicants will be able to...

Concerned for a Vulnerable Relative?

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If you are health care professional  or if you are concerned for a vulnerable relative, or friend, then one of your anxieties will be how quickly  help can be summoned? Modern technology makes this possible but it is not always readily accessible...

Operating Bank Accounts for Others?

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If you have tried to deal with banks on behalf of a vulnerable relative, it will probably have been a frustrating experience.  Perhaps things will start to change… The British Bankers’ Association, together with the Building Societies...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Who Fired the Fatal Shot?

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It doesn’t matter said Lord Phillips giving his judgment in R v Gnango In a tragic incident a care worker was killed in the cross fire between two gunmen ‘B’ and Mr Gnango. The bullet actually came from B’s gun but B was never...

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...

LPAs not just for the elderly

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Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are for everyone and it is the aim of the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG)  to ensure that we all have one. Who would you want to take important decisions on your behalf? Loss of capacity to make decisions can...

The Future of Retirement?

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I been watching “the town that never retired” on BBC 1?  It is frightening to think that our children and grandchildren may have to work well into their 70s. The current state pension system has become too expensive to sustain so will have...

Kingsbridge Show competition update

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SHOW UPDATE Thank you to Kay Parker of Kingsbridge Show for judging the RDA / SWLaw  pony drawing competition. Thank you to those who contributed to the many entries in each of the age groups.  Congratulations to the following whose entries were...

Free Wills to support Macmillan

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SWLaw Solicitors Ltd  are getting the coffee cups filled to launch a Free Wills month for Macmillan Cancer Support this September as part of the ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’. The firm is inviting people to join them for coffee and...

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...

Liability of Highway Authority for Defects...

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Devon County Council was found by the High Court to be in breach of its statutory duties as highway authority and was responsible for a road traffic accident resulting in severe injuries. TR was the driver of a Land Rover and was overtaking another...

Mothers Negligence in Use of Booster Seat

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Proceedings were brought on behalf of a 3 yr old child severely injured in a road accident when a car driven by her mother was in collision with an oncoming vehicle. The young driver of the other vehicle had lost control and was entirely to blame for the...

Court Rules On Living Will

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The Court of Protection has ruled on a case involving a ‘Living Will’ or ‘Advance Directive’ following an urgent 2 day hearing. A man suffering from motor neurone disease was able to communicate only through eye movements. It was in...

Vicarious Liability: Office Holders

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It is an established principle that in certain relationships, usually employer and employee, one person is held responsible for the wrongs of another even though he may not himself be at fault. There is a two stage test: 1) is the relationship one to...

Protecting Intellectual Property

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The government has confirmed that a new small claims service will be introduced in the Patents County Court. This will help SMEs to protect intellectual property rights including copyright, trade marks and designs. The high costs under the current system put...

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...

M5 J25 Tragedy

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The horrific pile up on Friday on the M5 near Taunton was the worst motorway accident in about 18 years. It left 7 dead and 51 injured. Our thoughts are of course with those whose lives were lost or forever changed in those few tragic moments. The cause is...

Give a Child a Home

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Supported by the Department of Education, the ” Give a Child a Home  campaign aims to encourage people to foster and adopt” . Speaking to  ITN on Monday 31st October 2011 , David Cameron said that wants to improve the adoption...

Solving Workplace Disputes

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The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills  consultation  on “Resolving Workplace Disputes” closed in April this year. Responses were received from a number of organisations including the  Institute of Directors...

Jailed For Contempt in Court

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A personal injury claimant who was found to have lied and exaggerated the extent of his disability has been handed a 9 month jail term at the High Court by Sir Anthony May. Graham Loveday was found guilty of contempt of court. He was caught out by...

Victims of Crime

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“The system is based on process and managing it, rather than the needs of victims and witnesses.” This quotation comes from, Louise Casey, Commissioner for victims of crime. Process, rather than needs and outcomes, seems to have been the...

Palliative Care Funding Review

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The Palliative Care Funding Review team led by Thomas Hughes-Haslett has today, 1st July 2011, made its report to the Secretary of State for Health. Amongst the recommendations are ‘per patient’ funding system for NHS palliative care. The tariff...

Domestic Violence - New Powers

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The Home Office announced yesterday, 30th June 2011, that a 12 month trial is to be run in the Greater Manchester, West Mercia and Wiltshire Constabulary areas under which police officers will have power to stop perpetrators of domestic violence from...

Jurors and Contempt of Court

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In the recent, well-publicised, case of HM Attorney General v Fraill & Anor [2011] EWCH 1629 (Admin), the Divisional Court found a juror, Joanne Fraill, guilty of contempt of court after she admitted communicating by Facebook and email with one of the...

"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...

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...