Tax

  • Insurance premiums set to rise due to tax change

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    Insurance companies have warned that a recent rise in tax could mean that the average family will end up paying £283 more for their premiums every year. The Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) has now increased from 10% to 12%, meaning that the cost of home, motor, health and pet insurance is set to go up. IPT has proven to be an attractive way for chancel...
  • Prince, Bob Marley, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Pablo Picasso…. What do they all have in common?

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    They all died without making a Will. I know we’ve asked before but we’ll ask again… Have you made a Will? As an Expat, there are even more reasons to have a valid Will in place. Different countries have different rules around inheritance, property and tax. You need a Will that protects your assets as much as possible and ensures that your wishes ar...
  • Is uncertainty becoming the new norm?

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    No matter how often we might have heard soundbites such as ‘strong and stable’ and ‘Brexit means Brexit’ which are intended to reassure us, it seems that every major political event of the past twelve months has delivered an unexpected result and an uncertain future. June’s general election was no different: Theresa May began streets ahead in the p...
  • 3 key considerations to ensure a surviving spouse is looked after

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    It’s only natural if you have a husband, wife or civil partner that you will want to do everything you can to ensure they’re looked after financially in the event of your death. But it’s not as simple as ensuring that they are named as a beneficiary in your will, as if you don’t take a number of potential complications into account, you could inadv...
  • How to pass on ISAs after you’re gone

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    ISAs have long been regarded as a simple and effective way of protecting your savings from the taxman, with the increased limit now allowing you to shelter up to £20,000 of your savings a year from being taxed. Whilst this can be a great help in protecting your nest egg during your own life, you’ll also want to know that your hard-earned savings wi...
  • Pension Savings: a quick recap on your options

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    It’s been two years since the government introduced pension freedoms, greatly expanding the options for how those who have saved into a defined contribution pension product can access their savings. There are now a number of different ways to take advantage of pension freedoms, so let’s have a look at each of them and the potential advantages and d...
  • An extra year before Making Tax Digital becomes law

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    As part of the Spring Budget, the Chancellor Philip Hammond gave an update at the beginning of March on the plans for rolling out Making Tax Digital (MTD), the scheme by HMRC to make digital record keeping mandatory and implement a number of changes to modernise the tax system. The key announcement was that many unincorporated businesses will now h...
  • What does the 25% charge on QROPS transfers mean for your dream to move abroad?

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    In the Budget, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a 25% charge for people moving their pension abroad. If you’re planning to spend your retirement somewhere warmer and sunnier than the UK then the news may have worried you somewhat – will it end up stalling your dreams of life after work spent overseas? The charge will affect qualifying recogn...
  • Is the probate fee rise the ‘new inheritance tax’?

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    When someone dies and leaves a will, an executor is usually appointed in the will to deal with the deceased person’s estate – their money, property and possessions. Before they’re able to do this however, the executor has to apply for a ‘grant of probate’. This means they are legally allowed to distribute assets from the estate as outlined in the w...
  • What do the changes in business rates mean for you?

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    One aspect of the Spring Budget which was welcomed by small businesses and pubs alike was the announcement by the Chancellor Philip Hammond that they will receive additional help with their business rates bills. All pubs whose rateable value is under £100,000 will receive a discount on their bills to the value of £1,000, meaning that nine out of te...
  • What could be the best way to provide for your grandchildren?

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    With both property prices and the cost of living continuing to rise, as well as low interest rates making it difficult to save, the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ is increasingly becoming a partnership with the ‘Bank of Gran and Grandad’. If you have grandchildren, it’s only natural that you’ll want to provide for them in some way as you move towards your r...
  • Are tax bills set to rise?

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    A recent report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) suggests that the amount of tax paid in the UK is set to rise to levels not seen for thirty years. Plans by the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, to increase tax rates and reduce public spending in order to fill the £34 billion hole in the budget, will mean that over 37% of the UK’s national inc...
  • 4 things to do before the end of the tax year

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    The beginning of a new calendar year should serve as a timely reminder that we’re only months away from the end of the current tax year. It might feel at the moment as though there’s plenty of time until the beginning of April, but ensuring you make use of the remaining months before they disappear is always a good idea. Here are our top four tips...
  • Tapered Annual Allowance

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    What is the tapered annual allowance? The tapered annual allowance has been designed to reduce the annual allowance for individuals with adjusted incomes over £150,000.  This will reduce the annual allowance by £1 for every £2 of income above £150,000.  The maximum reduction is £30,000 where individuals with incomes of £210,000 or over, will have t...
  • It’s proving popular to cash in smaller amounts from pensions

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    Recent figures suggest that whilst the number of retirees choosing to cash in their pension pots has increased, the amount being withdrawn by them has gone down. When pension freedoms were first introduced, the average sum taken out was around £20,000. This has since reduced considerably to an average of £10,000 according to statistics from the tax...
  • COMMENTARY: DONALD TRUMP RECEIVES MANDATE TO “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.”

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    “While this US election was supercharged emotionally driving down the financial markets, stock valuations are based on earning per share and other fundamental business factors. It's likely, based on the recent impact of the British vote to leave the EU which had a similar downward impacts on the global stock markets, that the Markets will recover o...
  • Triggering pensions freedoms without a plan could be costing you money

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    According to recent research, the introduction of pension freedoms has led to many thousands of people taking out large sums from their retirement funds, then leaving it earning them next to nothing in low-interest accounts. The figures from Citizens Advice who carried out the study suggest that around three in ten people are currently doing this,...
  • Triggering pensions freedoms without a plan could be costing you money

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    According to recent research, the introduction of pension freedoms has led to many thousands of people taking out large sums from their retirement funds, then leaving it earning them next to nothing in low-interest accounts. The figures from Citizens Advice who carried out the study suggest that around three in ten people are currently doing this,...
  • Understanding pensions – what is drawdown?

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    Drawdown is a way of achieving greater flexibility with your pension funds. Every time you move your money into drawdown, you’re allowed to take 25% of this as a lump sum, which is exempt from tax. The rest continues as an investment, with taxable income able to be drawn straight from your pension whenever you choose. The tax-free lump sum must be...
  • The London bubble: capital pays a third of UK tax

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    The latest findings of Centre for Cities, a think tank focused upon understanding and improving UK city economies, suggest that London now pays almost a third of all UK taxes. The capital increased its share of “economy taxes” by five percentage points to 30% since the 2004-05 financial year, and now generates nearly as much as all the tax combined...
  • Inheritance tax: the recent changes you need to know about as you plan

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    The changes to inheritance tax that were introduced in the 2015 Budget will soon come into effect, with some becoming the law as early as April 2017. With less than a year to prepare for these changes, it’s important to ensure you know what to expect and that you’re doing everything you need to in order to ensure you aren’t caught out. The biggest...
  • TRUMP VS CLINTON: THEIR ECONOMIC POLICIES AND WHAT THEY MIGHT MEAN FOR YOU

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    As expected both the 2016 Republican and Democratic National Conventions formally nominated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the respective parties’ presidential candidates. The USA will go to the polls on Tuesday November 8th to choose the 45th President of the United States. They’ll be choosing between two candidates who actively dislike each...
  • Don’t worry: there will be no stamp duty rise on your ‘granny flat’ after all

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    November 2015 saw Chancellor George Osborne announce a significant rise in the amount of stamp duty for second home and buy-to-let properties. The new level, which came into effect in April this year, is higher than that on residential property by three percentage points. What this means is that buying a second home for £200,000, will now have £6,3...
  • Alexander Beard Group’s EU Referendum summary and viewpoint

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    Britain Takes Back Control. Or Does It? This somewhat, necessarily, lengthy note covers the likely consequences of Britain’ historic decision. It our attempt to give you an overview of how things currently stand following the Leave campaign victory; but you will appreciate that events are moving very quickly. ‘I declare that the total votes cast f...
  • Tax cuts now, payback later – what will the Budget of 2019 look like?

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    The Chancellor will need to reduce borrowing by £32bn in 2019-20 – the biggest ever annual cash consolidation – in order to meet his Budget surplus target by the end of parliament, according to a new post-Budget briefing report published by the Resolution Foundation. The Foundation’s post-Budget report shows how the Chancellor has chosen to respon...
  • Four European destinations to make your pension go further

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    If you’re looking for ways to ensure you can enjoy as much of your hard-earned pension as possible when you retire, then moving elsewhere in Europe could be your best bet. The benefits aren’t limited to a different culture to explore and better weather than the UK; all the retirement destinations we discuss below offer a range of financial advantag...
  • What's new in the new tax year?

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    In this article we provide a reminder of the various changes that have taken place from 6th April which will have an impact on the financial planning world. This includes changes in the areas of pensions, taxation and savings. Pensions Lifetime allowance – has reduced from £1.25m to £1m. Two new protections are available (Individual Protection 201...
  • The ‘Brexit’ impact on your pension

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    In the lead up to the budget announcement, George Osborne seemed to bow to the pressure David Cameron and other members of the Conservative Party were putting on him to soften his approach when it comes to pensions and tax relief. Ahead of the announcement, treasury sources suddenly began to indicate that now is ‘not the right time’ to make such bo...
  • Squeeze on property market starting to slow London boom?

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    Sales of luxury property in London have seen a considerable slump following Chancellor George Osborne’s sharp increase to stamp duty. Property industry observers have given warnings that the situation is becoming more and more harmful to the property market. Douglas & Gordon, an estate agency with particular expertise when it comes to property...
  • The Lifetime ISA: What you need to know

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    Amongst the key announcements that came from the budget was the introduction of a new ‘Lifetime ISA.’ By far the most attractive feature of this new form of savings account is that contributions every year will receive a healthy 25% bonus from the government. As the maximum annual contribution amount will initially be set at £4,000, that means the...
  • Scale tipped in favour of small firms?

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    Chancellors presenting their Budgets often attempt to redistribute wealth from one group in society to another, stated a recent post-Budget AccountancyAge article, suggesting that this was the implicit rationale behind many of the corporate tax measures announced in the March 2016 Budget. The business tax roadmap, published on March 16th, provided...
  • How long before pension tax relief fills the ‘Black Hole’?

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    Before the March 2016 Budget there had been much speculation that the Chancellor was planning big changes to the tax relief on pensions. However, just before the Budget, the Treasury scotched rumours of such changes and subsequently there were no changes to pension savings tax relief in the forecast Budget. But then came the ‘Black Hole’ when the o...
  • Tax cuts now, payback later – what will the Budget of 2019 look like?

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    The Chancellor will need to reduce borrowing by £32bn in 2019-20 – the biggest ever annual cash consolidation – in order to meet his Budget surplus target by the end of parliament, according to a new post-Budget briefing report published by the Resolution Foundation. The Foundation’s post-Budget report shows how the Chancellor has chosen to respon...
  • Three ways accelerated tax payments are likely to affect you

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    George Osborne announced last year that the tax system as we currently know it will be phased out by 2020, after the Treasury described the system of tax returns as “complex, costly and time-consuming.” In its place, a new digital system will be rolled out by the government which purports to be easier to use and manage for both individuals and busi...
  • CML urges restraint on Stamp Duty proposals

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    Responding to the HM Treasury consultation on the 3% surcharge on Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) proposals for second properties, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) urges reform of the implementation plans to mitigate potentially negative impacts on the housing market as a whole. The CML view is that even without the new surcharge, the forthcoming...
  • Four key things to do before the end of the tax year

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    Whilst the cold weather and long nights might make the beginning of April seem a long way off, the final few months of the financial year always seem to fly by. It’s therefore a good idea to start thinking about the most important things to do before 5th April arrives and the tax year ends. To get you started, have a look through our top four tips...
  • Could changes in pension tax relief spell the end of the pension itself?

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    There’s a lot that’s likely to change about your pension in the near future, which in turn will have an impact on all sorts of other factors regarding savings for your retirement. Depending on what changes the government imposes on how pensions are taxed and the amount of tax relief allowed on pension contributions, you may end up needing to pay co...
  • Seven suggestions made to the government during the consultation on pension taxation

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    The Government has recently finished a consultation looking at how pension taxation could work in the future. The Chancellor, George Osborne, has said that he expects to reveal the findings and the direction he is going to take during the March Budget. But is there any way to take an advance look at the situation? What has the Chancellor considered...
  • 7 Reasons why you should review your Pension’s in 2016

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    1 - Major changes to pension Tax Relief likely We already know high earners will be hit from 6 April 2016. The amount they can invest in a pension and receive tax relief on will fall to as little as £10,000. You are likely to be affected if your income is more than £150,000, although those with lower incomes could also be caught. But further chang...
  • A timely reminder about the importance of making a will, from Lesley Stevens

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    So what happens if I die without a Will in place? Figures show that over 50% of adults with children in the US and UK do not have a Will in place. You are said to have died 'intestate'. If you die intestate the results could be catastrophic for your family. Should this happen, the state sets out who should deal with your affairs and who should inhe...
  • The Impact of Means Testing for the Cost of Care

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    The cost to you of care delivered by a local authority or trust is determined by a Care Assessment, which takes into account what your needs are and the services required and then Means Testing, which looks at how much capital and income you have that can be taken into account to offset the cost to the provider. In the capital and assets component...
  • George Osborne uses Autumn Statement to spell out clear policy messages

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    According to George Osborne’s Autumn Statement and Spending Review, we all look set to face a galvanised HMRC, with an increased war chest for tackling tax evasion and avoidance. The Chancellor believes £5bn of additional revenue is expected to be raised by his new range of initiatives. Measures are planned to introduce new penalties for the Genera...
  • The Autumn Statement 2015 Overview

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    Just over four months ago, George Osborne delivered his second Budget of 2015, following the Conservative Party’s outright victory in the May general election. At that moment, the view from 11, Downing Street must have looked remarkably pleasant. Osborne’s handling of the economy was widely credited with playing a large – if not pivotal – part in t...
  • Autumn Statement 2015 – 9 points to note

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    On 25 November 2015, the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his Autumn Statement and spending review. This event allows the government to outline its taxation and spending plans, based on economic projections through to the tax year 2020/21. The Chancellor covered a wide range of issues. Below we provide comment on news relevant to savers and th...
  • Car sharing deserves better tax incentives

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    A recent report, ‘On the Move’, published by Policy Exchange Think-Tank researchers, explores ideas and policy proposals on how to create a more mobile workforce. One of the key policy ideas in the Report is about offering tax benefits to commuters who use ride-sharing schemes and free parking in city centres for care sharing. Drivers who offer fel...
  • $ 600 Fine? ......... Don't be caught out!

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    The USA Affordable Health Care Act calls for each individual to have Qualifying Health Cover (known as Essential Coverage) for the entire year. As a non resident US citizen you may apply for an exemption if you have Essential Cover from your overseas employer. Do not assume you have opted out simply because of your non resident status. It's the IRS...
  • Should we scrap tax reliefs on pensions and create a lifetime ISA for all?

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    A single Lifetime ISA for everyone should be created with all tax reliefs on pension contributions being scrapped, a leading figure at the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) has proposed, according to an article published by the CPS. Research Fellow Michael Johnson said the opportunity has come for a radical overhaul of savings after the Chancellor la...
  • Will dividend tax keep rising?

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    The Treasury revealed in July that the dividend tax credit would be replaced with a new tax-free allowance of £5,000 of dividend income for all taxpayers, which takes effect from April 2016. The Chancellor said at the time that the move would “simplify the taxation of dividends”. But is this just the start of increased dividend taxation? Smaller fi...
  • Tax Relief changes for individuals who are landlords

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    According to HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) policy paper, ‘Restricting Financial Cost Relief for Individual Landlords’ it’s not just mortgage interest to which the change in tax relief applies. As well as mortgage interest, finance costs include interest on loans to buy furnishings and fees incurred when taking out or repaying mortgages or loans....
  • Should your Junior ISA be in Cash or Stocks and Shares?

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    Children born after 3 January 2011 – or those aged under 18 and born before 1 September 2002 – can open a Junior ISA. This also applies for those children born between 1 September 2002 and 3 January 2011 who are not eligible for a Child Trust Fund (CTF). Cash ISAs are a good savings option because you pay no tax on the interest or return. If you d...
  • UK Non Resident ? UK Home Owner? This could affect you !!

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    From 6th April 2015 we saw the introduction of new Capital Gains Tax Rules for Non-Resident UK Property Owners. Prior to this date UK non-residents were not liable to Capital Gains Tax on the sale of UK property. However the UK Government has introduced new rules whereby non-resident property owners will now have to pay Capital Gains Tax when they...
  • Budget ‘Tax Raid’ on Dividends and Investment Income

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    Changes to dividend taxation rates will see entrepreneurs and small business owners pay £6.8bn more in tax during the next five years, a move The Daily Telegraph described as a ‘tax raid’. Tax experts say it may lead many to consider selling up and to some investors cutting investment before the rules are implemented. Small business owners who are...
  • How the Summer Budget changed the landscape for SMEs

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    Those who listened to the Summer Budget on 8th July for news affecting small businesses will no doubt have been glad to see corporation tax slashed and the employment allowance increased, but an article recently published by KPMG asked, did the Summer Budget go far enough in announcing measures to help small businesses grow? In the lead up to the...
  • Budget 2015: Are taxpayers really winners?

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     An analysis of the Chancellor’s Summer Budget recently published by ‘This is Money’ presents the outcomes for individuals and families in relation to broad categories of ‘Winners’ and ‘Losers’. One category labelled as winners are Taxpayers. The threshold at which workers start paying higher rate tax will rise for the first time in five years, li...
  • New tax threat to those moving a pension abroad

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    The new pension freedoms, which came into force on April 6th 2015, have highlighted a potential problem for UK nationals looking to emigrate abroad and take their pensions with them. Whilst the new pension freedoms create greater flexibility for those accessing their pensions, they do not allow access to pensions before the age of 55. This has caus...
  • New civil penalties announced for those who facilitate tax avoidance

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    Revealed during the 2015 Budget, the government has introduced new measures to discourage tax avoidance. Headlining these measures are two new criminal offences and higher penalties, which cannot only be brought against those who avoid tax, but also those who enable tax avoidance. The two new headline measures introduced by the government include a...
  • The new ‘Google tax’ and what it means for business

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    The government’s new Diverted Profits Tax (DPT), commonly known as the ‘Google tax’, formally came into force on 1st April. Detailed initially during the 2014 Autumn Statement, the tax is an attempt by the government to stop large firms from paying comparatively small amounts of tax in the UK by ‘diverting’ their profits to be reported overseas. A...
  • US nationals in the UK: We can help you to plan for FATCA

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    As FATCA continues to gather steam in the US, an increasing number of American citizens abroad are being swept into its web, or coming to realise their new tax responsibilities. If this sounds familiar then we can help you to plan for any potential liability and correctly report your tax under the new FATCA rules. If you are unfamiliar with the For...
  • 10 New Year’s Resolutions for your Financial Planning

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    With recent reports from the Autumn Statement suggesting most of the UK economic indicators are moving in the right direction, it doesn’t mean we can suddenly afford to ignore our personal financial planning. So in the best traditions of New Year here are ten financial planning resolutions that will hopefully help make 2015 a prosperous and secure...
  • The new ISA allowances (UK clients only) – Nigel Benn Managing Partner Alexander Beard Wealth LLP

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    Before 5th April each year you have the opportunity to invest up to £15,000 in a new Individual Savings Account (NISA), this is the maximum an individual can save in the tax efficient wrapper (cash and/or stocks and shares). The old ISA rules governed how much you could put into each pot; half the allowance in cash and half in shares, or you could...
  • American Citizenship figures reflect looming FATCA influence for those with no tax plan

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    Writing in Forbes, Robert W. Wood has noted two very interesting figures relating to American Citizenship figures during the second half of 2014. Firstly, Wood notes that the US has raised the fee it charges its own citizens to renounce their citizenship from $450 to $2,350, an astonishing 422% rise. This fee is purely a transactional processing fe...
  • Two weeks on: the other outcomes from the Autumn Statement

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    Many clients will have already seen our Autumn Statement Summary, which analyses in detail the main points from The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, made on 3rd December. Like many major government announcements though, the real headlines and many of the outcomes from the statement only became clear in the weeks after George Osborne stood in parliame...
  • Homes worth £3 million or more to be hit hardest by proposed ‘Mansion Tax’

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    Those owning properties worth more than £3million will be hit with tax bills starting from £10,000 under a Labour government, according to research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). Under the party’s mansion tax plans, homes worth between £2m and £3m would attract around £3,000 in liabilities, but properties worth above £3m will take a far...
  • New tax threat for UK expats

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    Measures announced in the 2014 March Budget could impact UK expat’s tax position and earnings potential if, as indicated, George Osborne pushes forward with making them legislation. Originally speaking during the Budget announcement, Mr Osborne’s plans involve revoking UK expats’ rights to offset income earned in the UK against the current £10,000...
  • UK tax regime attracts business takeovers from abroad

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    Further hostile takeover attempts, similar to that of AstraZeneca attempted by US pharmaceutical Pfizer earlier in the year, are likely to take place as foreign businesses seek to take advantage of the UK’s attractive corporate tax regime. The UK’s headline rate will be 20% from next April, compared with 35% in the US. Meanwhile, the government has...
  • A Guide for Grandparents: helping your Grandchildren with their finances

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    In later life, it is common for many of us to want to do something for the younger members of our family. If you are eager to provide your grandchildren with a sound financial start in life then the options may seem confusing; how can you save on their behalf most effectively? How can you pass on some of your wealth without incurring large tax li...
  • Video: Explaining Inheritance Tax

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    When it comes to passing on your estate to your family, did you know that anything over the current limit of £325,000 is subject to a 40% Inheritance Tax? That might sound like a large number but with rising property prices and a recovering economy, more people than ever are being caught out. In the video below, we explain what Inheritance Tax can...