Should I leave my investments, assets and pensions in the UK, or liquidise and move them to the US?
by Alexander Beard, on Jan 14, 2016 9:20:58 AM
If you are moving to the US from the UK then, at some point, you will come across the question of what to do with your financial assets.
Assuming you have worked and lived in the UK for some time then it is likely that you will have accrued savings and other assets. You might have contributed to a private or workplace pension, for example, saved some money into an ISA, own a property in the UK, or have other financial investments that need to be considered at the point of your move.
The decision on whether to move your financial assets, when to move them and which ones to move where, is a complicated one for anyone moving abroad. You will have various tax considerations to bear in mind, as well as practicalities to consider.
Any properties you own, for example, might feed into both of these things. If you own property other than your main residence then that property may be subject to Capital Gains Tax. However, if you need to release the equity from that property in order to fund a purchase or rental of a home in the US, then a sale may be necessary. This is already a complicated fiscal situation, but in the case of a move abroad, you also need to consider how that money can be moved to the US and how you can best take advantage of elements such as foreign exchange rates.
The simple answer to the main question is that you should always seek independent financial advice in complicated fiscal situations such as this. Cross border financial planning is a highly specialised area, exactly due to the sort of consideration described above. An adviser will be able to work out which route forward is right for you and your situation.
If you prefer to proceed independently then a key area to take note of is the recent US FATCA legislation. The legislation is designed to help the US to recoup lost tax on assets held overseas by its nationals and residents. If you are going to be in possession of either of these statuses then you should read about FATCA carefully. Whilst the primary legislation is aimed at banks and financial institutions, there are associated IRS concerns that can lead to personal fines.
You may also wish to consider an Alexander Beard Group solution called AMVEST. AMVEST is designed specifically for those moving to the US, who have money in UK pensions and are concerned about their liabilities should they either leave the money where it is, move it to the US or move it to a third territory (transfers to Malta in this situation have historically been commonly suggested as a solution).