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Wealth Management & Protection
Asset Protection is essential for protecting and preserving company and family assets from third party claims, divorce, bankruptcy, spendthrift spouses, and youthful improvidence.
Taking the most appropriate action for the protection of your own personal assets is a very complex undertaking, requiring specialist taxation and legal assistance. Asset protection must be commercially driven and cannot be used to avoid paying creditors.
Whilst asset protection is fundamental in considering estate planning, the principle can be extended to other circumstances as well. Two common areas in brief:
PROTECTING AN INDIVIDUAL’S ASSETS
Generally, one of the most efficient ways you can protect assets is by transferring them into a relevant and properly constituted trust. The asset should then be protected against the bankruptcy or divorce of the beneficiaries.
Firstly, setting up a trust for asset protection will in itself not afford any protection under insolvency or matrimonial laws for beneficiaries if the wrong type of trust is used. We have seen many trusts set up for this purpose that have failed. If one tries to rely on an improperly constituted trust for asset protection the courts may look through it and seek to set it aside.
Secondly, a point which regularly tends to be overlooked (particularly regarding property) on transfer is the mortgage against the property. If the mortgage is more than the original “base” cost of the property (perhaps due to remortgaging) then Capital Gains Tax may be liable if the mortgage is transferred into the trust. Furthermore, such transfer may potentially trigger a Stamp Duty Land Tax charge.
Many think that an outright gift of assets directly to children, siblings, etc will automatically afford protection against divorce or bankruptcy. This may not be the case and is a potentially dangerous presumption to rely on, specialist professional advice should be sought to achieve the desired results. Also such transfers tend to trigger a Capital Gains Tax charge under the deemed disposal rules and again this is often overlooked with significant tax consequences.
Businesses may wish to protect vulnerable property and assets against commercial and business risks. Broadly speaking, one way this could be achieved would be by creating a group of companies and transferring the property into this group. The effect of this would be to “ring-fence” the vulnerable asset against any claims of the individual trade in the group.
It is essential that any asset transfers is done correctly to avoid the property being “linked” to the original business, as this will afford no protection. Of equal importance is that any debts between the group companies would need to be dealt with correctly to provide any real protection.
In all cases there needs to be a legitimate business, commercial or investment driver for the transaction. Furthermore, it is crucial that any such restructuring does not fall foul of insolvency legislation, namely the defrauding of creditors.
Asset protection is an invaluable planning tool which can be used to protect, preserve and devolve family wealth in the right circumstances.
For further information on how you can effectively safeguard you assets and wealth please contact us.
Latest news & blogs…
HMRC has published further details of its proposals to amend the inheritance tax rules for non-domiciled individuals.
The changes were initially announced at the 2015 Summer Budget which were aimed at preventing non-doms from escaping a UK inheritance tax (IHT) charge on UK residential property through use of an offshore structure, and thereby bringing to an end the permanent non-dom status for tax purposes.
The consultation document suggests that individuals who are non-domiciled in the UK currently enjoy a significant advantage over other individuals for IHT purposes. UK-domiciled individuals are liable to IHT on their worldwide property, whereas non-doms are only liable on property that is situated in the UK.
Any residential property in the UK owned by a non-dom directly is within the charge of the IHT. However, a common loophole is for such individuals to hold UK residential properties through an overseas company or similar vehicle. In such a case, the property of the individual consists of overseas shares which will be situated outside the UK and are thus excluded from IHT.
In an effort to curb such structures HMRC plans to bring residential properties in the UK within the charge to IHT where they are held within an overseas structure. This charge will apply both to individuals who are domiciled outside the UK and to trusts with settlors or beneficiaries who are non-domiciled. The changes will come into effect from 6 April 2017.
Shares in offshore close companies and similar entities will no longer be deemed excluded property if, and to the extent that, the value of any interest in the entity is derived, directly or indirectly, from residential property in the UK. Where a non-dom is a member of an overseas partnership that holds a residential property in the UK, such properties will no longer be treated as excluded property for IHT purposes.
The consultation will close on October 20. The effect of these proposals will mean structures set up to mitigate IHT will now need to be reviewed in light of the above and specialist tax advice sought.
Upcoming changes to tax relief for landlords may result in them paying higher rates of tax as HMRC publishes guidance on how the interest relief restrictions would work.
We saw the changes announced in the summer budget of 2015 and HMRC have now published further guidance. The rules looks to restrict the interest relief a residential landlord can claim to calculate their income tax liability. The restriction is being phased in over four years with interest being restricted by 25% in each year until it takes full effect in April 2020.
How could landlords be affected?
Currently, landlords of residential properties can deduct all interest from rental income to calculate taxable rental profit. When the new measures take full effect, the interest will be completely disallowed and instead a tax credit equal to 20% of the interest will be given against the person’s income tax liability.
This could result in the individual having higher taxable income which could push them into a “higher” or “additional rate” of income tax. Furthermore, if individuals’ income exceeds £100,000 it could start to reduce their personal allowance, affect their entitlement to child benefit and restrict the amount on which they can claim tax relief for pensions.
What can you do?
These measures are controversial to say the least and a judicial review by a coalition of private landlords is currently in progress.
In meantime, Shipleys Tax strongly recommends seeking professional advice to help mitigate the effects of the changes above and take action to manage your property portfolio tax efficiently a there currently a few solutions available.
We are delighted to share with you our newly redesigned website, with a bold new look and enhanced navigation experience, and plenty of tax saving information!
To start, we’ve streamed lined our menus to give you quick access to the items you’re looking for. We’ve consolidated information on our organisation, our work and our commitment to offering the best tax planning services for your needs.
We invite you to start exploring:
- Tax solutions
- Accountancy for Doctors, Dentists and other professionals as well as Property Dealers
- Tax Investigation management now includes extended information and VAT enquiries
- New Family Business section offering valuable Tax Tips
We will be rolling out new pages and functionality over the coming months, and hope that you enjoy visiting our new website. We have tried to make all previous links active and point to the equivalent or relevant information. However, due to the significant changes in the website architecture, we know there may be digital hiccups and you may experience virtual road blocks along the way. This is where we need your help to iron out any bugs.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you see a broken link or feel that something should be reviewed or enhanced. We will do our best to enhance your information experience.
Going forward, we promise to continually expand our online content and keep you updated with the latest information on tax planning. So check back often, and connect with us on your social network.
Shipleys Tax Team