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Frequently Asked Questions

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What exactly do you do?

We offer bespoke tax planning solutions for individuals and businesses helping them legally minimise their tax burden in a variety of ways. We also help with accounts.

Can you save me tax?

In most cases, probably yes. This is more likely if you haven’t done any tax planning before.

Isn’t it wrong or illegal?

No – tax law allows you to administer your affairs in the most tax efficient manner possible.

Which tax can I save?

Potentially all taxes can be mitigated, some less than others. The main taxes are Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Corporation Tax, Stamp Duty and VAT (quite a lot of taxes!)

Why can’t my accountant just do it?

As with most things in life the best advice is usually given by those who specialise in a particular field or topic as opposed to getting a generalist to advise on an specialist area.

Do you sell tax “schemes”?

Tax schemes usually are “off the shelf” high risk tax planning products which are almost sold like insurance products. In such cases HMRC require you to disclose these on your Tax Return. Our tax planning is in-house and based on your circumstances, meaning they are completely unique.

I am being investigated by the tax man – what did I do wrong?

Some tax investigations are random others are as a result of HMRC obtaining some sort of intelligence. The important thing to remember is that early intervention by a tax investigation specialist could resolve the dispute relatively quickly; what not do to is to attempt to correspond with the tax man yourself as you could unknowingly put the proverbial “foot in it”.

I heard I have to pay up to 40% tax on death on my assets is this true?

Partly. Inheritance tax is payable on ALL WEALTH above the inheritance tax threshold. However, there are some simple ways to mitigate inheritance tax.

What are your costs?

We have a fixed cost structure so there are no surprises. However, we aim to keep costs low at all times and be the most competitive in market given the expertise and experience we have. We have a small motto at Shipleys: “we’re happy to talk problems, but ideas cost money…”

Latest news & blogs…

Back to School Fees Tax Planning: Good design or good fortune?

FAQs Shipleys Tax Advisors

UPDATED 27/8/21

IT IS ANECDOTALLY REPORTED that due to the pandemic, birth rates are expected to rise. With estimates for children’s education to cost over hundreds of thousands, can setting up a trust for the benefit of children not only help save tax but also assist with child education costs?

In this article Shipleys Tax Advisers takes a look at some of the pros and cons of school fees planning and why planning and design is key to achieving the right outcome if you want to avoid an expensive HMRC challenge.

YOU SHOULD NOT ACT (OR OMIT TO ACT) ON THE BASIS OF THIS ARTICLE WITHOUT SPECIFIC PRIOR ADVICE. SHIPLEYS TAX PLANNING PROVIDES A BESPOKE TAX CONSULTANCY SERVICE AND CAN ADVISE YOU OF THE RIGHT COURSE OF ACTION.

Bank of (grand)Mum and Dad

Generally, the most common method we come across is the “grandparent solution”. This typically involves adult children (i.e.  the parents) transferring shares to their parents (i.e. the grandparents). This is then transferred to the grandchildren (minors) directly or indirectly held via a type of trust arrangement. The idea being that beneficiaries (e.g. grandchildren) in these circumstances are likely to be minors and are unlikely to have other income, the trust arrangement allows them to use their annual tax-free allowances such as the personal allowance, savings rate allowance and dividend allowance.

The idea being that beneficiaries (e.g. grandchildren) in these circumstances are likely to be minors and are unlikely to have other income, the trust arrangement allows them to use their annual tax-free allowances…

The idea being that beneficiaries (e.g. grandchildren) in these circumstances are likely to be minors and are unlikely to have other income, the trust arrangement allows them to use their annual tax-free allowances…

This is a seemingly a perfect solution for grandparents who wish to transfer shares to the grandchildren where the donor is not a basic rate taxpayer or where the donor wishes to reduce the value of their estate for inheritance tax (IHT) purposes.

Sorted, you would have thought.

Well not quite, there are significant pitfalls which need navigating.

Is the income taxed on the minor? 

The major problematic issue is that the income may not be treated as taxable on the minor. This type of planning is not straight forward and requires careful scrutiny of the settlements legislation and to ensure that there are no reciprocal arrangements in place.

Where parents are setting up trusts for their minor children anti-avoidance legislation can tax any income arising on the parents, so this method may not be tax efficient or indeed even work. In other words, there is a significant health warning with this planning which many are unaware of.

Gift of shares 

Where the adult children gift interests in their business to their parents and these are subsequently transferred to the minor/s in quick succession, the transaction will be at a serious risk of a successful HMRC challenge which will result in the income being taxed on the parents. 

Where parents are setting up trusts for their minor children anti-avoidance legislation can tax any income arising on the parents, so this method may not be tax efficient or indeed even work.

Where parents are setting up trusts for their minor children anti-avoidance legislation can tax any income arising on the parents, so this method may not be tax efficient or indeed even work.

If, however,  the transaction can be structured in such a way that the asset is given to the grandparents with no onward obligation/intention that the asset will be transferred to the minors, and if the shares are held for a reasonable period of time (i.e. where the probity of ownership cannot be in issue) and where certain conditions are met, or due to a change of circumstances, the grandparents of their own volition decide to gift the asset to the minors, this should not be subject to a successful challenge by HMRC.  So, in reality it’s all a question of intention and timing. Get this right along with the surrounding facts and circumstances, then the prospect of having a successful fees planning increases.

Sale of shares

Where the grandparents acquire an interest in the parents’ business for full market value for/on behalf of the grandchildren, the anti-avoidance provisions do not apply. However, one will need to be mindful that the open market is actually paid and there are no reciprocal arrangements in place.  The cost of this may be prohibitive due to the costs of asset, valuation and other professional fees.

If, however,  the transaction can be structured in such a way that the asset is given to the grandparents with no onward obligation/intention that the asset will be transferred to the minors…

…this should not be subject to a successful challenge by HMRC.

If, however,  the transaction can be structured in such a way that the asset is given to the grandparents with no onward obligation/intention that the asset will be transferred to the minors…

…this should not be subject to a successful challenge by HMRC.

COVID-19 Gifting income producing assets – a timely opportunity?

The grandparents could gift/acquire an income producing asset for the benefit of the minors and hold these on trust. This would typically be a bare trust – as opposed to a substantive trust mainly due to compliance and costs. However, this comes with a significant risk as minors (as beneficiaries) will have absolute entitlement and control of the business at the tender age of 18. The parent/grandparent may not wish for the minor to control these assets at such a young age.

It is said that a discretionary trust or an interest in possession trust may therefore be a more appropriate solution here due to its flexibility and control, and, unlike a bare trust, beneficiaries are not entitled to the assets of the trust upon attaining 18 years.

However, the tax anti-avoidance provisions apply here also. If the parents set up the trust with the intention to fund school fees, then a discretionary trust may not be a tax efficient option.

As such if income producing assets, for example stocks, shares or investment property, can be gifted/acquired by the grandparents for the benefit of minors, the income would be taxable on the minors and could go towards paying for their private school fees.  

…if income producing assets… can be gifted/acquired by the grandparents for the benefit of minors, the income would be taxable on the minors and could go towards paying for their private school fees.

if income producing assets… can be gifted/acquired by the grandparents for the benefit of minors, the income would be taxable on the minors and could go towards paying for their private school fees.

With COVID-19, the valuations of income producing assets may be at a value which allows gifting without significant capital gains tax consequences, perhaps a timely opportunity? 

HMRC Radar 

We have been told that a small minority of school fee planners have aggressive timeframes in implementing school fees planning. Currently this appears to fall under HMRC radar as it is not straight forward for HMRC to connect the dots with this planning. However, this does not mean this will continue forever – with the burgeoning big data revolution HMRC as poised to invest in IT systems to enable them to fill the gaps much quicker than they are now.

As such, school fees planning should be based on sound principle and careful thought; a matter of good design not a matter of good fortune.

YOU SHOULD NOT ACT (OR OMIT TO ACT) ON THE BASIS OF THIS ARTICLE WITHOUT SPECIFIC PRIOR ADVICE. SHIPLEYS TAX PLANNING PROVIDES A TAX CONSULTANCY SERVICE AND CAN ADVISE YOU OF THE RIGHT COURSE OF ACTION.

If you are interested in School Fees Tax planning, please call us on 0114 272 4984 or email us at info@shipleystax.com.

Gifting property to the children – avoiding the tax pitfalls

FAQs Shipleys Tax Advisors

AS THE PANDEMIC becomes more of a way of life rather than something that can be avoided, many are looking to straighten their tax affairs with regards to passing wealth to the next generation and mitigate Inheritance Tax (“IHT”). Current social media trends are questioning whether it is even right to leave a legacy to heirs.

Away from these discussions, in today’s Shipleys Tax brief we look at whether it is possible to reduce or avoid inheritance tax by gifting property to your children, but it can be quite complicated, and it is easy to get it wrong. Professional advice should be taken in advance, but as a quick explainer see today’s blog below

What is IHT?

A brief explainer here. If you plan to pass on assets or money after you die, your heirs could face a tax bill of up to 40% of your estate. Your estate is defined as your property, savings and other assets after any debts and funeral expenses have been deducted. You can reduce or avoid IHT in a number of ways (IHT is often called the “voluntary tax”) There’s a tax-free allowance, and you can also give away a certain amount of your money during your lifetime, tax-free and without it counting towards your estate.

If you plan to pass on assets or money after you die, your heirs could face a tax bill of up to 40% of your estate.

So whats the plan?

No one likes the idea of the taxman taking a chunk of their estate when they die, particularly if it will be necessary to sell a much-loved property to pay the inheritance (IHT) bill.

The introduction of the residence nil rate band (“RNRB” – currently set at £175,000) means that a couple can now leave combined estates worth £1 million free of inheritance tax where this includes a residence valued at £350,000 or more, which is left to direct descendants. However, the RNRB is reduced where a person’s estate is worth more than £2 million and lost where the value of the estate exceeds £2.35 million.

If it looks likely that there may be IHT to pay, the idea of taking steps to reduce this is attractive. Where property is given away more than seven years before the donor’s death, it escapes IHT. Giving property to the children may, at first sight, be an attractive option, but are there are traps to be aware of?

The introduction of the residence nil rate band means that a couple can now leave combined estates worth £1 million free of inheritance tax..

Giving away the main residence

If the main residence is given away, there will be no capital gains tax to pay as long as the main residence exemption applies in full. However, if the property is retained by the children as an investment property, the capital gains tax clock will start to run from the date that they acquire it. By contrast, if the property is gifted at death, there will be a capital gains tax uplift to the value at death, but there may be some inheritance tax to pay (potentially at 40%).

Tax problems arise if the parents give the property to the children but continue to live in it. There are two sets of rules that can affect this adversely – the gifts with reservation rules (GWR) and the pre-owned asset (POA) rules.

The GWR rules apply where a donor gives an asset away but continues to derive benefit from it. An example would be parents who transferred their home to their children but continued to live in it. In this case the rules effectively ignore the transfer for inheritance tax purposes, such that it forms part of the death estate.

The POA rules impose an income tax charge on the previous owner if they give a property away but continue to live in it, based on a notional market rent of the property.

If the main residence is given away, there will be no capital gains tax to pay as long as the main residence exemption applies. However, if the property is retained by the children as an investment property, the capital gains tax clock will start to run from the date that they acquire it.

Investment property

Seeking to take an investment property outside of the death estate can trigger a capital gains tax charge where a property is given to a child, even if no money changes hands. The child is a connected person and the property is deemed to be disposed at market value. This may trigger a capital gains tax bill of 18% or 28% of the gain (to the extent it exceeds the annual exemption), which must be paid within 30 days (but with no proceeds from which to pay the tax).

The best advice?

Giving away property in an attempt to save inheritance tax can be very complicated and it is easy to get it wrong; professional advice should be taken in advance to avoid the many pitfalls that lay in tax legislation.

Shipleys Tax have a wealth of experience providing practical and affordable IHT mitigation strategies.

If you are affected by any of the issues above and would like more information, please call 0114 272 4984 or email info@shipleystax.com to arrange a free no obligation consultation.

No company profits? How to take cash out tax efficiently

FAQs Shipleys Tax Advisors

THE PANDEMIC has left many businesses struggling for cashflow who may not have enough profits to pay the usual dividends. So how should you extract cash from your company? In today’s short Shipleys Tax brief we look at some basic strategies to help you manage your cashflow tax efficiently.

If you operate through a limited company, for example as a personal or family company, you will need to extract funds from your company in order to use them to meet your personal bills. There are various ways of doing this. However, a popular and tax efficient strategy is to take a small salary which is at least equal to the lower earnings limit (set at £6,240 or 2021/22) to ensure that the year is a qualifying year for state pension and contributory benefits purposes, and to extract further profits as dividends.

If you operate through a limited company, for example as a personal or family company, you will need to extract funds from your company in order to use them to meet your personal bills

However, this strategy requires the company to have sufficient retained profits from which to pay a dividend. If the company has been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, it may have used up any reserves that it had. As dividends must be paid from ‘retained’ profits, if there are none, it is not possible to pay a dividend.

So what are there other options for extracting funds to meet living expenses?

Pay additional salary or bonus

Unlike a dividend, a salary or bonus can be paid even if doing so creates a loss – it does not have to be paid from profits. However, this will not be tax efficient once the salary exceeds the optimal level due to the National Insurance hit and the higher income tax rates applicable to salary payments.

Take a director’s loan

If it is expected that the company will return to profitability, taking a director’s loan can be an attractive option. Depending when in the accounting period a loan is taken, a director can benefit from a loan of up to £10,000 for up to 21 months free of tax and National Insurance. If the company has returned to profitability within nine months of the year end, a dividend can be declared to clear the loan in time to prevent a special company tax charge from arising. If the account is overdrawn at the corporation tax due date nine months and one day after the year end, the special tax charge of 32.5% of the outstanding amount must be paid by the company (although this will be repaid after the corporation tax due date for the accounting period in which the loan balance is cleared).

Depending when in the accounting period a loan is taken, a director can benefit from a loan of up to £10,000 for up to 21 months free of tax and National Insurance

Put personal bills through the director’s loan account

Another option is for the company to pay the bills on the director’s behalf and to charge them to the director’s loan account. Again, if the company has sufficient profits to clear the outstanding balance within nine months of the year end, a dividend can be declared to prevent a special tax charge from arising. A benefit in kind tax charge (and a Class 1A National Insurance liability on the company) will also arise if the outstanding balance is more than £10,000 at any point in the tax year.

Provide benefits in kind

Use can be made of various tax exemptions, such as those for trivial benefits and mobile phones, to provide certain benefits in kind in a tax-free fashion.

Pay rent

If the company is run from the director’s home, the company can pay rent to the director for the office space. This should be at a commercial rate, and the director will pay tax on the rental income. However, there is no National Insurance to worry about and the rent can be deducted in computing the company’s profits, even if this creates a loss.

As a bonus, if the extraction policy creates a loss, it may be possible to carry the loss back and set against previous profits of the company to generate a much-needed tax repayment.

If you are affected by any of the issues above and would like more information, please call 0114 272 4984 or email info@shipleystax.com.

Please note that Shipleys Tax do not give free advice by email or telephone.

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