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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.

Pitfalls

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.

Company Property

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.

Pitfalls
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 to retrospectively recoup Child Benefit charges

Wealth Management & Protection Shipleys Tax Advisors

THE GOVERNMENT has confirmed that the upcoming Finance Bill will include changes to discovery assessments, allowing HMRC to recoup unpaid high income child benefit charges going back almost ten years.

In todays Shipleys Tax brief we look at this concerning development.

What’s the High-Income Child Benefit charge (HICBC)?

The unpopular High-Income Child Benefit Charge (“HICBC”) was introduced in 2013 and is a tax charge paid by so called “higher earners” which claws back up to 100% of any child benefit received by the earner or their partner. A high earner for this purpose is when the income of the child benefit claimant or their partner exceeds £50,000 p.a. The charge is collected via the annual self-assessment tax system and taxpayers affected by these rules are required to register for self-assessment and pay their HICBC by 31 January following the end of the tax year.

What is happening now?

Despite HMRC administering the collection of child benefit payments from high earners, it is still finding taxpayers that have not declared the benefit in previous years. In a recent case, it was found that HMRC did not have the specific legal powers to recover the HICBC even where the charge remained unpaid for a few years. The decision in Wilkes v HMRC found that HMRC did not have the power to impose the HICBC by means of “discovery assessment” (a form of enquiry into a tax return) as there was no income which ought to have been assessed. As a result, the child benefit claimant Mr Wilkes did not have to pay the tax charges.

If you can’t beat it – change the law…

As a consequence of losing the case, the government has confirmed that the upcoming Finance Bill will include changes to tax investigation powers, allowing HMRC to recoup unpaid high income child benefit charges going back almost ten years.

Once the Finance Bill is enacted, HMRC will be able to open tax investigations (“discovery assessments”) to collect any unpaid child benefit tax charges from as far back as 2013. However, the rule change will not apply to those that have already appealed against such assessments.

What does this mean?

Individuals with income over £50,000, where either they or their partner receives child benefit, could soon receive a large unexpected tax bill from several years ago.

This could have drastic consequences on unsuspecting child benefit claimants. For example, complications around relationships where parents are separated or where a relationship ends, or those who are not married are not properly accounted for. At Shipleys Tax we advocate paying the correct amount of tax, however where the collection system is flawed there are many instances where injustices will occur and individuals will be faced with large tax bills that they were genuinely unaware of, or don’t have the finances to meet the liability due to the pandemic, or the amount has been incorrectly assessed due to inherent flaws in the system.

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

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

Electric car charging points – is it tax free?

Wealth Management & Protection Shipleys Tax Advisors

AS PART OF the UK Government’s climate change initiative to encourage drivers to ‘go electric’, the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, announced an extension to a £50 million Government fund to install electric charge points. The fund aims to help small business to gain access to the workplace charging scheme and provide grants to meet up to 75% of the cost of installing electric charging points at domestic premises.

Whilst we know tax advantages are available where employees opt for an electric company car (see LINK), is there a tax charge if an employer provides a charging point to enable employees to charge their own cars at work?

In today’s Shipleys Tax brief we take a summary look at whether a tax charge arises in these circumstances if you’re planning to help your employees go electric.

Workplace electric vehicle charging

A tax exemption applies to remove the charge that might potentially arise where an individual charges the battery of a vehicle that is used by the employee. 

Private vehicles

The exemption means that an employee is able to charge their own car, or one that they are driving or a passenger in, using a workplace charging free of any associated benefit in kind tax charge. There is no requirement that the electricity provided is used for business journeys; the exemption applies regardless of whether the charge powers business or private journeys.

The exemption covers:

  • the cost of the electricity;
  • the cost to the employer of providing the charging facilities; and
  • any connected services.

However, the exemption only applies if the following conditions are met:

  • the charging facility is provided at or near the employee’s place of work;
  • charging must be available to all the employees generally or those at the particular workplace should they wish to use the facilities; and
  • the vehicle which is charged is one in which the employee is the driver or a passenger.

Company vehicles

Likewise, no tax charge arises if an employee uses a workplace charger to charge an electric company car. There would, in any event, be no tax charge in respect of electricity provided for business journeys. However, as electricity is not treated as a ‘fuel’ for company car purposes, the use of a workplace charging facility does not trigger the fuel benefit charge if the charge provided powers private journeys.

Offsite charging

The tax exemption does not apply to the reimbursement or payment of an employee’s personal expenditure in respect of charging a battery in a private vehicle away from the employer’s premises, for example, at a motorway service station. Where the vehicle is used for business journeys, mileage allowances may be paid tax-free up to the approved amount. 

However, no tax charge arises in respect of the provision of electricity for a company car for private mileage as electricity is not treated as a fuel for the purposes of the fuel benefit charge.

Capital allowances

A first-year capital allowance of 100% of the expenditure is available for expenditure on electric charge-point equipment. The allowance is available for expenditure incurred before 1 April 2023 for corporation tax purposes and before 6 April 2023 for income tax purposes.

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.

Received an automated message from HMRC saying you are under investigation? Why you should NOT reply

Wealth Management & Protection Shipleys Tax Advisors

ITS APPROACHING that time of year when taxpayers start thinking about their self assessment returns and tax refunds. This is also the perfect time for fraudsters to target unsuspecting taxpayers and try to con them out of their hard earned money.

In today’s Shipleys Tax brief we look at the most common tactic which you should be aware of and will hopefully protect you from fraudsters.

Telephone scam

This involves receiving an automated text or voice message or call purporting to be from HMRC saying you are under a criminal investigation. We recommend you do NOT reply – this is most likely to be a scam. HMRC will never contact you by phone without giving you an official notice in writing.

This is not a new scam but rears its ugly head every year. Often a recorded message is left, allegedly from HMRC, that starts: “This is Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs. We have been trying to reach you to let you know that we are filing a law suit against you/you have a tax refund due.”

The recipient is then asked to phone 0XXXX XXXXXXX and press “1” to speak to the officer dealing with the case. Do not to reply to this message as they will then try to extract money from you or more likely the call will be an extortionate rate number.

Basic Tips

Some basic things you can do to protect yourself.

Tip 1 – If the caller can’t verify their identity, you should never disclose any personal details.

Tip 2 – If they have given you “contact” details (and they should have no hesitation in doing so), call HMRC on their contact number to check if it is a genuine officer or a scam. You should never proceed without verifying this.

Tip 3 – If you receive either of these scam calls, report it on the Action Fraud website or you can call 0300 123 2040. You can forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.

For more on this visit: Link

If you are under a Tax or VAT Investigation and would like a specialist to review your case for free, please call 0114 275 6292 and book an appointment with our Tax Investigations Team or email info@shipleystax.com.

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

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