Advises on estate planning for high net worth private clients; the creation and structuring of trusts (both for individuals and professional trustees) and general tax planning work.
Specialist areas include advising on tax effective structures for the protection of wealth for international families.
The Finance (No 2) Act 2017 contains provisions requiring the disclosure of historic non-compliance to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs by September 30 2018 (ie, the requirement to correct rule). This is part of a range of legislation targeting offshore tax evasion. Defences for failing to comply with the requirement to correct are limited and it may be insufficient to have relied on legal or tax advice. Prompt action is required to potentially avoid very significant penalties.
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) recently issued an updated set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the new online Trust Registration Service and the information that certain trustees must maintain and report. In addition, HMRC confirmed further extensions to the deadlines for the registration of trusts with its online service. Details of the availability of the relevant online services have also been included in the FAQs.
The government recently enacted legislation which obliges trustees to collect, maintain and disclose information about trusts and related individuals. The information must be provided via Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs' (HMRC's) new online Trust Registration Service (TRS). As part of the regular new guidance on the practical operation of the TRS register, HMRC has released a set of frequently asked questions which deal with some areas of uncertainty.
The government recently published long-awaited draft legislation for the reform of the taxation of non-UK domiciled individuals. It includes provisions to bring into the scope of inheritance tax UK residential property held by non-domiciliaries through offshore companies and other entities, together with provisions introducing new deemed domicile rules for long-term UK residents and individuals born in the United Kingdom with a UK domicile of origin.
Given the likely economic pressures on the United Kingdom following Brexit, the government may take a more welcomed approach to wealthy foreigners than it has done in the recent past. As such, wealthy individuals would be well advised to continue to review UK property holding structures on the basis that promised tax changes will come into effect but, as far as possible, delay implementation of any restructuring until the position is clearer.
The government has proposed that from April 2017, foreign companies and other non-UK vehicles holding UK residential property will be regarded as transparent for inheritance tax purposes, regardless of the domicile status of the underlying beneficial owner or settlor. Individuals and trustees with residential property holdings who are concerned about the changes may wish to consider restructuring options well in advance of the anticipated deadline.
In a departure from recent UK budgets, the chancellor announced relatively few new measures in the 2016 Budget which specifically target wealthy international individuals and their families, or their wealth-holding structures. Nevertheless, certain measures were announced that will be relevant to such individuals, some of which may be beneficial and others less so.
Her Majesty's Treasury has published its long-awaited consultation on two of three proposed changes to the taxation of individuals domiciled outside the United Kingdom. The measures are far reaching and will represent a fundamental change in the taxation of non-domiciled individuals from 2017 – particularly those with a UK domicile of origin, for whom the benefits of that status will be curtailed if they return to live in the United Kingdom.
Individuals domiciled outside the United Kingdom might have been justified in thinking that they would be safe from significant changes in the 2015 Summer Budget. However, Chancellor George Osborne announced new measures in the budget to target perceived unfairness in the treatment of foreign-domiciled individuals compared with those domiciled in the United Kingdom.
Following reforms announced in the chancellor of the exchequer's 2014 Autumn Statement, the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) charge for high-value properties may be significantly higher than would have been the case under the old rates. A number of significant changes have also been made to the regime governing the annual tax on enveloped dwellings which affect high-value properties.
The UK Finance Act 2015 received royal assent on March 26 2015. This included final legislation for the introduction of a capital gains tax charge on non-residents who dispose of UK residential property. The new charge applies to such disposals made on or after April 6 2015. This update outlines the new rules and considers potential issues and planning considerations arising from the new tax.
Significant changes to the Tier 1 (Investor) visa route recently came into effect. These changes include the increase of the £1 million minimum investment threshold to £2 million; the removal of the 'topping up' requirement; and the removal of the 'loan route' option, which allowed applicants to use borrowed funds to make their investments in the United Kingdom.
Surprise measures to increase the scope of certain taxes on high-value residential property acquired by and/or held through corporate envelopes were recently announced by the chancellor in the UK budget. In addition, the Treasury has published its promised consultation on the introduction of a capital gains tax charge on non-residents who dispose of UK residential property.
The Finance Bill 2013 recently came into force, which includes provisions governing the statutory residence test. Although there has been some welcome loosening of the time limits for days that an individual can spend in the United Kingdom while remaining non-resident, in other areas the proposed test has become stricter and more complex.
The government has published its summary of responses to the consultation on proposed changes to the taxation of high-value UK residential property acquired and owned by companies and other 'non-natural persons'. Offshore persons considering a new acquisition of UK residential property or with an existing property-holding structure that may be affected by the changes should review their options as soon as possible.
Last year the government consulted on the proposed introduction of a statutory residence test and announced that the test would be delayed until April 2013 to allow time for further consideration and consultation. A summary of responses to the consultation was published this summer, together with additional consultation questions and draft legislation. Further draft legislation is expected soon.
An ongoing consultation will help to determine the final form of two proposed measures: a 'mansion tax' on UK residential properties owned by non-natural persons and a capital gains tax charge on disposals of such properties by non-UK resident, non-natural persons. Those potentially affected by the proposals should already be considering their options for mitigating the likely effects.
As part of a package of changes, the UK capital gains tax regime is to be extended to include gains on the disposal of UK residential property and shares or interests in such property by non-resident, non-natural persons. Some individuals may find significant advantages in owning property through offshore corporate ownership structures, but they should consider carefully the likely effects of the Budget changes.
Under a new deal between the United Kingdom and Switzerland, UK individuals with undisclosed UK tax liabilities in respect of Swiss bank accounts will have to choose between maintaining their anonymity in respect of such accounts and paying a one-off levy (and future withholding taxes), or disclosing their accounts and perhaps paying less in back taxes and penalties.
Among other things, a consultation proposes an increased remittance basis charge of £50,000 for individuals resident in the United Kingdom in 12 of the preceding 14 tax years. A proposal to allow investment in UK businesses shows that the government is aware of the need to encourage foreign investment in the United Kingdom.
The rules on individual residence in the United Kingdom for tax purposes - a mixture of case law, guidance from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and a few broad statutory provisions - can make it difficult to advise with confidence as to whether someone is a UK resident. The government is consulting on a statutory residence test that would bring welcome certainty on the issue.