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Claiming an “unclaimed” estate

15 Nov, 2017

There are special rules that govern how assets are divided if a person dies without making a will. If this happens your assets are passed on to family members in accordance with a set legal formula. This can result in a distribution of assets that would not be in keeping with your final wishes, and can be especially problematic for cohabitees (a couple who live together but are not married and have not entered into a civil partnership).

How to appeal against a tax decision

15 Nov, 2017

It is not unusual for taxpayers to find themselves in a position where they disagree with a tax decision made by HMRC. There are a number of different options open to taxpayers seeking to use the review and appeals process.

Note, there is a separate procedure to be followed by taxpayers that to make a complaint about HMRC for issues such as unreasonable delays, mistakes and poor treatment by HMRC’s staff.

Are you caught by the High Income Child Benefit tax charge?

15 Nov, 2017

The High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) applies to taxpayers whose income exceeds £50,000 in a tax year and who are in receipt of child benefit. The charge either reduces or removes the financial benefit of receiving child benefit. Where both partners have an income that exceeds £50,000, HICBC is payable by the partner with the highest income.

Changing a will after death

15 Nov, 2017

This may come as a surprising fact to many of our readers, but a will can be changed after death. This can be done by using what is known as a Deed of Variation. Any changes to the will must be done within two years from the date of death. However, beneficiaries who would be left worse off by the change must give their agreement before any changes can be made.

This is most often done to:

How much statutory redundancy pay should you receive?

15 Nov, 2017

If you have been in the same job for two years or more and are made redundant you will usually be entitled to a redundancy payment. The legal minimum that you are entitled to receive is known as ‘statutory redundancy pay’. There are exceptions where you are not entitled to statutory redundancy pay such as if your employer offers to keep you on or offers you suitable alternative work which you refuse without good reason.

The amount of statutory redundancy pay you are entitled to is dependent on your age and your length of service.

Disguised remuneration settlement opportunity

15 Nov, 2017

A new measure to tackle disguised remuneration tax avoidance schemes was announced as part of the Autumn Statement 2016. The new measure will introduce a loan charge on disguised remuneration avoidance schemes that remain unpaid on 5 April 2019.

These types of schemes (including contractor loans) are used by employers and individuals and seek to avoid paying income tax and NICs. This is usually done by utilising a loan or other payment from a third-party which is unlikely to be repaid.

How to import goods for the first time

15 Nov, 2017

Businesses that are starting to import goods for the first time need to be aware of a myriad of special rules that apply. Whilst most smaller businesses importing goods will use a courier or freight forwarder it is still important to be aware of the duties and VAT implications.

Businesses importing goods must be able to distinguish between importing goods from outside the EU or within the EU. Intra-EU movements of goods that are imported are referred to as ‘acquisitions’ and goods that are exported to the EU are known as ‘dispatches’.

UK Living Wage rates rise

08 Nov, 2017

The current National Minimum Wage (NMW) hourly rate for adults between 21-24 years old is £7.05, and the national living wage is £7.50 for those aged 25 and over. The Living Wage Foundation (an initiative of Citizens UK), recently announced living wage rates for London and the UK at £10.20 an hour and £8.75 an hour respectively.

Interest rates start to rise

08 Nov, 2017

In a widely expected move, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted by a majority of 7-2 to increase the Bank Rate from 0.25% to 0.5%. This is the first increase in interest rates since July 2007 when the rate increased to 5.75%. The interest rate has been fixed at 0.5% since the crash of 2009 and was further reduced to 0.25% in August 2016 following worries of economic instability after the Brexit vote.

Are your bank deposits protected?

08 Nov, 2017

The bank deposit guarantee limit is the amount of money that is guaranteed for savers in UK banks and building societies should the institution become insolvent. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) guarantee amount is currently £85,000 per person, per authorised bank or building society.

HMRC win Littlewoods’ tax case

08 Nov, 2017

HMRC has won a landmark case after the Supreme Court overturned an earlier decision of the Court of Appeal. The issue at hand concerned historic overpayments of VAT by Littlewoods (a catalogue sales business) between 1973 and 2004. In 2004, HMRC accepted that the VAT had been overpaid and repaid £205m plus a further £268m interest calculated using the simple interest basis.

Delay in withdrawal of self-employed NIC contributions

08 Nov, 2017

In a surprising move, the Government has announced that the planned abolition of Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) is to be delayed for a year. The withdrawal of Class 2 NICs was due to take place from April 2018 but will now take place one year later from April 2019.

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