STEP UK News Digest wrap-up – April’s top stories

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With an election looming and candidates battling in the polls, there’s been plenty of industry news to keep track of. Welcome to the wrap-up of the top ten most popular stories in STEP’s online UK Digests throughout April 2015 as clicked by our readers.

HMRC cannot reject tax rebate claims as ‘out of time’: The Upper Tax Tribunal has ruled that HM Revenue and Customs has no general right to refuse a taxpayer’s claim for a refund of overpaid tax going back more than four years. The decision partially overturns HMRC’s customary practice.

Widow seeks deceased husband’s ‘secret assets’: The widow of property developer Jack Dellal is bringing a family provision claim against his estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, even though she is the sole beneficiary of his will. Ruanne Dellal claims that the GBP15.4 million of assets declared in her husband’s inheritance tax return is only a tiny fraction of his true estate – most of which, she says, he put away in secret trusts, bank accounts and gifts to his issue from other relationships.

When beneficiaries ask the executor to renounce: A thread is in progress on the Trusts Discussion Forum regarding the duty of a professional executor who was appointed by the testator, but is now faced with beneficiaries unanimously asking him to renounce.

Conservative Party promises GBP1 million homes will be IHT-free: The Conservative Party general election manifesto will include a promise to add a transferable family home allowance of GBP175,000 to the existing inheritance tax (IHT) nil-rate band from April 2017. This would enable a couple to pass on a principal residence worth GBP1 million to their children free of IHT.

Guide to pension freedom: Ernst & Young has published a guide to the pension freedom measures that came into effect on 6 April, allowing all individuals aged 55 or over to draw from their defined contribution pension fund however they wish. HM Revenue and Customs’ helpline dealing with the reform is reportedly saturated with callers.

Additional ISA allowance for surviving spouse: New rules have been published explaining how the surviving spouse or civil partner of a deceased holder of an individual savings account (ISA) can use an additional ISA allowance from 6 April 2015. Survivors can use the additional allowance to subscribe to one or more accounts with an ISA manager other than the deceased’s manager, and can subscribe cash up to the value of the deceased’s stocks and shares ISA if they cannot subscribe non-cash assets.

Recent tax changes of most relevance to lawyers: Tax experts at UHY Hacker Young have written a helpful guide to the tax changes introduced by the Finance Act 2015 that are of most relevance to solicitors. They include the new restrictions on principal private residence relief (PPRR), capital gains tax (CGT) on disposals by non-residents and the extended annual tax on enveloped dwellings (ATED), as well as the amended remittance basis charge.

Where to apply for the quickest probate turnaround: There is considerable variation among probate registries’ lead times for issuing a grant of probate, according to practitioners.

Owner’s reasons for keeping property in sole name were not an admission of shared ownership: The England and Wales Court of Appeal has rejected a woman’s claim to a half share of a number of properties and a business held in the sole name of her former cohabitant. Pamela Curran said Brian Collins had made excuses for not putting the properties in joint names, and that this amounted to an admission that she should be joint owner.

Guide for settlors of offshore trusts: HM Revenue and Customs has published new guidance on capital gains tax for settlors of a non-resident trust

The STEP Industry News Digests provide a round-up of relevant industry news for trust and estate practitioners and other professionals in the wealth management sector. They provide brief summaries of topical news stories gathered from news providers internationally, providing a quick reference for busy practitioners to all the relevant news and issues. The News Digests also feature job listings from our recruitment site and list local STEP branch events and conferences. STEP’s digest services include twice weekly UK and Wealth Structuring (international) editions as well as a bi-weekly North America Digest focusing on the US, Canada and Mexico, and a Latin America Digest.

To subscribe to STEP’s digest services you will need to first register here: http://www.step.org/register

STEP International News Digest wrap-up – April’s top stories

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The weather is warming up in many places and we’re spending more time in the sun away from our desks. Welcome to the wrap-up of the top ten most popular stories in the STEP International News Digest throughout April 2015. In case you missed them, here are the worldwide industry news stories most viewed by our readers.

Septuagenarian Ricci heiress jailed for HSBC tax fraud: Arlette Ricci, the 73-year-old heiress of the Nina Ricci perfume and fashion business, has been jailed in Paris for concealing assets in HSBC Suisse bank accounts.

Capital gains tax guide for settlors of offshore trusts: The UK’s tax authority (HM Revenue and Customs) has published new guidance on capital gains tax for settlors of a non-resident trust.

Opposition party’s election promise to abolish non-dom status: Ed Miliband, UK opposition leader (Labour party), has promised to abolish tax concessions for non-domiciled UK residents if he wins the general election on 7 May. Much of the resulting comment focuses on the implications for UK public revenues if an exodus of wealthy clients follows.

New criminal offence of failing to keep trust records: Trustees of BVI trusts must now maintain records and underlying documentation for each trust for at least five years. The associated penalty is a USD100,000 fine or a five-year prison sentence.

New registry for non-Muslim wills to be launched on 30 April: Dubai has officially approved a new succession regime for non-Muslim residents. The Wills and Probate Registry will be launched at the end of this month.

Parliament passes offshore amnesty law: The Russian parliament (Duma), has approved the government’s proposal for a voluntary procedure allowing taxpayers to regularise previously undeclared offshore assets. Declared assets need not be returned to Russia, but only placed in a jurisdiction not blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force and which has a double-taxation agreement with Russia.

New capital gains tax regulations for non-residents disposing of UK property: The UK has introduced new rules imposing capital gains tax on non-residents’ disposal of UK residential property. Among other things they disallow a property from being treated as a home if the owner is not tax-resident in the same country and spends fewer than 90 days there in the tax year.

All passports to be checked on exit: The UK has reintroduced passport exit checks, giving HM Revenue and Customs complete information to enforce the day-counting rule for tax residence. Only a quarter of passports are currently being scanned. One hundred per cent coverage will be phased in by June.

Protecting clients against reputational damage: UK law firm Farrer & Co LLP has published a guide to help international families protect their reputations and that of their businesses.

Expats advised to consider options following Labour Party’s non-dom pledge: British citizens resident abroad may have a limited time to move their estates into an offshore trust and out of the UK inheritance tax net, if the UK’s Labour Party wins the forthcoming May general election and abolishes non-dom status as per its announcement last week.

The STEP Industry News Digests provide a round-up of relevant industry news for trust and estate practitioners and other professionals in the wealth management sector. They provide brief summaries of topical news stories gathered from news providers internationally, providing a quick reference for busy practitioners to all the relevant news and issues. The News Digests also feature job listings from our recruitment site and list local STEP branch events and conferences. STEP’s digest services include twice weekly UK and Wealth Structuring (international) editions as well as a bi-weekly North America Digest focusing on the US, Canada and Mexico, and a Latin America Digest.

To subscribe to STEP’s digest services you will need to first register here: http://www.step.org/register