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


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.

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