Sick of getting key industry news on the grapevine? Welcome to the wrap-up of the top ten most popular stories in STEP’s online UK Digests throughout June 2015 as clicked by our readers.
Conservative Party confirms election campaign promises: Treasury Minister David Gauke MP has confirmed to parliament that the new Conservative government will introduce a transferable main residence allowance of GBP175,000 per individual, in addition to the existing nil-rate band. This will ‘take the family home out of inheritance tax for all but the richest’, he claims. The government will also conduct a review of how deeds of variation are used for tax purposes, with a report due in the autumn.
HMRC explains why Form R27 was scrapped: The June 2015 edition of HM Revenue & Customs’ trusts and estates newsletter explains why the process for dealing with the deceased’s income tax position was changed last October. It says the old Form R27 was burdensome in several respects, not least because it asked for information which the personal representative might not have been able to obtain and the error rate in completing the form was extremely high.
Charities defeat nephew’s claim of deathbed gift: A group of animal charities have asserted their right to a share of June Fairbrother’s GBP350,000 home, which she left to them in her will. The England and Wales Court of Appeal overturned a previous ruling that the deceased had given the house to her nephew Kenneth King four months before her death, under the doctrine of donatio mortis causa.
Who will have to pay the new Scottish income tax?: HM Revenue & Customs has published technical guidance on Scottish taxpayer status, which under the Scotland Act 2012 will determine who will pay the new Scottish rate of income tax starting in April 2016.
Anomalous tax position where death is caused by house fire: Experts discuss cases where the deceased died in a house fire, which appear to attract a double tax charge under HM Revenue & Customs’ interpretation of s171 of the Inheritance Act 1984. This states that a change in value by reason of death is treated as arising before death.
STEP issues sample investment policy statement for UK trustees: The UK Practice Committee has provided a sample investment policy statement (IPS) and accompanying guidance to assist practitioners in complying with the requirements under the Trustee Act 2000 (applicable in England and Wales) and other legislation, such as the Trustee Act (Northern Ireland) 2001, where similar obligations are required.
The sample statement has been drafted with the trustees of private family trusts in mind, although trustees of charities should also consider the requirement for an IPS. It is good practice to have a written statement in place from the outset of any delegation of investment powers to professional qualified advisors.
Expression of wishes may be preferable to trusts: Some pension fund administrators are advising their members to complete ‘expression of wishes’ forms to nominate the beneficiaries of their pension fund when they die, rather than passing it on via a will or trust. The introduction of new pension flexibility rules last month means that many more pension pots will be passed on to heirs.
Summary of the past three years’ reforms: Law firm Farrer & Co has produced a briefing summarising the new UK property tax regime, which has become more complicated in the last three years, especially for non-residents.
Significant reform of succession law: The Scottish Government is to amend several key areas of succession law, following last year’s consultation. Among other things, it will introduce legislation declaring any testamentary provision in favour of a former spouse to be revoked on divorce, give executors a good faith defence against litigation for distribution errors, and abolish donations mortis causa.
Actor loses tax relief claim as rented London flat was not ‘exclusively’ for work: The actor Tim Healy has lost his claim for tax relief for renting a flat while working away from home. The First-tier Tax Tribunal ruled that the expense was not wholly and exclusively incurred for the purpose of his business because Healy had admitted he wanted a spare room for guests.
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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