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April 2014
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News & Views on Friday 18th April

Read_Todays_News-2These News & Views are scooped from around the world, What’s happening? What are people thinking? What would people like them to think? . . . and some of the amusing things that are going on today.



The oddest book titles – EVER

We covered this topic a couple of years ago. Updating it now is appropriate because the London Book Fair opened this morning, on April 8th at Earls Court.

Let me explain . . .

Since 1978 a well-loved publisher ‘the Diagram Group’ has recognised the book with the most unusual title to be found at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

This kicked off with
Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice”.

 Other titles we’ve seen recognised over the years have been:

“The Joy of Chickens”
“The Book of Marmalade: Its Antecedents, Its History, and Its Role in the World Today”
“Lesbian Sadomasochism Safety Manual”
“Highlights in the History of Concrete”
“Bombproof Your Horse”
“People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It”
“The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification”
“Managing a Dental Practice: The Genghis Khan Way”
“Cooking with Poo” which was recognised in 2011. This is not what it seems, Poo is a well-known Thai chef so nothing unusual here.

Since then 2012 produced “Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop” written by Bakeley Reginal, it is described as being a “Guide to banishing fairies from your home”

And the latest in 2013 How to Poo on a Date” written by Mats & Enzo and published by Prion Press it is described as “The Lovers’ Guide to Toilet Etiquette”.

We kid you not. These books were all available to purchase . . . and we look forward to the 2014 nomination with interest

So that you have the whole backstory . . . runners up this year were: “Working Class Cats, Are Trout South African?”, “Where Pie Meets Biography”, “How to Pray When You’re Pissed at God” and “The Origin of Feces”.

These, and a selection of previous winners that are still in print are available here . . . the weirder they are the longer they stay in print !

We publish this as a tribute to Bob Chapman and Bruce Robertson, the founders of Diagram Publishers, and the award that they founded during a quiet and boring day at the 1978 Frankfurt Book Fair. Bob died some years ago, the only man to write like an italic typewriter.  Bruce on the 21st March, he is fondly remembered as the man that drew a nun riding a bicycle on someone else’s illustration which he noticed in a publisher’s reception . . . the illustration was about to be collected up by the printer to go in a book  about ecclesiastical life in the middle ages. We believe that it really did get printed!

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier – From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk – from 9th April at London’s Barbican

The exhibition - The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier  From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk  – runs from 9th April to 25th August 2014 and is the first major exhibition devoted to the designer.  Dubbed fashion’s enfant terrible by the press from the time of his first catwalk shows in the 70′s, he is one of the most important fashion designers of recent decades.  
© Pierre et Gilles. Courtesy Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris

© Pierre et Gilles. Courtesy Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris

Adored by pop stars and actors for his daring inventiveness some 165 cutting-edge couture and ready-to-wear garments will be on show in a suitably theatrical installation, and include such iconic pieces such as the conical bra and corsets worn by Madonna during her Blond Ambition World Tour, Kylie Minogue’s stage costumes, and pieces created for the films of Pedro Almodovar….

The exhibition traces the influences that have marked Gaultier’s creative development from the streets of Paris to the DIY aesthetic of punk or fantasies of science fiction, and includes a ‘Muses’ section featuring models, musicians and performers from Naomi Campbell to Kate Moss, Beth Ditto to Dita Von Teese, that have inspired him.
Jean Paul Gaultier loves London as much as his native Paris
I always want to go to London, because London, for me, is a special place. In England I’ve got so many memories and I’ve had so many experiences and the English were the first ones to come to my shows and appreciate my fashion. If there is one place other than Paris that I should like to live in, it is London. I’ve got so many connections with London and feel at home there, even sometimes more than Paris. I like the spirit, the humour and little adventures that were funny, like Eurotrash. The second thing is the Barbican. It’s an honour for me because it’s a wonderful gallery and a wonderful place with extraordinary architecture and I think that showing my work there will be beautiful.”
Exhibition runs from 9th April – 25th August 2014
The Barbican Centre
Gilly Turney

All men will be equal from December 2015

Across Europe and across all phone charges . . .










From December 2015 we have been promised equality within Europe.

EU politicians have voted to ban mobile roaming charges. At present telecom providers are restricted only to capping the charges.  New rules, still to be approved be member state governments, state that the will be no roaming charges so we will pay the same for our calls as being at home, wherever we are in Europe.

It’ll mean that we don’t have to switch off our phones when we travel to and from the UK.  It’ll mean that telecom companies will loose two percent of revenues it’ll mean that we consumers will save £112 million each year.

It’ll mean that across Europe we will be open for offers from foreign providers so our telecom bills should come down.

Note Well:  Travellers to and around outside Europe will still need to be careful of running up humongous mobile phone bills for calls and roaming.

Also this week the European Parliament voted to maintain ‘net neutrality’ meaning that regardless of which website it originates from all internet traffic will be treated equally.

2014 is also a bicentenary for Napoleon

From 17th May major Napoleonic commemorative festivals will take place in the Champagne-Ardenne.

17th and 18th May – the Battle of Brienne

Napoleon-i-9420291-2-402In 1779  at age 10, the young Napoleon Bonaparte arrived at the Royal Military School of Brienne. Here he spent the next five years studying to be an artillery officer. But as we know fate intervened and he adjusted his aspirations.

In 1805, with several victories under his belt and a recent coronation, he went to Milan to wear the crown of the kings of Italy. Taking time off to revisit the place of his formative years, he made ​​a sentimental detour to Brienne where he was welcomed by a cheering population.

In 1814, the Campaign of France began on January 29th with the ‘Battle of Brienne’. After so many conquests, this return to Brienne marked the end of the campaigning Napoleon and it resulted in the first exile of the Emperor to the island of Elba.

On St. Helena, the Emperor, whilst dictating his memoirs, thought back to the country which he grew up, “to my mind Brienne is my home, that was where I felt the first impressions of my destiny”. Bonaparte always kept this memory dear, and in his will he remembered Brienne with a 1,200,000 gold franc bequest.

Thus Brienne-le-Château is a unique place with the Emperor who shared the highlights of its rich and intense life.

Over 17th and 18th May over 300 participants will stage a battle re-enactment of the capture of the chateau, war game demonstrations, parade, and an evening  show celebrating the First and Second Empires.


31st May-1st June – Montmirail Napoleonic Festival

nb51278176Saturday 31st May Re-enactment of the 1814 Battle of Montmirail-Marchais, one of the most important battles of the ‘Campagne de France’ that took place.

More than 1,500 soldiers, 100 cavalry and 10 artillery guns will take part with rallies, cavalry charges, artillery, field hospital and regimental parades.

Visit the Larrey field hospital, the bivouac camp and experience the daily lives of soldiers in the field.

Sunday June 1st from 10:00 a Celebration “Campagne de France 1814″, commemorating 1914

3:00-15:00 A Giant ‘Picnic’ so bring you own field rations please.

Visit bivouacs and experience the daily lives of soldiers in the field. An exhibition of everyday life under the Empire and understand its culture, science, technology and the environment.




UK Capital Gains Tax on non-residents residential properties in the UK

shutterstock_107398988The UK Government has published its consultation document on the proposal to tax non-residents to UK Capital Gains Tax from April 2015. The consultation closes on 20th June 2014. The main points of the government’s policy are as follows, with our comments in italics. At the end of this article there are our thoughts on the new rules and how we think it will affect property prices.

The tax will only apply to gains arising from April 2015. There will need to be a rebasing of the value at this date though this is not dealt with in the consultation. There is accordingly a window until 5th April 2015 for investors to consider their position.

The ATED taxation introduced earlier by the government targeting properties owned in a company has been a resounding success with far more tax collected than initially expected. The government will be seeking to replicate this success with these new measures.

Residential property

The tax is only to apply to residential property. This is defined as property “used or suitable for use as a dwelling i.e. a place that currently is, or has the potential to be, used as a dwelling”. Residential property rented out on a commercial basis (buy to let) will be taxed. Accommodation used for students such as halls of residence, care homes and other communal type accommodation will be exempt.

The note makes it clear that the sale of multiple residential units will not be viewed as commercial and will be taxed.

Note – This will result in prices for communal property such as student accommodation increasing especially properties which could be converted back into individual flats. There will be questions about the status of mixed use, live work units.

Ownership vehicles

Partnerships – Properties owned by a partnership will be taxed as before on the individual partners. Non-resident partners will however now be taxed. Non-resident trustees will be taxed on the sale of UK residential property. The government is likely to make all non-resident trusts subject to UK CGT even if the trusts are established for cultural or historic reasons.

Note – offshore partners who could be anonymous and not taxed will now be taxed.

Funds – Property owned through a collective investment scheme or fund will be exempt from UK CGT if the fund is genuinely diverse. However funds which have a small number of investors could be used to avoid the tax charge and legislation will tax such funds. Pension funds will continue to be exempt.

REITs – Property owned through a foreign REIT will be exempt. These are investment companies with diverse shareholder ownership which distribute 90% of their rental income.

Offshore companies – CGT will be paid by all offshore companies selling residential property including those under £500.000. There will be no exemption for bona fide rentals (buy to lets). The government is considering options to bring some offshore investment companies into the UK tax system. The rate of tax offshore companies will pay will be announced later.

Note 1 – most investors will own their properties through offshore companies. There may still be advantages in this though extending CGT to properties of any value will make it cost ineffective for people with cheaper properties. If the offshore property is within the UK tax net then the mutual assistance provisions in Double Tax Treaties will apply allowing transfer of information to the shareholders country of residence.

Note 2 – there is nothing about the sale of shares in a property owning company. This is relevant at the higher end of the market.

Private residence relief

UK residents do not pay CGT on their main residence. The government will make this exemption available to a UK resident who emigrates. The UK allows taxpayers who have more than one home to elect which one is their main residence. The rules will be changed to require tax payers to show proof that a property is indeed their main residence. The government intends to stop non-residents claiming that a UK property is their main residence even when it is not.

Note 1 – non-residents will be disinclined to give information to the UK tax authorities about time spent in the UK to show that the property is their main residence as this will have income tax implications for them and may invite further enquiries. There may be scope though for children of parents sent to the UK for studying though the properties may have to be owned by the children.

Note 2 – this will be an area of interest for expatriates. It may be better to be on holiday abroad to start with and then go non-resident. Also if you go abroad for a number of years and then return to the UK and make your London flat your main residence will you pay any CGT relating to the period abroad?

Rates of Tax

The policy is to have a similar tax burden on non-residents as on UK residents. UK higher rate taxpayers pay 28% and lower rate taxpayers 18%. The annual exempt amount is £10,900 which will be available to non-residents. The government will ask non-residents to declare their UK income to establish whether the non-resident would be a lower or higher rate taxpayer if UK resident.

As mentioned above the rate for offshore companies and funds has yet to be published.

Note 1 – non-residents will not welcome declaring their UK source income to establish their CGT rate. It will mean all rentals will have to be declared not just from the property being sold but other properties. The obligation may extend to other income which may be exempt from UK income tax. This would include dividends from UK companies.

Note 2 – the income arising in the UK will not be known for the tax year the sale takes place. Accordingly the 28% withholding may have to be applied with a refund of 10% at the end of the year when the income tax position is known.

Withholding Tax

The UK government has no record of most offshore investors. It accordingly proposes a withholding tax in the UK to ensure Capital Gains Tax is paid. This would involve identifying the seller as a non-resident. The non-resident would have the option of paying the actual tax due or paying the withholding tax. Money would have to be paid within 30 days similar to the way Stamp Duty Land Tax is collected. The government has asked whether solicitors, accountants or others should be responsible for identifying non-residents and collecting the withholding tax.

Note 1 – it is likely that solicitors acting for the seller will have to deduct the capital gains tax – this is how it works for buyers paying Stamp Duty Land Tax and is a free collection service for the UK Government. There will be an option for the seller to provide information about expenditure on the property which will increase the base cost and reduce the gain. It is probable that receipts from tradesman and proof of payment will be needed. This will have a knock on effect for tradesmen working for non-residents who will know that their invoices will be scrutinised.

Note 2 – solicitors may ask sellers to produce a letter from their local foreign tax authority showing they are resident there for tax purposes and so not UK tax resident. Sellers who say they are UK resident may have to be checked by the selling solicitor with the UK tax authority.

Our thoughts going forward

The following is not in the government consultation document but are our thoughts.

  • Owners who want to maintain their anonymity should consider selling now before April 2015. At present there is no reporting obligation. Even if they sell shortly after April 2015 when there may be no gain it is likely a CGT return will have to be made albeit showing a nil gain.
  • Owners planning improvements may be best waiting until after April 2015 in case only the cost of post April 2015 improvements can be deducted from post April 2015 gains.
  • People with lower valued properties (under £500.000) may decide it is not worth the costs of owning a property in the UK with the CGT on top and sell before 2015. It is more likely that pressure to sell will be greatest at the bottom rather than the top end of the market.
  • UK residents retiring abroad renting out their main residence should consider their position carefully.
  • It may be worth not renting a property to bring your UK income down so you only pay at the 18% and not 28% rate. If this is in the tax year of sale it may be that withholding tax is at 28% with a refund of 10% when the income for the tax year of disposal is agreed with the UK tax authority.
  • Tradesmen working on UK properties for non-residents will become careful about ensuring all payments are fully documented. The rules will probably require proof that bills for improvements have been paid which will be done by producing bank statements.
  • There will be more work for offshore company directors if companies decide to work out the CGT exactly rather than pay the withholding tax. Directors of such companies will probably have to make sure the offshore company paid for all improvements rather than the shareholders direct. It will become complex recharging bills paid by the shareholders from earlier years through a company just before completion.
  • You will want a high valuation of your property at April 2015 for CGT purposes. This may however be negative for Inheritance Tax and ATED purposes. This value will probably have to be self-assessed.
  • It is unclear whether the tax agent (probably solicitor) who deducts the CGT as withholding tax will be required to deduct any other tax such as unpaid income tax on rents or the ATED charge. Solicitors will charge extra for this as if they do not deduct the right amount they will be liable.
  • Offshore trustees making or facilitating loans to UK residents may have an exposure to UK CGT if the loans could be seen as de facto equity in the property.
  • There may be double tax treaties with certain countries which give investors some protection against this liability. They are unlikely to be with mainstream countries.
  • The consultation document does not deal with the taxation of a sale of shares in an offshore company which owns UK property. Some countries have a rule that CGT is payable if such companies have assets of say more than 50% in property. Whether this will be taxed and how is not dealt with.

And finally the market!

  • The top end of the market will remain relatively unaffected. Sophisticated high net worth individuals will accept that the UK’s current position is an anomaly which had to end.
  • Areas in the UK which are of little interest to foreign investors will be unaffected.
  • Foreigners with low value properties are most likely to sell them which may cause a dip in prices. CGT at 18% will eat into fairly small gains and costs of ownership are proportionately much higher for cheaper properties. Simple investments in the investor’s home country may become more appealing.
  • There may be a sell off by people prior to April 2015 who do not want to go through any hoops in the UK. These will include people who were planning to sell anyway and who bring forward their sale.
  • New buyers may be put off. Instead of investing tax free they now face paying tax and their net position is less attractive.
  • Expats who keep a flat in London will need to see what new rules say. If you come back and make the flat your main residence will you pay CGT?

David Anderson Solicitor

Advocate and Chartered Tax Adviser at Sykes Anderson LLP Solicitors and Chartered Tax Advisers in London, England

31st March 2014

9 Devonshire Square,  London EC2M 4YF    Telephone 020 3178 3770

Cheese of the month – Morbier for April

One from eastern France this month; Morbier.

A_Cheese_April14This is the one that had soot sprinkled on the fresh curd to keep insects away and to prevent a rind forming. Today the central black layer is a harmless vegetable decorative rub. What a pity, I’m sure the soot gave it a very distinct taste.

It was originally made from cow’s milk for personal consumption by the people of Comté. Mild with a subtle and sweet taste it’s now available everywhere. Production is now on an industrial scale with a two-month turnaround. Savoie aficionados say that it’s best drink with red Crépy or Seyssel though Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir work as well.

No restaurant this month I’m afraid. Perhaps Eva was photographed in your local bar?

Devolution, or ‘Masters of Destiny’

I suppose that this is going to be the new version of ‘the Arab Spring’.The Crimea has devolved from the Ukraine.  Ukraine moved away from Russia, Scotland is trying to make a go of it and now Venice has gone in the Press to announce formally what the Venetians have been talking about for years.Fed up with Rome sucking taxes into the Greater Italy Venice wants once again to be masters of their own destiny and revenues.

batalla_lepantoIn their hey-day the city state used to run a production line that build one galley every day – that’s going some even by today’s standards of automation. One keel laid every day, one galley launched very day.  Today the arsenal, where the yards were located, is in a sorry state. Used for art exhibitions and storage they will I am certain evolve into high-end residential neighbourhood with waterside homes and without doubt be very desirable.

But rather than national identity it’s about money, as most things are. Scotland wants to keep its own revenues and in time will probably try and sue England for Bannockburn or Glen Coe. They want to be masters of their own destiny.

We’ll have to wait and see what happens as major employers, particularly the financial ones, come out of the closet and say that they’ll be moving to England . . . So far it’s been RBS and Lloyds.  Scottish Widows Investment Partnership have just joined with Aberdeen Asset Management and this  enterprise might find Scotland an uncomfortable business environment. These people talk to each other and there will be an exodus if Salmond gets his way. Personally I think that he just wants his name in lights, and no doubt his picture on a stamp – his legacy !

And if you want an April Fool today, let’s pretend that The Isle of Wight has just announced independence, it’s just as likely to go ahead . . .

1st April was All Fool’s day, but it was also Charme day in Republican France

A_Opener_April14The white beech Hornbeam, or Charme in French, is as hard as horn.

It was used for those particular instruments where strength and integrity is important such as the spokes on a coach wheel, gearing in windmills and tool handles, very agricultural uses.

It was also used for the parquet floors of the period as well as chess pieces and piano hammers.

I am sure that hornbeam found its way into the moving parts of that well know instrument of death – the guillotine.

It is not related to the beech family but to the hazel tree grouping and sometimes to the birch family, a sort of wayward cousin ! The fine pore structure and closeness of the growth rings make it a consistent pale wood. It’s the hardest of native trees in France and less susceptible to breaking than oaks.

It can reach an age of up to 150 years but never really reaches past 70 years when it is felled for timber, or even younger for coppicing.

Four books for your April reading

Something Old, Something New

by James R. Vance

Our path through life, right from the beginning is composed of a series of small events. These, sometimes imperceptibly, cause change and each of these seemingly insignificant junctions cause a ripple effect, the results of which shape our lives. Sometimes, these junctions are hidden innocently, impossible for foresee and with no apparent ability to affect our future.

The story, which Elodie Arnaud recounts, starts innocently enough with her sister Monique’s fascination with the quaint English bridal tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Soon to be married to Gerard Thiebaud, the determined Monique convinces her sister Elodie to go with her into the attic and find their grandmother’s trunk. Monique reasoned that surely, there must be something, which she could use; however, nothing could have prepared them for the repercussions that simple action caused.
Their grandmother, Marie Lafond had lived in Montauban, a large town in the Tarn-et-Garonne region of France during WW2, and during the war, she had been only a teenager, with a teenager’s perspective on life. The decisions she made and events in Oradour-sur-Glane, a village in the department of Haute-Vienne, are the substance of this book.
The Oradour-sur-Glane lived in today, is new, and built on the orders of Charles de Gaulle after WW2. The original village, which Marie would have known, stands as a permanent memorial and museum to the 642 men, women and children, slaughtered by the 2nd Panzer Division of the German SS on the 10thJune 1944.
If you live in a rural community anywhere in the world, you accept that they are very close knit, with memories which are carried down through the generations. I live in rural France where the war is still so apparent both in monuments and remembrance days in every village; the horror of their lives through occupation and the work of the resistance, are very plain to see, even now.
This book is a beautifully written chronicle of the life of one family through three generations. The author, through meticulous research has given the reader a wonderful insight into what it would have been like to grow up and live in France under occupation.
Through Elodie and Monique’s discoveries and reflections, we learn how the outlook of modern generations has changed, on the surface, but then memories for some people, run deep.
Lest We Forget…
 Available in Paperback from: 


Bella… A French Life – The Cookbook

by Marilyn Z. Tomlins

This is a beautifully written cook book, which not only contains wonderful recipes in various categories, Starters, Meat, Fish and Seafood, Chicken, Duck and Rabbit, Cake and Cookies but also provides the reader with the correct solution to that age old question “Which Wine With What? “

 It is universally accepted, that the French are a nation of food lovers, producing recipes using exquisite ingredients. Living here, in France the importance of food is really brought home to you. The dinner table is the place for the family, eating and discussing topics, sometimes for hours at a time, over numerous courses of delicious food, which is freshly produced, and enjoyed with a fine glass or two of wine.

I have already read Bella… A French Life, and followed her fortunes, firstly as a paediatrician and then as a busy guest house keeper, so, I immediately felt at home with her in le Presbytere. The author sets the scenes beautifully with each recipe, which Bella shares with us. The recipes have either been made by herself, prepared by her wonderful chef Gertrude Duc, or enjoyed in the restaurants near to her home on the Normandy coast.

Some of the dishes you will recognise, others will be new to you. The only advice I will give is that, whether you are an experienced cook or not, there are recipes for everyone. Most importantly, as Bella says you can improvise, it’s okay, tailor them to suit you, or the person[s] you are cooking for, that way you will enjoy the whole experience much more.

The only thing which has stopped me giving this book a 5 star is the lack of pictures, in my opinion, no cookery book should be without them.

Available in Kindle format here: 



Threading the Needle

by Gabriel Valjan

An action packed political thriller.

Isidore Farrugia is a cop, brought up during the Years of Lead, a horrific period in Italian history, a time of terror and killing, his childhood memories, scarred forever by the brutal death of his mother. Nevertheless, he is a good man, loyal and protective of his friends and colleagues.
This is why although off duty and out of jurisdiction, when his friend Bianca arranges a meeting with her informant, Charles Brooks, he insists on coming too. However, soon his onlooker role changes, when the young 23-year-old American, Bianca came to meet is killed, and so are his assassins.
Then another murder takes place, and the Italian police investigators find themselves unearthing a web of political intrigue.
Bianca has a secret though, she knows, she must uncover the truth behind the information she has been entrusted with, despite warnings from her mysterious online contact Loki, to stay away. Adastra, a weapons manufacturer is hiding something… But what?
I found myself hooked, right from the start of this brilliant, action packed, political crime thriller, which is set in Milan.
For those, like myself, who are interested in history, the Afterword about the Years of Lead by Claudio Ferrara was very interesting.
This is actually the third book in the ‘Roma’ series, by this talented author, and there is a tantalising glimpse at the end into his fourth book, ’Turning to Stone.’

The Kidney Sellers – A Journey of Discovery in Iran 

by Sigrid Fry-Revere
Not long after finishing her doctorate in philosophy (specializing in patient-care ethics), the author discovered that her 10 month old son had kidney cancer, the kidney was removed, but she was warned his other kidney would have to be monitored, and he might eventually need a transplant. That knowledge has never been far from her mind…

Years later in 2007, she began studying the merits of compensated organ donation and she discovered that in Iran, unlike America, donors were compensated both by the state and also sometimes by the recipient. No one had explored firsthand the donor recipient situation in Iran, and despite very bias viewpoints and open opposition, she decided to journey there herself to determine the truth.

This book chronicles her incredible, potentially dangerous journey of discovery as she interviewed hundreds of donors and recipients throughout Iran, with the assistance of her companion Dr. Bastani, a native born Iranian, who translated for her and assisted in making sure protocols were carried out correctly.  Through her we have the opportunity to discover some of the the reasons for donation, both personal, and ethical, and learn what the transplant really means to the recipient. The author also gives the reader, the opportunity to find out, through her visits to personal friends on dialysis in America, how they view their situation and what their lives are really like.

This research could have been stored somewhere gathering dust or taking up space on a computer drive somewhere, but instead this brave woman has decided to speak out, publishing her findings in an easy to understand way.

She takes an open look at the situation in both America and Iran, and admits there are flaws, in the Iranian policies but asks pertinent questions as to why thousands of Americans have to die waiting for a donor whilst the situation in Iran is so different.

Brutally honest, fascinating and heartbreaking at times, this book is thought provoking and gives someone, like myself, with no medical background, the opportunity to really understand the personal and ethical issues behind organ donation.

 Available from Amazon in Hardcover format 

 Susan Keefe


UK Budget 2014

imagesThis is a summary of the key changes and is aimed at entrepreneurial and internationally mobile individuals who would like to know how the Budget may affect them or their business activities. Please contact David Anderson or Graeme Perry at Sykes Anderson to discuss any of the matters below. Contact details are at the end of this note.

Property Taxes

• Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) – corporate ownership

The government will extend the 15% SDLT rate applied to residential properties purchased by companies to properties worth more than £500,000. The new threshold comes into effect immediately and will apply to purchases made on or after 20 March 2014. This is bad news and will put people off buying property in companies.

Important ‐ Reliefs will continue to apply where companies and other nonnatural persons hold properties for commercial purposes such as lettings, property trading or property development.

Top Tip: It is still possible to use an offshore company as a nominee. In this case the owner shown at the Land Registry will be the offshore company though the individual will have to inform HMRC that he is the beneficial or “economic” owner and the taxable person. This enables you to maintain confidentiality. Sykes Anderson can advise further.

• Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED) – corporate ownership

Currently ATED applies to residential properties owned by companies which are worth more than £2 million. Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2014 which will reduce this threshold to £500,000. There will be the following additional bands:

Value of the property - Over £1 million ‐ £2 million - Annual Charge £7,000 - ATED applicable from  1 April 2015

Value of the property - Over £500,000 ‐ £1 million - Annual Charge £3,500 - ATED applicable from 1 April 2016

There will be a transitional rule for the £1 million £2 million band whereby in the first year returns applicable to this band will not be required until 1 October 2015 with payment required by 31 October 2015. This is bad news and increases pressure for properties to be “deenveloped” i.e. taken out of corporate structures.

The charges will be increased by CPI each year.

Top Tip: As for SDLT above an offshore company can still be used with a nominee arrangement which will avoid any ATED charge.

• Capital Gains Tax (CGT) – corporate ownership

All properties affected by the new ATED bands will also be subject to CGT on disposal at a rate of 28%. The extension to CGT will come into effect as follows:

Value of the property - Over £1 million ‐ £2 million - CGT applicable from 6 April 2015

Value of the property - Over £500,000 ‐ £1 million - CGT applicable from 1 April 2016

The charge will apply only to that part of the gain which is accrued on or after the above dates. The balance of any gain will continue to be treated as at present. Legislation on the extension to CGT will be introduced in Finance Bill 2015.

• CGT – non‐residents and UK residential property

As anticipated, legislation will be introduced to charge CGT on future gains made by nonresidents disposing of UK residential property. Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2015 and the changes will have effect from 15 April 2015.

Top Tip: It is still possible to structure UK property purchases in a tax efficient manner but greater consideration is required than was previously the case. The intended use of the property will be extremely relevant.

Personal Taxation

 • Pensions

The new rules will allow UK people easier access to their pension funds. It is likely that the majority will take the money out of their pension funds rather than buy an annuity. This is likely to fuel demand from UK buyers for buy to let properties.

• Inheritance Tax (IHT)

The IHT threshold of £325,000 will remain the same until 2017/2018. The government aims to simplify filing and payment dates for IHT in relation to property trust charges. Any income which arises in such trusts and remains undistributed for more than 5 years will be taken to form part of the trust capital when calculating the 10year anniversary charge.

All funds held in foreign currency in UK banks will be treated in a similar way to excluded property for the purposes of provisions which restrict how liabilities are deducted from the value of an estate for IHT purposes.

Top Tip: Careful consideration is required when it comes to inheritance tax mitigation – previous structures using manufactured debt may no longer be efficient.

With average property prices in London reaching more than £400,000, the frozen IHT threshold will bring many more estates within the charge. Most homeowners should now be seeking advice as to the steps they can take to mitigate the inheritance tax on their estate.

 • Main Residence Relief

As announced in Autumn Statement 2013, the final period exemption will be reduced from 36 months to 18 months with effect from 6 April 2014.

 • Use of dual contracts of employment by non‐domiciled individuals

As announced in Autumn Statement 2013, the government will introduce legislation which will allow them to tax certain overseas income of nonUK domiciled individuals on the arising basis even where election for the remittance basis to apply has been made. The new measure is aimed at targeting situations where high earning UK resident nondomiciled individuals create artificial divisions between their related UK and overseas employment in order to obtain tax advantages.

The draft legislation will be amended to prevent charges applying to arrangements that are not set up for tax avoidance purposes.

The measure will have effect for employment income, employmentrelated securities and employment income provided through third parties arising on or after 6 April 2014. Where income arises on or after 6 April 2014 but relates to duties which were performed prior to 2014/2015, the new legislation will not apply.

Top Tip: These arrangements have long been targeted by HMRC so these steps are not unexpected. Careful thought should be given to arrangements whereby an individual is working partly in the UK and partly overseas. Where substantial time is being spent outside the UK it will be important to consider the statutory residence test to establish whether the individual could claim nonresidency.

Company Taxation


The government continues to support entrepreneurs and attract new businesses to the UK with further reductions to corporation tax, introductions of new reliefs and allowances.

• Corporation Tax

The main rate of corporation tax will be reduced to 21% from April 2014 and 20% from April 2015. The small profits rate of corporation tax will remain at 20%.

• Annual Investment Allowance (AIA)

AIA will be increased from £250,000 to £500,000 for qualifying investments in plant and machinery made after 1 April 2014 until 31 December 2015.

 • Transfer of corporate profits – anti‐avoidance measures

From 19 March 2014 companies will not be able to obtain a corporate tax advantage by transferring profits within a group where the transfer is a part of tax avoidance arrangements. The legislation will be introduced in the Finance Bill 2014.

Top Tip: International individuals will want to consider using UK companies in their worldwide structures. The lower corporation tax rate combined with the UK’s network of tax treaties make it an attractive jurisdiction.

20 March 2014

David Anderson   Solicitor Advocate and Chartered Tax Adviser Barrister (unregistered)

Graeme Perry   Solicitor

Sykes Anderson LLP   9 Devonshire Square,  London  EC2M 4YF  United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 317 8770  Fax: +44 (0)20 317 8771  Twitter @SykesAnderson


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