Latest Legal News

Court Denies Widow the Right to Challenge Trust Arrangements

Trusts have been gradually falling out of favour, according to a recent report. It is thought that the fall of some 4 per cent in trusts submitting tax returns last year (and 30 per cent since 2003/2004) is due to both a lack of understanding of trusts and...

Is IHT Simplification On the Way?

More than 550,000 people die annually in the UK and half of those deaths require the completion of Inheritance Tax (IHT) forms, which are not straightforward and can be a daunting burden at a difficult time for families. However, only 5 per cent of estates...

Overcautious Approach Means Compensation for Pension Scheme Member

With significant losses being reported in 'pension transfer scams', it is no surprise that when the administrators of a pension scheme receive a request to transfer a pension to a new scheme, they are expected to conduct an appropriate due diligence process....

Quality of Occupation Determines Tax-Free Status of Residential Property Gain

The supposition that residential properties are exempt from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is a common, but incorrect, one. You would think, for example, that if a person only owns one property, sleeps there quite often, has post sent there and tells the council...

Ignorance Not a Reasonable Excuse for Tax Disclosure Failure

When an 18-year-old woman bought a derelict end terrace property in London in 2006 and sold it to developers the following year, she made no entry on her tax return, believing that principal private residence relief applied. Having made a 'discovery' of the...

What is the Tax Status of Compensation for Financial Product Mis-Selling?

Is compensation paid to individuals whose businesses have failed due to mis-selling of financial products subject to Income Tax? In a decision that will disappoint many victims of bank wrongdoing, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has answered that question in...

CGT Net Tightens for Homeowners

The recent Budget contained an announcement that will be unwelcome news for some property owners. The sale of a person's principal private residence has always received favourable treatment for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) purposes. Normally such sales are...

If HMRC Don't Get it Right

You may be forgiven for thinking that the authorities always follow proper procedures, but that is not the case, and when they fail, their actions may not be legally valid. In a recent case, a series of errors put a taxpayer and HM Revenue and Customs...

Relief for Families as Missing Persons Act to Come Into Force

Legislation that will give families of people who go missing the ability to administer their affairs is to come into effect: but not until July 2019. The Bill received the Royal Assent as long ago as April 2017, but the need for secondary regulations and...

Capital and Income Losses Mean Different Things for Tax

When an investment is made in a capital asset that subsequently becomes valueless, the loss can normally be used to reduce future liabilities to Capital Gains Tax when a capital asset is sold at a profit. There are also rules which permit trading expenses...

Don't Be Caught in a Pension Scam

Scams of all shapes and sizes are becoming depressingly frequent and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned against the rising tide of pensions scams that leave people facing years of misery in retirement as a result of passing their pension funds...

Grand Design Couple Triumph in Capital Gains Tax Test Case

Those who make a profit on the sale of their principal private residence do not have to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on it. However, as a test case concerning a couple who built their own home showed, that apparently simple statement disguises a hinterland of...

Time to Review Your Discretionary Trust?

When the Finance Act 2006 came into force, it introduced a ten-year charge on discretionary trusts containing 'relevant property'. Most discretionary trusts that were started after 21 March 2006, other than those covered by specific exemptions, will carry...

Pension Pot Holders Fail to Take Advice

If you are approaching pension age, unless you are one of the increasingly few with a salary-related pension scheme, you would be wise to take professional advice before you take any irrevocable action. The decisions taken at certain points in managing your...

HMRC Stick to Limited Period for CGT Payment on Residential Property Gains

Despite strong representations from the professional community, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have decided that they will stick with a 30-day initial payment requirement for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on residential property gains for disposals after April...

New Guidance on Care Home Charges After Death

It is a stressful and unhappy enough time when a loved one dies, but the anguish of those mourning the loss can be compounded when there are complications over payments to care homes which seem excessive. Recently, the Competition and Markets Authority...

Hacking Episode a 'Reasonable Excuse' for Late Filing of Tax Returns

Taxpayers are personally responsible for filing their tax returns on time, and failing to do so can lead to stiff financial penalties. However, in one case, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) ruled that a self-employed website developer whose accountants lost all...

A Little Too Much Knowledge Can Be a Dangerous Thing

There are special rules for people working in the UK on short-term secondment from employers based abroad. Many do not become taxpayers under the UK tax system. When one such person contacted HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to clarify his position, he was...

Inheritance Tax - 'Hope Value' Relevant to Property Valuations

When valuing a property for Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes, is it legitimate to take into account its potential for enlargement or improvement – so-called 'hope value'? In a guideline ruling, the Upper Tribunal (UT) has answered that question in the...

Under Financial Pressure? Don't Fall Into Dodgy Lenders' Arms!

Financial pressure can easily lead the unwary into the arms of unscrupulous lenders. One High Court case, in which numerous borrowers found themselves in legal limbo , shows how unwise it is to enter into such transactions without professional advice. A...

Be Careful Who You Trust With Your Finances

Giving someone else power of attorney over your finances can be a useful means of ensuring that your affairs will be properly managed if you lose the capacity to do so yourself. However, one case in which a war veteran's money was plundered by a man he...

Judge Criticises Council and DWP for Usurping Attorney's Powers

When a person is not capable of looking after themselves, the Secretary of State has the power to appoint someone else to do so. A recent court case shows that failing to do so in a balanced way can have adverse consequences and saw a judge condemn the...

Who Owns the Balance on the Joint Account?

Sometimes, what seem to be quite simple questions have to be decided in court. In a recent case, the issue was who owned the money in a joint bank account when one of the account holders died. Simple question or not, it was argued all the way to the Court...

Reliance on Accountant Shows Reasonable Care

If you rely on your accountant's advice regarding a tax issue, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will now regard you as having taken 'reasonable care' to get things right and will not impose a penalty. On 14 February, HMRC issued new guidance relating to the...

Non-Residents Beware - Ignorance of UK Tax Law is No Excuse

About 900,000 UK citizens are long-term residents abroad, and it is no particular surprise that they may be less careful about managing their UK tax affairs than those who live in the UK. Many foreign residents retain UK properties, and when these are sold a...
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