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Assets Outside of Spain Can Mean Big Pain

Fiduciary Wealth Team

What have you been doing about the annual asset declaration requirement Modelo 720? Have you completed a return, tough wasn’t it? Unfortunately the reality is that if you have assets outside of Spain, even if these are within a trust or an offshore company then you will need to declare them and be prepared to suffer tax penalties if you haven’t been disclosing income or gains you have been receiving. Hacienda will check the information on Modelo 720 to see that the right taxes have been paid for income tax and wealth tax declarations.

All across Europe and beyond tax authorities are closing in on expatriates holding investments in another jurisdiction or within an offshore company or trust and who are not declaring income and gains. Whether, for example, you have money invested in Jersey, assets within a Maltese trust, or have set up an offshore company in the hope of avoiding paying tax you are now facing the reality of having to disclose those assets and settle any past tax liability and pay taxes due moving forward.

Is the hassle really worth it? There is an extremely effective and legitimate way to hold assets outside of Spain without having to disclose them on Modelo 720 and yet at the same time be able to benefit from a tax mitigation strategy that avoids Spanish succession tax on first death- a strategy which is being enjoyed by countless expatriates resident in Spain. Shouldn’t you join them? Why pay unnecessary tax on savings and investments when if structured properly they can be held in a way that minimises your tax liability moving forward.

Of course you can escape the net by not being Spanish tax resident, however you have to ensure that you do not spend more than 183 days in Spain or the authorities will automatically treat you as tax resident whether you have Spanish residencia or not. Hacienda continues to diligently check for those who overstay their welcome by spending more than the allotted time in Spain.

Taxes in Spain can be high but with the right strategies in place it is possible to plan your future so that the taxman is not the main beneficiary. After all you came to Spain to enjoy the good life not to pay unnecessary taxes.

Let us help you. We would like to start by offering you a FREE private consultation (worth £500) to assess your current financial position and explain how our Spanish tax reduction strategies can help.  If you already have a clear understanding of your current situation we can offer a FREE tax planning assessment instead (worth £1,000). Just think you will be getting FREE advice on tax planning for Spanish residents as well as retirement, savings and wealth tax mitigation strategies.

Call tel  951319727 for a meeting with a cross border expert or email enquiries@fiduciarywealth.eu.

Have you Thought About Saving Tax by Becoming a Gibraltar Resident?

Fiduciary Wealth Team

Why do we become expats in the first place? I guess in many instances we would probably say that we are looking for a better quality of life, an opportunity to build a new future and certainly better weather!

Living in Spain pretty much ticks all of those boxes and if you can put up with some of the bureaucratic nightmares ( have you ever tried to import a car?) and the language difficulties then you really can start living the dream.

However when it comes to taxes I wouldn’t put Spain as my favourite jurisdiction. Yes there are tax breaks and there are certainly tried and tested methods of mitigating Spanish tax but with Savings tax, Succession tax and Wealth tax call needed to be considered then clearly there is plenty of ongoing financial planning needed.

So what about Gibraltar? Could this be a solution for you when it comes to your tax residency status.  Clearly there are some obvious benefits, English language for one and a benign tax regime for another. When I say benign I mean no savings tax, wealth tax or inheritance tax (you may still be liable for UK IHT), no VAT and retirement income from a QROPS or QNUPS only taxed at 2.5%. Nice?

Isn’t the solution then to take residency in Gibraltar and carry on living in Spain? This is where you have to be extremely careful and remember the residency rules as they apply to Spain. Spend more than 183 days a year on the Spanish side of the border and you fall into the trap of  automatically becoming tax resident there and as any frontier worker will tell you there is now an “intelligent“ border between Gibraltar and Spain with passports being scanned to check for this type of abuse.

If you are going to switch your residency to Gibraltar you are going to have to do it properly and make sure you comply with the law on both sides of the border.

You will be pleased to know that we handle and process all types of residency applications for Gibraltar with a 100% success rate to date! So whether you are looking to apply under one of the special schemes  such as Category 2 or just ordinary resident then we are able to help.

In fact our residency department handles applications for Portugal under the Golden Visa scheme and for Malta too. You see we want to help you live the dream in the jurisdiction that suits you best.

Clients tell us they want professional advice which covers all of the tax issues when moving abroad, help with relocating and a review of their pension and financial assets to ensure that these will be held in the most tax efficient way in any new jurisdiction and that’s exactly the service we offer.

You could be enjoying the benefits of being tax resident in Gibraltar sooner than you think.  Take advantage of our special OFFER AND HAVE A FREE 5 STEP residency assessment (worth £750) to find out which is the best residency option for you or benefit from our free Gibraltar residency tax assessment (worth £1,000) to discover how much tax you could be saving by becoming Gibraltar resident.

Speak to a residency expert on on tel 951319727 or email enquiries@fiduciarywealth.eu.

Why you Might Want to Consider a QROPS

Fiduciary Wealth Team

If you are anything like me you’ve probably moved abroad for a better life, better climate and to begin a new life chapter. How about doing the same thing with your pension fund?

I guess we all think of pensions as a boring, full of jargon and with plenty of pitfalls but for the majority of us it is going to be nigh on impossible to live the dream without some kind of retirement income to fall back on.

So QROPS why should you bother? This article is not about GAD rates, annuities SIPPS or Lifetime Allowances, this article is about how you can benefit by taking some expert advice on what to do with your pension and then getting on with your new life.

What if you could move your pension away from the UK and ensure that in due course there would be no tax liability if your beneficiaries wanted to take what was left as a lump sum?

What if you could tax  your income from a flexible tax efficient structure and ensure that when you are gone you are not creating any UK or Spanish tax problems for those you leave behind?

How about not having to worry about exchange rates or having to transfer funds from the UK, nor having to keep in touch with an advisor back in the UK for ongoing advice?

What if your income could be taxed in your country of residence eliminating the need to deal with tax authorities in two different jurisdictions and trying to get to grips with double taxation treaties?

You may well have accumulated lots of different pension arrangements during your working life, wouldn’t it be great to consolidate these all under one roof so you only have to worry about one provider from now on?

These are just a few of the potential benefits to you of moving your UK pensions into a QROPS. There could be many more, I can think of about another 10, depending on your circumstances, but then I would have to talk and you might lose interest!

Why not treat your pension to a proper review?

We know how important retirement planning is for expatriates like you and me. That’s why we would like to offer you a FREE Retirement Planning Assessment (worth £500) where we will carry out a full review of your pension arrangements. If you already have a clear understanding of your current situation we can offer a FREE tax planning assessment instead (worth £1,000). Just think you will be getting FREE advice on tax planning for Spanish residents as well as retirement, savings and wealth tax mitigation strategies.

We have all come to Spain for a better life let us help you make sure your retirement planning is right for you and that the tax man doesn’t spoil that. Call now on tel 951319727 or email enquiries@fiduciarywealth.eu. Still in the UK, don’t worry we have an FCA approved office there. Call for details.

Modelo 720 It Won’t go Away!

Fiduciary Wealth Team

Modelo720 has been with us for a while now and yet there are still some who have never made the declaration. Just to remind you as we head towards the March 31st deadline for filing,  this is an annual declaration where you need to report your various categories of overseas assets such as investments and property. The declaration is required annually if your asset base has changed or if you have not previously reported. Hacienda will then use the information you include on the return and compare this information with the details you supply on your income tax, capital gains tax and wealth tax returns.

Basically Modelo 720 is a very clever database of information allowing the authorities to determine what assets are held outside of Spain and potentially outside the reach of the tax authorities here. Of course with further enhancements to Exchange of Information Agreements and Common reporting Standards across Europe and throughout the World in 2016, Modelo 720 might well be rendered useless because the information will be readily available in any case.

Why are we telling you this? Well Modelo 720 is a pain to complete and there are severe penalties for getting it wrong or for non completion. If I told you that there is a way of holding assets outside of Spain without the need for making the declaration and without the need for a Trust arrangement (holding your assets in a Trust doesn’t avoid either the need for the 720 declaration or Exchange of Information) would that make your life easier? Rather than start fretting every year at this time you could relax knowing that your affairs were all in order and there was no need to make a declaration.

Now really is the time to do something to put your affairs in order always remembering that there are perfectly legitimate solutions that can ease your tax burden whilst at the same time making you totally tax compliant with the authorities.

Why not look at Form 720 as an opportunity to restructure your investments and assets properly so you are no longer at risk from the taxman and at the same time you are taking advantage of some of the tax breaks available to Spanish tax residents. Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up in the morning completely relaxed that all your assets are held in a completely transparent way and that you are not jeopardising yours or your families’ future by any non disclosure.

Let us  start by offering you a FREE private consultation (worth £500) to assess your current financial position and explain how our Spanish tax reduction strategies can help.  If you already have a clear understanding of your current situation we can offer a FREE tax planning assessment instead (worth £1,000). Just think you will be getting FREE advice on tax planning for Spanish residents as well as retirement, savings and wealth tax mitigation strategies.

Interested? Speak to one of our qualified expat advisers on tel 951319727 or email enquiries@fiduciarywealth.eu.

Can you Help me Avoid Having to Pay Death Taxes?

Fiduciary Wealth Team

This is the question I get asked most frequently by expats. I guess the older we get the more important it is that we can pass that wealth on to those that we leave behind. Whether you have accumulated €250,000 or €2,500,000 during your lifetime the thought of the taxman taking a hefty proportion is not one that we want to consider. Yes our children may have more wealth than we might have, just like we have probably accumulated more than our parents ever did but in most cases we would rather the state doesn’t get its hands on our money.

Of course as an expat the situation is compounded because not only do we have to think of the issues surrounding Spanish succession tax but if we remain domiciled in the UK then there is a possibility that UK inheritance tax needs to be factored into the equation. Hardly a case of living a dream if your beneficiaries are going to suffer the consequences of death taxes in two countries particularly when you can do something about it.

In my experience it makes sense to plan and plan early, after all the one event we have no control over is when our time is up.  I have seen too many cases of “if only he or she had done something about it”

What would you say if I told you that we could move your free assets into a bona fide pension scheme and immediately remove those assets from UK IHT? So if your assets for UK IHT liability are £2 million (and don’t forget that the whole issue with being UK domiciled is that your worldwide assets are included in the sum for IHT) and £1 million of those are investable we can immediately save £400,000 from tax. Yes that’s right £400,000 could be removed from tax immediately, even if you were to return to the UK at some stage in the future. Isn’t that worth thinking about?

Of course if you ask me to arrange this type of scheme for you when you are 85 I cannot do it, it is too late! HMRC will see it purely as an IHT avoidance scheme rather than a pension with additional tax benefits. We cannot jeopardise the benefits by falling foul of the rules. HMRC are worried enough about this loophole in any case and there is a clammer at each budget for this type of scheme to be closed.

There are also succession tax benefits, rather than your beneficiaries receiving a lump sum when you die which could of course be subject to succession tax if they are resident in Spain they can draw a tax efficient regular income from the remainder of your fund.

This is just one solution to replace the pain of death taxes. Let us start by offering you a FREE private consultation (worth £500) to assess your current financial position and explain how our Spanish tax reduction strategies can help.  If you already have a clear understanding of your current situation we can offer a FREE tax planning assessment instead (worth £1,000). Just think you will be getting FREE advice on tax planning for Spanish residents as well as retirement, savings, death and wealth tax mitigation strategies.

Interested? Speak to one of our qualified expat advisers on tel 34 951319727 or email enquiries@fiduciarywealth.eu.

Unregulated and Non Mainstream Investments?

Fiduciary Wealth Team

Have you been unfortunate enough to invest in unregulated or non mainstream funds? You are not alone! Sales of unregulated collective investments have soared in recent years as some advisers have sought to provide alternatives to conventional investment funds.

 These funds typically cover a wide range of investment areas such as overseas property, forestry, student accommodation and life settlements. The UK regulator, for one, has expressed grave concerns that these types of investment have been oversold to private investors, who are usually unaware of the risks involved.

We have first hand experience of trying to assist expats who have been adversely affected. Unfortunately in a lot of cases there is quite often little to salvage with a number of funds having gone into liquidation with little prospect of recovering any of the assets. I find it particularly difficult to have to explain to a client that his assets are pretty much worthless and that his or her financial situation needs to be completely re assessed.

Bad enough if this is your life savings but the impact can be even more devastating if this is your pension fund and your future income stream has now been severely threatened. You came to Spain to enjoy your life not to worry about the viability of your savings and retirement funds.

How can we help? The first thing we need to do is to carry out a proper assessment of the funds within your investment or pension- a financial health check focussing on the underlying assets and their value. Once we have undertaken that review we can decide how best to proceed from there. Your investments shouldn’t be causing you stress, it’s our job to find the most suitable funds that work with your own particular attitude to risk.

When it comes to choosing funds we have a robust and dynamic selection process. There are thousands of funds available to investors and before we ever offer any to our clients we satisfy ourselves that they are regulated, liquid, have a track record and are competitively priced. 

There’s an old adage that I was taught when I was a very junior financial adviser back in the UK. “Never offer a product or fund to a client that you wouldn’t recommend to a family member.” I hope this is something I have always lived up to throughout my career.

Let us start by offering you a FREE private consultation (worth £500) to assess your current financial position and explain how our investment and Spanish tax reduction strategies can help.  If you already have a clear understanding of your current situation we can offer a FREE tax planning assessment instead (worth £1,000). Just think you will be getting FREE advice on tax planning for Spanish residents as well as retirement, savings and wealth tax mitigation strategies

Interested? Speak to one of our qualified expat advisers on tel 951319727 or email enquiries@fiduciarywealth.eu. Need advice and still based in the UK? We have an FCA approved branch in central London, call for details.

Is FATCA and Exchange of Information Agreements About to Bite?

Fiduciary Wealth Team

The UK government has set out plans to make failure to declare offshore assets and tax arrangements a criminal offence.

In a consultation paper issued last August the UK Government proposed to make it a “strict liability offence” to conceal funds offshore for illegitimate tax purposes. Under these new proposals this will become a criminal offence and furthermore the UK intends to toughen the existing penalties for tax evasion.

The UK already has numerous agreements in place with different jurisdictions based on a common reporting standard. You will not be surprised to know that the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, UK overseas territories, Gibraltar as well as Spain and Portugal are on the list. However in order to capture those outside of these arrangements HMRC says it will prioritise for criminal investigation anyone that moves money to a jurisdiction that is not part of the common reporting standard.

Apparently over 56,000 people have already told HMRC about offshore assets and the hunt is on for more. In some jurisdictions such as Isle of Man HMRC has “invited” those to voluntarily disclose their arrangements within a limited period of time.

In 2016 Exchange of Information wlll become standard and information will be freely passed between jurisdictions even if it isn’t now. Unfortunately the large amount of information made available and exchanged between authorities means that even those of modest wealth can easily be caught out in the drive for total compliance with these new rules.

Why are we telling you this?  We want to make sure that if you have undisclosed assets held in your personal name or in a trust or a company that you take appropriate action to ensure that moving forward these are totally transparent. There are plenty of legitimate tax efficient strategies which might allow you to mitigate both income tax and death taxes here in Spain.

Why risk public intrusion into your personal finances when you can safely hold your investments without running the risk of an investigation by the authorities?

Why take a chance by not disclosing on Modelo 720? The penalties are severe and the chance of the Spanish authorities being able to trace your offshore funds wherever they are held and under whatever structure is getting easier and easier. With the introduction of FATCA is it pretty much game, set and match for Hacienda, HMRC and any other tax authority.

Don’t let a tax investigation spoil the dream and ruin your new life overseas. We would like to start by offering you a FREE private consultation (worth £500) to assess your current financial position and explain how our Spanish tax reduction strategies can help.  If you already have a clear understanding of your current situation we can offer a FREE tax planning assessment instead (worth £1,000). Just think you will be getting FREE advice on tax planning for Spanish residents as well as retirement, savings and wealth tax mitigation strategies.

Call tel 951319727 for a meeting with a cross border expert or email enquiries@fiduciarywealth.eu.

New Pension Rules: We can All Benefit From Advice

Fiduciary Wealth Team

I expect many of you are aware that UK personal pension rules have changed dramatically this year and there are further changes planned by the Government in 2016 which might include the option to sell an annuity back to a provider if you are currently drawing income from one.

Previously you were restricted to how much you could access from your pension as a lump sum but this requirement has been scrapped in favour of allowing people to draw whatever they want from their fund, the whole lot if they want to in one fell swoop.

So how can you benefit from the new rules and where does QROPS stand in the equation? I sometimes think the more options you have the more difficult it is to make a decision. Thinking about my own circumstances I guess the two overriding concerns are how can I maximise my income whilst ensuring my pension will last for the rest of my life and how can I draw my benefits in the most tax efficient way whilst ensuring that if there is anything left over when I’m gone that my dependents will be able to gain some advantage from that without paying tax.

If you were still tax resident in the UK your choices would be a bit easier. If you wanted more than 25% tax free you could have it and be taxed at your highest rate on the additional amount you withdraw.  As with most things in Spain things are a little more complicated which is why you need to be clear on what you want to achieve.

Spain doesn’t recognize the 25% lump sum as a tax free payment in the first place – part of this sum will be subject to tax if you are Spanish tax resident at the time you receive it. So taking more lump sums will be like red rag to a bull (no pun intended).

Where does QROPS fit into the new rules? One major disadvantage of leaving your pension in the UK is that if you die post age 75 and your beneficiaries require a lump sum this will be taxed at 45%. With a QROPS regardless of whether you have started taking benefits or not provided the QROPS member has been non resident for at least five complete tax years the death charge will not apply.

I mentioned taking income in a tax efficient way. It is possible to structure income from a QROPS in an extremely tax efficient way and ensure that your beneficiaries can enjoy the same tax benefits when you are no longer around as well as avoid some of the problems associated with Spanish Succession Tax.

We know how important retirement planning is for expatriates like you and me. That’s why we would like to offer you a FREE Retirement Planning Assessment (worth £500) where we will carry out a full review of your pension arrangements. If you already have a clear understanding of your current situation we can offer a FREE tax planning assessment instead (worth £1,000). Just think you will be getting FREE advice on tax planning for Spanish residents as well as retirement, savings and wealth tax mitigation strategies.

We have all come to Spain for a better life let us help you make sure your retirement planning is right for you and that the tax man doesn’t spoil that. Call now on tel 951319727 or email enquiries@fiduciarywealth.eu.

Do You Still Need Pension Advice?

Fiduciary Wealth Team

The UK government has liberated us from all that pensions malarkey; pensions freedom means that we can take our money and run. What a fantastic idea, access to all of your pension fund in one fell swoop, no need to choose between QROPS and SIPP, no need to worry about annuity rates or income drawdown so goodbye to all you money grabbing financial advisers out there!

But wait aren’t we missing a trick? Doesn’t freedom usually come with a price and shouldn’t we start acting responsibly rather than just popping down to the Porsche garage and buying the latest model? Perhaps and maybe just perhaps the need for expert financial advice and proper retirement planning will become even more important. We don’t really want to take all of our pension money out of a tax sheltered environment and find ourselves paying 45% tax on the drawdown do we?

Then there’s another conundrum. Should we use a QROPS when my UK pension has suddenly become my latest flexible friend? What can QROPS do that SIPP or Personal Pension can’t? Well you had better speak to an expert financial planner to find out the answer to that; you may be surprised and as we have always said when it comes to retirement  planning it is all about YOU, your needs, your objectives and your ambitions.    

Is there still a place for annuities? Maybe providers will be forced into manufacturing products that offer real value for money rather than the lottery of having to choose what and when and how long for with the risk that an early death might lead to a nice little windfall for the provider.

The real aim of a pension fund is to make provision for your retirement needs and let you get on and enjoy your life without having to worry about finance. Properly invested and managed a reasonable fund can provide a decent income stream in retirement with maybe something left over for those that you leave behind. What we would suggest is that pension liberation or freedom, call it what you like, actually highlights the need for sound and expert advice about the legislation impacting on your retirement fund and benefits. For some freedom might mean releasing a significant part of a fund and investing in something that will provide greater tax efficiency and more flexibility, for others quite the opposite might apply and a different type of flexible annuity might well be the perfect solution.

Come and talk to us about your retirement planning needs. We would like to start by offering you a FREE private consultation (worth £500) to assess your current financial position and explain how our Spanish tax reduction strategies can help.  If you already have a clear understanding of your current situation we can offer a FREE tax planning assessment instead (worth £1,000). Just think you will be getting FREE advice on tax planning for Spanish residents as well as retirement, savings and wealth tax mitigation strategies.

Call tel 951319727 for a meeting with a cross border expert or email enquiries@fiduciarywealth.eu. Need advice and still based in the UK? We have an FCA approved branch in central London, call for details.

Is the Spanish “ISA” the Perfect Solution for You?

Fiduciary Wealth Team

If you are from the UK you will no doubt have either invested in an ISA or at least considered this tax efficient savings vehicle as an option for your medium term investment needs. Tax efficient and only restricted by the small annual allowance ISA’s have allowed investors over the years to build up a valuable holding which will not be subject to tax.

We have explained in previous articles that once you become resident outside of the UK you will no longer be able to contribute and in Spain future gains will be subject to the Spanish savings tax regime.

Now what if I told you we can provide you with an alternative that not only gives you tax free growth but also can help solve another major Spanish tax dilemma that of Spanish succession tax on jointly owned assets? Wouldn’t you be interested and wouldn’t that type of arrangement fit very nicely with your new life here in Spain?

Just think you can get an investment return that is only subject to tax when you make a withdrawal – and then only on the growth element never on the original capital (send us a quick email to enquiries @fiduciarywealth.eu with “withdrawal example “ in the title and we will send you back an example of how the withdrawal tax is calculated).

The benefits don’t stop there, if like me your ultimate beneficiaries are back in the UK, or outside of Spain at any rate, then on second death the proceeds will escape Spanish succession tax as well.

I should also add that the product is approved by the Spanish tax office and even though the asset is kept outside of Spain it doesn’t need to be included on your annual Modelo 720 return.

Interested? There are plenty of other ways the Spanish “ISA” can help you enjoy your time in Spain and get on with what’s really important to you. Whether you need to draw regular income, use your funds to provide capital for a major purchase in the future or just preserve your assets for future generations to enjoy ; this product ticks all the boxes.

Oh and unlike a UK ISA which has that restrictive annual allowance this product allows you to invest from €50,000 upwards.

Let us show you how the Spanish “ISA” can work for you.

We can start by offering you a FREE private consultation (worth £500) to assess your current financial position and explain how the Spanish “ISA” can work for you.  If you already have a clear understanding of your current situation we can offer a FREE tax planning assessment instead (worth £1,000). Just think you will be getting FREE advice on tax planning for Spanish residents as well as retirement, savings and wealth tax mitigation strategies.

We will even given you a discount on the set up fees for your Spanish “ISA”which can be worth up to £10,000 if you invest £250,000 or more.

Speak to one of our qualified expat advisers on tel 951319727 or email enquiries@fiduciarywealth.eu. Need advice and still based in the UK? We have an FCA approved branch in central London, call for details.

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