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Why personal and inheritance tax planning doesn’t need to be stressful

PUBLISHED: 12:09 25 September 2015 | UPDATED: 12:24 25 September 2015

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

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One of Surrey’s leading accountants and tax experts explains why personal and inheritance tax planning doesn’t need to be stressful

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With nearly 80 years’ experience, Wellden Turnbull provides an extensive range of Audit and Accountancy services to individuals and businesses, both across Surrey and London. A particular strength is our wide range of tax services, providing expertise not normally available in Surrey. We can advise on complex individual and personal tax, international issues, including offshore companies and trusts, non-domiciled and non-resident individuals as well as tax enquiries and tax investigations.

Compliance

Tax is increasingly complex. If your affairs are anything out of the ordinary, even the most diligent taxpayer cannot be sure that they have done everything they should. We all see the publicity for people who have offshore bank accounts and assets, but do you know what you should, or should not, be declaring? If you do not pay tax on something you should have, it is no defence to say that in compensation, you have paid tax on something that you did not need to.

The UK tax system is based on detailed rules. Within those rules there are many reliefs. There is no concept in the UK tax system (unlike many areas of the law) of fairness or equity: either you are within the rules, or you are not, however fair or unfair that may be.

If you do make a mistake on your self-assessment tax return, or adopt an interpretation of the law that HMRC do not agree with, then you have to show that you have taken reasonable care to complete your return accurately. Obtaining written advice from a properly qualified advisor, to whom you have given the full facts, goes a long way in showing that you have taken proper care. Saying that you “researched it on the Internet” or that you “spoke to a friend who knows about these things” is unlikely to be accepted as mitigation.

Principal private residence relief

This is a valuable relief that provides relief from capital gains tax on your principal residence. It also potentially applies to second homes, holiday homes and properties that you used to occupy but do not any more. If you have more than one home, you can elect which one is to be your principal private residence, and you can switch that election back and forward. HMRC is taking a lot of interest in principal private residence relief claims lately and is trying to disallow claims that previously would have been accepted without question.

Special events

Your tax affairs may be generally straightforward, but then along comes a special event that complicates things: you inherit some assets, you go abroad or perhaps you get share options from your employer. If this applies to you, you may wish to take advice on these.

Inheritance tax

You want to maximise the assets that you could pass on to your children, but there is no point in giving things away and having nothing left to live on. We can help you with your inheritance tax planning, to ensure that you maximise your family’s wealth.

Starting a business

People set-up businesses either because that is what they want to do, or because circumstances are forced upon them: many people providing their services as contractors are required to do so through a company.

Whatever the reason, there are different ways to set-up a business and these have significant differences for both your tax position and your general business and legal status.

We can take you through the options, explain what they are and help you decide what is best for you.

Buying and selling a business

If you are selling your business, you have one opportunity to maximise the after-tax proceeds. We can help you to ensure that your sale goes smoothly and you benefit from as many tax reliefs as possible.

Contrastingly, we also provide expert advice and services throughout all stages of the business acquisition process. From advising on potential sources of funding to all aspects of the negotiation process, including developing a strategy for both mergers and acquisitions, we are on hand to make sure you are doing everything correctly.

Tax avoidance

We help you to plan your business and tax affairs in the most tax efficient way. We do not promote artificial schemes. However, if you have been introduced to these by other people, we can help you unscramble the mess.

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To arrange your FREE no-obligation consultation, and unparalleled personal and inheritance tax planning advice, call us on 01932 868444 or e-mail r.john@wtca.co.uk

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