Tuesday, 31 July 2012

July 2012 Review - Financial Pages in Spain

Taxation, Pensions and Positive Spain were the most popular posts during July 2012

Positive Spain? You may justifiably ask ‘why’ but it’s what the readers made the number one read post during July. Spain – The Sun still Shines’ looks through the economic gloom at life in Spain

There were two outstanding Taxation issues which were most popular in the last month

Spanish Inheritance Tax (ISD)
This detailed post sets out the essential differences between Spanish ISD and UK Inheritance Tax (IHT). It goes into detail of how the ISD works and the fundamental need for professional advice

Five Taxes which affect Non-Residents
Originally written in April 2012, its popularity was maintained through July 2012. ‘Financial Pages in Spain’ can provide a PDF version, if required, by sending an email request. The full post is;

Making up the top five read posts during July 2012 were two very relevant and current Pensions matters

UK Pension plan or scheme but you live in Spain
In many respects, this article is essentially about knowing your rights and what your options are. Many people who have contacted me are very pleasantly surprised about their choices.

Additional QROPS – Update
Reading the popular and free press naturally limits information that the advertisers want to feed you. Readers of ‘Financial Pages in Spain have expressed surprise at finding a high quality (low volume) alternative. Maybe it’s in part as I have an exclusive arrangement which will NEVER be advertised in the Press.

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‘Financial Pages in Spain continues to grow, as I can see from the statistics. Whilst Spain and UK dominate the views of both the Website and Blog, there have been readers from 49 other countries including New Zealand, Malta, France and also Russia. The growth in Ireland has been very noticeable.

Any issues which arise can be answered on an individual basis if you email me. I’m happy to receive questions from anywhere but my real expertise relates to the UK and Spain.

I am happy to take suggestions from readers about future articles. Please email me with your own ideas or issues that you think need raising.

David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain

Thursday, 26 July 2012

QNUPS – Qualifying Non-UK Pension Schemes


  • Not to be confused with QROPS

  • A pension scheme BUT essentially for UK IHT planning

  • Ideal for ‘in-specie’ transfer of personal assets

QNUPS is important for retirement planning, mitigating Inheritance Tax (IHT) and especially pertinent is the opportunity for ‘in-specie’ transfers. In fact the UK IHT planning element was brought about as a result of lobbying over the original QROPS rules.

 I think the technical description may be necessary. The Inheritance Tax (Qualifying Non-UK Pension Schemes) Regulations 2010 [S1 2010/0511] have introduced this acronym ‘QNUPS’. Weblink gets you to the precise Statutory Instrument (SI).

Professional Advice
I only ever refer to qualified, authorised and regulated advisers. Please email me with brief details and I can be sure to get YOU the best advice available.

Remember that QNUPS is a Pension Scheme
In short, in February 2010, the UK Tax Authorities (HMRC) confirmed that contributions to a Qualifying Non-UK Pension Scheme would be exempt from UK IHT. What this means is that as long as the pension walks and talks like a pension, then the assets held in it will be protected from UK IHT.

Unlike a conventional pension arrangement, although there is no requirement to take an income, Trustees normally insist that a modest income is taken from age 75. That is one of the benefits of using QNUPS for Inheritance Tax (IHT) planning, whilst respecting that this is a pension scheme. Assets other than cash and financial bonds can be put into a QNUPS.

Who might benefit from QNUPS
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but I believe there are six categories of individuals who will most benefit from or should consider a QNUPS;

  • Any UK resident who from 6th April 2010 became restricted on their UK pension contributions to basic rate tax relief.

  • UK domiciled persons (that includes many UK citizens who have become, for instance, Spanish residents), and UK residents who want to make pension contributions beyond the UK maximum limits.

  • UK non-residents, including Spanish residents who already have a QROPS but want to add to their pension funds. A classic transfer would be UK savings receiving very little interest, including PEPs and ISA’s. Remember that PEP’s and ISA’s are NOT efficient for UK IHT planning

  • Individuals who want to build an IHT friendly investment, intended as part of retirement planning but not related to their income or employment situation

  • Anyone looking for a way of consolidating their lifetime savings or investments without the restrictive rules of conventional pension planning.

  • Any UK resident or domiciled individual who wishes to build up a pension fund in excess of the current UK lifetime limit

In-Specie Transfers
QNUPS provides an excellent opportunity for in-specie transfers. Investments you have built up, properties you own and other assets can just as easily be a contribution to a QNUPS. The investment does not have to be cash but cash is not excluded. Indeed the investments that can be held in a QNUPS are much less prescribed by HMRC than traditional pensions. Remember, however, that the QNUPS has to be a Pension Scheme but it is also a plan to defend assets from Inheritance Tax (IHT).

Property and property shares can be put into a QNUPS but its important that you have FORMAL advice as the whole QNUPS could be invalidated if not done carefully. The advice I would seek is from a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) and have one contact I use regularly.

If any adviser suggests selling your assets and buying another financial structure beware. In-Specie Transfers offer a much more cost effective route, normally, and also selling assets can lead to an encashment charge or even a tax bill (eg Capital Gains Tax).

Residency, Nationality and Domicile
Anyone irrespective of domicile, of any residency or nationality, can commence a QNUPS. However, those who benefit will be anyone with a UK IHT liability.

Please remember that even if you are UK non-resident you may still have a UK IHT liability. You will need professional advice, which I can arrange if you email me with brief details.

This post is brief as QNUPS will vary so much depending on individual circumstances. If you have a query, please ask. Write to me with your circumstances and I will advise how you might proceed but you can do this without any long term commitment. Just email for more details

David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain

Monday, 23 July 2012

Why Offshore Financial Planning?

Not for tax evasion!

Offshore financial planning is much more open than used to be the case but still has many advantages, including elements of confidentiality. This is especially true with the use of Trusts.

·         An international view irrespective of nationality

·         Lost faith in British & other European Banks or Insurance Companies

·         Strategic financial planning

The term “offshore” originally comes from financial institutions located offshore from UK in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, but is now used figuratively to refer to banks in many regions, particularly Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Bahamas and politically neutral European jurisdictions such as Switzerland.

Individuals or organisations (including companies and businesses) may be interested in placing assets offshore for a variety of legitimate reasons, including:

1.      The existence of a sophisticated infrastructure of financial institutions and professional service providers (lawyers, accountants, corporate services, etc). This is particularly true of Jersey and Guernsey where most of the financial services professionals will have trained in the UK

2.      Tighter government regulation in the region in which the financial institution is domiciled. This may allow for a relatively favourable investment environment as compared with onshore.

3.      Access to politically and economically stable jurisdictions. This may be an advantage for individuals who lack faith in the financial institutions in their ‘home’ country. After experiences of the last few years many British and Irish people might have lost faith in Banks.

4.      Tax neutral.  Having no added local tax burden is a useful advantage for individuals who are not obligated to pay tax on worldwide income, or who may be able to defer taxation.  It also allows individuals to structure their assets without having to worry about local tax complications.

5.      As part of estate and/or asset protection planning.

6.      Broader "global" view than often found with onshore institutions.

7.      Strong privacy and confidentiality laws to help protect depositor's privacy.

8.      Trustees in the UK are often large companies, sometimes owned by insurance companies and seen to be impersonal. It is more likely that the services of a Trust Company in Jersey or Guernsey will be much more personal, though possibly also more expensive, but the expertise level is very high.

Before deciding on any offshore investments you should carefully consider you objectives and decide what you are trying to achieve. The expertise in giving you advice needs to be at a high level. I can recommend advisers with the expertise, if you email me.

Tax Evasion Warning
Individuals with non-legitimate intentions may also seek to do business offshore, just as they do onshore, incorrectly assuming that their activities may be more likely to be overlooked or found acceptable. This of course is tax evasion and is illegal. The only advice I can offer such individuals is to make themselves legal and legitimate! Use an authorised and regulated adviser that I will be happy to recommend if you email me

There are scores of tax efficient, legal opportunities available, without the risk of tax evasion penalties. Remember - just NOT reporting is ILLEGAL

You can write to me with your personal experiences or to be put in touch with my recommended adviser by sending me an email

David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Additional QROPS - Update

Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes

July 2012 Update

As reported on 30th May 2012, a new jurisdiction has emerged. I have exclusive access, based on quality, regulated and authorised advice ONLY and a minimum five year investment. This is not being made available to a mass market. It will especially appeal to individuals who have rejected QROPS in the past. Details will be provided on request if you qualify.

30th May 2012

I have been given early notification that an acceptable scheme will become available very soon

Since the UK budget in March 2012 and the new published list of QROPS on 12 April 2012, the market has narrowed down to

·                     Malta

·                     New Zealand

100% cash outs are no longer allowed.

More QROPS from additional schemes would be more than welcome

To give an advantage to regular readers of ‘Financial Pages in Spain’, I will compile a list of those who ask for more information. Email me and I shall give you priority in the supply of information about any new scheme.

The promoters of the new schemes know they will be popular, but they don’t want to be inundated with enquiries. Get your name down, if you are genuinely interested and I’ll make sure that you get PRIORITY.

Whilst most of my readers are in Spain, this scheme will be of interest to anyone with a UK Pension Scheme or Plan who has been non-resident in the UK for 5 complete tax years.

David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain