To introduce you to our eclectic mix of tax team members, we will interrogate members of the AG tax team each month.
This month it is the turn of James England, a trust specialist working out of our Taunton office
Q. James, we understand that you are a keen mountain biker, where are the best spots to go in the South West?
A. “For me, locally it’s the Quantocks; there are a lot of great and challenging natural and manmade trails, so much so that the Quantocks is host to annual events and is popular year round. Although, i did end up in casualty following one fairly severe high speed crash, but no permanent damage!”
Well, we’re glad you’re okay!
Q. What drew you to the world of advising on trust tax matters?
A. “I trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in a local accountancy firm, following a career change I went to work in a local solicitors as a tax and trust accountant. Having had minimal experience of trusts prior to that, it was a bit of a baptism of fire, but it was very interesting and I enjoyed the challenge. Now at AG, I’m continuing to advise on trust matters and the associated tax consequences”
Q. Some view trusts as overly complex and expensive. Can you tell us, in your view, the top three benefits of using a trust?
“1. It is a useful inheritance tax (IHT) planning tool, allowing individuals to transfer assets into trust, up to the value of the nil rate band, without a tax charge, and benefit from a further full nil rate band 7 years later.
2. It is a useful means of providing for your family after death, but also enables an individual to support their children and grandchildren during their lifetime.
3. Control over the assets is transferred to the trustees, which can include the individual settling the assets into trust, so effectively control over the assets can be retained by the individual.”
Q. We also hear that you’re a bit handy in the garden! Any Monty Don type tips for this Autumn?
A. “It’s that time of year when the garden is starting to look a little dishevelled, a bit earlier than normal due to the recent storms. So a general tidy up, deadheading, trim the hedges and bushes if you haven’t already, and keeping on top of the weeding now will make the spring job much easier.”
Noted – thanks!
Q. If you could influence Government to change one aspect of the trust tax regime, what would it be?
A. “I find it frustrating in this digital age that the requisite IHT forms needed when dealing with the tax affairs of a trust are not dealt within an electronic format.”
Well, James, it is unmistakable that you are indeed a trusted tax advisor!”
Next up is Richard Sampson, one of our Yeovil based private client advisors.
Q. Rich, Yeovil is synonymous with the noise of helicopters flying overhead. Are there any specific tax rules about helicopters?
A. “Helicopters can be forced into the long life asset regime for capital allowances purposes, which attracts a lower writing down allowance. HMRC accept that those in use for in excess of 1,000 hours per annum, or for more than 600 hours with 2,000 or more landings per annum, or which have a maximum take-off weight of less than 650kgs, fall outside of this treatment.”
I’ll bear that in mind next time I go helicopter shopping!
Q. What does an average day look like for you?
A. “An early start primed ready for a day of tax return compliance, with a touch of ingenious tax planning saving ideas thrown in, whilst dodging the tea round!”
That’s good to hear – we love a bit of ingenious tax planning!
Q. Where would you recommend people visit in Yeovil for a nice meal out?
A. “I am keen on a nice meal out of an evening, so in Yeovil centre I would recommend a visit to Mulberry’s Restaurant, their mid-week grill night being a favourite, or on the outskirts of town I would head to The Penmill Hotel.”
Q. Why is it important people provide their tax return information as close to the tax year end as possible?
A. “There can be some major cash flow benefits. If you are due a tax refund you will receive it sooner. If you are due to make an advance payment on account by 31 July, it may be possible to reduce this payment. In addition, knowing your January tax payment well in advance will enable you to budget, rather than receiving an unwelcome shock closer to the payment deadline.”
Q. We recently had the second Finance Bill for 2017 along with the draft legislation for 2018! Was there anything of interest you’d like to highlight?
A. “Trading and property allowances: From April 2017, individuals will be able to claim up to £1,000 a year in tax-free allowances for property or trading income.
The property allowance will no doubt be of benefit to those, perhaps, letting out garages, parking spaces etc. The trading allowance may be of benefit to those providing casual services such as baby-sitting, gardening or earning minimal amounts from auction sites, such as e-Bay.”
Thank you for your invaluable tax insight, Rich.