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Articles > Financial


Commentary on the HMRC consultations on a statutory residence test and the taxation of non-UK domiciles

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (18:01:51)
Andrew Robins
by Andrew Robins, Tax Director, RBC Wealth Management:

“The consultation documents published today on the subjects of residence and domicile represent a significant step forward both in terms of the Treasury’s approach to these complicated areas, and to its way of dealing with interested parties.

“The consultations show that the Government has listened to many of the concerns raised by the industry for years. If the proposals are implemented in anything like their current form, life will get much easier for anyone who needs to work out their UK residence or domicile position.

“The consultations cover a lot of ground, but have a consistent approach of simplifying existing rules and providing taxpayers with more certainty. In many different places the documents show a willingness to take a pragmatic approach, getting rid of unnecessary complication and making life simpler both for the taxpayer and for HMRC.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Why State Taxes Make Roth Conversion a Huge Opportunity for Americans Abroad

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (17:57:39)
David Kuenzi
by David Kuenzi, CFP®, Thun Financial Advisors


This article analyzes how the exemption from state income taxation enjoyed by most Americans abroad significantly alters the calculation that determines whether or not Roth contributions and/or Roth conversion make financial sense. It concludes that the exemption from state taxes makes Roth conversion an especially attractive financial opportunity for Americans abroad that should be capitalized on while they are still living outside the U.S. Note: Readers of this article will find that an earlier note published by Thun Financial Advisors, IRAs, Roth IRAs and the 2010 Conversion Decision for Americans Abroad (available at www.thunfinancial.com), provides a more basic introduction to the concept of Roth accounts and how Americans abroad can strategically use them to build long-term wealth.   more ...

Articles > Financial


IRAs, Roth IRAs and the Conversion Decision for Americans Living Abroad

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (17:52:15)
David Kuenzi
David Kuenzi, CFP®, Thun Financial Advisors

Updated, December 2011; Originally Published December, 2009


Even under the most conventional of circumstances, American taxpayers struggle to fully understand the myriad of tax advantaged retirement investment options they have. IRAs, 401(k)s, Roths, Individual 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 527s, and defined benefit employer pension plans are some of the many possible investment choices from which American taxpayers might choose. Each has slightly different tax implications and a separate set of complex compliance rules, contribution limits, mandatory withdrawal requirements and other features. Being an American abroad, however, further complicates matters by injecting additional tax and planning complexities into the equation. The good news is that Americans abroad generally have the same opportunities as do Americans at home to accrue tax benefits from tax advantaged retirement accounts. In fact, under certain circumstances and with proper planning, expats may gain more than most from the proper employment of these accounts.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Capital Allowances On Furnished Holiday Lettings in Portugal – A Basic Guide

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (17:29:16)
by Property Lynx Lda based on information provided by Davis Langdon LLP

After the 2009 Budget, it was announced that the ‘Furnished Holiday Lettings’ (FHL) rules were to be extended to any country within the European Economic Area (EEA).

It was also announced that the rules would be withdrawn from April 2010, but following a change in Government, the rules will remain in place in their current form until April 2011. After that date, there will be some tightening up of the qualification criteria together with some restrictions in the way that loss relief is given.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Avoiding Expat Investment Scams

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (17:21:27)
Tom Zachystal
by Tom Zachystal (CFA, CFP), Expat Focus partner and President of Individual Asset Management

You have worked hard to build a nest egg and would like to invest your money in order that it work for you to provide for the lifestyle you desire; but while searching for investments or investment advisors you find it difficult to know who to trust or which investments might be appropriate for you. Many people find themselves in this situation and some end up being taken advantage of by smooth-talking sales people masquerading as investment advisors.

In this article I highlight three scams we have seen over the years and point out warning signs to look for so that you are not caught unawares. This list is far from comprehensive so if you are uncertain about a prospective investment then I invite you to contact me directly and I will evaluate it for you, often at no charge.   more ...

Articles > Financial


How does a QROPS UK pension transfer overseas work? (Part two)

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (17:13:42)
Tom Zachystal
by Tom Zachystal

This is the second installment of a two-part column on the process involved in transferring UK pensions to Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS). In part one we looked at the people, agencies, and costs involved in the transfer process and here we will summarize the paperwork that typically needs to be completed.

Whether you are dealing directly with a QROPS administrator or with an intermediary, you will be asked to complete a letter of authority that allows the agent to contact your UK pension administrator on your behalf to obtain information regarding your benefits. The agent will inquire regarding the transfer value of your benefits, whether you have any protected rights to transfer, and as to the paperwork the scheme requires to be completed in order to facilitate a QROPS transfer.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Currency Transfer for Expats – Transferring Money Overseas

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (17:09:16)
There are many ways of sending your money from one country to another without ending up in a mess. As in many things, expats can save themselves a LOT of trouble and cost if they do a little research and shop around.

Standard International Bank Transfers

Let’s consider the basic sort of expat money transfer requirement, and make the assumption you want something a little safer than using brown envelopes full of cash in the post!

For most expats, currency transfer consists of getting small to medium sized amounts transferred regularly from your UK bank account into your new overseas bank account in the local currency. These may be pensions payments, benefits, or any other form of income.   more ...

Articles > Financial


How does a QROPS UK pension transfer overseas work? (Part one)

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (17:06:50)
Tom Zachystal
by Tom Zachystal

A number of readers have asked how the process of transferring UK pensions overseas typically works. In this part one of a two-part column we will look at the people and agencies involved in the transfer process and the various associated costs. In part two, we will look at the paperwork that needs to be completed and steps that need to be taken in order to effectuate a UK pension transfer.

First let’s identify the parties that may be involved in the transfer process:

- At a minimum your UK pension provider and the QROPS administrator must be involved.
- In the case of an occupational scheme, your pension might be administered by a financial services firm on behalf of your company; so your corporate pension administrator as well as the pension company representative might be involved.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Currency transfer – Why it pays to think ahead/buy ahead

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (16:53:13)
Many of us still dream of buying a property in Italy. Buying a property overseas involves a big financial outlay, with foreign exchange being an aspect that is often overlooked. Planning ahead, talking to a foreign exchange expert such as World First and doing your homework on the different currency exchange arrangements, will pay off.

Buying a property means you will have to transfer your pounds into euros. How you go about completing your transfer(s) could make a huge difference to the cost of your property.

Shifts in exchange rates are common and rates are constantly moving. Imagine entering into a contract to buy your dream property abroad and before you’ve paid for it the exchange rate shifts to go against you by 10% effectively increasing the sterling cost to you by 10%.   more ...

Articles > Financial


UK Pensions – Top 10 Tips & Facts for Expats

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (16:43:59)
If you are receiving, or planning to receive, a pension then this quick fact sheet may prove useful. It is, though, aimed at those who have pension fund savings in a UK based scheme.

If your pension is held in another jurisdiction, do remember that these points may not necessarily apply to you.

- You should be able to receive your state and/or private pension payments directly into your expat bank account overseas without penalty.

- At the age of 50 (rising to 55 from 2010) you may be able to take up to 25% of your private pension savings out as a tax-free sum.   more ...

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Aetna International

Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.

Cigna International

Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.