All Change – Everything the Same
Sam Orgill of ProACT Partnership considers Brexit for Expats Living and Working Abroad
Get out!! seems the general theme this year. Get of the EU, Get out of the Middle East, get out of your investment. With all these changes I ask; Will everything be the Same? My view probably...
Last year ‘Back to the Future’ celebrated 21/10/15 as the future that Marty McFly visited from 1985. In fact the real 2015 looked much the same – but different. CD’s came and went, we now use downloads and online whereas the PC was only just being introduced in 1985. But our world looks pretty similar despite radical changes.
So how will the world of Expats change this year?
The UK vote - Should I Stay or Should I Go? from the EU in June 2016.
Nothing will change in July. After the vote the UK government, with the EU commission, will then commence the process of implementing the change. If the UK stay, a change to the terms of union in the EU has been negotiated already and these would be implemented over the coming years.
If the UK votes to leave then that process must be negotiated. This will take years. I believe the referendum has been brought forward to the start of the parliament to allow any Brexit to be completed, and voted on a second time? Before the next UK election in 2020.
UK Expat Tax and Brexit
The Double Taxation agreement with the EU existed before Cyprus Joined the EU, and will remain afterwards. The UK also has double taxation treaties with USA, India and Australia. The world has 7 Billion people, the EU around 500 million people. The EU trades with the world, as does and can the UK.
The arrangements the UK has around the world for Expats living and working abroad will stay the same, only changing as parts of EU law are removed from UK legislation. This could take a decade or more. The change will be an evolution.
UK Expats Living and Working in the EU
2 million British live and work in the EU. 2.5 million EU citizens live and work in the UK. If the UK leave the EU then their rights to live and work in Cyprus will become similar to Chinese, Russian and Norwegian Expats who have relocated abroad to Cyprus.
Remember also Norway and Switzerland are only associate members of the EU. They enjoy full access to the EU with only limited adoption of laws and regulation. It may be natural for the UK to leave as the core EU becomes the EURO based countries linked by financial controls from Frankfurt.
Expats Living in Cyprus Property
The issues for 2016 look the same. Everyone should be exercising their rights to get title deeds. The change of legislation in September 2015 (initiated by the EU), mean that anyone who can prove they have paid for their property, under the terms of a contract of sale, can be issued a title deed by the land registry.
The procrastination and delay due to tax, mortgage, loan or planning excuses, are now irrelevant. You don’t have to pay any sums to developers as the land registry will transfer these liabilities back to the developer.
If you have a contract of sale, but no title deeds take action now to benefit from Tax saving from Property transfer tax and VAT discounts to the end of 2016.
Make Written Changes to Your Will
Cyprus has adopted EU legislation for estates. Now Cyprus Law of Succession applies to anyone who dies owning property in Cyprus. This means any property is shared with blood relatives and spouse only. It also makes it more difficult to avoid UK inheritance tax on your Cyprus Property.
Everyone should review their Will to update and ensure it meets their wishes for widows and children, or if you have non-relatives or charities you wish to benefit.
Cyprus Tax Returns Due Now
Full Cyprus tax returns are now due for Expats. Continue to enjoy a maximum rate of 5% on pensions and no tax on bank interest and investment income from dividends or capital investments. Ensure you are fully tax registered to avoid UK scrutiny on income arising in the UK from property or pensions or banks.
Free Review – Pensions Property Savings & Will
ProACT offer a Free Review of your Pension, Property, Tax Residence, Wills, Title deeds, property assets including identify inheritance tax savings. Keep up to date with the spring tax changes for expats living and working abroad.
Read more on our website www.proactpartnership.com/blog .
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