Monthly Archives: September 2014

Wills and the new Intestacy Rules

will & testament

As Financial Planners, many of our discussions with clients involve assisting them in arranging their affairs in a manner that suits their objectives during their lifetime. But we also frequently advise clients on how best to pass their assets to their intended beneficiaries on death.

If you don’t make a Will, you may find that your estate is distributed in a way that might not be in accordance with your wishes. The intestacy rules govern who gets what when someone dies without leaving a valid Will, and these rules are changing from October 1st. The changes are intended to simplify the current rules and provide outcomes that might be more easily understood in today’s society.

So if I die without making a Will, who will receive my assets under these rules?

Married Partner/Civil Partner & Children

Many people erroneously assume that a married person automatically receives the assets of their late partner, but that is not the case now and will still not be the case going forward.

A widow/widower will receive the first £250,000 of the estate and be entitled to half of anything above that amount. The children of the deceased will receive the other half of the remainder of the estate.

So if your assets stand at above £250,000 and you wish for your spouse/civil partner to receive it all, you need to make a Will.

Married Partner/Civil Partner No Children

For those who haven’t had children, rules granting parents of the deceased, siblings and other more distant relations from benefitting from your estate are being swept away. Your spouse will now receive the entire estate.

Of course if you do wish to leave items to individuals who are not your partner you can still do so by making a Will.

Unmarried Co-habitants

During the consultation phase, many lawyers recommended that changes in societal living arrangements should be recognised and that long standing unmarried partners should be given the same rights as married partners.

However, these recommendations have not been taken on board, and co-habitees will continue to receive nothing from the estate of their partner even if there are children from the relationship. So it remains the case that the only way to ensure that part, or all, of your estate will go to your partner is to marry them, or make a Will.

We always recommend that clients do make a Will and regularly engage with solicitors to ensure it reflects our clients’ wishes. Wills can soon become out of date when family circumstances change and can be invalidated by marriage or divorce so regular reviews are essential. A Will is the only way to ensure your assets pass to those you wish to receive them; it also allows you to build in some appropriate inheritance tax planning.

If you haven’t got a Will or wish to discuss your Will please get in touch with me.

Richard HeskethPM+M Wealth Management

Property tax evasion: HMRC deploy a taskforce in the North West

shutterstock_217121770Following several successful initiatives in London, South East England and Yorkshire, HMRC have launched a property taskforce in the North West. Charged with the task of tackling property tax evasion, the taskforce aims to recover a staggering £5m from people in the region who have sold one or more properties, and have failed to pay capital gains tax or to disclose rental income.

Initiatives in other regions have helped HMRC claw back in excess of £12m in unpaid tax to date, with a view to bring in over £100m during 2014-2015.

HMRC taskforces are deployed in sectors and areas seen as high risk, and the property targeting should not be seen as an amnesty to tempt property tax evaders into coming forward. With a HMRC taskforce, there are no formal disclosure facilities available meaning inspectors have a full range of civic and criminal sanctions at their disposal.

Having said that, making a voluntary disclosure to HMRC before they contact you is always better in terms of penalty mitigation and giving you control over the process. If you think this may apply to you, get in touch with us straight away to discuss how we can help you.

Also, mistakes can be made – even by HRMC. If you do receive an enquiry or have an assessment raised, there is always the possibility HMRC may be wrong in their tax analysis, have run out of time to assess the tax or may be attempting to charge an excessive penalty.

For advice on this, or any other tax issues, contact Jane Parry jane.parry@pmm.co.uk or contact the tax team on 01254 679131.

How PM+M Support Blackburn Youth Zone

For PM+M supporting our local community is a privilege and we are proud to play our part. A key part of our commitment to our community is supporting Blackburn Youth Zone. We became patrons of  the Youth Zone back in April 2011 and as well as giving directly we have been getting involved in some great fundraising events, such as a Fire Walk Challenge and more recently the Blackburn Beer Festival.

As Laura Jones, Events & Fundraising Manager at BYZ, explains “PM+M are not like your normal accountants – they are more like friends or family to us”.

Here at PM+M we like to get involved in events and really support and encourage those in our local community, living up to our values of Quality, Achievement and Fun. We are always looking to bring some fun into the office, with a recent fundraiser being ‘Beachwear Friday’; the team were encouraged to ditch the suits and grab their flip flops with a donation going to BYZ.

In July, Tony Brierley of PM+M embarked on the London to Paris Cycle Challenge, a 4 day bike ride, to raise money for BYZ, alongside representatives from Napthens Solicitors. To date they have raised over £3,000 for the Youth Zone.  For more information on the London to Paris cycle challenge click here.

In the video Laura describes how important PM+M’s support is to the charity:

David Gorton – Head of Corporate Services

PM+M Gets Local Business Community’s Brains Ticking with First Ever Quiz

Over 70 people attended with 22 teams taking part from a whole variety of sectors including financial institutions, law firms, property companies and insolvency practioners. They answered questions across a number of challenging rounds from NumbersColours and Music to Around the WorldNature and Picture.

A collection raised over £400 for Derian House Children’s Hospice, Chorley.

PM+M is a leading chartered accountancy, business advisory and wealth management group.  The firm was founded in 1919 and now operates from offices in Blackburn and Burnley.

This winning team was Woodcocks Solicitors who notched up an impressive 86.5 points. They were followed by worthy runners up Southerns Solicitors.

Stephen Anderson – managing partner at PM+M – said; “We were delighted with how the first quiz went. The reaction from everyone who attended was brilliant and there was an infectious buzz in the room that was spurred on by a healthy dose of competitiveness. We were also very happy to raise so much for Derian House which is a wonderful cause.”

Two New PM+M Client Video Testimonials

At PM+M we are constantly looking at ways in which we can improve our client service. A key part of this lies in receiving regular feedback from our clients. Be it a constructive critique or simply letting us know that we are on the right track, we welcome the appraisal of the businesses and individuals we work with.

The frequent fulfilment of client surveys provides us with a regular review of our service. Whilst at any seminars and events we encourage delegates to complete feedback forms evaluating the content.

Recently, we invited a couple of our clients to go on film and offer their opinions on the service PM+M provide and they were only too happy to oblige.

First up, Barry Austin of Savile Row tailors Benson & Clegg who have been PM+M clients for over 75 years.

Next, Sharon Anson from Blackburn Youth Zone, a fantastic project with which we have been closely involved since its inception in 2012.

For a look at what more of our clients have to say about PM+M click here.

Rick Brierley – PM+M Marketing Team

HMRC cracks down on eBay traders

eBay1

The recent case of Mr Woolfenden, a Bolton man sentenced to 2 years’ imprisonment for not declaring his eBay trading profits to HMRC, whilst a little extreme, highlights the need for anyone trading on eBay or similar sites to ensure their tax affairs are in order.

In this case, the tax at stake was £300,000. However, HMRC are getting smarter about tracking down online traders and will be pursuing much smaller scale traders as well as the larger ones.

Anyone trading online who has not declared the income to HMRC should take advice as soon as possible. It is much better to make a voluntary disclosure to HMRC than for them to find out about it and approach you.

The first question to address is whether you are trading or not. There is no hard and fast rule. If you have just sold one thing then you’re almost certainly not trading. If you are selling regularly and perhaps buying things to sell on, then you are almost certainly trading. Many people will be somewhere in between the two and should take advice about their tax position.

For advice on this or any other tax issues contact Jane Parry jane.parry@pmm.co.uk or any member of the PM+M tax team.