Category Archives: Family Business

Tax Return Season Is Fast Approaching

shutterstock_164415176As the days become shorter and the nights darker, it’s time to ask yourself that age-old question – ‘Have I sent my tax return information to my accountant?’

Well, maybe it’s not ‘age old’, but if the answer is “Yes!” you can rest assured that everything will be in hand.

If the answer is “No!” it is now time to dust off your 2014-15 paperwork and send it to us. Tax waits for no one, and with Christmas fast approaching, you will no doubt want your tax affairs dealt with in time to put your mind at ease for another year.  You have until 31 January 2016 to submit and pay any tax due to HM Revenue and Customs, but why wait until then?

We strongly recommend that you avoid leaving your paperwork until January. Whilst we will do our best to turn around any tax return information arriving in January, by leaving it to the last minute you risk your tax return being rushed which means we have no time to think about any planning opportunities or provide advance notice of your tax liability.

If you’re struggling to remember what documents you need, please contact your usual PM+M tax adviser now or send an email to tax@pmm.co.uk, and we will be delighted to help you out!

 

Inheritance Tax and Business Property Relief

Inheritance Tax & BPRA common objective for many of our clients is to pass on money to their families on their death. With house prices having escalated significantly, a greater number of estates have become subject to inheritance tax, reducing the amount their loved ones receive.

In response, the Chancellor has created an additional nil rate band relating to the family home which will be phased in over the next few years. Potentially for a couple with a home worth £500,000, they may be able to pass on a joint estate of £1 million not subject to inheritance tax. It should be noted that this only relates to homes passed on to direct descendants; it also doesn’t address the inheritance tax concerns of those who don’t own a property.

If after these additional measures you still have an inheritance tax liability, you may look to give away assets thus reducing the size of your estate. This can be problematic in that you can’t then use those assets, but often more importantly you need to survive a further seven years from the date of the gift for it not to be added back into your estate for IHT purposes.

There are however, investments that can be made that allow you to achieve 100% relief for inheritance tax purposes whilst remaining under your control and from which you can access funds if required. It’s a relief that owners of small family businesses will often use to pass on shares in their unquoted trading companies free of tax, and is known as Business Property Relief (“BPR”).

But if you don’t own a family business you can still take advantage of this relief. One of the simplest methods can be to acquire a portfolio of qualifying trading company shares quoted on the AIM share market. Provided you hold the shares and survive for 2 years from purchase, the value of those shares will be 100% relievable. It should be remembered that shares on the AIM market can be higher risk and will not be appropriate for everyone. You should take appropriate advice before investing.

If AIM shares sound too risky for you, there are other investments that make use of BPR by holding shares in unquoted companies that engage in trades such as asset finance, solar power, and property finance. They focus more on capital preservation producing predictable, modest returns rather than high growth. There is an increasing number of providers in the market and they are often complex in structure, and again taking advice is highly recommended.  These investments can, however, be highly effective in both individual and trust tax planning.

If you do need advice regarding investments that benefit from Business Property Relief or any aspect of Inheritance Tax, please call 01254 679131 or contact one of our advisers:

Richard Hesketh (richard.hesketh@pmm.co.uk) – Wealth Management and Investments

Jane Parry (jane.parry@pmm.co.uk) – Head of Tax

 

Family Business and Generation Next!

Family BusinessI recently read an article concerning UK family businesses highlighting that many are now falling out of family ownership. Statistics indicate that approximately 30% pass to the second generation of the family, with only 12% making it to the third generation.  My initial reaction to this research was to be saddened. However, as I gave the matter further thought, I concluded that optimism should be the overriding emotion.

We live in period of continual change affecting all aspects of the way we live. People have a much greater choice in many areas and this includes the choice of whether to pursue a particular career or develop certain skills. The opportunities that are available mean that working in the family business with a view to future ownership is low on the list of alternatives for many people. Therefore the number of businesses remaining under control of the same family or families is diminishing. Whilst this may not have been the initial intention, it does provide opportunities for individuals who are not part of the family.

There are a large number of highly capable and skilled individuals who would not historically have had the opportunity to manage and own a business for the sole reason that they were not members of the controlling family. There is now an overriding reason for families to seriously consider how to embrace non-family employees as the new leaders and owners of their businesses. This does not have to be at the expense of family values and the culture that is the very fabric of many of these companies, but it does allow them to develop with the input of new ideas and alternative ways of thinking.

PM+M advise many family businesses and, being members of The International Centre for Families In Business (ICFIB), we are able to utilise our experience and expertise to discuss succession issues and help find practical solutions that work for both the family and the business.

The potential for family businesses to develop and flourish under ‘outside’ control should be embraced. Assuming that family leadership and ownership is the only way forward for a family business can quite simply be a recipe for disaster.

Tim Mills – Corporate Finance Partner