Recent Articles

HMRC Scam Warning

November 04, 2019 | Wills and Probate

HMRC Scam Warning Tax scams are distressing and often have devastating effects on victims. HMRC issue warnings to tax payers, and The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales recently published a real-life example to demonstrate just how aggressive scammers can be. A client had received a call from a scammer claiming to be(Read more)

ATT: Reduce the Burden on Family Trusts

March 12, 2019 |

The Association of Tax Technicians (ATT) has responded to HMRC’s review of the taxation of trusts by calling for a reduction of burdens on smaller, family trusts. ATT highlights that family trusts are often set up to protect assets and provide for children and other vulnerable family members, rather than tax avoidance. Jon Stride of(Read more)

Government Launches Consultation on Plastic Packaging Tax

March 12, 2019 | Wills and Probate

HM Treasury and DEFRA have launched a consultation on the plastic packaging tax announced in Budget 2018. The proposed tax would be levied on the production and import of plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content. With 2 million tonnes of plastic packaging used each year, the vast majority of which is made from(Read more)

Suspicious Minds

January 07, 2019 | Wills and Probate

HMRC is calling for comments in respect of making “the taxation of trusts simpler, fairer and more transparent”. The consultation document published in November 2018 focuses on the principle of transparency, especially in relation to non-resident trusts. The names Common Reporting Standard and Trust Registration Service already strike fear into the heart of anyone dealing(Read more)

Santander Stung

January 03, 2019 | Wills and Probate

    Retail and commercial bank Santander has been fined nearly £33m by the Financial Conduct Authority for not closing the accounts of deceased customers. The failure of the bereavement team to “effectively process the accounts and investments of deceased customers” impacted over 40,000 accounts according to the FCA report, and resulted in over £183m(Read more)

Private Client price list

December 06, 2018 | Wills and Probate

ADMINISTRATION OF AN ESTATE Price List At  HMG LAW LLP  we understand that coping with the loss of a loved one is difficult and that it can be overwhelming to know exactly what you need to do. Our team of Private Client lawyers have been assisting families in Oxfordshire for nearly 200 years. We have(Read more)

Law Firms to Publish Prices and Protections

October 23, 2018 | Practice News

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has announced new measures which require law firms to publish information about what prices they charge for certain services. They will also be required to display a new badge highlighting that they are a regulated law firm and the protections that come with that. The SRA’s research has suggested that(Read more)

Gift Aid: It Can Help You Too

September 25, 2018 | Wills and Probate

  ‘Gift Aid’ is a term that most of us will be familiar with. From the sponsorship form handed round the office, entries to stately homes, to donating old clothes to a charity shop, we are often asked if we want to tick the Gift Aid box. This donation supersizer allows you to add up(Read more)

Private Residence Relief - 5 Key Points

July 19, 2018 | Wills and Probate

The Holmes and Rahe stress scale is a list of the 43 most stressful life events, and at no. 33 is moving house – with trouble with your boss and your spouse stopping work right up there too. Presumably, the 2018 World Cup is no. 1! There is enough to think about when moving house,(Read more)

A STEP in the Right Direction

July 16, 2018 | Practice News

After two years of exams, I am pleased to say that I have finally qualified as a full member of the Society of Trust and Estates Practitioners (STEP)! In order to attain full STEP membership, and therefore be able to call oneself a ‘TEP’, one needs to complete a Certificate and a Diploma in trusts(Read more)

Inheritance Tax Planning: Further Regulation Needed?

June 15, 2018 | Wills and Probate

Finding a person or organisation who you can trust is central to how many people choose their professional advisors.  BBC Radio 4’s Money Box  recently highlighted problems that arise when a person or organisation turn out to be not trustworthy. This episode focused on Universal Wealth Preservation, which was wound up earlier this year following a petition by(Read more)

Simplifying Tax: OTS Review of IHT

June 08, 2018 | Wills and Probate

The Office of Tax Simplification (or OTS for short) has launched a review into the complexity of the current Inheritance Tax legislation.  The OTS is the body established to review and recommend ways to simplify the UK taxation system. In 2009, a whopping 11,520 pages were estimated to make up UK taxation legislation.  The OTS(Read more)

HMRC Announce Penalties for Trust Registration Service

April 13, 2018 | Dispute Resolution

In March, HMRC confirmed what the penalties would be for Trustees who do not register a Trust before the deadline. The Trust Registration Service The Trust Registration Service (or TRS) was introduced in response to the new Anti-Money Laundering Regulations 2017 and to replace the form 41G which was previously used to notify HMRC of(Read more)

New Tax Year, New You

April 06, 2018 | Wills and Probate

The new tax year started this morning and below is a highlight of important changes you need to be aware of. Income Tax The personal allowance has increased to £11,850, meaning that one can now earn £987.50 per month before paying any income tax. The basic rate band has also increased from up to £33,500(Read more)

Spring Budget 2017 highlights

Spring Budget 2017: Some Highlights

March 09, 2017 | Wills and Probate

Mr Hammond launched the Spring Budget 2017 at lunchtime on 8 March 2017. This is to be the last Spring Budget as part of the government’s plan to simplify tax legislation in the UK. Below are a few highlights from the measures announced: Income Tax and National Insurance The Personal Allowance for income tax is(Read more)

Draft Regulations Allow ISA Tax Status To Survive Death

March 01, 2017 | Wills and Probate

HMRC has published draft regulations that would allow the tax advantage status of ISAs to be retained after the death of the account holders. Current rules state that when the account holder dies, the tax advantage status of the account is lost, and the funds are usually moved to an account that is subject to(Read more)

Increased Probate Fees

February 27, 2017 | Wills and Probate

On 24 February 2017 the Ministry of Justice published the Government’s response to the consultation on their proposal to reform court fees for grants of Probate. Despite extensive disagreement, the changes in the proposal originally published in February 2016 will be put to Parliament. The consultation documents sought opinions on a new fee structure for(Read more)

HMRC to Review Concentrix’s Management of Tax Credits

February 24, 2017 | Wills and Probate

Many will recall the issues that were faced by those who attracted the attention of Concentrix in relation to their claim for Tax Credits between 2014 and 2016. In their Fourth Report of Session 2016-17 (HC720), the Work and Pensions Committee of the House of Commons noted that “(v)ulnerable people lost benefits to which they(Read more)

tax; employment

Out of Reach?

December 07, 2016 | Wills and Probate

In October 2016 the decision of the First Tier Tax Tribunal was given in the appeal by Ireland Generator and Spare Parts LTD (the ‘Appellant’) against HMRC’s decision to disallow input tax in relation to the purchase of a car. Input tax is the VAT that a business is charged on business purchases and expenses.(Read more)

Employee or Not Employee? That is the Question

December 06, 2016 | Wills and Probate

Mr Ashton appealed against a decision by HMRC to treat him as a self-employed partner rather than an employee of Karate World – a martial arts instruction business. In October 2003, the business was growing and the proprietor, Mr Thompson, decided to set up a partnership. A number of his employees were to be partners,(Read more)

Trainee’s Final Day Out – Leicester Half Marathon in the City

November 15, 2016 | Out and About

I recently completed my last sports challenge of the year – my first half marathon – and I had my trusty husband by my side to see me through to the end (and, if needs be, carry me for a while). Training had mostly involved lugging myself around the ring road of Didcot. Hardly the(Read more)

Donors Able to Appoint Joint Attorneys with Survivorship: Miles & Anor v The Public Guardian [2015] EWHC 2960 (Ch)

October 27, 2016 | Wills and Probate

Justice Nugee of the High Court has found that a donor of a lasting power of attorney can appoint two attorneys to act jointly with the proviso that if one of them were unable or unwilling to act then the survivor should continue to act alone. This finding reverses an earlier decision of Senior Judge(Read more)

Digital Lasting Powers of Attorney

October 06, 2016 | Wills and Probate

At the beginning of the summer, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) began consulting with those who draft Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) about their experiences of the LPA service. Although the OPG is yet to publish its full findings, they have published some initial feedback on their blog. A key response from the(Read more)

HMRC: All Change, Please

September 27, 2016 | Wills and Probate

In early September 2016, HMRC published plans for a substantial restructuring. As part of its ‘Building Our Future’ initiative, HMRC has announced that the four existing Directorates will be reorganised into three new groups as of October 2016. These will be a Customer Strategy and Tax Design group, an enlarged Customer Service group, and a(Read more)

A Rain Check on Income Tax

September 07, 2016 | Wills and Probate

In February 2016 Jonathan Padley appealed to the First Tier Tax Tribunal against a series of late payment penalties levied against him for failing to pay income tax on time totalling £5,448. The issue before the Tribunal was whether or not Mr Padley had a reasonable excuse for the late payments. For each of the(Read more)

HMRC Introduces a New System for Claiming Overpaid Tax

September 05, 2016 | Wills and Probate

From 1 August 2016, taxpayers have to specifically request a refund for any overpaid income tax. Before that date, HMRC would issue a taxpayer with form P800 informing them that there is an overpayment of tax, and a few days later the rebate would be issued. In a bid to encourage taxpayers to use their(Read more)

Careless Inaccuracy - Steady v HMRC [2016] UKFTT 0473 (TC)

July 21, 2016 | Wills and Probate

In Cambridge County Court in June 2016, the First Tier Tribunal Tax Chamber sat to give their verdict on the fate of Mr Steady. Mr Steady filed annual tax returns under the self-assessment regime each year. At the end of each tax year, he would contact the various banks and building societies with which he(Read more)

Dispensing With Service

July 15, 2016 | Wills and Probate

Senior Judge Lush heard an appeal in June against an order allowing a statutory Will to be executed without an affected party being notified. A statutory Will can be applied for when someone has lost capacity to make a Will themselves. The Court will consider the submissions of parties as to what should be in(Read more)

Computer Says No

June 28, 2016 | Wills and Probate

In January 2016, the First-Tier Tribunal Tax Chamber determined an appeal made by Mr Halford against a penalty imposed on him for late payment of tax. Mr Halford appealed a £72 fine and interest levied against him because he had failed to pay his income tax on time. Mr Halford completed his tax return online(Read more)

HMRC Opens Consultation on New Corporate Tax Offence

June 07, 2016 | Wills and Probate

HMRC has opened a second consultation in relation to draft legislation for the corporate offence of failure to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion. The first consultation on this new offence took place in July 2015 with a first draft of the legislation being produced in December 2015. A revised draft has now been(Read more)

The Panama Papers: Now a Searchable Database

June 03, 2016 | Wills and Probate

Earlier this month, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICJI) published a searchable database of some of the information revealed as part of the Panama Papers investigation. The ICIJ has made it very clear on their website that no-one named in the database is thereby implicated in any wrong doing.  The database covers 40 years(Read more)

Trainee’s Day Out… at Tough Mudder

May 10, 2016 | Out and About

Last year, my husband and I volunteered at Tough Mudder in Winchester. The atmosphere was not at all what we were expecting and the event looked like such fun that we hastily booked ourselves in to run.  Last weekend, that time came. It was a sunny, but cold, day and we were roaming over the(Read more)

Increased SDLT When Replacing Your Main Residence

April 13, 2016 | Residential Property, Wills and Probate

Homeowners who do not manage to sell their existing home when buying a new main residence will feel the sting of the higher rate of Stamp Duty Land Tax (‘SDLT’) on their purchase.  For those who buy a replacement main residence, whilst still owning their previous home, will now have to pay the increased rate(Read more)

Energy Performance Certificates and Rented Property: Time to Shape Up

April 13, 2016 | Residential Property

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (the “Regulations”) have been introduced to improve the energy efficiency of rented properties in England and Wales.  Under the Regulations, from 1 April 2018, a landlord cannot grant a new lease (or extend or renew an existing lease) in a property if its energy(Read more)

Court of Appeal Upholds Decision that Will is Valid Despite Evidence of Decreasing Mental Capacity: Burns v Burns [2016] EWCA Civ 37

March 29, 2016 | Wills and Probate

The Court of Appeal has upheld a decision from the High Court that a Will made by a testatrix who was showing signs of moderate to severe dementia is valid.  Background Eva Burns passed away in May 2010 leaving her two sons, Anthony and Colin. Her husband Leslie had predeceased her in 1988.  In 1982,(Read more)

Buy-to-Let Landlords in the Firing Line

March 29, 2016 | Residential Property, Wills and Probate

Buy-to-let landlords would have been left groaning after reading the Budget.  From increased Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), to changes to wear and tear claims and mortgage interest relief, the 2016 Budget has buy-to-let landlords and second home owners in its sight.  The Chancellor confirmed that there would be a 3% increase in SDLT for(Read more)

Scottish Succession Bill 2016

February 25, 2016 | Wills and Probate

The Succession (Scotland) Bill 2016 has made significant changes to succession law in Scotland. The headline change is that the Bill excludes an ex-spouse or civil partner from inheriting under a will made before divorce or dissolution, by treating them as though they passed away before the deceased. It also cancels any appointment of the(Read more)

HMRC’s Direct Recovery of Debts and Vulnerable Taxpayers

February 25, 2016 | Wills and Probate

In February 2016, HMRC published a policy paper setting out additional safeguards that have been put in place following consultation in regard to its Direct Recovery of Debt process. The paper confirms that HMRC will not use its power to enforce payment from those who have been identified as ‘vulnerable customers’. An HMRC officer will(Read more)

Re C [2015]: The Freedom to Make an Unwise Choice

February 16, 2016 | Wills and Probate

In December 2014, C was diagnosed with breast cancer and in August 2015 went through a bitter relationship breakdown which left her without a home and in a lot of debt. As a result, C tried to commit suicide, and sustained serious damage to her liver and kidneys. This meant that she would require dialysis(Read more)