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Viewing posts categorised under: UK Pensions

Removing Confusion on Spain and UK Tax Situation Especially Pensions

By Barry Davys - Topics: Moving to Spain, Pensions in Spain, Spain, Tax in Spain, UK Pensions
This article is published on: 23rd May 2022

23.05.22

It is clear from calls and messages to me from people seeking advice there is much confusion regarding taxation when we live in Spain and have income or capital gains in the UK. Sometimes, these calls happen when people have received a letter from the Agencia Tributaria (Hacienda).

My wish is to clarify the situation so that there are no back taxes, fines nor interest to pay in Spain.

This framework will clarify the position and I include specifics regarding pensions. Tax can be, well taxing, so this framework is to help with understanding the overall situation, not to provide specific advice for your situation.

Who’s this for?
This article is for all British people who live in Spain.

Overview
A framework to help explain how do we pay tax on pensions from the UK when living in Spain?

Why to read this article?
This article is written in response to a very sad situation where a pensioner here has been hit by fines, back tax and interest from four years ago because of a mis-understanding on how to organise his tax on his UK pension. It is likely that further fines will follow for other years. The total amount of fines and interest could amount to €21,000

Your commitment

Taking the time to read the article and requesting an initial telephone or Zoom meeting below, if you want help for your specific situation.

Your Tax Framework

Top of the framework is to understand that when we have taxable events in more than one country, the country of our residency is the “controlling tax authority”. They have the final say on what tax must be paid.

If you live in Spain more than 183 days in a calendar year your controlling tax authority is Spain. It does not matter if you also pay tax in the UK.

How this works is as follows:

  • Declare your worldwide gross income and capital gains on our La Renta (M100) Remember it is a self assessment form and so it is our responsibility to do so
  • At the end of the La Renta form is a box for entering tax paid in a country with a double taxation agreement with Spain. Put the tax paid in this box or insist your gestor does so. Even post Brexit the double taxation agreement is still in force
  • UK pensions gross income all have to be reported in Spain

If you live outside the UK and provide a certificate of tax residency in Spain you can claim dividends, bank interest and even private pensions without paying UK tax (because you will pay tax in Spain).

Pensions, however, are a great source of confusion. The UK retains the right to tax state pensions, military pensions, civil service pensions and a number of others. Previously these did not have to be reported in Spain. They do now!

Tips on pension tax

  • On private pensions and most company pensions ask the provider to pay you gross
  • If you have a UK pension where it is automatically taxed or is a state pension, record all tax paid in the UK and get proof of payment from the pension provider
  • Report the gross figures in Spain
  • Your state pension is paid weekly, not 12 monthly so remember to include all payments in the calendar year
  • Ensure that any tax paid is listed in the La Renta box for countries with double taxation agreements. Result – no double taxation
  • If the tax paid is missed off this box, try to make a Refund of Tax using UK HMRC form R43 and or form R40. It may be possible depending on your circumstances
  • One word of warning. Do not use companies offering to reclaim your tax for you. They are expensive, some may be improper and you can easily send the form yourself

In my profession as a financial adviser for international people living in Spain I have a clear understanding of tax rules and recommend that you employ a good local tax adviser. This article is not tax advice as it may not reflect your personal circumstances. It is merely a framework to help with your understanding. I hope this article provides more clarity on the issue and helps when you do go to a tax adviser.

Temporary Annuities in Spain

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Pension Lump Sums, Pensions in Spain, QROPS, Spain, UK Pensions
This article is published on: 19th May 2022

19.05.22

Over the last few years, there have been some well-known IFAs here in Spain advising their clients that they can save up to 88% on their income tax in Spain by stating that their pensions are temporary annuities. In some cases, this has caused serious problems for pensioners. There is no way the Hacienda would offer such benefits unless these annuities were such from outset. It would seem logical if this was to be set up as such from outset, the schemes would have to be domiciled here in Spain for the tax reasons I go on to explain. Similarly, the annuity status could not be applied to foreign pension schemes being exported by expatriates from their previous country of residence when they come to live here.

For example, I have come across clients who have transferred their pension abroad under QROPS rules, they then instruct their trustees to pay them a set income for, say, 5 years. In some cases, the trustees would give them a certificate confirming that this income is a temporary annuity. Ironically this not only potentially makes the trustees as culpable as the pensioner but so too the gestor or accountant drawing up that tax return.

An annuity is something you buy from a financial institution (usually a life assurance company) for a certain sum. In return, the company will pay you an income for life or a fixed period. Once purchased, that money is no longer yours and it is irreversible.

However, the money in a pension scheme (although legally owned by the trustees) is for your benefit in your lifetime and can be passed to your beneficiaries or spouse, depending on the scheme T & Cs. The income can be stopped, restarted, raised, lowered, or even taken in lump sums (again depending on the scheme particulars). The capital remains at your disposal. Therefore it cannot be regarded in any way as an annuity, let alone a temporary one.

Temporary Annuities in Spain

Those who promote these “loopholes” are tapping into one’s natural desire to lower one’s taxes. They are exploiting genuine tax benefits offered to those who have already paid income tax on their savings with which they purchase an annuity for a fixed period. The special low tax rates which go with these annuities are by way of partial compensation for having your tax-paid capital repaid to you. Whereas pension income is always taxed at your marginal rate, mainly because there is tax relief on monies you put into your pension scheme, with both money purchase and occupational pensions. Furthermore, pension “pots” are invested and will attract, if properly invested, investment growth.

Those companies who advise people to do this and those who file a tax return claiming their pension is an annuity (when it clearly is not) are committing tax fraud. And there are very heavy fines for doing such a thing. A tax audit can go back up to 5 years and the tax shortfalls can involve sizeable sums especially when the fines are included. At pension age, this can be very distressing and a very nasty shock to an elderly person.

Spectrum can help you avoid this situation by reviewing any previous advice given and offering an unbiased opinion. We research our products and taxation thoroughly before advising our clients. If you have any doubts about your pension and the advice you have already received, then please contact me for an initial meeting which carries no fee. We want you to have peace of mind so that you can tell others about us. Spectrum is not in the risk business but very much here to protect your wealth.

Claiming your UK State Pension whilst living in Spain/EEA

By Chris Burke - Topics: Pensions, Spain, UK Pensions
This article is published on: 16th February 2022

16.02.22

Perhaps the most common questions I have been receiving since Brexit was agreed are in respect of UK State Pensions, particularly how it will work moving forward having contributed to the UK social security pension system:

  • What is my entitlement and how will UK nationals be able to claim their state pensions moving forward after Brexit?
  • What age can I start claiming (different EU countries have different age limits)?
  • How are these state pension calculations achieved?

Well, this should give you some clarity
First things first, to receive a Spanish state pension, you need at least 15 contributing years (combined years from any EU country) to be entitled to a minimum pension which will amount to 50% of the ´base reguladora´ (for Autonomos) or minimum state pension for employees, based on your past wages. At least 2 contributing years need to be within the period of 15 years leading up to your legal pension age. If you do not qualify for this, you should go directly to each country you have contributed to previously and see if you qualify from them.

Before the UK joined the EU, you would claim your state pensions from each country individually. Once we joined the EU and if you lived and contributed social security payments there, you would contact the relevant department of the country you were residing in i.e. worked and paid taxes in that country. They would then claim ALL your state pensions throughout the EU system. Under the Withdrawal Agreement for Brexit, this system has remained in place for both existing and new residents:

final salary pension review

‘The EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement announced on 24 December 2020 includes a protocol on social security co-ordination. UK government guidance on the rights of UK nationals in the EU, EEA or Switzerland to UK benefits and pensions from 1 January 2021, states:

UK State Pension
You can carry on receiving your UK State Pension if you move to live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland and you can still claim your UK State Pension from these countries.
Your UK State Pension will be increased each year in the EU in line with the rate paid in the UK.

You can also count relevant social security contributions made in EU countries to meet the qualifying conditions for a UK State Pension.

This guidance is for UK nationals; however these rules on the State Pension apply to everyone regardless of your nationality and regardless of when you moved. (Gov.UK Benefits and pensions for UK nationals in the EEA and Switzerland, 24 December 2020).
(source – house of commons library)

Never worked in Spain or paid social security there?
You claim directly from the UK here www.gov.uk/state-pension-if-you-retire-abroad

retire

Differences in retirement ages
In some EU countries, you will have to wait longer to start drawing your pension than in others.

You can only receive your pension from the country where you now live (or last worked) once you have reached the legal retirement age in that country. If you have accumulated pension rights in other countries, you will only receive those parts of your pension once you have reached the legal retirement age in those countries.

So, it’s important to find out in advance, from all the countries where you have worked, what your situation will be if you change the date on which you start receiving your pension.
If you take one pension earlier than the other, it might affect the amounts you receive.

You can get more advice from the relevant authority in the country where you live and/or in the countries where you worked. Find out about the retirement ages and pension systems in the different EU countries you have contributed.

What age can you start claiming the state pension in Spain?
Currently 66 years, increasing by 1 & ½ months per year, until it reaches 67 in 2027.
(source trading economics)

How many years do I need to contribute for a full Spanish state pension?
36 years in general (35 for most people in the UK)

How is your state pension calculated?
Pension authorities in each EU country you’ve worked in will look at the contributions you’ve paid into their system, how much you’ve paid in other countries, and for how long you’ve worked in different countries.

The EU-equivalent rate
Each pension authority will calculate the part of the pension it should pay taking into account periods completed in all EU countries.

To do so, it will add together the periods you completed in all EU countries and work out how much pension you would get had you contributed into its own scheme over the entire time (called the theoretical amount).

This amount will then be adjusted to reflect the actual time you were covered in that country (called the pro-rata benefit).

The national rate
If you meet the conditions for entitlement to a national pension irrespective of any periods completed in other countries, the pension authority will also calculate the national pension (known as an independent benefit).

Pensions health check

Result
The national authority will then compare the pro-rata benefit and the independent benefit; you will receive whichever is higher from that EU country.

Each country’s decision on your claim will be explained in a special note you will receive, the P1 form.

See the below example of how this would work:
Dalila worked for 20 years in France and 10 years in Spain.
Both countries apply a minimum period of 15 years of work in order to have the right to a pension. Each country will calculate Dalila’s pension:
The French authority will make a double calculation:
• It will calculate Dalila’s national pension for the 20 years worked in France – let’s say EUR 800.
• It will also calculate a theoretical amount, the pension Dalila would have had if she had worked the full 30 years in France – let’s say EUR 1 500. Then, it will determine the pro-rata pension, which is the part of this amount that should be paid for the years worked in France: 1 500×20 years in France/30 years in total= EUR 1 000.

Dalila is entitled to the higher amount — EUR 1 000 a month.

The Spanish authority will not calculate the national pension because Dalila has worked in Spain less than the minimum period required. It will only calculate the EU-equivalent rate starting with the theoretical amount, the pension Dalila would have had if she had worked all the 30 years in Spain – let’s say EUR 1 200.

Then, it will determine the pro-rata pension – the part of this amount which should be paid for the years worked in Spain: 1200×10 years in Spain/30 years in total= EUR 400.
In the end, Dalila will receive a pension of EUR 1 400.
(source – Europa.eu – official website of the European Union)

State Pensions After BREXIT

Here is the official UK government wording on the continuation of Social Security Coordination between the UK & EU from Brexit:
“The provisions in the Protocol on Social Security Coordination will ensure that individuals who move between the UK and the EU in the future will have their social security position in respect of certain important benefits protected.

Individuals will be able to have access to a range of social security benefits, including reciprocal healthcare cover and an uprated state pension.

Article 114. This Protocol supports business and trade by ensuring that cross border workers and their employers are only liable to pay social security contributions in one state at a time. Generally, this will be in the country where work is undertaken, irrespective of whether the worker resides within the EU or the UK, or indeed whether the employer is based in the EU or the UK.

Article 115. UK workers who are sent by their employer to work temporarily in an EU Member State which has agreed to apply the “detached worker” rules will remain liable to only pay social security contributions in the UK for the period of work in that EU Member State. Similarly, if an EU worker is sent by their employer to work temporarily in the UK from a Member State which has agreed to apply the “detached worker” rules, they will remain liable to only pay contributions in that EU Member State.

Article 116. Under the Protocol, the UK and EU Member States will be able to take into account relevant contributions paid into each other’s social security systems, or relevant periods of work or residence, by individuals for determining entitlement to a state pension and to a range of benefits. This will provide a good level of protection for people working in the UK and EU Member States. The Protocol also provides for the uprating of the UK State Pension paid to pensioners who retire to the EU.

Article 117. On healthcare, where the UK or an EU Member State is responsible for the healthcare of an individual, they will be entitled to reciprocal healthcare cover. This includes certain categories of cross-border workers and state pensioners who retire to the UK or to the EU.

Article 118.

In addition, the Protocol will ensure necessary healthcare provisions through the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). The benefits of the GHIC are very similar to those provided by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme, and allows you to receive state-provided healthcare in all EU countries. However, unlike the EHIC, it does not allow you to receive state-provided healthcare in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The GHIC provides you with the same standard of public healthcare cover as the citizens of the relevant country. This may result in healthcare free of charge.
Therefore, UK residents can use the GHIC to get state provided emergency and “necessary healthcare” when visiting an EU country at a reduced cost or free of charge, on the same terms as a local. Necessary healthcare is defined on the NHS website as “healthcare which becomes medically necessary during your stay, and you cannot reasonably wait until you’re back in the UK to get it.” This means individuals who are temporarily staying in another country, for example a UK national who is in an EU Member State for a holiday, will have the necessary healthcare needs met for the period of their stay.
The GHIC is free of charge and covers a range of necessary medical treatment from public healthcare providers such as doctors visits, prescription medication and basic and emergency dental treatment. For more information on the GHIC, including how to apply, please visit the NHS website.

(source – UK government summary annex – UK-EU TRADE AND COOPERATION AGREEMENT Summary December 2020)

If you would like help talking this through, or making sure your financial assets are tax efficient, working for you in a safe manner adapting to the world as it changes, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Transferring Irish Pensions Abroad

By Craig Welsh - Topics: Malta, pension transfer, Pensions in Malta, UK Pensions
This article is published on: 7th December 2021

07.12.21

Irish expatriates, or indeed anyone who has previously worked in Ireland, may have accumulated Irish pensions along the way. If it’s unlikely that you will return to the Emerald Isle, it may be worthwhile looking into moving these pension pots.

At Spectrum, we can help you with that.

First, there must be a bona fide reason for wishing to transfer those pensions away from Ireland. It cannot be done just to circumvent Irish taxation. Professional advice from a regulated adviser should be sought.

You may be able to transfer your Irish pension to either a Malta QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension) or a UK SIPP (Self Invested Personal Pension). And no, you don’t have to be living in either Malta or the UK to do so. Moving them can give you far more flexibility by allowing ‘income drawdown’ and avoiding the need to buy an annuity.

Maybe you have more than one pension scheme in Ireland? In that case, you might benefit from consolidating them into one pot. Again, that makes things a bit easier to manage; we can then help you manage the investment side too.

retire

So, a bit more detail;

  • Drawdown option; no need to buy an annuity. Withdrawing money from an Irish pension can be complex and inflexible, with some pretty complicated rules. For instance, you will find it difficult to access an Approved Retirement Fund (ARF) or an Approved Minimum Retirement Fund (AMRF) if you are non-resident in Ireland. And without an ARF / AMRF you will most likely have to buy an annuity, with no ‘drawdown’ option. Transferring out means you can access lump sum and drawdown options with no requirement to buy an annuity
  • Pension benefits can be accessible from age 50 upon a transfer, and a lump sum of 30% could be taken. How the lump is assessed for taxation depends on where you are resident, so again, advice is essential
  • Easier to manage when you live abroad. UK SIPPs and Maltese pensions are a bit easier for ‘expats’ to manage. In Ireland you must firstly transfer €63,500 to an AMRF/Annuity, unless you are receiving €12,700 p.a. in lifetime guaranteed pension annuity. On the other hand, UK and Maltese products have no annuity requirements
  • No Irish taxation. Even if you live abroad, income from your Irish pensions will be taxed at source, as income in Ireland. Withdrawing from a UK SIPP or a Malta QROPS instead means that this income can be paid gross, with no tax at source. This depends on where you are resident however and if a double taxation agreement (DTA) is in place. Again, professional advice should be sought
  • Death benefits. Irish pensions, once in payment, are liable to Irish inheritance taxes (CAT) on death, even if you are no longer resident there. With a Malta QROPS there is no Maltese inheritance tax on the remaining pension pot, although tax may be payable in the country of residence of the deceased or beneficiaries

Basically, transferring out could make your life easier. Each situation is different however, and a full review of your circumstances should be carried out.

If you do have an Irish pension and do not intend to return, please feel free to contact us at Spectrum for a no-obligation, initial discussion where we can explore your options.

UK pensions and tax treatment in France

By Andrea Glover - Topics: France, Tax in France, UK Pensions
This article is published on: 13th September 2021

13.09.21
Andrea Glover

I have had several queries over the last few months about the tax treatment of UK pensions in France, whether they are being received as a regular income or where clients have or are about to take a one-off lump sum to pay for a large purchase. Many of the queries were relating to the completion of French tax returns, but we are also seeing a large number of queries where advice is being sought on French tax treatment of pensions prior to a move to France.

So, in this article, I am going to go back to the basics and go through the different types of UK pension scheme and their tax treatment in France for French tax residents.

UK State Pension
As a French resident, the UK State Pension is taxable in France (not the UK) and where an S1 is held, no French social charges are payable. It is important to note that the UK State Pension can be paid directly into a French bank account, in euros, although the amount will obviously fluctuate due to exchange rates.

Government pensions
UK government pensions are dealt with under the UK/France double tax treaty and apply to those who have previously worked in the Armed Forces, Civil Service, Fire Service, Local Authority, NHS (with exceptions), Police and Teaching amongst others. A full list is available at www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/international-manual/intm343040 to help you identify if your pension is classified as ‘government’.

Under the double tax treaty, UK government pensions are taxed at source in the UK. The pension income still has to be declared in your French tax return, but a 100% tax credit is given so that the same tax is not paid twice. It is important to note, that such pension payments are taken into account to calculate your overall income and could have the effect of increasing the rate at which other sources of income are taxed.

Qualifying government pensions are exempt from social charges.

final salary pension review

Private pensions (occupational, stakeholder, SIPP)
Pension payments received from UK private pensions are taxable in France (not the UK) if you are French resident and again, where an S1 is held, the payments are exempt from social charges.

Annuities
Annuities are more complex and advice needs to be sought to establish the type of annuity held, as annuities can be interpreted as investment income in France rather than pension income.

Allowances
Amongst other allowances relating to pension income, there is a general 10% tax abatement on pension income (with the exception of qualifying UK government pensions) with a minimum of €394 and a ceiling of €3,858 (applicable to 2020 tax returns and subject to change). The allowance is per taxpayer, although the ceiling stated is per fiscal household.

The allowance only relates to tax and not social charges, where applicable.

Lump Sums
Lump sum pension payments are an area for discussion in another article. Other than qualifying UK government pension lump sums, such payments (including UK tax free lump sums) are taxable in France.

I would always strongly recommend that you speak to a France based qualified adviser, familiar with UK pensions, before any firm decision is made to take a lump sum payment.

Spring cleaning your finances

By Claire Cammack - Topics: Financial Review, France, Pensions, UK Pensions
This article is published on: 22nd April 2021

22.04.21

“When the dust settles on Brexit!” has been heard many, many times over recent months and even the last couple of years. But what of it? With the UK and some former EU partners enduring a bitter relationship, and the UK’s Prime Minister seemingly giving free rein to his ministers, it is difficult for many to see a clear direction. Though a clear direction is coming, according to the financial expert sector – and it may not be welcomed by expatriates! Generally, it is accepted that the UK will introduce hard measures to hang onto funds and to introduce punitive tax penalties for those funds that leave the kingdom.

Brexit seems to be “done and dusted”, yet where are we all? The global pandemic has clouded the issue but has forcibly created time for us to tackle the things that had been put off for too long. So what better time for a spring clean in your financial affairs.

Pensions will be hit first, according to the experts, then lump sum investments, if not simultaneously. It will not only be the UK taking measures. France, particularly, will be looking to gather what they can from expatriates living in France. 

Pensions health check

You don’t have to sit back and wait for governments to take action – and endure stress in the process! There are actions that you can take now and the first is to book a financial review with your Spectrum adviser who has a wealth of experience and resources available and at your disposal. We can quickly identify opportunities to bring your finances under your control and maximise investment and tax efficiency.

It’s not too late to act now to firm up your overall living status and ensure that all is in apple pie order for your peace of mind. Contact your Spectrum adviser for an expert appraisal of your situation.

Your Expat Guide to Pension Planning

By Michael Doyle - Topics: France, Luxembourg, pension transfer, Pensions, QROPS, UK Pensions
This article is published on: 4th March 2021

04.03.21

Are you planning on retiring in France or Luxembourg but have a pension in the UK?

Look no further than this article as we guide you through your options. Pensions are a pinnacle part of your retirement plan but can be a complex topic for British expatriates with rules frequently changing, so always consult with your financial adviser when deciding which plan best suits your needs.

First off, you can leave your pension as is in your existing UK pension scheme if you want. However, with the Brexit decision, you should check with your UK financial adviser and make sure they can still support you. If you want to move your funds to an international pension plan, then your best options may be opening a QROPS or SIPP account.

QROPS (Qualified Recognized Overseas Pension Scheme) allows foreign nationals who have worked in Britain to transfer their UK pensions overseas.

  • Expatriates can avoid various restrictions imposed by the UK when taking retirement benefits
  • HMRC allows individuals to access 100% their pension fund after the age of 55. However, it may not be advisable to do so as it can result in higher taxes on withdrawals. It is potentially better to draw the funds periodically in a more tax-efficient manner
  • There’s no compulsory annuity purchase
  • Reduction in currency risk because QROPS allows you to invest and take benefits in a currency of your choice
  • QROPS gives you more freedom to select a portfolio suited to your needs because it offers a more extensive range of investment options

SIPP (International Self-Invested Personal Pension) enables someone access to greater investment choices because it is a personal pension plan based on making your own decisions. However, the pension structure is based in the UK so it’s subject to any legislative changes made by the UK government.

Benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • An international SIPP can provide a regular or variable income
  • No obligation to purchase an annuity
  • They provide greater flexibility regarding investments, tax benefits, and currency choices
  • Ideal way to consolidate various personal pensions, which reduces administrative complications
  • If you plan on moving back to the UK this option may be most suitable for you
moving-to-france
moving-to-luxembourg

You can also try a combination between both UK and international pension plans. The main objective is to arrange your retirement in a manner where you can access your finances when you want, where you want, and in the currency of your choice. Overall, there are many things to consider when choosing your pension plan, so be sure to do your research and understand your different options before making any decisions.

It is in your best interest to act now when planning your pension scheme, so touch base with your financial adviser today to discuss your options.

UK pensions and investments after BREXIT

By Andrea Glover - Topics: France, UK investments, UK Pensions
This article is published on: 25th February 2021

25.02.21

After several years of uncertainty, the UK has now fully left the EU and whilst many of us understand exactly what that mean in terms of French residency requirements, the impact on the financial services world is only just starting to unfold.

We asked Andrea Glover, International Financial Adviser at The Spectrum IFA Group, for her thoughts on the matter and to provide guidance to those of you who are affected.

Andrea explained “Brexit ended automatic ‘passporting’ rights for UK financial services in the EU. So, if you either live in France or are looking to move to France, it is important to check that, if you have a UK financial adviser and/or UK insurer, that they can still support you.”

Andrea commented “For those of you living in France, contact your UK financial adviser if they have not already been in touch and ask if they are still able to provide financial advice to you as a French resident. Also, ask your UK insurer if they have put in place measures to ensure that your policy or pension can continue to be serviced. Your insurer or financial adviser should always act in your best interests. It is also important to note that in the case of a dispute with your insurer or financial adviser that you might not be able to refer the problem to an ombudsman or court in France.”

Andrea continued “My advice would always be to seek advice about the rules, from a French tax perspective, for any pensions and investments held in the UK and check that anyone offering you advice, or financial services, is authorised to do so in France. Further, a suitably qualified financial adviser who is based in France will undoubtedly have first-hand experience of living in France and therefore have greater empathy with their clients.”

Andrea went onto say “Giving advice on UK held investments and pensions is only one component of comprehensive financial planning. A qualified financial adviser will also be able to provide guidance on matters such as Inheritance Tax planning in France and look at alternative tax efficient investment vehicles such as an Assurance Vie.”

moving-to-france

For those of you looking to move to France Andrea explained further “Moving to France as a UK citizen is obviously more onerous than previously in terms of residency. I believe this places even greater importance on seeking suitable financial advice before any firm plans to move are finalised.”

From her own experience, Andrea commented “We are receiving a number of enquiries from people looking to move to France, which is firstly encouraging but secondly it means that we can really help clients structure their financial affairs efficiently before they move. We quite often work in partnership with international tax lawyers to assist clients who, for example, have a business in the UK but want to run it from France. Having a clear and defined plan, after seeking advice from the suitable experts, prior to any move to France, is undoubtedly beneficial and avoids any nasty surprises further down the line.”

*This article first appeared in The Local Buzz

UK pension consolidation living in Spain

By Chris Burke - Topics: pension transfer, Pensions, Spain, UK Pensions
This article is published on: 1st February 2021

01.02.21

Now more than ever, with the UK leaving the EU, if you have a UK pension/pensions you will need to make sure that they are being properly looked after and managed. This needs to be by someone who can legally practice in the country where you are tax resident. Many UK pension companies are no longer able to give advice to those living outside of the UK, meaning you could have difficulties accessing, managing and securing your pension moving forward. A local adviser also has the advantage of knowing the local regulations, so is able to make sure you are adhering to the rules in addition to being as tax efficient as possible.

When people approach me to speak about their UK private or company pensions, they usually are not clear on:

    • What they are invested in, and whether the strategy is appropriate given the stage of life they are at now
    • How investment decisions are made, who makes them and when
    • The costs of management, what they are and are they efficient
    • How to access the pensions, particularly doing it tax efficiently living in Spain
    • How to consolidate multiple pensions, reducing costs and creating greater annual gains

When I ask most people what their pensions are invested in, what the annual returns are and when they last reviewed this, they usually don’t know or can’t remember. One of the reasons for this is that being outside of the UK makes all this all the more difficult to manage, and even more so now after Brexit.

Or, if they do know the answer to my questions, they have now found they cannot receive any advice from UK pension companies or UK based financial advisers moving forward.

final salary pension review

Consider consolidating several pension pots

If you have several different pension pots, there are potential advantages if you consolidate them into one. These include:

  • Simplification of administration and keeping track of your pensions
  • Managing your pension savings more easily and effectively, including potential tax liabilities knowing local, Spanish rules
  • Saving money if you can transfer from higher-cost schemes to a lower-cost one
  • Opening up a greater choice of investments if you are consolidating your pension pots into a flexible scheme

In many cases, the first step would be to locate your pensions and then evaluate what you have, how they work, what your options are and then have these managed effectively.

I help clients consolidate their UK pensions, managing them efficiently and effectively, planning for when they want to access them integrating with their tax situation and lifestyle. We can help you achieve all this, giving ongoing advice and moving forward making sure you access you pension tax efficiently, adapting to your life as it changes along the way.

For example, if you are over 55 years of age and currently on the Beckham Law, did you know you can cash your UK pensions in, potentially paying no tax in the UK, and potentially none in Spain? This is because on the Beckham Law, all ‘non-Spanish’ income is tax exempt (this depends on your personal circumstances) and being a NON-UK resident, you have no tax liabilities there either.

If you would like to discuss your various UK pensions and what your options are, feel free to get in touch.

Are you and your investments adapting to change?

By John Hayward - Topics: Investment Risk, Investments, Spain, UK investments, UK Pensions, wealth management
This article is published on: 11th January 2021

11.01.21

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change

adapt your investments to the change

I didn’t write that and neither did Charles Darwin, even though many websites state that it is from Darwin´s Origin of Species. In a way, it doesn’t matter who wrote it. What is important is that it is not necessarily the strongest, or the most intelligent, who have survived this coronavirus. Many people have adapted their lives, with guidance, to avoid contracting the virus and/or passing it on in case they have it without knowing.

When lockdown took affect here on Friday 13th March 2020 panic was rife, which manifested itself through stockmarkets crashing across the world. If there is one thing that we have learnt about the human being, it is that he or she is likely to overreact in times of trouble. Toilet rolls, bleach, and selling off stocks and shares were the focus for many in March and April. Months later, it appears that we are not going to the loo so often, houses don´t need cleaning so regularly, and that the business world is in better shape than a lot of people realise.

I return to the “Darwin’s” theory, focusing on adaptation. Some companies were already struggling pre-Covid 19 (21st century companies with 20th century ideas), so the pandemic has accelerated their demise, whereas other companies have taken advantage of the online and digital world, made more prominent because of Covid-19, and have adapted to the demand created by Covid-19.

upward stockmarket trends

2020 was a pretty pathetic year for the British FTSE100 (Down 12%) compared to the US S&P500 (Up 18%). The FTSE100 is made up of companies from poor performing sectors, such as banks and oil, whereas the S&P500 includes technology, high quality consumer goods, and some healthcare stocks. Even then, there were some horror stories and it is the job of the wealth manager to navigate the investment storms.

Those who have used the services of The Spectrum IFA Group will have seen a significant increase in the value of their investments since March 2020. This has been down to expert wealth management on the part of the investment companies that we recommend. They have picked through the good and the bad to achieve positive results despite the political wrangling on both sides of the Atlantic and the effects of Covid-19.

Brexit

Brexit has gone (at last!). Boris Johnson has achieved what he wanted. We shall see where that leaves Britain and the consequences for those of us living in an EU country. We knew that there would be changes; deal or no deal. There will be more paperwork, more checks, more headaches, and less freedom. However, those with the desire to adapt, will. This adaptation should bring security, confidence, and an overall feeling of well-being.

So whether it was Darwin, Mrs Miggins from the cake shop, or the bloke down the tavern, who spoke of adaptation all those years ago, the important thing is to look forward, act responsibly, and ignore all the horrible and, at times, unnecessary press reports and local gossip. Not only will all the negatives affect your mental health but they could also impact your wealth. We are not doctors but we can perhaps help your wealth make you healthier.

2021 finances

Welcome to 2021

Contact me today to find out how we can help you make more from your money, protecting your income streams against inflation and low interest rates, or for any other financial and tax planning information, at john.hayward@spectrum-ifa.com or call or WhatsApp (+34) 618 204 731.