Tax advice, UK?
April 15, 2009 1:04 AM   Subscribe

Where can I get good tax advice in the UK?

I am not a UK national, but moved here a few months ago to marry one. Two money related questions - if they can be answered on AskMeFi, great, otherwise recommending a London accountant you or an acquaintance have had experience with would be great.

1. I've got permission to work in the UK (National Insurance number on its way), but my employment is a little complicated, as I work remotely, as a consultant, with an international development organisation's country office in another country. How should I sort out tax? As a self-employed individual?

2. My savings, a few thousand pounds, are still in a bank account in my home country. Will transferring them to my UK account (electronically) mean they'll have to be taxed? Having already paid tax on them once it seems a pity, but if that's how it is... I thought of transferring part of them to an ISA immediately but of course, they'll move through my account first.

3. Do you know of a good London accountant whom I could consult about all this? I'm not enough of a high roller to employ an accountant, but I think a consultation should do to avoid problems in the future.
posted by tavegyl to Work & Money (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've been using Global Tax Network, who prepare all my returns for about £3K.

I'm American, live in England, work and own a small business here in The UK, have owned property in another EU country, and I'm married to a Dutch national.

In spite of my efforts to keep my taxes simple (these things creep up on you!) my situations is probably far more complicated than yours.

GTN does a very decent, cost effective job. UK based staff, always available to answer a query and they will work with you, suggesting strategies to reduce your overall tax rate. I'm currently paying a little under 15%, but your specific results may, of course, differ.

By contrast I previously used KPMG who outsourced every return to India, took about three times as long as GTN and generally were very unhelpful.

In terms of your queries

1) Do you have a company setup? If you can go the company route, you can reduce your taxes to about 10% or so, just by getting paid offshore and drawing the minimum. Still best to talk to a professional on this.

2) Any money brought into the UK should be taxed at your nominal rate. Watch this as you should bring in only what you need. A professional can help you bring in cash tax free, but I won't post the specific advise I've received here, as it won't pertain / help you. But it can be done.

3) I've already answered this query above.
posted by Mutant at 2:39 AM on April 15, 2009

@Mutant: Any money brought into the UK should be taxed at your nominal rate.

Are you sure? That would mean all the money you spend while on holiday in the UK would have to be taxed. Isn't it true that you are only taxed on earnings while you are resident in the UK? In this case he has already earnt the money and already paid tax on it.
posted by devnull at 4:25 AM on April 15, 2009

IANATA (tax accountant) and IANYTA but doing the same thing myself (only the other way round - UK national, living in the US and returning to UK). You can bring money into the UK when you arrive and it will be tax free. If you bring it in subsequently, any interest earned while you are a UK resident is subject to UK tax. So if you had 10,000 whatsits in your home account when you entered the UK but interest has now increased that to 11,000 whatsits, you are liable for UK tax on the 1000 whatsits but the 10,000 whatsits will be tax free.
posted by TheRaven at 5:07 AM on April 15, 2009

"Are you sure? That would mean all the money you spend while on holiday in the UK would have to be taxed. Isn't it true that you are only taxed on earnings while you are resident in the UK?"

No, OP is resident in the UK, not on holiday, so these are two different situations.

When I moved here I was advised to bring everything I would need (until I started earning in the UK) in a lump sum, before I moved. Since I've only been advised during in person meetings to avoid bringing money into the UK so I don't have an on line citation, but I did find this (disclaimer: not my precise situation) :

If you transfer the capital *prior* to your move, there will be *zero* tax on the transfer. If you transfer after you become resident in the UK, the tax could be very complicated.

The UK taxes residents on a remittance basis. If you bring money to the UK after you become resident, you are taxed on any earnings that have accumulated within that account.

I've tried to avoid bringing money into the UK after I'd moved here. I had to transfer money from the US once when I was purchasing some property in another EU country, and followed advise from my tax planners to avoid having to pay taxes on the sum.

In general, the UK has recently become very, very unfriendly towards "non doms"; those of us who are NOT domiciled here for tax purposes. The legislation is dynamic and after stablising my own situation I haven't kept up with changes.

In general, the UK now wants to tax (some) non domiciled residents on a global basis. In theory income earned abroad triggers UK taxes while one is resident in the UK.

OP really should sit down with a planner, especially so since there are apparently multiple domiciles involved (i.e., living in the UK while working for a company, presumably non UK based, remotely).

A little planning now may avoid a big bill later and, if a bill is received, it is minimised.
posted by Mutant at 5:49 AM on April 15, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice, AskMeFi. Especially thanks to Mutant - since percentage symbols make my eyes cross, I've contacted the Global Tax Network and will hopefully get a consultation soon.
posted by tavegyl at 9:16 AM on April 15, 2009

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