Tax the way to do it

Inheritance Tax (IHT) has been a big issue in Britain recently, with newspaper campaigns for its abolition, a pledge to raise the threshold to £1 million by the Conservatives and an immediate doubling of the threshold for couples to £600,000 in response by the Labour government in the pre-budget report.

Yet for all the interest in the tax in Britain, it is an issue in other countries too, not least for UK investors looking to build up a property portfolio.

The key issue for such investors is to be well-informed about such laws, for they are different from those in Britain and also from each other, a point experts on the issue are keen to emphasise.

One such expert is Geoffrey Shindler at Lane-Smith & Shindler LLP, a specialist in areas such as tax, wills and trusts, who told that places such as Spain and France, which are the most popular for overseas investors, had significantly different provisions than the UK. His advice, particularly for those buying a property with the intention of retiring to it, was that local advice should be sought and, ideally, a solicitor should find a lawyer in that country with a knowledge of how best to proceed.

Similar advice comes from independent financial advisors Calculis Ltd, whose director Alex Pegley warned that many people could get hit with inheritance tax both in the UK and overseas, unless they became non-domiciled – a process he described as “pretty drawn out, complicated and nigh on impossible”.

He added: “The key thing that people need to be aware of is the tax is constructed in a different way abroad,” noting that UK provisions such as spousal exceptions were “not necessarily” applied in places such as France and Spain.

Recommending that people get a “feeling” for the tax situation in the country where the investment is being made, he echoed Mr Shindler’s advice by saying buyers “really need to talk to the person in the country they’re buying in.”

This is not automatic, Mr Pegley warned, for there was a distinct lack of transparency, in his view: “People don’t think of doing it, in my experience. It’s only when they’ve been advised to do that that they’ll do that. People aren’t seeking advice on the overseas situation.”

Opportunities abound for investors in property in many countries, with France and Spain complimented by locations such as Germany, Portugal, the Alps, Cape Verde and Cyprus in Europe alone. With so many locations and opportunities, investors can look around for various options to make money and even find their own place overseas.

Yet with each country comes a batch of property laws to which wise investors will pay the respect of getting to know, ideally by using the best local advice they can get, to avoid a dream investment turning sour.

In today’s world Property investment is an excellent investment option especially investment in UK