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Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP

Richard Hough outlines recent judicial guidance on the clarification of tenders

Clarification of tender submissions can be a minefield for contracting authorities. In addition, the growing trend for tender submissions being submitted electronically through a portal can lead to additional problems, such as tender documents not uploading correctly or incorrect documents being uploaded. Even where the tender submission is complete, answers may assume a level of knowledge on the part of the reader that the contracting authority may not possess, eg because the answer is very technical.

Steve Appleton and Joshua Eaton outline HMRC’s new approach to trusts and the taxation of index-linked loans

Before the introduction of the transferable nil rate band (TNRB) on 9 October 2007, the nil rate band discretionary trust (NRBDT) was a common tool used by solicitors to ensure that spouses took full advantage of both of their nil rate bands (NRB). It worked by the first spouse to die making a gift (the gift) of their available NRB allowance to the trustees of a discretionary trust which included the survivor amongst the class of discretionary beneficiaries. The trust assets would then usually pass to the intended beneficiaries on the death of the survivor. The survivor would still have their own NRB available to set against their free estate. As such, both NRBs were utilised.

Richard Hough highlights the key points in recent Crown Commercial Service guidance

Newly published Crown Commercial Service (CCS) guidance encourages contracting authorities to incorporate social, ethical and environmental considerations into various stages of their procurement processes, as permitted by provisions already in place in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015).

Hayley Watson and Duncan Bailey examine HMRC’s proposal to penalise ‘enablers’ of tax avoidance schemes

The government’s most recent attempt to clampdown on tax avoidance comes in the shape of the consultation paper ‘Strengthening tax avoidance sanctions and deterrents: discussion document’, published by the HMRC on 17 August 2016. This comes as no surprise, given the reoccurring theme to tackle tax evasion/avoidance in recent Budgets, with the last being no different. The government is now looking at ways to target those who ‘enable’ tax avoidance plans/schemes which are later defeated in court.

Duncan Bailey reviews the latest version of Ray & McLaughlin’s Practical Inheritance Tax Planning

What an initially daunting book: 45mm thick, 900 odd pages and no pictures or thumb spaces between the words.

Duncan Bailey and David McGurnaghan examine the impact of the SDLT changes for private clients

On 25 November 2015, the Chancellor presented his Autumn Statement and Spending Review. While the changes to the taxation of dividends and reversal on tax credits took many by surprise and understandably grabbed the headlines, there were a number of other proposals which are only now being grappled with by private client practitioners.

Peter O’Rourke looks at current compliance for financial institutions

It crept up on us like a dust bowl sand storm, swept us up and tossed us around like a Texan tornado before dropping us back at our desks confused and bewildered as if in a dream. How could it be that a simple family trust with UK trustees and a relatively modest portfolio of investments, managed on a discretionary basis by local stockbrokers, could be caught by a strange sounding piece of US tax legislation, even though it has no connection whatsoever with the US! Not only that but it has to deal, and comply, with the taxman, in America!!

Mark Feeny reviews the 33rd edition of the classic Snell’s Equity

Snell’s Equity

Helen Marriott highlights the challenges of dealing with bonus payments when assessing periodical payments

Bankers’ bonuses frequently dominate the headlines and occupy the political platform. Bonuses may form a large part of the available family income and many clients want to know how such sums will be treated by the court when it comes to final settlements. The treatment of bonuses earned after a couple have separated has been a frequent source of contention within financial remedy claims. Bonus payments in the finance and banking sectors are usually contingent, not only upon market factors, but also work-related performance. It may, therefore, seem inherently unfair that a proportion of such bonuses may be ordered to be paid to a former spouse, who is no longer making any contribution to the home-life of the breadwinner. The main source of contention is usually two-fold:

Duncan Bailey reviews a case that discusses to what extent a law firm is responsible for unforeseen personal tax consequences stemming from a corporate transaction when private client advice is not part of the remit

The facts of Swain Mason v Mills & Reeve [2012] are somewhat convoluted, involving the sale of a business, but the most pertinent points can be summarised as follows:

Landlords should not act too hastily when dealing with tenants in administration.Rachel Watkin explains why

The word ‘administration’ used to mean ‘paperwork’. If someone was an administrator, it would be assumed that they worked as a filing clerk or similar. However, over recent years, the country has become accustomed to companies going into administration, particularly as the latest retailer hits the press and announces that it is appointing administrators.

Rachel Watkin assesses the practicalities of alienation provisions and AGAs in the current economic climate

Blockbusters, Jessops, JJB Sports, HMV, Peacocks… it seems like barely a few weeks go by without yet another high street retailer getting into financial difficulties. Of course, the business itself hitting a rocky patch does not mean that any particular retail unit or shop is not profitable in itself, or that the lease or premises is not desirable to a new tenant. In the current economic climate we are often seeing businesses, perhaps in financial difficulties, or those who simply wish to offload a few of their shops to rationalise their business, wishing to extract themselves from leases of premises.

Duncan Bailey discusses the current focus on celebrities being ‘seen’ to pay their fair share of tax

I am writing this after reading in the news that the nation’s summer sporting hero – Bradley Wiggins – has publicly withdrawn from a controversial tax avoidance scheme named Twofold First Services. The decision to go into this in the first place was, of course, based on advice from his professional advisers!

Duncan Bailey explores the truth behind the media perception of trusts

The publicity offices of organisations such as the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and the Law Society are helping to convey the message and inform the community and media at large what trusts are and their uses. But despite this, the general public is still all too often uninformed about trusts and so are influenced by the media suggesting that trusts are the sole preserve of the rich as a means of avoiding paying tax.

Duncan Bailey considers the best way to make a pet bequest

The question of whether leaving money to pets is a good idea certainly divides opinion. For some, pet owners and animal lovers alike, the concept provides peace of mind in the knowledge that their furry friends shall be taken care of after death; for others, the idea of leaving any legacy to an animal is just plain ‘barking’.

Ben Gildea considers the current position in respect of how a person’s entitlement to the equitable interest in a property may be ascertained following a leading Supreme Court decision.

In Britain, there are more than 2.5m couples who presently live together outside of marriage or civil partnership. It is estimated that over 75% of those 2.5 million couples have purchased their property as joint tenants. The critical feature of a joint tenancy is that the legal ownership of a property is not divided into distinct quantifiable shares, but that each person is deemed to own the whole of the legal estate. Therefore, should the relationship break down, there is clearly potential for disagreement as to how the equitable interest in the property should be divided between the two joint tenants.

Duncan Bailey talks through some current concerns of practice

On the whole, trust and estate practitioners are a fairly reserved bunch wishing to avoid changes that verge on the drastic or radical. With this in mind, I have both good and bad news for you.


Duncan Bailey reviews how jointly owned property is valued for IHT purposes in light of recent case law

According to s160 of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 (IHTA), the basic valuation principle is that assets in an estate are valued for IHT purposes at ‘the price which the property might reasonably be expected to fetch if sold in the open market’ immediately before death. That is to say, the price that would be obtained for the asset in a sale, at arm’s length, to a stranger between a willing seller and a willing buyer.