Following the Treasury’s consultation paper and draft legislation, it has become clear that the UK Government is clamping down on tax planning to abolish the use of offshore trusts, company structures and similar planning tools for non-domiciled individuals resident in the UK.
The solution? Gibraltar
Gibraltar offers a solution whereby an individual taking up residence and qualifying for a special category of personal taxation results in such qualifying individuals enjoying a charge to tax only on the first £60,000 of assessable income – a tax liability of approximately £24,000 per annum (although this can be reduced to £18,000).
The only requirement is that an individual have a residential property in Gibraltar available for their exclusive use. This property may be either purchased or rented.
Notwithstanding the fact that these individuals have residential status in Gibraltar, they may still make use of Gibraltar trusts (among other structures) that are not subject to taxation to assist in the planning of their fiscal affairs. This is the very advantageous Gibraltar equivalent (Category 2 status) of the non-dom status that is presently threatened by the UK Treasury.
The benefits of Gibraltar
Gibraltar offers the following advantages:
•a Category 2 individual pays a maximum of approximately £24,000 on their worldwide income under Gibraltar law;
•it is a jurisdiction within the EU (Article 299(4) EC Treaty);
•it has a legal system based on English common law, which recognises trusts and other corporate structures in manner identical to that of the UK;
•UK-trained lawyers and accountants;
•there is no VAT payable on professional services;
•there is no capital gains or inheritance tax payable; and
•a fully regulated financial services industry, to the same standard as the UK Financial Services Authority, plus easy access to the UK and Europe.
Given the Treasury’s proposals, the solution for UK non-doms who do not wish to dramatically alter their tax planning arrangements may be to apply for Category 2 status in Gibraltar and base their European operations here.
Moreover, satisfying the residence requirement in Gibraltar is much more cost-effective than in other jurisdictions. Rents in Gibraltar for qualifying properties are in the region of £2,000 per month.
Move now to understand this status better and give your clients the best advice on how to insulate themselves against the changes threatened by the Treasury.
Fabian Picardo is a partner at Hassans