As an expert on tax for expats and non-domiciles living in the UK, Rachel contributes to a lively webinar hosted by the New Zealand Business Women’s Network
On Wednesday 3 February 2021 the UK-based New Zealand Business Women’s Network (NZBWN) held the third in their series of webinars “Member Masterclasses on Finance” – this one entitled “Buying and Selling UK Property”.
Chaired by network member Geraldine Collett of Halo Financial, this well-attended online event was joined by a panel of experts made up of Rachel Sestini, Managing Director of Sestini & Co, Craig Daniel of Westbridge Construction Ltd, Jenna Daniel of Berkeley & Woods estate agents and Chris Heffernan of i-Select Tax Ltd.
The webinar focused on helping members understand the UK property market, navigate tax obligations, explore ways to purchase property using funds from New Zealand, and examine other implication for Kiwis living in the UK and managing properties.
The NZBWN is built on a lively expat network of over 2,000 members and volunteers, who are committed to learning, connecting and inspiring, hosting events, workshops and training sessions as well as mentoring, and all with typical Kiwi gusto! The success, engagement and entrepreneurial spirit of these women and the organisation was evident in the lively discussions and questions that followed each speaker.
The webinar began with commentary on the current UK property market and the effect on it of both Covid and Brexit – neither of which have been as negative as predicted – and went on to discuss the development of properties to increase their value and/or rent them out, covering differences in legal approaches to buying property in the UK as opposed to New Zealand.
Capital Gains Tax under the spotlight
Rachel spoke on the way tax works in the UK when you sell or rent out a property, depending on whether you are non-domicile but living in the UK or leave Britain to live overseas. She was kept busy with questions about UK Capital Gains Tax, explaining that non-residents may sell a property without paying Capital Gains Tax, but if they buy a property and then leave the UK they’ll need to pay it.
Emphasising that only investment properties need pay CGT (if the property is the owner’s main residence then it can be sold tax free) she made the point that these considerations need to be taken into account when buying property with a view to making money from it. Rachel also touched on the current government debate about Capital Gains Tax, with the hope that any increases will not be too high, given the current economic climate.
Rachel also pointed out that UK residential rules can be complicated and nuanced, and this observation was reiterated by Chris Heffernan of New Zealand-based i-Select Tax, who also offered expertise in this area.
He went on to note interesting differences between the UK and NZ tax systems – income being the main source of tax in New Zealand, not capital – which can open up a minefield when deciding exactly what income is, and whether or not it’s taxable.
Double taxation can also be a minefield – where individuals are potentially liable to tax by two taxation systems if they are in a different country from their property. This risk is mitigated by double taxation treaties – agreements between two states which are designed to protect against double taxation of the same income, provide certainty of treatment for cross-border trade and investment, and prevent excessive foreign taxation.
The panel discussions also touched on how trusts, gifts, and transactions creating capital may or may not be liable to tax.
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