Careers At Abbey Wealth

FAQs When Moving Anywhere in the EU

The most common questions you as an expat might have when moving abroad are about tax obligations, currency, pension options, will, estate planning, savings and investments, and, of course, Brexit.

We have asked Ben Noifeld and Simon Baker, both Senior Wealth Managers at Abbey Wealth Spain, to host our Expat Financial FAQs section so that you can benefit from their expertise and experience. Ben and Simon are key pillars of Abbey’s European division. They specialise in providing compliant tax-efficient savings, investment and pension solutions for people living in the EU.

As an EU (Spanish / French / Portuguese…) tax resident, where do I pay tax when I sell UK assets?

If you aren’t a UK tax resident, then you don’t pay UK Capital Gains Tax on shares or funds. You are most likely to be taxed in your country of residence according to the tax regulations. If, however, you sell your property in the UK whilst living as a resident of another country, you will most certainly have to submit a non-resident Capital Gains Tax return to the HMRC.

Do I need to pay tax on my ISAs when I leave the UK?

Most countries tax you on your worldwide income and capital gains, including those in ISAs.

There may be more tax-efficient ways of investing your funds depending on your country of residence, and this is something you should investigate before you move.

Can I pay into a UK pension scheme after I have left the UK?

When you move abroad for either work or retirement, you can still go on paying into a UK pension scheme. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that tax relief may be limited – or not available at all.

For now, you might receive tax relief on contributions up to £3,600 a year for five tax years after moving abroad. Most pension schemes will only accept contributions coming from a UK bank account.

Does my worldwide estate still pay UK inheritance tax if I die as a non-UK resident

If you die outside the UK you may still be considered a UK domicile, which means your worldwide estate may still be liable for UK inheritance tax.

If your estate is valued over £325,000, it will be taxed at either 40 percent or 36 percent (if a certain amount is willed to the charity) on everything over this amount.

Since 2007, this threshold has increased to £650,000 for married couples and civil partners, but only if the spouses/partners leave their share to each other after they die.

My pension derives from the UK, will GBP recover against the EUR?

Making short term predictions (which in essence is up to 12 months), is nigh on impossible at the best of times, but with ‘normal’ indicators such as interest rate differentials now of little use (what with the monetary and fiscal response from global central banks) calling where GBP/EUR is going to be in the near term is extremely challenging.

To approach this another way: forgetting Brexit for a moment, sterling is what is considered a ‘risk on’ currency, ie when the markets are buoyant and investors display positive sentiment (buying into risk), sterling tends to do well and will appreciate against both the Euro and US dollar.

However, at times of ‘risk off’, the reverse of this is true and we see the pound sold off – especially against the US dollar, as this is considered a safe-haven currency.

Now clearly on a medium to long term view, sterling is considered massively oversold and so over time it is not beyond the realms of possibility that sterling will regain its strength against the Euro and will revisit the 1.30 level, but that is not going to happen any time soon.

Having a globally diversified and balanced portfolio should help minimise any downside risk.

Do I need to have a will in the UK and for the country I reside in?

In most cases, particularly if you have assets outside the UK, then yes. However, while living as a resident in other EU countries, you may be able to opt to follow English & Welsh or Scottish law, which in most cases will be more favourable.

If you cannot find the answers you need in this section, you can contact Ben directly at ben.noifeld@abbeywealth.com or Simon directly at simon.baker@abbeywealth.com

Ben Noifeld
Simon Baker
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