QBA organize the UK Tax Seminar in cooperation with the British Embassy

02 Mar 2016 Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel

QBA Members attended

In light of its continuous activities to deliver high level services to the Qatari business community, the Qatari Businessmen Association will be organizing a series of Seminars and Roundtables to present and discuss various topics that would be of interest to all businessmen.

The UK Tax Briefing Private Seminar was organized in cooperation with the UK Trade and Investment Authority, where Charles Russell Speechly’s LLP presented the UK taxation system and covered several key areas of interest; such as the UK Tax for personal and business investments, the latest UK residential property taxation and How to set up business in the UK

Piers Master, a partner at international law firm Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, spoke about the UK tax rules governing investment into UK residential property by individuals from Qatar.

He explained all the main taxes (stamp duty land tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, income tax and the annual tax on enveloped dwellings) and noted that, although the rules have changed over the past few years and in some cases are now less favorable, with proper planning it is still possible to invest in UK residential property, both as holiday homes and as a rental investment, in a tax efficient way. It is however important to structure properly at the outset, since it can be harder to make an inefficient ownership structure tax efficient after purchase.

Mr Master drew attention to the proposal to extend inheritance tax to residential property held by non-UK companies, from April 2017. The new rules are not yet finalized, and further details are awaited from the UK Government, but if they do come into force next year as expected, it will be important for anyone with such a structure to review it to see if a company is still appropriate. Each case will turn on its own facts but what is certain is that structures will need to be reviewed, ideally in the course of 2016, but not until the new proposals have been clarified.

Finally, Mr Master spoke about the rules governing when an individual becomes tax resident in the UK. This is important because non-UK residents are exposed to fewer UK taxes than UK residents. It is possible to become UK resident and live in the UK tax efficiently, but advance planning in the tax year before arrival is normally required. Mr Master stressed that generalization is dangerous, and no two cases are the same, but by way of guidance a Qatari individual who has never been UK tax resident in the past, who does no work in the UK, has no UK resident immediate family, but has a place to live available in the UK, could generally spend up to 120 midnights in the UK per UK tax year (6 April to 5 April). 90 midnights would be even safer in most cases.

From his part, Mr. Julian Christmas from UK Trade & Investment Authority introduced the UK Corporate tax system as a very simple and administer one as it provides an internationally very competitive rate of tax, and is very investor friendly.

The specialist also stated the incentives that are available for companies involved in creating and exploiting new technologies, and also for individuals who invest in early stage. he also mentioned that The UK's headline rate or corporate tax is currently 20%, the joint lowest rate of the G20 economies, and it will be reduced to 19% in 2017 and 18% in 2020