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Property Crowdfunding with the guys from UOWN

Category: Financial Services

Property Crowdfunding with the guys from UOWN

With interest rates being low for a number of years, many of our clients are looking for new and interesting ways to invest the cash in their companies, making it work rather than sat dormant in the bank.

Leeds-headquartered UOWN has been established by brothers Shaan, 26, and Haaris Ahmed, 23. They have coined the term ‘proven performer’ to describe off-market rental properties which have yielded strong returns for a minimum of ten years.

The investment in Leeds offer low purchase prices, high rental yields and the promise of better capital growth than the South. With the buy-to-let squeeze and rock-bottom interest rates, over 1,000 eagle-eyed investors have signed up already. The first fully-funded property attracted 92 investors, buying an average £2,000 stake in a £189,000 house.

UOWN’s ability to provide access to ‘proven performers’ is down to its relationship with sister company, Parklane Group.

Founded 40 years ago, the £15m turnover Group owns and operates more than 2,000 student and professional beds across the country. Also based in Leeds, Parklane Group sources and manages UOWN’s properties, uniquely integrating both the ‘proven performer’ property ‘hardware’ required for investment with UOWN’s ‘software’ in the shape of its online portal.

UOWN director, Shaan Ahmed, commented: “UOWN aims to give millennials a foothold in a property market widely condemned as inaccessible for an entire generation. We provide peace of mind for those thinking about buy-to-let, but concerned about the hassle and expense it will bring. And anyone looking to potentially achieve a six per cent or more return on their money now has a more than viable alternative to invest in, especially in the current climate of ultra-low interest rates.”

Haaris added: “Our vision for UOWN goes way beyond providing innovative, accessible investment opportunities for all. We intend to expand the business across the UK with the aim of becoming a private rental sector property developer, funded by our investors.  This will enable us to provide them with further investment opportunities whilst simultaneously delivering accessible homes to help ease the UK’s chronic housing shortage. We expect to be able to provide further announcements on this and other exciting UOWN initiatives in the near future.”

Investing in UOWN or any other investment involves risk, and returns are not guaranteed. Potential investors are asked to read and understand UOWN’s full risk warning before investing in any of the properties listed on the platform.  Before undertaking any investments, we would strongly recommend seeking the advice of a regulated financial adviser.  We are authorised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants to give investment advice and suggest contacting our Wealth Management team on www.hentons.com or 0113 234 0000 to discuss.

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Are you one month away from bankruptcy?

How much does it cost you to live?

Do you know what your essential expenditure costs each month?

Mortgage, Food, Gas, Electric, Water, Phone, Council bills, Car, Children …?

Add to this your non-essential items like holidays, going out, club membership fees etc. What does it come to then?

How long could you survive on your savings if you were unable to work due to ill health?

Which? Magazine said the one protection policy every working adult in the UK should consider is Income Protection. Yet more people in the UK insure their pets, cookers, TV’s and phones, forgetting to insure the very thing that pays for it all – their income.

Recent research conducted by Aviva has found that around 25% of families in the UK have no savings to fall back on.

It also found that nearly half of families couldn’t support their lifestyles for more than a single month if the main breadwinner was unable to work.

A further report by the Policy and Public Affairs conducted by the CII, Building Resilient Households, found that 1 million people in the UK suffer a prolonged absence from work due to sickness each year, but only 1 in every 10 have some form of insurance.

As a result, the report stated: “Many families suffer financial hardship and lasting damage when there is a prolonged absence from work due to sickness.”

Moreover, the report found there were several factors that could exacerbate the financial hardship of being out of work due to illness, all the while the mortgage, bills, household expenses, school fees and other associated costs of living have to be met each month. Sometimes worrying about the financial hardship could actually prolong the recovery process.

Despite this, the majority of people have no form of income protection in place.

What would you do you do if you were unable to work long term due to ill health?

How will the bills be paid if income stops?

State benefits have been greatly reduced in recent years and could be reduced even further as the Government looks to tackle the welfare budget.

In the event of ill health, most people have to rely initially on Statutory Sick Pay of £89.35 a week.

Statutory Sick Pay is not available to the self-employed.

Dependent on the illness or disability, further benefits may be payable, but often the payments aren’t enough to help them meet inescapable household commitments.

You may also be able to get assistance with your mortgage interest payments, but a waiting period applies.  *Do you know how long that is?

What can I do to protect my income in the event of ill health?

Income Protection covers your income if you are unable to work and earn a living due to illness or injury and will normally pay benefit monthly, usually after a pre-determined waiting period. It is a long-term plan providing cover all the way up until the age you expect to retire, meaning that these plans can pay out for many years if you are not well enough to return to work.

You will receive your benefit and can use it to meet your essential outgoings like bills, mortgage and food.

*The waiting period for mortgage interest payments is 39 weeks!

Talk to us if you would like to find out more. Contact Kim or Mal at our Wealth Management team on 0113 234 0000

Pension Scheme Members

There are limits on how much can be invested in a pension scheme before a tax charge is payable. To qualify for tax relief, a contribution must be a relievable pension contribution made by or on behalf of a relevant UK individual.

A relevant UK individual is someone who:

– has relevant UK earnings chargeable to income tax for that tax year

– is resident in the UK at some time during the tax year

– was resident in the UK at some time during the immediately preceding five tax years and also when joining the pension scheme.

The maximum amount of contributions on which a member can claim relief is the lower of 100% of annual earnings or £40,000 (this is referred to as the annual allowance). 

The annual allowance reduces where income, including company pension contributions exceeds £150,000. The allowance of £40,000 is tapered at a rate of £1 for each £2 of income over the limit, to a minimum of £10,000.

Individuals who do not earn or earn less than £2,880 a year can contribute to certain types of pension and receive basic rate income tax relief. 

Individuals who don’t pay income tax can get tax relief on at the basic rate of 20% on the first £2,880 they pay into a pension each tax year. This relief is only given if the pension scheme claims relief at source (RAS).

A registered pension scheme must operate RAS unless the scheme rules specifically provide that it can operate net pay arrangements or accept contributions gross from members. Under RAS, premiums are paid net of basic rate tax, which is claimed back by the scheme administrator. 

Higher rate relief can be claimed through the member’s self assessment tax return.

With net pay arrangements, the employer deducts the relievable pension contribution from employment taxable income before operating PAYE (so tax relief is obtained by paying the contribution out of pre-tax income). A member making payments in full (that is, out of after-tax income) has to claim the tax relief from HMRC, generally through self assessment or PAYE code.

Employers

Any employer of a member of a registered pension scheme, including all schemes established under auto-enrolment, may make contributions to that registered pension scheme. 

Unlike scheme members, there is no set limit on the amount of tax relief that an employer may receive in respect of its contributions, although the amounts contributed still count towards the annual allowance for the year.

Other persons

A person other than a scheme member or employer may make a contribution to a registered pension scheme on behalf of someone else. 

The scheme member will automatically get 20% tax relief if the contribution is paid under PAS. The member can claim higher rate relief in the normal way.

To discuss your pension requirements or any questions on your current provisions, talk to a member of our Wealth Management team today 

Tax Aspects of your Home

One of the most popular subjects we’re asked concerns the tax apsects of your home so we address many of the queries that have been put forward recently.

MORTGAGE INTEREST

Tax relief is not available on interest for loans used to buy your home.

LETTING PART OF YOUR HOME

Under the ‘rent a room’ scheme, income from letting furnished rooms in your home will be exempt from tax if the gross annual rent does not exceed £7,500 (£3,750 if you share the income).

If you are letting to lodgers who live as part of the family, there will be no loss of capital gains exemption. Otherwise, there may be some restriction.

CAPITAL GAINS

Your main residence is exempt from capital gains tax when you sell it. Please seek our advice if you have not occupied the house as main residence throughout the period of ownership.

Various rules allow periods of temporary absence to be disregarded.

If you have more than one house

– You may elect which house is to be your main residence (i.e. exempt for capital gains tax) within two years of acquiring the additional residence. Otherwise the question must be decided on the facts at the time of disposal. Once made, the election can be varied at will.

– So long as a house has at some time been your main residence for capital gains tax, the last 18 months of ownership are counted as owner-occupied.

– It may be beneficial for a married couple to own the non-exempt residence jointly as each will be entitled to the annual capital gains tax exemption.

Partial use for business

– If you use part of your home exclusively for business, interest on the relevant portion of the borrowing will be allowed as a business expense.

– In these circumstances, a similar proportion of the capital gains exemption will be lost. However, if you use no rooms exclusively for business purposes, the full exemption will normally be preserved.

Selling adjoining land

The capital gains exemption extends to grounds not exceeding half a hectare (about 1.2 acres). A larger area may be exempted if it is appropriate to the size and character of the house. Exemption is lost if the house is sold first and the land later.

INHERITANCE TAX

Unfortunately, the favourable concessions for income tax and capital gains tax do not extend to inheritance tax.

The main problem is that it is very difficult for a person to give away property but still continue to occupy it.

You could consider moving to a smaller home, creating a tax free gain that can be given away, or to reduce the value of the home by increasing the mortgage and giving away the proceeds.

Clearly these are drastic steps, and underline the fact that inheritance tax planning is better directed at assets other than the family home.

In the future there will be additional Inheritance tax nil rate band available to cover part of the value of the family home, or the proceeds of sale if the deceased had sold the property to “downsize”. The home or funds must be left to direct descendants (including step- and adopted children).

Please contact us if you would like more help or advice in this area.

An Introduction to Tax Planning

Tax planning is the legal process of arranging your affairs to minimise a tax liability. There is a wide range of reliefs and provisions that are available to legitimately reduce a tax liability without straying into the rather more challenging area known as tax avoidance.

Examples range from simply choosing a year-end date early in the tax year to maximise the period from earning profit to paying tax, to arrangements to shelter an appreciating asset from inheritance tax.

Tax evasion is different, it is illegally reducing your tax, such as falsifying figures or not disclosing income. This carries serious penalties which can include a criminal prosecution.

A problem arises when the law is unclear, so it is not obvious whether a tax planning scheme is within the law or not. For this reason, there have been several significant developments.

1. We have seen an ongoing approach to artificial tax avoidance which stands between avoidance and evasion. This was probably most accurately defined by one Paymaster General who said that: “Artificial avoidance schemes are those where they create economic distortions, provide commercial advantages over compliant taxpayers, redistribute tax revenues in an unfair or arbitrary manner, or represent an abuse that conflicts with or defeats the will of Parliament”.

These must be disclosed and are closely examined to see if they are legal. Even if they are, it is likely they will be closed in the next Finance Act, sometimes with retrospective effect.

2. A list of ‘hallmarks’ of tax avoidance schemes has been published. If any of the following are found in a scheme, it is likely to be challenged as artificial tax avoidance:

– It sounds too good to be true

– Artificial or contrived arrangements are involved

– It seems very complex for what you want to do

– There are guaranteed returns for apparently no risk

– There are secrecy or confidentiality agreements

– Upfront fees are payable or the arrangement is on a no win/no fee basis

– The scheme is said to be verified by a top lawyer or accountant but no details of their opinion(s) are provided

– The scheme is said to be approved by HMRC (it does not follow that this is true)

– Tax benefits are disproportionate to the commercial activity

– Offshore companies or trusts are involved for no sound commercial reason

– A tax haven or banking secrecy country is involved without any sound commercial reason

– Tax exempt entities, such as pension funds, are involved inappropriately

– It contains exit arrangements designed to sidestep tax consequences

– It involves money going in a circle back to where it started

– Low risk loans to be paid off by future earnings are involved

– The scheme promoter lends the funding needed.

Businesses promoting schemes with these “hallmarks” must notify HMRC about the scheme and register it, obtaining a “DOTAS” number for the scheme. They must then notify those who have used the scheme at their suggestion, who must then disclose this on their tax return. There are some very onerous obligations on promoters of tax avoidance schemes, including providing HMRC with a regular list of their clients and customers.

3. There is a General Anti Abuse Rule (GAAR)which enables HMRC to take action to counter any abusive avoidance activities without making specific legislation to close the schemes down individually. Where HMRC wish to challenge an arrangement under the GAAR, the detail will be considered by a GAAR panel of tax professionals to advise whether the arrangements are abusive or not.

4. Where a taxpayer has participated in a scheme which reduces or defers their tax liability, once HMRC are notified of the scheme they will issue an accelerated payment notice. Essentially this undoes the cash effect of the scheme until the case goes to court which may be many years later, so the benefit of using the scheme is significantly delayed.

Please ensure that you seek our advice with regard to all aspects of tax planning.

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