Non-doms still in love with the UK

It can’t be the weather or gastronomy which is keeping the UK’s 120,000
non-doms from upping sticks and moving.

It seems they have no plans to depart despite the fact that since April their
overseas earnings are being taxed or alternatively they can pay a one-off annual
£30,000 to remain outside the jurisdiction of HMRC.

Other forces are at work here, not least the excellent financial advice which
they can receive by staying put, claims a study by Barclays Wealth. Naturally.

Then there are the theatres, art galleries and concerts which make the UK,
especially London, such an attractive place claims the research. Not to mention
the hassle of selling their UK homes and finding new schools for the kids.

So can we all breathe a sigh of relief confident that our non dom community,
which spent £17bn in the UK last year, is here to stay?

Not everyone is quite so sanguine. The Society of Trust and Estate
Practitioners (STEP) believe it is too hasty to predict that non doms are happy
staying put.

‘If you are an American banker over here earning a lot of money with kids at
school plus you have a house, in other words it’s not that easy to sell the
house, it is a huge upheaval but it doesn’t mean to say that over ten years it
will not have an effect,’ said Jacob Rigg, lobbyist for the Society of Trust and
Estate Practitioners, STEP.

Although the chancellor Alistair Darling has watered down the original tax
proposals many experts claim that he has created a sense of ‘unease’ which will
take a long time to go away.

‘People may not necessarily leave the country but a lot of people will think
twice about coming here and that we can ill afford,’ said Harold Paisner, senior
partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner.

He is not the only one who believes the rules will act as a deterrent for
attracting talent from abroad.

‘More significantly there are a lot of people who will not come here partly
because of changes in the economic climate and because of the changes of the
rules for non doms. A lot of employers feel when they send an employee somewhere
they should compensate them for a different tax regime.

‘If you are looking at paying £30,000 to the UK government this can make it
rather expensive,’ said Judith Ingham, a partner at Withers.

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