x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Notary publics, visa dealings and Murabaha

I need to get a document notarised, but have no idea where to go in Dubai or what it might cost. Can you help?

I need to get a document notarised, but have no idea where to go in Dubai or what it might cost. Can you help? DC, Dubai It is relatively straightforward to get documents notarised and you will need to visit the offices of the Dubai Courts Notary Public. This used to be situated in the main Dubai Courts, but there are now two offices located in Al Qusais (04 263 9000) and in Al Barsha (04 311 1300). You will need to present the document to be notarised as well as a copy of your passport as proof of identity. If the documents to be attested are not written in Arabic, they must be translated, although there will be facilities for this on site at a usual cost of Dh25.

There is an identification fee of Dh10 and a legal fee of Dh100. The standard opening hours are 7:30am to 8:00pm Saturday to Wednesday. I read your answer to last week's question on UK inheritance tax with great interest. I have another question for you. My husband is Canadian. Would that make any difference to the fact that we could transfer my half of our assets to him tax-free in the event of my death?

SF, Abu Dhabi The writer of the letter is British and the fact that her husband is considered a foreign national and is not domiciled in Britain makes a difference to the usual inheritance tax rules. All transfers between spouses or civil partners are exempt from inheritance tax (IHT) only if they are both domiciled in the UK, and even if they are not living together. A problem arises if the spouse who is receiving the "gift" is not UK domiciled (or deemed domiciled), in which case the exemption applies only to the first £55,000 (Dh332,480) of assets transferred on a cumulative basis. The balance of the deceased's estate may still be covered by their nil rate band. This is the amount that can be gifted before any tax liability, and in the current tax year stands at £325,000.

For example, in your case, you are UK domiciled and your husband is Canadian domiciled. Let's assume that you have assets of £500,000 in the UK, and other assets in the UAE and Canada. You plan to leave all assets to each other. On your death, your worldwide assets are subject to IHT, but using the spouse exemption, assets to the value of £55,000 can pass to your husband free of any taxation. Assets to the value of the then nil rate band could also pass without IHT, but the balance would be subject to IHT, at a current tax rate of 40 per cent. There may be taxes to pay in Canada as well. On your husband's death, his assets in the UK are subject to IHT, but would pass to you under the spouse exemption in total, free of IHT at that time. While the Canadians abolished inheritance tax in 1972, the government still has a way of applying tax to assets held in Canada. Death is treated as the occasion of a deemed disposal of all assets at market value, which is then subject to Canadian capital gains tax, half the federal income tax rate.

I am working as a outsource staff in a private company and I am sponsored by an agency under the company. I am considering resigning and going back to my home country for good. I would like to know how long it would take them to cancel my visa and give me all the documents that I would need. Most importantly, I would like to know the end of service benefit. Will they be able to do it in one week? I have a colleague who got terminated some time ago and his visa is still in the process of cancellation. Hoping you could help me with this matter.

EK, Dubai It takes less than one day to cancel the visa itself, as there are new centres set up across Dubai by the Dubai Nationality and Residency Department (DNRD), which handles visa cancellations. The paperwork usually takes one or two days to prepare beforehand, handled by the public relations officer and signed by the sponsor. Therefore, seeing as the cancellation is dealt with at the centre on the same day that the employer's representative goes there, it should take a maximum of three days. Ideally the end of service gratuity and final salary payment should be made on the same day, but it can take a little longer for a gratuity to be paid. All costs should be paid by your employer and they are the only ones who can effect the cancellation. The cancellation papers that you will be given will specify the number of days - usually 30 - that you are permitted to stay in the UAE after your visa has been cancelled.

I have been offered an Islamic mortgage by a bank in the UAE, but I believe I cannot pay interest. I don't understand how this arrangement works. WH, Abu Dhabi For a mortgage to be Sharia compliant, unlike western-style mortgages, interest must not be levied, as it is against Islamic law to pay or receive interest. There are technically two types of Sharia-compliant mortgages: the Ijara and Murabaha. But the principle is broadly similar. You find a property that you wish to buy and agree to a purchase price with the vendor. Your lender will then purchase the property and gain ownership. You will enter into a lease agreement with the lender and each month you will be expected to pay rent to your lender and a contribution towards the purchase of your property. The difference with the Murabaha mortgage is that you put down a much larger deposit and the property will be registered as yours from the outset.

Have a problem? If so, e-mail Keren Bobker at onyourside@thenational.ae Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. She can be reached at keren@holbornassets.com