x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Pressing property matters and UK tax issues for savings

Have a problem? Been treated unfairly? Our consumer advocate is on the case for you.

My husband and I are British and have decided to sell a house we own in London. We are not sure if we would have to pay any tax and would be grateful if you could explain the situation to us. ZM RAK The house in question was the sole home for ZM and her family before they moved to the UAE. This means that for the period they were living in it there would be no tax liability, as the UK government does not tax gains made on a main residence for people who are UK residents for tax purposes. The rules changed in 1988, but as ZM left the UK in 2002 the new rules apply. As they have both been non-resident and non-ordinarily resident, terms used by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs, for more than five full tax years, there would be no liability to UK Capital Gains Tax on the proceeds of the sale.

My friend and I share an apartment, with the full knowledge of the landlord despite the rental agreement being in my friend's name. I would like to get a liquor licence but have been told that only my friend can do this, as he is the tenant. Is there any way around this? AD Dubai Generally, in order to obtain a licence the tenancy contract must be in the name of the applicant. However, in your situation, you will need to obtain a Letter of No Objection (NOC) from your flatmate and provide a copy of their passport and the tenancy contract, as well as the usual documents and fees requested.

Many years ago I took out an endowment policy for a mortgage but in all my moves I have lost the paperwork and I cannot remember which insurance company it was with. It was one of the Scottish ones but I don't know which one, or how to go about getting some information. Can you help me? FS Abu Dhabi There are several UK insurance companies that either have Scottish in their name or have a head office in Scotland so it could be one of many. I think your best bet would be to try to trace the policy through The Unclaimed Assets Register. This is a search service that helps you find your lost assets and re-establish contact with financial institutions. You can contact the service via their website www.uar.co.uk or by e-mailing search@uar.co.uk. There is a fixed fee of £25 (Dh151) for each search and this can be paid online by credit card. The Unclaimed Assets Register can help with finding lost endowment and pension policies as well as information regarding certain employer related pension schemes.

Is there any website on which I can type the name of an LLC (limited liability company) to check whether the company is genuine? Please help me as I am in discussions with an LLC based in Abu Dhabi who want me to pay a sum of money. Therefore, I want to check the company out before doing so. DF Abu Dhabi Most trade licences for this type of company will have been issued by the Department of Planning and Economy, and its website has a search facility www.adeconomy.ae. On the website you will see a link to "Trade Name Search". However, it appears that this facility is currently only available in Arabic, so you will either have to find an Arabic speaker to assist you or telephone the department on the consumer protection number, 800 881. [Any legitimate company will have a formal trade licence so you could ask to see a copy of that.] I would question a company that would refuse such a request.

I am registered as a non-resident with HM Revenue & Customs for tax purposes. I have been told that all the money I earn while I am here in the UAE is tax-free as long as I don't return to the UK for more than 90 days per year and stay out for at least one full tax year. Is it a good idea to send money home to my UK bank account, say every month, so that I can pay off chunks of my mortgage? Is there any danger that this money may be liable to tax, and if so is there another way you could recommend that I pay into my mortgage account? RB Abu Dhabi

As you are non-resident in the UK during the current tax year, you will not be taxed on any funds you remit to the UK, provided they were earned overseas and you do not exceed your 90 days in the UK in this tax year, April 6, 2009 to April 5, 2010. Fortunately you moved to the UAE at the end of March 2008, just before the end of a tax year so this simplified your situation - you did not have to concern yourself with a partial tax year. You will only have a potential liability if you return to the UK partway through a tax year having spent fewer than five full years overseas. If so, you could be subject to UK income tax in that final year, depending on when you return. Provided you are only sending income, and not capital, back to the UK you are not liable to income tax. If your UK property is rented out, you could be liable to tax on that income if it exceeds the amount of your personal allowance. That income must also be reported to HMRC.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. She can be reached at keren@holbornassets.com