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12 August 2014

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Managing Partners Column: Have we turned a corner?

Posted by: Nick Johnson

In May our guest columnist discussed how the HMRC have the power to take money directly from a taxpayer’s bank. To date the HMRC has collected a record £23.9billion through its investigations in the last year.

This was £3.2 billion more than the previous year and £9billion up on three years. This clamp down on Gary Barlow-style tax-dodging schemes has racked up another £1billion. It is a clear signal that HMRC will pursue those seeking to avoid their responsibilities and will collect the taxes they feel are due. Under the current system there is no right to appeal but there needs to be some form of redress and it will be interesting to see how this unfolds over the next few months.

The Economist recently reported that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released its latest GDP estimates, which confirm its surprising revival: the UK has expanded for the sixth consecutive quarter our economy has now recovered from the collapse of 2007 based on all economic data, GDP, FTSE etc. However this hasn’t been reflected in the standards of living for most. Recent GDP figures show that the economy is on the up but from talking to our clients there are still many pressures and challenges that face businesses. Wages continue to be depressed and funding is still the main priority for many businesses.

I am optimistic that we have “turned a corner” and that now is the time to plan and build for the future, especially given the amount of inward investment planned for the city in the next few years e.g. The pipeline of construction projects in Greater Manchester over the next three years has risen £3.8bn to £9.5bn, including Manchester Airport City, £1Bn Manchester Places housing scheme with (MCFC) and other major investments recently announced in the city and Salford.

Nonetheless, the fact that households are squeezed between lower incomes per person and a higher cost of living is troublesome. Straightening this out will be a huge challenge for both the government and the Bank of England.

Recently I helped a client in a difficult position where in order to release cash for the family they had decided to pursue an equity release scheme on the family home. However, before completing the sale the client was taken seriously ill and this raised a number of capacity issues about whether the mortgage should proceed.

As a member of the Court of Protection panel of deputies I am heavily involved in the protection of vulnerable adults. Our Court of Protection and Deputyship specialists help individuals and local authorities make decisions for vulnerable adults who have no family members or friends able to help and are unable to deal with their own financial affairs.

Dementia, illness or injury can all stop a person from making decisions for themselves. Steps can be taken to avoid the necessity to make an application to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy by making a Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’). This allows you to prepare for such an eventuality and appoint your own “deputy” i.e. attorney and avoids an application for a Court appointment, which is a much more expensive and lengthy process.

My colleagues in Wills and Probate are able to deal with what is usually a relatively straightforward document. The cost depends on the client’s needs and circumstances and starts from £250 plus VAT to make one power. The team will be happy to provide a specific quotation including details of court fees and registration costs.

Finally, since it’s the summer holidays many of you will be making plans for a well earned rest. Here at Glaisyers we wish you a safe and happy holiday and hope that you have no need to put Alison’s advice from her newsletter “ Holiday and Travel Claims” into practice, but I do recommend you read it.

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Nick is the managing partner here at Glaisyers. Nick promotes a philosophy where all who work for the firm go the extra mile and are open, honest, caring and down-to-earth. Nick is also head of the commercial litigation team.

Nick Johnson - Managing Partner

To discuss how glaiysers can assist you contact Nick Johnson on [email protected] or via 0161 832 4666.

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