明報 Ming Pao News | 移英前留意四成遺產稅

明報 Ming Pao News | 移英前留意四成遺產稅

明報 Ming Pao News | 移英前留意四成遺產稅 800 533 Hugill & Ip
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移民英國對港人來說,其中最大的一樣改變是稅制,當中包括香港已取消多年的遺產稅。基於稅率高達40%,日後留給後代的資產,超出免稅額的都要打個六折。高葉律師行(Hugill & Ip Solicitors)創始人兼合伙人葉煥信(Alfred Ip)建議,移英港人可按照自己的資產規模大小作出應對工作去為後人減省這筆開支,但必須在離港出發之前安排妥當。

移居英國並成為當地的稅務居民後,一旦過世,遺產轉贈予配偶或法定伴侶以外人士,即使接收的是子女或孫子女,只要超過免稅額32.5萬鎊,都需要繳付遺產稅。若遺產連同自住物業在內,免稅額會相應提高至50萬鎊。舉例,假如連同物業在內,遺產總值為100萬鎊,扣除50萬鎊免稅額,遺產繼承人需要就餘下的50萬鎊遺產,向英國政府繳納40%稅款,即20萬鎊。

不過,若果安排得當,善用配偶免稅條款及可轉讓的免稅額,日後子女或其他後人繼承遺產時,免稅額可以倍增,變相減少需要繳納的稅款。

英國全球徵稅 移居前宜做好稅務規劃

先人的遺產如由在生配偶繼承,不論金額多少可毋須繳付遺產稅。當這位配偶日後離世,把財產傳承予下一代時,首位離世人士可享用而未有動用的免稅額,可以由這位配偶一同使用,換言之最高免稅額可以倍增至最多100萬鎊,後人繳付稅款的壓力隨即減輕。

由於英國全球徵稅,所以當成為了英國稅務居民並擁有英國居籍的話,計算遺產稅時,將會連同海外資產一併計算。所以,葉煥信建議有意以BNO Visa形式移居英國的人士,應該要在出發前處理好香港及海外資產的稅務規劃工作,原因是「一旦成為了英國的稅務居民,有很多東西不能再做。」

買人壽保 子女可用賠償繳稅

除了安排接收遺產人的順序,葉煥信表示,另外還有其他方法可以節省遺產稅,不過全部都要提早規劃及安排。其中一個較划算的方法是購買一份人壽保險,死亡事件發生後,子女獲得身故賠償後就可以用以繳付遺產稅,「用1萬元保費買保額100萬元的保單,子女用這筆賠償繳稅,都可以節省99萬元」。不過,投保這個方法需要投保人的身體狀况配合,才能得到最佳效果。假如投保人因健康欠佳而被保險公司加保費,那麼這個方法的成本就相應提高;一旦被拒保,更是完全行不通。

兩地人壽保大不同 宜在港預備保單

此外,葉煥信亦提醒準備移英的港人,要在出發前在港預備好保單,「香港及英國的人壽保險產品結構大異,在香港可以輕鬆找到保險經紀,用最熟悉的語言解釋複雜的保單條款。到了英國後,忙於應付新生活,未必有時間或有能力去了解英國的保險產品,在當地遇到值得信任的人處理保單更是難上加難。」

另一個方法是成立信託。葉煥信表示,成立家庭信託的第一大好處就是節省稅款,假如遺產繼承人擁有外國居籍,即可避免遺產跌入外國稅網;第二,家庭信託讓家人有共同目標去確保信託財產繼續增長,有助維繫家庭成員關係;第三,可以確保未來的財富傳承,避免第三方對家庭成員有任何追索。第三方指的除了是外人,也包括後人的配偶。第三方的追索例子包括後人申請破產時,毋須動用信託的家庭財富償還欠款,又或後人離婚時,分配財產時也會牽涉家庭信託部分。

不過,這個方法並非所有人皆適用,由於信託牽涉成立費及管理費,其中管理費約為每年1萬美元,所以葉煥信建議先平衡預期可節省的稅款跟成立信託的開支,視乎資產規模去決定是否採納這個方法。此外,如考慮成立信託,同樣要趁出發移英前完成。因為成為英國稅務居民後,把英國的資產轉入信託,都要繳付20%稅款。

資產規模過千萬 極大機會墮稅網

另外,葉煥信指出若港人有千萬或以上的資產規模,其實已有極大機會跌入英國遺產稅的稅網。若希望盡量把最多的留給後人,就應該要考慮在香港出發前做好遺產規劃的問題,根據自己的情况安排好保單或信託以節省遺產稅開支。

有人會選擇預早把資產轉交後人,當然,這個方法不但節省了遺產稅,也用不着因而另購保險或成立信託。不過這個方法必須有多方條件配合才能成功。

提早轉讓資產慳稅 需多方條件配合

首先,在英國若轉讓資產後7年之內死亡,而轉贈金額超過32.5萬鎊,仍需要繳納遺產稅。如死亡事件發生在遺產轉贈後第1至3年,稅率依舊是40%;若去世時間為3年以後,稅率會逐步遞減。葉煥信表示,以提早轉讓的方式節省稅款,不但需要確保轉贈後7年之內要繼續生存,也要確保子女不會見利忘義,例如收到資產後會確保繼續在金錢上支持父母的生活。此外,萬一子女收到資產後離婚,那麼這些資產就會被分到配偶手上。

Synopsis in English

When migrating to the UK, one of the biggest challenges that Hong Kong people face is the tax system – including inheritance tax. While this has been abolished in Hong Kong many years ago, the UK still charges such tax, even if some allowances and deductions are permitted.

In order to minimize the impact of such charge, it is crucial to make arrangements before moving overseas and becoming a UK tax resident. Upon death, inheritance is transferred to a person other than the spouse (including children or grandchildren) and a tax is charged above the allowance of GBP325,000. The allowance is increased to GBP500,000 in the eventuality of jointly-owned properties – e.g. if the total value of the estate is GBP1M, heirs will be asked to pay 40% of the remaining GBP500,000 to the UK government, equivalent to a hefty GBP200,000. However, if proper arrangements are made ahead and and the spousal tax exemption is used wisely, the tax allowance can be doubled so that children or other descendants who inherit the estate will be charged a lower amount. As the UK inheritance tax is transferable and spouses are not charged regardless of the amount, when the remaining spouse also passes away, heirs can claim the unused allowance from the first deceased, making the maximum allowance be equivalent to a maximum GBP1M and greatly alleviating the overall tax burden.

The UK levies taxes on global assets so even the value of overseas properties and assets will be calculated. Thus, individuals who choose to take advantage of the BN(o) passport immigration route ought to make careful wealth, estate and tax planning before moving their resident status overseas. Once they move, many issues become very difficult or even impossible to deal with.

One of the most cost-effective ways to cushion inheritance tax liability is to get a life insurance policy, which can be used by heirs to receive a lumpsum of money after death to cover the cost of inheritance tax. Of course, this depends on the premium charged by the insurance company, the age and health conditions of the individual owning the assets and the time when the policy is signed. It is wise to look into insurance policies before leaving Hong Kong, in fact the way they are structured in the UK is rather different.

Another way to ringfence assets is to set up a Trust. It can prevent the assets to fall into the tax net that is taken into consideration for local residents. A Trust can also make sure that the relationship among family members goes on smoothly and guarantees that the trustees share the common interest of keeping assets growing. Moreover, it can shield family assets to be attacked by third parties, including spouses and other descendants. Some examples of third-party recourse include descendants filing for bankruptcy or having to pay large amounts of debts, or more commonly divorce – remember that assets included in the Trust do not form part of the matrimonial pot.

Specific considerations need to be made since the set up and management of a Trust might become somewhat expensive (generally around USD10,000 per year). This clearly depends on each individual situation, the level of wealth and the projected savings vs expenses related to a Trust. Once again, such considerations need to be made before moving away from Hong Kong, in fact UK tax residents will need to pay a 20% tax when transferring British assets to the Trust. The wealthier you are, the more chances to have the British taxman knocking on your door multiple times.

Some people might choose to transfer their assets to future generations in advance. This way surely ensures tax savings as well as eliminating the need to set up a life insurance policy or a Trust. Of course, specific conditions ought to be met. Firstly, if someone dies within seven years after transferring assets to the UK and the assets are valued more than GBP325,000, inheritance tax will still be charged. If death occurs between the first and third year after assets have been transferred, the tax rate will still be 40% – while after three years it will proportionally decrease.

When transferring assets to the next generation, something crucial is not only the tax saving component but also the fact that heirs will likely live more than seven years and that they will not forget the responsibilities that come with the asset transfer – for example continuing financially supporting parents who granted them such benefit. Another risk of transferring assets to the next generation is the eventuality that they might be impacted by divorce after receiving these assets, in fact they would become part of the matrimonial pot that they share with their spouse.


The article was originally published on MING PAO NEWS

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