22 October 2015
If you're familiar with our blogs, you'll be aware by now of our MoveCube® service. And you'll also be aware that we like talking about it. A lot. But did you know you can now order as many MoveCubes® as you want?
The MoveCube® is our own personal attempt at revolutionising the world of moving and relocation. Basically, we've looked beyond the man with the van and the big faceless corporation that see you as nothing more than a job number to bring you a new approach to moving your belongings from A to B. The MoveCube® is your own personal shipping container that can be brought directly to your door for loading and unloading.
As part of our MoveCube® expansion, we're now taking multiple orders. So let's say a Large MoveCube® can accommodate your living room furniture but you've got nowhere to put your kitchenware. Well, now with Seven Seas Worldwide, you can order more than one MoveCube® to make sure everything is safely collected, transported and delivered to your chosen destination. So now you don't have to leave behind that juicer you bought last year as part of a new health drive and have so far used twice.
We can be there for every eventuality, and our team are always on hand to assist, should you need advice and guidance. So if you're a little concerned that we couldn't handle a big household move, think again: We're leading the way on house moves and can design a service to suit you, whether you need one MoveCube® to move the contents of an apartment or several to deal with a big family home. Oh and don't forget, our expansion means we can now send MoveCubes® throughout the world.
Check the MoveCube® section of the website for more details.
08 July 2015
If you are planning a move from the UK to Australia you have undoubtedly considered some of the key factors already, such as your visa, shipping, storage, residence and transportation. Your move may already be underway, along with all the stresses which go with it.
Equally important is to ensure you understand your tax commitments both in the UK and Australia. After all, the last thing you want to do is add to your moving stress by getting an unexpected tax bill.
We’ve created this brief guide to tax in Australia for expats to help ensure you understand the basics of the tax system as an expat living down under. We will also touch on the UK tax implications when leaving the UK as this will always be relevant in the tax year of departure and the subsequent tax year.
The information on this article is intended for guidance only. It is based upon our understanding of current legislation. No liability is accepted by us for actions taken in reliance upon information given and it is strongly recommended the appropriate advice should be taken.
Tax considerations for British Expats moving to Australia
It is very easy to assume that by leaving the UK you will suddenly be exempt from UK tax. Unfortunately, this is not the case and depending on your personal circumstances you may be subject to UK taxation (income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax) despite living in Australia.
UK tax residence status
Your exposure to UK taxation will depend on your tax status in the UK. If you are considered a tax resident in a specific tax year, you will still be subject to the tax rules of the UK in that year. For example, if you are UK resident and domiciled, you will be liable to income and capital gains tax on your worldwide income.
From 6 April 2013, the UK government introduced the Statutory Residence Test (“SRT”) which are a complex set of rules to be used to determine an individual’s residence status in the UK. The SRT is designed to give individuals greater certainty and clarity as to whether or not they are UK tax resident.
Normally, if you are resident in the UK for any part of a tax year you will be taxed as a UK resident for the whole of the tax year. However, there are special rules included in the SRT which may apply to you in the tax year you left the UK. These rules split the tax year into a UK part, when you are taxed as a UK resident and an overseas part when you are taxed as a non resident. However, there are strict conditions for meeting the criteria for claiming split year treatment. If you do not meet the split year treatment conditions, you may be taxed on your worldwide income during the entire tax year although you left the part way through the year.
UK Income Tax
Typically income you generate in the UK, such as from renting out a property, will potentially be subject to UK tax. At this time you may still benefit from the UK personal tax allowance which is currently £10,600 (tax year 2015/16). If your total UK arising income is within your tax free personal allowance, you may not have to pay UK tax at all, however you will still be required to declare it in your annual tax return.
Even if you are not tax resident in the UK, if you are temporary non resident and you subsequently return to the UK within five years of leaving, certain income previously untaxed in the UK will be taxable on your return.
UK Capital Gains Tax
While it may be true that as a non UK resident you are not subject to capital gains tax on gains made outside the UK. If your non-residence status is temporary (i.e. fewer than five years) you may still owe capital gains tax.
Similarly, even if you are a non-resident you may also be subject to capital gains tax in the
UK if the gains were made in the UK. For example, until April 2015, if you were to sell your UK residential property while non-resident you would not be subject to capital gains tax. However, this rule changed and non-residents are now subject to capital gains tax on gains made (from 6 April 2015) on disposal of only residential properties.
The amount of tax will vary dependent on the individual’s personal circumstances. The Capital gains tax rates are 18% and 28% and you may be entitled to the capital gains tax free allowance (£11,100 in 2015/16 tax year). You may also be entitled to claim other reliefs such as principal private residence if the property was used as your main residence at some point during the period of ownership. Letting relief will be available if the property was your main residence at some point during the period of ownership and it was rented.
UK Inheritance tax
As things currently stand, anybody who is a UK domicile is subject to UK inheritance tax on their worldwide estate.
Your domicile is not the same as your tax residence status. Domicile is a complex concept of general law and is based on case law. Your domicile is linked to your father’s domicile, which is usually the country where you father was born or considered as his permanent home when you were born. Changing your domicile is not straightforward and requires a significant amount of evidence to show that you have no intention of returning to the UK. For example you will need to cut all your UK ties including disposing of all your UK assets and establishing a permanent residence in the new country you immigrated to.
This means that, even as an Australian citizen who has left the UK, you may still be domiciled in the UK and therefore subject to UK inheritance tax.
UK tax returns
Not all people living in the UK have to complete a tax return. However, you are obliged to complete one if the HMRC sends you a tax return request form (SA100).
You are more likely to be required to complete a tax return if your tax affairs are more complicated. As an expat, your tax situation naturally gets a little more complicated. If you are a non-resident landlord, for example, by law you will be required to complete a tax return. The onus is on you to notify H M Revenue and Customs (“HMRC”) that you started to receive UK rental income. If you notify them late you may be liable for penalties.
As the tax affairs of non-residents are not straight forward, it is important that you do not try to submit a tax return yourself as it may lead to errors which may incur penalties. Instead you should seek assistance from a specialist accountancy firm who can assist with the process and ensure you are correctly completing your tax return – and on time. Furthermore, for example as a non resident landlord, an accountant will ensure you are claiming all the expenses you are entitled to claim which may in turn reduce your tax bill.
Tax in Australia as an Expat
It is also not necessarily the case that because you pay tax on your UK income that it is not also taxable in Australia.
The Australian tax system has two main types of residence status: Australian resident for tax purposes and foreign resident for tax purposes. Both are required to complete an Australian tax return.
An Australian tax resident’s worldwide income is subject to tax in Australia. Typically you are considered a tax resident of Australia if you have been in the country for a period of six months or more. The Australian Government Taxation Office have a useful online tool which will help you understand your tax residence status in Australia.
Foreign residents will only be required to declare income or capital gains tax on income/gains generated in Australia when submitting their Australian tax return.
It is also important to know that, like the UK, Australia does have a tax-free allowance, however if you are deemed to be a foreign resident in the tax year you will not be able to take advantage and any income or gains generated in Australia will be subject to tax.
While there is a double tax treaty between the UK and Australia, this is not automatically applied. If you are considered a tax resident in Australia, the Australian authorities will apply tax to your gross worldwide income first – and then consider or provide a credit for UK tax already paid on the same income, where you supply evidence of those UK tax payments.
This treatment also applies to any UK rental income you receive from property in the UK.
If you receive income from a UK pension, it may be beneficial to request that it is paid without UK tax deducted.
An alternative with a personal pension is to consider moving outside of the UK into a Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme. This will mean that it is not subject to UK tax, and may be able to provide other benefits as well. However, you should always seek independent advice before making a decision about your pension – especially in light of the recent pension reforms.
In this wonderful digital age we live in, finding the information about tax is a lot easier than a few years ago.
The UK government website is a great place to start for the facts relating to UK tax, although it can be a little technical and scary if you’re not familiar with tax and accountancy.
The Australian Government also has a number of resources available for people already tax resident, and those who could be deemed foreign resident.
Another website which provides easy to understand tax information for expats is Experts for Expats, whose network of advisers helped us put together this post (after all we’re experts in international relocation, but not accountancy). They even offer free expat tax advice from a qualified adviser if you’d like to speak to someone directly.
Remember, tax doesn’t have to be stressful. Make sure you understand the basics and seek the help of the experts who will help ensure that you’ve got no expensive shocks waiting round the corner.
27 May 2015
The last thing you want to think about as you head towards the summer break is the logistics of moving your stuff from A to B. Nevertheless, it's something that needs to be addressed as you hand in your last essay, sit your final exams and pay your last visit to the student union bar.
As experts in international shipping, we know a thing or two about how to pack for the next move, whether you're returning home or moving onto new student digs. First of all, you need to prioritise, so make sure you put into a box all the essentials such as tea and coffee-making facilities, cups, cutlery, toiletries - basically all the things that you need to get your hands on straight away as soon as you arrive to make you feel human again, that your life isn't confined to boxes anymore. It's a psychological thing as well as a logistical thing.
It's important to have all university-related admin in a single box too such as the documentation you needed to become a student in the first place (passport, academic certificates, NHS medical card, job references, accommodation documents, etc.) so you're not rooting around for anything at the last minute.
If you find yourself weighted down with study books or other similarly heavy items such as framed posters and DVD collections, we suggest leaving a few things in storage. After all, if you're going back to your family home, your parents aren't going to be too happy at seeing your bulkier items propped up behind every door in the house or squeezed into that cupboard under the stairs. It's also a good idea to put your winter items in storage too. Providing climate change doesn't completely rob us of a summer in the UK this year, you're not going to need that fleece.
Keep all digital equipment together and make sure they all have their relevant chargers, adaptors and assorted leads. We've all been there, energetically tapping away on our laptops and suddenly noticing a red empty battery symbol in the corner of our eye, followed by the realisation that the power lead is over a friends' house. In Abergavenny.
Our final piece of advice is make sure that whoever you're moving with has an international transport network in place and a successful track record. Like us. Seven Seas Worldwide has a specialised student shipping service to help transport your belongings and baggage from A to B.
Take a look below at the regions we cover and see how we can help you:
15 April 2015
As students, you face a lot of drama in your lives, balancing academia and independence on a day-to-day basis, and the last thing you need is added concerns about moving back home come the end of the semester. It's the unavoidable logistical headache to round off a punishing term.
However, as the promise of hot weather looms on the horizon, you're going to have to think about where your stuff's going to go for the summer break. Luckily, we know a thing or two about prioritising.
If you've accumulated one too many items during your study time such as framed film posters, big essay books, homely ornaments or - God forbid - an acoustic guitar, you're going to need to make a list. We don't know your parents, but we're going to hazard a guess they don't want their houses filled with clutter - and let's face it, neither do you. So our advice is make a list of all the items you will definitely need for the summer. The rest will have to be put into storage.
Now there a lot of diabolical companies out there that charge a fortune for what is essentially empty space, so be wise and shop around for bargains and student discounts. More about that later.
Remember to approach packing with the same method as when the trip was reversed - put all important admin stuff such as passport, academic certificates and accommodation documents into one box - and label it. And in this ever changing technological age where if we were going on a picnic, we'd remember to pack three chargers but forget any food, it's a good idea to put all your devices, leads, adaptors and memory sticks together in one specific box too. Oh and always be wary of how much you're putting in a box; it's going to be difficult to embrace the summer with a slipped disc.
Once you've decided what to take and what to store and successfully packed both categories into sturdy cardboard boxes, it's time to start shopping around for a good deal on storage.
And talking of a good deal on storage, may we throw our hat into the ring? Seven Seas Worldwide has introduced a revolutionary approach to storage whereby we can come to your door to collect your goods instead of you overloading your car or renting a van. With Seven Seas Worldwide, you'd never have to visit a storage facility again. Think about that for a moment. Take a look below at the regions we cover and see how we can help you:
11 March 2015
Severe winter weather in the United States is causing disruption to our services in the Southwest, Midwest, Southeast and Northeast.
We are doing our very best to get shipments transferred and delivered on time but please be aware that if you are shipping to or from any of these areas, there may be delays. We will try to contact as many customers as we can once we receive the correct information about the routes affected.
Please be aware that if you're shipping items in the US but not to the locations mentioned above, you could still experience delays. For instance, if you're sending items from New Jersey to Florida, there will be a hold-up in NJ because the amount of snowfall has led the authorities to declare a state of emergency this week.
For more information, check the tracker page in your account or contact a member of our team, we're always happy to help.