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‘B’ Day … Midnight Friday 29 March 2019 … UK EXPATS WAKE UP to what’s going to change and how it could affect YOU!

Anyone who reads my articles regularly knows that I hate scaremongers in financial services who paint a picture of doom and gloom in order to shock potential clients into doing business with them. However, after providing guidance to our own clients since the BREXIT vote in 2016 I want to share with you why I think there are many UK expats that need to take action now. There are many articles and seminars detailing the ins and outs of hard Brexit, soft Brexit, deal or no deal … so I don’t want to regurgitate information that is freely available for those who are interested. I prefer to focus on what’s pertinent and needs to be addressed by UK expats before March 2019.

‘B’ Day (BREXIT) has officially been declared as 11 pm UK time (midnight Central European time) on Friday 29 March 2019. After this the UK will no longer be part of the European Union.

On Thursday, 12 July 2018, the UK released a White Paper outlining in more detail the UK’s desired terms for its future relationship with the EU. The White Paper focused on 3 key areas; 1. the proposed UK-EU Economic Partnership, 2. Security Partnership and 3. Cross-cutting Cooperation.

So, in layman’s terms what do we need to understand from that?

Movement of People

This is a major issue! In its White Paper, the UK is clear that it intends to end the current system of free movement between the EU and UK, but expresses a desire to replace it with a new framework for mobility. It treats this as a largely economic issue, detailing the need for continued visa-free access for tourism and short business trips, allowing the movement of skilled workers between the UK and the EU, and facilitating the movement of students and young people for education and cultural reasons.

Ostrich fever … something us Brits are good at! If you have put off obtaining Spanish Residency – I believe you’re on borrowed time and this is why …

I come across many individuals who live in Spain, have Empadron and an NIE and often believe that this means they have Spanish residency … especially those who are working and are employed or own their own business in Spain … HAVING AN NIE AND EMPADRON DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE SPANISH RESIDENCY! Obtaining Spanish residency means undergoing a formal process involving a visit to the National Police Station with certain required documents, including your NIE and Empadron.

I also come across people who are retired and have lived ‘off the radar’ in Spain, often for some time. You need to know that this is going to become increasingly difficult to do after BREXIT.

Anyone already living in Spain knows how frustrating the Spanish bureaucracy is, with even simple tasks taking many visits to various government offices to move things forward. Spanish governmental offices are known to be miserable and thoroughly deplorable places, where expats tackling their mission solo and without a solid grasp of the language are bound to run into infinite obstacles. Government office walls are made of brick or concrete, which comes in handy for banging your head against as you leave!

The problem is that post Brexit, if you do not fit into the categories of ‘short business trips, skilled worker or tourism’ you are running the risk of having to obtain a visa, and if you want to work, in most cases, a work permit. The likelihood is you will be treated the same as any other immigrant applying for residency from outside of the EU. This could mean even more red tape to deal with.

Will there be a ‘transition’ period?

This refers to a period of time after 29 March 2019, to 31 December 2020, to get everything in place and allow businesses and others to prepare for the moment when the new post-Brexit rules between the UK and the EU begin. It also allows more time for the details of the new relationship to be fully hammered out. Free movement will continue during the transition period as the EU wanted. The UK will be able to strike its own trade deals – although they won’t be able to come into force until 1 January 2021.

However, the transition period is conditional on a withdrawal agreement being signed. If there is no withdrawal agreement, there is no transition period!

Obtaining Spanish Tax Residency before 29 March 2019

There are a number of reasons why you should consider becoming Spanish tax resident in relation to Spanish Inheritance Tax, tax efficient investments and tax efficient retirement income … which could reduce your marginal rate of income tax down to approximately 3%!

Take advice in connection with your tax residency and spend some time housekeeping and reviewing what you have in place. We can help you future proof your tax planning and provide solutions for you specific to your individual situation.

Speed Financial Solutions are a highly qualified financial services provider on the Costa del Sol looking after clients throughout Spain and the UK. We provide a discreet and comprehensive service to individuals, and our service is tailored to your needs taking advantage of tactical opportunities as they arise in respect of your investment planning. We seek innovative solutions for our clients and employ our skills, based on many years of experience, to apply tax legislation to our clients’ advantage. Our relationship with clients is built on trust and mutual respect. We are accessible and approachable, and ready to answer your questions, giving you the confidence you want when dealing with a sensitive issue such as discussing your pensions, investments and savings.

Our Principal, Andrea Speed, is a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) which is the professional body for the financial planning community. The PFS is part of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), which is the world’s largest professional body for insurance and financial services in the world.

Fellowship is the highest qualification awarded by the CII and is universally regarded as the premier qualification. It is a major achievement in the financial industry and demonstrates the acquisition of skills and knowledge at the highest of levels.

Along with a Fellowship, Andrea is a CII Chartered Financial Planner specialising in Taxation and Trusts.

Please take a look at our website – for further information and contact us (Tel 951 315 271 or 951 318 529) – we are happy to discuss your own situation in more detail. One of our advisers would be pleased to spend some time with you either in your home or at our office to review your current savings, investments and pensions, so do call to make an appointment. Our Financial Review is completely free of charge and without obligation. Follow us on Facebook for regular updates.

Andrea J Speed FPFS (DM), M.A.

Principal, Fellow and Chartered Financial Planner

Speed Financial Solutions

1 October 2018

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