Brexit: the effect on your money

What’s going to happen when the UK leaves the EU on 29th March 2019?

This is a question which is as easy to answer as predicting what the weather will be like on that day. The one thing which is certain is that the next day will be 30th March and it will be a Saturday.

How do we cope with the stream of commentary telling us pretty much nothing other than the EU’s frustration at the UK’s “cake and eat it” stance as well as its “magical thinking”? This rhetoric has made me think more of Alice in Wonderland. It is clear that people are getting a little tired of the lack of information that is being supplied. We know that there are serious financial considerations to be addressed. The problem is that we don’t know what they are right now.

What we can do is try, as best as possible, to cover whatever position we are placed in post-Brexit. For those of us living in Spain, positioning our money in a tax compliant and favourable way was imperative even before Brexit came along. Now it is even more important. There are certain investments such as ISAs, National Savings, and Premium Bonds, which are taxed favourably in the UK, for UK residents. They are treated differently for Spanish residents and it is likely that many holding these investments are not declaring these investments correctly. This may not be a huge problem right now as the UK is part of the EU and accountants and gestors are possibly treating non-compliant investments as if they are compliant. Things may be very different after Brexit and so it is vital to review what investments are held and where they are based.

What rate of tax is paid on savings in Spain?

There are currently three rates. 19% (First 6,000 euros), 21% (6,000 to 50,000 Euros), and 23% (Over 50,000 Euros). These rates apply not only to savings but also to gains on other assets such as investments, dividends, and property. For residents, these assets do not need to be in Spain to be subject to this tax. There are no capital gains allowances for the majority of people and so great care is required when selling assets and a review of assets and ownership is of major importance before the possibility that Brexit will also mean the loss of all EU tax breaks.

Fun financial fact

Consumer prices in the United Kingdom rose by 2.6 percent in the year to July 2017. In Spain it was 1.55%. We have to be aware that investments must perform at least at the rate of inflation to retain the same real spending power. In November 2008, Zimbabwe had an inflation rate of an estimated 6.5 sextillion%* (That’s 6,500 followed by 18 zeros). You would have needed one mean investment to match this rate.

*Source: Forbes


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