Migrants group demands inheritance tax exemption for disenfranchised expats

Published:  7 Feb at 6 PM
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The British Community Committee of France (BCCF) is demanding that the liability of inheritance tax be cancelled after 15 years’ expat absence from the UK.

UK expats who move overseas on a permanent basis are denied the right to vote after 15 years’ residence abroad, with the move by France’s largest expat group being seen as an attempt to level the playing field for migrants settled overseas. The loss of voting rights by long-stay expats is at present being challenged in the UK courts by a number of those affected.

Christopher Chantry, representing BCCF, states that expats living abroad still contribute to the UK economy via frequent visits to friends and family and purchases of health insurance, pensions and other internet-sourced goods unavailable in their new countries. Therefore, he adds, an inheritance tax break is due to them to redress the balance.

The government’s argument for the cancellation of the right to vote after 15 years’ residence overseas is that expats are out of touch with the realities of UK politics after that length of time. In reply, expats are arguing that their taxable assets should be out of the government’s touch after the same period of time.

Those who are classed as non-domiciled in the UK are only liable for inheritance tax on assets still in the UK, whereas the inheritors of those regarded as domiciled are taxed on all assets, no matter where they are in the world. The threshold after which inheritance tax is incurred is £325,000. after which 40 per cent of the total is due to the government.

Many European nations allow all expats the vote regardless of the length of time they have lived abroad. Pensioners living outside the EU are already penalised by losing their entitlement to annual pension increases.
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