What the UK Autumn Statement means for UAE expats

Published:  29 Nov at 6 PM
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Last week, the new UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond presented his 2016 Autumn Statement to the British parliament.

The contents of the statement’s full 69 pages aren’t all relevant to British expats working in the UAE, but those that are may need to be carefully considered, especially where financial matters are concerned. Brexit was the elephant in the room, with the budget tailored to the unknown and containing no surprises.

Points of relevance for Brits working in the UAE included the raising of the personal allowance from £11,000 to £11,500 from next April. Of more interest is the higher rate threshold’s hike by £2,000 to £45,000 along with a promise of a further increase to £50,000 by the end of the current parliament. Class 2 National Insurance contributions are to end, with the higher Class 3 contributions the only option for expats. Insurance premium tax goes up two points to 12%, payable on car and home insurance.

For UAE expats who’ve invested in UK rental properties, the proposed ban on letting agents’ upfront fees is on the cards, but consultations will need to take place before it’s implemented. Importantly for expat investors, the government is attempting to tackle pension scams by banning cold calling in the UK. Whilst the nefarious practice will, no doubt, continue across the expat world, publicity surrounding the government’s actions may at least increase expat awareness of these scams.

Hints of changes in QROPS rules were given, but no details are as yet obtainable, and will be covered by the expat media once they’re released. Also, changes to the permanent status of non-domiciled UK citizens are likely, although this is a different issue than that of non-residency for tax purposes. One major change is that last week’s presentation is the last Autumn Statement, and will be replaced by an actual Autumn Budget. The spring budget will now become the Spring Statement and won’t contain any fiscal details.
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