Muscat: Changes to the UK real estate tax laws, which are of relevance to investors from the Middle East that invest in UK real estate property, were highlighted at a recent seminar conducted at Grand Hyatt here.
Organised by KPMG, a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services, the seminar provided insights into the introduction of capital gains tax for non-UK residents owning residential property in the UK, levy of annual property tax on properties held through a corporate structure and changes in the stamp duty.
Speakers discussed all of these changes, which have made buying, owning and selling UK residential property a complex tax issue and it is important that property owners are appropriately advised on the structuring and financing of UK property ownership.
The seminar was attended by property owners, persons in charge of family offices, advisers and bankers.
Ashok Hariharan, partner and head of tax at KPMG, Lower Gulf said, "In a dynamic environment that we currently live in, it is imperative that house-owners and investors seek appropriate and timely advice before they take critical decisions while investing in UK real estate.”
“The taxman is constantly on the look-out for avenues to fill the revenue's reserves so it is much more expensive, both in terms of time and cost, to migrate from a sub-optimal structure to an efficient one than to put in place, a feasible structure the first time,” he added.
Michael Walker, Partner in KPMG UK’s private client advisory team, set out the context of these changes and addressed the impact of policy decisions of the UK government on the UK property market.
“Public pressure on the government to address the housing crisis in the UK has led to a heightened focus on the taxation of residential property, particularly targeting high value properties. This combined with intense global focus on transparency of the tax affairs of the wealthy has created a challenging environment for UK property owners that requires careful management,” he added.
Mariam Moi of KPMG guided attendees through the path that needs to be navigated through this now complex tax landscape. “The pace of change in property taxes in the UK has been ferocious in recent years, leaving purchasers both confused and concerned. Even so the tax costs of investing in UK real estate remain globally competitive and demand for UK real estate remains high. The key to a successful transaction is careful planning and taking timely advice, and with more changes coming next year UK property owners should be reviewing their holding structures.”