Inheritance Tax – The Most Costly Oversight of Your Life?

Inheritance tax, they say, is a tax for people who love the government more than they love their own children. This is because inheritance tax (IHT) is one of the most avoidable taxes of all, and can be slashed or avoided altogether with some good advice, and careful planning.

The current allowance before IHT is due is £325,000 per individual, which means £650,000 for a couple.

Given that IHT kicks in at 40% on funds above that threshold, a little planning can save your children thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of pounds!

Many customers thinking of an inheritance think primarily of their home – but IHT applies to the value of your ‘estate’, which includes many other assets and investments as well.

Or to put it another way – even if your home’s value is still below the threshold, your other investments could well make you liable for IHT by topping up the entire value of your wealth – known as your ‘estate’.

What’s in my estate?

Your estate includes your house, money held in bank or building society accounts, investments (shares, funds, premium bonds), and everything owned in your name (cars, holiday home).

This will then be reduced through the repayment of your liabilities e.g. outstanding mortgage, loans and overdrafts, credit card owings, and your funeral expenses.

The remainder, above and beyond your £325k per person allowance, will be subject to IHT.

How do I calculate IHT?

Working out your IHT liability is a simple calculation. Let us suppose your assets, as set out above, consist mainly of a home valued at £350,000 and insurances and investments of £400,000, plus a further £50,000 for other items. Then let us assume that your debts are £50,000.

This means you own £800,000 in assets, less owings of £50,000, so that your estate’s value is £750,000.

If you are a couple, the first £650,000 of this is tax-free. The remaining £100,000 is taxed at 40%, so that your children lose £40,000 in Inheritance Tax.

You see? Inheritance Tax is simple. Not cheap, but simple.

Worst of all, or best of all, it is often avoidable – with a little forward planning.

Life insurance set up ‘in trust’

You can set up your life insurance cover ‘in trust’ and thus remove it from your estate. In the above example, this would have considerably lessened this couple’s tax liability, and might even have removed it completely.

Gifts and the 7-year rule

One way to transfer some wealth to your children free of tax before you die is to gift it outright, but you must survive for 7 years after that for the sum to become tax-free.

Many do this by setting up a trust for grandchildren who will not have access to funds until they turn 18 – but the seven-year rule still applies. In other words, proceeds from the trust become tax-free if you have survived for 7 years since it was set up.

You can also gift your house to your children before you die, again subject to the 7-year rule. But beware – if you continue to live there, you must pay a rent at market rates, in order to exempt the inheritance from tax.

Some cash gifts are exempt from the 7-year rule. You can gift your children £3,000 per year every year, and when they marry you may give your children £5,000 and your grandchildren £2,500 as wedding gifts.

Inheritance tax is regarded by many as a voluntary tax, since with good advice from an independent broker it can be much-reduced or avoided altogether. However, it needs forward planning, and so it is prudent to act now.


Kochi Real Estate – Luxurious Yet Affordable

Kochi, earlier known as Cochin, is the commercial capital of the state of Kerala. It is considered to be the second most important city on the western coast of India. Kochi is widely popular as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’ and is located in centrally in Kerala. This city is set on a cluster of islands amidst beautiful landscapes and exotic beaches. It offers a perfect blend of nature’s beauty with its beaches and backwaters; historical richness with its palaces, forts and old churches and a metropolitan feel with its towering buildings, luxury homes and business centers. The beach city, Kochi is one of the hottest tourist destinations of the country.

The tourism hub of Kerala, Kochi is one of the largest Indian cities and a metro with excellent connectivity by air, rail and road. Cochin provides all the world-class facilities of a big convenience city from attractive residential and commercial setups to speedy medical and banking amenities to high standard hotels, education and food facilities. In fact, it is most advanced city of India with 100% literate workforce that is highly skilled and productive. Beginning to rank among the important IT centers, Kochi property market is witnessing a boom in its real estate sector.

The urbanized culture of the city is another major factor instrumental in taking its property market to new heights. The strategic location of Cochin on transnational trade corridor also makes for a favorable element in boosting its real estate market. In addition to the culture and location, excellent communication network and easy availability of efficient employees are other important advantages for the city. Also, there are many infrastructural developments taking place across the region such as Metro Rail project, New Bus Terminal, The LNG Terminal, Port-based Special Economic Zones, upgradation of city traffic system and various others.

The residential sector of Kochi is developing exponentially due to high demands from NRIs and property investors. Almost 2 million NRIs living abroad are making huge investments in the residential spaces of Cochin encouraging the trend of luxury and deluxe apartments. Gone are the days when people would spend an entire life in an age old home without ever wanting to leave it. The generation of today wants to buy the most luxurious and most comfortable spaces that conspicuously reflect their class and style. Construction of luxury apartments that offer splendid choice of dwellings with a host of amenities is the new agenda of property developers in Cochin. The high living standards and the corresponding demand for luxurious property in Kochi are possible due to various reasons:

– Rising disposable incomes of the middle class.
– Affordable properties available quite easily.
– Housing of migrants working with various companies in the city.
– The ongoing expansion of Indian corporates, MNCs and IT Parks.
– Long term investments from NRIs into real estate projects.
– Reviving of market much sooner than anticipated.

The port city of Kerala, Cochin has been ranked as the second potential city for investments in IT sector by NASSCOM. The mammoth project ‘Smart City’ proposed by Dubai Internet City (DIC) will bring in the investment of whopping Rs. 1500 crores.

The administration is also coming forward to provide basic infrastructure facilities like power, international bandwidth and urban transportation to the investors. The real estate market experts and analysts expect a capital appreciation of around 12-15% in the coming years. DLF City, Sahara Builders, Great India Estates, Skyline Foundation, Puravankara Projects, Sobha Developers, Prestige Group, Emaar-MGF, Brigade Group Anzera Properties, etc are some of the builders who have established their projects in the city.

In spite of the downturn, real estate continues to be the safest forms of investment especially, in Kochi.


Marketing To The LGBT Community

One of the ways to increase your market share and improve your business is to make sure that you’re aware of the audience you’re targeting and doing whatever you can to keep as wide a client base as possible. One niche market that’s often overlooked in this process is lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) clients. Even though most industries now have a code of ethics that prohibits discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity, LGBT individuals can face significant discrimination in the marketplace. Reaching out to this client base is both a good business decision and a way for you to have a positive impact on your community.

The first way to get into this market is making sure that your own business practices reflect support of this community: make sure you practice what you preach. Commit to non-discriminatory hiring, benefit equality for domestic partners, and adequate resources for LGBT employees and/or clients. The group “Out and Equal” has some free resources for helping make any workplace LGBT-friendly, including a guide called “20 Steps to An Out & Equal Workplace,” which includes everything from employment policies and benefits to non-profit support, advocacy in the community, and diverse representation in marketing and advertising.

If you’re looking for a way to network further in this community and promote yourself as someone who is supportive of it, you can discover industry-specific LGBT associations, which are easy to find on the Internet. Chances are you’ll have to pay to join, but it adds you to a database of gay-friendly professionals and allows you to access networking resources. This is an easy way to identify yourself as a businessperson who is supportive of the LGBT community and help you market to that community at the same time.

Another way of making sure that your advertising is appropriate to the LGBT niche market is to avoid using gender-specific terms. For example, if you are in real estate, when describing a master bathroom, say “double sink vanity” rather than “his and her vanity” to avoid biasing the listing.

Another thing to consider as a real estate professional working with LGBT clients is knowing the legal status of your clients’ relationships in your state so that you can point them toward appropriate legal resources. Tax and other legal technicalities arise, especially in states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage.

When marketing to the LGBT community, another thing to keep in mind is that 36% of adults who identify as LGBT are between the ages of 18 and 34, as compared to 26% of heterosexual adults. As a result, this niche market will naturally include more adults who are on the younger side.

If you have others who work under you and you’re concentrating more on selling to the LGBT market, consider creating a diversity training program for your employees. This can, and should, include a wide range of diversity issues, including sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, and other topics that your employees may come into contact with. You can either hire a consultant or do it in-house, but make sure you’re providing solid information and are able to answer any questions you get.

The overall message should be one of welcoming clients, no matter who they are, and learning how to respectfully do business with many different kinds of people. Create a safe space in your office: don’t allow employees to use offensive language, make jokes that target LGBT people or other groups, or use slurs. Have a protocol to follow if you ever have a client engaging in this kind of behavior in front of another client. The more you can establish your business as a safe and friendly place for the LGBT market, the easier the advertising itself will be.

On the other hand, as you create a plan to market to the LGBT community, don’t fall into the trap of reverse discrimination. As you make your company more accessible to LGBT clients, make sure that you don’t limit accessibility to other clients. Use the same language in all of your advertisements, and make sure to use a variety of advertising channels. As with any marketing plan, outreach to the LGBT market should be one part of a comprehensive marketing plan that includes relevant groups in your area and allows you to incorporate those who are underrepresented.


Same Day Cash Loans – Instant Money for Meeting Urgency

If you are dependent on salary for meeting all expenses then surely you often require monetary help by the time the month has passed by a bit. The financial support becomes all the more inevitable if some urgency crops up. At the same time, the much required money must come in hands of the borrower just when he wants to put it to use. For solving the problem, lenders have devised same day cash loans for such borrowers.

As is clear from the name, same day cash loans are approved and are in the account of the borrower the same day he applies for it. The same day approval comes mainly owing to the fact that the borrower is a salaried person. Lenders have no hesitation in approving the loan amount the same day of applying for it as the borrower can easily pay off the loan amount through next paycheque. This means the lender first makes it sure that the borrower is an employee for a considerable period, and it does not take much time to conform the employment status.

Apart from identifying the borrower as an employee, another factor responsible for prompting lender for approving same day cash loans within twenty four hours of applying is monthly income of the borrower. If the monthly earning of a salaried person matches well the amount to be borrowed then it cuts any risks involved in offering the loan. Lender therefore can instantly approve same day cash loans. Lenders do not demand any collateral for the loan. So the time spent on valuation of collateral is saved, facilitating for the same day approval. Lenders usually take a post-dated cheque of borrowed amount and accrued amount and the cheque is submitted in the borrower’s account on due repayment date for getting back the loan.

As same day cash loans are paid back at the time the borrower gets next paycheque, the loan is availed for two-three weeks or a month. This very short repaying duration also encourages lenders for approving the loan amount the same day. But take note of the fact that same day cash loans are costlier affair as being short term loans, lenders charge very high interest rate on the loans. The loans therefore are proving to be a great business opportunity for the lenders.

Bad credit of a borrower is well taken care of in the case of same day cash loans. Lenders usually ignore bad credit assuming that it is very easy for a salaried person to repay the loan through next paycheck.

There are many lenders around who can offer you same day cash loans. Such lenders can be located on their websites where they have showcased individual interest rates. Compare them for a better same day cash loan deal. You can apply online to the lender for ensured fast approval.

Thus same day cash loans are useful in borrowing money the same day. These loans are known by different names of payday loans and cash advance loans also. Ensure that you pay off the loan in time or lender may charge enhanced interest rate and penalty.