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About desreb

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  1. Final costs of moving back to UK

    Hi Andy, Looking to move to around Newport. We can’t afford Eastern Suburbs, and I can work mostly from home, so it fits for us to live further out. The ideal would be overlooking Bronte Beach, which was pretty much our local for the first few years, but for under half the price, Newport will do! Prices have slid in London for the last 18 months, although it’s hidden when you look at sites like Zoopla. We’ve been watching houses in Newport that have just been sat on the market for months, so hopefully it’ll continue to depress to the point we’re ready to buy. I’d say the odds still favour Australia though: the financial benefits for BTL investors have decreased slightly down to “still awesome”, whilst London’s has decreased to “punitive”. So my thoughts of affordable prices are still very wishful, I think. d
  2. Final costs of moving back to UK

    Oh yeah - one other things, we found that because we're back in the UK, we almost had to pay UK CGT on selling the UK house we had kept whilst away, even though we never bought in Australia. When you're still living abroad, there are various ways of addressing any UK CGT liability as a non-resident landlord. Since we didn't sell while abroad, and then came back and moved back into our house, those options closed off to us. In short, if you're coming back and have a house in the UK, pay for specific tax advice long before you return as to whether or not you'd be better off to sell before you return, or if you keep it, whether it's better to move back into the house, or not. It's also better to take financial and tax advice in Australia, including on UK issues, as you can tax-deduct it in Aus :-) D
  3. As per another thread, I mentioned that when I first returned to the UK a year ago, I took to just writing down observations as they came to me, having moved from Coogee in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs in Summer, to Greenwich in SE London in Winter. I thought I'd share. Some of these are whimsical, some amusing, some really striking. No particular order, just as they came. Apologies in advance for petty issues such as my highly evolved coffee snobbery :-) Dated fonts in Sainsbury's Chip and PIN over £30/$50 No credit card fees More choice Self-bagging at supermarket Some foods half the price People still friendly Winter sun = T-shirt weather Narrow London roads, with traffic taking turns on two-way streets Speed bumps everywhere Slower 4G data Familiar brands like Shell and Esso feel dated Kids in coats Packing your own bags in supermarket No free carrier bags - 15p or 50p People smoking while walking Generally glum Short-tempered delivery men Generally cheaper supermarket Wine in supermarket Cheap booze! Lack of independent coffee chains Pay pass usually less useful due to half the PIN-free limit, and can't tap and PIN when you hit it Edit: Apple Pay is accepted for tap, without the limit No good coffee - big chain-dominated Zip car more expensive than Goget (GBP64/day vs $70) No Car Next Door Not using carrier bags as bin bags, as you have to pay for them No HeyYou app or coffee Buckets of crap coffee at around the same price Lack of traffic on City of London roads even on weekdays Crammed tube Suits and ties Tapping on the tube with your credit card Wifi on the tube, but no mobile signal Narrowness of streets - giving way People letting you in front of them on traffic-choked streets Cosy inside, blustery outside Being able to redirect a delivery 'inflight' People are still friendly - grandmas to our little kids, etc Lack of places for kids to run around - eg. Few Kid friendly cafes Complete lack of playgrounds Kids complaining of being cold, not wanting to go out Continuous running noses It doesn't rain all the time - actually beautiful crisp, sunny days with beautiful views so far People on Blackberry phones?! Lack of the convenience of 13-phone numbers and BPAY codes Nutters on the underground Amazon, Amazon Prime, Amazon Prime Now! Ordering in 20s and receiving it same day Parking both sides, facing into traffic, on pavements, or almost anywhere The personal insult of Costa claiming to be 'passionate about coffee', when their coffee is s**t! Not really being aware of the weather outside - whether it's cold, or windy Not having to 'rug up' in your own house in winter People being a little less open with their personal issues The terrible data networks - mobile, home broadband, and café wifi, all slow Much better chocolate! A true temptation M&S Meal Deals! £10 with wine for two. Steak, Potatoes, Wine, for £10!! Alcohol anywhere - supermarket, corner store Pubs Never really getting above 20mph in the city
  4. Final costs of moving back to UK

    As I replied to Novembernorain Andy, the move was really tough because it was pretty contentious and we did it in the depths of winter. As always, it took around 6 months to get used to things, and then it eventually felt completely normal again. It's great to hang out with old friends, go to the pub, etc. However, I did like the Aussie life as well, and a holiday back in Clovelly last November felt like we had just slipped back into life there, and had never left. At the end of the day it's tough that we can't live in both locations :-) But there are billions worse off, so I'm not going to complain. Coincidentally, we're moving again on Tuesday, this time only 2 miles, not 10,000. We sold our house in the UK, and we're moving to a UK rental for a year, before we come back to Australia to settle for good, this time somewhere more affordable to buy. The reason for selling now was to try to catch the market and pound before any possible further downturn from Brexit, so we don't end up struggling to sell when we want to move back next year. I just remembered - I jotted down observations on when I first came back to the UK on my phone's notepad. I'll dig them out and post them here, in case they help. It's strange what you notice.
  5. Final costs of moving back to UK

    Yes, good luck! I hope the trip goes well! D
  6. I used to use CurrencyFair, which worked out to 0.7% on the rate shown on Google (Interbank rate?). However, a friend recently put me on to Revolut, which charge 0%. They're primarily an FX debit card that probably makes their revenue on investing your balance (which pays 0% interest), but they permit commission-free FX transactions of your funds within their platform, and then you can transfer out in that currency to a local bank account in the country. I had to move around £5000 to AU recently to cover some bills, and I used Currencyfair since I already had the funds in there. But I gave Revolut a quick go with a test balance - paid £10 from my card on the app, then converted to AUD, and then set up a bank transfer to my AU bank account for $10. It all worked fine and the funds arrived. They take 5 days for some reason, but there was no fee at all, no commission, and no FX spread. They only permit £5000 a month to prevent large fees to themselves, but that should suit you nicely. D
  7. I thought I'd have a bit of a rant, and then divert into a question. I've engaged accountants a couple of times regarding our moves to and from Australia and the UK. We generally engage on the basis of helping us with our tax return, although I've also asked for tax advice and planning as well. What I've found, is that those I've engaged have been very happy to offer bookkeeping and filing, but less forthcoming on advice or tax efficiency. A great example is my current predicament, where I engaged a medium-sized reputable AU-UK-NZ accountant for advice on liability on moving back to the UK, and then for helping with the CGT liability of selling our long-held family house in the UK once we moved back into it. This accountancy helped me work through a few scenarios of what our tax liability would be in Australia on whether we sold up in the UK, or moved back on a sabbatical, or moved back permanently. We made a decision to move back for a few years, informed by that advice. Now that we're back, we asked them to help calculate the CGT due on the sale of our primary home; a home I didn't sell while we were away, as I didn't want to get into the complications of multiple home ownership and all the CGT issues that it would entail. They did so, and told us we would have a UK tax liability of around 2.5% of the house value, based on all the various PRR calculations, time in vs away, shared ownership, etc. I asked them whether changing the ownership balance to equal with my wife (who's not working) might reduce the CGT liability, and they went away and calculated that it would save around 0.3% - which is still a good few nice meals out! It was something we had intended doing anyway (so not purely for tax reasons), so we did that before selling. I then did a bit more reading, and came back to ask them whether we might be exempt from CGT entirely, since we had moved to AU for work, and come back after I was made redundant from that job. They replied quoting TCGA92/S223, and said that yes, probably, it seems like I could be exempt. So why didn't they bloody tell me? When I came to them for advice whilst still in Australia, why didn't they inform me that if I took the scenario of moving back to the UK into my primary family home, I might be able to negate the issue of CGT in both AU and the UK? And then when I engaged them again when back in the UK, why didn't they even think to ask whether I met the conditions that might qualify for full relief - or, of course, suggest that, since they had all that information from the previous engagement? Of course, I'm not asking here for help on this specific issue, but there is a more general question behind it. How do I engage an accountant to represent my interests, rather than as a simple bookkeeper? I have a friend from the US who has the even more tricky situation of being taxed at home on his worldwide gains, and when I asked how he managed it, he said he had a 'good accountant' who helped him mitigate the liability. That's what I'm looking for, but how do I find it? Is it a question of asking for "tax planning" rather than expecting it as part of the tax return, and paying for that service. Is it that it's only high-net-worth individuals and small businesses who can get that kind of service? Or is it just a question of finding "the right accountant"? I'm planning to come back next year and am currently planning for that, so I'd appreciate any inputs as to how everyone else manages it! Thanks, D
  8. Final costs of moving back to UK

    Hi Novembernorain, I know this isn’t what you’ll want to hear, but it was quite hard for our 4yo - although there was a lot of tension in our family for the reasons behind the move, as well as the logistics themselves. Generally, when you speak to daycare assistants, teachers, etc. they will advise you never to hide things from even young kids. If they perceive that you’re hiding things from them, and then you spring a surprise on them like moving, it could lead them to distrust your word in the future, or insecurity in that what seems permanent might be taken away. It’s hard to say whether we see a clear correlation between actions and behaviour with ours. We started talking to ours around a month before we made the move itself - we didn’t tell her any earlier (we started planning 6 months ahead), until we knew that we were definitely going, had everything booked, and knew our plans in the UK so we had answers for her questions, if she had them. She didn’t really have many. Our daughter isn’t very clingy and doesn’t show her emotions outwardly very often, so she didn’t come across very upset when we were saying goodbyes in Australia. She was probably more affected by our own emotions in saying goodbye to friends, and leaving. For the arrival, we erred on the side of caution and spoilt the kids; we arrived before Christmas, so there was all the excitement and family activity around that event to draw them into, and also meaning we were both around a lot to spend time together, go to museums, etc. I tried to replicate outdoor activities with a new trampoline, but that didn’t get a lot of uptake even in London, in midwinter. I think the airbnb while we sorted out the new house was a lifesaver - having a warm, cosy house whilst we were unpacking and assembling in our final home meant they didn’t live in the middle of more disruption. So - I don’t think we made a huge success of it, so I can’t really offer any strong advice, although I don’t think we did too badly either. I would suggest talking about it when you’re a few weeks out, you know all the plans, and you’re going to start doing things like packing and shipping. Try to prepare exciting and interesting activities when you get there, talk about them, maybe plan them together. I would also plan lots of social activities when you get there, to spend time with family and friends, and to make new friends, for the kids. Daycare could be a lifesaver for this, since there are others her age, and professionals who can help advise you and provide nurture and discipline as required. Our daughter has craved one-on-one friendships for the year she’s been back, and been the most upset if there’s no plans to see her friends or when she has to go home. Schedule them in so that you have a lot going on for the first month, google every kids event nearby, and determine that you have a good balance. Aside from all that, one constant that we’d had from everyone is that kids this age get over such moves in the long term without any issue - it’s close family that’s most important. A year on, our daughter has school friends, local friends, favourite cafes and haunts, activities, swimming - Australia is a memory. We have actually come back for holiday, and she’s slipped back into seeing her old friends pretty easily, but she keeps complaining it’s too hot :-) Good luck with your move - it is what it is, but the kids will be settled down in their new lives very quickly! D
  9. Final costs of moving back to UK

    We moved back to the UK from Oz just over a year ago. At the time, I kept good notes of our expenditure, which gave a fairly good overview of how much the total process cost us. I thought I'd share in case it's of use to anyone else planning the same. A little background: we moved to Sydney in 2011 from SE London (Zone 4), and had a great 6 years renting in the Eastern Suburbs. We had two kids while there, who were 1 and 4 at the point of moving back, plus two cats we had shipped over and then back. We were renting in Sydney, and moved back to our own original home in SE London. Many of our furnishings were second-hand from Gumtree, and hence we didn't have any large items like furniture, cars, etc. to move back to the UK. For the move, we had a week where we sold off all our furniture and appliances, then moved into an AirBnB in Sydney for three days as a buffer while the rental was without furniture and being cleaned. We flew back to the UK, then had a week in an AirBnB in London with a rental car, giving us time to furnish our old house and buy a car locally. Given the emotional drain of the move and the trip, we didn't hold back on spend in the UK - most purchases were new, decent quality, and delivered to the house Pre-Move (Australia, AUD) Cats: Rabies vaccinations, fully managed shipping back to UK, and boarding on this side for 3-4 days before the flight. Shipping: We shipped 18 boxes of clothes, sports gear, personal stuff, toys, and two trunks, in a shared container. One trunk was broken and paid in full, minus excess. Checkout: We booked a two-bed AirBnB for around 4-5 days in Coogee, in late Spring. Flights: Two tickets were covered by air miles, so this was relatively cheap. Cheaper than the cats by a long way. Post-Move (UK, GBP) Accommodation: 3-bed nice terrace house in SE London Zone 4 Car Rental: Large Estate car for a week on el-cheapo high-risk Heathrow rental company, with seperate car hire excess policy (very useful when rushing around large loads with severe jet lag in UK winter) Furniture: Everything for house: New double-bed, kids bed, cot, Ikea wardrobes throughout, Kitchen table, Living room sofa/bed, various soft furnishings - mostly John Lewis, Next, Ikea, Made.com Other stuff: Amazon, Amazon, Amazon. Initial groceries, Phone contracts, budget laptop, Van Hire, Kids' Winter clothes, Passport fees, etc. etc. etc. Not including normal groceries once we'd settled, lots of coffee, or anything we would normally spend day-to-day unrelated to a move. Overall, the entire exercise cost us GBP 12,700 - ironically not much more than a month's holiday trip back to visit family typically was, if renting accommodation. Of that, a third was new furnishings and a quarter was the cats' travel. We were very light on shipping - we don't have any big family heirlooms, and we sold off anything that wouldn't fit in a box at the best price we could get, but probably lost a couple of thousand on the best secondhand price that we might have got in order to get everything sold and gone. I hope this is of use to someone. D
  10. Money risky in UK?

    With a large mortgage, right on the edge, with a glimpse of the ocean, is still just about do-able!
  11. I looked into this a while ago. I think I basically had a quick email from our estate agent at a moment in time, but I vaguely remember reading somewhere that for certain purposes, a formal assessment from a surveyor (as you would for a mortgage) was necessary. I think that might have been for assessing tax gain/loss in the UK for HMRC with the new non-residents capital gains thresholds when the legislation kicked in, in... 2014? Unsure - but a surveyor report would be unquestionable, I assume.
  12. Money risky in UK?

    I'm watching this closely too; we're currently selling our UK house with the intent to buy in Oz in 2-3 years, so that we have the flexibility to transfer GBP to AUD at a point when the exchange rates are good, or look like they're going to get worse. It seems hairy either way. We have a friend who's in FX for a Big4 AU Bank, and she seemed to think the GBP would lose another 10% against the AUD last time we asked her around a month ago. However, we see inflation heading up in UK and talk of a rate rise, which boosted GBP just on the sniff of a rise. And then the RBA wants the AUD to be lower, and there's little prospect of rate rises in AU - but the economy looks pretty solid, it seems. On the flipside, UK just reported lowest retail figures for 8 years, which could send them back down again, and if Brexit ends up as a no deal, that could punish the pound further. FX rates put everything you do to save and earn money into sharp perspective, don't they? If you have a £500k house in the UK, then right now you can buy AUD854k, which is somewhere far out west Sydney. If somehow it went to 2:1, you'd have AUD1m, and then you could be looking at a ocean-view house somewhere on the outskirts with a large mortgage. If it went back down to 1.5:1, you're looking at far west, or a two-bed unit closer to the city. Life-changing stuff.
  13. Hi again, My wife and I moved to Oz from UK in 2011, were AU residents 2011-16, and citizens 2015-16. We're now back in the UK, and belatedly filing our 2015-16 AU Tax Return. Since we were renting out our UK house, around half-way through our AU residence, we paid off enough of the mortgage that we started receiving a moderate net income from the house that was still well within the personal allowance. All the time we were in AU, we were declaring the net income on our AU tax return, and paying tax on it. So - I was doing the 2016 return, and I had forgotten how we had declared the house the previous year. I did some googling, and came to the conclusion that we should declare it in the UK. HMRC general advice on dual taxation UK - AU dual taxation convention Specifically the text is: ARTICLE 6 Income from real property 1 Income derived by a resident of a Contracting State from real property may be taxed in the Contracting State in which the real property is situated. 2 The term "real property" shall have the meaning which it has under the law of the Contracting State in which the property is situated. The term shall in any case include: (a) a lease of land or any other interest in or over land; (b) property accessory to real property; So - it seems we should have been assessed for tax on it in the UK primarily, in which case it would be within the UK personal allowance, and no tax paid. Hence no tax paid in AU either? This HMRC consultation from 2014 about removing the personal allowance for non-residents appears to confirm the case, by virtue of the fact the consultation sees it as a loophole that HMG want to close! So, my questions are: Am I reading this right? Can I declare it on my UK tax return, and pay nothing on my AU tax return? If we've been doing this for 2011-14, can we re-file previous years' returns to reclaim the tax paid in those years, if significant? How far back should tax be reassessed (as I think we were originally claiming a deduction on a net loss on the house of mortgage over rental income during around 2011 to ?) Many thanks! Damo
  14. Advice appreciated

    Hi! We recently flew back with Qantas, and managed to take around 150kg of luggage between 2 adults and a 1 & 4yo for no excess fees. Qantas offer 30kg per adult, compared to 23kg for some others, plus up to 4 baby items each. Since I had gold status, my own allowance was 46kg, and the baby items are counted, not weighed, hence the high total. They also allow any number of items, so we took 6 cheap hold-alls ($22 each) from Target between us. In short, you may find a huge cumulative difference by looking at all the airline policies. They also often allow much larger allowances to/from the US, so maybe you can go up to double each if you take that long route. Finally, we bought 30 vacuum-pack bags on eBay for around $25. They at least increased the amount of clothes we fit in each bag by around 30%. As such, we found we didn't need any fast shipping other than our baggage. Although with young kids and 15 items, the fact I'm 2m tall and broad shouldered helped at the airport. Failing all that... what we did on the way out here several years ago, was use FedEx. They actually reject shipping personal effects, so we worked around that by shipping 3 boxes of clothes and declaring them as "second hand clothes for a gift" with a total $5 value. If you put a high value, you have to pay customs duty on them, so we took the risk of losing the lot, but we took that risk and it meant we received 3 boxes of clothes, 2 days after arriving, for only £200 in cost. Finally - the official method is of course to use the same freight company as your bulk shipped goods. They do offer air freight, typically at around 3-5x the cost of shipped freight. Cheers D
  15. Moving back with our Australian baby

    Just to close this off: I did try registering at our local GP without the passport. They accepted my passport and the girls' (Australian) birth certificates, plus utility bill, without noting Ellie was not technically British. That is to say she IS technically British - their mum is, which means they are by default - but since Mum wasn't there and I didn't present her ID, they couldn't know that. Cheers Bristolman, all