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About desreb

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  1. I need to move some money into Australian Dollars - a fair bit, the proceeds of a house, because we're moving to Australia next year - and my IFA recommended a foreign exchange broker that they use. The GBPAUD was quite strong until recently, at 1.85, so I asked them to exchange some GBP into AUD. They didn't reply to my email for 2 days, by which time some more Brexit news had taken its toll, and the rate had dropped to 1.75. When I confronted the broker about this, he said he was on holiday, and whoever was supposed to check his email, hadn't. So - we set a series of market orders in case the GBPAUD bounced a bit - which it didn't. Then I asked to set a rate of 1.75, so if it bounced up to that level, it would buy the AUD. Again, I didn't get any notification, so I emailed him again. He replied "Oh yes, the trade happened overnight", and soon after I received a confirmation from them for a buy - at exactly the rate we had agreed ,1.7500. However - I checked the overnight interbank rates, and the rate had always been ABOVE this level - it never crossed a threshold that would have triggered the buy. I asked him about this, and he said that the rate included their commission, so it had been waiting until touching that level before triggering. However - again, the interbank rates doesn't look like it reached a peak overnight that it hadn't already hit the day before, which should have triggered at whichever rate they had set as a trigger that included their commission. So - the question is... are they completely useless, and are now trying to claim the several thousand pounds' commission for the invaluable service they they provided me? If so, the morals of this infuriate me, as I'm paying them several thousand pounds to do something that I could have done with a low-cost DIY platform, because they're supposed to set the limit order. The question of whether I can claim recourse from them is probably much harder, but I just wanted to understand if it's likely I can get to the bottom of what happened so that I can at least claim a discount on their service feeds, if not reverse the trade. Thanks! D
  2. Many thanks Alan, I will do that.
  3. Hi, I'm thinking of moving some of the proceeds of our UK house sale from UK to AU while the GBPAUD rate seems pretty good. It would be a fair wodge of cash, and then once it's in AUD, we have to think where to park it. We do have bank accounts there. My concern is on the FX gain. If we moved it at the right time, and the GBPAUD falls, then we've made a capital gain in the UK. That's probably OK if it's less than the £10k pp CGT allowance, and even then, it's 10 or 20% tax if it breaks that. The question is, if we park it in AU bank accounts, do we then have to start filling in AU Tax returns and pay tax THERE too? I'm aware there's dual-taxation laws, but UK tends to have greater allowances than Aus, such that Aus may expect more tax than the UK. We are AU & UK citizens (resident in UK, but going back to AU). I guess we can avoid income tax by putting the money in non-interest accounts for the short term. But if we have some funds in GBP and some in AUD for a while, then if the GBPAUD rate goes down, I guess we're making a capital gain in the UK, and a capital loss (since our GBP holdings devalue against the AUD) in Aus? So.. if we hold cash in Aus, do we have to file a tax return? D
  4. desreb

    Starting NDIS application before arriving

    Thanks a lot for this TPQ! I've spoken to NDIS and Betterstart, and it seems that since we had Betterstart before we headed to the UK, we can tap into what's left of that again when we return until and if NDIS funding is approved. So this should allow us to apply once we return, and not hurry it too much either since we'll be using betterstart for our EI sessions. The equivalent in the UK is DLA of course, and we're still not on that, 16 months after returning. There was a 6 month wait period before applying, even for us as UK citizens, which I assume is to mitigate Health tourism. Then we were too busy to do it for a while (we had most NHS care in place by then), then we did apply in February, and now we're waiting for the outcome. We may get it just in time to return to AU :-)
  5. That’s a very good observation on a key difference - in Australia the process involves partial subsidies that makes private care attainable if you really want it, whereas in the UK it’s all or nothing. Unfortunately, it then takes you into a political discussion around the privatisation of the NHS, which is what most people are vehemently opposed to (myself included), whilst also espousing the benefits of a system that is exactly (?) that.
  6. desreb

    Starting NDIS application before arriving

    Thanks all! It’s good to hear that we can continue accessing Betterstart - I’ll have to check there’s no issues with getting back into it.
  7. We have a young disabled child, and have found the two systems to be night and day, with Australia winning hands down so far. In Australia, she was diagnosed as being profoundly deaf soon after birth. After the diagnosis, we went into the hospital for a series of consultations, and I remember one with four professionals, including a paediatrician, audiologist, doctor, and a family counsellor. It was the last really struck me, but sure enough, the public health system recognises that this is a stressful time for a young family, and provide a counsellor to help the family cope. I don't think I've ever heard of such a thing on the UK NHS for a disability. From there, she had implant surgery at 5.5 mos (vs 1 year old, typically, on the NHS), with early implantation being important to the outcome. After that, we went to a local early intervention centre for weekly sessions with our own dedicated speech therapist and audiologist, who follow and assist children's progress from 6mo to pretty much when they graduate from school. All this was funded by a $26k lump sum at our disposal for the EI centre sessions, and any other supportive measures - we used a bit to buy some more accessories for the implants, but also to take a sign language course at the TAFE. The EI centre was a bedrock of her treatment, and the staff became like family. All related treatment - the surgery itself, the ENT, other appointments, were all arranged by them; we went along with their advice. When we moved back to the UK, we still email and Skype them for advice from time to time, for free, and one of them even offered to 'drop by' while in the UK at a conference. In the UK, we have so many healthcare professionals involved in her care, we need an org chart to keep track. She's seen around 16 in the year we've been here, and there are eight active at present. There are three different bodies - the local council sensory services, the local NHS trust, and the specialist implant centre at the local major hospital - and each have their own specialists in the same role, most of whom have only occasional communication with the others. Whereas in Australia the same audiologist has been working in the centre for 15 years, in the UK we've had four audiologists rotate through the centre in one year. Most specialists recommend speech therapy every week for someone her age, although the NHS will only provide one every quarter. We organise a 'team around the child' meeting every quarter to try to bring all these people together to introduce themselves and find some way of coordinating treatment, although really it seems more like an exercise to placate frustrated parents. Ironically, the best and most engaged people we've met in all these centres, are all ex-pat Australians on work experience in the UK. Now - there is a postcode lottery effective here; In Oz, we were in Clovelly, where you'll get a lot of highly-paid medical professionals living and working nearby, versus South-East London, where you'll get...fewer of those. But that doesn't explain the bulk of the issue. The fundamental problem appears to be this; whereas Australia has favoured early intervention centres that focus on the children, the UK offers a procession of different overlapping bodies and services, with little coordination and little emotional connection to the patient. Hence, more time appears to be filling forms and gaining familiarity, than actual treatment and therapy. Because of this, I do get the occasional pleasant surprise from the NHS, such as when I went in for a joint injury, and they gave me a series of physio sessions only two weeks later. And A&E can be excellent, of course. But generally, it's pretty shocking. D
  8. Does anyone know whether it’s possible to start applying for NDIS before living in the country. We’re Australian citizens living abroad for the last 18 months, and our DD was attending RIDBC on Better start before we moved away. She’s also born and bred Aussie. Now that we’re away, we don’t have a residential address there any more, and intend to live in another suburb when we return. We have mail redirection to a friends’ house from our last place. I think we can also still make 100pts of ID. I can appreciate that the process will be very dependant on residence and our suburb of residence, but I’m wondering if there’s any way we can get a head start on the process before we leave, given it takes so long, and we’ll otherwise be without NDIS support until months after we arrive.
  9. desreb

    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
  10. desreb

    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
  11. 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
  12. desreb

    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.
  13. desreb

    Final costs of moving back to UK

    Yes, good luck! I hope the trip goes well! D
  14. 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
  15. 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