Our taxation specialists focus largely on how UK law affects corporation tax, mergers and acquisitions and company restructuring, and we also have a lot of experience in the legalities of property taxation and in particular SDLT.
The way you organise your shareholding and business structures has direct implications on your tax liabilities, and we are able to give you practical and pragmatic advice on all situations, from private equity and unit trusts to properties and funds, including exit strategies and offshore structuring, groups of companies, employment tax and remuneration planning (including redundancy issues).
With regard to SDLT in particular, we can assist in making savings through using shorter leases, with an option to renew, compared to a longer lease with a break clause. Advice can also be given on where backdating a renewal lease after a holding-over period will increase the SDLT and on preserving an old lease to avoid SDLT. You may also benefit from advice on turnover-linked rents where a spike in rent can increase the tax on the rest of the lease term.
As well as leasehold properties, we can assist on freehold sales, where there is still scope to exclude equipment, or other items from SDLT, in addition to escaping payment (at least in part) on goodwill.
Our approach is to advise clients on the choices available within commercial transactions to reduce the SDLT charge, rather than artificial schemes that try to make it disappear altogether, as there can be risks involved in the latter course.
Our highly experienced team can also advise on all the VAT scenarios likely to affect licensed premises such as :
Another area in which we can assist is in Capital Allowances. These often have surprisingly large value and their recent erosion by the Government makes it all the more important to maximise the value claimed. We can advise on where there is scope to make a saving – and also on where there is no real scope and it would be a waste of time to try.
When acquiring an existing operation, the recent changes in the rules to what the incoming operator can claim mean it is vital to look at the potential claims for capital allowances on equipment before the acquisition.