Record numbers of Britons are retiring abroad and exploring the benefits of leading international fi...
Record numbers of Britons are retiring abroad and exploring the benefits of leading international financial centres in a desperate bid to escape the rising stealth tax demands imposed by Chancellor Gordon Brown.
Over 970,000 are claiming their pension overseas after moving in search of a better quality of life and in protest at the increasing levels of duties being levied - particularly council tax which has rocketed in recent years.
As well as swelling the number of expatriates around the world to 15.5 million, it has also created a mini-boom in the amount of advice about offshore centres and tax planning that is being sought from financial advisers.
But industry observers fear rapidly changing rules and regulations could hit those living abroad as they have already made it virtually impossible for people to plan more than a year ahead.
Mike Fry, director of Halton Insurance Service, said an increasing number of clients were in the process of heading to foreign climes - and predicted the trend would continue for the foreseeable future.
"There are more and more people moving abroad to make the most of tax advantages," Fry told International Investment. "They are finding the cost of living abroad can be much cheaper."
However, some people have serious concerns about potential changes.
Dr Liam Fox, the Conservative party chairman, has already written to the Chancellor asking about his plans amid rumours that expatriates could be hit with higher charges as a result of a possible shake-up of the tax rules.
It is feared a US-style system could be imposed on non-residents, forcing them to pay the same income tax as if they had remained in the UK.
Non-residents currently have income from work carried out overseas taxed in the country they live.
James Brooke, financial planning consultant with Anand Associates, said the tax situation varied enormously between countries, and that it was increasingly important for anyone contemplating a move to carefully consider all the risks.
"It would help everyone to know the pace of rule changes was slowed down so that everyone knew where they stand now and in the future," he said. "Some advice being given is built on shifting sands because the situation might be totally different in 18 months. Things never used to change this quickly."
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