Happy New Year Expats – Be motivated for 2018


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Tax on property, money and shares you inherit in the UK

This is because any Inheritance Tax (IHT) due should be paid out of the deceased’s estate before any cash or assets are distributed to the heirs.

However, the recipient is liable to income tax on any profit earned after the inheritance, such as dividends from shares and to capital gains tax on the increase in value on assets after the date of inheritance.

The main exception is if you received a gift during a person’s lifetime. These lifetime transfers are known as Potentially Exempt Transfers (PETs). These gifts or transfers achieve their potential of becoming exempt from IHT if the taxpayer survives for more than seven years after making the gift. If the taxpayer dies within 3 years of making the gift, then the IHT position is as if the gift was made on death.


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Planning notes

A tapered relief is available if death occurs between three and seven years after the gift is made. There are insurance products such as a seven-year term assurance policy that can be used to reduce the amount of IHT due should the taxpayer pass away within seven years of making a gift.

The situation is more complicated if the person giving the gift does not fully give up control over the assets concerned. A common example is a person giving their house away but continuing to live in it rent-free. Such gifts are known as ‘gifts with a reservation of benefit’. These gifts can remain subject to IHT even if the taxpayer dies more than 7 years later.

A liability to IHT can also arise if an inheritance you receive is placed into a trust and the trust can’t or doesn’t pay any IHT due.


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And so, we come to the end of 2017…

I cannot believe 2017 is in the home straight! Apparently, the time is moving even faster (perception of course) due to the fact that we are spending so much time on electronic appliances and social media.

I also think that it is making us less creative and patient seeing as one begins to struggle with silence, standing still or to make time to be alone in order to reflect.

For me personally, the year is ending on a particular high note thanks to three particular reasons:

It has begun to snow here in England! Look, it is a good problem to lie on the beach and sweat during Christmas in South Africa, but to me snow is extra special and romantic. I suspect it is all those Walt Disney/American movies and TV shows that made a contribution to the love I have for a white and cold Christmas.


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I had the privilege last week to talk to four fellow Afrikaner podcast pioneers (who have been trying to tame this incredible digital medium for longer than a year) for the first time regarding all the good and bad aspects of being a podcast founder and host, the future expectations for South African podcasters and of course the million-dollar question, namely how to make money using a podcast. The men that came to play were Willim Welsyn and his WAT PODCAST (@willimwelsyn), Stix and his GEVAAALIK PODCAST (@gevaaalikdotcom), Dirk Scheepers and his DS PROGRAM PODCAST (@dsprogram) and Dewald Pelser and his MisterBA PODCAST (@dewaldpelser). Click here to listen to the conversation.

Lastly and the most important: After 14 years in England, we have decided to permanently return to South Africa! We have received different reactions to date, ranging from “high fives” to “Are you crazy!” and the subtler “Why?”. The answer is simple: We know what the realities are, but we miss our people, culture and an African freedom which you won’t understand until you have lived long enough in Europe. Last but not least, business opportunities also played a big role in our decision. As an entrepreneur, South Africa’s innovation and opportunities are concrete to me. Innovation that is being brought about by naughty and inexperienced politicians.

I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2018!

And remember … Never say die!


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Three days alone in Paris: the dos and don’ts

If you (like I did) thought that Paris welcomes you with the soft sound of accordion music and the smell of fresh croissants, think again!

Yes, Paris is a charming and unique city with world-renowned monuments, historic paintings and intimate little restaurants, but at the same time it is a jumble of tourists, pedlars and souvenir shops. Because it is also the home of one of the most-visited monuments in the world, it is extremely important that you know your stuff when you visit Paris.

I recently had the privilege to spend three freezing days in the city of lights and love after a work visit to the United Nations in Switzerland. I was alone, uninformed and somewhat nervous.

After my visit I compiled a short list of dos and don’ts that will assist a bit when you find yourself in Paris one day (something you definitely must try to do).

1. Do: Master the Metro.

On my first day in Paris I spent an hour at the Metro station because I had no idea where to buy tickets, where to get on or in what direction the train is going (there is no information desk – I looked for it for 20 minutes). After about 30 times of pleading “parlez-vous Anglais” a small group of high school girls agreed to help me and explain to me how the train works.


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Yes, taxis are very convenient. But their little meters run faster than Usain Bolt and before you realise, you have parted with a lovely meal’s euros for a 2-km taxi ride.

Paris’s mole train, or Metro, is the cheapest and fastest way to travel through the city. Although the Metro’s map looks like a toddler scribbled on it with crayons, it is actually very easy to understand.

The system doesn’t use wind directions to indicate the directions of the routes, but rather the first and last destination of each line.

If for example you are on line 8 (the light purple line), you will either go in the direction of Crétell Préfecture or in the direction of Balard. These two destinations will therefore be on the directory boards at the stations. You will then go in the direction of Crétell if you want to for example go from the station at Bastille to the station at Ledru-Rollin.

2. Don’t…: fall for street pedlars’ tricks.

There are thousands of pedlars in the streets of Paris who sell cheap souvenirs and tourists are their prey. Your accent therefore determines the price you will pay. Deter pedlars quickly by saying in your best broken French “Non, merci,” rather than “No, thank you,”. When you look disinterested or sound as if you speak a little French, they will leave you alone instantly.


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3. Do: Book your visit to monuments or museums beforehand.

I was lucky enough to be in Paris on the first Sunday of a new month which meant that some museums such as the Musée d’Orsay offers free entrance, but I had to stand in the queue for about an hour to get in (-2 °C can’t keep art lovers away!).

If you can, pre-book your visit to all the famous monuments and museums such as the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe on the internet. This way you ensure that you will have access and the queues for pre-booked tickets are of course much shorter. Tickets vary between 9 and 15 euro.

4. Don’t…: Take photos, but not take in the moment.

“A picture is worth a thousand words. Or a thousand likes.”

Because social media obliges us to share every aspect of one’s travels, it is extremely important that you take a moment to enjoy the experience. Yes, everyone wants the perfect photo in front of the Eiffel Tower or the Mona Lisa, but the experience is nevertheless what you forked out thousands of rands


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Because I travelled alone, I had to swallow my pride daily and take selfies. (Where there was a friendly Asian tour group, I could ask someone to take a photo of me every now and then.) But no selfie can capture the smell of fresh crêpes, the sound of Notre Dame’s church bells or the shiny brushstrokes of Van Gogh. So, take your photo and put away your phone; believe me, it’s worth it.

5. Do: Walk, walk and walk.

The Metro stations are conveniently close to each other, but where you can (and have the energy) – walk. I walked between 10 and 15 km daily and thanks to that I saw places and met people I otherwise would’ve missed with a train trip.

People such as the middle-aged woman who played everything from La Vie en Rose to the Star Wars theme song on her saxophone outside the Musée d’Orsay. Places such as the no-name little bistro near Notre Dame where the words “Wi-Fi, Pizza and Coffee” (three of the things any tourist without an international data plan wants on a cold day) beckons. Shops such as Shakespeare and Company in la Bûcherie Street close to Place Saint-Michel, that sells new, second-hand and antique books and on top of that even offers a sleeping place for homeless people at night.

These are but a few of the gems you can encounter if you are willing to take to the streets.

This journey was however a childhood dream come true (my room looks like a shrine to the Eiffel Tower) and I was determined to make the most of my experience. So, despite the freezing weather, poor rand and my inexperience, I wouldn’t trade this adventure for anything.

One thing is certain: The travel bug definitely bit me and although I am currently dead beat and broke, I am already saving up for my next trip.


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Five points to consider when approaching your online tax return

It’s that time of year when you really want to tidy up your accounts, shut the laptop and head to the hills. However, there is one thing we’d like to remind you about before you go. Your UK tax return online submission deadline is 31 January 2018.

We can only imagine this news lands in your lap like an unexpected bowl of spaghetti, but imagine how good you will feel once you have made a plan and all is on course. The turkey will carve a little sweeter and your financial year ahead will be about opportunity and growth rather than avoidance behaviours and dread.

Gary Watton, from Premier Assignments, one of our marketing partner clients, has kindly offered a few points to consider:

* Is the process and allocation code entries simple?
* Do I have enough time?
* Do I understand what I am allowed to deduct from my total tax?
* Am I taking the right credit rebates into account?
* If I approach a Tax Advisor, how do I detect credibility, and what would I be paying for?

Gary says, “Under expert guidance, the process of entering and submitting your tax can be made simple, seamless and easy.”

Gary and his wife Jill have twenty-years of experience in tax from both SA and UK. If you need someone to walk you through the process, they are set up to help Southern Africans, based both in the UK, abroad and back in SA. Click here for more information or give them a call on 077 531 46352 (UK) for any queries you may have.

Premier Assignments are tax practitioners registered and approved by HMRC to practice tax law in The United Kingdom. They assist clients with all tax-related matters and help them to navigate the complex British tax system.


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It is almost weekend and time for your favourite festive treats for Christmas

Blink, it’s almost Christmas! Seriously, I can’t even believe that another year has passed. It has been such an eventful year and time of my life. So much joy and hardship have been rolled into this year, but it is time to relax.

Here is some recipes to sparkle up your Christmas, do it with your children, your hubby, your friends … and for those of you that are alone, enjoy making these recipes … with your all time winner the Gingerbread Man !!

Espresso caramel self-saucing pudding

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 12 minutes
Serves: 20–25 cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup whole wheat flour/rye flour or plain flour
1 tbsp. almond flour
1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 1/2 tsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. caramel essence
1/2 cup milk/coconut milk/cream
35 g vegan butter or normal butter
1 flax egg or 1 normal egg
1/2 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
1 cup boiling water

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Sift together the flour, almond meal, sugar, baking powder and two spoons cocoa powder.
Spoon this mixture into ovenproof cups or crème brûlée cups.
Mix together the other spoon of cocoa powder and the rest of the sugar, sprinkle a spoonful over every cup and then pour over the boiling water.
Bake for 12–15 minutes till cooked.
Serve hot out of the oven with coconut whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


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Speculoos gingerbread men

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 10 minutes
Serves: 20–25 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup rye flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
70 g vegetable butter (like soy or coconut)
1 tsp. speculoos spice (Dille et Kamille) or gingerbread spice
50 g coconut oil
125 g coconut sugar
A pinch of salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla essence
1 egg yellow or 1 vegan flax egg
2/3 cup maple syrup/agave/molasses
Icing ingredients

1 egg white or coconut oil
125 g white sugar
Drops of lemon juice
Method

Heat up the oven to 175°C.
Mix together the butter, coconut oil and sugar until nice and smooth.
Add the dry ingredients and then mix well till dough forms.
Scoop the dough out on a flour surface area and roll out with a rolling pin.
Press out gingerbread men and place on a parchment paper lined baking tray. (Cookie press bought from Dille et Kamille.)
Bake for 9–12 minutes till nice and brown and remove to cool.
Let the cookies cool completely before adding the frosting and let them dry in a dry place at room temperature.


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Gingerbread icing

Mix all these ingredients together and let it rest for a bit before pouring into a piping bag with a small nozzle.
Decorate your cookies and let them dry at room temperature.
Store in an airtight container.

Ingredients

125 g salted butter
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (farina de ble)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 slab of peppermint chocolate
Funfetti sprinkles
Silver cake sprinkles
Method

Heat up the oven to 180°C.
Mix together the softened butter and sugar, add the egg and mix slightly more.
Add the dry ingredients and the chopped chocolate. Mix well until pliable dough forms and scoop the dough out into the giant cookie press. (Bought from Maison du Monde.)
Remove some of the dough so that the cookie dough does not bake over the sides of the cookie press. You can make extra cookies with this dough.
Now it’s time to add the sprinkles and other decorations.
Bake for 14–20 minutes till nice and gold.
Let it rest a bit before you remove it from the cookie press and decorate a bit further if you like. Wrap it up and give it as a present to someone special!

Happy festive baking!


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Proteas Test squad announced: AB de Villiers makes long-awaited return

AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn will make their return to the Proteas Test side in the experimental four day match against Zimbabwe on Boxing Day in Port Elizabeth.

The veteran duo who made their debut in the same venue as that of the once-off day night Test return to the fold alongside all rounder Vernon Philander who last played in the last Test against England at The Oval in July before being sidelined by injury.

South Africa have had to do without de Villiers in white clothing for almost two years, thanks to a self-imposed absence where he cited “managing his workload” in an effort to elongate his career.

The 33-year old’s hiatus exposed a vulnerability in the Proteas’ batting line-up as performance with the bat was far below par.

Considered the world’s best bowler before his long-term injury, Steyn has also been on the sidelines for over a year, last making an appearance in the first Test against Australia in Perth in November 2016. On that occasion, he could only make a contribution with the ball in the first innings as he walked off clutching his shoulder in the third morning.

Steyn’s return alongside Philander adds considerable beef to the bowling line up as they join fellow quicks Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel. All rounder Andile Phehlukwayo is the other seam option available, while Duanne Olivier drops out of the squad completely.

Keshav Maharaj heads the spin options while opening batsmen Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram are also capable of turning their arm over should they be required.

Full squad
Faf du Plessis,
Hashim Amla,
Temba Bavuma,
Quinton de Kock,
Theunis de Bruyn,
AB de Villiers,
Dean Elgar,
Keshav Maharaj,
Aiden Markram,
Morne Morkel,
Andile Phehlukwayo,
Vernon Philander,
Kagiso Rabada,
Dale Steyn.

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Rand turbo-boosted in the wake of Ramaphosa win

The Rand enjoyed broad stability for most of last week and in fact gained on all of the G10 currencies leading up to the ANC elective conference over the weekend. The Ramaphosa result helped it kick on from Monday.

The rally was aided in part by a weaker US Dollar, although it advanced far further than other emerging market currencies. There has since been a bit of a pull back, but this bit of good news is something South Africans at home and abroad should enjoy.

This week started with the appointment of Cyril Ramaphosa as the new ANC president, positioning himself as the champion against corruption and state capture. By the time the Ramaphosa win was officially announced, the ZAR went into “sell the news” mode with USD-ZAR getting scooped off its March 12.54 level.


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Ramaphosa is ‘good for the rand’
It nonetheless added nearly another 3% dip from Friday’s move, so clearly the market was still on the right side of the eventual tight outcome. The bulk of the easy gains have now been achieved. From current levels, selling USDs no longer looks as an obvious trade in the way that it did a month ago.

For further ZAR gains to be possible, a Zuma recall needs to be on the cards. After yesterday’s result, that is not immediately possible, however, the potential for legal action to be brought against Zuma will leave investors hopeful that he may still be made an example of.

His demise, should it occur, would likely be treated as a firm ZAR positive, but for
that we may need to wait until February.

From an economic data perspective, this week is largely quiet and the Rand is likely to trade according to the “whim of year-end thin flows and political headlines”.


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How South Africans reacted to Cyril Ramaphosa becoming ANC president

South Africans have gone ballistic online after the news broke that Cyril Ramaphosa is the new ANC President. CR17 has won the day, or has it?

After days of waiting, South Africans were finally greeted with the news that Cyril Ramaphosa has been officially elected as the new president of the ANC. With millions of South Africans watching the ANC Elective Conference, social media quickly exploded with strong reactions. As usual, we’ve gathered some of the best ones for your pleasure.


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Then, as the results of the rest of the top six came in, people began to panic and express their doubt.

ANC President: Cyril Ramaphosa (Outgoing – Jacob Zuma)

Deputy President: David Mabuza (Outgoing- Cyril Ramaphosa)

Secretary General: Ace Magashule (Outgoing – Gwede Mantashe)

Deputy Secretary General: Jessie Duarte (Jessie Duarte retains position)

Treasurer General: Paul Mashatile (Outgoing Zweli Mkhize)

ANC National Chairperson: Gwede Mantashe (Outgoing – Baleka Mbete)

While there are some huge concerns over the men around the new President, for now, millions are just relieved that Jacob Zuma is no longer at the helm of the ANC.


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Which countries provide free education at a university level?

Jacob Zuma will be leaving the ANC with one hell of a task to complete. The outgoing president is doing everything he can to ensure free education is made available to South African university students.

His plans are controversial, to say the least. He hasn’t yet revealed the sources of funding for the project, which will require billions of rand to make feasible. Despite the nobility of the plan, Zuma is being criticised for ‘cynically timing’ the announcement too.


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However, free education is something that works in other countries, dotted all across the world. It’ll be a scary leap into the unknown for South Africa, but they won’t be on their own. Here’s a list of every other country that provides free university tuition:

Which countries provide free education at university?
Argentina
Austria
Brazil
Czech Republic
Denmark
Egypt
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Iceland
Kenya
Luxembourg
Malaysia
Morocco
Norway
Panama
Poland
Scotland
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Turkey
Uruguay

Where can university students go for free?
In total, 24 countries provide free tuition. Sixteen of those nations are based in Europe. Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina are the three South American countries that do not require fees for tertiary education.


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Panama are the only North American country on the list, whereas free university education is also a tough commodity to come by in Asia. Malaysia are the continent’s sole provider. South Africa would become the fourth African country to embrace the free education model, after Morocco, Egypt and Kenya.

Will South Africa’s free education include international students?
For any prospective students looking to make a life for themselves abroad, we’re afraid most countries have caveats. Only five countries will accept international students onto their free courses: Finland, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg and Panama.

France, Slovenia and Sweden do offer free tuition to foreigners, but that only stretches as far to EU members. South Africa’s free education plans are to tackle the country’s own poverty issues, and it is not likely the offer will be extended to international students.


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