Scottish UHNWIs thrive despite the uncertainty
Ever since the run-up to the independence referendum last year raised the very real prospect of a Scottish government with income tax-raising powers, the high net worth residents of Scotland have been considering their positions. Many consulted advisers when the referendum took place in September 2014 and put in place contingency provisions to move south of the border, but stayed put when independence was voted down.
Today, the concern for those more mobile individuals is that the Smith Commission on so-called “devo max”, or maximum levels of devolution, has recommended that Scotland’s public expenditure should increasingly be raised by transferring control of Scotland’s income tax receipts north of the border. All the signs are that the politicians favour sourcing more revenues from those that pay additional rate tax at forty-five percent, those individuals earning north of £150,000. But there are only about 18,000 such individuals currently resident in Scotland, and those people are mobile.
Jamie Younger is a partner in the Edinburgh office of accountants Saffery Champness, working with individuals and families, particularly in rural estates and agriculture. He says: “In terms of the things worrying our clients, the prospect of paying higher taxes is without doubt a real concern, so looking at the definition of a Scottish resident is something we are asked to advise clients on, and something we are keeping a close eye on.”