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Kerseys December 2022 newsletter

Kerseys Solicitors December 2022 Newsletter

Welcome Conveyancing Assistants

Key Dates

31 March 2023 – Help to Buy scheme

The Government’s Help to Buy scheme end on 31 March 2023 but the deadline to apply for the loan was 31 October 2022.  This means that anyone who has applied for the loan needs to ensure that completion of the purchase takes on or before 31 March 2023 to be able to use the Help to Buy scheme.

1 April 2023 – Minimum and Living Wage increase 

23+    from £9.50 to £10.42
21-22 from £9.18 to £10.18
18-20 from £6.83 to £  7.49
16-17 from £4.81 to £  5.28
Apprentices from £4.81 to £5.28

The rate for statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental and parental bereavement pay will increase from £156.66 to 172.48 per week.

Statutory sick pay will increase from £99.35 to £109.40 per week.

April 2023 – Capital Gains Tax – Reduction of tax free annual allowance from April 2023

Capital Gains Tax is paid on gains you make when you sell or give away certain assets including any property that is not your main home, any shares that are not in an ISA or PEP, personal possessions over £6,000 apart from your car or business assets. Depending on the asset you may be able to reduce any tax you pay by claiming a relief.

Currently, the tax-free annual allowance for Capital Gains is £12,300. The Government’s proposal is to reduce this over the next two years. In April 2023, the  exempt amount will be reduced by more than half to £6,000 per annum for individuals and personal representatives and £3000 for most trustees. From April 2024, this amount will be halved again to £3,000 per annum and £1,500 for most trustees. There is currently no proposed change to the tax rates.

The effect of these changes are that anyone who sells  or gives away an asset will be more likely to have to pay Capital Gains Tax.

Do take advice from an accountant when selling or giving away an asset as you have a deadline to notify HMRC of any capital gain and the rules regarding payment and reliefs can be complicated.

Legal Updates

Stamp Duty

The SDLT cut announced by the government on 23 September 2022 will remain in place until 31 March 2025.

The government has announced that this measure will end on 31 March 2025 as part of its commitment to fiscal responsibility and ensuring trust and confidence in our national finances.

This measure temporarily increases the amount that a purchaser can pay for residential property before they become liable to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), while maintaining the higher rate of 3% on additional dwellings. It increases the residential nil-rate tax threshold from £125,000 to £250,000.

The nil-rate threshold for First Time Buyers’ Relief is also temporarily increased from £300,000 to £425,000 and the maximum property value that is eligible for First Time Buyers’ Relief is increased to £625,000.

The measure means that all purchasers of residential property bought between 23 September 2022 and 31 March 2025 will pay less or no SDLT.

Legal Updates

Warnings issued over spray foam insulation

Mortgage lenders have warned that they may not lend on houses with spray foam insulation in the loft so you may have problems selling or re-mortgaging your property including obtaining equity release mortgages. Nationwide Building Society for example has said that they will only lend where there is documentary evidence that it has been correctly installed.

As many as 250,000 homes in the UK have this type of insulation which has been in use for over 30 years, and it was even an option under the Government Green Homes Grant created to improve energy efficiency in homes.

The problem seems to be that the industry is unregulated, and concern has been raised that if not installed properly, there may be insufficient ventilation which could cause roof timbers to rot.  It can be costly to remove spray foam insulation.

In October this year two industry groups the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) and the Property Care Association (PCA) announced that they were working with manufacturers, installers and surveyors to standardise the installation and inspection procedures and new guidance will be issued in spring 2023.

What should you do if you have spray foam insulation?

Keep any paperwork and guarantees as lenders will want to check the type of insulation applied. Do not try and remove the insulation yourself wait if you can until the new guidance is issued in the spring.

Legal Updates

A Day One Right for all Employees

The government has now published its response following the consultation on flexible working.

  • The right to request flexible working (not to receive it) will become a Day One right rather than only available to employees that have 26 weeks of continuous service.
  • Employees will now have the opportunity to make requests twice in a 12-month period as opposed to only once.  The response time from employers will be reduced from 3 months to 2 months.
  • In their response, the employer will have a new duty to discuss alternatives to flexible working with their employees. If the employer wishes to reject the employee’s application for flexible working, for example, if it is not possible to change their hours on all of the days requested, perhaps agreeing to change hours on some of the days that the employee has requested.

The procedure for requesting flexible working will be simplified as it will remove the requirement for employees to set out how the effects of their flexible working request might impact upon the employer.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has not given a timescale on proposed new legislation.

Our Firm

As a firm we are passionate about the local community and are Friends of Christchurch Park supporting a number of events in and around Ipswich.  We are delighted to sponsor the latest exhibition at Christchurch Mansion  Landscape Rebels | Ipswich Museums (cimuseums.org.uk).  The exhibition opened on 22 October and runs until 16 April 2023.

We will also continue to support Fresh Start New Beginnings to help support children have a better start in rebuilding their lives and are looking forward to taking part in the Dragon Boat Race on 3 June 2023 at the Waterfront bringing people together for fun whilst raising vital money for the charity.

Kerseys Charity of the Year this year voted for by our staff will be MIND helping the charity to be there for everyone who needs them.  Many people experience mental health problems throughout our lives and it is important to raise awareness that this is not a sign of weakness.  We must allow ourselves to not be afraid to speak to someone and get help when needed. You are NOT alone.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year.
Senior Management Team at Kerseys.

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Senior Management Team at Kerseys

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