Archive for March, 2015

More (tax free savings income) for More!

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

With effect from 6th April 2015 the 10% starting rate of tax for savings income is reduced to 0% rate and increased from £2,880 to £5,000. This means that, in 2015/16, those with a total income of less than £15,600 (£10,600 personal allowance for 2015/16 plus the new 0% starting rate band) will pay no tax on their savings (£15,660 for those born before 6th April 1938).

Non-savings income is always taxed before savings income so the new tax-free £5,000 starting rate band can only apply to those earning less than the total of their personal allowance and the 0% starting rate band.

The rules around completion of form R85 are changing from 6th April so that any saver who is unlikely to be liable to tax on any of their savings income (previously total income) in the tax year can complete an R85 (for each bank/building society) and register to receive interest without tax deducted – even if they pay tax on other (non-savings) income. Where tax is likely to be due on some savings income a form R85 can’t be completed, the overpaid tax will have to be claimed back from HMRC using form R40 or under self- assessment.


Angela earns £15,000 per year and £2,000 a year in interest from her bank accounts, to give total income of £17,000. As her total income is over £15,600, she isn’t eligible to register for tax-free savings. However, because the personal allowance and the starting rate band are not taken up entirely by earned income (i.e. is below £15,600), she will be able to claim back the basic rate tax deducted £600 of her gross savings income by filling in form R40 and sending it to HMRC.

The time limit for making a claim is four years from the end of the relevant tax year.

What is classed as ‘savings income’?

For the purpose of the ’starting rate for savings’ (ITA 2007 s12) income falling within the definition of “savings income” (ITA 2007 s18) includes:

  • interest from bank and building society accounts;
  • interest distributions from authorised unit trusts and open-ended investment companies;
  • income which is not interest, such as the profit on government or company bonds which are issued at a discount or repayable at a premium;
  • the interest element of purchased life annuity payments; and
  • gains from policies of life insurance (onshore and offshore)

What is not classed as ‘savings income’?

  • Dividend income;
  • Rental income;
  • Pension income;
  • Income received from a discretionary trust; or
  • Foreign income charged to tax on the remittance basis

For further information or advice on using tax free savings bands, please contact Wayne Baber of our financial management company, James & George Collie Financial Management Limited on 01224 581581 or by email at

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

From 1 April 2015, LBTT (Land and Buildings Transaction Tax) will replace SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) in Scotland.  LBTT is structured differently to SDLT in that it is a progressive tax which means that each portion of the price is charged at different rates of tax for that portion rather than the whole price being charged at the same rate.

Commercial Rates

The rates for commercial property purchase or where a premium is payable are as follows:

Purchase Price   LBTT Rate

Up to £150,000 – 0%
Above £150,000 – to £350,000 3%
Above £350,000 – 4.5%

Rates for Commercial Leases

NPV of rent payable   LBTT Rate
Up to £150,000 – 0%
Above £150,000 – 1%

Residential Rates

Purchase Price   LBTT Rate
Up to £145,000 – 0%
Above £145,000-£250,000 – 2%
Above £250,000 to £325,000 – 5%
Above £325,000 to £750,000 – 10%
Over £750,000 – 12%

Whilst SDLT and LBTT are similar, LBTT has a number of key differences as follows:

- LBTT will be collected by Revenue Scotland, a new tax authority set up on 1 January 2015for the collection of devolved taxes.  Collection of the tax will be more closely linked toregistration of title.
- LBTT is payable at the same time as submitting the tax return.
- Returns must be submitted and the tax paid within 30 days of the effective date.
- LBTT places a positive obligation on the taxpayer to submit 3 yearly tax returns on leasesand submit balancing payments of tax to Revenue Scotland.  Penalties will apply where thetaxpayer fails to submit a tax return when required and if tax is due, interest may accrue.
- A number of reliefs for LBTT are the same as SDLT however, a new sub-sale developmentrelief has been introduced in Scotland

Should you have any queries or require any advice on how the tax changes may impact you pleasecontact Caren McNeil in our Commercial Department by email at or by telephone on 01224 581581.


Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Spanish Property
Given the successful result of the two first Spanish property exhibitions, James and George Collie have decided to organise one DROP-IN SESSION on a regular basis, every month.

At the drop-in sessions you will be able to ask any questions that you may have concerning the process of buying, selling or leasing properties in Spain, as well as seek advice on the different geographical areas, type of properties, purchase prices, the current housing market, the possibility of obtaining a mortgage, and how to make a Spanish Will, amongst others.

These drop-in sessions will take place at our main office, 1 East Craibstone Street, Aberdeen, AB11 6YQ. You will be able to learn about the different types of properties, sizes, areas and prices, and you will be able to meet Ignacio Chanza, our dual Spanish and Scottish solicitor, who was appointed three years ago as the Honorary Consul of Spain for the North of Scotland. Ignacio has a vast amount of experience having been involved for over 20 years in the legal processes of buying and selling properties in Spain. As we wish to focus on your own personal circumstances and your requirements, the meetings will be conducted on a one to one basis, with the first meeting being free of charge.

The next drop-in session will take place the 28th of March from 10am to 1pm.

It is very important to be aware that wherever you are in Scotland we will be able to carry out a purchase or sale in any area in Spain. We can offer you an exemplary professional service from the very beginning of the transaction, starting from when you are looking for a property, and throughout the whole buying/selling process until the property is duly registered in the Spanish Land Register. We can also contact a bank in Spain to assist in opening a bank account for you or to apply for a Spanish mortgage, if one is required.

You now have no excuse for not buying a property in Spain!

Don’t miss this opportunity to have your questions answered and any doubts or concerns allayed. Please come along to the next drop-in session or contact Ignacio Chanza on 01224 581581 or by email at


Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Old Man
A Guardianship Order can only be made by the Court.  The Application for such an Order can be made by any person having an interest in an Adult who lacks the capacity to deal with their own affairs.  This can cover both financial and welfare matters.  As the terms suggest, a Financial Guardianship allows the Guardian to deal with all financial matters on behalf of the Adult whilst a Welfare Guardianship allows the Guardian to make decisions about the Adult’s welfare.

It is, of course, preferable that people consider granting a Power of Attorney before they lack capacity but this is not always possible and at times a Guardian has to be appointed.

It is highly recommended that everyone arrange to grant a Power of Attorney whilst they have the capacity to do so.  It may be that this will never be required but it is certainly worthwhile, quicker and cheaper than having to apply for the appointment of a Guardian at a later stage.

It is also possible to apply for a Guardianship Order where the Adult has never had capacity to deal
with his or her own affairs and is never likely to gain that capacity.

Applying for a Guardianship Order involves the obtaining of a Medical Report from the Adult’s GP, a supporting Medical Report from a Doctor registered under the Scottish Mental Health legislation and a Report from a Mental Health Officer who is appointed by the Local Authority. These Reports must be lodged at the same time as the Court Application and all the paperwork must be dated and lodged with the Court within thirty days.

It is possible in certain circumstances to obtain Civil Legal Aid to cover the cost of a Guardianship Application.

Please contact Jenni Sutherland of our court department at for more information about applying for and obtaining Guardianship Orders.

The Lady Lawyers of Collies

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

At James & George Collie we are proud to be a full service firm.  The Lady Lawyers of James & George Collie are an important part of the organisation. Elizabeth Mackinnon is the matriarch of the organisation.

Formerly a Partner and now a Consultant, Liz, who was previously President of the Society of Advocates in Aberdeen, is very well respected within the office and amongst all our professional colleagues in the City.  Liz deals with residential conveyancing and private client work.

Anne-Maryse Churchill is our sole lady partner.  Formerly a sole practitioner, Anne-Maryse joined the Firm in 2009.  She enjoys working as part of the team and deals with residential conveyancing and private client work including Wills, Executries and Powers of Attorney.

Susan Waters, one of our senior solicitors, is a matrimonial lawyer in our Court department.  Not only does Susan have wide and varied experience in her field she is also a Family Law Mediator.  Susan’s warm and friendly approach makes her entirely suited to dealing with clients at such a potentially upsetting and distressing time.

Vivienne Bruce is a Senior Solicitor in our Trust and Executry Department. We are proud to have Vivienne as part of our Trust and Executry team as she is such a diligent lawyer with a wealth of experience in her chosen field.

Caren McNeill is also a Senior Solicitor in our Commercial Department. Caren trained at another leading Aberdeen firm and has brought a wealth of knowledge to our Commercial Department. Like Vivienne, she is thoroughly competent and professional in her area of skill.

Jenni Sutherland is a well qualified solicitor in our Court Department and also deals with matrimonial work and ancillary Court work.  Her natural ability to put people at their ease at a challenging time in their life, together with her straightforward and diligent approach to her work, means that her clients are immediately put at ease.

Mary Birse is an experienced solicitor who works in our Stonehaven office with resident partner Graham Garden.  Mary deals mainly with residential house sales and purchases and heads up the conveyancing team in Stonehaven. Efficient and business like, Mary enjoys a good rapport with her clients.

Sarah McAllan is a Trainee Solicitor presently working in our Private Client Department.  Sarah is bubbly and enthusiastic and relates well to her colleagues and clients. Sarah qualifies in October of this year when she will be very pleased to be at the end of her journey training to be a lawyer.

If you wish to arrange an appointment with any of our Lady Lawyers, please contact them directly by email or contact our reception on 01224 581581.
At James & George Collie we are proud to be a full service firm.  The Lady Lawyers of James & George Collie are an important part of the organisation.