Paul Gosling: It's no laughing matter for Carphone Warehouse
Questions of Cash
Saturday 13 December 2008
Q. I upgraded my mobile phone with a new 18-month Carphone Warehouse contract for a Sony Ericsson 250i handset. I didn't like the new phone and arranged with Carphone Warehouse to replace it with a Nokia 6500. But then I was given a different contract on inferior terms. When I then tried to go back to the Sony Ericsson, I was told I could no longer do so and the staff laughed at me. I felt humiliated. PM, London.
A. Carphone Warehouse accepts that your upgrade "was not processed as requested and was accidentally placed on an incorrect contract". It has agreed to pay £15 compensation, though you have yet to receive it nearly three months after initially complaining. Carphone Warehouse says you are "happy with the resolution" – but you say that while you will accept the payment, you are definitely not satisfied, and say that the stress of this incident has caused you considerable health problems.
Q. My grandad was offered the chance to buy his council house 15 years ago. He was not in a financial position to do this, but my mum took out a mortgage in her name and purchased it in my grandad's name. It is specified in my grandad's will that the property actually belongs to my mum, but I thought it would be better and less complicated if the house was put into mum's name now. I am also worried about the situation if my grandad dies or has to go into a nursing home while the house is still in his name. I believe that the property will have to be in mum's name for several years for its value not to be taken into consideration when calculating whether he has to pay anything towards any nursing home fees, should he have to go into one. He is 85 years old. AC, Perth.
A. Philip Spiers, who is the acting chief executive at First Stop Advice, specialist advisers to the elderly, says: "You have two issues to consider if you were to transfer the property into your mother's name. Assuming she does not live there, it would become a chargeable asset for capital gains tax purposes. Any increase in the value from the date the transfer was made to the date your mother sold the property would form a chargeable gain.
"Regarding care home fees: yes, the property would be considered, but in doing so the council must look at who is the beneficial owner as well as the legal owner. Your grandfather probably benefited from a discount when the property was purchased and arguably this percentage could be deemed to be his beneficial interest, with the remaining percentage belonging to your mother because she paid for it. There is no time limit as to how far the council can go back in looking whether a property was transferred to avoid paying for care. They would normally ask whether a person ever owned a property and, if so, what happened to it.
"If deprivation of assets was decided, then they would treat the value of the property as notional capital and refuse to fund the care fees. Most people who need care receive it in their own homes. If your father did need to move into a care home, it may be a case of 'horse dealing' with the council in deciding what, if any, of the value of the property should be counted." More details are available from First Stop Advice's factsheet, 'Treatment of Property', which is available by calling 0800 377 7070.
Q. I receive a Danish state pension in respect of 16 years I spent working there in the 1970s and 1980s. The Danish authorities state an agreement exists between the UK and Denmark which means that tax will be calculated and deducted according to Danish rules. The Danish tax office has sent me their tax estimate which, because my Danish tax-free allowance is higher than the annual pension, brings me into their zero-rate band. I have thus effectively been taxed there according to the regulation but without any actual deduction. What is my taxable position in the UK regarding the Danish state pension? Do I need to declare it and if so how will it be taxed? Other income in UK uses up my UK tax-free allowance. RK, Harrogate.
A. Antonio Risorto, senior tax manager at accountants Grant Thornton, says: "An individual's liability to UK income tax is determined by their residence and domicile status. A UK-domiciled and UK-resident individual is taxable on their worldwide income on an arising basis. A non-UK domiciled but UK resident individual may be eligible to be taxed on their income on a remittance basis – ie, income arising outside of the UK is taxable in the UK only if it is brought into the UK. There are new rules affecting the taxation of non-UK domiciled individuals post-6 April 2008.
"In addition, where income may be taxed in more than one jurisdiction, there are different ways in which relief can be provided from double taxation, such as 'unilateral relief' or by way of a double taxation agreement. So, assuming you are liable to tax on your worldwide income on an arising basis, the UK-Danish Treaty states in Article 18, paragraph 3 that payments received by a resident of the UK, under the social security legislation of Denmark, shall only be taxable in Denmark. It is perhaps this paragraph to which you refer in your correspondence from the Danish authorities. This is an unusual scenario, where this pension income is 'exempted' by the double taxation agreement from UK taxation.
"Where overseas pensions are taxable in the UK – so not in this case – individuals who are not taxed on the remittance basis, a deduction of 10 per cent of the overseas pension can be claimed so that only 90 per cent of the pension is subject to UK income tax. You would need to complete the foreign pages of your self-assessment tax return to declare your overseas social security pension and to claim the exemption under the terms of the double tax agreement. As this scenario is unusual, a disclosure in the 'white space' on the tax return form is recommended. Guidance can be found at www.hmrc.gov.uk and professional advice should be sought, particularly given the complexities of your affairs."
Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But if you have a financial dilemma, we'll do our best to help. Please email us at email@example.com
Mark Dampier: 'So what if a recovery fund is out of luck? The clue is in the title'
Women born in 1950s facing severe financial hardship over pensions could have fates changed by Ros Altmann - should she choose to help
Questions of Cash: We bought the special ceramic poppies. Then the saga began
Five Questions On: GB Energy's new tariff
Halifax credit card charges: bank is forcing interest rate rises on its customers
- 1 Engineer pictured fixing plane's engine with 'duct tape' by concerned EasyJet passenger
- 2 Two-year-old says goodbye to bin man best friend
- 3 Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
- 4 There is something wrong but very right about this Bible illustration
- 5 Remove smartphones from the hands of under-18s and maybe they will grow up to be less dumb
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
iJobs Money & Business
£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...
£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...
Day In a Page
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
In the pretty market town of Bungay, this grade II-listed Mill House is arranged over four floors, offering four bedrooms and three reception areas.
This four-bedroom home offers a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining with doors that open to the patio and garden.
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
Surrounded by the Western fells, this five-bedroom Georgian home retains many original features including panel-plastered ceilings, sash windows and fireplaces.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B, subject to change of use permissions.
A former period coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool