Questions Of Cash: 'What should I do with my worthless shares?'
Saturday 26 September 2009
Q. Several years ago, I bought some shares in a company called Ninth Floor plc. This subsequently became Farsight plc. Shares in this company were suspended in 2006. Can you discover any information about this company and provide guidance to shareholders about what they should do in this situation? At what point does Farsight plc get written off – allowing the losses to be offset against capital gains tax? I'm not sure what to do with my share certificate. This company doesn't seem to have appeared on the list of companies of negligible value for tax purposes. MH, by email.
A. Ninth Floor acquired the company Farsight, provider of security equipment, in 2000. In October of that year, the parent company delisted from the London Stock Exchange, moving to the LSE's Alternative Investment Market. This enabled Ninth Floor to list its subsidiary company, Swansea Football Club, on the AIM and sell it. Ninth Floor was known in a previous incarnation as the Silver Shield Group, the operations of which were sold to Kwik-Fit. It has also been known as Edgestake. Farsight's listing on the AIM was cancelled in March 2007. A company called Farsight Security Systems continues to operate from Peterborough, where director Rob Moore said: "People involved with the plc have had nothing to do with this company for a number of years." He referred enquiries about Farsight plc to Stephen Mundy, a director at Morgan LaRoche solicitors. Mr Mundy failed to return our calls. Companies House records show Farsight PLC as having been dissolved last year.
Leonie Kerswill, a tax partner at Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, explains: "Where shares become of negligible value (which HMRC defines as "worth next to nothing") the taxpayer can make a claim so that he is treated as if he had sold the shares and immediately reacquired them. There's no time limit and no specific form needed, so the claim can either be on the face of the tax return or by letter. The capital loss is treated as arising when the claim is made. Alternatively, the taxpayer can opt for some other date within two years before the date of the claim provided that, at that earlier time, they owned the shares and they had already become of negligible value. If the taxpayer subscribed for the now worthless shares, then provided that the company is an unquoted trading company it may be possible to set the loss against income rather than capital gains."
Q. I was very interested to read the complaint from an Aviva customer whose 25-year endowment matured with a smaller payout than he expected (Questions of Cash, 1 August). Aviva sent me a letter dated 4 July stating that "the current surrender value, as at today's date, is £17,441.48". On this basis, I surrendered it. Two weeks later, Aviva paid me £16,158.95. Aviva then told me that final bonus rates altered on 1 July, but staff had sent the letter on 4 July "not having corrected for the new final bonus rate". Surely that is their error, and they owe me a further £1,282.53? AP, Dorking.
A. We are very sympathetic to your argument, but getting additional payment from Aviva has been hard work. Aviva argues that the valuation sent to you on 4 July was "a non-guaranteed surrender value" and that it is not obliged to pay you this. When we initially contacted Aviva it agreed to make you a goodwill payment of £100. That seemed insufficient, so we asked Aviva to look again at the case. It then agreed to pay you £250. This still seemed inadequate. We consulted with the Financial Ombudsman Service to ask how it would adjudicate in a case such as this. The FOS told us that it was unlikely to uphold in your favour as the amount quoted had been non-guaranteed, unless you had made specific financial commitments based on the expectation of receiving the full amount. In fact, you had agreed for the first time in your life to buy a new car following notification of the intended payout, a commitment of £13,190. We explained this to Aviva, which again reconsidered your case with the result that it has agreed a further goodwill payment of £350. In addition, the chief executive of Aviva has sent you a letter of apology. While you have not received everything you felt you were owed, you are now £600 better off – which is nearly half the difference between the quote and the actual payment you received. You have willingly accepted this.
Q. I am unhappy with how Tiscali deals with the accounts of deceased subscribers. The maiden aunt of my wife died on Easter Monday. I am an executor of her estate. She owed money to Tiscali. I was wrongly told by my bank that existing direct debits from her account would continue. I tried to speak to Tiscali about the debt, but because I am not the account holder, it refused to discuss it with me. Tiscali continued to send bills, statements and letters to my deceased aunt and then left a message on her answerphone requiring her to contact them to make payments. I phoned again, but still Tiscali refused to deal with me – unless I was prepared to make a payment, in which case it didn't seem to matter who I was. I then wrote to Tiscali as executor saying I was going to charge it £50 for the cost of administration in dealing with the company and, on this basis, there was no balance outstanding on the account. All the other utility companies agreed to deal with me after I phoned to explain the situation. Tiscali has threatened court action, but this is apparently now on hold. The experience would be very upsetting for someone who was widowed. IB, Dereham.
A. Tiscali has now written off the outstanding balance. We also asked the company if, in the light of your experience, it was going to change its procedures where a customer dies. We did not receive a reply.
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
Buyers beware of new-build home headaches
Women born in 1950s facing severe financial hardship over pensions could have fates changed by Ros Altmann - should she choose to help
Five Questions On: GB Energy's new tariff
Simon Read: You're guilty until proven innocent when HMRC sends in the tax credit detectives
Money roundup video: Warning for mortgage borrowers and Premium Bonds boost
- 1 Autistic adults could take pure MDMA to 'reduce social anxiety'
- 2 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 3 Father of 12 accused of raping, beating, starving and abusing his own children in US 'cult'
- 4 Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
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