Questions Of Cash: 'What should I do with my worthless shares?'


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: questionsofcash@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

    £40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

    C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

    DevOps Engineer - Linux, Shell, Bash, Solaris, UNIX, Salt-Stack

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: A fast growing Financial Services organisation b...

    Trade Desk FIX Analyst - (FIX, SQL, Equities, Support)

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + excellent benefits: Harrington Starr: An award-win...

    Day In a Page

    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
    Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

    What is the appeal of Twitch?

    Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
    Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

    How bosses are making us work harder

    As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
    Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

    Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

    As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
    Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

    A tale of two writers

    Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
    Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

    Should pupils get a lie in?

    Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
    Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

    Prepare for Jewish jokes...

    ... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
    SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

    A dream come true for SJ Watson

    Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
    Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

    Paul Scholes column

    Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?