Questions Of Cash: You're a smarter investor if you can close Alliance & Leicester's accounts
Saturday 16 August 2008
Q. I have written to Alliance & Leicester three times with no reply. My son had a "young worker" account that A&L changed to a premier current account, despite his already having one. My son requested that one of these accounts be closed and cut up his card. In January, A&L told him his balance was down to 1p on the account he had closed and that he needed to pay in money. But he was in hospital, after a nervous breakdown. I took him to the bank at the first opportunity. The cashier said that she could not close the account without the card, but if he transferred £5 into the account, there would be no more bank charges. Yet, though he paid in £5, he has been charged another £25. These charges are very unfair on someone who is ill and has been an A&L customer for many years. CL, Nottingham.
A. Alliance & Leicester says it has no record of your son trying to close one of his premier current accounts. A bank spokeswoman says: "Account closures can only be carried out at head office, so if a request was made at a branch, the request would have been forwarded to the relevant area in head office. If this was the case, as we have no record of the request we can only assume that it was lost somewhere between the branch and head office, for which we apologise." The failure to close the account led to underfunding fees, putting the account into an unauthorised overdraft, triggering the £25 charge. A&L says it did close your son's duplicate account when you wrote to the bank. It has credited him with £30 as a gesture of goodwill.
Q. I have a holiday home in Italy, which I rent out. I've been told that I won't have to pay tax in Italy as long as the income is less than €7,500 a year. In the last tax year, it was very close to this threshold. I receive the rent in sterling, so the amount of income in euros depends on the exchange rate, which has been constantly changing. What exchange rate should I use? Do I have to pay tax in the UK as well? Can I choose where to pay tax? CP, London.
A. Antonio Risorto, senior tax manager at accountants Grant Thornton, says: "Assuming the owner of the property is UK resident and domiciled, the owner would be liable to UK income tax on their worldwide income. For the purposes of Italian tax, non-resident taxpayers are liable to IRPEF – personal income tax – and must file a tax return for Italian-source income exceeding €185.92. The €7,500 relates to a tax credit that is not available for offset against rental income. Double tax relief is available to prevent individuals being taxed twice on the same income. An individual cannot choose where to pay their tax, other than by moving to another country. Taxing rights are determined by the type of income and the "situs" (location) of the asset. Buy-to-let income is liable to Italian income tax first. HM Revenue and Customs' strict position is that they require exchange rates to be taken for the date the income arises; in practice, they accept a reasonable approach (if it is consistent). For rental income received over the course of a year, the average exchange rate at www.hmrc.gov.uk appears to be reasonable. Local tax advice should be sought."
Q. I recently took power of attorney over my mother's financial affairs. She is entitled to a payment for some shares she holds. How do I obtain this on her behalf? SH, Warwickshire.
A. Stephen Pallister, tax and trust partner at the solicitors Charles Russell, says: "If you have an enduring power of attorney (EPA) and she has lost mental capacity, you must register it with the Office of the Public Guardian (www.publicguardian.gov.uk) before you can use it. If your mother has not lost capacity, the EPA may be worded so that you can use it as an ordinary power of attorney – you can use that straight away, if your mother has not lost capacity. Alternatively, since 1 October 2007 she may have made a lasting power of attorney (relating to "property and affairs"), the EPA replacement. This would have to be registered with the OPG before you could use it."
Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. Please do not send original documents. Write to: Questions of Cash, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity h...
$125 - $175 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Senior Wealth Manager In...
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
Day In a Page
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens