Questions Of Cash: You're a smarter investor if you can close Alliance & Leicester's accounts

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 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 ( 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;

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

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

    Market Risk & Control Manager

    Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

    £320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Head of Audit

    To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam