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Govt halts probate fees increase amid election pressure

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The controversial planned increase to probate fees will now be a matter for the new Government, as the Ministry of Justice says there is no time to complete the change before the snap election.

It was proposed the flat rate probate fee of £215, or £155 if using a solicitor, would change to a tiered model based on assets.

The change would mean lower value estates would be exempt from any charge, but the charge on estates that exceed £50,000 would increase.

However, a Ministry of Justice spokeswoman has confirmed that because of the snap election – due to be held on 8 June – the statutory instrument on raising probate fees will not have time to complete its passage through parliament.

She says: “This will now be a matter for the new Government.”

Old Mutual Wealth tax and financial planning expert Gordon Andrews says this marks the second U-turn from the Government since the spring Budget, following Chancellor Philip Hammond’s change of heart on national insurance contributions from self-employed workers.

Andrews says: ““The opposition could view this as another tax break on the wealthy, since the proposal on probate fees stepped up depending on the value of the estate on death.”

He adds: “Regardless of what happens now, the current Conservative Government has drawn a line in the sand and has to some extent shown its hand – whilst these proposals have been shelved for now it will be interesting to see if the changes to probate fees are revisited after the election.”

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Apple: a stellar technology story

By Ali Unwin, head of technology sector research

Apple recently announced the highest-ever recorded quarterly net profit ($18bn), with the sale of 74.4 million iPhones helping the company deliver $74.6bn of revenue for the quarter ending December 2014. These sales were largely driven by strong demand for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Highlights included Chinese iPhone sales doubling year-on-year and unit growth of 44% in the US — supposedly a well-penetrated market. Apple ended the quarter with $178bn in cash on its balance sheet, having generated a staggering $30bn in free cash flow during the quarter.

At Neptune, we have been long-term believers in the Apple story, and continue to hold the stock in a number of our portfolios based on the company’s long-term growth prospects. This is predicated on our belief that Apple has proved thus far that it can — unusually for a consumer electronics company — maintain high margins for a sustained period of time, even as adoption of new technology slows down and competitors produce similar-specification products.

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Comments

There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Should have never been recommended in the first place. This was a blatant stealth tax

  2. If any government has the common sense to increase basic rate income tax, life would be so much easier. The lower the tax rate the more efficient collecting it has to be, the public are not that stupid if they want the NHS we have to pay more for it.

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