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Accountancy firm calls for IHT rethink

A member of the world’s fifth-largest accountancy network has called on chancellor Gordon Brown to raise the Inheritance Tax threshold in his final Budget on March 21.

BDO Stoy Hayward, part of BDO International, warns that the fact the tax’s threshold has not kept up with spectacular house price inflation has made IHT deeply unpopular.

It advises Brown to raise the exemption threshold to £500,000, making the tax more equitable.

Stephen Herring, tax partner at the firm, says: “Brown could scrap IHT by treating death as a disposal for Capital Gains Tax purposes, applying the existing business asset taper relief and limiting the effective tax rate to 10%.

“It would be a good idea to provide a sensible threshold of, say, the first £100,000 of gains.”

But Herring adds that making private residences exempt could stoke house price inflation at the expense of first-time buyers.

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Demand for traded endowments rises

The number of traded endowment policies purchased in 2006 more than doubled compared with the previous year, says the Association of Policy Market Makers. Brian Goldstein, chairman of APMM, says: “Last year, market-makers saw record levels of demand for TEPs. It looks like 2007 will be even more successful.”

Tories slammed for HIP ploy

LMS has accused the Conservative Party of fuelling the anti-Home Information Pack movement by questioning the cost of local authority searches.

FSA fails small firms on TCF, says report

The Financial Services Authority has been blamed for a “massive communications gap” when it comes to guiding small firms on its Treating Customers Fairly initiative.

Scarborough buys CI business

Scarborough has bought Portman’s Guernsey-based offshore deposit-taking business Portman Channel Islands. PCI has a deposit book of around £600m and about 8,000 customers. PCI will be rebranded and trade as Scarborough Channel Islands.

Healthcare regulation amalgamation predicted for Gulf states

While Dubai is leading the way in terms of legislating for expat healthcare in the Gulf, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and others are watching and learning – that’s according to Jelf International’s director of international services, Doug Rice. He believes the pace of change in the Gulf states will continue and that some level of unified healthcare system will be introduced across the region.

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