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Everything posted by DblEntry

  1. Chartered Accountant in Big 4, wife is in PR for a blue chip ad agency.
  2. I am 26, wife is 27. We are on joint income of £110k (which has almost doubled in last 6 months due to promotions etc). Both Oxbridge graduates from lower middle class families already each individually earning more than our parents' joint income. Both still paying for our own relatively modest wedding (parents couldn't afford to give us anything). Both still paying off student loans (I will clear this year, wife probably next year). Paying £1,250pcm for 2 bed garden flat in Zone 2 London. Target is to save £50k by the time we are both 30 and see what the market is like then. We are lucky that we are in good jobs but even for us the past few years have been a struggle mainly due to student loan repayments / wedding etc. Certainly no prospect of saving anything until recent promotions while paying for a flat in London. We have not done the long haul holidays or skiing trips each year that some of our friends in similar jobs have done, all our furniture is from Ikea, and I cycle to work. We will be a lot better off over the next few years.
  3. We have the longest tax code in the world precisely because it is the most sophisticated, and believe it or not, one of the most difficult in which to avoid tax. Also, much of it is in the process of being rewritten and for transitional years we have to keep the old and the new legislation, so the books will shrink over the next few years. The tax code needs to take account of legitimate policy objectives. A few examples: 1. The UK (and many other Governments) have decided that any foreign subsidiaries of a UK company (Controlled Foreign Companies) should in principle be subject to UK tax. However, it recognises this should really only be in the case that the UK company is shifting profits offshore, the the UK does not want to levy tax on foreign subsidiaries where they are conducting valid trading activity, or otherwise make the vast majority of their profits in the place in which they are resident. Result: pages and pages of legislation dealing with how such tax is levied, which companies are exempt, etc. 2. The UK is party to a large number of double tax treaties. Where a company receives income from overseas, the tax treaty will usually say that the UK can tax the income, as long as it gives the taxpayer a credit for tax paid overseas. Result: pages and pages of legislation dealing with how to claim a credit for this foreign tax. 3. The UK has a policy objective that companies should be able to undertake mergers, takeovers and other sorts of reorganisations tax free, in order to encourage investment in the UK. Result: pages and pages of legislation dealing with when such reorganisations are tax free, when they are not, and the resulting tax consequences. I could go on and on, and that is just corporate tax...
  4. My partner works for a PR agency and just got a £1,000 pay rise without a promotion. Huzzah!
  5. Winkworth have just put a three bed victorian terrace house up for sale on my road in East Dulwich for £495k. This is after one of their two bed Victorian conversion flats has been sitting on the market at £299k for almost 18 months now. The last terrace to sell on my road was in May 2006 for £421k. Before the dizzy heights of 2006, peak price in 2005 was £370k. What on earth are they thinking?
  6. Can I trade my two year old bicycle, ridden at least 150 days per year to work, in for £200? Or do we reserve taxpayer's funds for people destroying Planet Earth?
  7. QE = more likely to have inflation rather than deflation = debt on balance sheets of listed companies becomes worth less in real terms = earnings higher = higher share prices. Simple
  8. Newly qualified CA/CTA in a Big Four are typically on £45k, although some downward pressure recently. Tax Managers (reach this level between 1 and 2.5 years qualified) are nearer £55k. Senior Managers (usually reach this level between 4 years and 6 years qualified) - anywhere between £60k and £100k.
  9. I work in tax for a "big four". There is no doubt that CTA gives you instant credibility, and to the extent that you do not have substantial previous tax experience, is definitely worth doing. ADIT is a creditable alternative if international tax is what interests you. Having said that, I am just an ICAS member and decided not to do CTA on the basis that my knowledge at the time I became a CA, in the areas relevant to my job, was more advanced than the CTA would have provided. Certainly, at any level above Tax Manager in a Big Four firm, CTA is irrelevant compared to experience if you are already a chartered accountant. As for ATT, this is just seen as a stepping stone and is not sufficient for a decent position in most large practices or industry. You have probably done similar level tax studies in your ACA. Taking a step back - as I don't think CTA would help my career substantially I am actually more interested in a post-grad at somewhere like Birkbeck. Surely this would provide more interest, for interest's sake, than yet more tax?
  10. It's all relative. Went to Pizza Express recently and got two meals with two glasses of wine each for £29, thanks to their special offer. Not exactly an expensive night out. I think I spent about £15 on a joint of meat, veg and wine for sunday lunch tomorrow. I think you will find people will still go out but go to less expensive places.
  11. Goodwill = paying more for a business than it is worth
  12. Remember that you are more likely to think "sod it, let's go out for lunch" if you don't have much work to do!
  13. I work in international tax in practice. We are seeing some push back in budgets etc and some transactions are falling by the wayside. However, the government has fortunately introduced draft legislation (probably effective from April 2009) which fundamentally changes some aspects of the UK international tax rules. This should keep us busy enough for the next year until things get back to normal (if they do!).
  14. Court Lane is very nice on the border of Dulwich Park. There is an enclave of large terraces between Dulwich Park and Alleyn's School which some owners are trying to flog for up to £1m. There is a whole stretch of mansion-esque properties on Dulwich Village itself. The patch west of Dulwich Village towards Burbage Road is uniformly nice too. As you move further east into East Dulwich and on to Lordship Lane, the terraced housing stock becomes noticably smaller and slightly poorer quality (my local agent says that most of their terraced rental properties have some sort of damp issue), although still better than much of zone 1 and 2.
  15. For some reason I read that as Woolworth's assets to be used for bonuses
  16. Mining sector is screwed for the next few years. I work with a few mining companies. As recently as six months ago there was a consensus within the mining sector that commodity prices would level off and not fall off a cliff. I guess market forces prevailed there. One of my clients has a policy of zero non-essential capex for 2009.
  17. I am increasingly convinced that within six months, the US, Europe, Japan and UK will have agreed to go on an unprecedented run of printing money. Massive global inflation is really the only way out of this mess.
  18. My accountancy firm has had an internal news alert sent around on possible tax efficient termination strategies, i.e. how do you make people redundant without paying much tax! Almost spit out my coffee!
  19. If he read Economics at Oxford he really should have read this article by Muellbauer and Murphy, which was on the undergraduate Macroeconomics reading list, and be much better informed about the housing market's inherent volatilities: http://www.housingoutlook.co.uk/Papers/boomsandbusts.pdf This was written in 1997 to analyse the housing bust of the early 1990s. In retrospect, it has interesting analysis around the role of credit in the housing market, which is particularly relevant for today's financial climate. In particular, as would be expected, where credit is constrained, real interest rates have a much more muted effect on housing demand than in times of credit expansion (e.g. 1980s). We should therefore expect that the current housing bust will continue irrespective of interest rates, as long as banks are not lending.
  20. Tax cuts for SMEs? The idiot already announced he was raising the headline rate from 19% to 22% by 2009. We may see some targeted corporate tax benefits, e.g. extension of R&D allowances.
  21. Sorry to hear that - what industry?
  22. Oxford Street was eerily quiet yesterday late morning. I know it is a work day but usually it is rammed with tourists, students, people taking annual leave, unemployed etc.
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