Introducing STEP’s new Advanced Certificate in UK Tax for International Clients

Tuesday, 01 May 2012
How to meet the UK tax planning needs of the international client.

This article was written by Emma Haley TEP, Julie Hutchison TEP, Jenny Wilson-Smith TEP and Nigel Race, Director of Professional Development at STEP.

Clients and their families are becoming increasingly mobile. Lifestyles and work patterns in the 21st century mean that more people are choosing to live, work and acquire assets outside their country of birth. Consequently, trust and estate practitioners are increasingly likely to encounter clients with an international element to their affairs.

Tax and the UK ‘non-dom’

In recent years, there has been a considerable UK legislative impact on non-UK domiciled clients who are UK resident. New taxation rules announced in the pre-Budget report 2007, enacted in the Finance Act 2008, have made the provision of advice to this particular group of international clients extremely complex and high risk. Similarly, the taxation treatment of non-UK resident trusts that have a UK settlor or beneficiary has also undergone significant change over the past decade or so.

Practitioners need support as they look to acquire a sound understanding of these complex tax rules as well as all the latest developments in UK tax issues for non-domiciled clients. At the time of writing, several changes to the rules introduced by the Finance Act 2008 are anticipated to take effect from 6 April 2012.

Additionally, the new statutory residence test, which is expected to be introduced in the UK from April 2013, should now be on the competent practitioner’s radar as they gear up to the introduction of the new rules. Of course, the current rules will remain relevant for several years to come, even after the new test is in place; for example, where a person’s residence status in previous years remains key to their future tax treatment.

With the focus increasingly on international private clients, STEP has decided to augment its fast-developing range of specialist certificates with an advanced certificate in ‘offshore’ private client work: the STEP Advanced Certificate in UK Tax for International Clients. This course will complement another of STEP’s new certificates, the STEP Advanced Certificate in International Succession and Probate, which is due soon.

Who will the new Certificate appeal to?

The Certificate, written by a team at Boodle Hatfield, is intended to have a broad appeal to a wide spectrum of private client advisors. It is likely to be of interest to lawyers, accountants, trust company personnel, wealth managers and those working in private client financial services. In the UK, the Certificate is especially appropriate for advisors who deal with non-UK resident and/or non-UK domiciled individuals and non-UK resident trustees. It will also benefit professionals working outside the UK in private banks or trust companies who need a more detailed understanding of their UK-connected offshore clients. Initially, strong interest is particularly expected from practitioners working in the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, the Caribbean, Switzerland and Hong Kong.

The course is designed for both junior professionals looking to move into a specialism in international work and more experienced advisors as a means of consolidating and demonstrating their existing experience. Although the Certificate is aimed at TEPs, it is open to non-TEPs too.

‘This Certificate is intended to appeal to a wide spectrum of private client advisors’

The STEP Advanced Certificate in UK Tax for International Clients is set at the level of a STEP Diploma paper and applicants would be expected to have a sound grasp of both trust law and the basic UK tax rules. It is delivered in a distance-learning format. The final assessment involves a three-hour, closed-book, case-study-style assessment, where the basic case will be sent to candidates in advance of the exam; they will then need to produce a report or analysis based on new information given on assessment day. The course counts as 30 STEP credits, which a STEP member can use towards their annual CPD requirement.

Enrolments open in April and close in September, with the first assessment taking place in January 2013.

About the authors of the certificate

The concept behind the Certificate came chiefly from its editor, Julie Hutchison TEP (below left), who is Head of International Technical Insight at Standard Life and Deputy Chair of STEP’s Professional Development Committee. The team of writers from Boodle Hatfield were asked to author the course manual and share their specialist international expertise and practical insights. They were well placed to develop the manual as a leading UK private client firm, internationally respected for advising offshore clients as well as UK-based private clients.

The authors include Geoffrey Todd TEP, who leads the international team at Boodle Hatfield; Eleanor Sepanski, who specialises in advising offshore clients on a complex range of issues; and Jenny Wilson-Smith TEP (centre) and Emma Haley TEP (right) from the technical know-how team, who both have specialist knowledge of international tax and trust law.

Find out more

For further details, visit the STEP Professional Development webpage enrol at

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Nigel Race

Nigel Race is Director of Professional Development at STEP.

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