A Family Investment Company (FIC) is a type of private limited company that is usually set up by parents or grandparents for the transference of assets from themselves to the children.
The company is formed with different types of shares, with the voting shares usually staying with the elders and the shares that hold the capital value of the assets, passed to the children.
This structure allows for tax-efficient wealth accumulation and succession planning when it comes to the time to pass on your wealth to the next generation.
Cash assets are typically placed into the FIC, and are then invested into either stock, land or property portfolios. Any growth on the assets can be paid out to family members as dividends or distributions. Through its Articles of Associations, the FIC can protect the family wealth from divorce or bloodline dilution. This is achieved by placing restrictions on share transfers to spouses and non-family members and allows you to keep control over the assets in the company by reserving all voting rights.
This type of wealth transference and succession planning has been gaining popularity because of its tax advantages:
Any profits arising from the investments are taxed at corporation tax rates, currently at 19%, rather than income or capital gains, which could save you over 25% on your taxes if set up correctly!
In addition, where the FIC holds an equity portfolio there may be no tax at all as dividend payments are often tax free from company to company. This can increase the return on the investment significantly.
The investment is typically made by way of a loan, which can be repaid from profits tax free. However, when the funds have been repaid and being drawn by the shareholders as income, shareholders will be liable for personal income tax, which will be charged as below:
|0 – £1,000
|£1,001 – £12,570
|£12,571 – £50,270
The rental profits in the company are taxed at preferential corporate rates and companies can still deduct any loan interest from the rental income which is now being restricted for personal investors.
Any assets sold within the company would be subject to corporation tax once a year rather than Capital Gains Tax (CGT), currently charged at 18 - 28%, within 60 days of disposal.
Normally, an estate over £325,000 NET is subject to 40% Inheritance Tax.
High-net-worth individuals are increasingly drawn to Family Investment Companies (FICs) as a favoured choice for tax and succession planning. The decision whether this vehicle is right for your will also depend on the structure, and its fees.
The establishment fees of a Family Investment Company can vary, ranging from £4,500 to £21,000 or 0.6% of the asset value, whichever is greater.
An FIC with alphabet shares costs £4,500 plus VAT.
Companies can establish different share classes, commonly called "alphabet shares", such as A, B, etc. This provides flexibility for declaring dividends to specific classes of shareholders as needed instead of declaring dividends for all shareholders.
An FIC with alphabet shares and freezer/growth shares would be £11,000, plus VAT.
Freezer shares are those held for future gifting. This is especially useful for freezing the value of your property portfolio for IHT purposes, where growth shares would be allocated to the discretionary trust. Any increase in the estate portfolio value will be outside of your estate, therefore, not subject to IHT.
An FIC with all the above and have the growth shares settled in a Discretionary Trust would be £21,000 plus VAT.
The benefits of an FIC can be immediately apparent when it comes to Inheritance Tax. First of all, transferring cash or assets into an FIC is not subject to the initial Inheritance Tax charge of 20% if it exceeds the available nil rate band of £325,000. This makes an FIC the preferred option for families who want to transfer estates over £325,000 to their children whilst maintaining control of those funds.
Moreover, if you name yourself and your Spouse as Directors, and reserve all voting rights, but have no rights to the capital, then after seven years, the value of the money or property transferred will fall outside of your estate for inheritance tax purposes.
HMRC and Pensions Regulator submissions – Soteria Trusts and the Trustee deal with the rules and regulations
Accounts and annual returns – Focus on running your business in the most efficient way
Minimal paperwork – Anything needing your attention will be prepared and ready for your sign-off
Compliance oversight – Provide comfort knowing you are within the rules
Strategy and planning – Working towards your goals and objectives from day 1
Preparation of documents – Focus on your business rather than admin
Ongoing support – Discuss your plans or concerns with us whenever you need to
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