Wealthy businessmen, Gulf royals and states such as China have legally bought up billions of pounds of mostly London property, often via jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the Channel Islands.
On Friday the Companies House register listed 17,754 overseas entities, with thousands more expected to register before the 31 January deadline. Three-quarters of the registered companies are based in five jurisdictions: the BVI, Jersey, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Luxembourg. With 45% of all overseas owners declared to date, the register shows that the royal families of Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar own about £1bn of UK property via tax havens such as Jersey and the BVI.
It also shows that the Chinese Investment Corporation, an arm of the Chinese government, owns at least £580m of property through offshore entities.
Holding properties through offshore companies xperts say can be done to minimise an individual’s tax liability as the owner or buyer of a property, or, until now, to allow a property to be held anonymously.
“Historically, there have been some really great tax advantages from owning UK property via offshore companies,” said Robert Palmer, the executive director of the campaign group Tax Justice UK. “The government has closed down quite a lot of them but there are still ways you can pay less tax by owning property via offshore companies.”
UK for sale: how the wealthy hold British property via offshore firms | Real estate | The Guardian
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