The Sunday Times - Money Questions 20/09/09

Posted by Jill Kerby on September 20 2009 @ 20:17

JED writes from Limerick. Along with a number of siblings I inherited my mother’s house last year. Since then the house has been on the market, but we have been lucky to have a tenant for the past eight months. Will the estate be liable for this new property tax? Some of the family members have their own family homes, others are in rented accommodation. 

There is increasing speculation that the government will not risk introducing the property tax while the economy is in such a poor condition and unemployment rates are so high.  It looks like we might all ‘dodge that bullet’ for now.  Meanwhile, however, you and your siblings have until the end of the month to pay your local authority the €200 second home tax if you have not already paid since this house is not occupied as anyone’s principal private residence and you are all co-owners.   An interest penalty of €20 per month will apply if you miss the deadline.  Check here for more details:  www.nppr.ie .




DN writes from Dublin: I bought a significant amount of gold about 18 months ago indirectly from the Perth Mint and transacted at whatever the euro/dollar price was at the time. I bought it mainly to protect me from the financial chaos I thought was coming down the line and also because I believed the dollar would weaken considerably. History usually tells that when the dollar goes down the price of gold tends to go up. However, what I didn't fully appreciate at the time was that the gold I have is priced in dollars and that I have a currency equation to my investment: if the dollar goes down I might win if the price of gold goes up, but I also lose because my gold is priced in dollars. My question is, does this make sense to you and what are the options, if any, to negate the dollar downside equation?

First, I think you are quite correct to have bought gold as a hedge against the risk of future inflation as a result of the weakening dollar and other fiat currencies including our own. Gold is always a safeguard of value when the money supply is being inflated and there is a real threat of future price inflation. You are also right that when the value of the US dollar, the world’s reserve fiat currency weakens, the price of gold (and oil) usually goes up.  And while the price of gold is typically quoted in dollars, it is sold in many other currencies, including the euro. That’s the price you should be watching.  Gold priced in euro has not gone up as much as it has priced in dollars or especially in sterling, because the euro is currentluy a stronger currency, says Mark O’Byrne of Goldcore.com the Dublin gold dealers who sell the Perth Mint certificates. “However, if your reader bought €10,000 worth of gold 18 months ago it would be worth nearly €10,900 today, a 9% rise. Anyone buying their gold with sterling is looking at an even better return of about €12,460 or 24.6%.”  He adds that “Irish, Spanish and UK investors are not buying gold simply because of the dollar risk – they are buying because of the risk they perceive in their homes, homes, stock market investments and their savings in banks that are ‘guaranteed’ by near insolvent governments.”  Unlike the pieces of paper that represent the euro, gold has a tangible, intrinsic value all its own that doesn’t need to be ‘guaranteed’ by anyone.





MB writes from Dublin: I am a British subject living and employed in Ireland since the 1970s. Is it possible for me to open a bank account in the UK without residing there?


Yet it is. Like anyone else residing here in Ireland, you are free to open an account in the UK, or other EU countries, but as a number of readers have discovered in the last few years, not all UK banks are very willing to allow for the opening of such accounts.  I’ve been told by a few of them that this is because of the controversy over the bogus non-resident accounts.  The Irish based UK banks, like AIB and Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank have been more helpful, especially if you already have an account with them here in the Republic but you must satisfy all their money laundering conditions. The advantage of a UK (Northern Ireland) bank account may be that interest rates will be higher and of course, that any interest is paid DIRT free. However, you must still declare your account to the Irish authorities and pay income tax on your UK interest income.  If you pay tax at the higher marginal rate, there’s hardly much point in holding the UK account, unless the interest is very attractive. 




AP writes from Dublin: I am 59, single and a retired teacher. I receive a pension from the Department of Education and Science. If I move to Spain on a temporary basis will my pension be affected?  Secondly, I have paid 520 stamps towards a contributory old age pension. I am now signing for credits. How will this pan out if I move? Will I lose out? 


A spokesperson for the Department of Education told me that your existing teacher's pension can be sent to you in Spain. All you need to do is advise the department of your new address “in sufficient time to enable payroll to effect the change”. Likewise, the Department of Social Welfare says that there is no problem having your contributory state pension delivered to you in Spain, on condition that you have the sufficient number of PRSI contributions/credits by the time you turn 65. 



0 comment(s)

Leave a comment

Subscribe to Blog