For the Queen's 90th birthday: Four royal tax facts
The Queen is a lucky woman. Not only does she enjoy a reported fortune of about £270m, but she also gets two birthdays a year! And this weekend will see the climax of months of events to celebrate her 90th.
Her actual birthday falls on 21 April and tends to be a quiet, family-oriented affair, but the second – which changes every year within a range of June Saturdays – will, this year, occur on 11 June.
The reason for this is the abysmal English weather. Nobody wants to witness the extravagant celebrations (which consist of various gunfire salutes around central London and the ‘Troop the Colour’ event on Horse Guards Parade) while the wind howls and drizzle attacks you from every conceivable direction – although there is something pleasing about how uniquely English all of that is.
Our own celebrations for the Queen’s 90th official birthday will take a typically Moneywise-shaped form: tax.
Here are four royal-themed tax facts you may not be aware of, courtesy of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
A taxing issue
What do Harry Kane and the Queen have in common? They both make payments they don’t have to. For the past few years, the England team have donated their wages and bonuses to charity. Since 1992, the Queen has paid her tax (including capital gains tax) despite not being legally required to.
When the pie was opened, the herrings(?!) began to sing
Many landowners have to pay a ‘quit-rent’ on land leased from the Monarch. Whereas some Moneywise writers are being utterly fleeced on high rents in London, at least we don’t have to:
- Provide a snowball in mid-summer, as the owner of Flowlis must.
- Bake a giant eel pie, which falls under the responsibilities of the City of Gloucester.
- Rustle up a Tricolour before noon on 19 June – pity the poor Duke of Wellington.
- Provide a hundred herrings baked into 24 pasties, as whoever draws the short straw in Great Yarmouth city council must do.
Council tax included?
The Queen pays council tax. Here’s a breakdown of what some of her properties bring in:
- Buckingham Palace - Valuation Band H - £1,337.62 per year in council tax.
- Windsor Castle - Valuation Band H - £2365.16
- Balmoral Castle, located in Aberdeenshire - Valuation Band H - £2,460.78
- Sandringham Estate, the Queen’s private country residence - Valuation Band H -£3,033.2.
Overall, for her four properties, the Queen pays £9,196.76 per year. That’s a lot of wheelie bins.
One always keeps hold of one’s receipts
The Queen’s finances come under plenty of scrutiny. There are three forms of audit, including outside eyes from KPMG and the National Audit Office as well as numerous internal audits. The Royal finances are treated as though they belong to a company.
A catch-all phrase that can range from assessing the price of a property or vehicle before offering it for sale or the net worth of assets in an investment portfolio to the prices of shares on a stock exchange.
Everything you own: all your assets (property, cars, investments, savings, insurance payouts, artwork, furniture etc) minus any liabilities (debts, current bills, payments still owed on assets like cars and houses, credit card balances and other outstanding loans). When you’re alive this is called your wealth; when you’re dead, it becomes your estate.
Capital gains tax
If you buy an asset – shares, a second home, arts and antiques – and then sell it at a later date and make a profit, that profit could be subject to CGT. You don’t pay CGT on selling your main home (which is why MPs “flipped” theirs so regularly) or any securities sheltered in an ISA. Individuals get an annual CGT allowance (£10,600 in 2010/2011) but if you have substantial assets it’s worth paying an accountant to sort it for you.