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Questions remain over SIPPs reform

Published:  23 July, 2008

HM Revenue & Customs has still not released full details of the proposed changes to self-invested pension portfolios (SIPPs) - which will allow fine wine to be included in a portfolio (and be eligible for tax relief) - despite the new laws expected to come into force by April.

Revenue has still not finalised what's going on,' said Alan Rayne of wine-investment specialists Magnum Fine Wines. They seem to have their knickers in a twist and keep changing their minds about what will be allowed. The latest I've heard is that we won't know until February. I'm refusing to give advice to my customers until I know exactly what's going on.'

As previously reported in Harpers (7 October, p.5), other companies, most notably Berry Bros & Rudd (BBR), have been far more bullish about the proposed changes - despite persistent (although currently unfounded) rumours that the Revenue was reconsidering whether to include wine in the SIPPs changes at all.

BBR's fine-wine director Simon Staples said: We have been talking to the head honchos of some of the biggest pension (and SIPP) providers, who have been working with the Revenue for a considerable time, and they are all guns a-blazing and have no doubts at all.'

Staples added that despite the SIPPs changes and increased demand for top Bordeaux from Russia and the Far East, the 2005 Bordeaux en primeur campaign may still prove to be difficult. My major concern is, with a potentially great vintage in 2005, I can see a clear opportunity for Bordeaux to get it wrong, again, and completely miss the pricing on most of the wines. SIPP providers are unlikely to accept en primeur wines into a portfolio, while Russia and the Far East are "drink-it-now markets".'