Property pointers, recruitment scams and salary solutions

Had a problem? Been treated unfairly? Our consumer advocate is on the case for you.

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My husband and I are getting divorced, and as part of the settlement I will receive a large sum of money. We are resident in the UAE, but I plan to return to the UK once the divorce is finalised. One of the properties that we own in the UK will also be transferred to my name solely. As I will shortly be a UK resident I would like to know if I will be taxed on the money I receive. Also, what is the best way to reduce my tax liability?

JG Abu Dhabi Under UK law there is no tax liability on assets transferred as part of a divorce settlement, so even if you again become a UK resident you will not be subject to any tax on the capital. Once you take up UK residency you will, however, be subject to income tax on any interest or rental income received. I would like to report a recruitment agency. It advertises vacancies for various job categories and instructs candidates to go to their office and register. This costs Dh100, which is not disclosed on the telephone during the initial consultation. In addition, when representatives schedule an interview, (which in my case never took place) they ask for another Dh300, as a guarantee for the job. Many candidates are lured into this scam and pay with the hope of gaining a job, but this never happens, at least as far as I can tell. I sincerely hope that these people are taken to task.

RC Dubai Under the UAE Labour Law it is illegal for any company or employer to charge or try to charge an employee for any part of the recruitment or employment process, including agent fees, finder's fees, commissions, medical fees or registration charges. Any company contravening these regulations can be reported to the Dubai Economic Department (DED). I telephoned the company in question, as the telephone number was provided. The woman who answered the telephone was interested only in getting people to their offices in Bur Dubai, but upon being pressed stated that there would be a charge of Dh200 for passing on a CV. When I asked if they were aware that this was illegal she hung up on me. I have reported this company, whose legitimacy I doubt, to the DED, as their activities seem to be fraudulent. I advise anyone who is asked to pay any fees to a recruitment company to point out that such action is illegal.

My husband will soon start a job in Abu Dhabi as a secondment from his UK company. His salary is stated in sterling, but the allowances are listed in dirhams. Will payment in sterling mean that he will have to pay tax? TS Worcester, UK Provided your husband complies with standard Her Majesty's Customs & Revenue (HMRC) rules regarding residency, he will be entitled to receive his income free of tax. Since he will receive his first wages at the end of March, he must set aside monies to pay income tax of that income, as he will be treated as UK resident for tax purposes in the 2009/10 tax year. Thereafter, provided he spends no more than 90 days a year in the UK, including days of entry and exit, he will be treated as non-resident. If he remains non-resident for a full five tax years, then the first month's income will also become free of tax.

You recently advised someone that they cannot bring a car to the UAE from the UK, but I would like to know if I can take a car bought here back to the States with me. Is this possible? JB Abu Dhabi @Body-Answer2 :I understand that a vehicle with Gulf specifications can be imported into the US and that it is a relatively straightforward matter to sort out. Shipping costs will be in the region of US$3,000 (Dh11,000), and you would then need to arrange registration in US and pay any import taxes due, which are based on the age and value of the vehicle.

We will be moving out of our apartment in a few weeks and the landlord will be sending someone to inspect the apartment and, in his words, "let us know how much repairs will cost". The apartment is, and always has been, kept very clean and there is no damage. The only thing is that in the lounge, four or five picture hooks were nailed into the wall. My suspicion is that our current landlord is going to have the place painted and try to charge us. Is this valid?

CC Dubai It all depends on the wording in your rental contract. Unless your contract states that you have to repaint the villa, then it is not your responsibility and items such as the putting up of curtain rails and a few picture hooks are considered normal wear and tear. Generally you are obliged to return the property in the condition it was received, not including standard wear and tear. All tenants should read their contracts in full before signing them.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write to her at Letters can also be sent to