On this page:
13 Dec - MOD customer satisfaction survey
AFF Germany Roadshow 2016 Q&As
Changes to Good Conduct Certificate Procedure in BFG
BFGnet - here to help the British Military in Germany!
Free school lunches for Service children overseas
Self-employed and working overseas?
Good news for Service voters
BFG vehicle registration - don’t get caught out
There is currently an MOD customer satisfaction survey relating to SFA occupants in Germany, being undertaken. Occupants will be chosen at random and contacted via telephone to answer some questions about their SFA. For more information, please click here.
This autumn’s AFF Germany Roadshow saw a great turnout of families, command and local organisations. We now have the answers for all questions asked on the day itself and those submitted in advance. Read more
These answers have been provided by the chain of command and subject matter experts. Click here to see the full list. Hot topics on the day included the timescale for the drawdown of BFG and the move back to the UK. The provision of children’s education in BFG and continuity on moving back to the UK was another key theme. The importance of providing information to families about the commitments of 20 Armoured Infantry Brigade was also highlighted. Many actions were taken away by the chain of command, such as looking into the policy of carpet replacement in the SFA in Germany.
If you have any comments or additional questions about family life in Germany contact our Germany Regional Manager, Katy Brookfield on 0049 (0)1525 7435450 or email@example.com
When returning to the UK, some prospective employers may ask for a Good Conduct Certificate for the period of your time in Germany. Read more
Previously the HQ BFG Employment Disclosure Office (EDO) was able to produce a Good Conduct Certificate. A service was also provided by the Criminal and Traffic Offences Branch. These services have now been withdrawn.
Instead, you will need to write to the Service Police Crime Bureau (SPCB) in the UK and request a Subject Access Request Certificate.
For full details and the SPCB address, visit BFGNet
BFGnet has recently undergone a significant makeover both in the content and ease of use. With access via smart phones and tablets on the increase and now accounting for over 40% of users, the website has undergone a technical refresh. The site now has access to the HQ BFG Facebook site via the “Find Us on Facebook” link.
Does your little one attend a MOD School at your overseas posting? Read more
All children in reception years one and two will now receive a FREE lunch in line with the Government’s decision to provide free school meals to eligible children in England.
This initiative is just one way in which MOD Schools, on behalf of the MOD, are working to ensure that Service children are not disadvantaged.
MOD Schools comply with the Schools Food Standards which govern all food and drink on offer within the school and it is hoped that this arrangement will go a long way to ensure that children get the nutrition they need during the school day – as well as saving you money!
Want to know more?
For more information, contact your child’s school Head Teacher or email DCYP-DCYP-Mailbox@mod.uk
AFF has received a number of queries from spouses posted overseas who want to continue running their own business from a BFPO address, but are concerned about tax and National Insurance. Read more
This is a very complicated area; however, we have done a lot of research with the University of Wolverhampton and HMRC and the answer is actually surprisingly straightforward.
A simple solution
If you’re posted within the European Economic Area (EEA) and are registered as self-employed, it should just be as simple as calling HMRC on 0191 2037010 or 0300 55 5734, and changing your address (probably to your BFPO address). This will enable you to continue paying tax and Class 2 NI as per normal.
AFF is also working on this issue for spouses posted outside of the EEA and will let you know the outcome as soon as we find it.
You tell AFF
"I am a self-employed teacher and work from home online. We are off to Belgium and I want to continue teaching online but am unsure of how to go about declaring my income for tax. Do I need to register with a tax office locally?"
"I make soft furnishings for a couple of design studios in the UK and they have indicated that are happy to courier work out to Germany for me to then send back to them. Would I have to pay German or UK tax?"
We are very interested to hear your stories about running a business from an overseas posting, to share your experiences, contact AFF at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is your family currently posted overseas?
Did you know, you can register as a Service voter for five years at a fixed address in the UK even if you move around; this may be particularly useful if you are based overseas or think you may be posted overseas in the next few years. Read more
Why not post your vote?
In the past, the short period of time given to send and receive voting paperwork has meant that postal votes were not always received in time to be counted.
Now, due to a Parliamentary Bill passed earlier this year, it is easier for Service personnel and families living overseas to vote in elections.
Ballot papers will be sent out earlier to postal voters before the poll closes; this means you will have more time to ensure your vote is counted.
The MOD is currently advising Service personnel and families posted overseas/on operations to appoint a proxy to remove any doubt about whether there is enough time to receive and return their postal ballot before the polls close; this is until it is clear how much earlier the ballot papers are actually being dispatched.
If you are currently posted overseas then find out about becoming a Service voter at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/register_to_vote/armed_forces
The extra time for Service voters will certainly help; however, AFF believes that a move away from proxy voting is preferable as many personnel do not have someone who they can rely on to vote for them. AFF has received evidence of several Service personnel who have discovered that, after years of overseas posting, their proxy has voted in the opposite manner to their request.
We welcome this change but remain concerned that proxy voting does not offer a good solution.
Have you, like many Forces families in BFG, purchased a vehicle free of VAT and import duty?
If so, then be sure to follow the correct vehicle registration processes or you could face a tax bill! Read more
Getting it right
Every member of the Armed Forces with a driving licence may take one new vehicle per year to the UK, whilst a permanent member of BFG. But there are conditions attached to qualifying for VAT and duty relief.
- The vehicle must have an accumulated 12 months of BFG registration.
- If registration lapses (say for non-payment of insurance premium), the unregistered period is added on to the 12 months for taxation purposes.
- If your insurance lapses, you will have to keep your vehicle longer or have to pay the VAT due on it.
Back in the UK
If you are posted back to the UK permanently, you, and each qualifying member of your family, may take a tax-free vehicle under one year old back with you. Tax will not be due on it, provided you keep possession of it until 12 months after the initial BFG registration. If you sell it before this time, you will be liable to pay VAT.
How to do it
The Vehicle Licensing Office (VLO) can now register your vehicle before returning to UK, with BFG Customs & Immigration producing the Notice of Vehicle Arrival (NOVA) as before. However, if you choose to return to the UK with a BFG registered vehicle, you will be required to register your vehicle by post and use a VAT NOVA. If your vehicle was tax free, you are likely to receive a tax demand from the German authorities, regardless of the age of the vehicle.
For more information, visit bfgnet.de and get registration savvy.