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WE would like to free some of the equity in our home which we own outright. How can we be sure firms which offer this sort of deal are reputable? - R. Tyrrell, Tregaron, Ceredigion.

CONTACT Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP). They have a booklet explaining the schemes. Write to: SHIP 374-378 Ewell Road, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 7BB.

I RECEIVED 200 shares from my employer, the Halifax, and had to pay about 20 per cent of their value in tax. Is this correct and would I be liable for more tax if the shares rise further? - H. Warren, Castle Bromwich, Birmingham

ON conversion, you should have been given the option of putting the free shares into the Halifax Employee Share Trust. If held there for three years, it would shield them from any tax or National Insurance liability. As you didn't, a 20 per cent tax bill was payable upfront. But there is no further liability.

FOUR years ago, I transferred pounds 115 from a Barclays savings account into a current account with them. I can't find any payment book or statement with my account number on it. And without it, Barclays say I will have to forfeit the cash. What can I do? - F. Garbett, Wednesfield, West Midlands.

I AM surprised. In January, Barclays announced that it was making it easier for people to track down accounts by setting up a computerised central register of dormant accounts that will list all accounts untouched for three years or more. It said it would be writing to customers with inactive accounts to remind them they had money with the bank. Get on to their customer services department and complain.

A FRIEND who wants to buy my Halifax shares says we can save money by doing it without a stockbroker. Would that be legal? - P Staines, Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

IT WOULD be totally legal. And you could agree any price you like. You need to buy and complete a share transfer form, which costs around 30p, from a legal stationers. Send it to the company's registrars with your share certificate for the shares to be switched into your friend's name.

IF YOU have a money problem write to: Diane Boliver, Sunday Mirror, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AP. Sorry we can't give individual replies, so please don't send stamped, addressed envelopes.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 3, 1998
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