eNews – August 2014
In this month’s enews we report on a number of issues including HMRC’s latest disclosure opportunity, warnings of incorrect PAYE overpayment notifications and the introduction of late submission penalties and guidance on pension scams. We also advise on HMRC guidance on exceptions to the VAT return electronic filing rules and the Pensions Regulator issues first report on auto enrolment penalties.
Please do get in touch if you would like more detail on any of the articles.
Guidance on changes to VAT filing rules
The majority of businesses have to file their VAT returns online. HMRC have issued guidance on changes to VAT rules which introduce additional exemptions to the requirement to file VAT returns online. The changes, which came into effect at the beginning of July 2014, allow business owners that satisfy HMRC that it is ‘not reasonably practicable’ for them to use the online system to submit ‘paper’ VAT returns.
HMRC will also be able to approve telephone filing as an alternative method of electronic filing in certain circumstances.
If you would like any advice on VAT issues please do get in touch.
Internet link: HMRC VAT Brief
Pensions Regulator uses formal powers over Auto Enrolment
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has issued the first quarterly bulletin which details how many times it has needed to use its formal powers to ensure employers comply with their automatic enrolment duties.
The first of the new quarterly bulletins shows the regulator had used its powers on 23 occasions up until the end of June this year. The powers listed include the ability to carry out inspections and to issue statutory notices including fixed penalty and escalating fines.
Executive director of automatic enrolment Charles Counsell said:
‘Employers and the pensions industry are understandably interested to know how and when we use our powers. To date the vast majority of employers are complying with their new workplace pension duties without the regulator needing to use our enforcement powers.’
‘I believe this is a testament to the success of our proportionate, risk-based approach to compliance and enforcement. We target our resources where they will maximise compliance and work with employers to help them comply with their duties.’
‘We have provided the tools and assistance that large and medium employers need to ensure millions of workers didn’t miss out on the pension contributions they are entitled to. On a small number of occasions, when our intervention has not resulted in the required outcome, we have used our powers to help to ensure employers comply with their duties.’
For general guidance on employers auto enrolment duties see TPR website. If you would like specific guidance, help or advice on how to deal with your auto enrolment obligations please do get in touch.
Internet link: Bulletin
HMRC and the Pensions Regulator (TPR) are publicising the availability of revised leaflets which warn people of the consequences of pension liberation scams.
HMRC are advising that individuals with pension savings continue to be targeted by unscrupulous companies encouraging them to access their pension savings early. Options are given for personal loans, cash incentives and one-off pension investments to encourage people to invest in these pension scams. Pension savers involved in these pension liberation scams face significant tax consequences.
HMRC has worked closely with TPR on publishing a revised set of leaflets highlighting the serious downsides of pension scams. The leaflets provide guidance on what trustees and scheme members can do to reduce the risk of becoming involved in these scams, and the tax impact of releasing pension funds early using these types of arrangements.
HMRC latest disclosure opportunity
HMRC have announced the details of their latest disclosure opportunity which is expected to give approximately 16,000 tax avoidance scheme users the opportunity to pay the tax they owe.
The contractor loan scheme used non-UK employers to pay untaxed income or a loan instead of paying part of an employees salary.
HMRC are inviting those who have used the scheme to bring their affairs up to date using the contractor loans settlement opportunity which will allow taxpayers to settle their liability in the best possible terms. This opportunity is for the tax years up to 5 April 2011 and is open until 9 January 2015.
If they do, they will pay the tax and interest due on the sums they received as loans under the scheme. HMRC are warning that if participants continue to challenge HMRC in the courts, they risk having to pay additional tax charges and penalties – as well as the costs of litigation if they lose.
Jennie Granger, HMRC Director General for Enforcement and Compliance, said:
‘Many people regret ever getting involved with complex aggressive tax avoidance schemes and HMRC is providing an opportunity for contractors to come forward and straighten out their tax affairs.’
‘This is an important opportunity and we are working hard to encourage users to withdraw from such schemes. We also want to ensure they’ve understood our position. They can choose to continue to litigate for a better outcome but they risk a worse result. HMRC has a strong track record of winning tax avoidance cases in court, with around 80% of decisions in our favour. The costs for users are high, potentially resulting in penalties, charges and significant legal costs for scheme users.’
Please get in touch if you have any concerns in this area.
Internet link: Contractor loan disclosure opportunity
HMRC warn of incorrect RTI letters
HMRC have warned that incorrect RTI letters have been issued. The full statement reads:
‘We are aware that a batch of RTI 201 letters has been sent to employers and agents in error, containing incorrect information about overpayments. Any employer or agent receiving one of these letters in August should please ignore it. Those wishing to check their tax position can do so on the Business Tax Dashboard. We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused.’
If you would like any help with payroll issues please do get in touch.
Internet link: HMRC What’s new
HMRC to issue penalties for late submission of PAYE returns
In the latest Employer Bulletin HMRC are warning that employers’ who fail to submit their PAYE submissions, Full Payment Submission (FPS) or where appropriate Employer Payment Summary (EPS) on time will face penalties. The penalties are being introduced from October 2014.
Penalty notifications will be issued on a quarterly basis.
Please do get in touch for advice on PAYE matters.
Internet link: Employer Bulletin