Newsletter – June 2019

Enews – June 2019

In this month’s Enews we report on the latest OTS report on simplification of everyday tax for smaller businesses as well as HMRC tackling dishonest dog breeders.

We also update you on the Welsh tax code ‘mix up’ as well as the consultations on various issues including Companies House reforms, Private Residence Relief and letting relief changes.

Finally, with the latest advisory fuel rates for company cars, the P11D deadline looming and non-compliance with minimum wage regulations, there is a lot to update you on.

OTS calls for simplifying everyday tax for smaller businesses

A report by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) calls on the government to prioritise action to ‘address long-standing concerns about the experience of smaller businesses’. The report considers the business lifecycle, especially those starting up and provides recommendations in five areas:

  • providing simple step-by-step guidance about the key things a business needs to do in its early days to help things run smoothly
  • improving the operation of the PAYE system
  • implementation of HMRC’s Agents Strategy
  • improving the mechanics of the Corporation Tax return process
  • ensuring that tax changes are built on an understanding of business processes.

If you would like any help with your taxes at any stage of your business life cycle, please do get in touch.

Internet link: GOV.UK simplifying tax

HMRC taskforce tackles dishonest dog breeders

A taskforce has recovered more than £5 million by tackling dishonest dog breeders selling pups on the black market. HMRC set up the taskforce in October 2015 after discussions with animal welfare groups that were concerned that tens of thousands of puppies were being reared in unregulated conditions and sold illicitly every year.

The taskforce uncovered fraudsters selling puppies on a mass scale, for a huge profit and due to the underground nature of the activity, failing to declare their sales.

Using civil and criminal enforcement powers, HMRC has recovered £5,393,035 in lost taxes from 257 separate cases since the formation of the taskforce in October 2015.

The breeders and traders targeted include:

  • two unconnected puppy breeders in the west of Scotland who were handed tax bills of £425,000 and £337,000
  • a puppy breeder in the Midlands who was a former Crufts judge, given a £185,000 bill
  • a dealer in Northern Ireland told to pay £185,000 in tax
  • a Somerset puppy breeder was given a £114,000 bill
  • a puppy dealer in the east of Scotland was handed a tax bill in excess of £400,000
  • a Swansea puppy breeder was given a £110,000 tax bill.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride MP, said:

‘It is utterly appalling that anyone would want to treat puppies in such an inhumane way and on such a scale. It’s also deeply unfair to all of the legitimate businesses who do pay the right tax, and the total recovered by the taskforce is equivalent to the annual salaries for more than 200 newly qualified teachers.’

‘We continue to work hard with other government agencies and our partners to tackle these traders. We urge anyone with information about tax evasion to report it to HMRC online or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.’

Internet link: GOV.UK news

Forms P11D – reporting employee benefits

The forms P11D which report details of benefits and some expenses provided to employees and directors for the year ended 5 April 2019, are due for submission to HMRC by 6 July 2019. The process of gathering the necessary information and completing the forms can take some time, so it is important that this process is not left to the last minute.

Employees pay tax on benefits provided as shown on the P11D, generally via a PAYE coding notice adjustment or through the self assessment system. Some employers ‘payroll’ benefits and in this case the benefits do not need to be reported on forms P11D but employers should advise employees of the amount of benefits payrolled.

In addition, regardless of whether the benefits are being reported via P11D or payrolled the employer has to pay Class 1A National Insurance Contributions at 13.8% on the provision of most benefits. The calculation of this liability is detailed on the P11D(b) form. The deadline for payment of the Class 1A NIC is 19th July 2019 (or 22nd for cleared electronic payment).

HMRC has produced an expenses and benefits toolkit. The toolkit consists of a checklist which may be used by advisers or employers to check they are completing the forms correctly.

If you would like any help with the completion of the forms or the calculation of the associated Class 1A NIC please get in touch.

Internet links: HMRC guidance Toolkit

Welsh taxpayers income tax code mix-up

From April 2019, Welsh taxpayers were assigned new income tax codes beginning with the letter ‘C’. However, HMRC recently revealed that some Welsh taxpayers were mistakenly given Scottish income tax codes by their employers. As a consequence, Welsh taxpayers have been charged income tax using the Scottish income tax rates and bands.

For 2019/20 the Welsh rate of income tax is set at 10% and this is added to the UK rates, which are each reduced by 10%. Therefore, the overall tax payable by Welsh taxpayers continues to be the same as English and Northern Irish taxpayers.

The income tax rates and bands that apply to employment income, self-employed trade profits and property income are different for taxpayers who are resident in Scotland, with tax rates and bands ranging from 19% to 46% rather than the 20% to 45% which apply across the rest of the UK. Tax codes for Scottish taxpayers begin with the letter ‘S’.

HMRC stated that it does not know the full extent of the error or how many Welsh taxpayers have been affected but they will carry out a review of the operation of Welsh tax codes in June 2019.

Llyr Gruffydd, Chair of the National Assembly for Wales’ Finance Committee, said:

‘We raised concerns about the flagging process for identifying Welsh taxpayers during our enquiries into fiscal devolution and the Welsh government’s draft budget.

‘On each occasion, we were told the matter was in hand, and the lessons from the devolution of income tax powers to Scotland, where there were similar issues, had been soundly learned and would be put into effect. We are seeking an immediate explanation of how this has happened and will be asking representatives from HMRC to appear before this Committee in the near future.’

If you have any concerns about tax codes, please get in touch.

Internet links: HMRC letter Welsh Assembly news

Consultation on Companies House reforms

The government has launched a consultation on proposed reforms at Companies House, including a ‘major upgrade’ of its register.

The consultation aims to tackle misuse of the register. It also strives to provide business owners with ‘greater protection from fraud’.

The consultation seeks views on a series of reforms to limit the risk of misuse:

  • knowing who is setting up, managing and controlling companies
  • improving the accuracy and usability of data on the companies register
  • protecting personal information on the register
  • ensuring compliance, sharing intelligence and other measures to deter abuse of corporate entities

Louise Smyth, Chief Executive of Companies House, said:

‘This package of reforms represents a significant milestone for Companies House as they will enable us to play a greater part in tackling economic crime, protecting directors from identity theft and fraud, and improving the accuracy of the register.’

The consultation is open until 5 August 2019.

Internet links: GOV.UK consultation GOV.UK news

Consultation on ancillary capital gains reliefs

A capital gains tax (CGT) exemption applies when an individual disposes of a dwelling that has been used as their only or main residence under the Private Residence Relief (PRR) rules. The exemption applies as long as the relevant conditions are met throughout the total period of ownership. This relief is supplemented by ancillary reliefs that aim to deal with other related situations.

The government has previously announced and legislated to reform two of the ancillary reliefs to better target PRR at owner-occupiers. The reliefs which are being amended are:

  • the final period exemption will be reduced from 18 months to nine months, although the special rules that give those with a disability, and those in care, an exemption of 36 months will not change
  • lettings relief will be reformed so that it only applies where an owner is in shared occupancy with a tenant.

These changes will take effect from 6 April 2020. The government is now consulting on the changes in more detail and on how they will work in practice. It also invites views on some technical aspects of the PRR rules.

Internet link: GOV.UK consultation

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

New company car advisory fuel rates have been published which take effect from 1 June 2019. The guidance states: ‘You can use the previous rates for up to one month from the date the new rates apply’. The rates only apply to employees using a company car.

The advisory fuel rates for journeys undertaken on or after 1 June 2019 are:

Engine size Petrol
1400cc or less 12p
1401cc – 2000cc 15p
Over 2000cc 22p
Engine size LPG
1400cc or less 8p
1401cc – 2000cc 9p
Over 2000cc 14p
Engine size Diesel
1600cc or less 10p
1601cc – 2000cc 12p
Over 2000cc 14p

HMRC guidance states that the rates only apply when you either:

  • reimburse employees for business travel in their company cars or
  • require employees to repay the cost of fuel used for private travel.

You must not use these rates in any other circumstances.

The Advisory Electricity Rate for fully electric cars is 4 pence per mile. Electricity is not a fuel for car fuel benefit purposes.

If you would like to discuss your car policy, please contact us.

Internet link: GOV.UK AFR

Non-compliance with minimum wage regulations

A recent Low Pay Commission (LPC) report sets out its findings on the number of people being paid less than the statutory minimum wage.

The LPC found that, in April 2018, 439,000 workers were paid less than the National Minimum Wage (NMW). Of this amount, 369,000 were employees aged 25 and over, who were paid less than the National Living Wage (NLW), an increase from previous years. On 1 April 2019, the NMW and NLW rates rose to the hourly rates detailed below:

Minimum wage rate Hourly rate from 1 April 2019
National Living Wage (for workers aged 25 and over) £8.21
21-24 year-old rate £7.70
18-20 year-old rate £6.15
16-17 year-old rate £4.35
Apprentice rate £3.90
Accommodation Offset £7.55 per day: £52.85 per week

The LPC also revealed that women are ‘more likely’ than men to be paid less than the NMW, and that underpayment is common amongst younger and older workers. In addition, underpayment was more common in certain sectors including hospitality, retail, cleaning, maintenance and childcare.

Commenting on the findings, Bryan Sanderson, Chair of the LPC, said:

‘Our analysis reveals a worrying number of people are being paid less than the minimum wage. We recently celebrated 20 years of the minimum wage – it has raised pay for millions of workers, but it is essential that people receive what they are entitled to.’

‘It is also vital for businesses to be able to operate on a level playing field, and not be illegally undercut on wages.’

Contact us for help with payroll issues.

Internet link: GOV.UK news

Newsletter – May 2019

Enews – May 2019

In this month’s Enews we report on the latest guidance for employers, revised VAT fuel scale charges and the consultation to extend IR35. We also update you on the latest springtime tax scam and the government’s commitment to implement a pensions dashboard. With an update on Money Laundering failings, reaction to the flexible extension to Article 50 and a further delay to Scottish Air Departure Tax, there is a lot to update you on.

Latest guidance for employers

HMRC has issued the latest version of the Employer Bulletin. This April edition has articles on a number of issues including:

  • Cash Allowances, Flexible Benefits Packages and Salary Sacrifice
  • Unpaid work trials and the National Minimum Wage
  • Diesel Supplement Company Car Tax Changes to meet Euro standard 6d
  • Student Loans
  • Construction Industry Scheme – helpful reminders for contractors and subcontractors
  • Welsh rate of income tax and Scottish Income Tax.

If you have any queries on payroll matters please contact us.

Internet link: Employer Bulletin April 2019

VAT fuel scale charges

HMRC has issued details of the updated VAT fuel scale charges which apply from the beginning of the next prescribed VAT accounting period starting on or after 1 May 2019.

VAT registered businesses use the fuel scale charges to account for VAT on private use of road fuel purchased by the business.

Please do get in touch for further advice on this or other VAT matters.

Internet link: GOV.UK fuel scale charges

Consultation on extension of IR35 rules

HMRC has published guidance on the extension of the off-payroll working rules (also known as IR35) to the private sector, a year ahead of its implementation on 6 April 2020.

In the guidance, HMRC state that the responsibility to determine whether the off-payroll working rules apply will fall on the organisation receiving the individual’s service. It outlines a four-step process which can be used to prepare for the changes, starting with identifying any individuals who are supplying their services through PSCs.

The consultation closes on 28 May and asks for responses on several matters, including the scope of the reform and its impact on non-corporate engagers; information requirements for engagers, fee payers and personal service companies (PSCs); and how to address disagreements on an individual’s employment status.

The consultation also sets out HMRC’s plans to provide education and support for those businesses that are affected.

Internet links: HMRC guidance and HMRC consultation

Government confirms implementation of pensions dashboards

The government has confirmed that the initiative to introduce a pensions dashboard will go ahead.

Pensions dashboards will allow those saving for retirement to view information from multiple pensions in one place stating that the dashboard will ‘open up pensions to millions’, and ‘provide an easy-to-access online view of a saver’s pensions’.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will bring forward legislation that will require pension scheme providers to make consumers’ data available to them through their chosen dashboard. The plan is to include State pension information as well.

Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:

‘The government’s commitment to compel pension schemes to share data with platforms through primary legislation is particularly welcome. Some urgency is now required, and we question the three to four-year timeframe for schemes to prepare data for dashboards.’

Internet links: GOV.UK Pensions dashboardfsb press release

‘Springtime’ tax scams target young people

HMRC has warned young people in the UK to ‘stay vigilant’ in order to avoid falling victim to ‘Springtime’ tax refund scams.

Criminals often target young individuals or the elderly as these groups of people are likely to be less familiar with the UK tax system. During the months of April and May, criminals often bombard taxpayers with tax refund scams at the same time as genuine rebates are processed by HMRC.

In the Spring of 2018, approximately 250,000 reports of tax scams were received by HMRC.

Individuals have been warned to be wary of text messages, calls and voicemails purporting to be from HMRC. These are often designed to extract personal or financial information from the taxpayer.

Angela MacDonald, Head of Customer Services at HMRC, said:

‘We are determined to protect honest people from these fraudsters who will stop at nothing to make their phishing scams appear legitimate.

‘HMRC is currently shutting down hundreds of phishing sites a month. If you receive one of these emails or texts, don’t respond and report it to HMRC so that more online criminals are stopped in their tracks.

Internet links: Action Fraud

Money Laundering

HMRC has published a list of businesses that have not met their obligations under the Money Laundering Regulations.

As a supervisor of the Money Laundering Regulations HMRC has a duty to publish details of businesses that have been penalised for not complying with the regulations.

HMRC advises that it considers cases individually to decide whether to publish details in full, anonymously, or not at all. Where a decision is made to publish in full, the following information may be published:

  • the name and address of the business owner or business
  • the nature of the breach or breaches
  • the penalty issued by HMRC
  • the status of any appeal against the penalty

HMRC publishes anonymously if it considers that the effect of publishing details about an individual or business would be disproportionate.

Internet link: GOV.UK money laundering

‘Flexible extension’ to Article 50

Business groups, including the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), have commented on the six-month ‘flexible’ extension of Article 50, granted to the UK by EU leaders.

The extension potentially pushes ‘Brexit Day’, the day when the UK officially leaves the EU, to 31 October 2019.

Reacting to the news, the BCC stated that the flexible extension is ‘preferable’ for most businesses. It said:

‘Politicians must urgently agree on a way forward. It would be a disaster for business confidence and investment if a similar late-night drama is played out yet again in October.’

The CBI said that UK businesses will now ‘adjust their no-deal plans’ instead of cancelling them. Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, said:

‘For the good of jobs and communities across the country, all political leaders must use the time well. Sincere cross-party collaboration must happen now to end this crisis.’

Internet links: BCC news CBI article

Scottish Air Departure Tax plans further delayed

The Scottish government has further delayed its plans to replace Air Passenger Duty (APD) with Air Departure Tax (ADT). The plans to introduce ADT have been delayed beyond 2020.

In 2016, as part of the Scotland Act, the Scottish Parliament was given devolved powers to charge tax on travellers leaving Scottish airports. Proposals were put forward to replace the UK-wide APD with an ADT.

The ADT was set to take effect in April 2018, but was delayed due to issues surrounding the current exemption which applies to airports in the Highlands and Islands.

Commenting on the delay, Kate Forbes MSP, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, stated:

‘The Scottish government has been clear that it cannot take on ADT until a solution to these issues has been found, because to do so would compromise the devolved powers and risk damage to the Highlands and Islands economy.

‘While we work towards a resolution to the Highlands and Islands exemption, we continue to call on the UK government to reduce APD rates to support connectivity and economic growth in Scotland and across the UK.’

Internet link: GOV.SCOT news parliamentary business

Newsletter – April 2019

Enews – April 2019

In this month’s Enews we report on tax changes for the new tax year and an update on the Structures and Building Allowance following the Spring Statement. We also consider MTD for VAT which has now come into effect, the delays to the rise in probate fees and the call for a tax on social media businesses.

With ongoing Brexit uncertainties, the government has issued additional Brexit advisory documents for small businesses. We take a look at a case that HMRC has won involving contractor loan schemes and consider form P11D completion.

Reporting Benefits in Kind – Forms P11D

The forms P11D which report details of benefits and some expenses provided to employees and directors for the year ended 5 April 2019, are due for submission to HMRC by 6 July 2019. The process of gathering the necessary information can take some time, so it is important that this process is not left to the last minute.

Employees pay tax on benefits provided as shown on the P11D, generally via a PAYE coding notice adjustment or through the self assessment system. Some employers ‘payroll’ benefits and in this case the benefits do not need to be reported on forms P11D but employers should advise employees of the amount of benefits payrolled.

In addition, regardless of whether the benefits are being reported via P11D or payrolled the employer has to pay Class 1A National Insurance Contributions at 13.8% on the provision of most benefits. The calculation of this liability is detailed on the P11D(b) form. The deadline for payment of the Class 1A NIC is 19th July 2019 (or 22nd for cleared electronic payment).

HMRC has produced an expenses and benefits toolkit. The toolkit consists of a checklist which may be used by advisers or employers to check they are completing the forms correctly.

If you would like any help with the completion of the forms or the calculation of the associated Class 1A NIC please get in touch.

Internet links: HMRC guidance Toolkit

Additional Brexit advisory documents for small businesses

The government has published additional documents containing advice on Brexit for UK small businesses.

According to the government, the information will help business owners to ‘understand how leaving the EU may affect their business’. The advisory documents cover a range of issues, from changes to UK-EU trade following Brexit, to alterations to how businesses send and receive personal data.

Amidst ongoing Brexit uncertainty the government is urging businesses to ‘prepare now’. Businesses that import or export goods to the EU are urged to apply for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number if they have not already done so, in order to continue trading with the EU post-Brexit.

Businesses that provide services to or operate in the EU may need to comply with new rules following Brexit. A business could be affected if it has a branch or branches in the EU; it operates in a services sector within the EU; it is planning a merger with an EU company; or if its employees have to travel to EU or European Economic Area (EEA) countries for business.

Meanwhile, businesses that hold intellectual property are warned that they may face changes to their copyright, patents, designs and trademarks following Brexit.

The government is urging small firms to utilise the Exit Tool.

Internet link: EU Exit tool

Delay to rise in probate fees

The government has delayed its planned increase in probate fees indefinitely.

The delay has been attributed to ‘pressure on Parliamentary time‘ caused by Brexit debates and votes.

The increase in fees had been set to take effect from 1 April 2019, but HMRC recently made the decision to postpone the rise. Under government plans, the proposed probate fees are as follows:

Value of estate Proposed Fee
Up to £50,000 or exempt from requiring a grant of probate £0
£50,000 – £300,000 £250
£300,000 – £500,000 £750
£500,000 – £1m £2,500
£1m – £1.6m £4,000
£1.6m – £2m £5,000
Above £2m £6,000

While the changes are pending, a temporary process is in place for applying for probate, and estates will not incur the higher fees if applications are made before the fee changes take effect.

A spokesperson for HMRC said:

‘Probate registries will accept applications before processing by us as long as they are assured the inheritance tax (IHT) forms from us will be coming shortly.

‘Our processes aren’t changing, it’s just that probate registries will be willing to accept applications before our processing is done when normally it would need to be after.’

Internet link: Gov.uk news

Update on Structures and Buildings Allowance

Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered the Spring Statement on Wednesday 13 March 2019 amidst all the Brexit debates.

In his speech the Chancellor provided an update on the economy and responded to the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts. In addition he launched consultations on various aspects of the tax system together with updates on earlier consultations.

One area subject to consultation is the Structures and Buildings Allowance (SBA). The SBA gives relief for expenditure on certain structures and buildings. The allowance is available for new structures and buildings intended for commercial use, and the improvement of existing structures and buildings. The SBA will be also available on the cost of converting or renovating existing premises to qualifying use. Relief is limited to the original cost of construction or renovation and given across a fixed 50-year period, at an annual flat rate of 2% regardless of changes in ownership.

Only certain expenditure will qualify. The structures or buildings must be brought into use for qualifying activities. These include trades, professions or vocations and certain UK or overseas property businesses – essentially commercial property lettings.

Relief will be given on eligible construction costs incurred on or after 29 October 2018. Where a contract for the physical construction work is entered into before this date, relief is not available. The consultation on draft legislation is open until 24 April 2019.

Internet links: WMS and Consultation

MTD for VAT

HMRC is phasing in its landmark Making Tax Digital (MTD) regime, which will ultimately require taxpayers to move to a fully digital tax system. Under the new rules, businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) must keep digital records for VAT purposes and provide their VAT return information to HMRC using MTD functional compatible software.

The new rules have effect from 1 April 2019 where a taxpayer has a ‘prescribed accounting period’ which begins on that date, or otherwise from the first day of a taxpayer’s first prescribed accounting period beginning after 1 April 2019. For some VAT-registered businesses with more complex requirements the rules will not have effect until 1 October 2019. Included in the deferred start date category are VAT divisions, VAT groups and businesses using the annual accounting scheme.

The government has confirmed that a light touch approach to penalties will be taken in the first year of implementation. Advising that where businesses are doing their best to comply, no filing or record keeping penalties will be issued as the focus will be on supporting businesses to transition to MTD. The government has confirmed that it will not be mandating MTD for any new taxes in 2020.

Figures published by HMRC show that almost 1.2 million businesses are affected by MTD for VAT.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride MP, said:

‘In a world where businesses are already banking, paying bills and shopping online, it is important that the tax system moves into the 21st century.’

Internet link: GOV.UK

Call for tax on social media businesses

A group of MPs has called on the government to tax the profits of social media businesses.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Media and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing recently published a report which outlined the impact of social media on the health of young people.

The APPG has suggested creating a Social Media Health Alliance, which would be funded by a 0.5% tax on the profits of social media companies. MPs hope that the money would be used to fund research and help ‘draw up clearer guidance’ on the impact of social media on health and wellbeing.

Internet link: Royal Society for Public Health

Changes to income tax for 2019/20

The new tax year brings changes to income tax bands and allowances.

The personal allowance is £11,850 for 2018/19 and increases to £12,500 for 2019/20. There is a reduction in the personal allowance for those with ‘adjusted net income’ over £100,000. The reduction is £1 for every £2 of income above £100,000. So for 2018/19 there is no personal allowance where adjusted net income exceeds £123,700. For 2019/20 there is no personal allowance available where adjusted net income exceeds £125,000.

The marriage allowance permits certain couples, where neither pays tax at more than the basic rate, to transfer 10% of their personal allowance to their spouse or civil partner.

The basic rate of tax is 20%. In 2018/19 the band of income taxable at this rate is £34,500 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies is £46,350 for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance. In 2019/20 the basic rate band increases to £37,500 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies is £50,000 for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance.

Individuals pay tax at 45% on their income over £150,000.

Scottish residents

The tax on income (other than savings and dividend income) is different for taxpayers who are resident in Scotland to taxpayers resident elsewhere in the UK. The Scottish income tax rates and bands apply to income such as employment income, self-employed trade profits and property income.

In 2018/19 and 2019/20 there are five income tax rates which range between 19% and 46%. Scottish taxpayers are entitled to the same personal allowance as individuals in the rest of the UK. The two higher rates are 41% and 46% rather than the 40% and 45% rates that apply to such income for other UK residents. For both 2018/19 and 2019/20, the threshold at which the 41% band applies is £43,430 for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance.

Welsh residents

From April 2019, the Welsh Government has the right to vary the rates of income tax payable by Welsh taxpayers. The UK government has reduced each of the three rates of income tax paid by Welsh taxpayers by 10 pence. The Welsh Government has set the Welsh rate of income tax at 10 pence which will be added to the reduced rates. This means the tax payable by Welsh taxpayers continues to be the same as that payable by English and Northern Irish taxpayers.

Internet links: GOV.UK GOV.SCOT income tax GOV.WALES income tax

HMRC wins disguised remuneration avoidance case

HMRC has won a legal case over a contractor loan scheme endorsed by Hyrax Resourcing Ltd. As a result, HMRC will now be able to collect more than £40 million in unpaid taxes.

The scheme in question was a disguised remuneration avoidance scheme, which paid users in loans, rather than salaries, to avoid paying income tax and national insurance contributions on earnings.

Hyrax Resourcing Ltd will now be required to disclose details of the tax avoidance scheme, including the names and addresses of 1,180 individuals who used it. Failure to provide the relevant information could result in Hyrax Resourcing Ltd becoming liable for substantial penalties.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride MP, said:

‘HMRC is cracking down on the unscrupulous promoters who sell these highly contrived tax avoidance loan schemes.

‘Promoters need to take note of this decision and make sure they contact HMRC urgently about schemes they haven’t yet disclosed.’

Internet link: HMRC news

Newsletter – March 2019

Enews – March 2019

In this month’s Enews we report on the ongoing Brexit uncertainties and latest HMRC advice. We also consider National Minimum Wage, National Living Wage and pension contribution increases and the latest guidance for employers.

With confirmed income tax bands for Scottish taxpayers, year end planning, a landline scam warning and new advisory fuel rates there are lots of areas to update you on.

HMRC advice – prepare for no deal

HMRC is urging business owners to make sure they are ready for a potential no deal Brexit.

Business owners are being urged to prepare now and take steps to ensure their businesses can continue to trade with the EU if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

HMRC advise:

  • Businesses should register for an Economic Operator and Registration Identification (EORI) number. UK businesses that have only ever traded inside the EU will not have an EORI number. HMRC are advising that in the event of a no deal exit, businesses will be unable to continue trading with the EU without an EORI number. HMRC figures show that only 17% of potentially affected businesses have registered so far.
  • Businesses also need to decide how they intend to make the required customs declarations. HMRC advise that most businesses with customs obligations choose to use a customs agent to do this for them.
  • Businesses that import goods into the UK from the EU using roll on, roll off locations, may also wish to register for new Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP). HMRC advise that ‘TSP will allow businesses to import without having to make a full customs declaration at the border, and postpone paying any import duties. For imports using other locations, and for exports, standard customs declarations will apply.’

Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mel Stride MP said:

‘We want businesses to be able to continue trading with minimal disruption in any scenario but we also know that people tend to leave things until the last minute and we would urge against that.’

Contact us for help in this area.

Internet link: HMRC news

Start date looming for Making Tax Digital for VAT

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride, has made a statement to the House of Commons setting out HMRC’s progress on delivery of Making Tax Digital (MTD). He confirmed there would be no further delays in implementation.

For most businesses, compliance with the regulations is mandated for VAT return periods beginning on or after 1 April 2019. However, MTD for VAT for some ‘more complex’ businesses has been deferred until 1 October 2019. This deferral applies to trusts; not for profit organisations not set up as companies; VAT divisions; VAT groups; public sector entities such as government departments and NHS Trusts, which have to provide additional information on their VAT return; local authorities; public corporations; traders based overseas; those required to make payments on account; annual accounting scheme users.

Contact us for help and advice on MTD for VAT.

Internet link: Hansard debate MTD

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

New company car advisory fuel rates have been published which take effect from 1 March 2019. The guidance states: ‘You can use the previous rates for up to one month from the date the new rates apply’. The rates only apply to employees using a company car.

The advisory fuel rates for journeys undertaken on or after 1 March 2019 are:

Engine size Petrol
1400cc or less 11p
1401cc – 2000cc 14p
Over 2000cc 21p
Engine size LPG
1400cc or less 7p
1401cc – 2000cc 8p
Over 2000cc 13p
Engine size Diesel
1600cc or less 10p
1601cc – 2000cc 11p
Over 2000cc 13p

HMRC guidance states that the rates only apply when you either:

  • reimburse employees for business travel in their company cars or
  • require employees to repay the cost of fuel used for private travel.

You must not use these rates in any other circumstances.

If you would like to discuss your car policy, please contact us.

Internet link: GOV.UK AFR

Scottish income tax bands confirmed for 2019/20

The Scottish Parliament has confirmed the income tax bands that will apply to Scottish taxpayers for 2019/20. The bands confirm the announcement made in the Draft Scottish Budget last December.

The 2019/20 income tax rates and bands for Scottish taxpayers on income (other than savings and dividend income) are as follows:

Scottish Bands £ Band name Scottish Rate
0 – 2,049 Starter 19%
2,050 – 12,444 Basic 20%
12,445 – 30,930 Intermediate 21%
30,931 – 150,000 Higher 41%
Over 150,000 Top 46%

Scottish taxpayers are entitled to the same personal allowance as individuals in the rest of the UK which for 2019/20 is £12,500. The allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 of adjusted net income in excess of £100,000.

The UK higher rate tax point for 2019/20 is set at £37,500 and the tax rates for non-savings and non-dividend income are 20%, 40% and 45% respectively. The additional rate of 45% is payable on income over £150,000.

Internet link: GOV.SCOT income tax

Minimum Wage increases

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) are the legal minimum wage rates that must be paid to employees. Employers are liable to be penalised for not complying with the NMW and NLW rules.

There are different levels of NMW and NLW, depending on age and whether the employee is an apprentice. The rates are due to increase from 1 April 2019 as shown in the following table:

Rate from 1 April 2018 Rate from 1 April 2019
NLW for workers aged 25 and over £7.83 £8.21
NMW main rate for workers aged 21-24 £7.38 £7.70
NMW 18-20 rate £5.90 £6.15
NMW 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18 £4.20 £4.35
NMW apprentice rate * £3.70 £3.90

*for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

There are no exemptions from paying the NMW on the grounds of the size of the business.

If you would like help with payroll matters please get in touch.

Internet link: GOV.UK NMW

Pensions auto enrolment contributions to rise

Minimum pension contributions are set to increase from 6 April 2019:

Duration Employer minimum Total minimum contribution
Current contributions 2% 5%
6 April 2019 onwards 3% 8%

The Pensions Regulator has produced guidance for employers on dealing with the increase including a letter template to advise employees of the change.

Contact us if you would like help with auto enrolment.

Internet link: TPR increases

Tax efficient investments ahead of the tax year end

With the end of the tax year looming there is still time to save tax for 2018/19.

  • Make full use of your ISA allowance – ISAs can offer a useful tax free way to save, whether this is for your children’s future, a first home or another purpose. Individuals may invest up to a limit of £20,000 for the 2018/19 tax year. Savers have until 5 April 2019 to make their 2018/19 ISA investment.
  • Pensions provide significant planning opportunities. The annual allowance (AA) which is the maximum you can contribute to a pension and still get tax relief, is generally £40,000. Exceeding this can result in an AA clawback charge. However, in many circumstances you may have unused AA from the three previous tax years which can be used in 2018/19, providing the means of making a significant contribution without incurring a charge. Please contact us for advice specific to your circumstances.

These are only a couple of options that you may wish to consider as part of your tax planning strategy. Contact us for more information.

Internet links: GOV.UK ISAs Pensions Advisory Service AA

Latest update for employers

HMRC has issued Employer Bulletin (February 2019) which includes a number of interesting articles on:

  • End of year reporting
  • Reporting expenses and benefits
  • Student Loan notices and a new type of Student Loan repayment that employers will need to be able to process via payroll (Post Graduate Loans)
  • Updates to the Starter checklist – used for new employees
  • Reporting the Disguised Remuneration Loan Charge
  • Updates to P9 Notices of Coding
  • Payrolling benefits in kind
  • Scottish Income Tax and
  • the Welsh Rate of Income Tax and new codes for Welsh taxpayers.

For help and advice with payroll matters please contact us.

Internet link: Employer Bulletin

Households with landlines should be vigilant

Over recent years HMRC has increasingly cracked down on email and SMS phishing, and a number of criminals are turning to cold-calling publicly available phone numbers to steal money from taxpayers. These calls are often made to landline numbers. According to Ofcom, nearly 26 million homes have a landline, many of which could be at risk from scams, especially if they are not ex-directory.

Fraudsters often target the elderly and vulnerable using HMRC name as it is well known and adds credibility to a call. HMRC received more than 60,000 reports of phone scams in the six months up to January 2019 (an increase of 360% when compared with the previous six months).

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride MP, said:

‘We have taken major steps to crack down on text and email phishing scams leaving fraudsters no choice but to try and con taxpayers over the phone.’

‘If you receive a suspicious call to your landline from someone purporting to be from HMRC which threatens legal action, to put you in jail, or payment using vouchers: hang up and report it to HMRC who can work to take them off the network.’

Head of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, said:

Fraudsters will call your landline claiming to be from reputable organisations such as HMRC. Contact like this is designed to convince you to hand over valuable personal details or your money.’

‘Don’t assume anyone who calls you is who they say they are. If a person calls and asks you to make a payment, log in to an online account or offers you a deal, be cautious and seek advice.’

‘The tax authority will only ever call you asking for payment on a debt that you are already aware of, either having received a letter about it, or after you’ve told us you owe some tax, for example through a Self Assessment return.’

During the last 12 months, HMRC has worked with the phone networks and Ofcom to close nearly 450 lines being used by fraudsters.

Internet links: GOV.UK news HMRC examples

 

Newsletter – February 2019

Enews February 2019

In this month’s Enews we consider the unbelievable excuses taxpayers make for not filing their self assessment returns on time, consider advice from the Insolvency Service on protecting your pension pot and the latest post-Brexit Customs guidance. With the Making Tax Digital pilot now open to all eligible businesses there are lots of issues to update you on.

Businesses urged to prepare for post-Brexit Customs Declarations

HMRC is urging VAT-registered UK businesses which trade exclusively with the EU to be prepared for a no deal Brexit.

In a letter sent to 145,000 affected businesses, HMRC explains changes to Customs, Excise and VAT procedures in the ‘unlikely event’ that the UK leaves the EU without a Brexit deal.

HMRC’s letter advises businesses to take three actions ahead of ‘Brexit Day’ on 29 March 2019:

  • Register for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.
  • Decide whether a customs agent will be used to make import and/or export declarations, or whether declarations will be made by the business via software.
  • Contact the organisation responsible for moving goods (for example, the haulage firm) in order to ascertain whether the business will need to supply additional information to complete safety and security declarations, or whether it will need to submit these declarations itself.

A report jointly published by HMRC and the National Audit Office (NAO) recently revealed that approximately 55 million customs declarations are currently made by British businesses every year. This figure may rise to 255 million when the UK leaves the EU.

HMRC intends to write to businesses in the future in order to instruct them on any additional actions they will need to take, and when. We will keep you informed of developments.

Internet links: GOV.UK publicationsHMRC letter NAO report

MTD for VAT – pilot extended to all eligible businesses

HMRC has extended its Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV) pilot scheme to all eligible businesses.

For most businesses, compliance with the regulations is mandated for VAT return periods beginning on or after 1 April 2019. However, MTDfV for some ‘more complex’ businesses has been deferred until 1 October 2019. This deferral applies to: trusts; not for profit organisations not set up as companies; VAT divisions; VAT groups; public sector entities such as government departments and NHS Trusts, which have to provide additional information on their VAT return; local authorities; public corporations; traders based overseas; those required to make payments on account; annual accounting scheme users.

Commenting on the pilot scheme, Clare Sheehan, Deputy Director for MTD for Business, said:

‘The MTD pilot is now available to all businesses who will need to use the service from April. This marks a significant milestone towards our delivery of a modern tax administration.’

‘We encourage all eligible businesses to join and try out the service before they are mandated to use it.’

HMRC has also confirmed that Brexit will not affect the introduction of MTDfV. In a recent letter, Jim Harra, Deputy Chief Executive of HMRC, wrote:

‘Our system is already live and by the end of February we’ll have written to every affected business, encouraging them to join the thousands of others who have registered.’

Please contact us for help with MTDfV.

Internet link: GOV.UK publications

HMRC’s Voice ID database

Since 2017, HMRC has captured millions of callers’ voice data on its Voice ID system by encouraging the caller to say a key phrase instead of the conventional password to gain access to their accounts.

However, non-profit organisation Big Brother Watch warns that people have been ‘railroaded into a mass ID scheme by the back door’ and has reported HMRC to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on the grounds that it has ‘broken data protection laws’.

A Freedom of Information request revealed almost seven million taxpayers are enrolled in HMRC’s Voice ID database of which 162,185 individuals have opted out and had their biometric data deleted by HMRC.

A spokesperson for HMRC said:

‘Our Voice ID system is very popular with millions of customers as it gives a quick route to access accounts by phone.

All our data is stored securely, and customers can opt out of Voice ID or delete their records any time they want.’

Internet links: https://bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/all-media/hmrc-voice-id-delete/

HMRC FOI Response

Spring Statement date announced

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has announced that the government will respond to the forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) in the Spring Statement on Wednesday 13 March 2019.

The Chancellor may take the opportunity to announce tax changes and consultations.

We will update you on pertinent announcements.

Internet link: GOV.UK news

‘Unbelievable excuses’ for late filing of tax returns

HMRC has revealed some of the most ‘bizarre excuses’ taxpayers have given for failing to file their self assessment tax return on time.

Excuses included ‘I’m too short to reach the post box’, and ‘my boiler had broken and my fingers were too cold to type’. One taxpayer claimed that a junior member of staff ‘forgot to wear their glasses’, and accidentally registered a client for self assessment. Another told HMRC that their mother-in-law was a witch, and that she had put a curse on the taxpayer, which prevented them from filing their tax return on time.

In addition to these excuses, HMRC also stated that, every year, they receive some unconvincing expenses claims.

One individual attempted to claim £40 for ‘extra woolly underwear’, whilst another taxpayer tried to claim £756 for pet insurance. Meanwhile, a carpenter attempted to claim £900 for a 55-inch TV and sound bar, which he claimed would ‘help him price his jobs’.

HMRC Director General of Customer Services, Angela MacDonald, said:

‘Help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time, but it’s unfair to the majority of honest taxpayers when others make bogus claims.’

HMRC stated all these excuses and claims were unsuccessful.

The deadline for sending 2017/18 Self Assessment tax returns to HMRC, and paying any outstanding liabilities, was 31 January 2019. If you have not yet filed your return please contact us for assistance.

Internet link: GOV.UK news

Protect your pension pots

The Insolvency Service has urged individuals saving for retirement to protect their pension pots from criminals and ‘negligent trustees’.

Research carried out by the Service found that criminals use a range of tactics to convince savers to part with their funds, including persuading individuals to access their pension and invest in unregulated schemes.

Pension scam victims lost an average of £91,000 to criminals in 2018, according to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) research. Criminals often use cold-calls and offers of free pension reviews to convince their victims to comply.

The Insolvency Service has urged savers to be wary of calls that come out of the blue; seek financial advice before altering their pension arrangements or making investments; and not be pressured into making decisions about their pension.

Consumer Minister Kelly Tolhurst said:

‘If you are approached to make an investment from your pension, always do your homework and seek independent advice, if necessary, to help you make an informed decision.

‘The government continues to work closely with the Insolvency Service who are working to clamp down on rogue companies targeting vulnerable people.’

Internet link: GOV.UK news

Newsletter – January 2019

Enews January 2019

In this month’s Enews we consider pertinent announcements from the Scottish Budget including changes to income tax and Land and Buildings Transaction Tax. Meanwhile, the Pensions Regulator is advising employers to get ready for increased pension contributions. With a reminder to employees to claim tax relief on their expenses and the latest list of deliberate tax defaulters, there are lots of issues to update you on.

Scottish Budget 2018 income tax changes

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay delivered the 2019/20 Scottish Draft Budget on Wednesday 12 December 2018 setting out the Scottish government’s financial and tax plans. The announcement had been timed to take place after Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond delivered the UK Budget on 29 October 2018. The Finance Secretary announced changes to Scottish income tax. Contact us for advice on how the Scottish Budget impacts you.

Scottish Income tax

The government has devolved powers to set the rates and bands of income tax (other than those for savings and dividend income) which apply to Scottish resident taxpayers. The Scottish Budget announced the following income tax rates and bands for 2019/20. These will be considered by the Scottish Parliament, and an agreed Scottish Rate Resolution will set the final Scottish Income tax rates and bands for 2019/20.

The current rates and bands for 2018/19 and the proposed rates and bands for 2019/20 on non-savings and non-dividend income are as follows:

Scottish Bands 2018/19 Scottish Bands 2019/20 Band Name Scottish Rates
Over £11,850* – £13,850 Over £12,500* – £14,549 Starter 19%
Over £13,850 – £24,000 Over £14,549 – £24,944 Scottish Basic 20%
Over £24,000 – £43,430 Over £24,944 – £43,430 Intermediate 21%
Over £43,430 – 150,000** Over £43,430 – 150,000** Higher 41%
Over £150,000** Over £150,000** Top 46%

* assuming the individual is entitled to a full UK personal allowance

** the personal allowance will be reduced if an individual’s adjusted net income is above £100,000. The allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 of income over £100,000.

The personal allowance is currently £11,850 for 2018/19. The personal allowance for 2019/20 will be £12,500.

The UK higher rate tax point for 2019/20 is set at £50,000 (for those entitled to the full UK personal allowance) and the tax rates for non-savings and non-dividend income have been maintained at 20%, 40% and 45% respectively. The additional rate of 45% is payable on income over £150,000.

For 2019/20 Scottish taxpayers with employment income of approximately £27,000 will pay the same amount of income tax as those with similar income in the rest of the UK. For higher earners, with pay of £150,000, a Scottish taxpayer will pay approximately an extra £2,670 of income tax than those on similar income in the rest of the UK.

Internet link: GOV.SCOT budget

Scottish Budget 2018 property tax changes

In the 2019/20 Scottish Draft Budget, Derek Mackay announced changes to Scottish Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) which are considered below.

The government’s stated policy priority for residential Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) remains to help first-time buyers and to assist people as they progress through the property market. Since its introduction, this policy has ensured that over 80% of taxpayers benefit from LBTT by paying either no tax or less tax than in England. The current rates and bands are as follows:

Residential property Rate
0 – £145,000 0%
£145,001 – £250,000 2%
£250,001 – £325,000 5%
£325,001 – £750,000 10%
£750,001 and over 12%

The rates apply to the portion of the total value which falls within each band.

First-time buyer relief

A relief applies for first-time buyers of properties up to £175,000. The relief raises the zero tax threshold for first-time buyers from £145,000 to £175,000. First-time buyers purchasing a property above £175,000 also benefit from the relief on the portion of the price below the threshold.

Higher rates for additional residential properties

Higher rates of LBTT are charged on purchases of certain residential properties, such as buy to let properties and second homes. Although these are the main targets of the higher rates, some other purchasers may have to pay the higher rates.

The Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) potentially applies if, at the end of the day of the purchase transaction, the individual owns two or more residential properties and is not replacing their main residence. Care is needed if an individual already owns, or partly owns, a property and transacts to purchase another property without having disposed of the first property. An 18 month rule helps to remove some transactions from the additional rates (or allows a refund).

The Government announced an increase in the ADS from 3% to 4% from 25 January 2019, but this increase will not apply if the contract for a transaction was entered into prior to 12 December 2018. Existing arrangements allowing for the supplement to be reclaimed will continue.

Changes for non-residential rates and bands

The Government will reduce the lower rate of non-residential LBTT from 3% to 1%, increase the upper rate from 4.5% to 5% and reduce the starting threshold of the upper rate from £350,000 to £250,000. These changes come into force from 25 January 2019, but will not apply if the contract for a transaction was entered into prior to 12 December 2018.

The revised rates and band for non-residential LBTT transactions are as follows:

Non-residential transactions

Purchase price Rate Non-residential leases

Net present value of rent payable

Rate
Up to £150,000 0% Up to £150,000 0%
£150,001 to £250,000 1% Over £150,000 1%
Over £250,000 5%

Contact us for advice on how the Scottish Budget impacts you.

Internet link: GOV.SCOT budget

HMRC reminder to employees to claim their tax deductible expenses

HMRC is reminding employees that they may be able to claim a tax rebate on their work related expenses. HMRC estimate that millions of employees, particularly those working in the service industry, could be entitled to a tax refund. Workers, including nurses, hairdressers, construction workers and those working in retail and food sectors, may be able to claim tax rebates.

Individuals in these types of roles sometimes have to pay for work-related expenses including car mileage, replacing or repairing small tools, or maintaining branded uniforms.

Where these types of expenses are incurred, employees may be entitled to claim a tax refund. HMRC is advising individuals to go directly to GOV.UK to check if they can claim extra cash back. HMRC advise taxpayers to log in to their Personal Tax Account to claim their tax relief online and that approved claims should be refunded within three weeks.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride MP, said:

‘We know what a difference tax relief can make to hard-working customers, especially at this time of year. HMRC is keen to make sure customers get all the relief they’re entitled to, by using the online service.

Tax relief isn’t available for all employment expenses, so the online Check If You Can Claim tool is very helpful – then if your claim is approved, your full tax relief will be paid directly into your bank account.

The majority of claims are for repairing or replacing tools and branded uniforms, professional subscriptions and mileage. Healthcare workers, people working in food and retail, and those in the construction industry are among the top professions to claim from HMRC.

HMRC is advising that taxpayers may be able to claim tax relief on the cost of:

  • repairing or replacing small tools needed to do their job (for example, scissors or an electric drill)
  • cleaning, repairing or replacing specialist clothing (for example, a branded uniform or safety boots)
  • business mileage (not commuting)
  • travel and overnight expenses
  • professional fees and subscriptions.

Contact us if you would like help claiming tax relief on your expenses.

Internet link: GOV.UK news

Pension contribution increases ahead

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is reminding employers that from 6 April 2019, the amount that will need to be paid into a workplace pension will increase to an overall minimum of 8%, with employers contributing at least 3% of this total amount.

TPR is now starting to write to all employers to remind them of their duties. TRP website provides further information on the increases and a link to a letter template advising employees of the increase.

TPR is advising employers that they should also check with their payroll software provider and pension provider to ensure plans are in place ahead of 6 April 2019.

Please contact us if you would like help with your payroll or pensions auto enrolment compliance.

Internet link: TPR increase

HMRC publish details of deliberate tax defaulters

HMRC have updated the list of deliberate tax defaulters. The list contains details of taxpayers who have received penalties either for:

  • deliberate errors in their tax returns
  • deliberately failing to comply with their tax obligations

HMRC may publish information about a deliberate tax defaulter where an investigation has been carried out and the taxpayer has been charged one or more penalties for deliberate defaults and the penalties involve tax of more than £25,000. Details are only published once the penalties are final.

Internet link: GOV.UK publications

Self assessment deadline approaching

The deadline for submitting your 2017/18 self assessment return is 31 January 2019. The deadline applies to taxpayers who need to complete a tax return and make direct payments to HMRC in respect of their income tax, Classes 2 and 4 National Insurance Contributions (NIC), capital gains tax and High Income Child Benefit Charge liabilities.

There is a penalty of £100 if a taxpayer’s return is not submitted on time, even if there is no tax due or the return shows that they are due a tax refund.

The balance of any outstanding income tax, Classes 2 and 4 NIC, capital gains tax and High Income Child Benefit Charge for the year ended 5th April 2018 is also due for payment by 31 January 2019. Where the payment is made late interest will be charged.

The first payment on account for 2018/19 in respect of income tax and any Class 4 NIC or High Income Child Benefit Charge is also due for payment by 31st January 2019.

HMRC revealed that more than 2,600 taxpayers filed their return on Christmas Day. If you would like help with your return or agreeing your tax liability please contact us.

Internet links: GOV.UK self assessment GOV.UK press release

Newsletter – December 2018

Enews – December 2018

In this month’s Enews we report on Making Tax Digital for VAT and the latest government Brexit documentation. We also include updated advisory fuel rates for company car drivers and advice on tax-free gifts to employees. With a warning about the latest HMRC phishing emails scam, SDLT statistics for first-time buyers and a review calling for a simplification of inheritance tax, there is lots to update you on.

Committee warns small businesses ‘could pay heavy price’ for MTD and latest ‘encouragement letters’

The Economic Affairs Committee has warned HMRC that small businesses ‘could pay a heavy price’ for Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV).

The Committee stated that HMRC has ‘failed to adequately support small businesses’ ahead of the introduction of MTDfV.

MTDfV is generally set to come into effect for the from 1 April 2019 for businesses which have a taxable turnover above the current VAT registration threshold of £85,000. Under MTDfV, businesses must keep some records digitally and submit their VAT returns via an Application Programming Interface (API).

The Committee has urged HMRC and the government to ‘start listening’ to small businesses MTDfV concerns.

HMRC recently sent businesses within the scope of MTDfV so-called ‘encouragement letters’. These letters were sent to 200,000 businesses which are eligible to join the pilot scheme.

Please contact us for help with MTDfV.

Internet links: Parliament.uk/news tax.org.uk/news

Leaving the EU with no deal

The government has published a collection of documents in preparation for the scenario of the UK leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement a so called ‘no deal’ Brexit.

The guidance states:

‘The government does not want or expect a no deal scenario. However, it is the duty of a responsible government to prepare for a range of potential outcomes, including the unlikely event of no deal. In the event of leaving the EU without a deal, legislation will be necessary to ensure the UK’s Customs, VAT and Excise regimes function as intended after the UK leaves the EU and so, on a contingency basis, HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs will lay a number of Statutory Instruments (SIs) under the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 (TCTA) and the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 (EUWA).’

We will keep you informed of developments.

Internet link: GOV.UK no deal brexit collection

180,500 new homeowners benefit from stamp duty tax relief

According to statistics published by HMRC more than 180,500 first-time buyers have benefitted from First Time Buyers Relief (FTBR). The relief introduced in November 2017 has saved eligible first-time buyers an estimated total amount of more than £426 million.

Mel Stride MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

‘These statistics show that the government was right to offer a helping hand to first time buyers. Without this investment more than 180,500 new homeowners may have struggled in getting onto the property ladder. Maintaining the status quo was not an option.’

FTBR is a Stamp Duty Land Tax relief for eligible first-time buyers. The tax relief can be used when buying a residential property where the purchase price is no more than £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland. Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and Land Transaction Tax apply to property in Scotland and Wales.

The press release goes on to state:

‘The amount of relief reported should not be used to infer average house prices for first time buyers; first-time buyer purchases below £125k and above £500k are not included in the statistics as they are below the lower SDLT threshold (£125k) or ineligible for the relief (above £500k).For purchases up to £300,000 no SDLT is payable. Where the purchase price is between £300,000 and £500,000 SDLT at 5% is due on the amount above £300,000. For example, a property purchased for £450,000 would pay £7,500 SDLT (5% of £150,000). This gives a saving of up to £5,000 for each first-time buyer.’

Extension of FTBR

It was announced in the Autumn Budget 2018 that the relief for first-time buyers will be extended to purchasers of qualifying shared ownership properties who do not elect to pay SDLT on the market value of the whole property when they purchase their first share. Relief will be applied to the first share purchased, where the market value of the shared ownership property is £500,000 or less. This relief will apply retrospectively from 22 November 2017, meaning that a refund of tax will be payable for those who have paid SDLT after 22 November 2017 in circumstances which now qualify for FTBR.

Internet link: HMRC press release

Tax-free gifts to employees

Some employers may wish to give a small gift to their employees. As long as the employer meets the relevant conditions, no tax charge will arise on the employee.

A tax exemption is available which should help employers ensure that the benefits provided are exempt and do not result in a reportable employee benefit in kind. In order for the benefit to be exempt it must satisfy the following conditions:

  • the cost of providing the benefit does not exceed £50 per employee (or on average when gifts made to multiple employees)
  • the benefit is not cash or a cash voucher
  • the employee is not entitled to the benefit as part of a contractual arrangement (including salary sacrifice)
  • the benefit is not provided in recognition of particular services performed by the employee as part of their employment duties
  • where the employer is a ‘close’ company and the benefit is provided to an individual who is a director, an office holder or a member of their household or their family, then the exemption is capped at a total cost of £300 in a tax year.

If any of these conditions are not met then the benefit will be taxed in the normal way subject to any other exemptions or allowable deductions.

No more than £50

One of the main conditions is that the cost of the benefit does not exceed £50. If the cost is above £50 the full amount is taxable, not just the excess over £50.The cost of providing the benefit to each employee and not the overall cost to the employer determines whether the benefit can be treated as a trivial benefit. So, a benefit costing up to £50 per employee whether provided to one or more employees can be treated as trivial. Where the individual cost for each employee cannot be established, an average could be used. Some HMRC examples consider gifts of turkeys, a bottle of wine or alternatively a gift voucher.

Further details on how the exemption will work, including family member situations, are contained in the HMRC manual.

However if you are unsure please do get in touch before assuming the gift you are about to provide is covered by the exemption.

Internet link: HMRC manual

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

New company car advisory fuel rates have been published which took effect from 1 December 2018. The guidance states: ‘You can use the previous rates for up to one month from the date the new rates apply’. The rates only apply to employees using a company car.

The advisory fuel rates for journeys undertaken on or after 1 December 2018 are:

Engine size Petrol
1400cc or less 12p
1401cc – 2000cc 15p
Over 2000cc 22p
Engine size LPG
1400cc or less 8p
1401cc – 2000cc 10p
Over 2000cc 15p
Engine size Diesel
1600cc or less 10p
1601cc – 2000cc 12p
Over 2000cc 14p

HMRC guidance states that the rates only apply when you either:

  • reimburse employees for business travel in their company cars
  • require employees to repay the cost of fuel used for private travel

You must not use these rates in any other circumstances.

If you would like to discuss your car policy, please contact us.

Internet link: GOV.UK AFR

Phishing tax refund email targets university students

HMRC has warned that university students are being bombarded with fake tax refund emails. The scammers have targeted university students in an attempt to steal their banking and personal details using.ac.uk email addresses that look genuine, in order to avoid detection.

Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury said:

‘Although HMRC is cracking down hard on internet scams, criminals will stop at nothing to steal personal information.

‘I’d encourage all students to become phishing-aware – it could save you a lot of money.’

In common with other tax scams, fraudsters send a message, including HMRC, GOV.UK or credit card branding, supposedly advising the recipient about a tax refund. Those taken in by the fake email are asked to click on a link and enter their banking and personal details. Fraudsters can use this information to steal money from bank accounts or to sell on to other criminals.

Internet link: GOV.UK press release

Inheritance Tax Review by Office of Tax Simplification

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has published the first of two reports on inheritance tax.

The first report sets out an explanation of the issues and complexities of IHT, gives an overview of concerns raised by the public and professional advisors during the review and then makes recommendations. This first report examines the administrative issues that people complain about and which were raised in the responses. The second report covering other wider areas of concern to people will follow in Spring 2019.

The first report highlights the benefits of:

  • reducing or removing the requirement to submit forms for smaller or simpler estates, especially where there is no tax to pay
  • simplifying the administration and guidance
  • the advantages of banks and other financial institutions having standardised requirements
  • automating the whole system by bringing it online

Angela Knight CBE, OTS Chairman, said:

Inheritance tax is both unpopular and complicated. The basic design of the tax itself is for government, but at the OTS we can address that most frequent of all comments “at least make it easier for the families to fill in the forms”. The OTS has worked on ways to address these practical complexities, which have come through loud and clear.’

‘The recommendations in this report will make it easier for the majority, and would mean that in future, many may not have to do the forms at all. Improving the administration of this tax in these ways is important as having to deal with the current process can seem overwhelming to people at a time when they are both preoccupied and distressed.’

Internet link: GOV.UK OTS IHT report

Newsletter – November 2018

Enews – November 2018

In this month’s Enews we report on the Chancellor’s key announcements from the Budget and the latest guidance on a ‘No Deal Brexit’.

HMRC has also announced the pilot is open for Making Tax Digital for VAT, but the deferral of the start date for some. With the latest guidance for employers, there is lots to update you on.

Budget 2018

The Chancellor Philip Hammond presented his second Autumn Budget on Monday 29 October 2018. In his speech he stated that ‘austerity is coming to an end – but discipline will remain’. He also promised a ‘double deal dividend’ if the Brexit negotiations are successful but stated that there may be a full-scale Spring Budget in 2019 if not.

We have included separate articles on some of the key announcements.

We will keep you informed of developments.

Internet link: GOV.UK Budget 2018

Personal tax changes – allowance and basic rate band increases

At the Budget, the Chancellor announced that increases to the personal allowance and basic rate band for 2019/20.

The personal allowance is currently £11,850. The personal allowance for 2019/20 will be £12,500. Also for 2019/20, the basic rate band will be increased to £37,500 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies is £50,000 for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance. The additional rate of tax of 45% will remain payable on taxable income above £150,000.

The government had pledged to raise the thresholds to these levels by 2020/21.

Internet link: GOV.UK income tax

Capital allowances changes

A number of changes to capital allowances were announced at the Budget, including an increase in the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA), for two years to £1 million, in relation to qualifying expenditure incurred from 1 January 2019. The AIA is currently £200,000 per annum. Complex calculations may apply to accounting periods which straddle 1 January 2019.

Other changes to the rules include:

  • a reduction in the rate of writing down allowance on the special rate pool of plant and machinery, including long-life assets, thermal insulation, integral features and expenditure on cars with CO2 emissions of more than 110g/km, from 8% to 6% from April 2019. Complex calculations may apply to accounting periods which straddle this date
  • clarification as to precisely which costs of altering land for the purposes of installing qualifying plant or machinery qualify for capital allowances, for claims on or after 29 October 2018
  • the end of the 100% first year allowance and first year tax credits for products on the Energy Technology List and Water Technology List from April 2020
  • an extension of the current 100% first year allowance for expenditure incurred on electric charge-point equipment until 2023.

In addition, a new capital allowances regime will be introduced for structures and buildings. It will be known as the Structures and Buildings Allowance and will apply to new non-residential structures and buildings. Relief will be provided on eligible construction costs incurred on or after 29 October 2018, at an annual rate of 2% on a straight-line basis.

Internet link: GOV.UK Budget 2018

Entrepreneurs’ Relief changes

The government announced, as part of the Budget, that some changes are being made to the rules for Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER) with immediate effect for disposals on or after 29 October 2018. Two new tests are to be added to the definition of a ‘personal company’, requiring the claimant to have a 5% interest in both the distributable profits and the net assets of the company. The new tests must be met, in addition to the existing tests, throughout the specified period in order for relief to be due. The existing tests already require a 5% interest in the ordinary share capital and 5% of voting rights.

Minimum qualifying period

The government will legislate in Finance Bill 2018-19 to increase the minimum period throughout which certain conditions must be met to qualify for ER, from one year to two years. The measure will have effect for disposals on or after 6 April 2019 except where a business ceased before 29 October 2018.

Where the claimant’s business ceased, or their personal company ceased to be a trading company (or the holding company of a trading group) before 29 October 2018, the existing one year qualifying period will continue to apply.

Dilution of holdings below 5%

Draft legislation has already been issued to provide a potential entitlement to ER where an individual’s holding in a company is reduced below the normal 5% qualifying level (meaning 5% of both ordinary share capital and voting power). The relief will only apply where the reduction below 5% occurs as a result of the company raising funds for commercial purposes by means of an issue of new shares, wholly for cash consideration.

Where a disposal of the shareholding prior to the issue would have resulted in a gain which would have qualified for ER, shareholders will be able to make an election treating them as if they had disposed of their shares and immediately reacquired them at market value just before dilution. To avoid an immediate CGT bill on this deemed disposal, a further election can be made to defer the gain until the shares are sold. ER can then be claimed on the deferred gain in the year the shares are sold under the rules in force at that time.

The new rules will apply for share issues which occur on or after 6 April 2019.

Please contact us if you would like further information on how this may affect you.

Internet link: GOV.UK ER

Making Tax Digital for VAT public pilot opens and deferral for some businesses

HMRC has opened the Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV) public pilot. However certain VAT-registered businesses (around 3.5% according to HMRC) with more complex requirements will be deferred from being subject to MTD for six months.

Essentially, the public pilot is now open to sole traders and companies using standard VAT accounting. This applies whether returns are done monthly or quarterly provided they are up to date. Those signing up for the pilot will be required to keep their VAT records digitally from the first day of the period covered by their next VAT Return and submit their return using the appropriate software.

Further piloting plans

HMRC intends to roll out further pilots for partnerships, those that trade with the EU and users of the Flat Rate scheme as set out in the timetable.

Date Activity
Late 2018 Private testing begins with partnerships, those customers that trade with the EU, and users of the Flat Rate Scheme.
Late 2018 / early 2019 Open to other sole traders and companies who are not up to date with their VAT and businesses newly registered for VAT that have not previously submitted a VAT return.
Early 2019 Open to partnerships and those taxpayers that trade with the EU.

Six months’ deferral

Making Tax Digital for VAT is to be introduced from 1 April 2019. However, HMRC has announced that the mandated implementation has been deferred until 1 October 2019 for certain taxpayers:

  • trusts
  • ‘not for profit’ organisations that are not set up as a company
  • VAT divisions
  • VAT groups
  • public sector entities required to provide additional information on their VAT return (Government departments, NHS Trusts)
  • local authorities
  • public corporations
  • traders based overseas
  • those required to make payments on account (very large traders)
  • Annual Accounting Scheme users.

Pilot testing for these groups is expected to open in Spring 2019. For help with MTD please contact us.

Internet links: GOV.UK MTD overview MTD timeline

New guidance for employers

HMRC has issued the October 2018 Employer Bulletin which contains a number of articles relevant to employers on payroll related issues.

The articles cover a number of areas including:

  • clarification of the rules regarding paying employees when the regular payday is a non-banking day
  • dealing with PAYE Settlement Agreements and new procedures to accommodate Scottish income tax rates
  • Construction Industry Scheme reminders for contractors
  • an update on the Welsh rates of income tax (WRIT) and new tax codes for Welsh taxpayers
  • guidance on the correct pay rates for apprentices
  • how to apply for advance statutory payment of Maternity, Parental, Paternal or Adoption Pay
  • spotlight on umbrella companies
  • Real Time adjustments to tax codes and their timing
  • closure of childcare vouchers and directly contracted childcare to new entrants from 4 October 2018
  • Disguised Remuneration Loan Charge – reporting requirements and
  • improving the wellbeing of your employees

For help with payroll matters please contact us.

Internet link: Employer Bulletin

HMRC countdown: file your tax return

With less than 100 days until the self assessment tax return deadline of 31 January 2019, HMRC is urging taxpayers to complete their tax returns early, in order to avoid the last minute rush.

The deadline for submitting 2017/18 self assessment tax returns online is 31 January 2019. An automatic penalty of £100 applies if the return is late.

HMRC advise that last year, more than 11 million taxpayers completed a 2016/17 Self Assessment tax return, with 10.7 million completing on time. There were 4,852,744 taxpayers who filed in January 2018 (44.8% of the total), and 758,707 on 31 January, the deadline day.

HMRC is advising taxpayers not to leave the completion of their 2017/18 Self Assessment tax until the last minute.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said:

‘The deadline for completing Self Assessment tax returns may be 100 days away, yet many of us wait until January to start the process. Time flies once the festive period is underway, yet the ‘niggle’ to file your tax return remains.’

‘We want to help people get their tax returns right – starting the process early and giving yourself time to gather all the information you need will help avoid the last minute, stressful rush to complete it on time. Let’s beat that niggle.’

Contact us for help with your self assessment tax return.

Internet link: GOV.UK news

Further contingency planning guidance on a ‘No deal Brexit’

HMRC has issued a Partnership Pack to help businesses carry out contingency planning and to help their customers, members and clients to:

  • think about how they will need to adapt their business to comply with new systems, processes and controls
  • assess the impact of the increased demand for customs declarations on their business
  • consider whether they need to recruit and train additional staff
  • stay up-to-date with these changes

Meanwhile the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) reports that ‘patience is now threadbare’ amongst UK businesses in regard to the government’s progress in its Brexit negotiations with the EU.

A survey, carried out by the CBI, revealed that 80% of firms believe that Brexit uncertainty is having a ‘negative impact’ on their investment decisions. The majority of businesses polled stated that they may have to implement ‘damaging’ contingency plans if no further progress is made by December.

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, said:

‘The situation is now urgent. The speed of negotiations is being outpaced by the reality firms are facing on the ground.

‘Unless a Withdrawal Agreement is locked down by December, firms will press the button on their contingency plans. Jobs will be lost and supply chains moved.’

‘As long as ‘no deal’ remains a possibility, the effect is corrosive for the UK economy, jobs and communities.’

Internet links: GOV.UK partnership pack CBI news

Autumn Budget 2018

Budget 2018

The Chancellor Philip Hammond presented his second Autumn Budget on Monday 29 October 2018. In his speech he stated that ‘austerity is coming to an end – but discipline will remain’. He also promised a ‘double deal dividend’ if the Brexit negotiations are successful but stated that there may be a full-scale Spring Budget in 2019 if not.

Our summary focuses on the tax measures which may affect you, your family and your business. To help you decipher what was said we have included our own comments. If you have any questions please contact us for advice.

Main Budget tax proposals

Our summary concentrates on the tax measures which include:

  • increases to the personal allowance and basic rate band
  • extending off-payroll working to medium/large organisations in the private sector
  • a temporary increase to the Annual Investment Allowance
  • freezing the VAT registration threshold for a further two years
  • changes to Entrepreneurs’ Relief and private residence relief
  • measures to tackle the plastic problem.

Previously announced measures include:

  • increases in car benefits
  • plans for Making Tax Digital for Business
  • extending the charge to gains on non-UK residents of non-residential UK property.

Some Budget proposals may be subject to amendment in the  2019 Spring Statement and subsequent Finance Act. You should contact us before taking any action as a result of the contents of this summary.

 

 

Personal Tax

The personal allowance

The personal allowance is currently £11,850. The personal allowance for 2019/20 will be £12,500.

Comment

There is a reduction in the personal allowance for those with ‘adjusted net income’ over £100,000 and the threshold has remained at this figure since its introduction for the 2010/11 tax year. The reduction is £1 for every £2 of income above £100,000. So for 2018/19 there is no personal allowance where adjusted net income exceeds £123,700. For 2019/20 there will be no personal allowance available where adjusted net income exceeds £125,000.

The marriage allowance

The marriage allowance permits certain couples, where neither pays tax at more than the basic rate, to transfer 10% of their personal allowance to their spouse or civil partner.

Comment

The marriage allowance reduces the recipient’s tax bill by up to £238 a year in 2018/19. The marriage allowance was first introduced for 2015/16 and there are many couples who are entitled to claim but have not yet done so. It is possible to claim for all years back to 2015/16 where the entitlement conditions are met. A recent change to the law allows backdated claims to be made by personal representatives of a deceased transferor spouse or civil partner.

Tax bands and rates

The basic rate of tax is currently 20%. The band of income taxable at this rate is £34,500 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies is £46,350 for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance. Additional rate taxpayers pay tax at 45% on their income in excess of £150,000.

The tax on income (other than savings and dividend income) is different for taxpayers who are resident in Scotland to taxpayers resident elsewhere in the UK. The Scottish income tax rates and bands apply to income such as employment income, self-employed trade profits and property income.

In the 2018/19 Scottish Budget, the Finance Secretary for Scotland introduced five income tax rates as shown in the table of rates at the end of this summary. The income tax rates range between 19% and 46%. Scottish taxpayers are entitled to the same personal allowance as individuals in the rest of the UK.

Tax bands and rates 2019/20

The government has announced that for 2019/20 the basic rate band will be increased to £37,500 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies is £50,000 for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance. The additional rate of tax of 45% remains payable on taxable income above £150,000.

From April 2019, the Welsh Government has the right to vary the rates of income tax payable by Welsh taxpayers. The UK government will reduce each of the three rates of income tax paid by Welsh taxpayers by 10 pence. The Welsh Government has provisionally set the Welsh rate of income tax at 10 pence which will be added to the reduced UK rates. This means the rates of income tax paid by Welsh taxpayers will continue to be the same as those paid by English and Northern Irish taxpayers. The Welsh Government will need to confirm this proposal prior to their final Budget.

The Scottish Government will announce the Scottish income tax rates and bands for 2019/20 in the Draft Budget on 12 December 2018.

Tax on dividends

In 2018/19 the first £2,000 of dividends are chargeable to tax at 0% (the Dividend Allowance). The Dividend Allowance will remain at £2,000 for 2019/20. Dividends received above the allowance are taxed at the following rates:

  • 5% for basic rate taxpayers
  • 5% for higher rate taxpayers
  • 1% for additional rate taxpayers.

Dividends within the allowance still count towards an individual’s basic or higher rate band and so may affect the rate of tax paid on dividends above the Dividend Allowance.

To determine which tax band dividends fall into, dividends are treated as the last type of income to be taxed.

Comment

In 2017/18 the Dividend Allowance was £5,000. The reduction in the allowance particularly affects family company director-shareholders who extract monies from the company by means of a small salary and the balance in dividends. The cost of the restriction in the allowance for basic rate taxpayers is £225 increasing to £975 for higher rate taxpayers and £1,143 for additional rate taxpayers.

Tax on savings income

Savings income is income such as bank and building society interest.

The Savings Allowance, which was first introduced for the 2016/17 tax year, applies to savings income and the available allowance in a tax year depends on the individual’s marginal rate of income tax. Broadly, individuals taxed at up to the basic rate of tax have an allowance of £1,000. For higher rate taxpayers the allowance is £500. No allowance is due to additional rate taxpayers.

Some individuals qualify for a 0% starting rate of tax on savings income up to £5,000. However, the rate is not available if taxable non-savings income (broadly earnings, pensions, trading profits and property income less allocated allowances and reliefs) exceeds £5,000.

Rent-a-room relief

Rent-a-room relief gives relief from income tax for up to £7,500 of income to individuals who let furnished accommodation in their only or main residence. Following consultation on the draft legislation and to maintain the simplicity of the system, the government will not include legislation for the shared occupancy test. The government will retain the existing qualifying test of letting in a main or only residence.

Comment

Rent-a-room relief was introduced 26 years ago to encourage individuals to make spare capacity in their homes available for rent rather than letting out their entire property. The emergence and growth of online platforms have made it easier than ever for those with accommodation to access a global network of potential occupants. The government wants rent-a-room relief to be better targeted to achieve its objective of incentivising individuals to share their homes.

Gift Aid – donor benefits

Draft legislation has been issued which simplifies the donor benefits rules that apply to charities who claim Gift Aid tax relief on donations. From 6 April 2019 the benefit threshold for the first £100 of the donation will remain at 25% of that amount. For gifts exceeding £100, charities can offer benefits up to the sum of £25 and 5% of the amount of the donation that exceeds £100. The total value of the benefit that a donor can receive remains at £2,500.

Comment

The new limits replace the current mix of monetary and percentage thresholds that charities have to consider when determining the value of benefit they can give to their donors without losing the entitlement to claim Gift Aid tax relief on the donations given to them.

Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme

The Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) applies to small charitable donations where it is impractical to obtain a Gift Aid declaration. GASDS currently applies to donations of £20 or less made by individuals in cash or contactless payment. The limit will be raised to £30 from 6 April 2019.

National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW)

Following the recommendations of the independent Low Pay Commission (LPC), the government will increase the NLW by 4.9% from £7.83 to £8.21 from April 2019.

The government will also accept all of the LPC’s recommendations for the other NMW rates to apply from April 2019, including increasing the rates for:

  • 21 to 24 year olds by 4.3% from £7.38 to £7.70 per hour
  • 18 to 20 year olds by 4.2% from £5.90 to £6.15 per hour
  • 16 to 17 year olds by 3.6% from £4.20 to £4.35 per hour
  • apprentices by 5.4% from £3.70 to £3.90 per hour.

Universal Credit

The government has announced that the amount that households with children and people with disabilities can earn before their Universal Credit award begins to be withdrawn – the Work Allowance – will be increased by £1,000 from April 2019.

In addition the government has listened to representations made by stakeholders on Universal Credit, and has announced a package of extra support for claimants as they make the transition to Universal Credit.

Comment

The government remains committed to the introduction of Universal Credit. The set of measures announced in the Budget are worth £1.7 billion per year.

 

 

Business Tax

Making Tax Digital for Business: VAT

HMRC is phasing in its landmark Making Tax Digital (MTD) regime, which will ultimately require taxpayers to move to a fully digital tax system. Regulations have now been issued which set out the requirements for MTD for VAT. Under the new rules, businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) must keep digital records for VAT purposes and provide their VAT return information to HMRC using MTD functional compatible software.

The new rules have effect from 1 April 2019 where a taxpayer has a ‘prescribed accounting period’ which begins on that date, or otherwise from the first day of a taxpayer’s first prescribed accounting period beginning after 1 April 2019. HMRC has recently announced that the rules will have effect for some VAT-registered businesses with more complex requirements from 1 October 2019. Included in the deferred start date category are VAT divisions, VAT groups and businesses using the annual accounting scheme.

HMRC has recently opened a pilot service for businesses with straightforward affairs and the pilot scheme will be gradually extended for other businesses in the next few months.

Keeping digital records and making quarterly updates will not be mandatory for taxes other than VAT before April 2020.

Comment

Keeping digital records will not mean businesses are mandated to use digital invoices and receipts but the actual recording of supplies made and received must be digital. It is likely that third party commercial software will be required. Software will not be available from HMRC. The use of spreadsheets will be allowed, but they will have to be combined with add-on software to meet HMRC’s requirements.

In the long run, HMRC is still looking to a scenario where income tax updates are made quarterly and digitally, and this is really what the VAT provisions anticipate.

Corporation tax rates

Corporation tax rates have already been enacted for periods up to 31 March 2021.

The main rate of corporation tax is currently 19% and will remain at this rate for next year. The rate will fall to 17% for the Financial Year beginning on 1 April 2020.

Class 2 and 4 National Insurance contributions (NICs)

The government has recently announced that Class 2 NICs will not be abolished for the duration of this Parliament. The Chancellor confirmed in March 2017 that there will be no increases to Class 4 NICs rates in this Parliament.

Comment

The government’s proposed reform of Class 2 and 4 NICs has had a chequered history. The original proposal was to abolish Class 2 contributions and reform Class 4 contributions. The Chancellor had to backtrack on the Class 4 reform due to the reaction to a proposed increase in rates and the Class 2 abolition was deferred to April 2019.

However a significant number of self-employed individuals with the lowest profits would have seen the voluntary payment they make to maintain access to the state pension rise substantially and so the government decided it would not be right to proceed with the abolition of Class 2.

UK property income of non-UK resident companies

Changes are made for non-UK resident companies that carry on a UK property business either directly or indirectly, for example through a partnership or a transparent collective investment vehicle.

Following consultation, from 6 April 2020, non-UK resident companies that carry on a UK property business, or have other UK property income, will be charged to corporation tax, rather than being charged to income tax as at present.

Capital allowances

Annual Investment Allowance

The government has announced an increase in the Annual Investment Allowance for two years to £1 million in relation to qualifying expenditure incurred from 1 January 2019. Complex calculations may apply to accounting periods which straddle this date.

Other changes

A number of changes are made to other rules relating to capital allowances:

  • a reduction in the rate of writing down allowance on the special rate pool of plant and machinery, including long-life assets, thermal insulation, integral features and expenditure on cars with CO2 emissions of more than 110g/km, from 8% to 6% from April 2019. Complex calculations may apply to accounting periods which straddle this date
  • clarification as to precisely which costs of altering land for the purposes of installing qualifying plant or machinery qualify for capital allowances, for claims on or after 29 October 2018
  • the end of the 100% first year allowance and first year tax credits for products on the Energy Technology List and Water Technology List from April 2020
  • an extension of the current 100% first year allowance for expenditure incurred on electric charge-point equipment until 2023.

In addition, a new capital allowances regime will be introduced for structures and buildings. It will be known as the Structures and Buildings Allowance and will apply to new non-residential structures and buildings. Relief will be provided on eligible construction costs incurred on or after 29 October 2018, at an annual rate of 2% on a straight-line basis.

Change to the definition of permanent establishment

A non-resident company is liable to corporation tax only if it has a permanent establishment in the UK. Certain preparatory or auxiliary activities, such as storing the company’s own products, purchasing goods or collecting information for the non-resident company, are classed as not creating a permanent establishment.

From 1 January 2019, the exemption will be denied to these activities if they are part of a ‘fragmented business operation’.

Preventing abuse of the R&D tax relief for SMEs

To help prevent abuse of the Research and Development (R&D) SME tax relief by artificial corporate structures, the amount that a loss-making company can receive in R&D tax credits will be capped at three times its total PAYE and NICs liability from April 2020.

Comment

HMRC has identified and prevented £300 million of fraud linked to this relief and this change will help to address similar abuses in future. Almost 95% of companies currently claiming the payable credit will be unaffected.

Protecting taxes in insolvency

From April 2020, HMRC will have greater priority to recover taxes paid by employees and customers.

The changes appear to be mainly targeted at the distribution of funds to financial institutions as creditors. The rules will remain unchanged for taxes owed by the business and HMRC will remain below other preferential creditors such as the Redundancy Payment Service.

Comment

This will ensure that an extra £185 million in taxes already paid each year reaches the government.

A veiled comment also suggests that, at some stage in the future, directors and other persons involved in tax avoidance, evasion or phoenixism will be jointly and severally liable for company tax liabilities, where there is a risk that the company may deliberately enter insolvency.

Other measures

  • Changes to the tax treatment of corporate capital losses from 1 April 2020 to restrict the proportion of annual capital gains that can be relieved by brought-forward capital losses to 50%.
  • Changes to the Diverted Profits Tax from 29 October 2018.
  • An increase in the small trading tax exemption limits for charities from April 2019 from £5,000 per annum or, if the turnover is greater than £5,000, 25% of the charity’s total incoming resources, subject to an overall upper limit of £50,000, to £8,000 and £80,000 respectively.
  • The introduction of an income tax charge to amounts received in a low tax jurisdiction in respect of intangible property, to the extent that those amounts are referable to the sale of goods or services in the UK, from 6 April 2019, with targeted anti-avoidance rules for arrangements entered into on or after 29 October 2018.

Digital Services Tax

The government remains committed to reform of the international corporate tax framework for digital businesses. However, pending global reform, interim action is needed to ensure the corporate tax system is sustainable and fair across different types of businesses.

Therefore, the government has announced that it will introduce a Digital Services Tax (DST) which will raise £1.5 billion over four years from April 2020. The DST will apply a 2% tax on the revenues of search engines, social media platforms and online marketplaces where their revenues are linked to the participation of UK users.

Businesses will need to generate revenues of at least £500 million globally to become taxable under the DST. The first £25 million of relevant UK revenues are also not taxable.

Intangible fixed assets

The Intangible Fixed Assets regime, which was introduced from 1 April 2002, fundamentally changed the way the UK corporation tax system treats intangible fixed assets (such as copyrights, patents and goodwill). As the regime is now more than 15 years old, the government would like to examine whether there is scope for reforms that would simplify it and make it more effective in supporting economic growth.

Following a short consultation, the government will seek to introduce targeted relief for the cost of goodwill in the acquisition of businesses with eligible intellectual property from April 2019.

With effect from 7 November 2018, the government will also reform the de-grouping charge rules, which apply when a group sells a company that owns intangibles, so that they more
closely align with the equivalent rules elsewhere in the tax code.

VAT registration limits

The government had previously announced that the VAT registration and deregistration thresholds would be frozen at £85,000 and £83,000 respectively until April 2020.

The government has now announced that this freeze will continue for a further two years from 1 April 2020.

VAT fraud in labour provision in the construction sector

The government will pursue legislation to shift responsibility for paying VAT along the supply chain with the introduction of a domestic VAT reverse charge for supplies of construction services with effect from 1 October 2019. The long lead-in time reflects the government’s commitment to give businesses adequate time to prepare for the changes.

VAT treatment of vouchers

Draft legislation has been issued to insert a new tax code for the VAT treatment of vouchers, such as gift cards, for which a payment has been made and which will be used to buy something. The legislation separates vouchers with a single purpose (eg a traditional book token) from the more complex gift vouchers and sets out how and when VAT should be accounted for in each case. The new legislation is not concerned with the scope of VAT and whether VAT is due, but with the question of when VAT is due and, in the case of multi-purpose vouchers, the consideration upon which any VAT is payable.

VAT collection – split payment

The government wants to combat online VAT fraud by harnessing new technology and is consulting on VAT split payment. This will utilise payments industry technology to collect VAT on online sales and transfer it directly to HMRC. In the government’s view this would significantly reduce the challenge of enforcing online seller compliance and offer a simplification for business.

 

 

Employment Taxes

Off-payroll working in the private sector

The changes to IR35 that came into effect in April 2017 for the public sector will be extended to the private sector from April 2020. Responsibility for operating the off-payroll rules will be transferred from the individual to the organisation, agency or third party engaging the worker. Only medium and large organisations will be subject to this change.

Employment Allowance

The Employment Allowance provides businesses and charities with up to £3,000 off their employer NICs bill. From April 2020, the Employment Allowance will be restricted to those employers whose employers’ NICs bill was below £100,000 in the previous tax year.

Employer provided cars

The scale of charges for working out the taxable benefit for an employee who has use of an employer provided car are normally announced well in advance. Most cars are taxed by reference to bands of CO2 emissions multiplied by the original list price of the vehicle. The maximum charge is capped at 37% of the list price of the car.

For this tax year there was generally a 2% increase in the percentage applied by each band. For 2019/20 the rates will increase by a further 3%.

A new development for the current tax year is an increase in the diesel supplement from 3% to 4%. This applies to all diesel cars (unless the car is registered on or after 1 September 2017 and meets the Euro 6d emissions standard) but the maximum is still 37%. There is no change to the current position that the diesel supplement does not apply to hybrid cars.

Charging facilities for electric and hybrid cars

Legislation is proposed to provide a new exemption from a taxable employment benefit where an employer provides charging facilities for employees’ all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles at or near the workplace. The exemption is backdated to have effect from 6 April 2018.

Employer provided cars and vans are already exempt from this benefit.

Exemption for travel expenses

Draft legislation has been issued which removes the requirement for employers to check receipts when making payments to employees for subsistence using benchmark scale rates. This will apply to standard meal allowances paid in respect of qualifying travel and overseas scale rates. Employers will only be asked to ensure that employees are undertaking qualifying travel. This will have effect from April 2019.

The proposed legislation will also allow HMRC to put the existing concessionary accommodation and subsistence overseas scale rates on a statutory basis from 6 April 2019. Like benchmark rates, employers will only be asked to ensure that employees are undertaking qualifying travel.

Self-funded work-related training

The government had previously announced that it would consult on extending the scope of tax relief currently available to employees and the self-employed for work-related training costs. The government has now decided to make no changes to the existing rules. However the National Retraining Scheme is being launched to help those in work, including the self-employed, to develop further skills.

 

 

Capital Taxes

Capital gains tax (CGT) rates

The current rates of CGT are 10%, to the extent that any income tax basic rate band is available, and 20% thereafter. Higher rates of 18% and 28% apply for certain gains; mainly chargeable gains on residential properties with the exception of any element that qualifies for private residence relief.

There are two specific types of disposal which potentially qualify for a 10% rate, both of which have a lifetime limit of £10 million for each individual:

  • Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER). This is targeted at working directors and employees of companies who own at least 5% of the ordinary share capital in the company and the owners of unincorporated businesses
  • Investors’ Relief. The main beneficiaries of this relief are external investors in unquoted trading companies who have newly-subscribed shares.

CGT annual exemption

The CGT annual exemption is £11,700 for 2018/19 and will be increased to £12,000 for 2019/20.

Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER)

Tackling misuse

With immediate effect for disposals on or after 29 October 2018, two new tests are to be added to the definition of a ‘personal company’, requiring the claimant to have a 5% interest in both the distributable profits and the net assets of the company. The new tests must be met, in addition to the existing tests, throughout the specified period in order for relief to be due. The existing tests already require a 5% interest in the ordinary share capital and 5% of voting rights.

Minimum qualifying period

The government will legislate in Finance Bill 2018-19 to increase the minimum period throughout which certain conditions must be met to qualify for ER, from one year to two years. The measure will have effect for disposals on or after 6 April 2019 except where a business ceased before 29 October 2018. Where the claimant’s business ceased, or their personal company ceased to be a trading company (or the holding company of a trading group) before 29 October 2018, the existing one year qualifying period will continue to apply.

Dilution of holdings below 5%

Draft legislation has been issued to provide a potential entitlement to ER where an individual’s holding in a company is reduced below the normal 5% qualifying level (meaning 5% of both ordinary share capital and voting power). The relief will only apply where the reduction below 5% occurs as a result of the company raising funds for commercial purposes by means of an issue of new shares, wholly for cash consideration.

Where a disposal of the shareholding prior to the issue would have resulted in a gain which would have qualified for ER, shareholders will be able to make an election treating them as if they had disposed of their shares and immediately reacquired them at market value just before dilution. To avoid an immediate CGT bill on this deemed disposal, a further election can be made to defer the gain until the shares are sold. ER can then be claimed on the deferred gain in the year the shares are sold under the rules in force at that time.

The new rules will apply for share issues which occur on or after 6 April 2019.

Gains for non-residents on UK property

Draft legislation has been issued to charge all non-UK resident persons, whether liable to CGT or corporation tax, on gains on disposals of interests in any type of UK land, whether residential or non-residential. Certain revisions are to be made following a further technical consultation when the full legislation is introduced but the key points are covered here.

All non-UK resident persons will also be taxable on indirect disposals of UK land. The indirect disposal rules will apply where a person makes a disposal of an entity that derives 75% or more of its gross asset value from UK land. There will be an exemption for investors in such entities who hold a less than 25% interest.

All non-UK resident companies will be charged to corporation tax rather than CGT on their gains.

There will be options to calculate the gain or loss on a disposal using the original acquisition cost of the asset or using the value of the asset at commencement of the rules in April 2019.

The CGT charge relating to the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings will be abolished. The legislation will broadly have effect for disposals from 6 April 2019.

Comment

The main effect of the new legislation will be to extend the scope of UK taxation of gains to include gains on disposals of interests in non-residential UK property.

Previous legislation has focussed on bringing gains made by non-residents on residential properties within the UK tax regime.

Payment on account and 30 day returns

Draft legislation has been issued to change the reporting of gains and the associated CGT liability on disposal of property. The main change is a requirement for UK residents to make a return and a payment on account of CGT within 30 days following the completion of a residential property disposal on a worldwide basis. The new requirements will not apply where the gain on the disposal is not chargeable to CGT, for example where the gains are covered by private residence relief.

For UK residents, the measure will have effect for disposals made on or after 6 April 2020.

CGT private residence relief

It is proposed that from April 2020 the government will make two changes to private residence relief:

  • the final period exemption will be reduced from 18 months to 9 months. There will be no changes to the 36 months that are available to disabled persons or those in a care home
  • Lettings Relief will be reformed so that it only applies in circumstances where the owner of the property is in ‘shared-occupancy’ with a tenant.

The government will consult on the detail of both of these changes and other technical aspects.

Inheritance tax (IHT) nil rate bands

The nil rate band has remained at £325,000 since April 2009 and is set to remain frozen at this amount until April 2021.

IHT residence nil rate band

From 6 April 2017 a new nil rate band, called the ‘residence nil rate band’ (RNRB), has been introduced, meaning that the family home can be passed more easily to direct descendants on death.

The RNRB is being phased in. For deaths in 2018/19 it is £125,000, rising to £150,000 in 2019/20 and £175,000 in 2020/21. Thereafter it will rise in line with the Consumer Price Index.

There are a number of conditions that must be met in order to obtain the RNRB, which may involve redrafting an existing will.

Downsizing

The RNRB may also be available when a person downsizes or ceases to own a home on or after 8 July 2015 where assets of an equivalent value, up to the value of the RNRB, are passed on death to direct descendants.

Changes to IHT RNRB

Amendments are to be introduced to the RNRB relating to downsizing provisions and the definition of ‘inherited’ for RNRB purposes. These amendments clarify the downsizing rules, and provide certainty over when a person is treated as ‘inheriting’ property. This will ensure the policy is working as originally intended. The changes will have effect for deaths on or after 29 October 2018.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

First time buyers relief

The relief for first time buyers will be extended to purchasers of qualifying shared ownership properties who do not elect to pay SDLT on the market value of the whole property when they purchase their first share. Relief will be applied to the first share purchased, where the market value of the shared ownership property is £500,000 or less.

Comment

The relief will apply retrospectively from 22 November 2017, meaning that a refund of tax will be payable for those who have paid SDLT after 22 November 2017 in circumstances which now qualify for first time buyers relief.

Higher rates for additional dwellings (HRAD)

A minor amendment will extend the time allowed to claim back HRAD where an individual sells their old home within three years of buying their new one.The measure also clarifies the meaning of `major interest` in land for the general purpose of HRAD.

Consultation on SDLT charge for non-residents

The government will publish a consultation in January 2019 on a SDLT surcharge of 1% for non-residents buying residential property in England and Northern Ireland.

 

 

Other Matters

Extension of offshore time limits

Draft legislation has been issued to increase the assessment time limits for offshore income and gains to 12 years. Similarly the time limits for proceedings for the recovery of inheritance tax are increased to 12 years. Where an assessment involves a loss of tax brought about deliberately the assessment time limit is 20 years after the end of the year of assessment and this time limit will not change.

The legislation does not apply to corporation tax or where HMRC has received information from another tax authority under automatic exchange of information.

The potential extension of time limits will apply from the 2013/14 tax year where the loss of tax is brought about by careless behaviour and from the 2015/16 tax year in other cases. The amendments will have effect when Finance Bill 2018-19 receives Royal Assent.

Comment

The current assessment time limits are ordinarily four years (six years in the case of carelessness by the taxpayer). The justification for the extension of time limits is the longer time it can take HMRC to establish the facts about offshore transactions, particularly if they involve complex offshore structures.

The legislation cannot be used to go back earlier than 2013/14. If there has been careless behaviour HMRC can make an assessment for up to 12 years from 2013/14 in respect of offshore matters but HMRC could not raise an assessment for 2012/13 or earlier (unless there is deliberate error by the taxpayer).

Penalties for late submission of tax returns

Taxpayers are required to submit tax returns by specified dates. When taxpayers submit their returns late they generally incur a penalty. Draft legislation has been issued which sets out a new points-based penalty regime for regular submission obligations. Returns have to be submitted more frequently in some circumstances. Depending on the frequency of the return submission obligation, a defined number of penalty points will accrue to a threshold. Once this threshold has been reached, a fixed penalty will be charged to the taxpayer.

After this each late submission will attract a fixed penalty, until the taxpayer meets all submission obligations by the relevant deadline for a set period of time. Once this happens, and a taxpayer has provided any outstanding submissions for the preceding 24 months, the points total will reset to zero. Points will generally have a lifetime of 24 months after which they expire, so if a taxpayer accrues points but does not reach the threshold, the points will expire after 24 months. Taxpayers will have a separate points total per submission obligation.

Penalties for late payment of tax

Draft legislation has been issued to harmonise the late payment penalty regimes for income tax, corporation tax and VAT. Late payment penalties are charged when customers do not pay, or make an agreement to pay, by the date they should, and do not have a reasonable excuse for the failure to do so.

The penalties will consist of two penalty charges, one charge based upon payments and agreements to pay in the first 30 days after the payment due date and another charge based upon how long the debt remains outstanding after the 30 days.

Interest harmonisation

Draft legislation has been issued to change the VAT interest rules so that they will be similar to those that currently exist for income tax and corporation tax.

This will mean:

  • late payment interest will be charged from the date the payment was due to the date the payment is received
  • HMRC will pay repayment interest when it has held taxpayer repayments for longer than it should.

The provisions are expected to take effect for VAT returns from 1 April 2020.

Tackling the plastic problem

As part of the government’s response to tackling plastic waste, the following announcements were made:

  • Single-use plastics will be addressed in the Resources and Waste Strategy later in the year for situations where recycling rates are too low and producers use too little recycled plastic.
  • The issue of excess and harmful packaging will be addressed with a tax on the production and importation of plastic packaging which does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic. This tax will be implemented in April 2022.
  • The Resources and Waste Strategy will also consider ways of reducing the environmental impact of disposable cups. The government does not believe that a levy would be effective at this time but will return to the issue if insufficient progress has been made by those businesses already taking steps to address the matter.

 

Newsletter – October 2018

Enews October 2018

In this month’s Enews we report that the government has announced the UK Budget date and that Class 2 National Insurance Contributions will no longer be scrapped. The government has also published lots of guidance on a ‘no deal Brexit’. With information on deliberate tax defaulters and the latest minimum wage statistics, there is lots to update you on.

UK Budget date announced: Monday 29 October

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has announced that the Budget will take place on Monday 29 October.

Breaking with the tradition of a Wednesday in November, perhaps in a bid to avoid the ongoing Brexit negotiations, the government is expected to set out its plans ‘to build a stronger, more prosperous economy, building on the recent Spring Statement and last year’s Budget’.

The government announcements are expected to include updates on draft legislation and consultations, and proposed tax rates and reliefs.

Internet link: GOV.UK news

Self-employed Class 2 National Insurance will not be scrapped

The government has decided not to proceed with plans to abolish Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from April 2019.

Class 2 NICs are currently paid at a rate of £2.95 per week by self-employed individuals with profits of £6,205 or more per year. The government had planned to scrap the Class 2 contribution and had been investigating ways in which self-employed individuals with low profits, could maintain their State Pension entitlement if this inexpensive contribution had been abolished.

In a written statement to MPs, Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, stated that:

‘This change was originally intended to simplify the tax system for the self-employed. We delayed the implementation of this policy in November to consider concerns relating to the impact on self-employed individuals with low profits. We have since engaged with interested parties to explore the issue and further options for addressing any unintended consequences.’

‘A significant number of self-employed individuals on the lowest profits would have seen the voluntary payment they make to maintain access to the State Pension rise substantially. Having listened to those likely to be affected by this change we have concluded that it would not be right to proceed during this parliament, given the negative impacts it could have on some of the lowest earning in our society.’

Internet link: Parliament written statement

‘No deal’ Brexit guidance and small business survey

Following the issue of some ‘no deal’ Brexit technical notices, in August, the government has issued further notices with the aim of helping both businesses and individuals to prepare in the event of a UK-EU agreement not being realised.

The second and third batches of notices cover topics such as passports, driving licences together with data protection and mobile phone roaming charges amongst other topics. The full list and access to the collection of technical notices can be viewed by visiting the link at the end of this article. The government has confirmed they plan to issue further technical notices.

Although reaching a deal remains the ‘overriding priority’ unless a Withdrawal Agreement is ratified by the UK and European Parliaments, the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019 remains.

Meanwhile, a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has revealed that:

  • Only 14% of small businesses have started planning for a no deal Brexit.
  • A further 41% believe that a no deal Brexit will have an impact on their business but have not yet started planning for the possibility.
  • 10% believe that a no deal Brexit will have a positive impact on their ability to do business whilst 48% believe that a no deal Brexit will have a negative effect on their ability to do business. This figure rises sharply to 66% for those small firms that trade with the EU and to 61% for those that employ a staff member from the EU.

FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, said:

‘Looking at this research it is obvious that our small firms are not prepared or ready for a chaotic no deal Brexit and the impact that it will have on their businesses. If you sell your products to the EU, buy goods from the EU or if your business relies on staff from the EU, you now see this outcome as a clear and present threat to your business.’

We will keep you informed of developments.

Internet links: GOV.UK no deal brexit collection FSB press release

Deadline for ‘paper’ self assessment tax returns

For those individuals who have previously submitted ‘paper’ self assessment tax returns the deadline for the 2017/18 return is 31 October 2018. Returns submitted after that date must be submitted electronically or they will incur a minimum penalty of £100. The penalty applies even when there is no tax to pay or the tax is paid on time.

If you would like any help with the completion of your return, please do get in touch.

Internet link: GOV.UK deadline

HMRC has published an updated list of deliberate tax defaulters

HMRC has published an updated list of deliberate tax defaulters. The list includes details of taxpayers who have incurred a penalty because they have either:

  • deliberately provided one or more inaccurate documents to HMRC
  • deliberately failed to comply with an HMRC obligation
  • committed a VAT or excise wrongdoing.

HMRC’s criteria for publishing this information also states that ‘These deliberate acts have resulted in HMRC establishing an additional amount of tax of more than £25,000. HMRC only publish the details where the taxpayer has not made a full and immediate disclosure when HMRC started to investigate or prior to any investigation.’

Internet link: GOV.UK/deliberate tax defaulters

Genuine HMRC contact and recognising phishing emails and texts

HMRC has updated their guidance on how to recognise when contact from HMRC is genuine and how to recognise phishing or bogus emails and text messages.

Internet link: GOV.UK recognising phishing emails

HMRC identify record £15.6 million minimum wage underpayments

HMRC has announced that they achieved record enforcement results this year, identifying £15.6million of minimum wage underpayments.

The number of workers identified as underpaid was double that in 2016/17 and the highest number since the National Minimum Wage came into force.

The figures reveal:

  • a record £15.6 million of underpayment identified for more than 200,000 workers
  • employers fined £14 million for not meeting legal obligations
  • more than 600 employers named in 2017/18 as part of ‘naming’ rounds.

Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst, said:

‘We are dedicated to stopping underpayment of the minimum wage. Employers must recognise their responsibilities and pay their workers the money they are entitled to.’

‘The UK’s lowest paid workers have had the fastest wage growth in 20 years thanks to the National Living Wage and today’s figures serve as a reminder to all employers to check they are getting their workers’ pay right.’

HMRC has prioritised the social care, retail, commercial warehousing and gig economy sectors for enforcement of the minimum wage. This is alongside employment agencies, apprentices and migrant workers. These are the sectors where HMRC believes non-compliance with National Minimum Wage is more widespread.

For advice on payroll please contact us.

Internet links: GOV.UK news GOV.UK naming