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

Newsletter – September 2018

Enews – September 2018

In this month’s Enews we report on HMRC’s reminder to taxpayers regarding declaring offshore assets and available software for MTD for VAT. We also advise on the latest fuel advisory rates for company car drivers and guidance for employers.

With statistics on Stamp Duty Land Tax and a raft of ‘No deal’ Brexit notices there is lots to update you on.

HMRC warning: time to declare offshore assets

HMRC is warning that taxpayers could face penalties if they fail to declare their income on foreign assets before new ‘Requirement to Correct’ legislation comes into force.

HMRC is urging UK taxpayers to come forward and declare any foreign income or profits on offshore assets before 30 September to avoid higher tax penalties.

New legislation called ‘Requirement to Correct’ requires UK taxpayers to notify HMRC about any offshore tax liabilities relating to UK income tax, capital gains tax, or inheritance tax. The most common reasons for declaring offshore tax are in relation to foreign property, investment income and moving money into the UK from abroad. HMRC has stated that over 17,000 people have already been in contact to notify they have tax due from sources of foreign income, such as their holiday homes and overseas properties.

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

‘Since 2010 we have secured over £2.8bn for our vital public services by tackling offshore tax evaders, and we will continue to relentlessly crack down on those not playing by the rules.’

‘This new measure will place higher penalties on those who do not contact HMRC and ensure their offshore tax liabilities are correct. I urge anyone affected to get in touch with HMRC now.’

Common Reporting Standard (CRS)

From 1 October more than 100 countries, including the UK, will be able to exchange data on financial accounts under the CRS. It is expected that the CRS data will significantly enhance HMRC’s ability to detect offshore non-compliance and it is in taxpayers’ interests to correct any non-compliance before that data is received.

Taxpayers can correct their tax liabilities by:

  • Using HMRC’s digital disclosure service as part of the Worldwide Disclosure Facility or any other service provided by HMRC as a means of correcting tax non-compliance.
  • Telling an officer of HMRC in the course of an enquiry into your affairs.
  • Or any other method agreed with HMRC.

Once a taxpayer has notified HMRC of their intention to make a declaration, by the deadline of 30 September, they will then have 90 days to make the full disclosure and pay any tax owed. To ensure there is an incentive for taxpayers to correct any offshore tax non-compliance on or before 30 September 2018 there are increased penalties for any failures to correct by that date.

If taxpayers are confident that their tax affairs are in order, then they do not need to worry. However if you are unsure, please contact us.

Internet link: GOV.UK news

Stamp duty cut: 121,500 households save £284 million

According to the latest statistics 121,500 first-time buyers have saved a total of £284,000,000 following the introduction of a relief for first-time buyers under the Stamp Duty Land Tax rules which apply in England and Northern Ireland.

Over the next five years, it is estimated that this relief, part of the UK government’s housing policy will help over 1 million people getting onto the housing ladder.

First-time buyers purchasing homes of £300,000 and under pay no stamp duty at all, and those who bought properties of up to £500,000 will also have benefitted from a stamp duty cut.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride, said:

‘Once again, we can see that our cut to stamp duty for first-time buyers is helping to make the dream of home ownership a reality for a new generation – exactly as we intended.’

‘In addition, we’re building more homes in the right areas, and have introduced generous schemes such as the Lifetime ISA and Help to Buy.’

Those purchasing properties in Wales (since 1 April 2018) pay Land Transaction Tax and those in Scotland pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax. First-time buyers in Scotland also benefit from a relief for first-time buyers.

Internet link: GOV.UK news

Software suppliers – Making Tax Digital for VAT

HMRC is working with more than 150 software suppliers who have said they will provide software for Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV) in time for April 2019.

From 1 April 2019, businesses will be mandated to use the MTDfB system to meet their VAT obligations under MTDfV. Only businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) will be required to use MTDfV, however HMRC is piloting the new system, on a small scale, from April 2018.

HMRC has advised that more than 40 suppliers have said they will have software ready during the first phase of the pilot and other software suppliers are expected to follow. HMRC will open up the pilot to allow more businesses and agents to join later in 2018.

HMRC has advised that the list will be updated as more software meets the criteria. HMRC are advising businesses to check with their existing software supplier to find out if they will be supplying suitable software.

Contact us for help with Making Tax Digital for VAT.

Internet link: GOV.UK software suppliers

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

New company car advisory fuel rates have been published which take effect from 1 September 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 September 2018 are:

Engine size Petrol
1400cc or less 12p
1401cc – 2000cc 15p
Over 2000cc 22p
Engine size LPG
1400cc or less 7p
1401cc – 2000cc 9p
Over 2000cc 13p
Engine size Diesel
1600cc or less 10p
1601cc – 2000cc 12p
Over 2000cc 13p

The 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

HMRC latest guidance for employers

HMRC has published the latest edition of the Employer Bulletin. This guidance for employers, and their agents, includes articles on:

  • Reporting your payroll information accurately and on time
  • Irregular payments and completion of Full Payment Submissions
  • Starter Declaration on a Full Payment Submission (FPS)
  • PAYE Settlement Agreements and Scottish Income Tax
  • National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage – are you paying the correct rate?
  • Advisory Electricity Rate for fully electric company cars
  • Welsh Rates of Income Tax
  • Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) webinars
  • Postgraduate Loans
  • Benefits and Expenses: Company cars
  • Tax avoidance loan schemes – settle now
  • Completing an EYU in respect of Employee’s National Insurance Contributions
  • Employment Income: Draft Legislation
  • Deadline for post 16 Child Benefit looms.

For help with payroll matters, please contact us.

Internet link: Employer Bulletin

‘No deal’ Brexit guidance

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

The government has published the first 25 notices. Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab was keen to emphasise that reaching a deal remains the ‘overriding priority’. However, until 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.

The 25 documents cover a range of different areas, including VAT and trading, financial services, farming and workplace rights.

Josh Hardie, Deputy Director General at the CBI, said:

‘It’s right and responsible that the government has supplied information to businesses on issues from financial services passporting to food labelling, all of which will help lower the risks of the harshest outcomes from a ‘no deal’ Brexit.’

The government has confirmed further technical notices will be issued in September.

Internet link: GOV.UK no deal brexit collection

Newsletter – April 2018

Enews – April 2018

In this month’s Enews we report on a late reprieve for childcare vouchers and Spring Statement announcements. We also consider new Data Protection rules coming into force in May. With the legislation enacted for the roll out of Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV) and the latest changes for employers there is lots to update you on.

GDPR

New data protection rules from General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will replace the
Data Protection Act in the UK from 25 May 2018.

GDPR is designed to safeguard personal data of citizens from EU member states, with particular emphasis on transparency and accountability. It applies to all businesses in the EU and non-compliance will lead to substantial fines.

The new GDPR is a regulation which is intended to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). The regulation will become a law without exception in the UK from 25 May 2018. The government has confirmed that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR.

The government has also confirmed that the UK will replace the 1988 Data Protection Act (DPA) with legislation that mirrors GDPR, post-Brexit. This means that any business, big or small, will be required to comply with GDPR – which deals with secure collection, storage and usage of clients’ personal data.

Failure to comply with the regulation can result in heavy fines of up to €20 million or 4% of the businesses’ annual turnover (whichever is higher amount).

Internet link: ICO guide to GDPR

Employer-Supported Childcare gets a reprieve

Many employers help employees with childcare costs, often by providing childcare vouchers by way of salary sacrifice. Following the roll out of Tax-Free Childcare (TFC), the new government scheme to help working parents, existing Employer-Supported Childcare (ESC) schemes were expected to close to new joiners from April 2018.

However following the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, Education Secretary Damian Hinds, made a concession to delay scrapping the scheme by six-months.

The Childcare Choices website which provides useful guidance to parents on the childcare options available to them including ESC, TFC and other free entitlements has been updated to show that childcare vouchers will be available to new joiners until the end of September 2018.

Under the rules employees already using ESC can choose whether to remain in existing schemes or switch to TFC, but parents cannot be in both TFC and ESC at the same time.

Internet link: GOV.UK Childcare Choices

Making Tax Digital for VAT from April 2019

The regulations to bring into force Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV) are now law, and digital VAT returns will be required from 1 April 2019.

MTDfV is the first phase of HMRC’s 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 MTDfV.

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, and otherwise from the first day of a taxpayer’s first prescribed accounting period beginning after 1 April 2019.

HMRC is piloting MTDfV during 2018, ahead of its introduction in April 2019. Keeping digital records and making quarterly updates will not be mandatory for taxes other than VAT before April 2020, although businesses below the VAT threshold which have voluntarily registered for VAT can opt to join the scheme.

As with electronic VAT filing at present, there will be some exemptions from MTD for VAT. However, the exemption categories are tightly-drawn and unlikely to be applicable to most VAT registered businesses.

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.

Internet link: GOV.UK statutory instrument

Welsh Land Transaction Tax introduced

From 1 April 2018, Land Transaction Tax (LTT) will replace Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). LTT will be collected by the Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA). HMRC has published guidance on the introduction of the new tax and the way in which property transactions straddling 1 April 2018 and cross border transactions will be dealt with.

Property Taxes across the UK

From 22 November 2017, there is an exemption for first-time buyers from SDLT on the first £300,000 when buying a home, where the total price of the property is not more than £500,000. 5% is payable on purchases between £300,000 and £500,000. However, with devolved taxes, buying a property in Scotland and Wales can bring different tax consequences.

In Scotland, Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) applies instead of SDLT. Therefore an LBTT relief for first-time buyers of properties up to £175,000 has been proposed in the Scottish Draft Budget 2018/19. This is subject to a government consultation before the relief launches in 2018/19.

Welsh first-time buyers benefit from first-time buyers SDLT relief until 31 March 2018. Land Transaction Tax (LTT) replaces SDLT in Wales from 1 April 2018. The starting rate for LTT will be £180,000, benefiting not just first-time buyers but other home buyers in Wales. A higher rate, of 3% over standard rates for additional residential properties, applies to purchases throughout the UK whether SDLT, LBTT or LTT applies. A new land-transaction-tax-calculator is available.

HMRC has issued guidance on the changes in Wales and the transitional rules for property transactions.

Internet links: GOV.UK news GOV.SCOT LBTT first time buyer relief

Income tax changes from 6 April 2018

The personal allowance for 2018/19 is £11,850. However, some individuals do not benefit from the full personal allowance. There is a reduction in the personal allowance for those with ‘adjusted net income’ over £100,000, which 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.

The basic rate of tax is currently 20%. From 6 April 2018 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 and Constitution Secretary for Scotland, Derek Mackay announced significant changes to income tax bands and rates for Scottish resident taxpayers, introducing five possible income tax rates. 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.

Scottish Bands £ Band name Scottish Rate
0 – 2,000 Starter 19%
2,001 – 12,150 Basic 20%
12,151 – 31,580 Intermediate 21%
31,581 – 150,000 Higher 41%
Over 150,000 Top 46%

From April 2019, the National Assembly for Wales has the right to vary the rates of income tax payable by Welsh taxpayers.

Dividend allowance down to £2,000

In 2017/18 the first £5,000 of dividends are chargeable to tax at 0% (the Dividend Allowance). From 6 April 2018 the Dividend Allowance is reduced to £2,000. Dividends received above the allowance are taxed at the following rates:

  • 7.5% for basic rate taxpayers
  • 32.5% for higher rate taxpayers
  • 38.1% for additional rate taxpayers.

Internet links: GOV.UK spring statement 2018 GOV.SCOT Scottish income tax

Update for employers and their employees

HMRC’s latest Employer Bulletin includes useful updates for employers as we approach the start on the new tax year on 6 April 2018.

The Bulletin includes articles on:

  • end of year reporting for payroll and reporting benefits in kind
  • P9 Notice of Coding and the system of in year tax code adjustments known as Dynamic Coding
  • new rules for termination payments made on, or after, 6 April 2018
  • Scottish income tax changes
  • a reminder to those paying the Apprenticeship Levy to spend their Levy on Apprenticeship Training
  • National Minimum and National Living Wage increases from 1 April 2018.

If you would like help with payroll contact us.

Internet link: Employer Bulletin

Spring Statement announces consultations

Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his Spring Statement on Tuesday 13 March 2018. In his speech, the Chancellor announced consultations would be issued on:

  • how to help the UK’s least productive businesses to learn from, and catch-up with, the most productive
  • how to eliminate late payments particularly to benefit small business
  • whether the use of non-agricultural red diesel tax relief contributes to poor air quality in urban areas
  • consultation on reduced Vehicle Excise Duty rates for the cleanest vans.

He also made available further details on some consultations which are considered briefly below:

  • Making Tax Digital sanctions for late submission and late payment – Following significant support on consultation, the government intends to take forward points based late submission penalties. There will be further consultation on the draft legislation to be published in summer 2018.
  • Tackling the plastic problem – The government will call for evidence as to how changes to the tax system could be used to reduce the amount of single-use plastics that are wasted by reducing unnecessary production, increasing re-use and improving recycling. The government would also like to explore how to drive innovation in this area to achieve the same outcomes.
  • Cash and digital payments – The government will consult and seek evidence about how the role of digital payments is to fit into the growing digital economy. This will include identifying what further work can be done to remove barriers to digital payments. At the same time the government acknowledges that cash must remain accessible and secure.
  • Online platforms – The government has launched a call for evidence on the role of online platforms in ensuring tax compliance by their users. The types of online platforms the government is principally interested in are platforms that allow people to earn money from spare resources such as cars and spare rooms, that allow people to use their time to generate extra income and that connect buyers with individuals or businesses offering services or goods for sale. The government wants to ensure that, where people have tax obligations because of these activities, it is easy for them to comply.
  • 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.
  • VAT registration threshold call for evidence – The government considers that the current design of the VAT registration threshold may be dis-incentivising small businesses from growing their business and improving their productivity.

We will update you on the outcome of the consultations..

Internet link: gov.uk Spring Statement 2018

Newsletter – November 2017

Enews – November 2017

In this month’s eNews we report on Budget announcements and the introduction of new taxes in Wales and Scotland of Land Transaction Tax and Air Departure Tax. We also consider HMRC’s new method of Simple Assessment for certain taxpayers, the Criminal Finances Act, proposals for Help to Save Accounts and new guidance for employers.

Autumn Budget wishlist

With the Chancellor’s first Autumn Budget due to be presented on 22 November, professional bodies and business groups are setting out their Budget wishlists. Recommendations include changes to Business Rates, a ‘Brexit ready’ Budget, incentives for business and an appeal for changes to the Apprenticeship Levy. The ICAEW is urging that the government give sufficient attention to Making Tax Digital to ensure a successful roll out and making the necessary changes to accommodate Brexit.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has urged Philip Hammond to deliver a ‘Brexit-ready’ Budget, which rules out any new business tax increases and maintains investment incentives.

We will update you on pertinent announcements.

Internet links: CBI FSB ICAEW autumn budget

Simple Assessment

HMRC have changed the way in which they will assess some taxpayers removing the need for these individuals to complete a Self Assessment Tax Return. These changes took effect from September 2017.

The affected taxpayers fall into one of two categories:

  • new state pensioners with income more than the personal tax allowance (£11,000) in 2016/17; and
  • employees or pensioners with PAYE tax codes who have underpaid tax and who cannot have that tax collected through their tax code because it is too high to code out.

HMRC have also confirmed that all existing state pensioners who complete a tax return because their state pension is more than their personal allowance will be removed from self assessment in 2017/18. This may mean that some clients are dropped out of self assessment and issued an assessment instead based on the information which HMRC hold. Of course, whether the assessment is actually correct will be a different matter.

HMRC state:

‘HMRC will write to customers from September 2017 with a tax calculation. This could be a P800 or a Simple Assessment letter (PA302).

The letter will show their:

  • income from pay
  • pensions
  • state benefits
  • savings interest
  • employee benefits.

Customers just need to check the information is correct, and if it is they can pay their bill online or by cheque by the deadline in the letter.

If a customer thinks any information is incorrect they have 60 days to contact HMRC. For instance, if they think amounts used are wrong or HMRC didn’t act on information received.

Should customers miss the deadline they should contact HMRC to discuss their circumstances or financial penalties will be applied in line with current policy.

If customers are not happy with the follow-up response from HMRC, they have 30 days to appeal against the decision.’

If you would like help with your personal tax affairs please get in touch.

Internet link: GOV.UK briefing policy paper

Welsh Land Transaction Tax

The Welsh Assembly has announced the proposed rates and bands for land transaction tax (LTT) which is to be introduced for land and property in Wales on 1 April 2018, replacing Stamp Duty Land Tax.

Under the new rates for LTT, Wales will have the highest starting threshold for the property tax in the UK. The proposed rates are as follows:

Residential Non-residential
0% £0 – £150,000 £0 – £150,000 0%
2.5% £150,001 – £250,000 £150,001 – £250,000 1%
5% £250,001 – £400,000 £250,001 – £1m 5%
7.5% £400,001 – £750,000 £1m plus 6%
10% £750,001 – £1.5m
12% £1.5m-plus

Announcing the rates and bands, Professor Mark Drakeford, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government, said:

‘From April, Wales will introduce the first Welsh taxes in almost 800 years, supporting first-time buyers and boosting business.

The devolution of tax powers provides us with the opportunity to reshape and make changes to improve existing taxes to better meet Wales’ needs and priorities. I have always been clear that we will use these powers to help improve fairness and support jobs and economic growth in Wales.

These new progressive rates and bands for land transaction tax and landfill disposals tax will make a real difference to people’s lives; help change behaviours and deliver improvements to communities across Wales. We are being bold but balanced and leading the way in creating a fair and progressive tax system.’

Internet link: GOV.UK Wales

Scottish Budget proposals

On 14 December, the Scottish Budget will set out the Scottish Government’s financial and tax plans.

Currently taxpayers who are resident in Scotland pay income tax on their non-savings and non-dividend income at rates and thresholds determined by the Scottish Government. Scottish higher and additional rate taxpayers may pay more income tax than those with similar income in the rest of the UK. The Scottish Parliament is considering plans to radically revise the bands and possibly to introduce some further income tax rates so that middle and higher earners pay additional tax.

The Scottish Parliament are also expected to announce the details of Air Departure Tax which takes effect for flights from Scotland from April 2018.

We will keep you up to date with pertinent announcements.

Internet links: BBC news

Criminal Finances Act

The Criminal Finances Act 2017 took effect on 30 September 2017. It makes companies and partnerships, a ‘relevant body’, criminally liable if they fail to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion being carried out by an employee, anyone acting on their behalf or someone acting as an agent. If found guilty, the business could face unlimited fines and potentially further consequential sanctions within their industry or profession.

This Act has the effect of creating an offence at corporate and partnership level which does not require the directors/partners to have had any knowledge of the offence in question. Broadly, the offence is the failure to prevent the crimes of those who act for or on behalf of the corporate body or partnership instead of the need to attribute criminal acts to that body.

For a firm to be criminally liable under the new Act, there are three elements of the offence:

  • There must be the execution of a criminal act of tax evasion.
  • The crime must have been facilitated or carried out by a person associated with a relevant body.
  • The relevant body failed to initiate adequate prevention procedures in relation to the act carried out by the associated person.

A defence is available when it can be shown that ‘reasonable prevention procedures’ were in place to prevent the associated person from committing or facilitating the crime; or that it would have been unreasonable or disproportionate to expect such procedures to be in place.

The government advises that any reasonable prevention procedures should be based on six guiding principles:

  1. Risk assessment – the relevant body should assess the nature and extent of its exposure to the risk of an associated person committing a criminal act;
  2. Proportionality – the procedures should take into account the nature, scale and complexity of the relevant body’s activities;
  3. Top level commitment – the management of the relevant body should be committed to preventing illegal acts and should foster a culture that tax evasion and its facilitation is never acceptable;
  4. Due Diligence – with appropriate procedures put in place with respect to all people who perform services for the relevant body;
  5. Communication – training staff and ensuring the message effectively gets across to all employees and agents;
  6. Monitoring and reviewing – ensuring that whatever procedures are put into place are regularly reviewed and updated and amended where necessary.

Please contact us if you require further information on this issue.

Internet link: GOV.UK Tackling tax evasion corporate-offence

Help to Save Accounts

The government have announced details of a new Help to Save saving scheme. The scheme is government backed and designed to support working people on low incomes build up their savings.

The scheme, administered by HMRC, will be open to working people who receive Working Tax Credits, and those who receive Universal Credit with a household income equivalent to at least 16 hours a week at the national living wage (currently £120 a week).

Over a four year period, savers can deposit up to £50 per month.

At the end of two years, savers will get a 50% bonus based on the highest balance achieved. Savers can then carry on saving for another two years and get another 50% bonus on their additional savings.

Over four years those saving the maximum amount of £2,400 will receive bonuses of £1,200.

Money paid into the account can be withdrawn at any time but will affect the final bonus payment.

The government has confirmed that all transactions, including checking the balance and paying in savings, will be managed in an online account available through GOV.UK and that further information will be available from early 2018.

Internet link: GOV.UK help to save

New guidance for employers

HMRC have issued the October 2017 Employer Bulletin which contains a number of articles relevant to employers on payroll related issues.

HMRC are advising that following the changes to the valuation of benefits in kind (BiK) where there is a cash option available, they will consult and then issue the necessary amendments to the PAYE Regulations. The guidance will also clarify the taxable amounts that need to be reported under Optional Remuneration and salary sacrifice arrangements.

Where a BiK is taken rather than the alternative cash option, the taxable value of the benefit is the higher of the cash foregone or the taxable value under the normal BiK rules. Transitional provisions apply for arrangements entered into before 6 April 2017.

The Bulletin also includes articles on:

  • Changes to Business Tax Account for employers, including new data on the Apprenticeship Levy and the introduction of monthly and annual statement pages
  • Data matters – ensuring RTI returns are submitted on or before the date the wages are paid, that the returns are accurate, cover all employees, including those that earn less than the National Insurance lower earnings limit
  • Paying HMRC at the Post Office – via transcash. This option will be withdrawn from 15 December 2017
  • Construction Industry Scheme – clarification of when CIS deductions should be reported via the Employer Payment Summary (EPS)
  • Student Loans – new income thresholds from April 2018 for Plan Type 1 and 2 loans
  • Apprenticeships benefit your business – includes links to help on finding apprenticeship training and recruiting an apprentice.

For help with payroll matters please get in touch.

Internet link: Employer Bulletin

Newsletter – July 2017

Enews – July 2017

In this month’s eNews we report on the Queen’s speech and the legislative process. We also include articles on recommendations to simplify corporation tax, the extended deadline for returns for employment related securities, the introduction of Land Transaction Tax in Wales and the latest fines and guidance issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office following cyber attacks. With HMRC’s latest Employer Bulletin and advice on holiday pay and entitlement there is lots to consider.

Queen’s Speech and proposed legislation

The Queen delivered the 2017 Queen’s Speech on 21 June which set out the government’s agenda for the coming parliamentary session. The speech outlined the government’s proposed policies and legislation.

This Queen’s speech announced that the government will focus on:

  • delivering a Brexit deal that works for all parts of the United Kingdom and
  • building a stronger, fairer country by strengthening our economy, tackling injustice and promoting opportunity and aspiration.

The supporting documentation confirms 27 Bills and draft Bills which are expected to be in the legislative programme, which will deliver on these themes. Details of the Bills that the government propose to introduce are available via the links at the end of this article.

The Speech and supporting documentation make little reference to delayed tax measures which were put on hold prior to the Election or the progress of the legislation on Making Tax Digital for Business. The reference to tax legislation states:

‘The programme will also include three Finance Bills to implement budget decisions. Summer Finance Bill 2017 will include a range of tax measures including those to tackle avoidance. The programme will also include a technical Bill to ratify several minor EU agreements and further Bills, which will be announced in due course, to effect the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The government will also be taking forward a range of other measures which may not require primary legislation.’

We will update you on developments.

Internet links: GOV.UK summary what it means Speech GOV.UK background notes

Simplifying corporation tax

The Office for Tax Simplification has published their recommendations on simplifying the corporation tax computation.

This report sets out some significant steps towards creating a 21st-century corporation tax system in the UK, responding to calls from businesses of all sizes to make the calculation of corporation tax simpler, with fewer changes and more time to plan. The report looks at four broad themes:

  • simpler tax for smaller companies
  • aligning the tax rules more closely with accounting rules where appropriate
  • simplifying tax relief for capital investment
  • a range of further issues affecting the largest companies.

We will keep you informed of developments in this area.

Internet link: GOV.UK review CT

Employment Related Securities return deadline

HMRC are advising that there have been technical issues with their Employment Related Securities (ERS) annual returns online service. Employers have to complete returns for any schemes that have been registered on the ERS online service, such as Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI), a non-tax advantaged scheme or award, Company Share Option Plan, Save As You Earn Scheme and Share Incentive Plan

HMRC apologise for the difficulties which had prevented some returns from being submitted online. They have confirmed that the service is now working and allowing users to upload the necessary templates and files as part of the return process.

The deadline for filing annual returns is generally 6 July following the end of the tax year, so for the tax year 2016/17 it would usually be 6 July 2017. However, in view of the recent problems HMRC have extended the deadline to 24 August 2017 for the tax year 2016/17.

Penalties for late returns

Due to the change in deadline this year HMRC are advising that:

‘Penalties are charged if you file your return late. If your return isn’t filed by the extended deadline of 24 August 2017 the first late filing penalty of £100 will be issued on 25 August 2017.

Additional automatic penalties of £300 will be charged if the return is still outstanding 3 months after the original deadline of 6 July, and a further £300 if it’s still outstanding 6 months after that date. If a return is still outstanding 9 months after the 6 July, daily penalties of £10 a day may be charged.’

If you would like any help or guidance on share incentives or how these should be reported to HMRC please contact us.

Internet link: GOV.UK bulletin

Land Transaction Tax

From April 2018, Land Transaction Tax (LTT) will replace Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in Wales. Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) already applies in Scotland.

Like SDLT (and LBTT), LTT will generally be payable on the purchase or lease of a building or land. The new tax may therefore be relevant to house buyers and sellers and businesses including builders, property developers and agents involved in the transaction process (such as solicitors and conveyancers).

Rates of the new tax

The proposed tax rates and bands will be announced by October 2017.

Additional residential properties

Higher rates of SDLT and LBTT apply to purchases of additional residential properties, including second homes. The National Assembly for Wales has confirmed these increased rates will continue to apply in Wales under LTT.

More details can be found at National Assembly for Wales.

Internet link: gov.wales/land-transaction-tax

Holiday entitlement

Now is the time of year when many of us turn our thoughts to holidays and it is important to get holiday entitlement and holiday pay right.

The June 2017 acas newsletter includes links to useful guidance on calculating holiday and holiday pay entitlements as well as guidance on hot weather working.

The GOV.UK website includes a useful calculator.

If you would like help with payroll matters please contact us.

Internet links: GOV.UK calculator acas newsletter

Latest guidance for employers

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

  • P11D and P11D(b) filing and payment deadlines
  • Paying the right amount of tax through PAYE
  • Construction industry scheme repayment claims for limited companies
  • The Apprenticeship Levy and funding of apprenticeship training
  • Tax-free childcare rollout including guidance on dealing with employee opt outs of current childcare voucher schemes
  • Student Loan employer prompts where deductions have not been made
  • GCSEs in England – new grading system explained for employers.

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

Internet link: GOV.UK Employer bulletin

ICO warning as business fined £60,000 following cyber attack

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is warning SMEs to take care or face a fine. The warning comes after a company which suffered a cyber attack was fined £60,000.

The investigation by the ICO found Boomerang Video Ltd based in Berkshire failed to take basic steps to stop its website being attacked.

Sally Anne Poole, ICO enforcement manager, said:

Regardless of your size, if you are a business that handles personal information then data protection laws apply to you.’

‘If a company is subject to a cyber attack and we find they haven’t taken steps to protect people’s personal information in line with the law, they could face a fine from the ICO. And under the new General Data Protection Legislation (GDPR) coming into force next year, those fines could be a lot higher.’

‘Boomerang Video failed to take basic steps to protect its customers’ information from cyber attackers. Had it done so, it could have prevented this attack and protected the personal details of more than 26,000 of its customers.’

Further details of the case can be found using the links below together with guidance on data protection issues including guidance on the new General Data Protection Regulations which come into effect on 25 May 2018.

Internet links: ICO news ICO report Boomerang data protection reform updated toolkit for SMEs

Newsletter – November 2016

Henry Cooper is walking 2016 km in the year 2016!

Henry is walking 2016 km in the year 2016, to raise some funds for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

Please click below, to sponsor him – thank youJustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Enews – November 2016

In this month’s eNews we report on recent developments including the announcement that the plans to introduce a secondary market for annuities have been scrapped together with advice for employers on late filing penalties, avoiding incorrect RTI returns and the provision of childcare voucher provision and how to avoid incorrect RTI returns.

We also consider the latest tax gap statistics, updated phishing guidance from HMRC and a new website to help charities tackle fraud.

Please do get in touch if you would like any further guidance on any of the areas covered.

PAYE late filing penalties

HMRC have published the latest issue of the Employer Bulletin with articles on a variety of topics relevant to employers.

One article advises that HMRC have issued the Quarter 1 late filing penalty notices, which cover the period 6 April to 5 July 2016 and have confirmed that these penalties will continue to be issued on a risk assessed basis.

HMRC have confirmed that a late filing penalty will generally not be charged for delays of up to three days after the statutory filing date, but that they may contact employers who persistently file after the statutory filing date but within three days, and they risk being considered for a penalty.

The Bulletin includes advice on how to appeal against a penalty online and states:

‘If you receive a penalty notice which includes multiple penalty defaults and you believe you had a reasonable excuse for each, make sure you appeal against all of the defaults shown on your penalty notice, including any default with a zero charge. If your appeal is accepted, the un-penalised default can then be applied to a later month, reducing the value of any future penalty charges you might incur.’

Please contact us if you would like help with payroll matters.

Internet link: Employer Bulletin

Latest guidance for employers

Statutory Maternity Leave and Childcare Vouchers

Following the decision of an Employment Appeal Tribunal (Peninsula Business services v Donaldson) regarding Childcare Vouchers (CCVs), salary sacrifice and maternity leave, HMRC are considering what guidance is needed. In the interim they have confirmed:

If CCVs are provided under an employment contract, outside the scope of a salary sacrifice scheme, then the vouchers must continue to be provided during maternity leave and other periods of family leave (other than unpaid parental leave). There is legal authority that whether an employer must provide CCVs to a person participating in a salary sacrifice scheme in respect of a period when they are on family leave, depends on the terms of the contract of employment. In the Peninsula case, the contract said that an employee on maternity leave would not continue to receive CCVs. The judgment is only of direct relevance in dealing with similar contractual exclusions. Employers are free to continue making payments into a salary sacrifice scheme to buy CCVs on behalf of an employee on family leave if they wish. Use of CCVs that employees already have is not affected by the judgment.

Avoiding errors when reporting PAYE information to HMRC

This article is particularly concerned with incorrect reporting of CIS and statutory payments.

Please contact us if you would like help with payroll matters.

Internet link: Employer Bulletin

Tax gap falls to 6.5%

The Office for National Statistics has announced that the UK tax gap fell in 2014/15 to its lowest ever level of 6.5%.

The press release confirms that the UK tax gap, the difference between the amount of tax due and the amount collected, is one of the lowest in the world.

HMRC have reduced the tax gap from 8.3% in 2005/06. If the tax gap had remained at the 2005 to 2006 level of 8.3%, it would have grown to £47 billion and the country would have been £11 billion a year poorer.

HMRC believe that the tax gap has fallen, in part, due to digital reporting. In particular Real Time Information reporting for the PAYE system has led to more accurate recording of information on payroll taxes, and the shift to VAT online has helped bring the VAT gap in 2014/15 to its lowest level of 10.3% (£12.7 billion).

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Ellison said:

This government is committed to tackling tax evasion and avoidance wherever it occurs.

The UK has one of the lowest tax gaps in the world. By investing £1.8 billion since 2010 in boosting HMRC compliance capabilities, we’ve brought our tax gap down to its lowest ever level. And to make it even easier for people to pay the right tax in the future, we’ve invested £1.3 billion in new digital tools.

Internet link: GOV.UK

HMRC update phishing guidance

HMRC have updated their guidance to taxpayers on how to spot phishing scam emails.

Phishing is the fraudulent act of emailing a person in order to obtain their personal/financial information such as passwords and credit card or bank account details. These emails often include a link to a bogus website designed to encourage the unwary to enter their personal details.

The HMRC guidance is designed to help taxpayers to recognise genuine contact from HMRC, and how to tell when an email/text message is phishing/bogus.

Internet link: GOV.UK recognising phishing emails

New website to help charities tackle fraud

The Charity Commission for England and Wales, together with members of the Charity Sector Counter Fraud Group, have launched a new website to help charities tackle fraud. The website is designed to provide guidance for trustees, staff and volunteers who want more information on tackling fraud in their charity, and includes guidance, tips and case studies, together with links to other organisations tackling charity fraud.

The new website has been launched to mark the start of Charity Fraud Awareness Week (24-28 October). The campaign reminds charities how to limit their fraud risk and aims to ensure that trustees and charity staff can recognise the warning signs of fraud and offers advice on an effective and proportionate response.

David Kirk, Chairman of the Fraud Advisory Panel, commented:

‘Fraud presents a serious threat to every organisation but unfortunately charities can be particularly vulnerable due to the high number of financial transactions they undertake. Fraud can manifest itself in many different forms and is constantly evolving – which is why we are urging everyone working with charities and not-for-profit organisations to join together and stop fraud against charities. Charity staff and trustees must stay alert to the risks and understand how to manage them.’

Internet links: www.charitiesagainstfraud.org.uk GOV.UK news

Plans to allow pensioners to sell annuities abandoned

The government has announced that it is shelving plans to allow pensioners to sell their annuities for a lump sum.

Many experts had predicted that those who sold their annuities would be likely to get a poor deal and the government has decided not to take forward the plans to introduce a secondary annuities market because the consumer protections required could undermine the market’s development.

It has become clear that creating the conditions to allow a competitive market to emerge could not be balanced with sufficient consumer protections.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby, said:

‘Allowing consumers to sell on their annuity income was always dependent on balancing the creation of an effective market with making sure consumers are properly protected.

It has become clear that we cannot guarantee consumers will get good value for money in a market that is likely to be small and limited.

Pursuing this policy in these circumstances would put consumers at risk – this is something that I am not prepared to do.

The government has always been clear that for the majority of people keeping their annuity incomes will be their best option, estimating that only 5% of people who currently hold an annuity would take advantage of this reform.’

Internet link: GOV.UK news

Newsletter – September 2016

Henry Cooper is walking 2016 km in the year 2016!

Henry is walking 2016 km in the year 2016, to raise some funds for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

Please click below, to sponsor him – thank youJustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Enews – September 2016

In this month’s eNews we report on recent developments including HMRC consultations on Making Tax Digital and new sanctions for tax avoidance as well as guidance on the implications of new UK GAAP.

We also report on HMRC’s advice on spotting scams, how to complain online and industry concerns about the introduction of the new Lifetime ISA.

We also include guidance for employers and employees including the new advisory fuel rates and the latest Employer Bulletin.

Please do get in touch if you would like any further guidance on any of the areas covered.

HMRC outline Making Tax Digital plans

HMRC have issued a series of consultation documents outlining further plans for the government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative.

HMRC have published six consultation documents on MTD. The six consultations set out detailed plans on how HMRC propose to make tax digital and to simplify the tax system. The consultations look at the following areas:

  • How digital record keeping and regular updates will operate – this considers compulsory digital record-keeping and quarterly ‘updates’ to HMRC and an End of Year declaration within nine months of the end of the period of account.
  • Options to simplify tax for unincorporated businesses, including changes to basis periods, extending cash basis accounting and reducing reporting requirements for unincorporated businesses.
  • Extending cash basis accounting to unincorporated property businesses.
  • Voluntary pay as you go arrangements, where taxpayers can pay what they want when they want, subject to the normal payment on account rules. Regular direct debit arrangements and quarterly payments on account are also being considered.
  • Changes to tax administration, including changes to the enquiry regime, penalties for late submission of quarterly updates and End of Year declarations and also the late payment of tax.
  • How HMRC will make better use of the information which they currently receive from third parties, including updating of PAYE codes more regularly and coding out of bank interest via PAYE.

Commenting on the plans, Jane Ellison Financial Secretary to the Treasury said:

‘This new system will make the UK’s tax administration more efficient and straightforward and will offer businesses greater clarity when it comes to paying their tax bills.’

However professional bodies have expressed their concerns about HMRC’s proposals. Frank Haskew, Head of the Tax Faculty at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, said:

‘This is not the time to be rushing through fundamental changes to business processes that are likely to result in major upheaval and extra costs, especially when the business benefit to the UK has not been clearly demonstrated.’

Under the Government’s plans, the changes to the tax system will be introduced gradually between 2018 and 2020. We will keep you informed of developments.

Internet link: GOV.UK MTD

Government propose new sanctions for tax avoidance

The government has announced new proposals for sanctions for ‘enablers and users of tax avoidance which is defeated by HMRC’.

The consultation proposes a new penalty for those who enable tax avoidance and changes to the existing penalty legislation which applies to those who use avoidance.

The proposals are to introduce ‘sanctions for those who design, market or facilitate the use of tax avoidance arrangements which are defeated by HMRC and to change the way the existing penalty regime works for those whose tax returns are found to be inaccurate as a result of using such arrangements.’

The government is seeking views on proposals for sanctions against those who enable or use tax avoidance arrangements which are later defeated.

Internet link: GOV.UK consultation

Accounting standards and the tax implications of new UK GAAP

HMRC have updated their guidance on the tax implications of changes to the ‘generally accepted accounting practice’ used to prepare financial statements as many UK companies will be required to apply one of the EU-endorsed IFRS, FRS 101 or FRS 102 over the next few years.

HMRC have stated that the purpose of these two papers is to assist companies who are thinking of choosing or have already chosen to apply either FRS 101 or FRS 102. The guidance includes an overview of the key accounting changes and key tax considerations that arise.

Please contact us if you would like information on how these changes will affect you and your business.

Internet link: GOV.UK accounting standards

HMRC genuine and phishing/bogus emails and calls

HMRC have issued an update of their guidance on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact be it via email or text.

They have also issued a warning regarding two telephone scams that they are aware of.

The details of the two phone scams are as follows:

  • Taxpayers receive telephone calls claiming to be from HMRC requesting personal information in order to receive a tax refund, or to demand money for an unpaid tax bill.
  • A recorded message is left, allegedly from HMRC, advising ‘that HMRC are bringing a lawsuit against the individual and is going to sue them. The recipient is asked to phone 0161 8508494 and press “1” to speak to the officer dealing with the case.

HMRC are advising that taxpayers should not reply to the message and should report this to Action Fraud, or you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2050.

Internet links: HMRC guidance Employer Bulletin

Complain to HMRC – online

HMRC have always had complaints procedures and have extended these to now include an online form which can be used to make complaints about your self-assessment and PAYE. The guidance also includes other ways to complain.

If you would like help with PAYE or self assessment issues please contact us.

Internet link: GOV.UK guidance

Government urged to delay the launch of Lifetime ISA

The government is being urged by both pension providers and banks to delay the April 2017 launch of the new Lifetime ISA as they are warning that they will not be ready to offer the savings product by this time.

A new Lifetime ISA introduces a new type of savings account for adults under the age of 40. Individuals will be able to contribute up to £4,000 per year and receive a 25% bonus from the government. Funds, including the government bonus, can be used to buy a first home at any time from 12 months after opening the account, and can be withdrawn from age 60 completely tax-free.

Further details of the new account, which is expected to be available from 2017, are as follows:

  • Any savings an individual puts into the account before their 50th birthday will receive an added 25% bonus from the government.
  • There is no maximum monthly contribution and up to £4,000 a year can be saved into a Lifetime ISA.
  • The savings and bonus can be used towards a deposit on a first home worth up to £450,000 across the country.
  • Accounts are limited to one per person rather than one per home, so two first time buyers can both receive a bonus when buying together.
  • Where an individual already has a Help to Buy ISA they will be able to transfer those savings into the Lifetime ISA in 2017, or continue saving into both. However only the bonus from one account can be used to buy a house.
  • Where the funds are withdrawn at any time before the account holder is aged 60 they will lose the government bonus (and any interest or growth on this) and will also have to pay a 5% charge.
  • After the account holder’s 60th birthday they will be able to take all the savings tax-free.

In the article published by This is Money pension providers Aegon and Standard Life have stated that they have delayed their plans until final details regarding the Lifetime ISA are released.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is yet to consult on the initiative. Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon, stated that a consultation is ‘likely to take three months’ to carry out.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Standard Life said: ‘As we want the Lifetime ISA to be a success, we would prefer that its launch is delayed until providers receive more detail on the product and how it is to be implemented.’

The Treasury is expected to confirm full details in the autumn.

Internet link: Article

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

New company car advisory fuel rates have been published which take effect from 1 September 2016. 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 September 2016 are:

Engine size Petrol
1400cc or less 11p
1401cc – 2000cc 13p
Over 2000cc 20p
Engine size LPG
1400cc or less 7p
1401cc – 2000cc 9p
Over 2000cc 13p
Engine size Diesel
1600cc or less 9p
1601cc – 2000cc 11p
Over 2000cc 13p

The 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

Guidance for employers

HMRC have issued their latest guidance to employers in the August edition of the Employer Bulletin. This publication, which is issued every two months, includes articles on:

  • expenses and benefits in kind consultations
  • HMRC Toolkits – helping to reduce errors
  • Automatic penalties for late intermediary returns
  • the Apprenticeship Levy and apprentices
  • guidance on paying HMRC
  • student loan deductions
  • Automatic enrolment update
  • National insurance contributions for employees over State Pension age
  • Basic PAYE tools usage
  • the impact on tax codes of the Personal Savings Allowance.

For help with your payroll contact us.

Internet link: Employer Bulletin

Newsletter – May 2016

Enews – May 2016

In this month’s eNews we report on various issues including a tribunal ruling that parking fines are not deductible. The latest HMRC guidance for employers, changes to the VAT Fuel Scale charges, an update on the uptake of Pensions Freedom and the introduction of new rules for the averaging of farming profits.

We also include details of the new rules for the taxation of savings income. Please contact us for further information on any of these areas.

Parking fines ruled not deductible

A tribunal has ruled that security firm G4S cannot reduce its profits for tax purposes by deducting parking fines.

The company, G4S Cash Solutions, tried to reduce their corporation tax bill by approximately £580,000 but the first-tier tribunal has ruled in HMRC’s favour in rejecting the claim for the deduction of the fines.

The company G4S incurred a substantial amount of parking fines usually while delivering consignments of cash over the pavement. The business tried to claim these were a business expense and so could be used to reduce the company’s profits for tax purposes.

The tribunal ruled G4S staff consciously and deliberately decided to break parking restrictions for commercial gain.

The ruling upholds HMRC’s long standing view that fines for breaking the law cannot be used to reduce a tax bill.

HMRC’s Director General of Business Tax, Jim Harra, said:

‘We’ve always said fines incurred for breaking the law are not tax deductible. The tribunal has now established a clear precedent for rejecting any future such claims.’

If you would like advice on calculating your taxable profits and the deductibility of any expenditure please get in touch.

Internet links: Press release Tribunal decision

Farmers’ averaging

Changes have been made to the rules which allow farmers to average their profits for tax purposes. Under the new rules unincorporated farmers will be able to average their profits for income tax purposes over five years rather than the previous two years.

The amendment to the rules which took effect from 6 April 2016 is aimed at helping farmers with fluctuating profits better manage the ‘risk and the impact of global volatility which has become an inherent feature of the agricultural industry’.

Chancellor George Osborne said:

‘… reforms will provide farmers with additional security to plan and invest for the future, allowing them to spread profits over a longer period of time. Over 29,000 farmers can benefit from the changes, saving an average of £950 a year.’

As well as having the new option to average tax over five years, farmers will also retain the choice to average profits over two years.

If you would like guidance on how these rules will affect you please get in touch.

Internet link: Gov.uk publications

VAT fuel scale charges

HMRC have 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 2016.

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 this or other VAT matters.

Internet link: Gov.uk Fuel scale charges

Savings allowance

A new savings allowance is available to basic and higher rate taxpayers for 2016/17. The amount available depends on the individual’s circumstances:

  • If any of the individual’s income for the year is additional rate income then the individual’s savings allowance for the year will be nil.
  • If any of the individual’s income for the year is higher-rate income and none of the individual’s income for the year is additional rate income, the individual’s savings allowance for the year is £500.
  • If none of the individual’s income for the year is higher rate income, the individual’s savings allowance for the year is £1,000.

No tax will be payable on savings income until the new savings allowance has been used up.

In a further change, banks and building societies will no longer deduct tax at source from interest at 20%. This means that non-taxpayers will no longer need to fill out an R85 to receive bank and building society interest gross. However, companies will still need to account for 20% at source on payments of interest.

The 0% savings starting rate also remains available on the first £5,000 of taxable savings income for those with the correct split of income. This would apply where non savings income, broadly pay, trade profits and property income are no more than the personal allowance. This means that for some, the effect of the personal allowance (£11,000 for 2016/17), the £5,000 starting rate band and the new savings allowance (£1,000 for basic rate taxpayers for 2016/17) means that it may be possible to receive up to £17,000 savings income tax-free in 2016/17.

In light of the above changes please contact us if you would like to review your tax position on savings income.

Internet link: Gov.uk Publication

Pensions Freedom Update

According to HMRC figures over 230,000 people have used the new pension freedoms introduced one year ago and accessed over £4.3 million in pensions saving.

In April 2015, the government introduced significant pension reforms giving people the ability to access their pensions savings how and when they want. The statistics show that in the first year of these new rules being available, more than 232,000 people have accessed £4.3 billion flexibly from their pension pots.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Harriett Baldwin said:

‘It’s only right that people should have a choice over what they do with their money and in their first year our successful pension freedoms have already given thousands of people access and responsibility over their hard-earned savings.

We will continue to make sure that the pension freedoms work well for everyone, including through working with our partners to ensure consumers are protected and that there is simple information to help people understand their options.

The government has already taken action to ensure the new freedoms work for consumers and that they have the right information to make informed decisions.

It has announced that it will be capping early exit fees, allowing earlier access to Pension Wise guidance, and working with industry to introduce a Pensions Dashboard.

It has also announced that it is extending the popular freedoms even further, giving millions more people the right to sell their annuities if it’s best for them from April 2017.’

Since the pension flexibility rules took effect from 6 April 2015:

  • 232,000 individuals have accessed their money flexibly
  • People have flexibly accessed over £4.3 billion of their own money through 516,000 payments.
  • In the most recent quarter, 74,000 individuals withdrew £820 million. In the previous quarter, 67,000 individuals withdrew £800 million.
  • Figures are taken from information voluntarily reported to HMRC by pension scheme administrators from 6 April 2015 to 31 March 2016. It is not mandatory for scheme administrators to flag these up as pension flexibility payments until April 2016.
  • HMRC statistics cover ‘flexible payments’, which means partial or full withdrawal of the pension pot, taking money from a flexible drawdown account, or buying a flexible annuity.

If you would like advice on the tax implications of pensions freedom please contact us.

Internet links: Gov.uk Pensions flexibility Gov.uk News

HMRC guidance for employers

The April Employer Bulletin includes articles on:

  • reporting expenses and benefits in kind for 2015/16 using form P11D
  • Scottish Rate of Income Tax coding notice issues
  • Class 1 National Insurance contributions for apprentices under the age of 25
  • changes to Student Loans Deductions including the introduction of type 1 and type 2 loans and the reminders which HMRC will issue to employers who fail to make deductions.

The Bulletin also includes links to HMRC’s guidance on the restriction to Employment Allowance for Single Director Companies.

If you would like any help with payroll or P11D completion issues please contact us.

Internet link: Employer Bulletin

 

Newsletter – January 2013

eNEWS – January 2013

In this month’s enews we report on several employment related issues together with HMRC’s latest campaign. Please contact us if you would like any further information.

 

Employment rights – statutory limits

The limit on the amount of the compensatory award for unfair dismissal is set to increase from 1 February 2013. The current maximum of £72,300 is to increase to £74,200 due to inflation.

The maximum amount of a week’s pay for the purpose of calculating the basic or additional award of compensation for unfair dismissal or redundancy payments will be increased to £450. This increase on the previous limit of £430 applies from 1 February 2013.

The Gov.uk website includes a calculator of statutory redundancy entitlement.

Internet links: Legislation Gov.uk calculator

HMRC target those with outstanding VAT returns

HMRC have introduced the VAT Outstanding Returns Campaign, which is an opportunity for taxpayers to bring their VAT returns and payments up to date. To take advantage of the best terms, taxpayers must complete and submit their returns by 28 February 2013.

According to HMRC, as many as 50,000 businesses, that have failed to submit VAT returns, will be targeted with warnings that their tax affairs will be closely scrutinised.

Marian Wilson, Head of HMRC Campaigns, said:

‘If HMRC has sent you a VAT return and you have not yet taken any action, this campaign is a reminder to bring your tax affairs up to date. But time is running out.’

‘After 28 February, if they have not submitted their outstanding VAT returns and paid what they owe, HMRC will use its legal powers to pursue outstanding returns and any VAT that is unpaid. Penalties, or even criminal investigation, could follow.’

If you would like any help with VAT returns please do get in touch.

Internet links: Press release VAT Outstanding Returns Campaign

‘Tax cheats’ sentenced to over 150 years behind bars

HMRC have announced that the top ‘tax criminals’ of 2012 have been sentenced to a combined total of 155 years and 10 months behind bars.

Details of over 30 of the UK’s top tax cheats have been publicised on Flickr as part of HMRC’s current Tax Evasion Campaign.

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said:

‘The government is committed to closing in on tax evaders. Collectively the 32 criminals have been sentenced to more than 150 years. Most people play by the rules and pay what they owe, but HMRC is cracking down on those who don’t.’

‘We hope that publishing these pictures will help get across that it always makes sense to declare all your income, and tax dodgers are simply storing up trouble for the future.’

HMRC’s top tax criminals of 2012 can be seen at flickr pages

Internet link: Press release

PAYE coding notices

HMRC are issuing PAYE tax codes for 2013/14. These new coding notices, which are due to be issued between January and March 2013, will be used against employees’ pay from April 2013 onwards. It is important that these coding notices are checked carefully, as an incorrect code will result in too little or too much tax being deducted from pay or pension payments.

If you are unsure whether your coding notice is correct and would like some further guidance please do get in touch.

Good news for many

The majority of taxpayers will see an increase in their tax code as the personal allowance (for those born after 5 April 1948) increases from £8,105 to £9,440.

Those individuals with simple tax affairs (just one employer with no reliefs or benefits or tax underpayments brought forward) will generally not receive a coding notice. Their current coding of 810L will be automatically uplifted to 944L following general instructions to employers. Basic rate taxpayers will be better off with a tax saving of £267 for 2013/14.

Although the personal allowance is increasing, the point at which taxpayers start to pay the higher rate of 40% tax on their taxable income is decreasing (from £34,370 to £32,010). This means that higher rate taxpayer will generally benefit from a tax saving of £62.

The withdrawal of the personal allowance for those with income over £100,000 income limit applies for 2013/14. The reduction in the personal allowance is by £1 for every £2 of adjusted net income above the income limit. Adjusted net income for these purposes is broadly all income after adjustment for pension payments, charitable giving and relief for losses. Individuals with adjusted net income of at least £118,880 will not be entitled to a personal allowance for 2013/14.

Internet links: Press release HMRC income tax rates and allowances

RTI is coming

HMRC are urging employers to get ready for major PAYE changes that come into effect from April 2013.

From April 2013 employers will have to submit PAYE returns electronically, using RTI enabled payroll software, each time they pay their employees. The new returns form part of routine payroll procedures and will include details of individual employees’ pay, tax and other deductions.

Ruth Owen, HMRC’s Director General Personal Tax, said:

‘To avoid a last minute rush it’s vital employers act now, if they have not already done so.’

‘Employers will need to send their first return – called a ‘Full Payment Submission’ or ‘FPS’ for salary or wage payments made to employees on or after 6 April – and if they have 250 or more employees they will have to send an Employer Alignment Submission before the first FPS.’

‘Although reporting PAYE in real time will be straightforward for most, some preparation is needed. There is more to it than simply buying or updating software – although this is key. Employers may need to add employees such as casuals or those below the Lower Earnings Limit to their payroll system and must think about their payroll practices to make sure that they work for real-time reporting.’

If you would like help with payroll and RTI please do contact us.

Internet link: Press release

Start up loan scheme for young entrepreneurs extended

David Cameron has announced a boost to the government’s Start-Up Loans Scheme, with funding being increased by £30 million to £110 million over three years. The upper age limit for applying will also be extended from the current 24 to 30 years old.

Start-Up Loans provide entrepreneurs with a range of support to get their business idea off the ground which includes access to a business mentor as well as funding of approximately £2,500.

To apply for a loan visit http://www.startuploans.co.uk/

Internet link: News release

State Pension reform

The government have announced proposals for a new single tier pension.

The single tier reforms will restructure the State Pension into a simple flat rate amount from 2017 at the earliest. Those over State Pension age when the reforms are implemented will continue to receive it in line with existing rules.

The single tier pension will:

  • be set above the basic level of means tested support. The amount will be set nearer implementation;
  • replace the State Second Pension, contracting out and out-dated additions, such as the Category D pension and the Age Addition. The Savings Credit element of Pension Credit will also close to pensioners reaching State Pension age after the implementation of the single tier pension;
  • require 35 qualifying years of NIC or credits for the full amount, with pro-rating where 35 years is not achieved. There will also be a minimum qualifying period of between seven and ten qualifying years;
  • be based on individual qualification, without the facility to inherit or derive rights to the State Pension from a spouse or civil partner; and
  • continue to allow people to defer claiming their state pension and receive a higher weekly State Pension in return. The deferral rate will be finalised closer to the planned implementation date. It will no longer be possible to receive deferred State Pension as a lump-sum payment.

The government will also carry out a review of the State Pension age every five years, based around the principle that people should maintain a specific proportion of adult life receiving the State Pension. The first review will take place in the next Parliament.

Internet link: DWP website

Child Benefit opt out

The High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) was introduced from 7 January 2013. It mainly applies to a taxpayer who has ‘adjusted net income’ in excess of £50,000, where either they or their partner is in receipt of Child Benefit. The effect of the charge is to claw back some or all of the Child Benefit paid. Where both partners have income in excess of £50,000 the charge applies to the partner with the higher income.

Adjusted net income is broadly gross income less pension payments and gift aid payments. Where a taxpayer has adjusted net income of £60,000 or more then the charge has the effect of cancelling out the Child Benefit paid. A sliding scale charge operates where income is between £50,000 and £60,000.

The charge applies to the Child Benefit paid from 7 January to the end of the tax year. However, the income taken into account will be the full income for 2012/13.

Child Benefit claimants had the option to elect not to receive Child Benefit if they or their partner do not wish to pay the new charge.

According to details revealed to the BBC some 270,000 people have opted out of receiving Child Benefit. Apparently there was a late surge of around 80,000 during the weekend before the deadline of 7 January 2013.

Please visit the HMRC Child Benefit guidance link below for more details of the options available.

Internet links: BBC news HMRC Child Benefit guidance

Deadline looming for self assessment returns

HMRC are reminding taxpayers that the countdown has begun to the 31 January 2013 self assessment deadline, with just days left for anyone with an outstanding 2011/12 tax return to send it online.

The deadline of midnight on 31 January 2013 is relevant to individuals who need to complete a self assessment tax return and make direct payments to HMRC in respect of their income tax, Class 4 National Insurance (NI) and any capital gains tax liabilities. There is an automatic penalty of £100 if the return is not submitted on time, even if there is no tax due or the return shows that a refund is due.

The balance of any outstanding income tax, Class 4 NI and capital gains tax for 2011/12 is also due for payment by 31 January 2013. Where the payment is made late interest will be charged.

The first payment on account for 2012/13 is also due for payment by 31 January 2013.

If we have already dealt with your self assessment return on your behalf and advised you what you need to pay you need take no additional action.

Internet links: HMRC SA deadlines and penalties Press release

HMRC bank account details for employers

HMRC have updated their guidance to employers on paying PAYE liabilities. From April 2013 employers who make a payment to HMRC by:

  • Bacs Direct Credit
  • Faster Payments by online/telephone banking
  • CHAPS

should make payments to a single bank account. From month 1 of 2013/14 payments should be made to the Accounts Office Cumbernauld account using sort code 08 32 10 and account number 12001039.

HMRC has started to send employers information about this change ready for 2013/14.

Internet link: HMRC payments

Newsletter – August 2012

In this month’s enews we report that HMRC have revealed their most wanted tax fugitives.

Please do get in touch if you would like more information on any of the articles.

 

HMRC reveals most wanted tax fugitives

HMRC have published the photos and biographies of people they consider to be the top 20 tax fugitives in the UK, responsible for £765 million of tax evasion and fraud.

HMRC are asking the public to help track down the individuals by contacting Crimestoppers. Most of the individuals are however now thought to be living outside the UK.

The ‘mugshots’ are of ‘tax criminals who have absconded after being charged with a crime or during trial’ for fraud, money laundering and smuggling.

David Gauke the Exchequer Secretary said:

‘The government is absolutely committed to tackling tax evasion and fraud.’

‘These criminals have collectively cost the taxpayer over £765 million and HMRC will pursue them relentlessly. We hope that publishing their pictures in this way will enable members of the public to contribute to the effort to catch them.’

The photos have been published on HMRC’s Flickr page and can be viewed using the link below.

People can report leads on the Most Wanted fugitives via HMRC’s Customs, Excise and VAT fraud reporting hotline on 0800 595 000, or through the Crimestoppers website www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Internet link: HMRC flikr

HMRC issue next round of self assessment penalties

According to HMRC approximately half a million people still have not submitted their 2010/11 tax returns. HMRC have started to issue additional penalty letters to these individuals.

HMRC have advised that the number of outstanding returns has almost halved in 2012, down to 5.9%, compared to 10.7% in 2011. This means 518,000 fewer penalties are being issued.

The penalties being issued will be for a minimum £1,200, comprising:

  • the maximum £900 in daily penalties for non-filing
  • a further late filing penalty of £300 or 5% of the tax due (whichever is higher).

People who receive a late filing penalty can appeal against it if they think they have a reasonable excuse for not sending in their tax return.

Also anyone receiving a late filing penalty and who has not sent in a return, but thinks they do not need to be in self assessment, can still potentially apply to be taken out of self assessment. If HMRC agrees, the return and any penalties issued will be cancelled.

HMRC has confirmed that they have taken 273,000 people out of self assessment this year.

Please do get in touch if you have any concerns in this area.

Internet link: Press release

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

New company car advisory fuel rates have been published to take effect from 1 September 2012. HMRC’s website states:

‘These rates apply to all journeys on or after 1 September 2012 until further notice. For one month from the date of change, employers may use either the previous or new current rates, as they choose. Employers may therefore make or require supplementary payments if they so wish, but are under no obligation to do either.’

The advisory fuel rates for journeys undertaken on or after 1 September 2012 are:

Engine size Petrol LPG
1400cc or less 15p 10p
1401cc – 2000cc 18p 12p
Over 2000cc 26p 17p
Engine size Diesel
1600cc or less 12p
1601cc – 2000cc 15p
Over 2000cc 18p

Please note that not all of the rates have been amended and care must be taken to apply the correct rate.

Other points to be aware of about the advisory fuel rates:

  • Employers do not need a dispensation to use these rates.
  • Employees driving employer provided cars are not entitled to use these rates to claim tax relief if employers reimburse them at lower rates. Such claims should be based on the actual costs incurred.
  • The advisory rates are not binding where an employer can demonstrate that the cost of business travel in employer provided cars is higher than the guideline mileage rates. The higher cost would need to be agreed with HMRC under a dispensation.

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

Internet link: HMRC advisory fuel rates

Sunday trading hours reform

Currently shops over 280m² are only permitted to open for a maximum of six hours on a Sunday, between 10am and 6pm, although this restriction has been temporarily lifted, throughout the six week duration of the Olympics and Paralympics.

In response to this trial period there have been calls to change the laws, including support from the Institute of Directors, whose spokesman, Mark Wallace said:

‘We know there are people out of work or underemployed who desperately want more opportunities and we know there is an appetite among consumers to shop during normal hours on Sundays, so it is silly to have a rule that holds both groups back.’

However, despite standing to gain financially from such a move, Justin King (CEO of J Sainsbury plc) said in a letter to the Telegraph:

‘Maintaining Sunday’s special status has great merit for our customers and our colleagues, and relaxing Sunday Trading laws is certainly not a magic answer to economic regeneration. Sainsbury’s has put in place extended hours at only 30 of its 1,000 stores during the Games period.’

Internet link: BBC news

Holiday pay and sickness case

The Court of Appeal has clarified the law regarding holidays and sickness.

Under current law employees may take their annual leave while they are off sick but they can also choose not to and must be allowed to carry over their leave so as not to lose their entitlement. However, following conflicting Employment Tribunal decisions employers were unsure as to whether they only had to permit ‘carry over’ where a worker had requested the ‘carry over’ of the leave during the leave year.

The appeal in the case of Larner was heard by the Court of Appeal in March and the decision has just been reported.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and held that the employee did not need to have requested leave during the leave year in order for it to be automatically carried over to the next year. This could mean that the untaken leave would be payable on termination of the employment. The Working Time Regulations could be interpreted in line with this so that all employers should comply with this rule.

This means that employees off sick for long periods will accrue holiday which will either be available to be taken if they return to work or will need to be paid should their employment be terminated.

Employers should manage cases of sickness absence as proactively as possible and may also wish to review the position and perhaps set time limits on the utilisation of carried over holiday as part of the contract. Unused leave would only remain available for a limited time (say a year).

If you would like any advice in this area please do get in touch.

Internet link: Court of appeal decision

Tesco faces potential fines for illegally employing foreign workers

According to the Telegraph, Tesco is facing a fine of up to £200,000 for illegally employing foreign workers. According to the report:

‘Twenty foreign students of primarily Bangladeshi and Indian origin were arrested for working longer hours than their visas permitted, seven of whom have since been deported. Although the workers had the right to work in the UK, their visas were only valid for up to 20 hours a week during term time, and the students had worked between 50 and 70 hours. A further 15 students are undergoing investigation during the Home office crackdown on ‘visa abuse’ to which Tesco is said to be ‘cooperating fully’ with the UKBA.’

The UK Border Agency will now decide whether to issue the supermarket with a notification of liability and a fine of up to £10,000 per illegal worker.

A UKBA spokesman said:

‘We received information that some staff members were working in the UK illegally at Tesco.com on Factory Lane, Croydon. In response officers carried out an operation in full cooperation with the company shortly after 3am on Saturday 21 July 2012. Twenty individuals have been arrested and now face removal from the UK.’

‘The operation was part of an ongoing campaign to tackle visa abuse which has seen over 2,000 offenders removed since the beginning of May.’

‘The employer now needs to provide evidence that it was carrying out the legally required checks to avoid a fine.’

A Tesco spokesman said:

‘In cooperation with Tesco, the UK Border Agency visited our dotcom store in Croydon in July. As a result of this visit, a small number of staff were found to have breached the terms of their working visas.’

‘We continue to cooperate fully with the UK Border Agency as they look into this issue.’

‘We take our responsibilities as an employer very seriously and do not condone illegal working of any kind. We have a comprehensive system for ensuring all the correct procedures are followed in this area which has been externally audited and generally works well. We have now taken additional steps to ensure an incident of this nature does not happen again.’

For information on the legal requirements visit UK Border Agency

Internet link: Telegraph news report

Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme

The government announced in the Budget 2012 that the zero rate of VAT for approved alterations to listed buildings would be withdrawn, with effect from 1 October 2012. However, at the same time it was announced that the Listed Places of Worship (LWP) grant scheme would be extended to cover approved alterations to listed places of worship.

The extended scheme will come into effect on 1 October 2012. The Department for Culture Media and Sport has confirmed that detailed guidance and new application forms will be available on the LPW scheme website in late September 2012.

If you would like any further information please do get in touch.

Internet link: Culture news

HMRC launch new P46 for employers

HMRC have created a single page version of form P46 called P46 (Short) which enables employers to collect necessary information from new employees who do not have a form P45.

Employers are required to submit the details electronically to HMRC so the form is used to gather the necessary information in order to make the online submission.

Internet link: HMRC forms

Coastal Communities Fund

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has announced that six seaside projects are the first to receive government backing to help their coastal towns to prosper. The funds should help create new jobs and boost local enterprises.

The £24 million Coastal Communities Fund was launched earlier this year to provide coastal towns with funds to help finance projects that can transform and diversify seaside economies.

The grants awarded are of up to £2 million each and can be used on projects that create local jobs, supports coastal tourism and development and that boost the inshore fisheries industry.

Next year the Coastal Communities Fund will be increased by £4 million to £28 million and is open to coastal towns across the United Kingdom and is funded by the Exchequer.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

‘There is huge potential in our coastal towns that goes way beyond them only being places we visit for seaside day trips and holidays. We are seeing opportunities being developed all the time by new industries and the Government is determined to help our coastal towns make the most of them.’

‘This money will help those towns tap into these enterprises and create the skills and jobs that will benefit the whole community. We cannot afford to waste this chance which is why the Government is committed to increasing the fund next year.’

‘The successful projects in this first round have enormous potential to make a real difference to their communities that will be far reaching. And this is just the beginning with our fund set to help many more coastal towns in the months to come.’

Internet link: Communities news

Employer email alerts

HMRC are reminding employers that they offer a free registration facility which enables employers to receive an email alert detailing changes in payroll procedures rather than a paper copy.

HMRC will issue the alerts three times a year when their web pages are updated. HMRC have confirmed that of the 1.3 million employers that they used to write to, over 470,000 employers have now registered for the alerts.

To register for the email alerts visit HMRC registration

Internet link: Agent Update