Newsletter – July 2018

Enews – July 2018

In this month’s Enews we report on the Supreme Court’s ruling on workers’ rights and the latest guidance from HMRC for employers. We also consider the latest tax gap figures and HMRC’s efforts to stop fraudsters. With new rules to introduce a VAT reverse charge for construction services and an extension to the easement for RTI payroll penalties there are lots to consider.

Workers’ rights for Pimlico Plumber

A plumber has won a legal battle for working rights in a Supreme Court ruling.

The Supreme court has backed up an earlier ruling by an Employment Tribunal in the case of a contractor engaged by Pimlico Plumbers.

Plumber Gary Smith carried out plumbing jobs for Pimlico Plumbers. He was VAT registered and paid tax on a self employed tax basis.

The Supreme Court has ruled that Gary Smith was entitled to workers’ rights and confirmed that the Employment Tribunal was entitled to conclude’ that Mr Smith was a worker.

As a worker Mr Smith was entitled to rights including holiday and sick pay. Details of workers rights can be found GOV.UK worker

Pimlico Plumbers chief executive Charlie Mullins said that he was ‘disgusted by the approach taken to this case by the highest court in the United Kingdom.

This was a poor decision that will potentially leave thousands of companies, employing millions of contractors, wondering if one day soon they will get a nasty surprise from a former contractor demanding more money, despite having been paid in full years ago. It can only lead to a tsunami of claims.’

Internet links: Press summary BBC News

Latest guidance for employers

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

  • P11D and P11D(b) filing and payment deadlines
  • benefits in kind with cash allowances, flexible benefit packages and salary sacrifice
  • important information about childcare voucher and directly-contracted childcare schemes
  • Construction Industry Scheme – helpful reminders for subcontractors

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

Internet link: HMRC Employer Bulletin June 2018

UK ‘tax gap’ falls to 5.7%

HMRC has confirmed that the tax gap for 2016/17 has fallen to 5.7%.

The ‘tax gap’ is the difference between the tax that should theoretically be paid to HMRC and the actual tax that has been paid. HMRC believes that the tax gap is lower as a result of its work to help taxpayers get things right from the start, and the department’s sustained efforts to tackle evasion and avoidance.

Key findings from the Measuring the Tax Gap publication include:

  • small businesses made up the largest proportion of unpaid tax by taxpayer group at £13.7 billion
  • taxpayer errors and failure to take reasonable care made up £9.2 billion of unpaid taxes by behaviour, while criminal attacks made up £5.4 billion
  • income tax, national insurance contributions and capital gains tax made up the largest proportion of the tax gap by tax type at £7.9 billion for 2016/17; equivalent to 16.4% of self assessment liabilities
  • the VAT gap showed a declining trend over time, falling from 12.5% in 2005/06 to 8.9% in 2016/17.

Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

‘These really positive figures show that the tax gap is the lowest in the last 5 years, which reflects the hard work that HMRC and I have been doing to ensure we support businesses to pay the right tax at the right time and clamp down on tax evasion and avoidance.’

‘Collecting taxes is essential for funding our vital public services such as the NHS – indeed, had the tax gap remained at its 2005/06 level the UK would have lost £71 billion in revenue destined for public services, enough to build 200 hospitals.’

Internet link: GOV.UK tax gap

HMRC extends RTI late filing easement until April 2019

HMRC has extended the payroll Real Time Information (RTI) late filing easement until April 2019.

Under RTI payroll obligations employers must submit details of payments made to employees on or before the day that wages are paid via a Full Payment Submission.

The updated guidance extends the easement, introduced in April 2015 to April 2019. The easement applies where an employer’s FPS is late but all reported payments on the FPS are within three days of the employees’ payday. This easement applies from 6 March 2015 to 5 April 2019. However, HMRC go on to clarify that employers who persistently file after the payment date but within three days may be contacted or considered for a penalty. Potential monthly penalties range from £100 to £400 depending on the size of the employer.

Please contact us for help or advice with payroll matters.

Internet link: GOV.UK PAYE guidance

HMRC saves public £2.4M by stopping fraudsters

HMRC has announced that it has saved the public over £2.4m by tackling fraudsters that trick them into using premium rate phone numbers for services that HMRC provide for free.

HMRC has reported that scammers create websites that look similar to HMRC’s official site and then direct the public to call numbers with extortionate costs in comparison to the low cost and no cost services that HMRC provides.

These websites promote premium rate phone numbers as a means of phoning HMRC but these are call forwarding services which connect the unsuspecting to HMRC at a premium rate.

HMRC’s has confirmed that its genuine 0300 numbers are mainly free or charged at the local landline rate. In other cases, websites charge for forwarding information to HMRC which can be provided free of charge via GOV.UK website.

HMRC has successfully challenged the ownership of these websites, masquerading as official websites, and removed them from the hands of cheats. Analysis carried out shows that had HMRC not taken this action then the public would have lost £2.4m to these scams.

Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury said:

We know that HMRC is the most spoofed government brand as criminals try to take advantage of the fact that everyone has some involvement with the tax authority. In this particular case, scammers try to dupe the public into paying large sums for services that are available for free or low cost.’

‘This is a brazen con, charging premium rates whilst simply redirecting calls to the real HMRC numbers that are available at low or no cost. It is a testament to the hard work of HMRC that they have prevented criminals extracting £2.4m from the public.’

Internet link: GOV.UK news

VAT reverse charge for construction services consultation

HMRC proposes to introduce new VAT rules for construction services which are subject to consultation.

HMRC has published a draft statutory instrument for technical consultation together with a draft explanatory memorandum and a draft tax information and impact note.

Under the draft legislation supplies of standard or reduced-rated construction services between construction or building businesses will be subject to a domestic reverse charge. This means that the customer will be liable to account for VAT due, instead of the supplier.

The legislation will not apply to specified supplies made to customers who are consumers, or to those that use specified supplies to make other supplies, such as those selling new houses.

The legislation is expected to take effect from 1 October 2019. More details of the proposed new rules can be found at the following link.

Internet link: GOV.UK consultation

Enterprise Management Incentive continues

It has previously been reported that the Enterprise Management Incentive scheme State Aid approval lapsed on 6 April 2018. HMRC had previously warned that EMI share options granted in the period from 7 April 2018 until EU State Aid approval was received may not be eligible for the tax advantages afforded to option holders but has now confirmed the scheme will operate as before.

On 15 May EU approval was granted and HMRC has now confirmed that the Enterprise Management Incentives scheme will continue to operate as before and no changes have therefore been made to the scheme.

The Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) allows selected employees (often key to the employer) to be given the opportunity to acquire a significant number of shares in their employer through the issue of options. An EMI can offer significant tax advantages as the scheme allows options to be granted to employees which then allows shares to be acquired without any tax bill arising until the shares are sold.

Internet link: GOV.UK bulletin

Newsletter – September 2017

Enews – September 2017

In this month’s eNews we update you on the new General Data Protection Regulation and guidance from the Pensions Regulator on auto enrolment compliance changes. We also include updated fuel advisory rates, the latest guidance from HMRC on employer issues and the compensation service available for those affected by problems with the implementation of Tax-Free Childcare.

Get ready for the new data protection rules

The government is to introduce new data protection rules under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which takes effect from 25 May 2018.

Under the GDPR businesses will have increased obligations to safeguard the personal information of individuals which is stored by the business. These rules apply to the information of customers, suppliers or employees. Generally for those who are currently caught by the Data Protection Act it is likely that you will have to comply with the GDPR.

GDPR will apply to data ‘controllers’ and ‘processors.’ Processing is about the more technical end of operations, like storing, retrieving and erasing data, whilst controlling data involves its manipulation in terms of interpretation, or decision making based on the data. The data processor processes personal data on behalf of a data controller. Obligations for processors are a new requirement under the GDPR.

The GDPR applies to personal data which is wider than under the Data Protection Act (DPA).

One key change to the current DPA rules is that those affected will have to show how they have complied with the rules. Proof of staff training and reviewing HR policies are examples of compliance.

Under GDPR, higher standards are set for consent. Consent means offering people genuine choice and control over how their data is used.

Overall, the aims of GDPR are to create a minimal data security risk environment, and to protect personal data to rigorous standards. For most organisations, this will entail time and energy getting up to speed with compliance procedures. Reviewing consent mechanisms already in place is likely to be a key priority. In practice, this means things like ensuring active opt-in, rather than offering pre-ticked opt-in boxes, which become invalid under the new rules.

Organisations will also have to think about existing DPA consents. The ICO’s advice is that:

‘You should review how you seek, record and manage consent and whether you need to make any changes. Refresh existing consents now if they don’t meet the GDPR standard.’

Where the current consents do not meet the new GDPR then action will be needed.

The fines for non compliance are severe at up to 20 million euros or 4% of total worldwide annual turnover (if higher).

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published some very useful information and a 12 step planning guide to help organisations get ready ahead of the May 2018 deadline.

Internet links: ICO getting ready GDPR 12 steps.pdf

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

New company car advisory fuel rates have been published which took effect from 1 September 2017. 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 2017 are:

Engine size Petrol
1400cc or less 11p
1401cc – 2000cc 13p
Over 2000cc 21p
Engine size LPG
1400cc or less 7p
1401cc – 2000cc 8p
Over 2000cc 13p
Engine size Diesel
1600cc or less 9p
1601cc – 2000cc 11p
Over 2000cc 12p

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 online forum and webchat

HMRC have announced the introduction of a new online tax forum and webchat service for small businesses.

HMRC are advising that the new service called the Small Business Online Forum offers advice on tax matters as well as help with:

  • starting a business
  • support for growing a business – including taking on employees and expanding
  • buying and selling abroad
  • completing tax returns
  • tax credits.

Please contact us for specific tailored advice on any of these matters.

Internet link: https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/webchatprod/community/forums/list.page

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:

  • Reporting Pay As You Earn in real time
  • Optional Remuneration Arrangements
  • Tax codes – Get it right first time
  • PAYE penalties – continuation of the risk-based approach to charging penalties
  • PAYE Settlement Agreements
  • Expenses Exemption
  • Apprenticeship Levy
  • Paying HMRC
  • Construction Industry Scheme
  • Changes to Business Tax Account
  • Contacting HMRC
  • Keep up to date with changes
  • Automatic enrolment and ongoing duties – what employers need to know
  • GCSE exam results are coming out this month, what is changing?

For help with your payroll contact us.

Internet link: Employer Bulletin

Pensions Auto enrolment compliance

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has begun carrying out employer spot checks to make sure employers are complying with their automatic enrolment duties and that they are giving their staff the workplace pensions they’re entitled to. According to the TPR these inspections help them to understand any challenges employers are facing, and whether TPR need to make any changes to their guidance. This also enables them to identify employers who fail to meet their duties, and take enforcement action where necessary.

TPR have confirmed that they will continue with their checks over the coming months generally sending a statutory notice to the employers they have selected ahead of their visits.

Get the process right

TPR are concerned that some employers are not following the correct procedures and during the course of their inspections have seen a number of instances of employers agreeing to opt staff out of a workplace pension before they have been enrolled. This is not in accordance with the auto enrolment rules. According to TPR:

‘Some employers claimed they were unaware as to the formality of their duties or process they needed to follow, and had simply been trying to do their staff a favour by offering them the option of opting out up front. But whether their motivation was genuine, or whether they were simply trying to get out of paying their staff the pension contributions they were due, the result was the same – they were in breach of their legal duties. Eligible staff need to be enrolled first, and can then opt out. One of the cornerstones of automatic enrolment is capitalising on inertia, and it has proved very successful so far in helping people who might never have saved for retirement before.’

Please contact us for advice on auto enrolment.

Internet link: TPR Quarterly bulletin

Auto enrolment for new employers

Under pensions auto enrolment employers have to enrol qualifying employees into a workplace pension. Duties include paying contributions for the employee. The process of auto enrolment has been phased in from October 2012 when the largest employers had to comply with the rules. However the rules are set to change and new employers will have to comply with their automatic enrolment legal duties, as soon as they employ their first member of staff.

TPR guidance to advisers states:

‘If your client becomes an employer for the first time on or after 1 October 2017, they will immediately have legal duties for their new member of staff. These duties apply from the first day the first member of staff started working for your client. This is known as their duties start date.

Your client must comply with their duties straight away.’

In contrast to the above rule an employer who first pays an employee from 2 April 2017 onwards will have a staging date of January or February 2018 depending on when the first employee was paid.

Employers are generally able to postpone some of their auto enrolment duties for up to three months but this needs to be dealt with correctly.

Please contact us for help with auto enrolment.

Internet links: TPR guidance new employer from 1 October TPR new employer to 30 September

Childcare Services compensation

The government are offering compensation to those who have been affected by problems with the implementation of Tax-Free Childcare.

Individuals who have been affected may be able to get a government top-up as a one-off payment for Tax-Free Childcare. The government will also consider refunding any reasonable costs directly caused by the service not working as it should, mistakes or unreasonable delays.

The government are advising that individuals may be eligible for these payments if they have:

  • been unable to complete their application for Tax-Free Childcare
  • been unable to access their childcare account
  • not received a decision about whether they are eligible, without explanation, for more than 20 days.

Tax-Free Childcare is the new government scheme to help working parents with the cost of childcare. The scheme launched at the end of April and is being rolled out to parents, starting with those parents with the youngest children first.

For every £8 a parent pays in, the government will pay in an extra £2. Parents can receive up to £2,000 per child, per year, towards their childcare costs making a total amount of £10,000. Higher limits of £4,000 and £20,000 apply for disabled children.

To qualify for Tax-Free Childcare parents and partners in the household must generally meet a minimum income level of on average £120 a week and each earn less than £100,000 a year.

The scheme will be available for children up to the age of 12, or 17 for children with disabilities. All eligible parents will be able to join the scheme by the end of 2017. Those eligible will be able to apply for all their children at the same time although the government rollout will start with the youngest children first. Parents will need to open an online account, which they can use to pay for childcare from a registered provider.

For those employers who currently offer Employer Supported Childcare, usually in the form of childcare vouchers, these schemes can remain open to new entrants until April 2018. Existing members have the option to remain in their existing scheme or change over to Tax-Free childcare as their child becomes eligible. It is not possible to benefit from tax-free childcare and employer supported childcare at the same time.

A calculator for parents comparing the options and guidance on the other government provided childcare are available on GOV.UK.

Internet links: GOV.UK Childcare Service compensation Childcare calculator Childcare choices