Newsletter – January 2017

Enews – January 2017

In this month’s eNews we report on a number of issues including the Scottish Budget, the Apprenticeship Levy and Personal Tax accounts. We also look at the changes to National Insurance Contributions, SDLT online refund procedures and charity fines.

Scottish Budget

On 15 December, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay delivered the 2017/18 Scottish Draft Budget setting out the Scottish Government’s financial and tax plans.

Scottish Rate of Income Tax

On 6 April 2016, a fundamental change was made to the taxation system for Scottish resident individuals. The main UK rates of income tax were reduced by 10p for Scottish taxpayers and in its place the Scottish Rate of Income Tax (SRIT) was applied equally to all Scottish taxpayers. As the SRIT was set at 10p, the overall income tax rates are currently the same as in the rest of the UK. So, those who are resident in Scotland are currently liable to two types of income tax and pay SRIT at 10% on most mainstream sources of income such as PAYE income, pensions, rental profit and profits from self-employment.

The SRIT does not apply to income from savings such as building society interest or dividends. These rates are the same for all taxpayers across the UK.

The SRIT is in place for one transitional year and will no longer apply from 6 April 2017 as the Scottish Government have exercised their powers to set the tax rates and bands (excluding the personal allowance) on non-savings, non-dividend income of Scottish taxpayers.

Tax bands 2017/18

On 15 December, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay delivered the 2017/18 Scottish Draft Budget setting out the Scottish Government’s financial and tax plans.

For 2017/18, the Scottish Government is proposing to freeze the Scottish basic rate of income tax at 20% and also to freeze the Scottish higher and Scottish additional rates at 40% and 45% respectively. In addition, the higher rate income tax threshold will increase by inflation to £43,430 in 2017/18. The Scottish Government also confirmed that the higher rate income tax threshold will increase by a maximum of inflation in all future years of this Parliament.

The Scottish Government has therefore not followed the UK Government’s plans to extend the threshold for paying the higher rate level of income tax of 40% from £43,000 to £45,000 for 2017/18. This means that a Scottish higher rate taxpayer will pay £314 more tax in 2017/18 than a UK higher rate taxpayer, being £1,570 at the marginal rate of 20% (40% – 20%).

Internet link: Scottish Draft Budget 2017/18

Apprenticeship Levy

The Apprenticeship Levy is being introduced from 6 April 2017 and will be payable by large employers. The Levy will be 0.5% of the employer’s pay bill, which is explained later in this article, but there is an annual allowance of £15,000.The allowance will be given on a pro-rata basis throughout the tax year.

The recent HMRC guidance confirms employers will need to report their Apprenticeship Levy liability each month:

  • from the start of the tax year if:- their annual pay bill (including any connected companies or charities) in the previous tax year was more than £3 million- they believe their annual pay bill (including any connected companies or charities) for the tax year will be more than £3 million
  • if an employer’s annual pay bill (including any connected companies or charities) unexpectedly increases to more than £3 million. In which case the employer will need to start reporting when this happens.

An employer’s annual pay bill is all payments to employees that are subject to employer Class 1 secondary NICs. Broadly wages but excluding benefits and expenses. HMRC have confirmed that employers must include payments to employees for whom there are no employer NICs including:

  • all employees earning below the NIC lower earnings and secondary thresholds
  • employees under the age of 21
  • apprentices under the age of 25

The Apprenticeship Levy will need to be reported each month on the Employer Payment Summary (known as the EPS) and should include the following:

  • the amount of the annual Apprenticeship Levy allowance which has been allocated to that PAYE scheme
  • the amount of Apprenticeship Levy you owe to date in the current tax year

HMRC have confirmed that it is not necessary to report Apprenticeship Levy if the employer has not had to pay it in the current tax year.

If you would like advice on the Apprenticeship Levy or other payroll matters please contact us.

Internet Link: GOV.UK apprenticeship levy

Personal tax accounts ‘first birthday’

The government are celebrating the ‘first birthday’ of their award winning Personal Tax Account which recently won Digital Project of the Year at the annual UK IT Industry Awards

HMRC have announced that in its first year, the Personal Tax Account has attracted more than seven million users and there have been millions of transactions including:

  • 1.6 million Income Tax repayments, worth more than £800 million
  • 1 million tax credit renewals
  • 100,000 people checking or updating their company car details
  • 1.6 million people checking their tax estimate
  • 2 million people checking their state pensions.

The press release also states that the Personal Tax Account is designed to be one stop shop for all customer interactions with HMRC and taxpayers using it can:

  • check their state pension
  • complete and return a Self Assessment tax return
  • update tax credits circumstances as they change throughout the year to prevent under and overpayments
  • claim an Income Tax refund that will be paid straight into their bank account
  • check and update their Marriage Allowance.

If you would like advice on your personal tax affairs please contact us.

Internet link: GOV.UK news

National Insurance changes – winners and losers

Tax campaigners have warned that the abolition of Class 2 National Insurance contributions from April 2018 could result in the lowest earners among the self employed being hardest hit.[a]

Class 2 NICs are flat-rate weekly contributions paid by the self-employed to gain access to contributory benefits. The self-employed also pay Class 4 NICs on profits above the Lower Profits Limit. Class 4 NICs do not currently give access to contributory benefits. At Autumn Statement 2016 the Chancellor confirmed that Class 2 contributions would be abolished from 6 April 2018.[b]

At present, self-employed earners whose profits exceed £5,965 a year, the small profits threshold (SPT), are required to pay Class 2 NI contributions at £2.85 a week. These contributions then count towards their state retirement pension and entitlement to certain other contributory benefits. If their profits fall below the SPT, they have the option to make voluntary Class 2 payments.

When Class 2 is abolished, payment of Class 4 NI contributions will count towards state benefits. In order to protect some people on low incomes, Class 4 contributions will not be payable until annual profits reach £8,060. However, as long as profits exceed the SPT, the self-employed will be given Class 4 credits, so they will be treated as making contributions even though none was actually paid.

A point to note though is that, unlike Class 2, Class 4 NI cannot be paid on a voluntary basis meaning that the only way that self-employed people on profits below the Class 4 threshold will be able to build up a contribution record, if they did not obtain NI credits through receipt of other benefits, eg tax credits, child benefit or Universal Credit, will be by paying Class 3 voluntary contributions at £14.10 a week.[c][d]

Anthony Thomas, Chairman of the Low Income Tax Reform Group commented:

‘Some parts of these proposals are good news for self-employed workers on low earnings, but by no means all. Those with profits between £5,965 and £8,060 will be better off because they will pay no NI but be credited with contributions. Our concern is for those with lower earnings than £5,965 who would have to pay voluntary Class 3 contributions in the future to protect their benefits entitlement if they did not obtain NI credits through receipt of other benefits, for example tax credits, child benefit or Universal Credit. Class 3 contributions will cost almost five times the amount they are paying now (£14.10 per week compared to £2.85 per week) and may mean the cost is unaffordable, leading them to rely more on means-tested benefits in the future.’

Internet links: GOV.UK policy paper Low income tax group

Charity fines

An investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has revealed that two national charities, the RSPCA and the British Heart Foundation, secretly screened millions of their donors so they could target them for more money. The ICO said that this practice breached the Data Protection Act as the charities failed to handle donors’ personal data in accordance with the legislation.

The charities also traced and targeted new or lapsed donors by piecing together personal information which was obtained from other sources. In addition, they traded data with other charities to create a pool of donor data which was available for sale. As the donors were not informed of these practices, they could not give their consent or object.

The investigation was one of a number by the ICO into the fundraising activities of charities sparked by media reports about pressure on donors to contribute. The Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, fined the RSPCA £25,000 and the British Heart Foundation £18,000.

The ICO can take action, including penalties of up to £500,000, against organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal data. Anyone who processes personal information must comply with the eight principles of the Data Protection Act which make sure personal data is:

  1. fairly and lawfully processed
  2. processed for limited purposes
  3. adequate, relevant and not excessive
  4. accurate and up to date
  5. not kept for longer than is necessary
  6. processed in line with an individual’s rights
  7. secure and
  8. not transferred to other countries without adequate protection.

Internet link: ICO news

SDLT online refund procedures

HMRC have introduced an online service to apply for a repayment of the higher rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for additional properties if the property sold was previously a main home.

From 1 April 2016 higher rates of SDLT are charged on purchases of additional residential properties.

The main target of the higher rates is purchases of buy to let properties or second homes. However, there will be some purchasers who will have to pay the additional charge even though the property purchased will not be a buy to let or a second home. The 36 month rules set out below will help to remove some transactions from the additional rates (or allow a refund).

Care will be needed if an individual already owns, or partly owns, a property and transacts to purchase another property without having disposed of the first property.

The higher rates are three percentage points above the normal SDLT rates. The higher rates potentially apply if, at the end of the day of the purchase transaction, the individual owns two or more residential properties.

Some further detail:

  • where a new main residence is purchased before disposing of a previous main residence the higher rate will be payable. They then have 36 months to dispose of their previous main residence and claim a refund.
  • purchasers will also have 36 months between selling a main residence and replacing it with another main residence without having to pay the higher rates
  • a small share in a property which has been inherited within the 36 months prior to a transaction will not be considered as an additional property when applying the higher rates.

The online refund process will allow those affected to apply for a repayment of the higher rate of SDLT if the property sold was a previous main home.

Internet Link: GOV.UK SDLT repayment of Higher Rate

Latest statistics show unemployment at 4.8%

The government has announced:

‘labour market has finished a record breaking year with unemployment down by over 100,000 people and the rate running at 4.8%’.

Other statistics include:

  • there continues to be 31.8 million people in work, up by 2.7 million since 2010.
  • the number of women in work is at a record high of almost 15 million
  • long-term unemployment has fallen to 418,000 and is the lowest it has been since 2008, down 31,000 on the quarter
  • youth unemployment is 587,000, a fall of 350,000 since 2010
  • 41% of the 420,000 people now receiving Universal Credit are in work.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Damian Green said:

‘This year will be remembered as one when so many records were made – employment has consistently been running at an all-time high with more women, older workers and ethnic minority groups in work than ever before.

Encouragingly, this good news was extended right across the UK.

But there is more to do to help people of all backgrounds and abilities into work, which will remain a priority as we press ahead with our welfare reforms that are ensuring it always pays to be in work.’

Rachel Smith, CBI Principal Labour Market Adviser, said:

‘We see a mixed picture from the labour market over the last three months, with employment levels remaining more or less the same and unemployment seeing a slight drop.’

‘Although wage growth has gone up somewhat, so has inflation, hitting workers’ pay packets in real terms. Boosting productivity in every region and nation of the UK will be essential if firms are to further raise wages sustainably for their employees.’

Internet links: GOV. UK unemployment rate GOV.UK universal credit statistics CBI comment

Newsletter – February 2016

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Enews – February 2016

In this month’s eNews we report on the extra 3% SDLT charge which will apply on the purchase of second homes from April. We also include several announcements relevant to employers, the latest tax return statistics and information about the new state pension.

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

Extra 3% SDLT on the horizon for buy to lets and second homes

The Chancellor announced in the Autumn Statement last November that he would be introducing new rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on purchases of buy to let properties or second homes. An additional 3% SDLT charge will apply to the purchase of residential properties caught by the new rules and this change is expected to come into effect for completions on or after 1 April 2016. There is an exemption from the charges for transactions under £40,000.

In December the Scottish government announced a Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) supplement on additional homes. A bill has been introduced in the Scottish Parliament to introduce similar changes to LBTT.

The government is currently consulting on how the rules will be implemented and in which circumstances they will apply. It should be noted that the proposed changes will significantly increase the SDLT and LBTT on the purchase of second homes.

The rules will also impact on those individuals who purchase a new home where they have yet to sell their current home. The higher SDLT and LBTT rates would be payable on the purchase of the second property although this additional tax may be refunded if the first property is sold within 18 months.

To read the consultation which includes some examples of how the rules will operate use the link below.

Please also do get in touch if you would like specific advice on how these rules will affect you and whether or not you should buy or sell before or after April 2016.

Internet links: Consultation Scottish Parliament

HMRC reveal tax return statistics and worst excuses

HMRC have revealed that 10.39 million Self Assessment tax returns were completed ahead of the 31 January deadline which is more than 92% of the total returns expected, and 150,000 more than last year.

More than 89% of taxpayers (9.24 million) filed their return electronically.

An automatic £100 penalty applies to those failing to file their return by 31 January 2016 midnight deadline. Use the following link for more information about HMRC Self Assessment deadlines.

HMRC have also revealed the top 10 worst tax return excuses for 2014. They include:

‘I had an argument with my wife and went to Italy for 5 years’

Ruth Owen, HMRC Director General of Personal Tax, said:

‘Untidy family members and hungry pets are very unlikely to be accepted as a legitimate excuse for completing your tax return late.

We understand that life can be unpredictable and for those customers who have a genuine excuse for missing the 31 January deadline, such as the flooding, help is on hand. My advice would be to contact us through our helplines or online, as soon as possible. But for those who are trying to play the system, while the rest of us do the right thing, the message is clear: submit your tax return online by 31 January or face a fine. We’re here to help people in genuine distress, but not to act as a free lender to people who can’t meet their responsibilities to pay their tax.’

The deadline for sending 2014/15 tax returns to HMRC, and paying any tax owed, was 31 January 2016.

If you need help getting your tax affairs up to date please contact us.

Internet link: GOV.UK Top 10 Worst Tax Return Excuses for 2014

Reporting PAYE information ‘on or before’ paying employees

HMRC have announced that the relaxation which has permitted some employers with no more than nine employees to report their PAYE information for the tax month ‘on or before’ the last payday in the tax month, instead of ‘on or before’ each payday, is to be withdrawn from April 2016.

Guidance on the limited situations where pay details may be provided late can be found at If you would like any help with payroll matters please contact us.

Internet link: GOV.UK Employer Bulletin 57

Digital quarterly updates

Following concerns raised in response to the government’s proposals to ‘Make Tax Digital’ the government has issued a myth buster which hopes to lessen the fears of many regarding the government’s proposals for quarterly updates.

We will keep you informed of developments.

Internet link: GOV.UK Making Tax Digital – Myth Buster

New National Living Wage to boost living standards

The government is reminding employers that a new National Living Wage (NLW) is being introduced from 1 April 2016 and advising employers to get ready for this change.

The NLW rate will be payable to workers in the UK who are 25 or over. For workers currently being paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW) this will mean a 50 pence increase in their hourly earnings.

The government expects over a million workers in the UK aged 25 and over to directly benefit from the increase, which sees the current minimum rate of £6.70 increase by 50p. Many will see their pay packets rise by up to £900 a year.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

‘The government believes that Britain deserves a pay rise and our new National Living Wage will give a direct boost to over a million people. We are building a more productive Britain and giving families the security of well-paid work.

This is a step up for working people, so it is important workers know their rights and that employers pay the new £7.20 from April 1 this year.’

The government has launched an advertising campaign to highlight the new wage. More details are available at:

The government is encouraging employers to ensure they are ready to pay the new wage on 1 April 2016. As part of this, it has published a four-step guide for businesses on the living wage website, asking employers to:

  1. Check you know who is eligible in your organisation.
  2. Take the appropriate payroll action.
  3. Let your staff know about their new pay rate.
  4. Check your staff under 25 are earning at least the right rate of NMW.

HMRC will have responsibility for enforcing the new NLW in addition to the NMW.

For those not affected by the NLW the following NMW rates apply:

  • £6.70: for 21s and over
  • £5.30: for 18 to 20-year-olds
  • £3.87: for under 18s
  • £3.30: for apprentices (the rate applies to all apprentices in year 1 of an apprenticeship, and 16-18 year old apprentices in any year of an apprenticeship)

Internet link: GOV.UK NLW

Pensioners ‘to gain’ from new single tier state pension but younger people ‘worse off’

A new single tier state pension is to be introduced for those reaching state pension age from 6 April 2016 onwards. According to research by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) many pensioners will receive a boost from the new single tier pension following its introduction from 6 April 2016.

Under the ‘flat-rate’ system, new pensioners could receive up to £155.65 per week, compared to the current state pension entitlement of £119.30.

The press release states:

‘The data shows the long-term impact of the new State Pension on people’s pensions, with 75% of people set to gain in the first 15 years.

The move to the new system will provide a boost to the State Pension for many women, with over 3 million women receiving an average of £11 more per week by 2030 as a result of the changes, – helping to address the gender inequalities that have persisted under the old scheme.’

To find out what your pension entitlement is visit

Internet link: GOV.UK news

Apprentices and employer National Insurance

From 6 April 2016, if you employ an apprentice you may not need to pay employer Class 1 national insurance contributions (NICs) on their earnings up to £827 a week (£43,000 per annum). To be eligible for this relief the apprentice should be under 25 years old and be following an approved UK government statutory apprenticeship scheme.

If the apprentice meets the conditions, then the employer needs to have evidence to allow them to apply the relief, by adjusting the employee’s NIC category. The evidence required will be either

  • a written agreement between you, the apprentice and a training provider, which meets the conditions, or
  • in England and Wales, evidence that the apprenticeship receives government funding.

When the apprenticeship stops or the apprentice turns 25 you will need to start paying the relevant NICs. For full details visit the link below.

The relief does not apply to employee’s NICs, it is only the employer who benefits but the employee’s entitlement to social security benefits will not be affected.

Internet link: GOV.UK

Newsletter – March 2013

This month’s enews is not surprisingly dominated by the Budget. Some of the key announcements are set out in the following articles together with a round up of other news.

Please contact us if you would like any further information on any of the articles.

Personal allowance up to £10,000 from 2014/15

It has been confirmed in the Budget that the basic personal allowance will be increased from the current £8,105 to £9,440 for 2013/14. This increase is part of the plan of the Coalition Government to ultimately raise the allowance to £10,000 which will be achieved from 2014/15.

The reduction in the personal allowance for those with ‘adjusted net income’ over £100,000 will continue. The reduction is £1 for every £2 of income above £100,000. For 2013/14 the allowance ceases when adjusted net income exceeds £118,880.

From 2013/14 the higher age related personal allowances will not be increased and their availability will be restricted to people who were born before 6 April 1948.

2013/14 income tax bands

The basic rate of tax is currently 20%. The band of income taxable at this rate is £32,010 for 2013/14 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies is £41,450 for those who are entitled to the full basic personal allowance.

For 2013/14 the additional rate of tax is reduced to 45%, rather than the 2012/13 rate of 50%. This rate will be payable on taxable income above £150,000.

Internet link: Budget TIIN

National Insurance – £2,000 employment allowance

The Government will introduce an allowance of £2,000 per year for all businesses and charities to be offset against their employer Class 1 NIC liability from April 2014. The allowance will be claimed as part of the normal payroll process through Real Time Information (RTI).

The Government proposes to introduce legislation on this issue later in the year.

Internet link: HMRC key employer Budget announcements

New scheme for tax free childcare

New tax incentives for childcare have been announced. To be eligible, families will have to have all parents in work, with each earning less than £150,000 a year and not already receiving support through Tax Credits or Universal Credit.

The relief will be 20% of the costs of childcare up to a total of childcare costs of £6,000 per child per year. The scheme will therefore be worth a maximum of £1,200 per child.

The scheme will be phased in from autumn 2015. For the first year of operation, all children under five will be eligible and the scheme will build up over time to include children under 12.

The current system of employer supported childcare will continue to be available for current members if they wish to remain in it or they can switch to the new scheme. Employer supported childcare will continue to be open to new joiners until the new scheme is available.

The Government will consult on the detail of the new scheme but it is expected that parents will be able to open an online voucher account with a voucher provider and have their payments topped up by the Government. Parents will be able to use the vouchers for any Ofsted regulated childcare in England and the equivalent bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The existing system of employer supported childcare is offered by less than 5% of employers and used by around 450,000 families. It provides an income tax and national insurance contributions (NIC) relief. The maximum relief is an exemption from income tax and NIC on £55 a week. This relief is per employee so if both parents are in employment the maximum exemption is £110 per week. In the new scheme the limit is per child.

Internet link: Treasury infographic

Support for the housing market

Major reforms have been announced in Budget 2013, including over £5.4 billion of financial help, to tackle long-term problems in the housing market and to support those who want to get on or move up the housing ladder, including the introduction of a new housing scheme, Help to Buy.

From April 2013, the Government will extend First Buy to provide an equity loan worth up to 20% of the value of a new build home, repayable once the home is sold, and widen the eligibility criteria, including increasing the maximum home value to £600,000 and removing the income cap constraint.

The Government will also create a mortgage guarantee for lenders who offer mortgages to people with a deposit of between 5% and 20% on homes with a value of up to £600,000, increasing the availability of mortgages on new or existing properties for those with small deposits.

Further detail is expected on these schemes.

Internet link: Treasury Infographic

RTI ‘relaxation’ for small employers

HMRC have announced that, for some smaller employers, they will relax the reporting requirement for RTI that payments to employees should be reported on or before the amount is paid to the employee.

The relaxation for small employers (those with fewer than 50 employees) who pay employees weekly, or more frequently, but only process their payroll monthly may need longer to adapt to reporting PAYE information in real time. HMRC have therefore agreed a relaxation of reporting arrangements for these small employers.

Until 5 October 2013 employers with fewer than 50 employees, who find it difficult to report every payment to employees at the time of payment, may send information to HMRC by the date of their regular payroll run but no later than the end of the tax month.

HMRC have also advised that they:

‘will continue to work with employer representatives during the summer to assess and understand the impact of RTI on the smallest businesses and consider whether they can make improvements to real time reporting which will address their concerns without compromising the benefits of RTI or the success of the Department for Work & Pension’s Universal Credit’.

HMRC have also made available some guidance on exceptions to reporting PAYE information ‘on or before’ paying an employee which can be found at

Please do contact us if you would like any further help or advice on payroll procedures.

Internet link: HMRC RTI news

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

Updated company car advisory fuel rates have been published which took effect from 1 March 2013. HMRC’s website states:

‘These rates apply to all journeys on or after 1 March 2013 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 March 2013 are:

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


Engine size Diesel
1600cc or less 13p
1601cc – 2000cc 15p
Over 2000cc 18p

Please note that not all of the rates have been amended, so 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

Employer end of year forms

HMRC are reminding employers that in order to avoid penalties they must file the Employer Annual Return (P35 and P14s) online and on time. The vast majority of employers must file electronically and the deadline for submission of the forms is 19 May 2013 which this year falls on a Sunday.

To avoid unnecessary late filing penalty notices being issued, where no return is necessary, it is important to advise HMRC that no return is due. This can be done using the link below.

If you are unsure whether you need to complete a return this year please do get in touch.

Internet links: HMRC guidance No P35 online form

Reminder to those with child benefit and higher incomes

HMRC are reminding people with income over £60,000 whose family is still receiving Child Benefit to consider ‘opting out’ before 28 March if they wish to avoid filling in a tax return and repaying the benefit for the 2013/14 tax year.

According to HMRC’s latest figures over 370,000 people have opted out of Child Benefit since the High Income Child Benefit Charge was introduced on 7 January 2013.

Those with income over £60,000 that continued to receive Child Benefit from 7 January 2013 onwards that do not already receive a self assessment return need to register for self assessment by 5 October 2013. This action is necessary so they can repay the child benefit received between January and April 2013.

However opting out before 28 March will mean they will not need to fill in a tax return in future years.

Lin Homer, Chief Executive at HMRC, said:

‘Anyone wanting to opt out of Child Benefit payments can do so at any time. It is really easy – just go to our website. Anyone with an income over £60,000 who has received Child Benefit since January needs to register for self assessment by 5 October to repay some or all of this year’s benefit, but if they opt out now this will be a one-off.’

For those with income of more than £60,000, the tax charge is 100% of the amount of Child Benefit. For income between £50,000 and £60,000, the charge is gradually increased to 100% of the Child Benefit.

The decision to stay in or opt out of receiving Child Benefit payments is not final, and families are free to change their minds. Anyone earning over £50,000 who has received Child Benefit since 7 January 2013 will need to register for self assessment if they do not currently receive a tax return and complete a tax return for that period, regardless of whether they are now opting out.

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

Internet links: Press release HMRC news

HMRC publish names of deliberate defaulters

For the first time, HMRC have published a list of ‘deliberate tax defaulters’. To read the full list, please click on the link below.

Internet link: Defaulters list

Another HMRC disclosure facility

HMRC have launched the Property Sales campaign, which is the latest in a long line of disclosure facilities. Under the campaign those individuals who have sold a residential property and made a profit are able to bring their tax affairs up to date.

To take advantage of the best possible terms, taxpayers must voluntarily disclose any income or gains and payment must be made by 6 September 2013.

According to the HMRC press release:

‘This campaign is for you if you’ve sold, or disposed of, second or additional residential properties either in the UK or abroad. These could include a holiday home or a property that you rented out. You may also be able to use this campaign where you have sold your main home. This would normally qualify for Private Residence Relief but in some circumstances the relief is restricted. Where the entitlement to this relief is restricted capital gains tax may be due if you are liable to UK taxes.’

‘If your circumstances meant that capital gains tax was due on the sale of your main home you may be able to use this campaign.’

‘Even if you didn’t originally purchase the property you may still be liable to pay tax on the gain if you acquired the property another way. For example you may have inherited it or it may have been a gift.’

HMRC are advising that after 6 September they will use the information they hold to target those who should have made a disclosure under this campaign and failed to do so.

Internet link: HMRC campaigns

Newsletter – October 2012

eNEWS – October 2012

In this month’s enews we report that HMRC are about to issue letters to those families likely to be affected by the High Income Child Benefit Charge.

Please contact us if you would like any further details on any of the issues covered.


High income child benefit charge letters

HMRC are about to write to taxpayers who they believe will be affected by the High Income Child Benefit Charge.

In Budget 2012, as part of the reforms to the welfare system, it was confirmed that Child Benefit will be withdrawn from households that include certain higher earners.

Although the change applies from January 2013 the calculation to decide whether or not a household is affected by the reform includes the full income for 2012/13.

The legislation imposes a new charge (the High Income Child Benefit Charge) on a taxpayer who has adjusted net income over £50,000 in a tax year where either they or their partner, if they have one, are in receipt of Child Benefit for the year. Where there is a partner and both partners have adjusted net income in excess of £50,000 the charge will apply to the partner with the higher income.

An income tax charge will apply at a rate of 1% of the full Child Benefit award for each £100 of income between £50,000 and £60,000, rounded down to the nearest pound. The charge on taxpayers with income above £60,000 will be equal to the amount of Child Benefit paid.

Further information on the changes and what steps those affected should take can be found at

Please contact us if you would like any advice in this area.

Internet link: Press release

Too late for ‘paper’ self assessment tax returns

For those individuals who have previously submitted ‘paper’ self assessment tax returns the deadline for the 2011/12 return was 31 October 2012. Returns submitted after that date must be submitted electronically or they will incur a minimum penalty of £100. The penalty applies even when there is no tax to pay or the tax is paid on time.

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

Internet link: HMRC press release

Plans for a new type of Employment contract

Chancellor George Osborne has announced a new type of employment contract to be known as an employee-owner. Under the new contract employees will be able exchange some of their UK employment rights for shares in the business they work for. Gains on the disposal of the shares will be exempt from capital gains tax.

Companies of any size will be able to use this new kind of contract and employees will be given between £2,000 and £50,000 of shares. In exchange, they will give up their UK rights on unfair dismissal, redundancy, the right to request flexible working and time off for training, and will be required provide 16 weeks’ notice of a firm date of return from maternity leave.

Employee-owner status will be optional and legislation to bring in the new contract is expected to be introduced later this year so that companies can use the new type of contract from April 2013.

Internet link: Press release

RTI – Closing payroll schemes

HMRC are about to write to employers who they believe have a payroll scheme which is not being used. The letters are being sent in preparation for the introduction of RTI as HMRC are planning to close any payroll schemes which they believe are no longer needed.

If you receive a letter regarding a payroll scheme which you believe will be used in the future please do get in touch so that we can advise HMRC accordingly.

Internet link: Employer Bulletin

Guidance on reclaiming National Insurance contributions paid in error

HMRC have issued guidance to cover the situation where vocational or recreational trainers may be entitled to claim a refund of National Insurance contributions. The refunds are due following a change in guidance on charging national insurance contributions.

HMRC’s briefing states:

‘Refunds may be made by trainers or instructors, or those who engaged them, and where amounts of NICs were paid in error following HMRC’s guidance. This is primarily going to affect those engaged in the provision of vocational or recreational training as set out in HMRC’s guidance prior to repeal of the relevant provisions of the Regulations.’

‘Refunds are not due where educational training providers applied the Regulations. This is because there is no dispute or doubt that the Regulations prior to 6 April 2012 applied to the providers of educational training. In this context educational training provider means a school, college, university or any such similar educational establishment.’

‘Refunds are also not due where any trainer or instructor was engaged under an employment contract and Income Tax (PAYE) and Class 1 NICs were correctly accounted for.’

Please get in touch if you would like any help in this area.

Internet link: HMRC brief

Health and Safety Executive Fee for Intervention

The Health and Safety Executive has announced that it has implemented a Fee for Intervention (FFI) cost recovery scheme, which came into effect on 1 October 2012.

Under The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, those who break health and safety laws are liable for recovery of HSE’s related costs, including inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action.

The HSE website advises:

‘The Fee for Intervention hourly rate for 2012/13 is £124. The many businesses that comply with their legal obligations will continue to pay nothing.’

For more information on how the new scheme works visit the link below.

Internet link: HSE website

Retirement funds set to fall

According to a report issued by the Saga Foundation, millions of Britons due to retire over the next few years risk seeing £11.5 billion wiped off their retirement funds.

The report factors in tax and benefit changes, which include the freezing of age related personal allowances from April 2013 and reduction in winter fuel payments, together with low interest rates.

Compiled by experts from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, the report comes to the conclusion that the changes will cost pensioners an average of £1,318 each by 5 April 2014.

Dr Ros Altmann, Director General of Saga, said:

‘Pensioners are being hammered. They didn’t cause our economic meltdown yet they have been paying a heavy price as we try to fix it and they face an even tighter financial squeeze in future.’

Internet link: Saga press release

HMRC checklist for EC VAT registration numbers

HMRC have issued a revised Notice 725, The Single Market, which includes a useful checklist (see section 16.19) to enable businesses to help spot incorrect VAT registration numbers at a glance.

Customer’s VAT registration numbers can be verified using the Europa website VIES or by contacting the VAT Helpline on 0845 010 9000.

Internet link: VAT Notice 725