Newsletter – April 2017

Enews – April 2017

In this month’s eNews we report on changes to the VAT Flat Rate Scheme which take effect from the start of April. We also consider minimum wage rises, gender pay gap reporting and the roll out of tax free childcare. We also report on three pertinent Budget announcements including the Class 4 NICs u-turn, changes to Making Tax Digital and the reduction in the Dividend Allowance.

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

VAT Flat Rate Scheme – Limited cost trader

Changes are being made to the Flat Rate Scheme (FRS) which take effect from 1 April 2017. These changes may mean that the FRS is less attractive to some businesses and this may result in these businesses deciding to no longer operate under the FRS. In some cases where a trader has voluntarily registered for VAT it may be appropriate to deregister from VAT.

A new higher 16.5% rate will apply from 1 April 2017 for businesses with limited costs, such as many labour-only businesses, using the Flat Rate Scheme. Businesses using the FRS, or considering joining the scheme, will need to decide if they are a ‘limited cost trader’.

Under the FRS a set percentage, determined by the business trade sector, is applied to the VAT inclusive turnover of the business as a one-off calculation instead of having to identify and record the VAT on each sale and purchase the business makes. The percentage rates are determined according to the trade sector of the business and these generally range from 4% to 14.5%.

A limited cost trader will be defined as one whose VAT inclusive expenditure on goods is either:

  • less than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover in a prescribed accounting period
  • greater than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover but less than £1,000 per annum if the prescribed accounting period is one year (if it is not one year, the figure is the relevant proportion of £1,000).

‘Relevant goods’, for the purposes of this measure, must be used exclusively for the purpose of the business but exclude the following items:

  • capital expenditure
  • food or drink for consumption by the flat rate business or its employees
  • vehicles, vehicle parts and fuel, except where the business is one that carries out transport services, for example a taxi business, and uses its own or a leased vehicle to carry out those services
  • payment for services, as these are not goods, this would include rent, accountancy fees, advertising costs etc

Examples of qualifying ‘relevant goods’ include stationery (and other office supplies), gas, electricity and cleaning products, but only where these are used exclusively for the business.

Businesses using the FRS will need to ensure that, for each VAT return period, they use the appropriate flat rate percentage, so the check to see whether a business is a limited cost trader will have to be carried out for each VAT return.

These rules come into force from 1 April 2017, so where a business has a VAT period that straddles 1 April 2017, the test to determine whether the business is a ‘limited cost trader’ will only apply to the period from 1 April 2017.

Please contact us if you would like advice on the FRS.

Internet link: GOV.UK VAT notice 733

Equality – Gender pay gap reporting

The government has introduced new requirements for all private and voluntary sector employers of over 250 people relating to equal pay reporting from April 2017.

The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/172) mean that large employers must calculate and publish the difference in mean and median pay and bonuses between the men and women they employ. In addition, information must be given about the proportion of men and women receiving a bonus payment and the proportions of men and women in each quartile of their pay distribution.

Key stages for this are:

  • 5 April every year, starting in 2017 – take a snapshot of the data
  • bonus data is based on the previous 12 months leading up to 5 April 2017
  • by 4 April 2018 – the results must be published on the organisation’s website with a signed statement confirming their accuracy
  • both the results and statement must remain on the website for 3 years.

Organisations might choose to add some narrative with the results, but this is not part of the requirement.

Internet link: GOV.UK gender pay gap

Minimum wage rises again

Employers need to ensure they are paying their employees at least the appropriate National Minimum Wage (NMW) or National Living Wage (NLW) rate. The rates increase from 1 April 2017.

From

1 October

2016

From

1 April

2017

NLW rate for workers aged 25 and over £7.20* £7.50
the main rate for workers aged 21-24 £6.95 £7.05
the 18-20 rate £5.55 £5.60
the 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18 £4.00 £4.05
the apprentice rate ** £3.40 £3.50

* introduced and applies from 1 April 2016

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

Going forward the NMW and NLW rates will be reviewed annually in April.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

The penalties imposed on employers that are in breach of the minimum wage legislation are 200% of arrears owed to workers. The maximum penalty is £20,000 per worker. The penalty is reduced by 50% if the unpaid wages and the penalty are paid within 14 days. HMRC also name and shame employers who are penalised.

Internet link: GOV.UK NMW

Tax-Free Childcare to be rolled out from 28 April 2017

Tax-Free Childcare, the new government scheme to help working parents with the cost of childcare, will be launched from 28 April 2017.

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 all parents in the household must generally meet a minimum income level, based on working 16 hours a week (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. Parents 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 will have the option to remain in their existing scheme or change over to Tax-Free childcare as their child becomes eligible

A calculator is available on GOV.UK so that parents can check their eligibility for the new scheme and other government provided childcare available.

Internet link: Childcarechoices.gov.uk

Class 4 National insurance u-turn

One of the significant announcements Chancellor Philip Hammond made on Budget Day was the proposed increases to the main rate of Class 4 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) paid by self-employed individuals from 9% to 10% from April 2018 with a further increase planned from 10% to 11% from April 2019.

The Chancellor subsequently announced that the government will not now proceed with the proposed increase in Class 4 NICs rates . Self-employed individuals currently pay Class 2 and Class 4 NICs. Class 2 NICs are to be abolished from April 2018.

Internet link: BBC news

Making Tax Digital for Business update

Extensive changes to how taxpayers record and report income to HMRC are being introduced under a project entitled Making Tax Digital for Business (MTDfB) .

MTDfB is to be introduced in stages and the government has confirmed in the Budget the deferral of some of the obligations for one year. The result of this announcement is that unincorporated businesses and unincorporated landlords with annual turnover:

  • above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) will need to comply with the requirements of MTDfB from the start of accounting periods which begin after 5 April 2018
  • at or below the VAT threshold but above £10,000 will need to comply from the start of accounting periods which begin after 5 April 2019.

Companies (and partnerships with a turnover above £10 million) will not come within MTDfB until April 2020.

The government has decided how the general principles of MTDfB will operate. Draft legislation has been issued on some aspects and more is contained in Finance Bill 2017.

Under MTDfB, businesses, self-employed people and landlords will be required to:

  • maintain their records digitally, through software or apps
  • report summary information to HMRC quarterly through their ‘digital tax accounts’ (DTAs)
  • make an ‘End of Year’ declaration through their DTAs. The End of Year declaration will be similar to the online submission of a self assessment tax return but may be required to be submitted earlier than a tax return. Businesses will have 10 months from the end of their period of account (or 31 January following the tax year – the due date for a self assessment tax return – if sooner)

DTAs are like online bank accounts – secure areas where a business can see all of its tax details in one place and interact with HMRC digitally.

Businesses, self-employed people and landlords with turnovers under £10,000 are exempt from these requirements.

Internet link: GOV.UK MTDfB

Reduction in the Dividend Allowance

It was announced in the Budget that the Dividend Allowance will be reduced from £5,000 to £2,000 from April 2018.

Dividends received by an individual are subject to special tax rates. The first £5,000 of dividends are charged to tax at 0% (the Dividend Allowance). 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.

Dividends within the allowance still count towards an individual’s basic or higher rate band and so may affect the rate of tax paid on dividends above the £5,000 allowance.

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

The government expect that even with the reduction in the Dividend Allowance to £2,000, 80% of ‘general investors’ will pay no tax on their dividend income. However, the reduction in the allowance will affect family company shareholders who take dividends in excess of the £2,000 limit. The cost of the restriction in the allowance for basic rate taxpayers will be £225 increasing to £975 for higher rate taxpayers and £1,143 for additional rate taxpayers.

Internet link: GOV.UK dividend allowance

Newsletter – April 2016

Enews – April 2016

In this month’s eNews we report on pertinent Budget announcements. We also report on the introduction of the register of people with significant control and proposals for different Scottish tax bands.

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

Budget 2016

George Osborne presented his Budget on Wednesday 16 March 2016.

In his speech the Chancellor reported on ‘an economy set to grow faster than any other major advanced economy in the world’. Towards the end of 2015 the government issued many proposed clauses of Finance Bill 2016 together with updates on consultations. The Budget proposed further measures and some of the articles which follow summarise some of the key changes.

CBI Director-General, Carolyn Fairbairn, said:

‘After a year of surprises, this was a stable Budget for business facing global stormy waters. The Chancellor has listened to our concerns about the mounting burden on firms and chosen to back business to grow the economy out of the deficit.’

Internet links: GOV.UK CBI News

Register of people with significant control

From April 2016, rules are introduced which require companies to keep a register of People with Significant Control (PSC). In addition, the details of PSC will have to be filed with Companies House from 30 June 2016.

A PSC is defined as an individual that:

  • holds, directly or indirectly, more than 25% of the shares or voting rights in the company; or
  • holds the right, directly or indirectly, to appoint or remove a majority of the board of directors of the company; or
  • has the right to exercise, or actually exercises, significant influence or control over the company; or
  • where a trust or firm would satisfy any of the above conditions, any individual that has the right to exercise, or actually exercises, significant influence or control over the activities of that trust or firm.

The details of the individuals which need to be entered on the register include:

  • name and address
  • usual residential address, country of residence and nationality
  • date of birth
  • date when they became a PSC
  • the nature of their control over the company.

Failure to comply with the requirements of the PSC regime could lead to the company or directors, or identified PSCs committing a criminal offence. The company and its directors could face a fine or imprisonment or both.

Further guidance can be found on the Companies House website or please contact us for more guidance in this area.

Internet link: Companies House

National Minimum Wage rises

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates will increase from 1 October 2016 as follows:

Current rate Rate from 1 October 2016
21-24 year olds £6.70 £6.95
18-20 year olds £5.30 £5.55
16-17 year olds £3.87 £4.00
Apprentice rate* £3.30 £3.40

From 1 April 2016 following the introduction of the National Living Wage all workers aged 25 and over are legally entitled to at least £7.20 per hour. Employers should ensure that all affected employees benefit from this new rate from 1 April 2016.

*This apprentice rate is for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.

Internet links: Parliament Living Wage

First Minister for Scotland plans to block UK tax ‘cuts’ in favour of public services

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced plans that income tax rates in Scotland will be frozen, with no increases in the basic, higher or additional rates. However the significant cuts (reduction in income tax liabilities) which would result from the increases to the higher rate threshold proposed by the UK government would not be adopted in Scotland under the proposals. Their plans are that the higher rate threshold will be frozen in real terms and increased only in line with CPI inflation in 2017/18 and by no more than inflation until 2021/22.

The exact level of the higher rate threshold will be set out each year by the Scottish Government at the budget.

The Scottish Government’s believe their proposals are a more balanced approach which ‘will be fair to higher rate taxpayers while also generating additional revenue to be invested in Scotland’s public services such as the NHS’.

Under the proposals, the Scottish Government will ensure a Personal Allowance of £12,750 in 2021/22. If necessary, the Scottish Government will create a zero rate band to ensure that this protection for low income households is delivered.

Alongside the tax proposals, the First Minister published Scottish Government analysis that demonstrated any increase in the additional rate for top earners; whilst the UK rate remains at 45p; could put millions of pounds of revenue at risk. Accordingly, she confirmed that the additional rate will not increase in 2017/18, but that the analysis will be updated each year to inform decisions in future budgets.

Nicola Sturgeon said:

‘In setting out our proposals we have balanced the need to invest in and support our public services with a recognition that many households are still facing difficult economic challenges, and with the need to grow the Scottish economy.

We will not allow our public services to pay the price of an inflation busting tax decrease for the highest earning 10% of the population. We think that is the wrong choice and today we set out our alternative.

We will freeze the basic rate of tax for the duration of the next parliament. We do not believe it is right that those on low incomes are asked to pay for austerity. That does not tackle austerity, it simply shifts the burden to those who can least afford it.

No taxpayer will see their bill increase as a result of these Scottish Government proposals.

In 2017/18, instead of offering a large tax cut we will ensure the higher rate threshold rises only by inflation.

That means next year the threshold for higher rate taxpayers will go from £43,000 to £43,387’.

These proposals would introduce a difference between the amount of income tax payable by higher and additional rate taxpayers in Scotland to that paid by taxpayers with similar income in the rest of the UK.

Other parties have their own plans for the income tax rules for Scotland.

Internet link: Scotland Gov.News

Personal allowances and tax bands

For those born after 5 April 1938 the personal allowance is currently £10,600. Those born before 6 April 1938 have a slightly higher allowance. Legislation has already been enacted to increase the personal allowance to £11,000 in 2016/17. From 2016/17 onwards one personal allowance will apply regardless of age.

Not everyone has the benefit of 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 2015/16 there is no personal allowance where adjusted net income exceeds £121,200 (£122,000 for 2016/17).

Tax bands and rates

The basic rate of tax is currently 20%. The band of income taxable at this rate is £31,785 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies is £42,385 for those who are entitled to the full basic personal allowance.

Legislation has already been enacted to increase the basic rate limit to £32,000 for 2016/17. The higher rate threshold will therefore rise to £43,000 in 2016/17 for those entitled to the full personal allowance.

The additional rate of tax of 45% remains payable on taxable income above £150,000.

Tax bands and personal allowance for 2017/18

The Chancellor has announced that the personal allowance will be increased to £11,500 and the basic rate limit increased to £33,500 for 2017/18. The higher rate threshold will therefore rise to £45,000 for those entitled to the full personal allowance.

Reduction in corporation tax rate

The main rate of corporation tax is currently 20% and this rate will continue for the Financial Year beginning on 1 April 2016. In the following years the rate of tax will fall as follows:

  • 19% for the Financial Years beginning on 1 April 2017, 1 April 2018 and 1 April 2019.
  • 17% for the Financial Year beginning on 1 April 2020.

The 17% rate from April 2020 is a reduction of 1% from the rate previously announced by the Chancellor in his Summer Budget in 2015.

CBI Director-General, Carolyn Fairbairn, said:

‘The reduction in the headline Corporation Tax rate sends out a strong signal that the UK is open for global business investment, and reforms to Interest Deductibility are rightly in line with the international consensus.’

Personal service companies in the public sector

From April 2017, individuals working through their own company in the public sector will no longer be responsible for deciding whether the intermediaries legislation applies and then paying the relevant tax and NIC. This responsibility will instead pass to the public sector employer, agency or third party that pays the worker’s intermediary. The employer, agency or third party will have to decide if the rules apply to a contract and if so, account for and pay the liabilities through the Real Time Information (RTI) system and deduct the relevant tax and NIC.

HMRC has announced they will will provide help for public sector employers and agencies with their new responsibilities. They plan to introduce clear, objective tests for employers to use to decide at the point of hire whether or not they need to consider the new rules and then identify those engagements that are caught by the rules.

For cases that are less clear cut, HMRC have announced that they will develop a simple digital tool. This will be designed to provide employers engaging an incorporated worker with a ‘real-time’ HMRC view on whether or not the intermediaries rules need to be applied.

Chris Bryce, Chief Executive of the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), commented:

‘The Chancellor announced a number of measures today which are likely to impact independent professionals and the self-employed. His move to extend rules for off-payroll working in the public sector will create confusion and disruption. The engaging department or agency will be made responsible for any tax liability. This will result in genuine businesses having to jump through numerous hoops and will see the cost of engaging contractors increase. It will endanger the delivery of vital public services and important projects like HS2.’

Internet link: HMRC Off payroll working

Business rates

Business rates have been devolved to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The Chancellor has announced cuts on business rates for half of all properties in England from 1 April 2017. In particular the government proposes to:

permanently double the Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) from 50% to 100% and increase the thresholds to benefit a greater number of businesses. Businesses with a rateable value of £12,000 and below will receive 100% relief, rateable values between £12,000 and £15,000 will receive tapered relief increase the threshold for the standard business rates multiplier to a rateable value of £51,000 taking 250,000 smaller properties out of the higher rate.

The government also proposes to modernise the administration of business rates to revalue properties more frequently and make it easier for businesses to pay the taxes that are due.

CBI Director-General, Carolyn Fairbairn, said:

‘Businesses will welcome the Chancellor’s permanent reforms to business rates – taking more small firms out of the regime and changing the uprating mechanism from RPI to CPI, which the CBI has long been calling for.’

Lifetime ISA

A new Lifetime ISA will be available from April 2017 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 will 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.

The Chancellor said in his speech:

‘My pension reforms have always been about giving people more freedom and more choice.

So faced with the truth that young people aren’t saving enough, I am today providing a different answer to the same problem.’

Internet link: GOV.UK lifetime-isa-explained

Capital gains tax rates

The current rates of capital gains tax (CGT) are 18% to the extent that total taxable income does not exceed the basic rate band and 28% thereafter.

The government is to reduce the higher rate of CGT from 28% to 20% and the basic rate from 18% to 10%. The trust CGT rate will also reduce from 28% to 20%.

The 28% and 18% rates will continue to apply for carried interest and for chargeable gains on residential property that do not qualify for private residence relief. In addition, the 28% rate still applies for ATED related chargeable gains accruing to any person (principally companies).

These changes will take effect for disposals made on or after 6 April 2016.

The rate for disposals qualifying for Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER) remains at 10% with a lifetime limit of £10 million for each individual.

 

Newsletter – September 2015

eNews – September 2015

In this month’s eNews we report on how dividends will be taxed from 2016 and changes to ATED reporting requirements and increases in the NMW and the latest target for non compliance. We also update you on HMRC’s latest taskforce target, the new advisory fuel rates and an update on auto enrolment.

Please contact us if you would like further help or advice.

Taxing dividends from April 2016

In the Summer 2015 Budget, George Osborne announced fundamental changes to the way in which dividends are taxed and HMRC have issued a factsheet setting out examples of how the new regime will work.

An extract from the HMRC Factsheet states:

‘From April 2016 you have to apply the new headline rates on the amount of dividends you actually receive, where the income is over £5,000 (excluding any dividend income paid within an ISA).

The Dividend Allowance will not reduce your total income for tax purposes. However, it will mean that you don’t have any tax to pay on the first £5,000 of dividend income you receive.

Dividends within your allowance will still count towards your basic or higher rate bands, and may therefore affect the rate of tax that you pay on dividends you receive in excess of the £5,000 allowance.’

The changes will affect dividend receipts from 6 April 2016 however those who extract profits from their company as dividends may wish to consider whether to increase dividend payments before this date.

The table below shows a comparison between the current and prospective tax rates.

Dividend falls into : Basic rate band Higher rate band Additional rate band
Effective dividend tax rate now (taking into account notional tax credit) 0% 25% 30.6%
Rate from 6 April 2016 7.5% 32.5% 38.1%

Please contact us if you would like advice on this issue.

Internet link: Factsheet

National Minimum Wage rates and National Living Wage

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is a minimum amount per hour that most workers in the UK are entitled to be paid. NMW rates increases come into effect on 1 October 2015.

From 1 October 2015:

  • the adult rate will increase by 20 pence to £6.70 per hour
  • the rate for 18 to 20 year olds will increase by 17 pence to £5.30 per hour
  • the rate for 16 to 17 year olds will increase by 8 pence to £3.87 per hour
  • the apprentice rate will increase by 57 pence to £3.30 per hour.

Employers also need to be aware that from April 2016, the government will introduce a new mandatory National Living Wage (NLW) for workers aged 25 and above. This will initially be set at £7.20 which is a 50p increase in the adult rate of NMW coming into force in October 2015. This represents an increase of in excess of £1,200 per annum in earnings for a full-time worker on the current NMW.

The NMW will continue to apply for those aged under 25. The government has issued further details of the new NLW policy.

Penalties

Penalties may be levied on employers where HMRC believe underpayments have occurred and HMRC may ‘name and shame’ non-compliant employers.

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

Internet links: Press release NLW policy

ATED updated procedures

Since 2013 a range of measures have been introduced to discourage the holding of residential property in the UK via companies, partnerships and collective investment schemes. In summary, these measures are:

  • Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is payable at 15% on the acquisition on or after 20 March 2014 of properties costing more than £500,000
  • an Annual Tax on Dwellings (ATED) applies at a fixed amount depending on value and
  • Capital gains tax (CGT) at 28% is payable on a proportion of gains for the period that the property has been subject to ATED.

There are specific reliefs and exemptions for certain types of properties.

Changes in limits

Prior to 1 April 2015 the lower property value threshold for ATED was a value of more than £2m on 1 April 2012, or at acquisition, if later. With effect from 1 April 2015, residential properties valued at more than £1m and up to £2m on 1 April 2012, or at acquisition if later, were brought into the charge.

From 1 April 2016 another new valuation band comes into effect for properties valued at more than £500,000 but less than £1 million.

The threshold for ATED-related CGT disposal consideration has also reduced from £2m to £1m from 6 April 2015 and will further reduce to £500,000 from 6 April 2016.

ATED Procedures

ATED is reported and the tax paid through an annual return. The return periods run from 1 April to 31 March each year.

Normally an ATED return must be made within 30 days of the date on which the property first comes within the charge to ATED for any chargeable period. Where the property is within the scope of ATED on 1 April each year, the return must be filed by 30 April in the year of charge. Payment of the tax is due with the return.

There is a special rule for properties coming within the scope of ATED from 1 April 2015 under the lower threshold of £1m detailed above. The rule is that returns for the chargeable period beginning 1 April 2015 must be filed by 1 October 2015 if the property was held on 1 April 2015 or within 30 days of acquisition if this is later. Payment of the tax is due 31 October 2015.

The chargeable person must submit an ATED return for any property that is within the scope of ATED for the relevant chargeable period. There are reliefs available which may reduce the liability in part or to zero. However, all claims for reliefs must be made in a new ‘relief declaration return’ and these new returns to claim relief have now been made available.

Returns for properties falling within the lower band of £500,000 are due for the chargeable period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017. The normal filing dates apply to properties within this new band. For example, if you hold a property valued at more than £500,000 on 1 April 2016, you must file your return and pay the tax by 30 April 2016.

Returns

In addition, a new ‘relief declaration return’ is introduced. Broadly, for each type of ATED relief being claimed, the company can submit a relief declaration return stating that a relief is being claimed in respect of one or more properties held at that time. No details are required of the individual properties or the number of properties eligible. Where a property is acquired in-year which also qualifies for the same type of relief, the existing return is treated as also having been made in respect of that property.

A normal ATED return will still be required in respect of any property which does not qualify or ceases to qualify for a relief i.e. where tax is due.

ATED and the reliefs available are a complex area. Please contact us if you would like specific advice.

Internet links: ATED relief declaration returns ATED

HMRC targets wealthy ‘tax cheats’ in Scotland

A taskforce which aims to tackle wealthy ‘tax cheats’ who are living beyond their means in Scotland has been launched by HMRC.

HMRC is identifying individuals with ‘badges of wealth’ such as large houses, investments, aeroplanes, boats and undeclared offshore bank accounts which are not in keeping with the information they report to HMRC.

HMRC expects the taskforce to recover nearly £4.5million. It will bring together specialist officers from across HMRC to identify wealth indicators and cross reference them with the data HMRC holds about their owners.

HMRC’s Michael Connolly, HMRC Taskforce Lead in Scotland, said:

‘HMRC’s intelligence shows that people being targeted by this taskforce have no intention of playing by the rules. They are deliberately failing to declare all their income to HMRC in a crude attempt to line their own pockets, and they will be investigated.

As a result of this behaviour, they could end up facing a heavy fine or even a criminal conviction. Those who pay the tax they are supposed to have nothing to worry about.

Using information we hold, we can target people whose lifestyle does not reflect the tax they are paying. It’s not fair that a small minority are living millionaire lifestyles as a result of not paying the tax they owe.’

Internet link: Press release

Auto enrolment ‘engagement’ and calculation tool

The Pensions Regulator (‘TPR’) has announced that following consultation they will develop a basic automatic enrolment tool. The basic tool should be available to download from TPR’s website by the end of 2015.

TPR consulted earlier this year on proposals to develop a basic tool to support those employers who use HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tools (BPT) to carry out their payroll function. HMRC’s BPT are used by many small employers to calculate PAYE, national insurance contributions and statutory payments such as Statutory Maternity Pay but has no pension function.

According to the TPR approximately 200,000 small and micro employers who use BPT are due to stage over the next two and half years and TPR’s experience indicates that using appropriate software either through payroll or pension provider systems helps employers to comply with their duties.

The majority of consultation responses were supportive of the TPR’s proposal, although some payroll firms and pension schemes were against the regulator developing a new tool.

Executive Director for Automatic Enrolment Charles Counsell said:

‘We will continue to recommend that BPT users consider using software with integrated automatic enrolment functionality, but by developing this basic contribution calculation tool we aim to ensure that BPT users have access to the help they need to support compliance.

The decision to develop a basic tool is recognition that significant numbers of BPT users will not seek a more integrated solution and will attempt manual calculations. This is another example of how The Pensions Regulator seeks to develop new ways to ensure we are meeting the needs of the diverse group of employers due to stage in the coming years.’

TPR has also issued the third edition of ‘Automatic enrolment: Commentary and analysis’, which reports on the impact of automatic enrolment and the increasing participation in workplace pension schemes. The commentary states:

  • By March 2015, over 5.2 million workers had been successfully automatically enrolled since the reforms began in 2012, an increase of more than 2.2 million workers from 2014, and 4.2 million from 2013.
  • Automatic enrolment is helping to turn around the decade-long decline in pension provision, with 59% of all employees now active members of a pension scheme, compared with just 47% in 2012. This increase suggests that pension saving is now becoming the norm.
  • The pensions landscape has been transformed as the majority of people are enrolled into defined contribution schemes. We have witnessed the growth in master trusts – 94% of employers who chose a trust-based scheme opted for a master trust.
  • We now expect that significantly more employers will be subject to automatic enrolment duties than originally anticipated, mainly due to an increase in the number of new companies that have started up, and fewer going out of business than was forecast. We have revised the staging profile accordingly, so that it reflects the 1.8 million employers we expect to help through the automatic enrolment process from now until 2018.

If you would like help with your payroll or advice on Pensions Auto Enrolment please contact us.

Internet links: Press release Commentary

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

New company car advisory fuel rates have been published which took effect from 1 September 2015. Due to the reduction in fuel prices many rates have reduced this quarter so please take care to update your expenses payments. However, 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 2015 are:

Engine size Petrol
1400cc or less 11p
1401cc – 2000cc 14p
Over 2000cc 21p

 

Engine size LPG
1400cc or less 7p
1401cc – 2000cc 9p
Over 2000cc 14p

 

Engine size Diesel
1600cc or less 9p
1601cc – 2000cc 11p
Over 2000cc 13p

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: Advisory fuel rates

Newsletter – April 2015

eNews – April 2015

This month’s enews not surprisingly reflects Budget announcements. 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 these or any other issues.

Budget 2015

George Osborne presented the final Budget of this Parliament on Wednesday 18 March 2015.

In his speech the Chancellor reported ‘on a Britain that is growing, creating jobs and paying its way’.

Towards the end of 2014 the government issued many proposed clauses of Finance Bill 2015 together with updates on consultations. Due to the dissolution of Parliament on 30 March some measures have been legislated for in the week commencing 23 March, whilst others will be enacted by a Finance Bill in the next Parliament (depending on the result of the General Election).

The Budget proposed further measures, some of which may only come to fruition if the Conservative Party is in power in the next Parliament.

The articles which follow summarise some of the key changes.

Internet link: GOV.UK Budget

Personal tax rates and allowances

For those born after 5 April 1938 the personal allowance will be increased to £10,600. For those born before 6 April 1938 the personal allowance remains at £10,660.

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. So for 2015/16 there is no personal allowance where adjusted net income exceeds £121,200.

Tax bands and rates for 2015/16

The basic rate of tax is currently 20%. The band of income taxable at this rate is being decreased from £31,865 to £31,785 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies will rise from £41,865 to £42,385 for those who are entitled to the full basic personal allowance.

The additional rate of tax of 45% is payable on taxable income above £150,000.

Dividend income is taxed at 10% where it falls within the basic rate band and 32.5% where liable at the higher rate of tax. Where income exceeds £150,000, dividends are taxed at 37.5%.

Starting rate of tax for savings income

From 6 April 2015, the maximum amount of an eligible individual’s savings income that can qualify for the starting rate of tax for savings will be increased from £2,880 to £5,000, and this starting rate will be reduced from 10% to 0%. These rates are not available if taxable non-savings income (broadly earnings, pensions, trading profits and property income) exceeds the starting rate limit.

This will increase the number of savers who are not required to pay tax on savings income, such as bank or building society interest. Eligible savers can register to receive their interest gross using a form R85.

Internet link: GOV.UK Budget

Proposed personal allowances to come

The Chancellor announced that the personal allowance will be increased to £10,800 in 2016/17 and to £11,000 in 2017/18. The Transferable Tax Allowance will also rise in line with the personal allowance, being 10% of the personal allowance for the year.

The higher rate threshold will rise in line with the personal allowance, taking it to £42,700 in 2016/17 and £43,300 in 2017/18 for those entitled to the full personal allowance.

Personal Savings Allowance

The Chancellor announced that legislation will be introduced in a future Finance Bill to apply a Personal Savings Allowance to income such as bank and building society interest from 6 April 2016.

The Personal Savings Allowance will apply for up to £1,000 of a basic rate taxpayer’s savings income, and up to £500 of a higher rate taxpayer’s savings income each year. The Personal Savings Allowance will not be available for additional rate taxpayers.

These changes will have effect from 6 April 2016 and the Personal Savings Allowance will be in addition to the tax advantages currently available to savers from Individual Savings Accounts.

The Personal Savings Allowance will provide basic and higher rate taxpayers with a tax saving of up to £200 each year.

Internet link: GOV.UK News

Help to Buy ISA

The government has announced the introduction of a new type of ISA, the Help to Buy ISA, which will provide a tax free savings account for first time buyers wishing to save for a home.

The scheme will provide a government bonus to each person who has saved into a Help to Buy ISA at the point they use their savings to purchase their first home. For every £200 a first time buyer saves, the government will provide a £50 bonus up to a maximum bonus of £3,000 on £12,000 of savings.

Help to Buy ISAs will be subject to eligibility rules and limits:

  • An individual will only be eligible for one account throughout the lifetime of the scheme and it is only available to first time buyers.
  • Interest received on the account will be tax free.
  • Savings will be limited to a monthly maximum of £200 with an opportunity to deposit an additional £1,000 when the account is first opened.
  • The government will provide a 25% bonus on the total amount saved including interest, capped at a maximum of £3,000 which is tax free.
  • The bonus will be paid when the first home is purchased.
  • The bonus can only be put towards a first home located in the UK with a purchase value of £450,000 or less in London and £250,000 or less in the rest of the UK.
  • The government bonus can be claimed at any time, subject to a minimum bonus amount of £400.
  • The accounts are limited to one per person rather than one per home so those buying together can both receive a bonus.
  • As is currently the case it will only be possible for an individual to subscribe to one cash ISA per year. It will not be possible for an account holder to subscribe to a Help to Buy ISA with one provider and another cash ISA with a different provider.
  • Once an account is opened there is no limit on how long an individual can save into it and no time limit on when they can use their bonus.

The government intends the Help to Buy ISA scheme to be available from autumn 2015 and investors will be able to open a Help to Buy ISA for a period of four years.

Internet link: GOV.UK factsheet

Pension freedoms for those with annuities

The Chancellor has announced a new flexibility for people who have already purchased an annuity. From April 2016, the government will remove the restrictions on buying and selling existing annuities to allow pensioners to sell the income they receive from their annuity for a capital sum.

Individuals will then have the freedom to take that capital as a lump sum, or place it into drawdown to use the proceeds more gradually.

Income tax at the individual’s marginal rate will be payable in the year of access to the proceeds.

The proposal will not give the annuity holder the right to sell their annuity back to their original provider. The government has begun a consultation on the measures that are needed to establish a market to buy and sell annuities and who should be permitted to purchase the annuity income.

The government recognises that for most people retaining their annuity will be the right choice. However, individuals may want to sell an annuity, for instance to pay off debts or to purchase a more flexible pension income product.

We will keep you informed of developments.

Internet link: GOV.UK News

National Minimum Wage rises

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is a minimum amount per hour that most workers in the UK are entitled to be paid. NMW rates increases come into effect on 1 October 2015:

From 1 October 2015:

  • the adult rate will increase by 20 pence to £6.70 per hour
  • the rate for 18 to 20 year olds will increase by 17 pence to £5.30 per hour
  • the rate for 16 to 17 year olds will increase by 8 pence to £3.87 per hour
  • the apprentice rate will increase by 57 pence to £3.30 per hour

Penalties

Penalties may be levied on employers where HMRC believe underpayments have occurred and HMRC ‘name and shame’ non-compliant employers.

If you have any queries on the NMW please get in touch.

Internet links: GOV.UK News

Auto Enrolment guidance for small employers

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has launched a new step-by-step guide to help small businesses get ready for their automatic enrolment duties.

According to TPR the online guide has been written specifically for employers with between one and 50 staff.

The guide which is broken down into 11 steps, considers the legal requirements and what employers need to do to comply with their obligations.

Executive director for automatic enrolment Charles Counsell said:

‘We are determined to do all we can to reach out to all small and micro businesses preparing for their automatic enrolment duties. We want to make the process as simple as possible so that employers can avoid the risk of non compliance.’

‘Our new online 11-step guide is a key part of a wide package of measures we are rolling out to give more than a million employers all the information they need, written and produced in a way they makes sense to them.’

‘Our message to employers is ensure you know when your automatic enrolment duties begin and start planning in good time. The regulator’s website should be the first port of call for all employers and their advisers as it offers essential information about each task an employer will need to accomplish in order to comply and avoid penalties.’

If you would like help with Auto Enrolment please do get in touch.

Internet links: step-by-step guide Press release

Business rates system – have your say

The government has launched a wide-ranging review of national business rates in England.

HM Treasury’s ‘wide-ranging review’ of England’s non-domestic rates system will report its findings before the 2016 Budget. The Treasury’s discussion paper invites responses from a wide range of stakeholders on issues such as commercial property use, how the rates system can be modernised, and whether business rates should continue to be based on property values.

Written responses will be accepted from the beginning of April until 12th June 2015.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:

‘Our system of business rates was created nearly 30 years ago. Since that time, the worlds of commerce and industry have changed beyond recognition. I’ve been impressed by the representations made by the business community and I know that business rates are a considerable cost.

The government has taken measures to help businesses by capping rates and introducing reliefs for smaller businesses. But now the time has come for a radical review of this important tax. We want to ensure the business rates system is fair, efficient and effective.’

Internet link: GOV.UK News

Newsletter – June 2014

In this month’s enews we report on a number of issues relevant to employers and employees. We also advise of the latest reported scam emails and also new rules for retailers.

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

 

 

New rules for retailers

From 13 June 2014 retailers who sell to consumers, including those selling digital content, must comply with the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.

Some of the key rules introduced are:

  • consumers will be entitled to clearer and more prominent information before and after a sale is made to them
  • if the consumer is buying digital content, they must have more information about such issues as compatibility and functionality and the fact that a digital download may not have a cancellation period must be made clear to the consumer at the point of sale and the consumer must agree to this
  • the cancellation period for distance and doorstep sales will be increased from 7 to 14 days
  • forbidding the use of premium rate customer telephone helplines.

The Regulations will have an impact on many areas of a business including websites, marketing literature and terms and conditions.

Internet link: Regulations

Deliberate defaulters

From time to time HMRC publish details of deliberate defaulters, those who have received penalties for deliberate errors in their tax returns or deliberately failing to comply with their tax obligations.

The latest list can be viewed by following the attached link.

Internet link: HMRC website

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

New company car advisory fuel rates have been published which took effect from 1 June 2014. HMRC’s website states:

‘These rates apply to all journeys on or after 1 June 2014 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 June 2014 are:

Engine size Petrol LPG
1400cc or less 14p 9p
1401cc – 2000cc 16p 11p
Over 2000cc 24p 16p
Engine size Diesel
1600cc or less 12p
1601cc – 2000cc 14p
Over 2000cc 17p

 

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 links: HMRC advisory fuel rates

HMRC writes to taxpayers about effective tax rates

HMRC is writing to certain taxpayers to tell them their effective rate of tax is lower than average and to ask them to check if it’s right.

The letter states:

‘A person’s effective rate of tax is the percentage of their income they have paid in tax.’

‘Looking at the figures in your self assessment tax calculation for the year ended 5 April 2012, we can see your effective rate of tax is lower than the average for people with a similar amount of income to you. This means there could be something wrong with your self assessment tax return.’

Recipients are then asked to check their returns for 2011/12 and contact HMRC if something is wrong.

There could be many reasons why an individual’s effective rate of tax could be low including claims having been made for tax reliefs for Gift Aid payments, pension payments and tax efficient investments such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme.

If you receive one of these letters and are concerned please do get in touch.

Internet link: ICAEW

Latest employment and pay statistics

The Office for National Statistics has announced the latest employment and pay statistics. These include:

  • There were 30.54 million people in work for February to April 2014, 345,000 more than for November 2013 to January 2014 and 780,000 more than a year earlier.
  • There were 2.16 million unemployed people for February to April 2014, 161,000 fewer than for November 2013 to January 2014 and 347,000 fewer than a year earlier.
  • There were 8.82 million economically inactive people (those out of work but not seeking or available to work) aged from 16 to 64 for February to April 2014. This was 80,000 fewer than for November 2013 to January 2014 and 178,000 fewer than a year earlier.
  • Pay including bonuses for employees in Great Britain for February to April 2014 was 0.7% higher than a year earlier, with pay excluding bonuses 0.9% higher.

Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment and Skills, said:

‘While there is still lots to do to tackle unemployment, this is an unprecedented rise in the number of people in work. And more than three times as many people found full-time than part-time work in another positive sign for the recovery.’

‘The private sector is driving new jobs with positions created across a range of sectors, from entertainment to transport.’

Internet links: ONS  Press release

Change of approach on PAYE penalty notices

HMRC have announced that they are changing their approach to issuing multiple penalty notices for the same PAYE non filing default.

These changes impact both the 2012/13 and 2013/14 tax years.

HMRC will issue reminder letters to those employers who have not yet filed their 2013/14 end of year, or final PAYE returns most of which should have been submitted using RTI. The deadline for submitting these returns was 19 May 2014.

If you receive a letter and would like any help with payroll or believe the returns have been submitted please do get in touch.

For 2012/13 HMRC will not issue any further updated penalty notices until the return has been filed.

Internet link: HMRC guidance on penalty notices

HMRC warn of ‘phishing’ emails

HMRC are warning tax credits claimants to be wary of scam or ‘phishing’ emails which are being sent out by fraudsters in the run up to the 31 July renewal deadline.

HMRC are advising that although they worked with other agencies to shut down over 600 scam websites during the tax credits renewal period last year, others sites continue to be created. Reported scam emails for this May are already in excess of 11,000.

HMRC advise:

Phishing emails often promise money back and, if the recipient clicks on a link, they are taken to a fake replica of the HMRC website. They are then asked to provide credit or debit card details or other sensitive information such as passwords. The fraudsters then try to take money from their account.

They often ask for the recipient’s name, address, date of birth, bank account number, sort code, credit card details, national insurance number, passwords and mother’s maiden name.

In addition to money being stolen from victims’ bank accounts, their personal details can be sold to criminal gangs, leading to possible identify theft.

Nick Lodge, Director General of Benefits and Credits, HMRC, said:

‘HMRC will never ask people to disclose personal or payment information by email. We are committed to claimants’ online security but the methods fraudsters use to get information are constantly changing, so people need to be alert.’

‘HMRC is asking people to be wary of e-mails with attachments which might contain viruses designed to steal personal or financial information, and not to open them.’

‘One scam is contained in an email circulated from taxreturn@hmrc.gov.uk telling recipients about a 2013 tax refund report. The email appears to have been issued by ‘Tax Credit Office Preston’, but it is a scam. It includes an attachment that contains a virus. Recipients are urged not to respond and to delete it immediately.’

For more information about advice on scam emails visit the link below.

Internet links: HMRC news

Employers who failed to pay NMW named

Twenty five employers who failed to pay their employees the National Minimum Wage (NMW) have been named. According to the press release the employers owed workers more than £43,000 in arrears and in addition have incurred financial penalties totalling over £21,000.

Business Minister Jenny Willott said:

‘Paying less than the minimum wage is not only wrong, it’s illegal. If employers break the law they need to know that they will face tough consequences.’

If you would like any help with National Minimum Wage issues please do get in touch.

Internet link: News

Newsletter – April 2014

In this month’s enews we report on pensions announcements and other issues pertinent to employers with many deadlines approaching.

Please contact us if you would like any further information.

 

 

HMRC guidance on new pension flexibility

Following the Budget announcements regarding pension flexibility HMRC have now issued some guidance for those individuals who may wish to review their pension options.

New rules are being introduced to ensure that people do not lose their right to a tax-free lump sum if they would rather use the new flexibility this year or next, instead of buying a lifetime annuity.

Internet link: Pensions flexibility

Employers no longer able to reclaim SSP

The Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS), which allows employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in certain circumstances, is abolished from 6 April 2014.

Under PTS employers have been able to reclaim SSP where the SSP paid is more than 13% of the Class 1 NIC due for the month. Employers are not entitled to recover any of the SSP paid to their employees unless they qualify for the reimbursement scheme.

The following example explains how the scheme worked for a tax month:

SSP paid = £630.00
Gross NI £3,704.29 x 13% = £481.56
SSP recoverable: (£630 – £481.56) = £148.44

From 6 April 2014 employers are unable to recover SSP however they will continue to be able to recover unclaimed SSP for previous years until 5 April 2016. Do contact us if you think this may apply to your business.

The government has announced that the current PTS funding will be moved into a new scheme to help employees who have been incapacitated for four weeks or more get back to work as part of the government’s Health Work and Wellbeing Initiative.

Internet link: Employer bulletin

Disclosure facility for those with undisclosed second incomes

The Second Incomes Campaign is an opportunity open to individuals in employment who have an additional untaxed source of income.

The new facility allows those with untaxed income to get up to date with their tax affairs in a simple, straightforward way and take advantage of the best possible terms.

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

Internet links: Second incomes campaign  Guide to disclosure

More guidance on Class 3A NIC

Further guidance has been issued on Class 3A National insurance contributions (NIC).

In the autumn of 2013 the Government announced plans to introduce a scheme to allow pensioners to top up their Additional State Pension by paying a new class of voluntary National Insurance contribution, to be known as Class 3A.

‘The scheme will open in October 2015 and will be available to all pensioners who reach State Pension age before the introduction of the new State Pension in April 2016. The scheme is expected to run for 18 months.’

‘Class 3A will give pensioners an option to top up their pension by up to £25 a week in a way that will protect them from inflation and offer protection to surviving spouses. In particular, it could help women, and those who have been self-employed, who tend to have low additional State Pension entitlement.’

Internet link: Publication

More HMRC guidance on the Employment Allowance

The Employment Allowance of up to £2,000 is available to most employers from 6 April 2014. Employers can reduce the amount of National Insurance contributions (NICs) they pay for their employees by up to £2,000. This is called the ‘Employment Allowance’.

Employers generally won’t have to pay any employer National Insurance contributions at all if they usually pay less than £2,000 a year.

HMRC has issued more guidance on the practicalities of claiming the allowance which can be found by visiting the link below.

For help with payroll matters please do contact us.

Internet links: Employment allowance detail  Employment allowance key facts

Tax-free childcare

Details of the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme which is to be launched in autumn 2015 have been announced.

The scheme will be worth a maximum of £2,000 per child per year. The maximum amount due is calculated on 20% of the costs of childcare (up to a total of childcare costs of £10,000 per child per year).

The scheme will be launched in autumn 2015. All children under 12 within the first year of the scheme will be eligible. To qualify for Tax-Free Childcare all parents in the household must:

  • meet a minimum income level based on working eight hours per week at the National Minimum Wage (around £50 a week at current rates)
  • each earn less than £150,000 a year, and
  • not already be receiving support through Tax Credits or Universal Credit.

Self-employed parents will be able to get support with childcare costs in the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, unlike the current employer supported childcare scheme. To support newly self-employed parents, the Government is introducing a ‘start-up’ period. During this period a newly self-employed parent will not have to earn the minimum income level.

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.

It is proposed that parents register with the Government and open an online account. The scheme will be delivered by HMRC in partnership with National Savings and Investments, the scheme’s account provider. The Government will then ‘top up’ payments into this account at a rate of 20p for every 80p that families pay in.

Internet link: News

Increase in NMW rates

The Government has approved a rise in the National Minimum Wage rates which will come into effect on 1 October 2014:

  • a 19p (3%) increase in the adult rate (from £6.31 to £6.50 per hour)
  • a 10p (2%) increase in the rate for 18 to 20 year olds (from £5.03 to £5.13 per hour)
  • a 7p (2%) increase in the rate for 16 to 17 year olds (from £3.72 to £3.79 per hour)
  • a 5p (2%) increase in the rate for apprentices (from £2.68 to £2.73 per hour.

The rise will take effect in October 2014, as Business Secretary Vince Cable has accepted in full the independent Low Pay Commission’s recommendations for 2014, including plans for bigger increases in future than in recent years.

The Low Pay Commission (LPC) has said the rise, the first real terms cash increase since 2008, is manageable for employers and will support full employment.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

‘The recommendations I have accepted today (12 March 2014) mean that low paid workers will enjoy the biggest cash increase in their take home pay since 2008. This will benefit over 1 million workers on National Minimum Wage and marks the start of a welcome new phase in minimum wage policy.’

Meanwhile HMRC have revealed some of the excuses given for not paying the NMW.

Internet links: Press release  HMRC NMW excuses

Advisory fuel rates for company cars and fuel benefit charge

Where private fuel is provided by the employer for a company car then a separate benefit is assessable on the employee. This benefit charge is calculated by applying the same percentage figure used to calculate the company car benefit to a fixed figure which for 2014/15 is set at £21,700. The percentage is linked to the car’s CO2 emission figures.

Now is a good time to consider whether this benefit is value for money for both the employee and employer.

The alternative is to reimburse the employee for business miles using the company car advisory fuel rates. The current rates are:

Engine size Petrol
1400cc or less 14p
1401cc – 2000cc 16p
Over 2000cc 24p

 

Engine size LPG
1400cc or less 9p
1401cc – 2000cc 11p
Over 2000cc 17p

 

Engine size Diesel
1600cc or less 12p
1601cc – 2000cc 14p
Over 2000cc 17p

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

P11d deadline approaching

The forms P11D, and where appropriate P9D, which report details of expenses and benefits provided to employees and directors for the year ended 5 April 2014, are due for submission to HMRC by 6 July 2014. The process of gathering the necessary information can take some time, so it is important that this process is not left to the last minute.

Employees pay tax on benefits provided as shown on the P11D, either via a PAYE coding notice adjustment or through the self assessment system. In addition, the employer has to pay Class 1A National Insurance Contributions at 13.8% on the provision of most benefits. The calculation of this liability is detailed on the P11D(b) form.

HMRC have updated their expenses and benefits toolkit for 2013/14 and record keeping for 2014/15. The toolkit consists of a checklist which may be used by advisers or employers to check they are completing the forms P11D correctly.

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

Internet links: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/payerti/exb/forms.htm  Toolkit

Newsletter – September 2012

In this month’s enews we report on HMRC’s guidance on a number of issues including those relevant to businesses, employers and individuals.

Please browse through the articles and get in touch if you have any further queries or would like more information.

 

Autumn Statement 2012

The government has announced that the Autumn Statement will be made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, on Wednesday 5 December at 12.30pm.

The Statement provides an update on the government’s plans for the economy based on the latest forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

We will let you have details of pertinent announcements following the Chancellor’s statement to Parliament.

Internet link: Treasury website

Check your National Insurance Number

HMRC have announced a new procedure whereby individuals can email them for written confirmation of their National Insurance number using form CA5403.

HMRC advise:

‘If you’ve lost or can’t remember your National Insurance number or can’t find it on official paperwork you can email HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for written confirmation of your number. You can also use this service to let HMRC know that you’ve changed your name or address.’

‘National Insurance cards are no longer issued and your National Insurance number is not proof of your identity.’

Internet links: Press release Form CA5403

What is a car, commercial vehicle or motor home for VAT?

HMRC have updated their guidance on the classification of vehicles.

For VAT purposes it is vital to know the difference between cars and other vehicles. This is because in most cases, VAT registered businesses cannot reclaim the input VAT incurred when they purchase a car. Generally businesses are able to reclaim the input VAT when they buy a commercial vehicle.

The HMRC guide explains the difference between a car, motorcycle, a motor home and a commercial vehicle for VAT purposes.

The link also gives access to the current list of ‘Car derived vans and combi vans’. This updated useful list considers the treatment of some borderline vehicles.

Internet link: HMRC VAT motor vehicle guidance

VAT guidance

HMRC have announced the publication of guidance covering the changes to address VAT borderline anomalies announced at Budget 2012.

The majority of the changes take effect from 1 October 2012. The changes which relate to caravans will however take effect from 6 April 2013.

Seven information sheets are available which cover the following areas:

  • Hot food and premises
  • Caravans
  • Sports nutrition drinks
  • Listed buildings
  • Hairdressers’ chairs
  • Self storage and
  • Anti-forestalling (in relation to the listed building and self storage changes)

HMRC have confirmed in their press release:

‘Information sheets are being published to explain how each of the changes will work. These will be incorporated into HMRC’s books of guidance as soon as possible.’

If you would like any guidance in any of these areas please do get in touch.

Internet link: HMRC VAT briefs

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme guide

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) has been in place for a number of years and provides tax relief for individuals prepared to invest in new and growing companies. Investors can obtain generous income tax and capital gains tax reliefs for their investment and companies can use the relief to attract additional investment to develop their business.

A junior version of EIS known as Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) was introduced from 6 April 2012.

HMRC have issued guidance for both companies and investors on the operation of SEIS.

Please do contact us if you would like advice on SEIS or EIS.

Internet link: HMRC SEIS guidance

National Minimum Wage Rates

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates from 1 October 2012 are as follows:

  • the adult minimum wage rate will increase from £6.08 to £6.19 an hour
  • the rate for 18 – 20 year olds will remain at £4.98 an hour
  • the rate for 16 -17 year olds will remain at £3.68 an hour and
  • the apprentice rate will increase from £2.60 to £2.65 an hour.

HMRC are able to charge penalties to those employers found to be in breach of the NMW rules. Details of the calculation of arrears and potential penalties can be found on the BIS website.

If you have any queries on the NMW please do get in touch.

Internet links: Directgov website BIS website

Get paid: A guide for owners and managers of small businesses

The CBI is backing a new guide which encourages good practice among suppliers and customers. The guide offers advice to businesses to ensure that they get paid by their customers and also pay their suppliers on time.

To read the guidance please visit the link below.

Internet links: Press release Get paid guide

HMRC launch tracker – Where’s my reply?

HMRC have announced the introduction of a new tracker service.

Agents, employees and those paying tax on company pensions through PAYE can use a new tracker to find out when to expect to receive a reply to their enquiry from HMRC.

HMRC advise:

‘If you’re an employee or you pay tax on a company pension through PAYE (Pay As You Earn – the system used by employers and pension providers to deduct tax from your wages or pension), you can use the tracker to check how long it will take HMRC to:

  • pay your income tax refund
  • reply to your general income tax enquiry
  • provide a copy of individual information, such as your tax code or pay and tax details
  • send you HMRC forms or stationery.’

‘If you’re an agent, you can also check how long it will take HMRC to:

  • register you as an agent to use HMRC Online Services
  • process an application for authority to act on behalf of a client
  • amend your agent details.’

Internet link: HMRC Where’s my reply?

Does your business still need an audit?

The government has announced key changes to company and LLP audit and reporting requirements. The changes remove the need for many more companies and LLPs to have an audit and apply to financial years ending on or after 1 October 2012.

The government has announced that:

  • for small companies the audit thresholds will be aligned with small company accounting thresholds
  • for qualifying parent companies and their subsidiaries that an option will be available to not have subsidiaries audited and instead for the parent to provide a statutory guarantee over their subsidiaries’ liabilities, and
  • dormant subsidiaries will be exempt from the requirement to prepare and file accounts.

Whilst the changes have been marketed by the government as saving businesses millions in reporting and accountancy fees, there are, of course, a number of factors to consider in making a decision as to how to proceed.

Please contact us for guidance in this area.

Internet link: BIS response

New proposals to streamline employment law

Vince Cable has announced measures to give employers more flexibility in managing their workforce by reducing employment law red tape.

According to the press release:

‘The government has given details of:

  • Its support for settlement agreements to help end employment relationships in a fair and consensual way.
  • A consultation on how best to make this work in practice starts today and Acas has agreed to provide a new code of practice.
  • How it might reduce the cap on compensation for unfair dismissal claims.
  • Proposals to streamline employment tribunals by making it easier for judges to dismiss weak cases
  • Responses to its call for evidence on the TUPE rules, when staff transfer to a new employer. Government has heard that businesses want this to be more efficient, and will consult on specific proposals before the end of the year.
  • Recommendations on how to improve guidance for small businesses on the Acas code of practice on discipline and grievance.’

Internet link: BIS news

Newsletter – March 2012

eNEWS – March 2012

In this month’s enews we report on the Budget. You may have already read some information following Budget Day but we have included details of the key announcements.

Please contact us if you would like any further information.

 

 

Budget 2012

George Osborne presented his third Budget on Wednesday 21 March 2012.

The Chancellor started by reaffirming the need for stability in the UK economy and finished in Churchillian style with phrases such as:

‘No people will strive as the British will strive.’

‘No country will adapt as the British will adapt.’

‘This country borrowed its way into trouble. Now we’re going to earn our way out.’

The main Budget proposals announced are:

  • A further increase in the personal allowance but with a reduction in the basic rate band from April 2013.
  • A reduction in the additional rate of income tax from 50% to 45% from April 2013.
  • A phasing out of the age related personal allowances.
  • Details of how Child Benefit will be taxed on those with income in excess of £50,000.
  • An additional 1% cut in the main rate of corporation tax to 24% from April 2012.
  • Increased Stamp Duty Land Tax on high value residential properties.

Details of the announcements and supporting documentation can be found on the Treasury website using the link below.

Internet link: Treasury Website Budget page

Increased personal allowance for 2012/13

For those aged under 65 the personal allowance will be increased by £630 to £8,105. This increase is greater than the minimum required and is part of the plan of the government to ultimately raise the allowance to £10,000.

The personal allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 of adjusted net income over £100,000. So for 2012/13, the allowance ceases at adjusted net income in excess of £116,210.

Tax band and rates 2012/13

The basic rate of tax is currently 20%. The band of income taxable at this rate is being reduced to £34,370 so that the threshold at which the 40% higher rate of tax applies will remain at £42,475.

The 50% additional rate of tax currently applies where taxable income exceeds £150,000.

If dividend income is part of total income this is taxed at 10% where it falls within the basic rate band, 32.5% where liable at the higher rate of tax and 42.5% where liable to the additional rate of tax.

Changes for 2013/14

The personal allowance is to increase to £9,205. The band of income taxable at this rate is being reduced to £32,245 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies will reduce to £41,450.

For 2013/14 the 20% basic rate and 40% higher tax rates remain unchanged. However the 50% additional rate tax will be reduced to 45%. A rate of 37.5% will be payable on dividends liable to the additional rate of tax.

There had been widespread speculation that the 50% top rate of tax would be abolished.

Internet link: HMRC Budget information

Age allowances

It was announced in the Budget that from 2013/14 the higher age related personal allowances will not be increased and their availability will be restricted to people born on or before:

  • 5 April 1948 for the £10,500 allowance
  • 5 April 1938 for the £10,660 allowance.

This has been labelled the ‘granny tax’ by many as the increased allowances will no longer be available to those reaching age 65 and 75 respectively.

Internet link: HMRC Budget information

Child Benefit

Legislation will be introduced to impose a new charge on a taxpayer who has adjusted net income over £50,000 in a tax year where either they or their partner are in receipt of Child Benefit for the year. Where both partners have adjusted net income in excess of £50,000 the charge will apply to the partner with the higher income.

The 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. The charge on taxpayers with income above £60,000 will be equal to the amount of Child Benefit paid.

Child Benefit claimants will be able to decide not to receive Child Benefit if they or their partner do not wish to pay the new charge.

This charge will have effect from 7 January 2013 and for 2012/13 will apply to the Child Benefit paid from that date to the end of the tax year. The income taken into account will be the full income for 2012/13.

The removal of Child Benefit from households containing a higher rate taxpayer had been announced previously. However the detail of the way in which the restriction would apply had been subject to speculation. The following HMRC example shows how the charge will be calculated:

The Child Benefit for two children amounts to £1,752 and the taxpayer’s adjusted net income is £54,000.

The income tax charge will be £700.80 which is calculated as £17.52 for every £100 above £50,000.

For a taxpayer with adjusted net income of £60,000 or above the income tax charge will equal the Child Benefit.

Internet link: HMRC Budget information

Corporation tax rates

A further reduction in the main rate of corporation tax has been announced. The planned 1% decrease announced to take effect from 1 April 2012 is now to be a 2% decrease with the rate moving from 26% to 24%. Further 1% reductions to 23% and 22% are to take place from 1 April 2013 and 1 April 2014 respectively. The small company rate will remain at 20%.

Internet link: HMRC Budget information

Stamp duty land tax (SDLT)

A new rate of 7% will be introduced where the chargeable consideration for a residential property is more than £2 million. This will have effect where the effective date (normally the date of completion) is on or after 22 March 2012, unless the contract was entered into before that date.

An even higher rate of 15% will apply to such residential properties if the purchaser is a ‘non natural person’, for example a company. This will have effect where the effective date of the transaction is on or after 21 March 2012.

In addition the government will consult on the introduction of:

  • a SDLT annual charge where properties over £2 million are owned by non natural persons
  • a CGT charge on residential property owned by non resident, non natural persons.

Both these measures will apply from April 2013.

The intention of the 15% charge is to stop or reduce the number of schemes which claim to allow a property to be transferred without SDLT. The charges to be introduced in 2013 are aimed at charging properties already in companies which are used as residential accommodation.

Internet link: HMRC SDLT Budget changes

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 2012 which this year falls on a Saturday.

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

Reimbursing additional household expenses

From 6 April 2012 HMRC are increasing the guideline rate which employers can use to reimburse employees for additional household expenses incurred because they have to work from home to £4 per week (currently £3 a week). To find out more about the circumstances when these expenses can be reimbursed please do get in touch.

Internet link: HMRC expenses and benefits

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

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

‘These rates apply to all journeys on or after 1 March 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 March 2012 are:

Engine size Petrol Diesel LPG
1400cc or less 15p   10p
1401cc – 2000cc 18p   12p
Over 2000cc 26p   18p
1600cc or less   13p*  
1601cc – 2000cc   15p  
Over 2000cc   19p*  

Please note that only two of the diesel rates have changed. These two rates marked * have both increased by one pence per mile.

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 fuel advisory rates

Updated guidance on Gift Aid and new declarations

HMRC have updated their guidance on Gift Aid declarations and provided new model declarations. They have also developed a new checklist of the minimum information to be included in a declaration if a charity decides to create and use its own declaration form.

Internet link: HMRC Charities Gift Aid

National Minimum Wage rates

The government has accepted the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations for National Minimum Wage rates from 1 October 2012.

From 1 October 2012:

  • the adult minimum wage rate will increase from £6.08 to £6.19 an hour
  • the youth development rate will remain at £4.98 an hour
  • the 16-17 year old rate will remain at £3.68 an hour and
  • the apprentice rate will increase from £2.60 to £2.65 an hour.

The Chair of the Low Pay Commission David Norgrove said:

‘Our recommendations this year are, as ever, based on extensive economic evidence and take account of the prospects for the UK economy. Although the economy is forecast to grow through 2012 and 2013, the expected pace of growth is uncertain and is likely to be low. We believe our recommendations for October 2012 balance the needs of low-paid workers against the challenges facing businesses, particularly small businesses.’

Internet link: Press release

National Loan Guarantee Scheme

The Chancellor George Osborne has launched the National Loan Guarantee Scheme (NLGS), which is designed to help ‘smaller businesses’ across the UK access cheaper finance. The loans will be available to businesses with an annual group turnover of up to £50 million.

According to the press release:

‘The government is using the UK’s budget credibility in financial markets to provide up to £20 billion of government guarantees on unsecured borrowing by banks, enabling them to borrow at a cheaper rate. Around £5 billion in guarantees will be made available in the first tranche.’

Businesses that take out an NLGS loan will receive a discount of 1% compared to the interest rate that they would otherwise have received from that bank outside the scheme.

George Osborne said:

‘The government promised to help small businesses get access to lower interest rates. Today, we deliver on that promise with a nationwide scheme. It’s only because we’ve earned credibility with our deficit reduction plan that we have low interest rates, and it’s only because of this scheme that we can pass the benefits of those low rates onto businesses.’

Internet link: Press release

Newsletter – September 2011

In this month’s enews we report on increases to the NMW rates. Please contact us if you would like any further details on any of the issues covered.

 

 

National Minimum Wage rates

The adult rate of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) increases to £6.08 (£5.93) an hour from 1 October 2011. This is payable to those age 21 and over.

The rate for those aged 18 to 20 increases to £4.98 (£4.92) and for 16 and 17 year olds to £3.68 (£3.64) an hour.

The apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship, increases to £2.60 (£2.50) and hour.

Updated guidance available on the Business Link website includes specific situations such as those engaged on work experience or internships and their entitlement to the NMW. The guidance also includes a new worker checklist for employers and case study examples.

The press release confirms:

‘Entitlement to the NMW does not depend on a job title but on whether the arrangement they have with an organisation makes them a worker for NMW purposes. Where an individual is a worker – and no exemption applies – then they must be paid at least the NMW.’

Employment Relations Minister Edward Davey said:

‘Internships and work experience of all forms offer an excellent opportunity in helping to bridge the gap between education and the workplace. And for businesses it allows them access to a wide talent pool of some of our best and brightest who didn’t take the traditional route into a job.

Fairness though is absolutely paramount with all placements. When a worker is entitled to the minimum wage, they should be paid it and we will continue to enforce the law. Today’s publication will help clarify this for employers and will also make sure that all interns and those on work experience placements have a better understanding of their entitlement to the minimum wage.’

HMRC are able to charge penalties to those employers found to be in breach of the NMW rules.

If you have any queries on the NMW please do get in touch.

Internet links: NMW rates Business link guidance Press release NMW Penalties

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

New company car advisory fuel rates have been published to take effect from 1 September 2011. HMRC’s website states:

‘These rates apply to all journeys on or after 1 September 2011 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 2011 are:

Engine size Petrol LPG
1400cc or less 15p (15p) 11p (11p)
1401cc – 2000cc 18p (18p) 12p (13p)
Over 2000cc 26p (26p) 18p (18p)
Engine size Diesel
1600 cc or less 12p (12p)
1601cc – 2000cc 15p (15p)
Over 2000cc 18p (18p)

Please note that only one rate has changed and that has been reduced and care must be taken to apply the correct rate after the one month period of grace.

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

Agreement with Switzerland to secure billions in unpaid tax

The government has agreed measures with Switzerland to tackle offshore tax evasion. Under the terms of an agreement, existing funds held by UK taxpayers in Switzerland will be subject to a significant one-off deduction of between 19% and 34% to settle past tax liabilities.

From 2013, a new withholding tax of 48% on investment income and 27% on gains will ensure the effective future taxation of UK residents with funds in Swiss bank accounts. This will be accompanied by new information-sharing rules which will make it easier for HMRC to find out about Swiss accounts held by UK taxpayers. The new charges will not apply if the taxpayer authorises a full disclosure of their affairs to HMRC.

Internet link: Press release

Unemployment figures

The latest unemployment figures show the number of people out of work rose by 80,000 to 2.51 million in the three months to July 2011.

Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment Policy, said:

‘This rise in unemployment is troubling, particularly the growing number of young people out of work.

With one in five 16-24 year olds currently unemployed, tackling youth unemployment must be a priority. Businesses are eager to play their part through apprenticeships, training and work placements, but now the government must do all it can to create the right conditions for the private sector to create much-needed jobs.’

Internet link: Press release

HMRC reminder on new tax return penalties

HMRC are reminding individuals and businesses about new Self Assessment penalties for late returns and late payments, which come into effect this autumn.

The changes will apply to Self Assessment returns for 2010/11 which must be submitted by 31 January 2012. As stated on the HMRC website:

‘The new penalties for late Self Assessment returns are:

  • an initial £100 fixed penalty, which will now apply even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time
  • after 3 months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900
  • after 6 months, a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater; and
  • after 12 months, another 5% or £300 charge, whichever is greater. In serious cases, the penalty after 12 months can be up to 100% of the tax due.’

If you would like help or advice on your Self Assessment return please do contact us.

Internet links: Press release HMRC deadlines and penalties

School Charities – Gift Aid and Payroll Giving guide

HMRC have published a Gift Aid and Payroll Giving guide for School Charities.

The guide contains information and simple examples specifically related to funds received by school charities to help make the most of these donations and identify what qualifies for Gift Aid. The guidance covers the following scenarios:

‘Appeals to fund extra lessons

Non-uniform days

School fees

Appeals towards school running costs

Appeals to fund scholarships

Appeals to a general reserve fund

Educational school trips

Appeals to buy a minibus or other equipment

Sponsored events

Payments to e-Learning Foundations

Building appeals

Other fundraising events’

Internet links: HMRC website Guidance

Revised construction industry penalties

From October 2011 the late submission Construction Industry Scheme monthly returns will result in revised penalties. The penalties are as follows:

  • a basic penalty of £100 for failure to meet due date of the 19th of the month
  • where the failure continues after two months after the due date, a further penalty of £200 will be charged
  • after six months an additional penalty will be due, rising to the greater of 5% of the tax or £300
  • after 12 months a further penalty will again be due being the greater of £300 or 5% of the tax but, where the withholding of information is deliberate and concealed, it will be 100% of the tax (or £3,000 if greater) and where information is withheld deliberately 70% of the tax (or £1,500 if greater).

Please get in touch if you would like help or advice on the Construction Industry Scheme.

Internet link: HMRC guidance on CIS penalties

HMRC report increase in phishing scams

HMRC have confirmed that reports of fraudulent ‘phishing’ emails have risen by 300% over the past year. The figure for August 2011 was 24,000. HMRC are currently helping to shut down around 100 scam websites a month.

They are stressing that if anyone receives an email claiming to be from HMRC advising that they are due a tax repayment that they do not follow the email’s instructions.

The emails provide a ‘click-through link’ to a cloned replica of the HMRC website, where the recipient is asked to provide their credit or debit card details. HMRC advise that victims risk not only having their bank accounts emptied but also their personal details being sold on to other organised criminal gangs.

Joan Wood, Director of HMRC Online and Digital, said:

‘We only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post. We currently don’t use telephone calls, emails or external companies in these circumstances. If anyone receives an email claiming to be from HMRC, please send it to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk before deleting it permanently.

The increase in reports is partly due to improved awareness of this scam. However, I have no doubt that more of these “phishing” emails are in general circulation than ever before.

HMRC will do everything possible to ensure those receiving this email know what steps to take to protect their information, and we are working closely with other law enforcement agencies to target the criminals behind this serious crime and see them brought to justice.’

Internet link:

Newsletter – April 2011

In this month’s enews we report on many employer related issues including the announcement of the new National Minimum Wage rates. Please do get in touch if you have any queries.

Real Time Information

HMRC are planning to introduce significant changes to the way in which PAYE information is submitted to HMRC. Currently employers send details of employees pay, tax and national insurance deductions at the end of the tax year (forms P35 and P14). The deadline for the submission of this year’s forms is 19 May 2011. There are penalties, which apply to broadly all employers, for failing to submit the forms on time and electronically, so please get in touch if you require any help in this area.

HMRC are planning to introduce Real Time Information (RTI) a system of monthly/weekly PAYE returns which would replace the annual end of year forms.

As detailed in the HMRC consultation document:

‘RTI will collect information about tax and other deductions automatically each time employers run their payroll. This information will be submitted automatically to HMRC at the same time the employees are paid. Where employers pay their employees via BACS, the RTI data will form part of the BACS submission.’

HMRC hope that this change to the system should mean that employees pay the right amount of tax and are paid the correct amount of state benefits where appropriate.

Following a consultation by HMRC, it has been confirmed that a pilot scheme will run from April 2012. The introduction of the scheme will be phased in and it is expected that all employers will move to RTI by October 2013. Large employers will be expected to use the system from April 2013.

The start date is slightly later than had been originally announced following a consultation with interested parties.

If you would like further information or guidance on payroll issues please do get in touch.

Internet link: Press release

Cheque Guarantee Card Scheme to end

It has been announced that the Cheque Guarantee Card Scheme will come to an end.

The closure of the Scheme means that it will no longer be possible to guarantee a ‘domestic’ cheque using a card after 30 June 2011. The decision to close the Scheme was taken by the Payments Council as guaranteed cheque use is in decline. The end of the Cheque Guarantee Scheme does not necessarily mean the end of cheques as businesses may continue to accept them if they choose to do so. However businesses that currently accept cheques with a guarantee card may wish to look into alternative payment methods.

Internet link: UK Payments article

Penalties on late payment of PAYE

HMRC have been warning employers for some time that they may have to pay a penalty if they do not pay their PAYE deductions on time. The penalties apply to PAYE deductions due for a period starting on or after 6 April 2010 include PAYE, Student Loan deductions, Construction Industry Scheme payments, Class 1 NICs, annual payments of employers’ Class 1A NICs and annual PAYE Settlement Agreements payments.

Deductions of PAYE, NICs, Student Loan deductions and Construction Industry Scheme payments are generally due by 19 of each month (or 22 if paid by electronic means and cleared into HMRC’s bank account). Small employers are able to pay quarterly.

Although the penalties apply from April 2010 notices will not be issued until after the end of the tax year and are expected to be issued in April or May 2011. For the majority of late payments the penalties start at 1% increasing to 4% depending on the number of late payments in the year. Extra penalties will be added where liabilities are outstanding for a further six and then 12 months.

Internet links: HMRC guidance on late payment HMRC alert

National Minimum Wage rates

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is a minimum amount per hour that most workers in the UK are entitled to be paid. The rates are reviewed each year by the Low Pay Commission and from 1 October 2011:

  • the main rate for workers aged 21 and over will increase to £6.08 (currently £5.93)
  • the 18-20 rate will increase to £4.98 (currently £4.92)
  • the 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18 will increase to £3.68 (currently £3.64)
  • the apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship will increase to £2.60 (currently £2.50).

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

‘More than 890,000 of Britain’s lowest-paid workers will gain from these changes. They are appropriate – reflecting the current economic uncertainty while at the same time protecting the UK’s lowest-paid workers. I would like to thank the LPC for doing a good job in difficult circumstances.’

Chairman of the LPC David Norgrove said:

‘We welcome the Government’s acceptance of our recommendations. The Commission was again unanimous, despite all the economic uncertainties. We believe we have struck the right balance between the needs of low-paid workers and the challenges faced by businesses.’

Penalties for non compliance

Since April 2009 HMRC have been able to charge penalties to those employers found to be in breach of the NMW rules.

Automatic penalties are levied on employers where HMRC officers find NMW arrears. The penalties range from £100 to £5,000 with 50% prompt payment discounts for employers who settle within 14 days of notification.

The penalty is payable in addition to arrears owed to the workers.

In serious cases of non compliance the employer may be tried in a Crown Court and in those cases the fines are unlimited.

If you have any queries on the NMW please do get in touch.

Internet links: Press release BIS NMW guidance

P11D deadline looming

The forms P11D, and where appropriate P9D, which report employees and directors benefits and expenses for the year ended 5 April 2011, are due for submission to HMRC by 6 July 2011. The process of gathering the necessary information can take some time, so it is important that this process is not left to the last minute.

Employees pay tax on benefits provided as shown on the P11D, either via a PAYE coding notice adjustment or through the self assessment system. In addition, the employer has to pay Class 1A National Insurance Contributions at 12.8% (for 2010/11) on the provision of most benefits. The calculation of this liability is detailed on the P11D(b) form.

If you would like any help with the completion of forms P11D or the calculation of the Class 1A liability please get in touch.

Internet link: HMRC P11D guidance

Online VAT returns

HMRC have confirmed that all businesses will have to complete online VAT returns and pay their VAT liabilities electronically from April 2012. Currently many businesses have to comply with these rules. However smaller businesses, registered prior to 1 April 2010 with an annual turnover of less than £100,000, can currently complete paper VAT returns and pay by non electronic means.

If you would like any help with VAT matters please do contact us.

Internet link: HMRC VAT guidance

Implementation date announced for the Bribery Act 2010

At the end of March 2011, the Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke announced that the Bribery Act 2010 will come into force on 1 July 2011. The new Act replaces, updates and extends the existing UK law against bribery and corruption. This important new legislation:

  • introduces a corporate offence of failure to prevent bribery by persons working on behalf of a business. A business can avoid conviction if it can show that it has adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery;
  • makes it a criminal offence to give, promise or offer a bribe and to request, agree to receive or accept a bribe either at home or abroad. The measures cover bribery of a foreign public official; and
  • increases the maximum penalty for bribery from seven to 10 years imprisonment, with an unlimited fine.

The introduction into law of the new corporate offence of failure of commercial organisations to prevent bribery is an important development that essentially requires all businesses to consider the requirements of the new Act. This new corporate offence is coupled with a defence where, if the business can show that it had ‘adequate procedures’ in place to prevent bribery, it can be protected from committing the new criminal offence.

All businesses should now familiarise themselves with the statutory guidance and begin to assess the risk of bribery occurring in the business. The extent of any further action will be dependent on the results of this risk assessment.

The Act also requires the government to produce guidance on what constitutes ‘adequate procedures’ and the Ministry of Justice has produced this. This can be found using the links below.

Internet links: Bribery Act 2010 guidance Quick start guide