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
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:
|1400cc or less||14p||9p|
|1401cc – 2000cc||16p||11p|
|1600cc or less||12p|
|1601cc – 2000cc||14p|
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.’
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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