Newsletter – January 2018

eNews January 2018

In this month’s eNews we report on the government’s proposals on auto enrolment, the Scottish draft budget and their plans for five income tax rates and changes to Land and Buildings Transaction Tax. We also include an announcement from the Welsh Assembly on the proposals for Land Transaction Tax.

With details of an HMRC iTunes scam and the withdrawal of options to pay HMRC at the Post Office and via personal credit card there is lots to update you on.

Scottish Draft Budget

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay delivered the 2018/19 Scottish Draft Budget on Thursday 14 December 2017 setting out the Scottish government’s financial and tax plans.

The Scottish government has the power to set the rates and bands of income tax (other than those for savings and dividend income) which apply to Scottish resident taxpayers.

Since 6 April 2016 the rates and bands of Scottish income tax have been frozen at 20% and the Scottish higher and Scottish additional rates at 40% and 45% respectively. For 2017/18 the higher rate threshold in Scotland is £43,000 whilst the threshold in the rest of the UK is £45,000. This means that a Scottish higher rate taxpayer will pay £400 more tax in 2017/18 than a UK higher rate taxpayer, being £2,000 at the marginal rate of 20%.

For 2018/19 the rates and tax bands applicable to Scottish taxpayers on non-savings and non dividend income will be as follows:

Scottish Bands Band name Scottish Rates
Over £11,850* – £13,850 Starter 19%
Over £13,850 – £24,000 Basic 20%
Over £24,000 – £44,273 Intermediate 21%
Over £44,273 – £150,000** Higher 41%
Over £150,000** Top 46%

* assuming the individual is entitled to a full UK personal allowance

** the personal allowance will be reduced if an individual’s adjusted net income is above £100,000. The allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 of income over £100,000

The UK higher rate tax point for 2018/19 has been set at £46,350 (for those entitled to the full UK personal allowance) and the tax rates for non-savings and non-dividend income have been maintained at 20%, 40% and 45% respectively.

For 2018/19 Scottish taxpayers with employment income of £26,000 will pay the same amount of income tax as those with the similar income in the rest of the UK. For higher earners, with pay of £150,000, a Scottish taxpayer will pay an extra £1,770 of income tax than those on similar income in the rest of the UK.

Internet link: GOV.SCOT publication

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and First-Time Buyer Relief

The Scottish government announced that they will introduce a new Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) relief for first-time buyers of properties up to £175,000. The relief will raise the zero tax threshold for first-time buyers from £145,000 to £175,000, and according to the Scottish government 80% of first-time buyers in Scotland will pay no LBTT at all. The Scottish government also announced that first-time buyers buying a property above £175,000 will also benefit from the relief on the portion of the price below the threshold.

The Scottish government announced that they will launch a consultation on the policy before introducing the first-time buyer relief in 2018/19. The relief for first-time buyers paying Stamp Duty Land Tax on first homes in the rest of the UK was introduced from 22 November 2017.

Internet link: GOV.SCOT publication

Welsh Land Transaction Tax

The Welsh Parliament have announced changes to proposed rates and bands for Land Transaction Tax which is to be introduced in Wales from 1 April 2017.

The rates and bands will be confirmed in January 2018 but details of the proposed rates and bands are included in the following statement.

Internet links: GOV.WALES land-transaction-tax GOV.WALES statement

Proposals to extend pensions auto enrolment to younger workers

The government has announced proposals to extend pensions auto enrolment to include younger workers and to amend the way in which contributions are calculated.

According to the press release:

The review’s recommendations, which will now be progressed and legislated for where necessary, will see:

  • automatic enrolment duties continuing to apply to all employers, regardless of sector and size
  • young people, from 18 years old, benefiting from automatic enrolment, introducing 900,000 young people into saving an additional £800 million through a workplace pension
  • workplace pension contributions calculated from the first pound earned, rather than from a lower earnings limit – this will bring an extra £2.6 billion into pension saving, improving incentives for people in multiple jobs to opt-in, and simplifying the way employers assess their workforces and calculate contributions
  • the earnings trigger remaining at £10,000 for 2018/19, subject to annual reviews
  • contribution levels reviewed after the implementation of the 8% contribution rate in 2019
  • the government testing a series of ‘targeted interventions’ – including through opportunities to work with organisations who act as ‘touch points’ for the 4.8 million self-employed people, such as banks and those who contract labour – to explore how technology can be used to increase their pension saving.’

Under auto enrolment, employers are required to automatically enrol all eligible workers (generally employees) into a workplace pension scheme and pay a minimum contribution into their pension. Employees do, however, have the right to opt out of auto enrolment.

Currently workers who are aged between 22 and the State Pension Age with earnings of £10,000 per annum are eligible to be auto enrolled. Younger employees and those who do not meet the minimum income requirement can opt to make pension contributions.

The government plan to reduce the lower age limit to 18 by the mid 2020s, in order to encourage younger workers to get into ‘the habit of saving’.

David Gaulke, Work and Pensions Secretary said:

‘We are committed to enabling more people to save while they are working, so that they can enjoy greater financial security when they retire. We know the world of work is changing, so it is only right that pension saving does too. This ambitious package will see more people than ever before helped onto the path towards building a secure retirement.’

Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), stated:

‘Requiring employers to contribute from the first pound of earnings will mean that, by 2019, hundreds of thousands of small employers will have to pay up to £180 more per employee each year. ‘For employers in certain sectors, such as care and hospitality where margins are tight, this will really add up.’

Contact us if you would like help with payroll and auto enrolment.

Internet links: GOV.UK news FSB press release

Paying HMRC? Not at the post office or by credit card

With many individuals having tax payments to make at the end of this month it is important to be aware that HMRC have announced that they will no longer accept payments made at the Post Office or by credit card.

HMRC have announced that with effect from 15 December 2017 it will no longer be possible to make payments to HMRC at a post office. The reason for this change is that contract with Santander, which allowed this method of payment, has expired. HMRC are advising that where electronic payment is not possible, payments can still be made at bank branches using a payslip and payments for self assessment income tax can still be posted to HMRC.

From 13 January 2018 it will no longer be possible to pay HMRC using a personal credit card. The timing of this change coincides with the date from which HMRC will no longer be permitted to charge fees for payment by credit card.

Internet link: ICAEW blog

HMRC warning about iTunes gift card scam

HMRC are urging people to stay safe from a phone scam that is conning elderly and vulnerable people out of thousands of pounds.

The scammers are preying on victims by cold calling them and impersonating an HMRC member of staff. They advise the victim that they owe a large amount of tax which they can only pay off by digital vouchers and gift cards, including Apple’s iTunes vouchers.

The scam victims are told to go to a local shop, to purchase vouchers, and then read out the redemption codes to the scammer. The conmen then sell on the codes or purchase high value products, all at the victim’s expense.

According to HMRC the scammers frequently use intimidation to get what they want, threatening to seize the victim’s property or involve the police. The use of vouchers is an attractive scam as they are easy to sell on and hard to trace once used.

HMRC have confirmed that they would never request the settling of debt through such a method.

According to figures from Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, between the beginning of 2016 and August this year there have been over 1,500 reports of this scam, with the numbers increasing in recent months. The vast majority of the victims are aged over 65 and suffered an average financial loss of £1,150 each.

HMRC is working closely with law enforcement agencies, Apple and campaign groups to make sure the public know how to spot the scam and who to report it to.

HMRC’s Director General of Customer Services, Angela MacDonald, said:

These scammers are very confident, convincing and utterly ruthless. We don’t want to see anyone fall victim to this scam just before Christmas. That’s why we’re working closely with crime fighters to ensure taxpayers know how to avoid it.

These scams often prey on vulnerable people. We urge people with elderly relatives to warn them about this scam and remind them that they should never trust anyone who phones them out of the blue and asks them to pay a tax bill. If you think you’ve been a victim you should contact Action Fraud immediately.’

Internet link: GOV.UK news

Newsletter – June 2013

In this month’s enews we report on various issues many of which are relevant to employers. Please do get in touch if you would like more detail on any of the articles.

Real Time Information and paying HMRC

HMRC are reminding employers that they need to pay their PAYE liabilities ‘on time and in full’ although they are mindful that employers are still getting used to reporting under RTI.

The due dates for payment remain unchanged. Cheque payments therefore need to be received by the 19th of the month following the end of the tax month of deduction and cleared electronic payments by the 22nd.

Under RTI HMRC are aware of the amount of PAYE payment due as this is the:

  • total amount shown on the Full Payment Submission(s) (FPS) for a tax month, including any corrections or adjustments submitted on or before the 19th of the following month
  • less the amount shown on any Employer Payment Summary (EPS), also submitted on or before the 19th of the following month.

Where amended or additional EPS or FPS returns are made after the 19th of the month these will be reflected in the payment due for the following period.

HMRC also advise that employers should also use an EPS to tell them that there is no FPS to send (where no employees have been paid in the month) as, without it, HMRC will estimate what they believe is due and expect the employer to pay it in full. This estimate is known as the ‘specified charge’.

A specified charge will be issued for each month that the employer fails to report. A specified charge does not replace the need for an employer to send a FPS, as this still needs to be sent to report the actual deductions the employer has made.

Where an employer submits an FPS or EPS within seven days of the specified charge, these submissions will overwrite the specified charge. This means that an employer can pay the reported amount rather than the specified charge.

Employers can check their 2013/14 PAYE payment position by using the online PAYE Liabilities & Payments Viewer to confirm the real time submissions that HMRC have received and to check what is owed and been paid. This viewer will also include any specified charges.

Please do get in touch if you have any queries on payroll issues.

Internet link: HMRC news

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

New company car advisory fuel rates have been published to take effect from 1 June 2013. HMRC’s website states:

‘These rates apply to all journeys on or after 1 June 2013 until further notice. For one month from the date of change, employers may use either the previous or new current rates, as they choose. Employers may therefore make or require supplementary payments if they so wish, but are under no obligation to do either.’

The advisory fuel rates for journeys undertaken on or after 1 June 2013 are:

Engine size Petrol LPG
1400cc or less 15p 10p
1401cc – 2000cc 17p (18p) 12p
Over 2000cc 25p (26p) 18p


Engine size Diesel
1600cc or less 12p (13p)
1601cc – 2000cc 14p (15p)
Over 2000cc 18p

Please note that not all of the rates have been amended, so care must be taken to apply the correct rate. The amounts for the previous quarter are shown in brackets where the rate has been amended.

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

HMRC guidance for charity shops

HMRC have published new detailed guidance on claiming Gift Aid when goods are sold by, and the proceeds gifted to, charity shops.

The guidance is useful for charities and also those making donations as it details the circumstances when Gift Aid may be claimed by the charity and the position for the donor wishing to claim higher rate tax relief.

Internet link: Charity guidance

HMRC announce extension to relaxation on RTI

HMRC have announced that they will extend the temporary relaxation of the new reporting rules for businesses with fewer than 50 employees from October 2013 until April 2014 and that this relaxation will come to an end at this point.

The relaxation means that these businesses are still required to report using RTI, but are able to do so once a month, rather than each time they pay their employees. This gives small businesses that pay weekly (or more frequently), but who only run their payroll at the end of the month, some extra time to adjust to the new requirements.

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

‘The roll-out continues to exceed our expectations. I am delighted that 83% of SMEs and 77% of the smallest businesses are already on board. We will now write to the minority of employers who are not, to establish how we can help them meet the requirements of reporting in real time’

Please do contact us if you would like any assistance with payroll matters.

Internet link: Press release

Latest employment and pay statistics

The Office for National Statistics has announced the latest official labour market statistics. These are as follows:

  • The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for February to April 2013 was 71.5%, down 0.1% from November 2012 to January 2013. There were 29.76 million people in employment aged 16 and over, up 24,000 from November 2012 to January 2013.
  • The unemployment rate for February to April 2013 was 7.8% of the economically active population, unchanged from November 2012 to January 2013. There were 2.51 million unemployed people, down 5,000 from November 2012 to January 2013.
  • The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for February to April 2013 was 22.4%, up 0.1% from November 2012 to January 2013. There were 8.99 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, up 40,000 from November 2012 to January 2013.
  • Between February to April 2012 and February to April 2013 total pay rose by 1.3% and regular pay rose by 0.9%.

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

‘It’s encouraging to see businesses feel able to pay people a little more through one-off bonuses, as economic conditions appear to have brightened. The use of bonuses rather than base pay awards suggests firms are still being cautious.’

‘The labour market always lags a few months behind the economy, so it’s not surprising that overall, the picture on unemployment remains fairly flat.’

‘However, we expect to see improving economic conditions making a more positive impact on job creation later this year and it’s encouraging that once again the private sector more than offset the number of positions lost in the public sector during the first quarter.’

Internet links: ONS statistics Press release

New 0300 helpline numbers

HMRC have introduced new phone numbers for VAT, National Insurance, income tax and self assessment.

For most people the new numbers will reduce the cost of calling these helplines. The numbers are set out below for your information:



Old Number

New Number

VAT Enquiries 0845 010 9000 0300 200 3700
VAT Online Services Helpdesk 0845 010 8500 0300 200 3701
VAT, Customs & Excise Welsh Language Line 0845 010 0300 0300 200 3705

For those with hearing or speech impairments, the new textphone number for both VAT Enquiries and VAT Online Services Helpdesk changes from 0845 010 8500 to 0300 200 3719.

National Insurance


Old Number

New Number

National Insurance enquiries for employees and individuals 0845 302 1479 0300 200 3500
National Insurance registrations 0845 915 7006 0300 200 3502
National Insurance deficiency enquiries 0845 915 5996 0300 200 3503
Newly Self-Employed Helpline 0845 915 4515 0300 200 3504
National Insurance enquiries for the self-employed 0845 915 4655 0300 200 3505
National insurance enquiries for non-UK residents 0845 915 4811 0300 200 3506
Contracted Out Pensions enquiries 0845 915 0150 0300 200 3507

Income Tax and Self Assessment


Old Number

New Number

Income Tax enquiries for individuals, pensioners and employees 0845 300 0627 0300 200 3300
Agent Dedicated Line 0845 366 7855 0300 200 3311
Tax back on bank and building society interest:Savings Helpline

The National Claims Office

0845 980 0645 0300 200 3312
0845 366 7850 0300 200 3313
Self Assessment textphone service 0845 302 1408 0300 200 3319

HMRC have confirmed that taxpayers may still use the 0845 numbers for about the next 18 months.

Other 0845 numbers will change in the coming months as part of a rolling program to give taxpayers cheaper access to HMRC helplines.

Internet link: HMRC news

Download Basic PAYE Tools

HMRC have updated their Basic PAYE Tools which is a software package designed to help those employers operating their own payroll.

The Basic PAYE Tools can be used by employers with nine or fewer employees. The tools calculate the tax and National Insurance Contributions for employees and enable the employer to report the necessary payroll information to HMRC under RTI.

HMRC are advising users to ensure they download the latest version of the tools and any updates. For more information visit the link below.

Internet link: HMRC Basic PAYE Tools