Newsletter – February 2018

Enews – February 2018

In this month’s Enews we report on the roll out of Tax-free Childcare and the reduction in HMRC scam texts. We also consider the latest list of deductible subscriptions and rejected Self assessment expenses claims and excuses. With revised income tax bands for Scottish taxpayers there is lots to update you on.

HMRC rejected Self Assessment expenses and excuses

HMRC have released the latest list of imaginative excuses made by individuals who failed to submit their self assessment return by 31 January deadline in 2017. Excuses include alien sightings and being too busy touring with a one-man play.

HMRC’s annual list of outlandish excuses is used to publicise the self assessment deadline of 31 January following the end of the tax year. An automatic £100 penalty applies to those who have the obligation to complete a return and miss the filing deadline, regardless of whether the individual has a tax liability to pay or not.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s director general of customer services, said:

‘Each year we’re making it easier and more intuitive for our customers to complete their tax return, but each year we still come across some questionable excuses, whether that’s blaming a busy touring schedule or seeing aliens.’

Here are some of the recent excuses:

  1. I couldn’t file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me enter the house.
  2. I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play.
  3. My ex-wife left my tax return upstairs, but I suffer from vertigo and can’t go upstairs to retrieve it.
  4. My business doesn’t really do anything.
  5. I spilt coffee on it.

HMRC have also released details of some of the weirdest expense claims which include:

  1. A three-piece suite for my partner to sit on when I’m doing my accounts.
  2. Birthday drinks at a Glasgow nightclub.
  3. Vet fees for a rabbit.
  4. Hotel room service – for candles and prosecco.
  5. £4.50 for sausage and chips meal expenses for 250 days.

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

Internet link: GOV.UK news

Tax-free childcare roll out

The implementation of Tax-Free Childcare, the new government scheme to help working parents with the cost of childcare, is being rolled out to eligible parents in stages.

The scheme first made its debut in April 2017 and although there have been initial systems problems, HMRC’s aim is to have the scheme open to all eligible parents by 14 February 2018. Application is made online through the Childcare Choices site www.childcarechoices.gov.uk and applications can be made for all eligible children at the same time.

Under Tax-Free Childcare, for every £8 the parent pays, the government provides a £2 top-up, to a maximum of £2,000 per child each year – with a higher limit of £4,000 for disabled children. This gives a total childcare pot of £10,000, or £20,000 for disabled children. To be eligible, parents must generally have minimum weekly earnings of at least £120 each. There is also an upper earnings limit of £100,000.

Compensation may be available in certain circumstances where a parent:

  • is unable to complete an application for Tax-Free Childcare
  • is unable to access their childcare account
  • or doesn’t get a decision about whether they are eligible, without explanation, for more than 20 days.

Those employing a nanny should be able to use the childcare account to pay their PAYE tax and National Insurance. Delays in getting this system working may also give grounds for compensation. Application is made online GOV.UK childcare-service-compensation

Internet link: GOV.UK childcare under 9s

HMRC halts thousands of scam text messages

HMRC have announced that they have stopped thousands of taxpayers from receiving scam text messages ‘with 90 percent of the most convincing texts now halted before they reach their phones’.

HMRC’s press release states:

‘Fraudsters alleging to be from HMRC send text messages to unsuspecting members of the public. In these messages they will make false claims, such as suggesting they are due a tax rebate. Messages will usually include links to websites that harvest personal information or spread malware. This can in turn lead to identity fraud and the theft of people’s personal savings.’

HMRC have confirmed that they will never contact taxpayers who are due a tax refund by text message or by email.

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

‘HMRC is focused on becoming the most digitally advanced tax authority in the world, and a big part of that relates to keeping our customers safe from online scammers.’

‘As email and website scams become less effective, fraudsters are increasingly turning to text messages to con taxpayers. But as these numbers show, we won’t rest until these criminals are out of avenues to exploit.’

‘We have made significant progress is cutting down these types of crime, but one of the most effective ways to tackle it is still to help the public spot the tell-tale signs of fraud.’

To read details of the measures taken by HMRC and other advice on spotting fraud visit the link below.

Internet link: GOV.UK scam-text-messages

Updated list of professional subscriptions

Employees are allowed to claim tax relief on their annual professional fees or subscriptions to some HMRC approved professional organisations. The costs are tax deductible generally where the individual must have membership to do their job or it is helpful for their work. Where the fees are paid by the individual’s employer this will not generally result in a benefit in kind charge.

HMRC have updated the list of approved bodies which also includes not only details of the professional bodies that are approved but details of qualifying annual subscriptions for journals.

Internet link: GOV.UK/professional-bodies

What will the Spring Statement bring?

We had two Budgets in 2017 and the Spring Statement is planned for Tuesday 13 March. The Chancellor Philip Hammond has previously stated that at the Spring Statement he will respond to the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast, consider longer-term tax challenges and start consultations on how they can be addressed. The government has the option to make immediate changes to tax policy at the Spring Statement if the economic circumstances require it.

The revised timetable of an Autumn Budget followed by a Spring Statement means changes to the legislative timetable which are set out in the link below.

We will keep you informed of pertinent Spring Statement announcements.

Internet link: GOV.UK new budget timetable

Scotland revise income tax bands

Derek Mackay, Scottish Finance Secretary, has made a change to the proposed Scottish income tax bands for 2018/19 which he announced in December 2017 in the Scottish Draft Budget.

The change is being made to ‘remove an anomaly that meant some higher rate taxpayers saw their bills fall while others on slightly lower incomes saw a rise, due in part to changes in the personal allowance’.

Scottish taxpayers income tax rates on income other than savings and dividend income are now expected to be as follows:

Scottish Bands Band name Scottish Rate
Over £11,850 – £13,850 Starter 19%
Over £13,850 – £24,000 Basic 20%
Over £24,000 – £43,430 Intermediate 21%
Over £43,430 – £150,000 Higher 41%
Over £150,000 Top 46%

Confirming the changes during the Stage 1 of the Budget debate, Mr Mackay said:

‘As a parliament of minorities, we must work across the chamber to find compromise and consensus in order to give support, sustainability and stimulus to our economy and to our public services …. Our changes to tax ensure Scotland has a progressive tax system – with 70% of taxpayers paying less next year than they do currently and 55% paying less than they would across the rest of the UK – while businesses benefit from support for investment.’

Internet link: GOV.SCOT/news

Newsletter – January 2016

Enews – January 2016

In this month’s eNews we report on the new rules on the taxation of dividends, the NLW, latest ICO fines and HMRC’s advance assurance for R&D. We also advise on the self assessment deadline and the HMRC tax helpline for those affected by flooding.

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

Dividend Allowance and rates of tax

Further details have been provided of the new rates of income tax on dividends and the new Dividend Allowance which will apply to dividends received on or after 6 April 2016.

The rates of income tax on dividends will be:

● 7.5% for dividend income within the basic rate band (ordinary rate)

● 32.5% for dividend income within the higher rate band (upper rate)

● 38.1% for dividend income within the additional rate band (additional rate)

There will also be a new Dividend Allowance of £5,000 where the tax rate will be 0% – the dividend nil rate. The Dividend Allowance applies to the first £5,000 of an individual’s taxable dividend income and is in addition to the personal allowance.

Where an individual receives dividend income, from UK or non-UK resident companies, that would otherwise be chargeable at the dividend ordinary, upper or additional rate, and the income is less than or equal to £5,000, the dividend nil rate will apply to all of the dividend income. Where the dividend income is above £5,000, the lowest part of the dividend income will be chargeable at 0%, and anything received above £5,000 is taxed at the rate that would apply to that amount if the dividend nil rate did not exist.

In calculating the tax band into which any dividend income over the £5,000 allowance falls, savings and dividend income are treated as the highest part of an individual’s income. Where an individual has both savings and dividend income, the dividend income is treated as the top slice.

The following example illustrates how the new Dividend Allowance and rates will work:

Patricia has a salary of £40,500 and dividend income of £7,000 in 2016/17. Her total income is therefore £47,500. The total of her personal allowance and basic rate band comes to £43,000. Therefore part of her dividend income would be taxed at the upper rate were it not for the operation of the new dividend nil rate.

So £5,000 will be taxed at 0% and £2,000 will be taxed at the upper rate of 32.5%

If you would like advice on how the new dividend rules will affect you please do get in touch.

Internet link: GOV.UK dividend

National Living Wage – employers advised to get ready

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is advising employers to begin preparing for the introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW) which comes into effect from 1 April 2016. The rate is £7.20 an hour and applies to employees aged 25 and over.

Businesses are being advised to prepare early for the changes on 1 April 2016, when the new wage will become law, and make sure they follow these 4 simple steps:

  • know the correct rate of pay – £7.20 per hour for staff aged 25 and over
  • find out which staff are eligible for the new rate
  • update the company payroll in time for 1 April 2016
  • communicate the changes to staff as soon as possible.

Business Minister Nick Boles said:

‘The government’s new National Living Wage will provide a direct boost to over two-and-a-half million workers in the UK – rewarding and providing security for working people.’

‘I am urging businesses to get ready now to pay the new £7.20 rate from 1 April 2016. With just under 4 months left, there are some easy steps employers can take to make sure they are ready.’

‘By taking these measures, companies will be able to properly reward their staff and avoid falling foul of the law when it takes effect.’

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

Internet link: GOV.UK news

Scottish Budget – income tax and LBTT

Income tax

The Scottish Government set out tax and financial plans for the future in their draft Budget on 16 December 2015. The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy, John Swinney, announced that the Scottish Rate of Income Tax (SRIT) would be set at 10p in the pound for 2016/17. The effect of this is to ensure that Scottish Taxpayers will pay tax at the same rates as their counterparts in the rest of the UK, at 20%, 40% and 45%.

Income tax bands for the basic and higher rates are the same in Scotland as in the rest of the UK.

The Scotland Act 2012 granted the Scottish Parliament landmark new powers to set a separate annual rate of income tax for Scottish taxpayers. The Scottish rate of income tax (SRIT) comes into effect in April 2016 and represents a fundamental change to the UK tax system.

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax

As well as paving the way for the changes to income tax outlined above, the Scotland Act 2012 also resulted in the introduction of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) in Scotland from 1 April 2015. This replaces Stamp Duty Land Tax which applies in the rest of the UK. The draft Budget proposes changes to LBTT with the introduction of a LBTT supplement on purchases of additional residential properties, such as buy-to-let properties and second homes. This supplement will be 3 percentage points of the total price of the property for all relevant transactions above £40,000 and will be levied in addition to the current LBTT rates.

The Scotland Bill 2015 proposes the further devolution of additional tax and spending powers to the Scottish Parliament. The Scotland Bill 2015 is still subject to consideration and amendment by the UK Parliament.

Internet link: GOV.UK news SRIT

Self assessment deadline approaching

HMRC have reported that:

  • a record breaking 24,546 people submitted their tax return online on New Year’s Eve
  • more than 11,467 people sent off their self assessment tax return on New Year’s Day
  • and in excess of 2,000 taxpayers submitted their tax returns on Christmas Day.

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

‘As we all enjoy the festive season it’s easy to see how completing your tax return can be forgotten, but the 31 January deadline will be here quicker than we think.’

The deadline for sending 2014/15 tax returns to HMRC, and paying any tax owed, is 31 January 2016. Please contact us if you need help with your self assessment return.

Internet link: GOV.UK news

HMRC introduce Advance Assurance for R&D

HMRC have introduced Advance Assurance for companies that claim Research and Development (R&D) tax relief.

If a company carries out R&D for itself or other companies, it could qualify for Advance Assurance. This means that for the first three accounting periods of claiming for R&D tax relief, HMRC will allow the claim without further enquiries.

Internet link: GOV.UK guidance

Tax helpline for those affected by severe weather and flooding

HMRC have set up a helpline (number is 0800 904 79000800 904 7900 FREE) and will enable anyone affected to get practical help and advice on a wide range of tax problems they may be facing. HMRC will also:

  • agree instalment arrangements where taxpayers are unable to pay as a result of the floods
  • agree a practical approach when individuals and businesses have lost vital records in the floods
  • suspend debt collection proceedings for those affected by the floods
  • cancel penalties when the taxpayer has missed statutory deadlines.

Internet link: GOV.UK news

Nuisance call companies warned to expect more fines

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is warning companies making nuisance calls to expect more fines in 2016.

The ICO has reported that they imposed more than £1,000,000 worth of penalties for nuisance calls and text messages in 2015, and anticipates they will issue a similar amount in early 2016.

The fines issued in 2015 included:

  • £295,000 of fines for companies offering call blocking or nuisance call prevention services
  • an £80,000 fine to a PPI claims firm that sent 1.3 million text messages
  • a £200,000 fine to a solar panels company that made six million nuisance calls
  • a £130,000 fine to a pharmacy company that was selling customer details to postal marketing companies

In addition the ICO report that the fines related to nuisance marketing in 2015 amounted to £1,135,000. These included £400,000 fines for nuisance texts, £575,000 fines for nuisance calls and a £130,000 fine for selling customer records for marketing. Details of the businesses penalised and fined can be found by using the hyperlink.

Andy Curry, ICO Enforcement Group Manager, said:

‘Nuisance marketing calls frustrate people. The law is clear around what is allowed, and we’ve been clear that we will fine companies who don’t follow the law. That will continue in 2016. We’ve got 90 on going investigations, and a million pounds worth of fines in the pipeline.’

According to the ICO, PPI claims prompted the most complaints, followed by accident claims. Areas identified as emerging sectors for nuisance calls and texts included call blocking services, oven cleaning services and industrial hearing injury claims.

Internet link: ICO news

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Newsletter – February 2014

In this month’s enews we advise on several issues relevant to employers. We also report on the help available for those affected by floods.

Please contact us if you would like any further information.

 

 

Employment Allowance

The Government has announced further details of the Employment Allowance which is available from 6 April 2014. Eligible employers can reduce their employer Class 1 NICs by up to £2,000 each tax year.

The Employment Allowance can be claimed by a business or charity (including Community Amateur Sports Clubs) that pays employer Class 1 NICs on their employees’ or directors’ earnings.

However there are some circumstances which may limit the availability of the allowance:

  • if a company belongs to a group of companies or a charity is part of a charities structure, only one company or charity can claim the allowance
  • the £2,000 Employment Allowance can only be claimed against one PAYE scheme, even if the business has more than one PAYE scheme.

Not all businesses can claim the Employment Allowance and the government guidance gives the following details of excluded employers.

You cannot claim the Employment Allowance, for example if you:

  • employ someone for personal, household or domestic work, such as a nanny, au pair, chauffeur, gardener or care support worker
  • already claim the allowance through a connected company or charity
  • are a public authority, this includes; local, district, town and parish councils
  • carry out functions either wholly or mainly of a public nature (unless you have charitable status), for example:
    • NHS services
    • General Practitioner services
    • the managing of housing stock owned by or for a local council
    • providing a meals on wheels service for a local council
    • refuse collection for a local council
    • prison services
    • collecting debt for a government department

If you would like any guidance on claiming the allowance please do get in touch. If we deal with your payroll we will ensure this matter is dealt with on your behalf.

Internet link: Gov.uk

Increases to NMW penalties and latest targets

The Government has announced that rogue employers who do not pay their workers the National Minimum Wage (NMW) will face an increased penalty of up to £20,000 as part of a Government crackdown.

Currently employers that break NMW law must pay the unpaid wages plus a financial penalty calculated as 50% of the total underpayment for all workers found to be underpaid. The maximum penalty an employer can face is £5,000.

The Government plans to increase the financial penalty percentage from 50% to 100% of the unpaid wages owed to workers. The maximum penalty will increase from £5,000 to £20,000. Regulations introducing these new limits are subject to Parliamentary approval and are expected to be enacted this month.

Latest target

Major record labels involved in this year’s Brit Awards are among the latest targets of HMRC’s continued crackdown on unpaid internships.

HMRC have written to record labels and event companies warning them about the consequences for non-payment of the NMW for any unpaid interns they take on. HMRC intend to follow up these letters with compliance visits later in the year to ensure the rules are being followed.

Michelle Wyer, HMRC’s Assistant Director NMW, said:

‘Non-payment of the National Minimum Wage is not an option, it’s the law, and we’re letting the music industry know that we’ve got them in our sights. If they are not playing by the rules, now is the time to put things in order.

Last year we fined over around 800 employers, so our message is clear: if you are not paying your interns, but should be, come forward now and put things right to avoid a penalty.’

Internet link: Press release

Help for those affected by floods

The Prime Minister has announced a package of measures to help flood affected businesses get back on their feet. The package of measures includes:

  • A Government Business Support Helpline providing comprehensive advice and support to businesses affected by floods. The helpline number is 0300 456 3565.
  • A new Business Support Scheme to provide hardship funding for SME businesses in areas affected by the floods. Both businesses that have been flooded, and businesses that are in affected areas and have suffered significant loss of trade, will be able to apply for support. Eligible businesses will be able to claim for funding for things like immediate clean-up costs, materials, and exceptional costs to help them continue trading.
  • Extra time for businesses to file accounts without any penalties.
  • All affected businesses will be able to apply to their local authority to get business rate relief for 3 months.
  • HMRC will also set up a new hotline for those who have been affected by flooding and may have difficulties in meeting their tax liabilities. HMRC will look to offer up to 3 months additional time to pay. This will cover all taxes owed to HMRC, including VAT, PAYE and corporation tax. The helpline number is 0800 904 79000800 904 7900.

Help is also available for communities affected. To read more about the help on offer visit the links below.

Internet links: HMRC website  News Communities  News business support

No penalties for some late Self Assessment returns

HMRC have announced that more than 10 million tax returns were filed on time meeting the 31 January deadline.

Approximately 8.5 million returns were filed online with the rest being paper filed. Perhaps not surprisingly the busiest day for tax return submission was 31 January when HMRC received over half a million returns.

For those failing to meet the deadline there is an automatic £100 late filing penalty regardless of whether the tax has been paid on time or indeed there is a refund due. Further penalties may also be imposed for continued failure to submit the return.

It has been widely reported that HMRC would not be charging penalties where returns were submitted before midnight on 15 February 2014. However this ‘reprieve’ only applies in limited circumstances as set out in the following HMRC statement:

‘We haven’t extended the Self Assessment deadline. Tax returns and any tax due must be received by HMRC by midnight tonight 31 January.

If someone has registered for our Online Service or existing customers have lost their User ID or password and realise they have left it too late we will allow a bit of extra time for this information to be received. This only applies to taxpayers who did the following between midnight on 21 January and midnight on 31 January 2014:

  • enrolled for the Self Assessment online service, or
  • requested a replacement user ID or password’

If you are one of the half a million people who have not yet submitted your self assessment return and you would like some help please do get in touch.

Internet links: Gov news  SA leniency

HMRC warning about phishing scams

HMRC are warning taxpayers to be wary of the latest in a long line of email phishing scams that claim to offer tax rebates in return for bank account details.

HMRC have received over 23,000 reports of phishing scam emails in the three months to the 31 January 2014 self assessment deadline which is a 47% increase on the same period in 2013.

HMRC have confirmed that it never contacts taxpayers via e-mail regarding a refund and advised anyone who receives an email claiming to be from HMRC:

HMRC have published advice and examples of typical fake emails at www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/index.htm.

Internet link: News

PAYE end of year approaching

HMRC are reminding employers that with the end of the 2013/14 tax year approaching they will soon need to make their final 2013/14 PAYE (RTI) submission.

For most employers, the final submission will be their final Full Payment Submission (FPS) which advises HMRC about the very last employee payments for 2013/14 and this needs to be made on or before 5 April 2014. Details of how to make the final submission can be found on the HMRC website using the link below.

If we deal with the payroll on your behalf we will ensure this matter is dealt with on a timely basis.

Internet link: HMRC news

Electronic messages to employers

HMRC have issued an electronic warning message to employers who have not submitted their Full Payment Submission (FPS) return(s) during the January tax month. The message is intended to be a reminder to employers and is not a penalty notice.

HMRC are advising employers who receive this message that they should check that they have sent all the submissions that are due for their PAYE scheme.

If employers have notified HMRC recently that their business has ceased, then they can ignore the electronic message and do not need to contact HMRC.

HMRC started issuing these messages in December 2013 and this following link sets out instances where an employer may receive a non-filing message, although they have filed on time and where not action is required.

Internet links: HMRC news

Employee travel disruption

From time to time and particularly with the current weather conditions, travel disruption can affect an employee’s ability to get to work on time, or in some cases at all. For situations ranging from public transport cancellations to severe weather, employers and employees should consider how this could impact on the workforce.

Acas provide some useful guidance on these issues.

Internet link: Acas

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Newsletter – December 2013

In this month’s enews we report on pertinent announcements from the Autumn Statement and the subsequent publication of draft Finance Bill legislation.

We also report on the proposals for shared parental leave and the latest fuel advisory rates.

Please contact us if you would like any further information.

 

 

Autumn Statement

Earlier this month the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) published its updated forecast for the UK economy and Chancellor George Osborne responded to that forecast in a statement to the House of Commons later on that day. This statement was followed by the issue of draft legislation together with consultation documents.

Some of the key new announcements made as part of the Autumn Statement are as follows:

  • the introduction from April 2015 of an exemption from employer NICs for employees under 21 on earnings paid up to the Upper Earnings Limit
  • allowing companies to claim tax relief on donations to Community Amateur Sports Clubs by extending Gift Aid
  • the introduction from October 2015 of a new class of voluntary NIC (Class 3A) that gives those who reach state Pension age before 6 April 2016 an opportunity to boost their Additional State Pension entitlement.

The link below gives access to the government information on these and other areas.

Please also refer to the separate articles in this newsletter on some specific announcements where further details are available.

However please do contact us if you would like further details on any announcements.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General has issued the CBI’s response to the statement some of which is reproduced below:

‘We have always advocated the dual approach of tackling the deficit and driving growth – the OBR forecasts confirm it is working. Let’s stick with what works.’

‘The pressure on the high street has been recognised; the 2% cap on business rates and discount for very small businesses are positive, as is the reoccupation relief.’

‘Abolishing a jobs tax on employing young people under 21 will make a real difference and help tackle the scourge of youth unemployment.’

‘But it was a missed opportunity not to support our hard-pressed energy intensive businesses which are also struggling with rising costs, and the package on housing supply could have been more ambitious.’

‘Alongside the positive measures to help the high street, including the 2% cap on rates, empty property incentive and £1,000 boost for smaller retailers, we need to see a review of the outmoded business rates system.’

“Reducing the cost of employing 18-20 year olds will help more young people find jobs when it comes into force in 2015. Job centres will have an important role to play and will need to work more effectively with businesses to ensure young people get the right advice.’

‘Businesses will now be looking for government action in the Budget and this has to include looking at the impact of the Carbon Price Floor. Shale gas will play a role in delivering a balanced energy mix, but we need action on all fronts to keep costs down and secure our future supply.’

Internet links: Autumn Statement CBI press release

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

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

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

Engine size Petrol LPG
1400cc or less 14p (15p) 9p (10p)
1401cc – 2000cc 16p (18p) 11p
Over 2000cc 24p (26p) 16p

 

Engine size Diesel
1600cc or less 12p
1601cc – 2000cc 14p (15p)
Over 2000cc 17p (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

Employers will no longer be 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 can 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 works 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 will be unable to recover SSP however they will continue to be able to recover unclaimed SSP for previous years for a limited period. 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. This scheme is expected to be available later next year.

Internet links: ICAEW health work and wellbeing initiative

Shared parental leave

The government has announced how the new system of shared parental leave will operate for employees and employers.

Earlier this year the government invited views on how the system for shared parental leave and pay should operate.

The consultation considered how the new system should work and align with current arrangements for maternity and paternity leave.

The proposals for shared parental leave and flexible working are included in the Children and Families Bill 2013 which is currently going through Parliament. The details will be set out in regulations and are expected to be introduced from April 2015.

The new leave system will allow eligible working families to have more choice about how they balance their work and caring commitments. Parents can choose to be at home together or to work at different times and share the care of their child.

The government hopes that businesses will also benefit from being able to have more open discussions about patterns of leave with their employees.

Internet link Parental Leave

Changes for Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)

Since their introduction in 2000, LLPs have become increasingly popular as a vehicle for carrying on a wide variety of businesses. The LLP is a unique entity as it combines limited liability for its members with the tax treatment of a traditional partnership. Individual members are deemed to be self-employed and are taxed as such on their respective profit shares.

The government now considers that deemed self-employed status is not appropriate in some cases. For example, individuals who would normally be regarded as employees in high-salaried professional areas such as the legal and financial services sectors are benefitting from self-employed status for tax purposes which leads to a loss of employment taxes payable.

The new rules will apply when an individual is a member of an LLP and three conditions are met. The conditions are:

  • There are arrangements in place under which the individual is to perform services for the LLP, in their capacity as a member, and it would be reasonable to expect that the amounts payable by the LLP in respect of their performance of those services will be wholly, or substantially wholly, disguised salary. An amount is disguised salary if it is fixed or, if is variable, it is varied without reference to the overall profits of the LLP.
  • The mutual rights and duties of the members and the LLP and its members do not give the individual significant influence over the affairs of the LLP.
  • The individual’s contribution to the LLP is less than 25% of the disguised salary. The individual’s contribution is defined (broadly) as the amount of capital which they contributed to the LLP.

The new rules will have effect from 6 April 2014.

Internet link: Partnerships

‘False self-employment’ via intermediaries

Following announcements made as part of the Autumn Statement the government has announced some further information ‘false self-employment’ via intermediaries.

The government believes that employment intermediaries are increasingly being used to disguise employment as self-employment. The largest business sector being the construction industry where the government believes 200,000 workers are engaged via intermediaries. However, there are other sectors such as the driving, catering and security industries where there is evidence of existing permanent employees being taken out of direct employment and being moved into false self-employment arrangements involving intermediaries.

The central proposal is to make a change to the agency legislation so that it will apply to these type of intermediary arrangements where the worker is:

  • subject to (or to the right of) control, supervision or direction as to the manner in which the duties are carried out
  • providing their services personally
  • remunerated as a consequence of providing their services
  • receiving remuneration not already taxed as employment income.

After the change the intermediary will be responsible for deduction PAYE and NIC from the worker and paying employers NIC.

The legislation will be amended with effect from 6 April 2014.

Internet link: False self employment

CGT – Private Residence Relief

It was announced in the Autumn Statement that there will be changes made to the rules for Private Residence Relief.

A gain arising on a property which has been an individual’s private residence throughout their period of ownership is exempt from CGT. There are deemed period of occupation rules which may help to provide an exemption from CGT even if the individual was not living in the property. This may mean the individual is accruing private residence relief on another property at the same time.

The final period exemption applies to a property that has been an individual’s private residence at some time even though they may not be living in the property at the time of disposal.

The final period exemption will be reduced from 36 months to 18 months with two exceptions. An individual that:

  • is a disabled person or
  • is a long term resident in a care home, where they have been there for at least three months, or can reasonably be expected to be resident there for three months, and
  • has no other property, on which they, or their spouse or civil partner, can claim private residence relief

will continue to be able to claim a 36 month final period exemption.

The rules apply to disposals made on or after 6 April 2014.

Internet link: Draft legislation and TIIN

HMRC advise register for Self Assessment now

HMRC is urging those who have to file a Self Assessment return for the first time to register for its online services now.

The process of registration can take up to seven working days to complete and involves HMRC sending you an activation code in the post. It’s therefore important not to leave this to the last minute, to avoid a rush to beat the 31 January filing deadline. Those needing to complete a Self Assessment return for the first time this year will include parents with income above £50,000 who received Child Benefit payments from 7 January 2013. The High Income Child Benefit Charge is based on their incomes and how much of the benefit they received in the 2012/13 tax year.

The 31 January is also the deadline for paying any tax owed for 2012/13. Taxpayers who owe less than £3,000, and want HMRC to collect the tax they owe through next year’s tax code, need to submit their online return by midnight on 30 December.

If you would like any help with Self Assessment please do get in touch.

Internet link: News

Newsletter – February 2013

In this month’s enews the majority of issues we report on are relevant to employers and individuals. Please contact us if you would like any further information on any of the articles.

 

Auto enrolment tool

Under Pensions Auto Enrolment employers must:

  • ‘auto enrol’ eligible employees into a pension scheme
  • make employer pension contributions for them, and
  • make deductions of employee pension contributions from the employees pay.

Although the rules came into force from October 2012, they only impact on the largest employers from that date, as few employers have a workforce of more than 120,000. For those employers with a more modest number of employees the start dates vary by number of employees and PAYE reference.

The Pensions Regulator has released a tool which details the start date for auto enrolment. To access the tool and check the start date for a particular PAYE scheme please use the following link.

Internet link: Pensions regulator tool

Real Time Information

HMRC are issuing final reminders to employers to ‘act now’ in order to be ready to report PAYE under Real time Information (RTI).

HMRC have advised that they are writing to employers and pension providers to formally notify them that they must start reporting under RTI from the first payday on or after 6 April 2013.

The letters are being sent throughout February 2013 and are designed to prompt employers who have not yet taken action to get ready to send their PAYE to HMRC in real time.

Employers should have plans in place to update or acquire new RTI ready payroll software and/or have discussed the issue with their software provider, payroll bureau, or agent if they have one.

The letter includes a checklist which explains the key steps employers need to take before April 2013 to make sure they are ready for reporting PAYE in real time from 6 April 2013. More information is available on HMRC’s website.

Internet link: HMRC news

Paying HMRC by Bill Pay

The ICAEW has reported that HMRC are aware that there are problems with the Bank of Santander’s Bill Pay service which is used by many individuals to pay their self assessment tax liabilities by credit or debit card.

HMRC have issued a statement giving advice on other ways to pay and also confirming that payments made late because of this problem will not incur interest or penalties.

HMRC advised the ICAEW that:

‘The Bank of Santander is having problems with their Bill Pay service that customers use to pay their tax by credit card or debit card. We are working with them to sort this out.

There are other ways you can pay us. These are:

By Faster Payments. You can find out more at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/payinghmrc/selfassessment.htm#5

At your bank

At the Post Office

By Debit/Credit card

You can find out more about these other methods of payment at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/payinghmrc/selfassessment.htm

Please continue to try to pay us, but if your payment is late because of the problems Santander is experiencing you will not have to pay a penalty or interest for late payment.’

Internet link: ICAEW Tax Faculty

Tax rebate phishing scam

HMRC are warning taxpayers not to fall victim of scam emails sent by fraudsters. In 2012 taxpayers reported almost 80,000 tax rebate phishing emails and HMRC took action to close down 522 illegal sites.

The emails follow the same general format and promise a tax refund in exchange for personal, credit card or banking details. Those who respond risk opening their account to fraud and having details sold on to organised criminal gangs. The emails often link to a clone of HMRC’s website to make the email appear genuine.

Gareth Lloyd, Head of Digital Security for HMRC said:

‘HMRC does not email customers about tax refunds – we only ever contact customers who are genuinely due tax back in writing, by post.’

‘If anyone receives an email offering a tax rebate and claiming to be from HMRC, please send it to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk before deleting it permanently. HMRC does everything it can to ensure customers are safe online and we are working closely with other law enforcement agencies to target the criminals behind this serious crime.’

HMRC also advise taxpayers to:

  • Check the advice published at www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/index.htmwhere they can see if the email received is listed.
  • Do not click on websites or links contained in suspicious emails or open attachments.
  • Follow advice from www.getsafeonline.co.uk
  • Anyone who has answered one of these emails should forward the email and disclosed details to security.custcon@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk
  • If you have reason to believe that you have been the victim of an email scam, report the matter to your bank/card issuer as soon as possible.

Internet link: Press release

HMRC report self assessment statistics

HMRC have reported that a record 9.61 million people submitted their self assessment tax return on time this year.

According to the HMRC statistics of the 10.34 million people in self assessment, 92.9% taxpayers met the return deadlines of 31 October 2012 for paper and 31 January 2013 for online returns.

Of the 9.61 million on time tax returns, 7.93 million (82.5 per cent) were sent online, which is a record number. The remaining 1.68 million (17.5%) were sent on paper.

Anyone who hasn’t yet sent their 2011/12 tax return to HMRC will have already incurred a £100 late filing penalty. To avoid any further penalties, they should send their return as soon as possible, as well as paying any outstanding liabilities for the 2011/12 tax year.

The penalties for late Self Assessment returns are:

  • an initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time
  • after three months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900
  • after six 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.

There are also additional penalties for paying the liability late of 5% of the tax unpaid at: 30 days; six months; and 12 months respectively.

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

Internet link: HMRC press release

HMRC win furnished holiday lettings test case

HMRC have been successful in a test case which considered the tax reliefs available for Furnished Holiday Lettings (FHL). Provided that certain conditions are met, FHL are treated as a trade for both income and capital gains tax purposes, often allowing access to valuable reliefs.

However, the inheritance rules (IHT) are different. Business Property Relief can allow up to 100% relief on business assets but FHL are not automatically included. For many years, HMRC allowed relief but have changed their policy and taken a test case, which they have won.

This means IHT would be due on the full value of an FHL.

If you have concerns in this area and would like any advice please do get in touch.

Internet links: Mercia Blog Decision

Shared Parental Leave

Proposals to change the way parents can share maternity leave have been outlined as part of the Children and Families Bill.

The government plans to change the current arrangements which have been criticised by some employees as being ‘inflexible’.

The Bill also introduces the extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees not just parents and carers.

Under the new system:

  • Employed mothers will still be entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave regardless of the length of their employment.
  • Mothers can choose to end their maternity leave after the initial two week recovery period; working parents can then decide how they want to share the remaining leave.
  • Fathers will have a new right to take unpaid leave to attend two antenatal appointments.
  • There will be new statutory payment for parents on shared parental leave with the same qualifying requirements that currently apply to statutory maternity and paternity pay.
  • Those who have adopted a child will be entitled to the same pay and leave as birth parents.

Please be aware that these changes are proposal at present. We will keep you informed of developments.

Internet link: Press release

Tackling long term sickness absence

The government has announced proposals to introduce a new independent assessment and advisory service aimed at getting people back to work. The service will help businesses tackle long term sickness absence in the workplace.

The scheme is expected to save employers up to £160 million a year in statutory sick pay and increase economic output by up to £900 million a year.

The Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud, said:

‘Long-term sickness absence is a burden to business, to the taxpayer and to the thousands of people who get trapped on benefits when they could actually work.’

‘So for the first time, all employers, big or small, will have access to a service that offers the early support they need to keep people in work and fulfil their aspirations.’

The independent occupational health assessment and advice service is expected to be up and running in 2014.

Internet link: Press release

Health and Safety reforms

The government has announced that they have made significant progress in reforming Health and Safety requirements. The government has been working towards implementing some of the recommendations made in the Löfstedt Report in 2011 and the Young Report in 2010.

Steps taken to date include:

  • scrap or simplify more than half of health and safety legislation by 2014
  • the clarification of Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) requirements and
  • a reduction of one third in the number of inspections made by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Professor Löfstedt said the government is ‘supporting a more risk-and evidence-based approach to health and safety‘.

Internet links: Press release HSE website

Charities online Gift Aid service

HMRC have announced that claiming gift aid repayments will be quicker and easier for charities and sports clubs from April 2013.

HMRC are writing to 110,000 charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs advising them that, from 22 April 2013, they can enrol to make repayment claims online, via the HMRC website using a new service, called Charities Online.

Charities will be able to get information on how to use the system from the HMRC website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/charitiesonline

Internet link: Press Release

Newsletter – December 2012

eNEWS – December 2012

In this month’s enews we report on some key issues from the Autumn Statement and subsequent publication of draft Finance Bill legislation. The Autumn Statement has sparked much debate with the biggest surprise being the tenfold increase in the AIA only months after it was reduced.

We also report that HMRC are urging those who have not yet filed their self assessment tax return to do so now and experience ‘inner peace’.

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

With all best wishes for the festive season and the New Year.

 

Tenfold increase in Annual Investment Allowance

The shock announcement of the Autumn Statement was the tenfold increase in the amount of the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA).

The AIA provides a 100% deduction for the cost of plant and machinery purchased by a business up to an annual limit which is currently £25,000 for expenditure incurred from April 2012. The Chancellor announced that this limit will rise to £250,000 for a period of two years for expenditure incurred from 1 January 2013.

Where a business has an accounting period that straddles the date of change the allowances have to be apportioned on a time basis.

Where a company has a 12 month accounting period ending on 30 June 2013 the AIA will be £137,500 (£25,000 x 6/12 + £250,000 x 6/12).

However for expenditure incurred before the 1 January 2013, rules will limit the maximum figure available. The maximum allowance will be the AIA that would have been due for the whole of the accounting period to 30 June 2013 if the increase in AIA had not taken place. This would have meant that the company would have been entitled to £25,000 for the 12 months and so this is the limit for the six months to 31 December.

The rules for accounting periods straddling 1 January are complicated and this is without the additional complications that arise if part of the accounting period commences prior to April 2012 (as yet another AIA limit needs to be factored in).

The main point to appreciate is that expenditure incurred after 31 December 2012 may give a full tax write off but expenditure incurred before the 1 January 2013 may not give this result.

Please contact us before capital expenditure is incurred for your business in a current accounting period, so that we can help you to maximise the AIA available.

Internet link: HMRC TIIN

Personal allowance for 2013/14

For those aged under 65 the personal allowance will be increased from the current £8,105 to £9,440. This increase in the personal allowance is greater than the amount previously announced and is part of the plan of the Coalition Government to ultimately raise the allowance to £10,000.

For basic rate taxpayers this increase in the personal allowance should result in a tax saving next year of £267.

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. Next year the allowance ceases when net adjusted income exceeds £118,880.

Tax band and rates 2013/14

The basic rate of tax is currently 20%. The band of income taxable at this rate is being reduced from £34,370 to £32,010 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies will fall from £42,475 to £41,450.

Additional rate tax payers

The 50% band currently applies where taxable income exceeds £150,000 but the rate will fall to 45% next year.

Tax bands for 2014/15 and 2015/16

For 2014/15 and 2015/16 the increase in the higher rate threshold will be capped at 1%. Over the last few years the value of the higher rate threshold has fallen so a small increase should be welcome.

Internet link: HMRC autumn statement personal

Pensions Saving

It was announced in the Autumn Statement that for tax year 2014/15 onwards:

  • the annual allowance for pensions tax relieved savings will be reduced from £50,000 to £40,000
  • the standard lifetime allowance for pensions tax relieved savings will be reduced from £1.5 million to £1.25 million
  • a transitional ‘fixed protection’ regime will be introduced for those who believe they may be affected by the reduction in the lifetime allowance.

Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2013 to make these changes.

The Government considers that these measures are expected to affect only the wealthiest pension savers as 98% of individuals currently approaching retirement have a pension pot worth less than £1.25 million which is the revised level of the lifetime limit. Annual contributions made by 99% of pension savers are below £40,000, the average annual contribution being around £6,000 per annum.

Please contact us if you would like any pensions advice.

Internet link: HMRC pensions tax relief

A simpler tax system for smaller businesses

The Chancellor is to proceed with proposals to make the tax system simpler for small unincorporated businesses from April 2013. Where a business has a turnover up to £77,000 it will be able to calculate its profits on a simplified cash basis. In addition it will not have to distinguish between revenue expenditure and capital expenditure. A business will be able to continue to use this basis until its turnover reaches £154,000.

Flat rate expenses will be available for some types of expense including:

Cars, vans and motorcycles

For cars or vans the rate for the first 10,000 business miles is 45p, after which the rate reduces to 25p. For motorcycles the rate is 24p

Business use of a home

Provided certain conditions are satisfied, the following monthly rates will be allowed:

Business use in a month Deduction
25 hours or more £10
51 hours or more £18
101 hours or more £26

The new rules are not quite as simple as the Government would have us believe. Whilst the actual accounting treatment may be simpler it will still be necessary to have regard to tax rules for the deductibility of some expenses. There will also be transitional rules for existing businesses wishing to opt into the new system.

Please do get in touch if you think this may be of interest to you.

Internet link: HMRC update

Statutory residence test

HMRC have announced that legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2013 to put the rules which determine an individual’s tax residence on a statutory basis. The new statutory residence test will come into force from the start of the 2013/14 tax year.

The new legislation includes circumstances such as the situation where a tax year is split into a UK part and an overseas part. The rules also cover the taxation of certain income and gains arising during a period of temporary non-residence.

HMRC has published draft guidance to assist individuals on the application of the statutory residence test and on eligibility for overseas workday relief.

Please do contact us if you would like any assistance in this complex area.

Internet link: HMRC finance bill draft

Government must tackle red tape

The CBI is calling on the Government to tackle ‘red tape’. The CBI is warning that economic growth faces being held back because of tens of millions of pounds in extra business red tape coming from the UK Government and Europe.

It has published a report ‘Changing the rules – eight steps to a better regulatory regime’, which calls on ministers to tackle the red tape and bureaucracy created in Whitehall.

According to the report the net added cost of regulation on UK businesses will increase by £177.7m as a result of policies created in 2011 alone, when for every £3 of costs removed, another £5 was added.

Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director, said:

‘Regulation has an essential role to play in a thriving market economy, promoting competition and protecting consumers, but we know it can be a major barrier to growth.’

‘The Autumn Statement contained some really welcome proposals to improve the accessibility and accountability of the regulators that enforce many of the rules, but the facts speak for themselves. Small and medium-sized businesses are the engines of growth, but they’re telling us they are drowning under the weight of extra regulation coming out of Whitehall, layered on top of outdated red tape which has not been repealed.’

‘We’re calling on the Government to back up its words with action. We want to toughen up the law so there is a presumption that every piece of regulation has a sunset clause, so it expires after a set date unless it is actively renewed.’

Internet link: Press release

Reminder to those with high income and child benefit

HMRC are reminding Child Benefit recipients with higher incomes that they have a month to decide whether to stop receiving the benefit or to pay a charge on it through self assessment.

Lin Homer, HMRC’s Chief Executive, said:

‘Over 680,000 people have already looked at information on HMRC’s website that explains the changes and what steps those affected can take. It is really easy to use and will help families come to a decision.’

The High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) is being introduced from 7 January 2013. It will mainly apply to a taxpayer who has ‘adjusted net income’ in excess of £50,000, where either they or their partner is in receipt of Child Benefit. The effect of the charge is to claw back some or all of the Child Benefit paid. Where both partners have income in excess of £50,000 the charge will apply to the partner with the higher income.

Adjusted net income, which is broadly gross income less pension payments and gift aid payments, has the same meaning as for the withdrawal of the personal allowance for taxpayers with income above £100,000.

Where a taxpayer has adjusted net income of £60,000 or more then the charge has the effect of cancelling out the Child Benefit paid. A sliding scale charge operates where income is between £50,000 and £60,000.

The charge will apply to the Child Benefit paid from 7 January to the end of the tax year. However, the income taken into account will be the full income for 2012/13.

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

If Child Benefit recipients want to stop receiving the benefit, they should contact HMRC before 7 January 2013. Please visit the HMRC Child Benefit guidance link below for more details.

Internet links: Press release HMRC Child Benefit guidance

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

New company car advisory fuel rates took effect from 1 December 2012. HMRC’s website states:

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

Engine size Petrol LPG
1400cc or less 15p 11p
51 hours or more 18p 13p
101 hours or more 26p 18p

 

Engine size Diesel
1600cc or less 12p
1601cc – 2000cc 15p
Over 2000cc 18p

Please note that not all of the rates have been increased, so care must be taken to apply the correct rate.

Other points to be aware of about the advisory fuel rates:

  • Employers do not need a dispensation to use these rates.
  • Employees driving employer provided cars are not entitled to use these rates to claim tax relief if employers reimburse them at lower rates. Such claims should be based on the actual costs incurred.
  • The advisory rates are not binding where an employer can demonstrate that the cost of business travel in employer provided cars is higher than the guideline mileage rates. The higher cost would need to be agreed with HMRC under a dispensation.

If you would like to discuss your car policy, please contact us.

Internet link: HMRC advisory fuel rates

2013/14 statutory payments

HMRC have announced the following statutory payment rates for 2013/14. These rates are still subject to Parliamentary approval and will be confirmed by HMRC before the start of the new tax year.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) £136.78 per week
Ordinary Statutory Paternity Pay (OSPP) £136.78 per week
Additional Statutory Paternity Pay (ASPP) £136.78 per week
Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) £136.78 per week
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) £86.70 per week

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

Internet link: Proposed benefit rates

Charities and Gift Aid

HMRC will introduce a new online service which will enable Charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) to submit repayment claims electronically, Charities Online, in April 2013.

It will replace the current R68(i) Gift Aid and tax repayments claims form and will be a way for charities and CASCs to claim Gift Aid, tax repayments on other income and Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme top-up payments by using an online form.

Internet link: HMRC charities online

File your self assessment return

A HMRC advertising campaign is urging anyone who hasn’t sent in their 2011/12 self assessment tax return to do it now and find ‘inner peace‘.

The new advertising campaign, highlights the imminent 31 January 2013 deadline for online returns, and the automatic £100 penalty for missing the deadline. The adverts will encourage people who still haven’t sent their return to ‘do it today, pay what you owe and take a load off your mind‘, so they can experience ‘inner peace‘.

According to HMRC, the campaign has been developed to touch on the emotions that HMRC found people typically experience after they have filled in their tax return, often described ‘as a real sense of relief or peace of mind, like a weight being lifted from their shoulders‘. The new adverts will feature individuals from different professions experiencing this feeling of post return wellbeing.

The 31 January 2013 deadline is relevant to individuals who need to complete a self assessment tax return and make direct payments to HMRC in respect of their income tax, Class 4 National Insurance and any capital gains tax liabilities. There is an automatic penalty of £100 if the return is not submitted on time, even if there is not tax due or the return shows that a refund is due.

The balance of any outstanding income tax, Class 4 NI and capital gains tax for 2011/12 is also due for payment by 31 January 2013. Where the payment is made late interest will be charged.

The first payment on account for 2012/13 is also due for payment by 31 January 2013.

If we have already dealt with your self assessment return on your behalf and advised you what you need to pay you need take no additional action.

Internet links: Press release HMRC SA deadlines and penalties

Newsletter – April 2012

eNEWS – April 2012

In this month’s enews we report on some issues pertinent to employers and employees.

Please contact us if you would like any further information.

 

 

P11D deadline looming

The forms P11D, and where appropriate P9D, which report employees and directors benefits and expenses for the year ended 5 April 2012, are due for submission to HMRC by 6 July 2012. 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 issued some guidance as to common errors on the forms in the latest Employer Bulletin. These include the following:

  • Not ticking the director box if the employee is a director
  • Not including a description or abbreviation where amounts are included in box A, B, L, M or N of the form
  • Leaving the cash equivalent box empty
  • Failing to report the full gross value of the benefit where it is provided for mixed business and private use
  • Not reporting a fuel benefit where one is due.

Correct completion of forms P11D can be a complex issue. If you would like any help with the forms P11D or the calculation of the associated Class 1A National Insurance liability please get in touch.

Internet links: HMRC P11D guidance Employer Bulletin

Rising employment statistics

According to the latest statistics issued by the Office of National Statistics:

‘The unemployment rate was 8.3% of the economically active population, down 0.1 on the quarter. There were 2.65 million unemployed people, down 35,000 on the quarter. This is the first quarterly fall in unemployment since the three months to May 2011.’

Dr Neil Bentley, CBI Deputy Director-General, said:

‘It’s good news that 53,000 more people are in work now than three months ago, which shows that the private sector is gradually regaining confidence to hire.’

‘While this is the best jobs news we’ve had in a year, the Government must step up its welfare reform programme. Worryingly, over a third of those unemployed have been out of work for more than 12 months.’

‘With youth jobless numbers still stubbornly high, helping young people find jobs must remain a joint priority for businesses and government.’

Internet links: CBI press release ONS Bulletin

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.

Where employers do not file their annual return by 19 May they incur a penalty of £100 per 50 (or fewer) employees for every month (or part month) that their return is late.

HMRC have been criticised for failing to make employers aware that they were incurring penalties on a timely basis. In a change to procedure HMRC will now issue employers, who they believe have yet to make a return, with an ‘Employer Annual Return Reminder’ from the end of April.

From the end of May HMRC will issue ‘P35 Interim Penalty Letters’ to relevant employers.

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

Internet links: HMRC end of year guidance Employer Bulletin

Outstanding self assessment tax returns

HMRC are urging anyone who has still not completed their 2010/11 self assessment tax return to send it online before the end of April, or be charged daily penalties from 1 May.

Anyone whose return is more than three months late will be charged a further £10 penalty for each day it remains outstanding, up to a maximum of 90 days. This penalty is in addition to the £100 late filing penalty they have already received.

HMRC are advising that if an individual receives a late filing penalty but does not think that they need to complete a return, they should call HMRC on 0845 900 0444. Alternatively contact us so that we can help, as it may be possible to cancel the penalty if HMRC agree that the return is not due.

HMRC’s Stephen Banyard said:

‘We want the returns and not penalties. So, if you haven’t sent us your 2010/11 return, you need to do one of two things urgently – either send it online by 30 April, or call us if you think you shouldn’t have to complete one.’

Internet link: Press release

HMRC issue guidance on RTI to employers

HMRC have updated their guidance on Real Time Information (RTI). This new system of monthly PAYE returns is to be piloted from April 2012 and is expected to be compulsory for all employers from October 2013.

If you would like to read more about the new system please follow the link below. If you would like help with payroll matters please do get in touch.

Internet link: HMRC FAQs

VAT on hot food

HMRC are consulting on changing the rules on hot takeaway food to ensure that all food (with the exception of freshly baked bread) that is above ambient air temperature when provided to the customer is standard rated.

Currently the rules are complex as if food is hot because it has just been cooked, such as freshly baked pies or roasted chicken, these items may in certain circumstances be zero rated for VAT purposes.

We will let you know the outcome of the consultation.

Internet link: HMRC consultation

Charitable giving – cap on tax relief

The government is proposing to restrict tax reliefs available to individuals such as charitable giving.

Currently individuals can offset their entire income against income tax reliefs, and as a result may pay no income tax at all. It was announced in the Budget 2012 that from 6 April 2013 there will be limits to the amount of income tax relief individuals can claim.

This cap will apply only to reliefs which are currently unlimited. This cap will be set at 25% of income (or £50,000, whichever is greater).

HMRC propose to issue a consultation document on the detail of the policy, including the implications for philanthropic giving, in the summer. We will keep you informed of developments.

Internet link: HMRC press release