Newsletter – May 2014

In this month’s enews we update you on pertinent announcements from HMRC for employers. We also look at issues relevant to businesses.

Please contact us if you would like any further information.



More HMRC guidance on the Employment Allowance

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

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

HMRC has updated the guidance on eligibility for the Employment Allowance.

For help with payroll matters please do contact us.

Internet link: Employment allowance eligibility  Employment allowance key facts

P11D forms don’t get them wrong

HMRC have published a list of common errors in the completion of forms P11D and guidance that medical benefits for lower paid employees are not reportable. The information is part of the lengthy Employer Bulletin so we have reproduced the guidance below.

Common Mistakes

The following is a list of common errors which are easily avoidable but can delay processing and cause problems with employees’ tax codes each year:

  • Submitting duplicate P11D information on paper where P11D information has already been filed online to ensure ‘HMRC have received it’. These duplicates can cause processing problems
  • Using a paper form that relates to the wrong tax year – check the top right hand corner of the first page
  • Not ticking the ‘director’ box if the employee is a director
  • Not including a description or abbreviation, where amounts are included in sections A, B, L, M or N of the form
  • Leaving the ‘cash equivalent’ box empty where you’ve entered a figure in the corresponding ‘cost to you’ box of a section
  • Not correctly completing the declaration on the final FPS/EPS submission (for those employers operating PAYE in ‘real time’) or the box in Part 5 of form P35 (Employers Annual Return) to indicate whether or not P11Ds are due
  • Where a benefit has been provided for mixed business and private use, entering only the value of the private-use portion – you must report the full gross value of the benefit
  • Not completing the fuel benefit box/field where this applies. This means an amended P11D has to be sent in
  • Incorrectly completing the ‘from’ and ‘to’ dates in the ‘Dates car was available’ boxes. For example entering 06/04/2013 to 05/04/2014 to indicate the car was available throughout that year. If the car was available in the previous tax year, the ‘from’ box should not be completed and if the car is to be available in the next tax year, the ‘to’ box should not be completed i.e. left blank.’

The Employer Bulletin also includes guidance on a common error relating to the incorrect completion of a form P9D in relation to private medical insurance provided to lower paid employees. The HMRC guidance states:

Are You Completing P9D’s Needlessly for Employees in Receipt of Medical Benefit?

Do you know that if your employees earn less than the rate of £8,500 AND you arrange and pay the provider directly for the treatment or insurance a P9D does NOT need to be completed.

For more information go to

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

Internet link:

Shared Parental Leave

The current system of statutory pay and leave entitlements for employed parents is to be reformed for babies due (or adopted children placed) on or after 5 April 2015. The following guidance in contained in the lengthy Employer Bulletin so we have reproduced it in full.

The Government is reforming the statutory pay and leave entitlements available to employed parents. For babies due on or after 5 April 2015 a new entitlement of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) will replace Additional Paternity Leave and Pay. The parents of babies due on or before 4 April 2015 will continue to be eligible for Additional Paternity Leave and Pay.

SPL gives families greater choice over how they arrange childcare in the first year, by allowing working mothers the option to end their maternity pay and leave early and to share untaken leave and pay with their partner. An adopter will similarly be able to bring their adoption leave and pay to an early end to opt into Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) and Leave.

It is intended to enable fathers to take a greater role in caring for a child, and to help both parents to better balance childcare responsibilities with staying in work. For businesses, this helps them keep their best talent and allows employers to recruit with confidence that their women employees will be less likely to drop out of the workforce when they have children.

How does it work?

Current entitlement to 52 weeks statutory maternity/adoption leave, 39 of which is paid, and 2 weeks of statutory paternity leave and pay is all unchanged. The first six weeks of Statutory Adoption Pay will increase to 90% of average weekly earnings.

Working parents of a baby due or an adoptive child placed on or after 5 April 2015 may be eligible for SPL and ShPP. Under SPL, mothers/adopters will be able to choose to end their maternity/adoption leave and pay early (at any point from 2 weeks after the birth/placement), and share their untaken pay and leave with their partner. Shared parental leave and pay can be stopped and started and parents can be off at the same time, if they wish.

Parents will be able to take their leave in phases, for example 20 weeks for the mother/adopter, followed by 20 weeks for the father/partner, followed by 10 weeks for the mother/adopter. So it may be the case that statutory parental pay is paid over one or two discontinuous periods. Parents must notify their employers of their plans under SPL 8 weeks before they become eligible for it, and all shared leave and pay must be taken between the birth/placement and the child’s first birthday.

What do employers need to do?

We expect the first notifications of intention to take SPL to arrive with employers from February 2015. The Government will provide an online form for parents to use. Some employers may wish to create their own requirements for how their employees notify them.

We anticipate that employers will need to update payroll systems where relevant to accommodate providing statutory parental pay to employees taking SPL, and to enable these payments to be paid discontinuously where necessary.

The Government will provide online tools to check eligibility, and publish detailed guidance on the rules around SPL. A key part of SPL is the discussion between employer and employee to agree the phasing of SPL and the return to work, and ACAS will also publish guidance to support this process.’

We will update you when further information is released. Please do get in touch if you would like further guidance on this area.

Internet links: Employer Bulletin

Icebreaker tax avoidance scheme rejected by HMRC

In a high profile decision HMRC has won a case in which the Icebreaker partnership schemes were shut down, after the tribunal ruled it was set up to shelter more than £120m in tax.

The wealthy members of the scheme, which included Gary Barlow and two of his former Take That band mates, claimed to be active partners trading in the creative industries, selling, for example, the rights to a song or an idea for a book. They claimed tax relief on greater losses than they invested in the partnerships. The return on the partners’ ‘investment’ was the tax relief, which was considerably larger than their cash contribution.

A HMRC spokesperson said:

‘HMRC has put in place generous reliefs to support genuine business investment and our tax reliefs for the creative industries work well, enabling the UK’s world-class film, television and video production companies to compete on the global stage.

But we will not tolerate abuse of the system by people trying to dodge their tax obligations. HMRC will continue to challenge in the courts and anyone who engages in tax avoidance schemes risk not only the high cost of these schemes but also lay themselves open to penalties and, potentially, prosecution.’

The scheme was rejected by a First-tier Tribunal.

Internet link: News  Tribunal

Pay your PAYE on time or face in-year interest on late payments

HMRC have issued further guidance on late payment interest on PAYE and CIS payments for 2014/15 onwards and how to avoid it.

HMRC now charges interest on any late PAYE and Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) payments.

To avoid an interest charge employers should pay by the due date, the difference between the following:

  • what they report on their Full Payment Submission(s) (FPS) received by the 19th of the month following the end of the tax month it relates to, together with any CIS charges for that tax month
  • any deductions reported on an Employer Payment Submission (EPS), again received by the 19th of the month following the end of the tax month it relates to.

Any corrections made to wages reported on an FPS that HMRC receives after the 19th of the month following the end of the tax month it relates to will be included in the following month’s charge. In these circumstances, the amount payable for the tax month is the amount actually reported by the 19th (rather than the corrected amount).

Interest charges

HMRC will charge interest daily, from the date a payment is due and payable to the date it is paid in full.

Accruing Interest and the Business Tax Dashboard

Employers will be able to see an estimate of the interest building up on the Business Tax Dashboard.

Please be aware that HMRC have stated:

‘Accrued interest is only a guide to what may be due. HMRC will only seek payment of interest when the amount due is settled.

The Business Tax Dashboard will only show interest as accruing in the current month, regardless of when the payment was due.

It will show interest as accruing from the 19th of each month, regardless of how the employer pays. Employers who pay electronically should not worry if they see an accrued interest entry between 19th and 22nd of a month. Once the electronic payment is received, the calculation will correctly use the 22nd as the due date, and any interest charge generated between the 19th and 22nd will be cancelled.

Currently, there is an HMRC systems error which results in the Business Tax Dashboard showing interest accruing despite the employer having submitted an EPS that clears the original charges. This error will be corrected shortly. In the meantime, HMRC will not pursue this charge and employers do not need to contact HMRC about this.’

Please do get in touch if you would like help with payroll issues.

Internet links: News

VAT update and fuel scale charges

HMRC have issued guidance on a number of VAT changes including confirmation of the updated VAT Fuel scale charges which apply from the beginning of the next prescribed VAT accounting period starting on or after 1 May 2014.

Please do get in touch for further advice on VAT matters.

Internet link: VAT update  VAT fuel scale charges

Proposed new rules for easier prosecution of offshore tax evaders

The government will consult on plans to introduce a new strict liability criminal offence for individuals who hide their money offshore.

HMRC would no longer need to prove that individuals who have undeclared income offshore intended to evade tax, in order for the offence to be a criminal conviction.

Currently HMRC have to demonstrate that even when someone failed to declare offshore income that the individual intended to evade tax. This change will mean HMRC only has to demonstrate the income was taxable and undeclared meaning it will be easier to secure successful prosecutions of offshore tax evaders.

As well as introducing the new criminal offence, the government will consult on a range of options building on the existing penalties to make sure they act as a clear and effective deterrent.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said:

‘The government has taken significant steps to clamp down on those hiding their money offshore. HMRC has brought in over £1.5billion over the last two years and, through our leadership at the G8, we have taken significant steps towards greater transparency and tax information sharing.

But there can be no let up and we will continue to pursue offshore tax evaders. Those who continue to believe they can hide wealth offshore should know that there is no safe haven and that serious consequences await them.’

Internet links: News

Late payments to smaller businesses on the increase

According to a recent survey by the Forum of Private Business (FPB) almost one in four smaller businesses experienced an increase in the number of late payments during 2013.

Approximately a third of businesses surveyed reported an increase in the average number of days beyond the payment deadline that payments were made. FPB Chief Executive Phil Orford commented that more than £30 billion still remains ‘tied up in late payments’.

Internet link: Press release

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:

At your bank

At the Post Office

By Debit/Credit card

You can find out more about these other methods of payment at:

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 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 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
  • Anyone who has answered one of these emails should forward the email and disclosed details to
  • 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

Internet link: Press Release