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 – March 2011

In this month’s enews we report on several employment related issues. Please browse through the articles and get in touch if you have any further queries or would like more information.



Budget Statement

George Osborne presented his second Budget on Wednesday 23 March 2011.

In his statement he said that the ‘Budget is about reforming the nation’s economy, so that we have enduring growth and jobs in the future’.

The Main Budget proposals

The government had previously announced changes which apply from April 2011. However the Statement also included several new announcements, some of the more significant of which are set out below:

An additional 1% cut in the main rate of corporation tax to 26% from April 2011.

  • Enhanced tax incentives for investment in higher risk companies and for SMEs investing in research and development.
  • Reintroduction of Enterprise Zones.
  • Entrepreneurs’ Relief limit doubled to £10 million.
  • An increase in the mileage rate payable to own car drivers.
  • Consultation on integrating income tax and national insurance contributions.
  • Reduced inheritance tax rates for those giving one tenth of their estate to charity.

Some of these items are covered in more detail in the following articles. To access the full Budget information visit the Treasury website using the link below.

Internet link: Treasury Website Budget

Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs)

EIS and VCTs are designed to encourage private individuals to invest in smaller unquoted trading companies which may be perceived as higher risk. While the EIS requires an investment to be made directly into the shares of the company, VCTs operate by indirect investment through a mediated fund.

Currently EIS investors may be given income tax relief at 20% on their investments of up to £500,000 a year. Legislation will be introduced to increase the rate of tax relief to 30% for shares issued on or after 6 April 2011, subject to State aid approval.

Future changes

Subject to State aid approval, legislation will be introduced to make the following changes to the EIS and for shares issued on or after 6 April 2012.

The thresholds for the size of the company which may benefit from both types of investment will be increased to fewer than 250 employees and £15 million gross assets before the investment.

The annual amount which can be invested in an individual company is to rise to £10 million.

The annual amount that an individual can invest through EIS is to increase to £1 million.

Internet link: Budget TIIN

Corporation tax rates

Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2011 to reduce the main rate of corporation tax from 28% to 26% for the Financial Year commencing 1 April 2011 and then to 25% for the Financial Year commencing 1 April 2012. The main rate of corporation tax generally applies to companies with profits of more than £1.5 million. It had previously been announced that the main rate would reduce from 28% to 27% followed by further 1% graduated reductions until it reached 24% by 1 April 2014. Instead the main rate is set to reduce to 23% by 1 April 2014.

The small profits rate of corporation tax, which generally applies to companies with up to £300,000 of profits, is to reduce from 21% to 20% also with effect from 1 April 2011. This had already been announced.

The effective marginal corporation tax rate for profits between £300,000 and £1.5 million will be 27.5% from 1 April 2011.

Internet link: Budget TIIN

Approved mileage allowance payments (AMAP)

The AMAP rates can be used to claim the cost of business mileage in an employee’s own vehicle. The rates cover cars, vans, motorcycles and bicycles. Where an employer pays less than the published rates, employees can make a claim for tax relief for the shortfall.

With effect from 6 April 2011 the rate of the AMAP for cars and vans will be increased from 40p per mile to 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles of business travel in the tax year. The rate for mileage above 10,000 miles will remain at 25p per mile.

This may mean that drivers receiving mileage allowances in excess of the AMAP will see a reduction in their tax and NICs liability. For those drivers who receive less than the AMAP their claim for tax relief on the shortfall will be increased.

An allowance for passenger payments currently in place for employees at 5p per passenger per mile will be extended to volunteers who carry passengers as part of their volunteering duties. This extension will apply with effect from 6 April 2011.

Internet link: Budget TIIN

Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER)

ER was introduced in April 2008. Subject to satisfying certain conditions, including the current lifetime limit of £5 million, capital gains on qualifying business disposals by individuals and certain trustees are eligible for ER. Qualifying gains are liable to CGT at 10%.

The lifetime limit is applied to the aggregate of gains that benefit from ER, whatever the year in which the disposal took place. Any gains in excess of the lifetime limit are liable to CGT at the same rates as other chargeable gains.

The lifetime limit will increase to £10 million with effect for qualifying business disposals on or after 6 April 2011.

Where individuals or trustees make qualifying gains above the £5m limit before 6 April 2011, no additional relief will be allowed for the excess.

Internet link: Budget TIIN

Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits

Subject to State aid approval, legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2011 to increase the rate of the additional deduction for expenditure on R&D for companies that are small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from 75% to 100% for expenditure incurred on or after 1 April 2011, giving a total deduction of 200%. The rate of Vaccine Research Relief for SMEs will be reduced to 20% from the same date.

The government also plans to introduce further changes subject to consultation and State aid approval in Finance Bill 2012 in respect of expenditure incurred on or after 1 April 2012 as follows:

  • to abolish the rule limiting a company’s payable R&D tax credit to the amount of PAYE and NICs it pays
  • to abolish the £10,000 minimum expenditure condition
  • to change the rules governing the provision of relief for work done by subcontractors under the large company scheme
  • to increase the rate of the additional deduction for expenditure on R&D for SMEs by a further 25% to give a total deduction of 225%
  • Vaccine Research Relief will not be available for SMEs.

Internet link: Budget TIIN

Enterprise Zones

The government announced the location of ten new urban Enterprise Zones within the following Local Enterprise Partnership areas: Birmingham and Solihull; Leeds City Region; Sheffield City Region; Liverpool City Region; Greater Manchester; West of England; Tees Valley; North Eastern; the Black Country; and Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. In addition, London will have an Enterprise Zone and be able to choose its site.

The government will make a range of policy tools available to all zones including:

  • a 100% business rate discount worth up to £275,000 over a five year period for businesses that move into an Enterprise Zone during the course of this Parliament
  • government and local authority help to develop radically simplified planning approaches in the zone.

It will consider, in a limited number of cases, the scope for introducing enhanced capital allowances.

Internet link: Treasury Budget document

£1.3 million tax credits identity thief jailed

Olaide (John) Taiwo, aged 35, has been jailed for his part in stealing the identities of at least 350 people and using the identities to submit over 300 fraudulent tax credit claims.

A woman who also took part in the fraud was also convicted. She will be sentenced in April.

Richard Young, Senior Investigating Officer for HMRC said:

‘This pair blatantly hijacked the identities of over 350 innocent people and stole from British taxpayers by submitting over 300 fraudulent tax credit claims between June 2004 and July 2008. They deliberately attacked and abused a system designed to provide financial help to the most vulnerable people in our society. The sentences given will be a warning to anyone considering committing this type of fraud – it will not be tolerated. HMRC will pursue, prosecute and reclaim the financial gain from those found to commit these types of crime. I urge anyone who has information about Tax Credits fraud, to call the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440 and help us stamp this fraudulent activity out.’

Upon sentencing Taiwo, His Honour Judge Simon Davis said:

‘This is a fraud on a substantial scale. You lied and sought to manipulate with ease and confidence and with an arrogance that was astonishing. You were intimately connected with every aspect of the fraud, stealing real details of real people to commit identity fraud on the large scale.’

As part of the investigation, a search of his home uncovered evidence of the fraud taking place, including details of numerous bank accounts held in the defendants’ names and aliases, plus documentation which held hundreds of innocent people’s identities. HMRC investigators also seized £70,000, which is believed to be proceeds of the crime.

Internet link: Press release

HMRC launch business records tools

HMRC are making available on their website checklists and toolkits which they believe are suitable for the self employed, sole traders and small businesses. The tools have been released in advance of the launch of HMRC’s programme of Business Record Checks scheduled for later this year, which will impose penalties for significant record keeping failures.

Brian Redford, HMRC’s Acting Director, Business Customer Unit, said:

‘In these tough times, keeping good records makes sound business sense.’

‘It may seem like a challenge, particularly when you’re starting out, but keeping good records will bring real advantages to your business. Get a proper system in place and you’ll not only be confident that you are paying the right tax, but you’ll keep up-to-date with how much you owe suppliers and how much you are owed.’

‘Later this year, HMRC will start a programme of Business Records Checks that will look at the adequacy and accuracy of business records in SMEs to bring about a major improvement in the standard of record-keeping. Now is the time to invest a bit of effort to make sure your business records are perfect.’

The toolkits and checklists can be found on the Business Link website. However if you are unsure what records you should be keeping or would like a reminder please do get in touch.

Internet link: Press release

Plumbers Tax Safe Plan

HMRC have introduced the Plumbers Tax Safe Plan. This is the latest of HMRC’s disclosure opportunities and follows on from the doctors and dentists disclosure facility.

According to the HMRC website:

‘The Plumbers Tax Safe Plan (PTSP) is designed for people working within the plumbing industry who have not told HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about all their income in the past and who now want to get back on track. It is intended to cover people who work (or worked) in the plumbing, heating or gas installation trades and this includes anyone who installs and repairs pipes and fixtures for water, drainage or gas systems in a building.’

If you would like any more information on the PTSP please do get in touch.

Internet links: HMRC disclosures Guidance Pack

Fuel Prices

George Osborne presented his second Budget Statement and said:

‘Today’s Budget is about reforming the nation’s economy, so that we have enduring growth and jobs in the future.

And it’s about doing what we can to help families with the cost of living and the high oil price.

We understand how difficult it is for so many people across our country right now.

That we are able now to set off on the route from rescue to reform, and reform to recovery, is because of difficult decisions we’ve already taken.’

One of the measures announced was a cut in fuel duty by 1 pence per litre together with scrapping the escalator for the rest of this Parliament. Duty on fuel was due to rise by inflation plus 1 pence from 1 April 2011, which would have added around 5 pence in cost to each litre of fuel.

Internet link: BBC news

Help for small businesses

Another Budget announcement was that as part of a raft of measures to help small businesses the current business rates holiday will be extended until October 2012.

During his statement George Osborne said:

‘The last government planned that the current rate relief holiday for small businesses should end in October this year. I don’t think that would be right. So I can announce that, at a cost to the Exchequer of £370 million, I will extend the rate holiday for small businesses for another year – to October 2012.’

David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, has also issued a letter to small businesses setting out the measures designed to support for enterprise and small business. To read more about the measures visit the link below.

Internet link: Business link letter

HMRC online services unavailable

HMRC are advising taxpayers that unfortunately their online services will be unavailable from Saturday 2 April until 06.00 Wednesday 6 April 2011. This is to allow for IT upgrades. All services will be affected including Corporation Tax, Self Assessment, PAYE and VAT.

Internet link: HRMC services unavailable

Standard rate of VAT- updated guidance

HMRC have updated their guidance on how to deal with the change in the standard rate of VAT which happened on 4 January 2011. The guidance covers such issues as deposits, credit notes and services which span the change in rate. If you would like any further information please get in touch.

Internet link: HMRC VAT guidance

Retirement and the removal of the Default Retirement Age

Acas have updated their guidance on the transitional arrangements which are in place to abolish the default retirement age (DRA).

According to the Acas website:

‘The new regulations now make it clear that the transitional arrangements apply to anyone who is 65 or over by 30 September 2011 regardless of when they reached the age of 65.

The new regulations also provide for the notice of retirement to be extended up to a maximum of 6 months if the employee requests this before 5 January 2012 and the retirement takes place on or before 5 October 2012’.

To read the updated employer guidance and the article visit the links below.

Internet links: Acas article Acas guidance