Newsletter – April 2014

In this month’s enews we report on pensions announcements and other issues pertinent to employers with many deadlines approaching.

Please contact us if you would like any further information.

 

 

HMRC guidance on new pension flexibility

Following the Budget announcements regarding pension flexibility HMRC have now issued some guidance for those individuals who may wish to review their pension options.

New rules are being introduced to ensure that people do not lose their right to a tax-free lump sum if they would rather use the new flexibility this year or next, instead of buying a lifetime annuity.

Internet link: Pensions flexibility

Employers no longer 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 have been able to 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 worked 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 are unable to recover SSP however they will continue to be able to recover unclaimed SSP for previous years until 5 April 2016. 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.

Internet link: Employer bulletin

Disclosure facility for those with undisclosed second incomes

The Second Incomes Campaign is an opportunity open to individuals in employment who have an additional untaxed source of income.

The new facility allows those with untaxed income to get up to date with their tax affairs in a simple, straightforward way and take advantage of the best possible terms.

If you would like any advice on this area please do get in touch.

Internet links: Second incomes campaign  Guide to disclosure

More guidance on Class 3A NIC

Further guidance has been issued on Class 3A National insurance contributions (NIC).

In the autumn of 2013 the Government announced plans to introduce a scheme to allow pensioners to top up their Additional State Pension by paying a new class of voluntary National Insurance contribution, to be known as Class 3A.

‘The scheme will open in October 2015 and will be available to all pensioners who reach State Pension age before the introduction of the new State Pension in April 2016. The scheme is expected to run for 18 months.’

‘Class 3A will give pensioners an option to top up their pension by up to £25 a week in a way that will protect them from inflation and offer protection to surviving spouses. In particular, it could help women, and those who have been self-employed, who tend to have low additional State Pension entitlement.’

Internet link: Publication

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 issued more guidance on the practicalities of claiming the allowance which can be found by visiting the link below.

For help with payroll matters please do contact us.

Internet links: Employment allowance detail  Employment allowance key facts

Tax-free childcare

Details of the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme which is to be launched in autumn 2015 have been announced.

The scheme will be worth a maximum of £2,000 per child per year. The maximum amount due is calculated on 20% of the costs of childcare (up to a total of childcare costs of £10,000 per child per year).

The scheme will be launched in autumn 2015. All children under 12 within the first year of the scheme will be eligible. To qualify for Tax-Free Childcare all parents in the household must:

  • meet a minimum income level based on working eight hours per week at the National Minimum Wage (around £50 a week at current rates)
  • each earn less than £150,000 a year, and
  • not already be receiving support through Tax Credits or Universal Credit.

Self-employed parents will be able to get support with childcare costs in the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, unlike the current employer supported childcare scheme. To support newly self-employed parents, the Government is introducing a ‘start-up’ period. During this period a newly self-employed parent will not have to earn the minimum income level.

The current system of employer supported childcare will continue to be available for current members if they wish to remain in it or they can switch to the new scheme. Employer supported childcare will continue to be open to new joiners until the new scheme is available.

It is proposed that parents register with the Government and open an online account. The scheme will be delivered by HMRC in partnership with National Savings and Investments, the scheme’s account provider. The Government will then ‘top up’ payments into this account at a rate of 20p for every 80p that families pay in.

Internet link: News

Increase in NMW rates

The Government has approved a rise in the National Minimum Wage rates which will come into effect on 1 October 2014:

  • a 19p (3%) increase in the adult rate (from £6.31 to £6.50 per hour)
  • a 10p (2%) increase in the rate for 18 to 20 year olds (from £5.03 to £5.13 per hour)
  • a 7p (2%) increase in the rate for 16 to 17 year olds (from £3.72 to £3.79 per hour)
  • a 5p (2%) increase in the rate for apprentices (from £2.68 to £2.73 per hour.

The rise will take effect in October 2014, as Business Secretary Vince Cable has accepted in full the independent Low Pay Commission’s recommendations for 2014, including plans for bigger increases in future than in recent years.

The Low Pay Commission (LPC) has said the rise, the first real terms cash increase since 2008, is manageable for employers and will support full employment.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

‘The recommendations I have accepted today (12 March 2014) mean that low paid workers will enjoy the biggest cash increase in their take home pay since 2008. This will benefit over 1 million workers on National Minimum Wage and marks the start of a welcome new phase in minimum wage policy.’

Meanwhile HMRC have revealed some of the excuses given for not paying the NMW.

Internet links: Press release  HMRC NMW excuses

Advisory fuel rates for company cars and fuel benefit charge

Where private fuel is provided by the employer for a company car then a separate benefit is assessable on the employee. This benefit charge is calculated by applying the same percentage figure used to calculate the company car benefit to a fixed figure which for 2014/15 is set at £21,700. The percentage is linked to the car’s CO2 emission figures.

Now is a good time to consider whether this benefit is value for money for both the employee and employer.

The alternative is to reimburse the employee for business miles using the company car advisory fuel rates. The current rates are:

Engine size Petrol
1400cc or less 14p
1401cc – 2000cc 16p
Over 2000cc 24p

 

Engine size LPG
1400cc or less 9p
1401cc – 2000cc 11p
Over 2000cc 17p

 

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

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

P11d deadline approaching

The forms P11D, and where appropriate P9D, which report details of expenses and benefits provided to employees and directors for the year ended 5 April 2014, are due for submission to HMRC by 6 July 2014. 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 updated their expenses and benefits toolkit for 2013/14 and record keeping for 2014/15. The toolkit consists of a checklist which may be used by advisers or employers to check they are completing the forms P11D correctly.

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 links: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/payerti/exb/forms.htm  Toolkit

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 – December 2011

eNEWS – December 2011

In this month’s enews we report on some further announcements made following the Autumn Statement.

Please browse through this month’s articles using the links below and contact us if any issues or questions arise.

With best wishes for 2012.

 

 

Pensions Auto Enrolment

The Government has confirmed that pensions auto enrolment will commence in Autumn 2012 and all employers will remain within the scope of the rules.

However small businesses, those with less than 50 employees, will be given additional time to prepare for the implementation. The government have confirmed that no small employers are affected by the reforms before the end of this Parliament.

Minister for Pensions Steve Webb said:

‘Our society and economy needs to be based on a foundation of saving, not debt. Automatic enrolment will help millions save, and to not act will leave people poorer in retirement. That is why I am confirming today that automatic enrolment will start on time and all employers will be part of it.

We recognise that small businesses are operating in tough economic times so we are softening the timetable for implementation to give them some additional breathing space. This is a sensible step that ensures long term pension issues are addressed while meeting the short and medium term needs of small business.

We are committed to ensuring the employees of these small businesses get the chance to save and that is why no one will miss out.

Under the revised timeline, small business would begin automatically enrolling their staff in May 2015, instead of the current timing of April 2014. Half of all workers will still be automatically enrolled before the end of this Parliament.’

It is expected that further details will be announced in January 2012 and we will keep you informed of developments.

Internet link: DWP press release

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

New company car advisory fuel rates have been published to take effect from 1 December 2011. HMRC’s website states:

‘These rates apply to all journeys on or after 1 December 2011 until further notice, allowing them to reflect fuel prices more quickly. 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 2011 are:

Engine size

Petrol

Diesel

LPG

1400cc or less

15p (15p)

10p (11p)

1401cc – 2000cc

18p (18p)

12p (12p)

Over 2000cc

26p (26p)

18p (18p)

1600cc or less

12p (12p)

1601cc – 2000cc

15p (15p)

Over 2000cc

18p (18p)

Please note that most rates have not changed. However the rate for LPG cars has reduced for those with an engine size of 1400cc or less.

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

Capital allowances in Enterprise Zones

Following the Autumn Statement at the end of November 2011, more information is now available in respect of the proposal to give 100% first year allowances on plant and machinery expenditure for use in some Enterprise Zone areas.

  • The relief will only be available to trading companies.
  • The plant must be new and represent an investment not a replacement of existing plant.
  • The plant must be used primarily in designated assisted areas within Enterprise Zones.
  • The allowance will apply for purchases made from 1 April 2012 up to 31 March 2017.
  • Some businesses and some types of expenditure are specifically excluded from the provisions.

Internet link: Draft rules CA Enterprise Zones

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme

The government has released more information on the new Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) aimed at smaller companies. The proposals include the following:

  • The relief will initially run from 6 April 2012 until 5 April 2017 but may continue after that date.
  • Income tax relief on a qualifying investment will be 50%.The relief is available to be set against any income tax liability that is due, whether at basic, higher or additional rate.
  • Income tax relief will be withdrawn in certain circumstances including a disposal of the shares within three years.
  • There will be an annual limit of £100,000 investment by an individual.
  • A director may make a qualifying investment but not an employee or an associate of an employee.
  • An individual may not hold more than 30% of the shares in the company.
  • The issuing company must have been incorporated within two years of the date on which the qualifying shares are issued.
  • The company must exist to carry on a qualifying trade.
  • The gross assets of the company (including a proportion of assets of companies which hold at least 25% of the shares in the issuing company) must not exceed £200,000 immediately before the shares are issued.
  • The issuing company must not have more than the equivalent of 25 full-time employees immediately before the shares are issued.
  • The maximum amount which can be raised by a company through SEIS is £150,000 and this is an overall total not an annual limit.
  • Subject to conditions, the disposal of SEIS shares will be exempt from CGT.
  • Where an individual makes a capital gain in 2012/13 and invests an amount which is at least equal to the gain in qualifying SEIS shares before 6 April 2013 then the gain will be exempt from CGT. If the shares fail to meet the qualifications for SEIS for three years then the exemption will be withdrawn.

If you are interested in this new relief and wonder if it may be relevant to you or your business please do get in touch.

Internet link: Treasury SEIS

Statutory Residence Test

The government has been consulting on introducing a Statutory Residence Test (SRT). The test which was expected to be introduced from 2012 has been delayed until 6 April 2013. More details are expected to be announced in the 2012 Budget.

There is currently no definition of ‘residence’ in UK tax law and yet the liability to income tax and capital gains tax (CGT) rests on knowing an individual’s UK residence status for a tax year. Currently the determination of residence is based on old case law and, as a recent Supreme Court decision has shown, it can lead to significant uncertainty and large tax liabilities.

The SRT is expected to be based on three parts and an individual would consider each part in turn. If a definite answer on their residence status is found on the first part then there is no need to proceed further. Similarly if the second part gives a definitive answer there is no need to move to the third part. That final test then provides a definitive answer.

The parts and the conditions are as follows:

Part A – satisfy any one of three conditions and the individual is conclusively non-resident in the year.

Part B – satisfy any one of three conditions and the individual is conclusively resident for the year.

If no definite answer under Part B then proceed to Part C

Part C – here the rules combine the time spent in the UK and a number of connection factors which are deemed to link an individual to the UK.

Some individuals who are currently outside the UK, particularly those working abroad, will need to note that the new rules could change their residence status and they may wish to review plans for visits back to the UK and the impact of any potential connecting factors.

Please contact us if you have any concerns in this area.

Internet link: Treasury consultation on residence

Self assessment deadline fast approaching

HMRC are reminding taxpayers that the deadline for filing self assessment tax returns is fast approaching. According to their website:

‘You must send your online tax return by midnight on Tuesday 31 January 2012.

The deadline is only later than this if you received your tax return, or the letter telling you to complete a tax return, after 31 October 2011. In this case you’ll have three months from the date you received that letter.

If your online tax return is late, you’ll have to pay a penalty. This applies even if you have no tax to pay or if you pay all the tax you owe on time.’

The following illustrates that missing the deadline and failing to submit the return online may result in significant penalties.

What happens if you miss the deadline?

If you miss the 31 January deadline for online tax returns, you will have to pay a penalty.

The penalty is £100. You’ll still have to pay this even if

  • your return is just a day late
  • you have no tax to pay
  • you pay all the tax you owe before 31 January 2012.

The longer you delay, the more you’ll have to pay. If your tax return is three months late, you’ll have to pay a penalty for each additional day it is late. If it’s six months late, you’ll have to pay a further penalty and another final penalty if it’s 12 months late. Together these could add up to a penalty of £1,600 or more.

Don’t send a paper tax return now – the deadline was 31 October 2011. You’ll have to pay a £100 penalty straight away if you do and the daily penalties above will start even earlier. Send it online instead.’

If you require any help with your tax return please do get in touch.

Internet link: HMRC news

The Portas Review

The CBI commented on a report by Mary Portas on the future of the high street.

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

‘Retail represents about 10% of our economy, and the high street is a vital part of this.

The Portas Review makes some sensible suggestions about how we can inject life back into town centres, including increased use of Business Improvement Districts and relaxing planning restrictions on the high street, in particular on change of use.

More importantly, she recognises the growing burden business rates are placing on companies right across the country at a critical time.

We need to make sure the UK remains attractive to investors, as it’s their decisions that will ultimately lead to regeneration of our town centres. Any changes to the planning and business rate regimes must therefore encourage investment in the broadest sense, and not just rob Peter to pay Paul.’

Internet links: BIS press release with access to report CBI press release

HMRC to accept Faster Payments

HMRC have announced that they will now accept payments made using the Faster Payments Service. This will allow taxpayers to make faster electronic payments, typically via internet or telephone banking, enabling them to be processed on the same or next day.

HMRC advise that if you want make payments using this method you should contact your bank or building society to confirm the following:

  • the services available to you
  • whether there are any single transaction or daily limits on the amount you can pay
  • their latest cut off times for making a payment.

They are also stressing that when making a payment to HMRC it is important to ensure that you are using the correct bank account details and reference number.

Internet link: HMRC news

2012/13 Statutory Payments

HMRC have announced the following statutory payment rates which are due to take affect for 2012/13. These rates are still subject to Parliamentary approval and HMRC will confirm the rates before 1 April 2012.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) £135.45 per week

Ordinary Statutory Paternity Pay £135.45 per week

Additional Statutory Paternity Pay £135.45 per week

Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) £135.45 per week

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) £85.85 per week

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

Internet link: HMRC statutory payment rates