Newsletter – September 2012

In this month’s enews we report on HMRC’s guidance on a number of issues including those relevant to businesses, employers and individuals.

Please browse through the articles and get in touch if you have any further queries or would like more information.


Autumn Statement 2012

The government has announced that the Autumn Statement will be made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, on Wednesday 5 December at 12.30pm.

The Statement provides an update on the government’s plans for the economy based on the latest forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

We will let you have details of pertinent announcements following the Chancellor’s statement to Parliament.

Internet link: Treasury website

Check your National Insurance Number

HMRC have announced a new procedure whereby individuals can email them for written confirmation of their National Insurance number using form CA5403.

HMRC advise:

‘If you’ve lost or can’t remember your National Insurance number or can’t find it on official paperwork you can email HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for written confirmation of your number. You can also use this service to let HMRC know that you’ve changed your name or address.’

‘National Insurance cards are no longer issued and your National Insurance number is not proof of your identity.’

Internet links: Press release Form CA5403

What is a car, commercial vehicle or motor home for VAT?

HMRC have updated their guidance on the classification of vehicles.

For VAT purposes it is vital to know the difference between cars and other vehicles. This is because in most cases, VAT registered businesses cannot reclaim the input VAT incurred when they purchase a car. Generally businesses are able to reclaim the input VAT when they buy a commercial vehicle.

The HMRC guide explains the difference between a car, motorcycle, a motor home and a commercial vehicle for VAT purposes.

The link also gives access to the current list of ‘Car derived vans and combi vans’. This updated useful list considers the treatment of some borderline vehicles.

Internet link: HMRC VAT motor vehicle guidance

VAT guidance

HMRC have announced the publication of guidance covering the changes to address VAT borderline anomalies announced at Budget 2012.

The majority of the changes take effect from 1 October 2012. The changes which relate to caravans will however take effect from 6 April 2013.

Seven information sheets are available which cover the following areas:

  • Hot food and premises
  • Caravans
  • Sports nutrition drinks
  • Listed buildings
  • Hairdressers’ chairs
  • Self storage and
  • Anti-forestalling (in relation to the listed building and self storage changes)

HMRC have confirmed in their press release:

‘Information sheets are being published to explain how each of the changes will work. These will be incorporated into HMRC’s books of guidance as soon as possible.’

If you would like any guidance in any of these areas please do get in touch.

Internet link: HMRC VAT briefs

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme guide

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) has been in place for a number of years and provides tax relief for individuals prepared to invest in new and growing companies. Investors can obtain generous income tax and capital gains tax reliefs for their investment and companies can use the relief to attract additional investment to develop their business.

A junior version of EIS known as Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) was introduced from 6 April 2012.

HMRC have issued guidance for both companies and investors on the operation of SEIS.

Please do contact us if you would like advice on SEIS or EIS.

Internet link: HMRC SEIS guidance

National Minimum Wage Rates

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates from 1 October 2012 are as follows:

  • the adult minimum wage rate will increase from £6.08 to £6.19 an hour
  • the rate for 18 – 20 year olds will remain at £4.98 an hour
  • the rate for 16 -17 year olds will remain at £3.68 an hour and
  • the apprentice rate will increase from £2.60 to £2.65 an hour.

HMRC are able to charge penalties to those employers found to be in breach of the NMW rules. Details of the calculation of arrears and potential penalties can be found on the BIS website.

If you have any queries on the NMW please do get in touch.

Internet links: Directgov website BIS website

Get paid: A guide for owners and managers of small businesses

The CBI is backing a new guide which encourages good practice among suppliers and customers. The guide offers advice to businesses to ensure that they get paid by their customers and also pay their suppliers on time.

To read the guidance please visit the link below.

Internet links: Press release Get paid guide

HMRC launch tracker – Where’s my reply?

HMRC have announced the introduction of a new tracker service.

Agents, employees and those paying tax on company pensions through PAYE can use a new tracker to find out when to expect to receive a reply to their enquiry from HMRC.

HMRC advise:

‘If you’re an employee or you pay tax on a company pension through PAYE (Pay As You Earn – the system used by employers and pension providers to deduct tax from your wages or pension), you can use the tracker to check how long it will take HMRC to:

  • pay your income tax refund
  • reply to your general income tax enquiry
  • provide a copy of individual information, such as your tax code or pay and tax details
  • send you HMRC forms or stationery.’

‘If you’re an agent, you can also check how long it will take HMRC to:

  • register you as an agent to use HMRC Online Services
  • process an application for authority to act on behalf of a client
  • amend your agent details.’

Internet link: HMRC Where’s my reply?

Does your business still need an audit?

The government has announced key changes to company and LLP audit and reporting requirements. The changes remove the need for many more companies and LLPs to have an audit and apply to financial years ending on or after 1 October 2012.

The government has announced that:

  • for small companies the audit thresholds will be aligned with small company accounting thresholds
  • for qualifying parent companies and their subsidiaries that an option will be available to not have subsidiaries audited and instead for the parent to provide a statutory guarantee over their subsidiaries’ liabilities, and
  • dormant subsidiaries will be exempt from the requirement to prepare and file accounts.

Whilst the changes have been marketed by the government as saving businesses millions in reporting and accountancy fees, there are, of course, a number of factors to consider in making a decision as to how to proceed.

Please contact us for guidance in this area.

Internet link: BIS response

New proposals to streamline employment law

Vince Cable has announced measures to give employers more flexibility in managing their workforce by reducing employment law red tape.

According to the press release:

‘The government has given details of:

  • Its support for settlement agreements to help end employment relationships in a fair and consensual way.
  • A consultation on how best to make this work in practice starts today and Acas has agreed to provide a new code of practice.
  • How it might reduce the cap on compensation for unfair dismissal claims.
  • Proposals to streamline employment tribunals by making it easier for judges to dismiss weak cases
  • Responses to its call for evidence on the TUPE rules, when staff transfer to a new employer. Government has heard that businesses want this to be more efficient, and will consult on specific proposals before the end of the year.
  • Recommendations on how to improve guidance for small businesses on the Acas code of practice on discipline and grievance.’

Internet link: BIS news