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Thursday, 17 January 2019


BREXIT NOTICE FROM HMRC
The UK will be leaving the EU on 29 M‌ar‌c‌h 2019. Leaving the EU with a deal remains the Government’s top priority, however the government and businesses should continue to plan for every possible outcome including no deal.
In December, HMRC wrote to VAT-registered businesses that trade only with the EU advising them to take 3 actions to prepare for a no deal EU Exit, including registering for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. You can read the full letter here.
Businesses that only trade with the EU will need an EORI number:
  • to continue to import or export goods with the EU after
    29 M‌ar‌c‌h 2019, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal; and
  • before they can apply for authorisations that will make customs processes easier.
If you are a UK business that trades with the EU and do not already have an EORI number then you should register for an EORI number at GOV.UK now. It only takes 10 minutes to apply. These businesses should also decide if they want to hire an agent to make import and/or export declarations for them or make the declarations themselves.
Businesses can find further guidance on customs declarations at Declaring your goods at customs if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. We have also published a new ‘Prepare your business for the UK leaving the EU’ tool on GOV‌.UK to help businesses with their EU Exit preparations that provides further support and guidance at Prepare your business for the UK leaving the EU.


Thursday, 10 January 2019

Newsletter 133

We hope that everyone had an enjoyable festive period and memorable New Year celebrations.

Our first Newsletter of 2019 is quite brief but looking forward to a year which will inevitably be dominated by the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, we may expect the volume of information to increase dramatically in the coming months.

SCOTTISH BUDGET 2018 INCOME TAX CHANGES

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay delivered the 2019/20 Scottish Draft Budget on Wednesday 12 December 2018 setting out the Scottish government’s financial and tax plans. The announcement had been timed to take place after Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond delivered the UK Budget on 29 October 2018. The Finance Secretary announced changes to Scottish income tax. Contact us for advice on how the Scottish Budget impacts you.


Scottish Income tax

The government has devolved powers to set the rates and bands of income tax (other than those for savings and dividend income) which apply to Scottish resident taxpayers. The Scottish Budget announced the following income tax rates and bands for 2019/20. These will be considered by the Scottish Parliament, and an agreed Scottish Rate Resolution will set the final Scottish Income tax rates and bands for 2019/20.

The current rates and bands for 2018/19 and the proposed rates and bands for 2019/20 on non-savings and non-dividend income are as follows:

Scottish Bands 2018/19
Scottish Bands 2019/20
Band Name
Scottish Rates
Over £11,850* - £13,850
Over £12,500* - £14,549
Starter
19%
Over £13,850 - £24,000
Over £14,549 - £24,944
Scottish Basic
20%
Over £24,000 - £43,430
Over £24,944 - £43,430
Intermediate
21%
Over £43,430 - 150,000**
Over £43,430 - 150,000**
Higher
41%
Over £150,000**
Over £150,000**
Top
46%

* assuming the individual is entitled to a full UK personal allowance


** the personal allowance will be reduced if an individual’s adjusted net income is above £100,000. 

The allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 of income over £100,000.


The personal allowance is currently £11,850 for 2018/19. The personal allowance for 2019/20 will be £12,500.

The UK higher rate tax point for 2019/20 is set at £50,000 (for those entitled to the full UK personal allowance) and the tax rates for non-savings and non-dividend income have been maintained at 20%, 40% and 45% respectively. The additional rate of 45% is payable on income over £150,000.

For 2019/20 Scottish taxpayers with employment income of approximately £27,000 will pay the same amount of income tax as those with similar income in the rest of the UK. For higher earners, with pay of £150,000, a Scottish taxpayer will pay approximately an extra £2,670 of income tax than those on similar income in the rest of the UK.

Internet link: GOV.SCOT budget

SCOTTISH BUDGET 2018 PROPERTY TAX CHANGES

In the 2019/20 Scottish Draft Budget, Derek Mackay announced changes to Scottish Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) which are considered below.

The government’s stated policy priority for residential Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) remains to help first-time buyers and to assist people as they progress through the property market. Since its introduction, this policy has ensured that over 80% of taxpayers benefit from LBTT by paying either no tax or less tax than in England. The current rates and bands are as follows:

Residential property
Rate
0 - £145,000
0%
£145,001 - £250,000
2%
£250,001 - £325,000
5%
£325,001 - £750,000
10%
£750,001 and over
12%

The rates apply to the portion of the total value which falls within each band.


First-time buyer relief

A relief applies for first-time buyers of properties up to £175,000. The relief raises the zero tax threshold for first-time buyers from £145,000 to £175,000. First-time buyers purchasing a property above £175,000 also benefit from the relief on the portion of the price below the threshold.

Higher rates for additional residential properties

Higher rates of LBTT are charged on purchases of certain residential properties, such as buy to let properties and second homes. Although these are the main targets of the higher rates, some other purchasers may have to pay the higher rates.

The Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) potentially applies if, at the end of the day of the purchase transaction, the individual owns two or more residential properties and is not replacing their main residence. Care is needed if an individual already owns, or partly owns, a property and transacts to purchase another property without having disposed of the first property. An 18 month rule helps to remove some transactions from the additional rates (or allows a refund).

The Government announced an increase in the ADS from 3% to 4% from 25 January 2019, but this increase will not apply if the contract for a transaction was entered into prior to 12 December 2018. Existing arrangements allowing for the supplement to be reclaimed will continue.

Changes for non-residential rates and bands

The Government will reduce the lower rate of non-residential LBTT from 3% to 1%, increase the upper rate from 4.5% to 5% and reduce the starting threshold of the upper rate from £350,000 to £250,000. These changes come into force from 25 January 2019, but will not apply if the contract for a transaction was entered into prior to
12 December 2018.


The revised rates and band for non-residential LBTT transactions are as follows:

Non-residential transactions


Purchase price
Rate
Non-residential leases
Net present value of rent payable
Rate
Up to £150,000
0%
Up to £150,000
0%
£150,001 to £250,000
1%
Over £150,000
1%
Over £250,000
5%



Contact us for advice on how the Scottish Budget impacts you.

Internet link: GOV.SCOT budget

HMRC REMINDER TO EMPLOYEES TO CLAIM THEIR TAX DEDUCTIBLE EXPENSES

HMRC is reminding employees that they may be able to claim a tax rebate on their work related expenses. HMRC estimate that millions of employees, particularly those working in the service industry, could be entitled to a tax refund. Workers, including nurses, hairdressers, construction workers and those working in retail and food sectors, may be able to claim tax rebates.

Individuals in these types of roles sometimes have to pay for work-related expenses including car mileage, replacing or repairing small tools, or maintaining branded uniforms.

Where these types of expenses are incurred, employees may be entitled to claim a tax refund. HMRC is advising individuals to go directly to GOV.UK to check if they can claim extra cash back. HMRC advise taxpayers to log in to their Personal Tax Account to claim their tax relief online and that approved claims should be refunded within three weeks.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride MP, said:

‘We know what a difference tax relief can make to hard-working customers, especially at this time of year. HMRC is keen to make sure customers get all the relief they’re entitled to, by using the online service.

Tax relief isn’t available for all employment expenses, so the online Check If You Can Claim tool is very helpful – then if your claim is approved, your full tax relief will be paid directly into your bank account.

The majority of claims are for repairing or replacing tools and branded uniforms, professional subscriptions and mileage. Healthcare workers, people working in food and retail, and those in the construction industry are among the top professions to claim from HMRC.

HMRC is advising that taxpayers may be able to claim tax relief on the cost of:

         repairing or replacing small tools needed to do their job (for example, scissors or an electric drill)
         cleaning, repairing or replacing specialist clothing (for example, a branded uniform or safety boots)
         business mileage (not commuting)
         travel and overnight expenses
         professional fees and subscriptions.

Contact us if you would like help claiming tax relief on your expenses.

Internet link: GOV.UK news

PENSION CONTRIBUTION INCREASES AHEAD


The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is reminding employers that from 6 April 2019, the amount that will need to be paid into a workplace pension will increase to an overall minimum of 8%, with employers contributing at least 3% of this total amount.

TPR is now starting to write to all employers to remind them of their duties. TRP website provides further information on the increases and a link to a letter template advising employees of the increase.

TPR is advising employers that they should also check with their payroll software provider and pension provider to ensure plans are in place ahead of 6 April 2019.

Please contact us if you would like help with your payroll or pensions auto enrolment compliance.

Internet link: TPR increase

HMRC PUBLISH DETAILS OF DELIBERATE TAX DEFAULTERS


HMRC have updated the list of deliberate tax defaulters. The list contains details of taxpayers who have received penalties either for:

         deliberate errors in their tax returns
         deliberately failing to comply with their tax obligations

HMRC may publish information about a deliberate tax defaulter where an investigation has been carried out and the taxpayer has been charged one or more penalties for deliberate defaults and the penalties involve tax of more than £25,000. Details are only published once the penalties are final.

Internet link: GOV.UK publications

SELF ASSESSMENT DEADLINE APPROACHING


The deadline for submitting your 2017/18 self assessment return is 31 January 2019. The deadline applies to taxpayers who need to complete a tax return and make direct payments to HMRC in respect of their income tax, Classes 2 and 4 National Insurance Contributions (NIC), capital gains tax and High Income Child Benefit Charge liabilities.

There is a penalty of £100 if a taxpayer’s return is not submitted on time, even if there is no tax due or the return shows that they are due a tax refund.


The balance of any outstanding income tax, Classes 2 and 4 NIC, capital gains tax and High Income Child Benefit Charge for the year ended 5th April 2018 is also due for payment by 31 January 2019. Where the payment is made late interest will be charged.

The first payment on account for 2018/19 in respect of income tax and any Class 4 NIC or High Income Child Benefit Charge is also due for payment by 31st January 2019.

HMRC revealed that more than 2,600 taxpayers filed their return on Christmas Day. If you would like help with your return or agreeing your tax liability please contact us.


Monday, 7 January 2019

Scam E-Mails


We have recently been asked to look at 5 or 6 scam e-mails purporting to be from HMRC so the below message from Action Fraud is a good reminder in the month when lots of people will be settling their Self Assessment Tax bills.


HM Revenue and Customs Alert

What you need to know
Action Fraud has experienced an increase in the reporting of malicious calls, voicemails, text messages or e-mails to members of the public purporting to be from HMRC.

The fraudsters either state that as a result of their non-payment of tax, the victim is liable to prosecution or other legal proceedings such as repossession of belongings to settle the balance but can avoid this by arranging for payment to be made immediately by method such as bank transfer, bitcoin or even by iTunes gift cards. If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat such as immediate arrest, bailiffs or in cases where the victim appears to be of overseas origin; deportation. Similarly people are receiving texts and e-mails promising tax refunds.

It is highly unlikely that HMRC will call a taxpayer in this way and even less so to send texts or e-mails. E-Mails often contain characters such as # which are out of context.

What you need to do
Do NOT give any details but state that you will establish the facts using trusted methods such as a known e-mail address or phone number or a website like Gov.uk. HMRC does use collection agents and bailiffs but these genuine companies will not use threats such as the above and you can always check them out via a web search.








 

Friday, 21 December 2018


HAPPY CHRISTMAS

FROM THE PARTNERS & STAFF

AT

WALKER THOMPSON

Friday, 7 December 2018

Newsletter 131 / 132


OFFICE WEDDING



We are pleased to announce that on 3 November, Meena Bali married Pardeep Singh in a traditional Indian fire wedding ceremony, witnessed by family, friends and colleagues from the office.

Meena who has worked with us for just over a year deals mainly with payrolls, VAT Returns and bookkeeping for clients whilst her new husband works for BP as a Site Manager.

We would like to wish both the bride and groom every happiness for their future life together.

BUDGET 2018

The Chancellor Philip Hammond presented his second Autumn Budget on Monday 29 October 2018. In his speech he stated that ‘austerity is coming to an end – but discipline will remain’. He also promised a ‘double deal dividend’ if the Brexit negotiations are successful but stated that there may be a full-scale Spring Budget in 2019 if not.

We have included separate articles on some of the key announcements.

We will keep you informed of developments.

Internet link: GOV.UK Budget 2018

PERSONAL TAX CHANGES – ALLOWANCE AND BASIC RATE BAND INCREASED

At the Budget, the Chancellor announced that increases to the personal allowance and basic rate band for 2019/20.

The personal allowance is currently £11,850. The personal allowance for 2019/20 will be £12,500. Also for 2019/20, the basic rate band will be increased to £37,500 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies is £50,000 for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance. The additional rate of tax of 45% will remain payable on taxable income above £150,000.

The government had pledged to raise the thresholds to these levels by 2020/21.

Internet link: GOV.UK income tax

CAPITAL ALLOWANCES CHANGES

A number of changes to capital allowances were announced at the Budget, including an increase in the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA), for two years to £1 million, in relation to qualifying expenditure incurred from 1 January 2019. The AIA is currently £200,000 per annum. Complex calculations may apply to accounting periods which straddle 1 January 2019.

Other changes to the rules include:

  • a reduction in the rate of writing down allowance on the special rate pool of plant and machinery, including long-life assets, thermal insulation, integral features and expenditure on cars with CO2 emissions of more than 110g/km, from 8% to 6% from April 2019. Complex calculations may apply to accounting periods which straddle this date
  • clarification as to precisely which costs of altering land for the purposes of installing qualifying plant or machinery qualify for capital allowances, for claims on or after 29 October 2018
  • the end of the 100% first year allowance and first year tax credits for products on the Energy Technology List and Water Technology List from April 2020
  • an extension of the current 100% first year allowance for expenditure incurred on electric charge-point equipment until 2023.

In addition, a new capital allowances regime will be introduced for structures and buildings. It will be known as the Structures and Buildings Allowance and will apply to new non-residential structures and buildings. Relief will be provided on eligible construction costs incurred on or after 29 October 2018, at an annual rate of 2% on a straight-line basis.

Internet link: GOV.UK Budget 2018

ENTREPRENEURS’ RELIEF CHANGES

The government announced, as part of the Budget, that some changes are being made to the rules for Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER) with immediate effect for disposals on or after 29 October 2018. Two new tests are to be added to the definition of a ‘personal company’, requiring the claimant to have a 5% interest in both the distributable profits and the net assets of the company. The new tests must be met, in addition to the existing tests, throughout the specified period in order for relief to be due. The existing tests already require a 5% interest in the ordinary share capital and 5% of voting rights.

Minimum qualifying period

The government will legislate in Finance Bill 2018-19 to increase the minimum period throughout which certain conditions must be met to qualify for ER, from one year to two years. The measure will have effect for disposals on or after 6 April 2019 except where a business ceased before 29 October 2018.

Where the claimant’s business ceased, or their personal company ceased to be a trading company (or the holding company of a trading group) before 29 October 2018, the existing one year qualifying period will continue to apply.

Dilution of holdings below 5%

Draft legislation has already been issued to provide a potential entitlement to ER where an individual’s holding in a company is reduced below the normal 5% qualifying level (meaning 5% of both ordinary share capital and voting power). The relief will only apply where the reduction below 5% occurs as a result of the company raising funds for commercial purposes by means of an issue of new shares, wholly for cash consideration.

Where a disposal of the shareholding prior to the issue would have resulted in a gain which would have qualified for ER, shareholders will be able to make an election treating them as if they had disposed of their shares and immediately reacquired them at market value just before dilution. To avoid an immediate CGT bill on this deemed disposal, a further election can be made to defer the gain until the shares are sold. ER can then be claimed on the deferred gain in the year the shares are sold under the rules in force at that time.

The new rules will apply for share issues which occur on or after 6 April 2019.

Please contact us if you would like further information on how this may affect you.

Internet link: GOV.UK ER

MAKING TAX DIGITAL FOR VAT PUBLIC PILOT OPENS AND DEFERRAL FOR SOME BUSINESSES

HMRC has opened the Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV) public pilot. However certain VAT-registered businesses (around 3.5% according to HMRC) with more complex requirements will be deferred from being subject to MTD for six months.

Essentially, the public pilot is now open to sole traders and companies using standard VAT accounting. This applies whether returns are done monthly or quarterly provided they are up to date. Those signing up for the pilot will be required to keep their VAT records digitally from the first day of the period covered by their next VAT Return and submit their return using the appropriate software.

Further piloting plans

HMRC intends to roll out further pilots for partnerships, those that trade with the EU and users of the Flat Rate scheme as set out in the timetable.

Date         Activity
Late 2018 Private testing begins with partnerships, those customers that trade with the EU, and users of the Flat Rate Scheme.
Late 2018 / early 2019 Open to other sole traders and companies who are not up to date with their VAT and businesses newly registered for VAT that have not previously submitted a VAT return.
Early 2019 Open to partnerships and those taxpayers that trade with the EU.

Six months’ deferral

Making Tax Digital for VAT is to be introduced from 1 April 2019. However, HMRC has announced that the mandated implementation has been deferred until 1 October 2019 for certain taxpayers:

  • trusts
  • ‘not for profit’ organisations that are not set up as a company
  • VAT divisions
  • VAT groups
  • public sector entities required to provide additional information on their VAT return (Government departments, NHS Trusts)
  • local authorities
  • public corporations
  • traders based overseas
  • those required to make payments on account (very large traders)
  • Annual Accounting Scheme users.

Pilot testing for these groups is expected to open in Spring 2019. For help with MTD please contact us.

Internet links: GOV.UK MTD overview MTD timeline

NEW GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYERS


HMRC has issued the October 2018 Employer Bulletin which contains a number of articles relevant to employers on payroll related issues.

The articles cover a number of areas including:

  • clarification of the rules regarding paying employees when the regular payday is a non-banking day
  • dealing with PAYE Settlement Agreements and new procedures to accommodate Scottish income tax rates
  • Construction Industry Scheme reminders for contractors
  • an update on the Welsh rates of income tax (WRIT) and new tax codes for Welsh taxpayers
  • guidance on the correct pay rates for apprentices
  • how to apply for advance statutory payment of Maternity, Parental, Paternal or Adoption Pay
  • spotlight on umbrella companies
  • Real Time adjustments to tax codes and their timing
  • closure of childcare vouchers and directly contracted childcare to new entrants from 4 October 2018
  • Disguised Remuneration Loan Charge – reporting requirements and
  • improving the wellbeing of your employees

For help with payroll matters please contact us.

Internet link: Employer Bulletin

HMRC COUNTDOWN : FILE YOUR TAX RETURN

With less than 100 days until the self assessment tax return deadline of 31 January 2019, HMRC is urging taxpayers to complete their tax returns early, in order to avoid the last minute rush.

The deadline for submitting 2017/18 self assessment tax returns online is 31 January 2019. An automatic penalty of £100 applies if the return is late.

HMRC advise that last year, more than 11 million taxpayers completed a 2016/17 Self Assessment tax return, with 10.7 million completing on time. There were 4,852,744 taxpayers who filed in January 2018 (44.8% of the total), and 758,707 on 31 January, the deadline day.

HMRC is advising taxpayers not to leave the completion of their 2017/18 Self Assessment tax until the last minute.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said:

‘The deadline for completing Self Assessment tax returns may be 100 days away, yet many of us wait until January to start the process. Time flies once the festive period is underway, yet the ‘niggle’ to file your tax return remains.’

‘We want to help people get their tax returns right – starting the process early and giving yourself time to gather all the information you need will help avoid the last minute, stressful rush to complete it on time. Let’s beat that niggle.’

Contact us for help with your self assessment tax return.

Internet link: GOV.UK news

FURTHER CONTINGENCY PLANNING GUIDANCE ON A ‘NO DEAL BREXIT’


HMRC has issued a Partnership Pack to help businesses carry out contingency planning and to help their customers, members and clients to:

  • think about how they will need to adapt their business to comply with new systems, processes and controls
  • assess the impact of the increased demand for customs declarations on their business
  • consider whether they need to recruit and train additional staff
  • stay up-to-date with these changes

Meanwhile the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) reports that ‘patience is now threadbare’ amongst UK businesses in regard to the government’s progress in its Brexit negotiations with the EU.

A survey, carried out by the CBI, revealed that 80% of firms believe that Brexit uncertainty is having a ‘negative impact’ on their investment decisions. The majority of businesses polled stated that they may have to implement ‘damaging’ contingency plans if no further progress is made by December.

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, said:

‘The situation is now urgent. The speed of negotiations is being outpaced by the reality firms are facing on the ground.

‘Unless a Withdrawal Agreement is locked down by December, firms will press the button on their contingency plans. Jobs will be lost and supply chains moved.’

‘As long as ‘no deal’ remains a possibility, the effect is corrosive for the UK economy, jobs and communities.’

Internet links: GOV.UK partnership pack CBI news

In this, our last Newsletter of 2018 it is worth reflecting upon some of the things that we have witnessed this year. Some  events are trivial, some are more serious, some are global in their impact whilst others are closer to home. We appreciate that 2018 may leave both good and not so good memories for many of us but we thought it worth sharing one or two of the more light hearted moments from this year;

  • The England football team reached a World Cup semi-final by virtue of a successful penalty shoot out
  • Prince Harry married Meghan Markle, an American divorcee and actress. They moved into Kensington Palace but in November, after only 6 months, it was announced they were moving out to live in Windsor. It was probably the noise of the three children living down the corridor.
  • President Trump became the first US president to visit North Korea , he was apparently trying to find a friend
  • Aretha Franklin – the Queen of Soul – sadly passed away this year. Respect.
  • HMRC have pressed ahead with plans to “Make Tax Digital” The House of Lords criticised the Treasury for “running before it could walk” – This is the same organisation that takes over 2 months to answer a letter and then blames the pigeon when the letter goes astray.
  • Roger Allmark retired from Walker Thompson after more than 20 years working with us. He is to be found travelling around the UK and on warmer days out tending his garden.


Walker Thompson will be closed for the festive period as follows:

Friday 21 December at 4.30pm
until
Wednesday 2 January at 9.00am

 

In the meantime the Directors and Staff would like to take the opportunity of wishing all our Clients, Colleagues & Friends,
a very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Prosperous New Year.



COMMITTEE WARNS SMALL BUSINESSES ‘COULD PAY HEAVY PRICE’  FOR MTD AND LATEST ‘ENCOURAGEMENT LETTERS’

The Economic Affairs Committee has warned HMRC that small businesses ‘could pay a heavy price’ for Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV).

The Committee stated that HMRC has failed to adequately support small businesses’ ahead of the introduction of MTDfV.

MTDfV is generally set to come into effect for the from 1 April 2019 for businesses which have a taxable turnover above the current VAT registration threshold of £85,000. Under MTDfV, businesses must keep some records digitally and submit their VAT returns via an Application Programming Interface (API).

The Committee has urged HMRC and the government to ‘start listening’ to small businesses MTDfV concerns.

HMRC recently sent businesses within the scope of MTDfV so-called ‘encouragement letters’. These letters were sent to 200,000 businesses which are eligible to join the pilot scheme.

Please contact us for help with MTDfV.

Internet links: Parliament.uk/news  

LEAVING THE EU WITH NO DEAL

The government has published a collection of documents in preparation for the scenario of the UK leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement a so called ‘no deal’ Brexit.

The guidance states:

‘The government does not want or expect a no deal scenario. However, it is the duty of a responsible government to prepare for a range of potential outcomes, including the unlikely event of no deal. In the event of leaving the EU without a deal, legislation will be necessary to ensure the UK’s Customs, VAT and Excise regimes function as intended after the UK leaves the EU and so, on a contingency basis, HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs will lay a number of Statutory Instruments (SIs) under the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 (TCTA) and the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 (EUWA).’

We will keep you informed of developments.

Internet link: GOV.UK no deal brexit collection

180,500 NEW HOMEOWNERS BENEFIT FROM STAMP DUTY TAX RELIEF

According to statistics published by HMRC more than 180,500 first-time buyers have benefitted from First Time Buyers Relief (FTBR). The relief introduced in November 2017 has saved eligible first-time buyers an estimated total amount of more than £426 million.

Mel Stride MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

‘These statistics show that the government was right to offer a helping hand to first time buyers. Without this investment more than 180,500 new homeowners may have struggled in getting onto the property ladder. Maintaining the status quo was not an option.’

FTBR is a Stamp Duty Land Tax relief for eligible first-time buyers. The tax relief can be used when buying a residential property where the purchase price is no more than £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland. Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and Land Transaction Tax apply to property in Scotland and Wales.

The press release goes on to state:

‘The amount of relief reported should not be used to infer average house prices for first time buyers; first-time buyer purchases below £125k and above £500k are not included in the statistics as they are below the lower SDLT threshold (£125k) or ineligible for the relief (above £500k).For purchases up to £300,000 no SDLT is payable. Where the purchase price is between £300,000 and £500,000 SDLT at 5% is due on the amount above £300,000. For example, a property purchased for £450,000 would pay £7,500 SDLT (5% of £150,000). This gives a saving of up to £5,000 for each first-time buyer.’

Extension of FTBR

It was announced in the Autumn Budget 2018 that the relief for first-time buyers will be extended to purchasers of qualifying shared ownership properties who do not elect to pay SDLT on the market value of the whole property when they purchase their first share. Relief will be applied to the first share purchased, where the market value of the shared ownership property is £500,000 or less. This relief will apply retrospectively from 22 November 2017, meaning that a refund of tax will be payable for those who have paid SDLT after 22 November 2017 in circumstances which now qualify for FTBR.

Internet link: HMRC press release 

TAX-FREE GIFTS TO EMPLOYEES

Some employers may wish to give a small gift to their employees. As long as the employer meets the relevant conditions, no tax charge will arise on the employee.

A tax exemption is available which should help employers ensure that the benefits provided are exempt and do not result in a reportable employee benefit in kind. In order for the benefit to be exempt it must satisfy the following conditions:

  • the cost of providing the benefit does not exceed £50 per employee (or on average when gifts made to multiple employees)
  • the benefit is not cash or a cash voucher
  • the employee is not entitled to the benefit  as part of a contractual arrangement (including salary sacrifice)
  • the benefit is not provided in recognition of particular services performed by the employee as part of their employment duties
  • where the employer is a ‘close’ company and the benefit is provided to an individual who is a director, an office holder or a member of their household or their family, then the exemption is capped at a total cost of £300 in a tax year.

If any of these conditions are not met then the benefit will be taxed in the normal way subject to any other exemptions or allowable deductions.

No more than £50

One of the main conditions is that the cost of the benefit does not exceed £50. If the cost is above £50 the full amount is taxable, not just the excess over £50.The cost of providing the benefit to each employee and not the overall cost to the employer determines whether the benefit can be treated as a trivial benefit. So, a benefit costing up to £50 per employee whether provided to one or more employees can be treated as trivial. Where the individual cost for each employee cannot be established, an average could be used. Some HMRC examples consider gifts of turkeys, a bottle of wine or alternatively a gift voucher.

Further details on how the exemption will work, including family member situations, are contained in the HMRC manual.

However if you are unsure please do get in touch before assuming the gift you are about to provide is covered by the exemption.

Internet link: HMRC manual 

ADVISORY FUEL RATES FOR COMPANY CARS

New company car advisory fuel rates have been published which took effect from 1 December 2018. The guidance states: ‘You can use the previous rates for up to one month from the date the new rates apply’. The rates only apply to employees using a company car.

The advisory fuel rates for journeys undertaken on or after 1 December 2018 are:

Engine size Petrol
1400cc or less 12p
1401cc – 2000cc 15p
Over 2000cc 22p
Engine size LPG
1400cc or less 8p
1401cc – 2000cc 10p
Over 2000cc 15p
Engine size Diesel
1600cc or less 10p
1601cc – 2000cc 12p
Over 2000cc 14p

HMRC guidance states that the rates only apply when you either:

  • reimburse employees for business travel in their company cars
  • require employees to repay the cost of fuel used for private travel

You must not use these rates in any other circumstances.

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

Internet link: GOV.UK AFR 

PHISHING TAX REFUND EMAIL TARGETS UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

HMRC has warned that university students are being bombarded with fake tax refund emails. The scammers have targeted university students in an attempt to steal their banking and personal details using.ac.uk email addresses that look genuine, in order to avoid detection.

Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury said:

‘Although HMRC is cracking down hard on internet scams, criminals will stop at nothing to steal personal information.

‘I’d encourage all students to become phishing-aware – it could save you a lot of money.’

In common with other tax scams, fraudsters send a message, including HMRC, GOV.UK or credit card branding, supposedly advising the recipient about a tax refund. Those taken in by the fake email are asked to click on a link and enter their banking and personal details. Fraudsters can use this information to steal money from bank accounts or to sell on to other criminals.

Internet link: GOV.UK press release 

INHERITANCE TAX REVIEW BY OFFICE OF TAX SIMPLIFICATION

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has published the first of two reports on inheritance tax.

The first report sets out an explanation of the issues and complexities of IHT, gives an overview of concerns raised by the public and professional advisors during the review and then makes recommendations. This first report examines the administrative issues that people complain about and which were raised in the responses. The second report covering other wider areas of concern to people will follow in Spring 2019.

The first report highlights the benefits of:

  • reducing or removing the requirement to submit forms for smaller or simpler estates, especially where there is no tax to pay
  • simplifying the administration and guidance
  • the advantages of banks and other financial institutions having standardised requirements
  • automating the whole system by bringing it online

Angela Knight CBE, OTS Chairman, said:

Inheritance tax is both unpopular and complicated. The basic design of the tax itself is for government, but at the OTS we can address that most frequent of all comments “at least make it easier for the families to fill in the forms”. The OTS has worked on ways to address these practical complexities, which have come through loud and clear.’

‘The recommendations in this report will make it easier for the majority, and would mean that in future, many may not have to do the forms at all. Improving the administration of this tax in these ways is important as having to deal with the current process can seem overwhelming to people at a time when they are both preoccupied and distressed.

Internet link: GOV.UK OTS IHT report

Friday, 5 October 2018

Newsletter 130

Please click on any of the links below for further information :

UK BUDGET DATE ANNOUNCED: MONDAY 29 OCTOBER

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has announced that the Budget will take place on Monday 29 October.

Breaking with the tradition of a Wednesday in November, perhaps in a bid to avoid the ongoing Brexit negotiations, the government is expected to set out its plans ‘to build a stronger, more prosperous economy, building on the recent Spring Statement and last year’s Budget’.

The government announcements are expected to include updates on draft legislation and consultations, and proposed tax rates and reliefs.

Internet link: GOV.UK news

SELF-EMPLOYED CLASS 2 NATIONAL INSURANCE WILL NOT BE SCRAPPED

The government has decided not to proceed with plans to abolish Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from April 2019.

Class 2 NICs are currently paid at a rate of £2.95 per week by self-employed individuals with profits of £6,205 or more per year. The government had planned to scrap the Class 2 contribution and had been investigating ways in which self-employed individuals with low profits, could maintain their State Pension entitlement if this inexpensive contribution had been abolished.

In a written statement to MPs, Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, stated that:

‘This change was originally intended to simplify the tax system for the self-employed. We delayed the implementation of this policy in November to consider concerns relating to the impact on self-employed individuals with low profits. We have since engaged with interested parties to explore the issue and further options for addressing any unintended consequences.’

‘A significant number of self-employed individuals on the lowest profits would have seen the voluntary payment they make to maintain access to the State Pension rise substantially. Having listened to those likely to be affected by this change we have concluded that it would not be right to proceed during this parliament, given the negative impacts it could have on some of the lowest earning in our society.’

Internet link: Parliament written statement

‘NO DEAL’ BREXIT GUIDANCE AND SMALL BUSINESS SURVEY

Following the issue of some ‘no deal’ Brexit technical notices, in August, the government has issued further notices with the aim of helping both businesses and individuals to prepare in the event of a UK-EU agreement not being realised.

The second and third batches of notices cover topics such as passports, driving licences together with data protection and mobile phone roaming charges amongst other topics. The full list and access to the collection of technical notices can be viewed by visiting the link at the end of this article. The government has confirmed they plan to issue further technical notices.

Although reaching a deal remains the ‘overriding priority’ unless a Withdrawal Agreement is ratified by the UK and European Parliaments, the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019 remains.

Meanwhile, a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has revealed that:
  • Only 14% of small businesses have started planning for a no deal Brexit.
  • A further 41% believe that a no deal Brexit will have an impact on their business but have not yet started planning for the possibility.
  • 10% believe that a no deal Brexit will have a positive impact on their ability to do business whilst 48% believe that a no deal Brexit will have a negative effect on their ability to do business. This figure rises sharply to 66% for those small firms that trade with the EU and to 61% for those that employ a staff member from the EU.
FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, said:

‘Looking at this research it is obvious that our small firms are not prepared or ready for a chaotic no deal Brexit and the impact that it will have on their businesses. If you sell your products to the EU, buy goods from the EU or if your business relies on staff from the EU, you now see this outcome as a clear and present threat to your business.’

We will keep you informed of developments.

Internet links: GOV.UK no deal brexit collection FSB press release

DEADLINE FOR ‘PAPER’ SELF ASSESSMENT TAX RETURNS

For those individuals who have previously submitted ‘paper’ self assessment tax returns the deadline for the 2017/18 return is 31 October 2018. Returns submitted after that date must be submitted electronically or they will incur a minimum penalty of £100. The penalty applies even when there is no tax to pay or the tax is paid on time.

If you would like any help with the completion of your return, please do get in touch.

Internet link: GOV.UK deadline

HMRC HAS PUBLISHED AN UPDATED LIST OF DELIBERATE TAX DEFAULTERS

HMRC has published an updated list of deliberate tax defaulters. The list includes details of taxpayers who have incurred a penalty because they have either:
  • deliberately provided one or more inaccurate documents to HMRC
  • deliberately failed to comply with an HMRC obligation
  • committed a VAT or excise wrongdoing.
HMRC’s criteria for publishing this information also states that ‘These deliberate acts have resulted in HMRC establishing an additional amount of tax of more than £25,000. HMRC only publish the details where the taxpayer has not made a full and immediate disclosure when HMRC started to investigate or prior to any investigation.’

Internet link: GOV.UK/deliberate tax defaulters

GENUINE HMRC CONTACT AND RECOGNISING PHISHING EMAILS AND TEXTS

HMRC has updated their guidance on how to recognise when contact from HMRC is genuine and how to recognise phishing or bogus emails and text messages.

Internet link: GOV.UK recognising phishing emails

HMRC IDENTIFY RECORD £15.6 MILLION MINIMUM WAGE UNDERPAYMENTS

HMRC has announced that they achieved record enforcement results this year, identifying £15.6million of minimum wage underpayments.

The number of workers identified as underpaid was double that in 2016/17 and the highest number since the National Minimum Wage came into force.

The figures reveal:
  • a record £15.6 million of underpayment identified for more than 200,000 workers
  • employers fined £14 million for not meeting legal obligations
  • more than 600 employers named in 2017/18 as part of ‘naming’ rounds.
Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst, said:

‘We are dedicated to stopping underpayment of the minimum wage. Employers must recognise their responsibilities and pay their workers the money they are entitled to.’

‘The UK’s lowest paid workers have had the fastest wage growth in 20 years thanks to the National Living Wage and today’s figures serve as a reminder to all employers to check they are getting their workers’ pay right.’

HMRC has prioritised the social care, retail, commercial warehousing and gig economy sectors for enforcement of the minimum wage. This is alongside employment agencies, apprentices and migrant workers. These are the sectors where HMRC believes non-compliance with National Minimum Wage is more widespread.

For advice on payroll please contact us.


Internet links: GOV.UK news GOV.UK naming