Oops! HMRC software not working Reply

We have an extremely complicated tax system, so is it any wonder that even HMRC struggle to calculate your tax correctly!

The way that allowances are applied for dividends, allowances, savings and other items all impact on each other.

Many tax payers will be working on their 2016/17 returns (to 5th April 2017 due by 31st January 2018) over the coming months and find that they can’t use the HMRC software because it doesn’t work properly.

As reported by Accounting Web

Rob Ellis, CEO of BTCSoftware, can’t remember a year when there have been so many exclusions from filing SA tax returns online. For the 2016/17 tax returns 16 new examples have been added to the online filing exclusions list, which is now in version 4;  there is a version 5 of this list under construction.

You can read the full list of exclusion on this link https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/622426/2017-exc-indi.pdf

There are 62 exclusions!

Why is tax complicated! Here are the facts:

  • 6,102 pages of legislation (according to Tolleys in 2012)
  • 639 monetary values
  • 425 thresholds
  • 214 penalties

In 2016:

  • 11.26 million SA returns due
  • 10.39 million returns were received in total
  • Around 870,000 SA returns not submitted by 31st January 2016
  • 10.39 million returns received by midnight on 31 January (92% of total issued)
  • 9.24 million returns filed online (89%)
  • 1.14 million returns filed on paper (11%)
  • More than 4.45 million returns received in January 2016 (43% of total received)
  • 823,000 returns received on 30 and 31 January (18% of total returns received in January)
  • Busiest hour: 14:00 – 15:00 on 29 January – 50,358 returns received (839.3 per minute; 13.9 per second).
  • N.B. The figures are sourced from Self Assessment management information from the Computerised Environment for Self Assessment as at 01 February 2016 for the 2014-15 tax year.

Even if the HMRC software is working…

10 most common online self assessment issues

Here are 10 of the most common problems, issues and errors that come up:

  1. Not leaving enough time to register for Self Assessment – It can take 20 working days (this is usually 4 weeks) to complete the registration process, then for online returns, allow 10 working days (21 if you’re abroad) to register because HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) posts you an activation code.
  2. Lost Login details – Your account will be locked for 2 hours if you enter the wrong user ID or password 3 times.If you’ve lost both your user ID and password:
    – individuals in Self Assessment can request new ones (allow 7 days to get them by post) or sign up with the GOV.UK Verify trial
    – contact HMRC for all other online services
  3. Leaving it too late to get help – If you need help from an accountant don’t leave it too late as they will need to carryout AML and other checks before they can file your return, they will also need your UTR
  4. Failing to complete all the parts of the return – For example leaving out PAYE information
  5. Failing to press ‘submit’ – you would be surprised how many people complete the return and then stop without submitting or leave submission and then forget to do it
  6. Missing out details of your Pension Provider
  7. Failing to check the calculation – Most people do a rough calculation of what they owe but fail to check the HMRC calculation only to find out they have made a mistake
  8. Using invalid characters such as # ‘ ” in boxes where these are not allowed
  9. Not paying the tax they owe by 31st January
  10. Failing to explain where estimates and provisional sums have been used

If you don’t already use an accountant, may be 2017 is the year to start?

steve@bicknells.net

What types of property can a SIPP or SSAS Pension invest in? Reply

Buildings in the isometric

Pensions are highly tax efficient and you can purchase Commercial Property, the main examples of types of property your pension could buy are

  • Industrial units
  • Offices and shops
  • Farmland and forestry
  • Public houses
  • Nursing homes
  • Hotels
  • Marine berth

The things you can’t buy are residential property, holiday property, caravans, beach huts, basically, if you can live in it then it will probably be difficult to put it your pension.

Buying a commercial property can be a great investment opportunity, I have been investing in property since 2002 as part of a small pension syndicate of friends and family we are currently invested in an Office Block and 6 Retail Units, we also bought some properties into separate companies and did originally have HMO’s too.

The yield on commercial property is often around 8% to 10% and you can borrow into your pension to help fund the purchase.

Your business can rent a commercial property from you and many owner managed businesses have transferred company owned premises to a SIPP or SSAS.

There have been some very interesting deals done for example

From a music studio in Costa Rica to a yacht berth in the south of France, Sipp (self-invested personal pension) providers report an ever-growing list of exotic assets being bought with pension money to fund investors’ dream business ventures.

Yacht de luxe.

For aviation-mad Tony Fowler, a property developer from West Sussex, the acquisition of a 50pc stake in the Isle of Wight airport through his Sipp means he can fulfil his passion for flight while at the same time investing for his retirement.

Plane and Airport Flat Design Illustration Icons Objects

“A friend and I have paid half each of the total purchase cost of £635,000,” he said. “I was delighted when I found I could use money in my pension to buy the airport. It had been taken over by the receivers and was going to be closed down, but now it is being renovated and improved. We like to think it will bring something to the local economy as well.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/pensions/10451405/How-I-bought-an-airport-with-my-pension.html

steve@bicknells.net

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10 ways to pay less Property Tax (Investors) 3

Mosaïque de logements

Here are my top 10 ways that property investors can save tax

1 Property Investment Companies

  • Restriction of Mortgage Interest Tax Relief – this doesn’t apply to companies
  • Corporation Tax Rates – falling to 18% by 2020
  • Capital Gains Tax – Capital Gains Tax indexation
  • Stamp Duty – lower on share sales
  • Inheritance Tax (IHT) and Potentially Exempt Transfers planning – better with shares

Further details in our blog https://stevejbicknell.com/2015/08/24/5-reasons-why-you-need-a-property-investment-company/

2 Commercial Property should be in a Pension Scheme

Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) Schemes and Small Self Administered Schemes (SSAS) can invest in commercial property, no tax on the rental income, no capital gains, you only pay tax when you draw your pension.

You also get tax relief on money paid into your Pension.

3 Claim tax deductible expenses

Claim allowable expenses

  • Mortgage or Loan Interest (but not capital)
  • Repairs and maintenance (but not improvements)
  • Decorating
  • Gardening
  • Cleaning
  • Travel costs to and from your properties for lettings or meetings
  • Advertising costs
  • Agents fees
  • Buildings and contents insurance
  • Ground Rent
  • Accountants Fees
  • Rent insurance (if you claim the income will need to be declared)
  • Legal fees relating to eviction

If the property is furnished claim for Wear & Tear, you can claim 10% of the rent each year

Claim for repair and advertising expenses incurred in getting the property ready for renting

4 Use a Property Development Company to Save VAT

Property Development is a trade, where as Property Investment isn’t – renting out a residential property is a VAT exempt supply.

If you are planning significant building work, setting up a Development Company or using a building contractor might save VAT.

Assuming you employ a builder…

The VAT Rules are in VAT Notice 708 Buildings & Construction

Your builder may be able to charge you VAT at the reduced rate of 5 per cent if you are converting premises into:

  • a ‘single household dwelling’
  • a different number of ‘single household dwellings’
  • a ‘multiple occupancy dwelling’, such as bed-sits, or
  • premises intended for use solely for a ‘relevant residential purpose’

As your builder will be VAT registered, they reclaim the VAT they are charged and then charge you VAT at 5%.

If your business is property rental and you do the work yourself, you can’t take advantage of the 5% rate.

If your Development Company is VAT registered you can reclaim all the VAT.

Get your existing business or your property development company to convert the property and then sell it to another company that you own (may be an SPV)  will be a  VAT Zero Rated transaction. The other company then carries on the rental business.

5 Principle Private Residence Relief and Lettings Relief

Principle Private Residence Relief (PPR) is useful relief that saves you capital gains tax (18% for basic rate tax payers and 28% for higher rates tax payers) on your main residence.

You may also qualify for lettings relief after you have moved out.

6 Give away your Property in Stages

As long as the home you give away is your main home, Capital Gains Tax won’t be payable.

However, if you give away a second home, Capital Gains Tax may be payable if the property has increased in value between when you first owned it and when you gave it away.

If you sell your second home and give the money to your children, the gift won’t be included in your estate for Inheritance Tax purposes, provided you live for 7 years after you make the gift.

It is possible to to gift property in stages.

Your solicitor will draw up the required documents to conveyance a percentage of the property and register the transactions with the Land Registry.

In order to calculate the capital gain you will need to know the acquisition cost and any reliefs such as PPR.

Giving away your property in stages could save you from having to pay capital gains tax.

7 Claim Capital Allowances and Claim Tax Relief on Integral Features

FA2008 introduced a new classification of integral features of a building or structure, expenditure on the provision or replacement of which qualifies for WDAs at the 10% special rate. The new classification applies to qualifying expenditure incurred on or after 1 April 2008 (CT) or 6 April 2008 (IT).

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/camanual/CA22300.htm

The rules on integral features apply where a person carrying on a qualifying activity incurs expenditure on the provision or replacement of an integral feature for the purposes of that qualifying activity. Each of the following is an integral feature of a building or structure –

  1. an electrical system (including a lighting system),
  2. a cold water system,
  3. a space or water heating system, a powered system of ventilation, air cooling or air purification, and any floor or ceiling comprised in such a system,
  4. a lift, an escalator or a moving walkway,
  5. external solar shading

Only assets that are on the list are integral features for PMA purposes; if an asset is not one of those included in the list, the integral features rules are not in point.

However, Plant and Machinery includes….

other building fixtures, such as shop fittings, kitchen and bathroom fittings

Many businesses have never claimed capital allowances for these items.

8 Consider Joint Ownership

If you own property personally you could double up your tax free Capital Gains Tax Allowance if you switch to owning property jointly with your spouse.

9 Check if you qualify for relief from ATED

Most residential properties (dwellings) are owned directly by individuals. But in some cases a dwelling may be owned by a company, a partnership with a corporate member or other collective investment vehicle. In these circumstances the dwelling is said to be ‘enveloped’ because the ownership sits within a corporate ‘wrapper’ or ‘envelope’.

ATED is a tax payable by companies on high value residential property (a dwelling).

There are reliefs that might lead to you not having to pay any ATED. You can only claim these by completing and sending an ATED return.

A dwelling might get relief from ATED if it is:

  • let to a third party on a commercial basis and isn’t, at any time, occupied (or available for occupation) by anyone connected with the owner
  • open to the public for at least 28 days per annum, if part of a property is occupied as a dwelling in connection with running the property as a commercial business open to the public, the whole property is treated as one dwelling and any relief will apply to the whole property
  • part of a property trading business and isn’t, at any time, occupied (or available for occupation) by anyone connected with the owner
  • part of a property developers trade where the dwelling is acquired as part of a property development business the property was purchased with the intention to re-develop and sell it on and isn’t, at any time, occupied (or available for occupation) by anyone connected with the owner
  • for the use of employees of the company, for the company’s commercial business and where the employee does not have an interest (directly or indirectly) in the company of more than 10%, the employee’s duties must not include services for any present or future occupation of the property by someone connected with the company, the relief is also available where a partner in a partnership does not have an interest of more than 10% in the partnership
  • a farmhouse, if it is occupied by a qualifying farm worker who farms the associated farmland, a former long-serving farm worker or their surviving spouse or civil partner
  • a dwelling acquired by a financial institution in the course of lending
  • owned by a provider of social housing

10 Take dividends this tax year

When you take dividends has never been more critical due to changes in the Summer Budget 2015, so if you have distributable reserves you might want to take more dividends this tax year, try our Dividend Calculator  to see how much difference it could make.

Dividend tax rates before April 2016

Tax band Effective dividend tax rate
Basic rate (20%) (and non-taxpayers) 0%
Higher rate (40%) 25%
Additional rate (45%) 30.56%

 

This will change from April 2016, see the table below

Dividend tax rates after April 2016

Tax band Effective dividend tax rate
Tax Free £5,000 0%
Basic Rate Tax Payers (20%) 7.5%
Higher Rate Tax Payers (40%) 32.5%
 Additional Rate Tax Payers (45%)  38.1%

 

The new rules are easier to follow, the 10% tax credit in the current rules is hard for most people to follow.

There is a Dividend Allowance factsheet which helps to explain how dividend tax will be calculated.

But be warned!

While these rates remain below the main rates of income tax, those who receive significant dividend income – for example due to very large shareholdings (typically more than £140,000) or as a result of receiving significant dividends through a closed company – will pay more.

So far we don’t know how much more!

steve@bicknells.net

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What tax allowances can childminders claim? 19

Nurture

Childminders work in their own homes and are paid by parents for looking after their children, often while the parents are at work. Profits from childminding are usually chargeable to Income Tax as trade profits, although some occasional childminders’ profits may be chargeable as miscellaneous income.

Many childminders are members of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), formerly known as the National Childminding Association (NCMA). HMRC entered into an agreement with the NCMA on the expenses that will be allowed as deductions from childminding income.

Household expenditure

The agreement is based on the hours that childminders work and not on the number of children they care for. A childminder looking after a child on a full time basis for 40 or more hours each week is entitled to claim the full time proportion of expenses.

How this works is illustrated in the following table:

 

Hours worked % of Heating and lighting costs % of Water rates, Council Tax and Rent
10 8% 2%
15 12% 4%
20 17% 5%
25 21% 6%
30 25% 7%
35 29% 9%
40 (full time) 33% 10%

The full time figures shown in the table should be scaled down from depending on hours worked.

Wear and tear of household furnishings

A deduction of 10% of total childminding income may be made to cover the wear and tear of furniture and household items. This is intended to include household items which are not used wholly and exclusively in childminding. A childminder claiming this deduction may not, however, claim relief for the cost of replacing such household items. Reasonable costs of cleaning household items where the need for cleaning is as a result of childminding activities may be allowed as a separate item.

The agreement also covers the following expenditure:

Food and drink

Reasonable estimates for the costs of food and drink provided for the children being cared for are acceptable and receipts are not required.

Car expenses

Where appropriate, childminders can use the simplified expenses mileage rates. However, if the childminder wishes, the actual cost of car expenses for childminding purposes can be claimed instead.

Other costs

Also allowable – the cost of toys, outings, books, safety equipment, stationary, travel fares, membership fees or subscriptions to your childminding organisation, public liability insurance premiums and the actual cost of telephone use for childminding purposes.

You can find further details in BIM52751

steve@bicknells.net

 

How do you handle Input VAT on Insurance Claims? Reply

insurance design

This often causes confusion, firstly because many people wrongly assume that IPT (Insurance Premium Tax) is VAT, it isn’t! and then when they make a claim they may get a VAT only invoice.

HMRC VIT13500 has the answer…

Insurers cannot recover any VAT incurred in obtaining replacement goods or having repairs carried out for a policy holder. The supply of goods (or services in the case of repairs) is considered to be made to the policy holder. This is so even when payment is made directly to the supplier by the insurer.

Subject to the normal rules a VAT registered policy holder may treat any VAT incurred on the supply as input tax. The insurer will normally pay the policy holder compensation exclusive of VAT. The policy holder will pay the supplier the tax and recover it as input tax.

If an insurance claim is for loss or damage at a domestic property you should make sure that any VAT claimed as input tax relates only to goods used for a business purpose.

Insurance and reinsurance is exempt from VAT under article 135 of the Sixth VAT Directive.

This also explains why an insurer may ask a contractor engaged in repair work not to invoice them VAT, its simply that they want the VAT only element to be invoiced to the insured.

steve@bicknells.net

 

4 places loved by Home Based Workers Reply

According to Freelancer.co.uk, the most popular places to work at home are

• 43% work in their home office or study;
• 28% prefer to work in their kitchen;
• 17% work in the garden shed;
• 12% work in the bedroom.

Take at closer look at home based working in this infographic and the blog links

https://stevejbicknell.com/2013/01/06/what-are-the-tax-issues-and-advantages-of-a-home-office/

https://stevejbicknell.com/2013/08/12/5-reasons-why-freelancers-are-taking-over-the-world/

https://stevejbicknell.com/2013/10/16/20-businesses-you-can-run-from-home/

Home Worker

steve@bicknells.net

5 reasons to move business premises into your pension? 1

A donut store, bakery, fish and chips store and a pet shop

Often business premises are owned by the business, this could be for many reasons for example the business has multiple owners or it helps to increase the business net worth.

But in many cases it would be better for the premises to be owned by the business owners pension fund because:

  1. The object of the business is not to own its own property, the objective should be for the business to make profits from trading
  2. The business could use cash tied up in the premises to invest in trading activities
  3. Pensions are a very tax efficient method of ownership – no capital gains, no tax on rental profits
  4. Company Pension Contributions are Tax Deductible and Individual contributions get income tax refunds
  5. You may be able to use 3 year Carry Forward to get funds into your pension scheme

In summary to move your business premises from your business to a SIPP or SSAS pension you would do the following:

  • Find a lender prepared to lend a third of the property value to your pension scheme  (which will be half the value of the fund ie if the property was valued at £300k, your pension could borrow £100k which is 50% of the £200k which will need to be funded by your pension scheme)
  • Have the premises independently valued and rent assessed and appoint solicitors
  • Create a SSAS or SIPP pension (you can include other people in your SSAS or SIPP investments)
  • Transfer into your SSAS or SIPP any funds you have in other pension schemes
  • As you are the business owner and its your pension scheme your business could make a payment into your pension scheme, the maximum for the last 3 years would be £140k (£50k + £50k + £40k) see details of NRE
  • The pension contribution from your company could be an In Specie payment (meaning its in kind not cash)
  • You could make a personal payment to your pension and if you are a higher rate tax payer your will get a tax refund via your self assessment return
  • Then your pension scheme buys the premises from your business and rents it back to the business

steve@bicknells.net

Why property investors like Micro Entity Accounts 6

Micro Entity

A company meets the qualifying conditions for a micro-entity if it meets at least two out of three of the following thresholds:

  • Turnover: Not more than £632,000
  • Balance sheet total: Not more than £316,000
  • Average number of employees: Not more than 10

There are approximately 1.56 million micro-entities in the UK, as compared with a total number of companies on the UK register of approximately 2.8 million.

Most property businesses will have less than 10 employees and less than £632,000 turnover.

If you are a property investor filing Abbreviated or Full Accounts you have to report property values at their fair value, which means you tell everyone what you think the property is worth. You may not want to do that, especially if you are planning to sell as it tells the potential buyer what you think its worth and that might be an issue in negotiations.

Under the Micro Entity regime you aren’t allowed to use fair value and have to use Historical Cost. Which most Property Investors will prefer.

No notes are required with Micro Entity Accounts and any advances or financial commitments are shown at the foot of the Balance Sheet, often this is simply the value of the Mortgage outstanding.

steve@bicknells.net

Have you claimed capital allowances on your building? time is running out… 3

act now icon

FA2008 introduced a new classification of integral features of a building or structure, expenditure on the provision or replacement of which qualifies for WDAs at the 10% special rate. The new classification applies to qualifying expenditure incurred on or after 1 April 2008 (CT) or 6 April 2008 (IT).

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/camanual/CA22300.htm

The rules on integral features apply where a person carrying on a qualifying activity incurs expenditure on the provision or replacement of an integral feature for the purposes of that qualifying activity. Each of the following is an integral feature of a building or structure –

  1. an electrical system (including a lighting system),
  2. a cold water system,
  3. a space or water heating system, a powered system of ventilation, air cooling or air purification, and any floor or ceiling comprised in such a system,
  4. a lift, an escalator or a moving walkway,
  5. external solar shading

Only assets that are on the list are integral features for PMA purposes; if an asset is not one of those included in the list, the integral features rules are not in point.

However, Plant and Machinery includes….

other building fixtures, such as shop fittings, kitchen and bathroom fittings

Many businesses have never claimed capital allowances for these items.

Paragraph 13 of Schedule 10 FA2012 introduced transitional provisions for making claims.

The provisions mean that where the current owner incurs expenditure on acquiring fixtures from a past owner before 1 (or 6) April 2014 and the past owner has not claimed allowances or pooled their expenditure in respect of a qualifying fixture,  the current owner may claim PMA on the part of the price the paid which is attributable to that fixture….. CA26470

It is possible for the buyer to use apportionment of the sale price (usually done by an RICS Surveyor) to determine the value of the fixtures. But this risks clawback of balancing charges for the seller.

A alternative option is to claim a Section 198 election which can be entered into within 2 years of the date of the property sale. It must be signed by the buyer and the seller and must identify the items covered. The elected value can be between £1 and the price paid, but makesure you undertand the implications of the price choosen.

As a Section 198 requires agreement you may wish to take legal advice Bonallack & Bishop Solicitors can help Jane.Bishop@Bishopslaw.com.

The Section 198 needs to made in writing to HMRC.

The following can’t claim a Section 198:

  • Property Traders
  • Developers
  • Pension Funds
  • Charities

But if you can claim you need to claim now as there are only a few weeks left until April 2014.

steve@bicknells.net