What’s happening to CIS after April 2016?

at a construction site

The changes are outlined in this document – CIS Link

Key Changes

  • Reducing the Gross Status minimum turnover threshold to £100,000 a year for businesses with multiple directors (from April 2016)
  • Initial and annual compliance tests will focus on fewer obligations
  • There will be further amendments to the need to submit Nil returns
  • It will be easier for Joint Ventures to obtain Gross Status if one party already holds Gross Status
  • Online verification will be mandatory from April 2017
  • Earlier repayments can be made to liquidators in insolvency proceedings. Currently where a subcontractor is a company, no repayment of any amount deducted and paid over to HMRC by a contractor can be made to the subcontractor until after the end of the tax year in which the deduction was made. These rules will be amended so that in certain cases where the amount deducted by the contractor is excessive, a repayment can be made during the tax year.
  • Mandatory online filing of CIS returns will be introduced with the offer of alternative filing arrangements for those unable to access an online channel by reason of age, disability, remote location or religious objection.
  • The directors’ self assessment filing requirements will be removed from the initial and annual compliance tests.
  • You must re-submit returns for any period that you amend

We await the budget on 16th March 2016 for full details.

steve@bicknells.net

Should you lease or buy a van – which is better?

fotolia_249592[1]

Commercial Vehicles are tax efficient which ever option you choose and provided your employees agree to minimal private use they won’t have to pay any benefit in kind tax on using the vehicle.

But its important to make sure the vehicle you choose is actually a van and not classed as a car. For example double cab pick ups are extremely popular and it makes a big difference whether a double cab pick up is treated as Car or a Van for tax purposes, in summary:

  1. Benefit in Kind on Cars is linked to CO2 where as on a Van its Flat Rate (and could be zero if your private use is insignificant)
  2. Vans qualify for the Annual Investment Allowance, Cars have restricted Capital Allowances
  3. You can reclaim VAT on Vans but its much harder to reclaim VAT on cars

HMRC have some guidance in EIM23150….

Under this measure, a double cab pick-up that has a payload of 1 tonne (1,000kg) or more is accepted as a van for benefits purposes. Payload means gross vehicle weight (or design weight) less unoccupied kerb weight (care is needed when looking at manufacturers’ brochures as they sometimes define payload differently).

Under a separate agreement between Customs and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a hard top consisting of metal, fibre glass or similar material, with or without windows, is accorded a generic weight of 45kg. Therefore the addition of a hard top to a double cab pick-up with an ex-works payload of 1,010 kg will convert the vehicle into a car (net payload reduced to 965 kg). Under this agreement, the weight of all other optional accessories is disregarded. HMRC has also adopted this treatment.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/eimanual/eim23150.htm

black large pickup

A double cab with a payload in excess of 1000kg can still be classified as a car if the taxman dealing with the case decides it is a car. You may have to justify a genuine business need for the vehicle.

Annual Investment Allowance

Since January 2016 the Annual Investment Allowance has been permanently set at £200,000, which means the first £200,000 you spend on assets, including Commercial Vehicles (vans), will be offset against your tax bill immediately. This applies to both the self employed and companies.

So if the buy your van, even if you get with a loan or on hire purchase, you should be able to make a big tax saving in the first year.

However, just remember that when you sell the vehicle there will be a balancing charge for tax, basically this means that the total tax offset will be the purchase price less residual value.

If you have already used up your AIA you will still be able to claim Capital Allowances.

If you lease the vehicle you can not claim AIA or Capital Allowances as you don’t own the vehicle.

VAT

If you buy the vehicle you will be entitled to full VAT refund, if you lease it you can reclaim the VAT on each Lease Payment (which slows down the recovery of VAT).

If you buy the Van when you later sell it you must charge VAT on the sale price.

Deposits

Cash flow might be a reason to choose a lease as its likely the deposit will be less than if you get a loan or HP.

Flexibility

If you need different vehicles for different staff at different times, leasing might be a good flexible option.

steve@bicknells.net

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How developing your home could mean you lose Principle Private Residence Relief

Group of construction workers. House renovation.

We all try to improve our properties, but are we doing it with a profit motive?

TCGA92/S224 (3)

The purpose of private residence relief is to relieve gains arising on the disposal of an individual’s residence so that the whole of the disposal proceeds are available to be used to buy a new residence of a similar standard. It is not intended to relieve speculative gains or gains arising from development.

The exclusion of speculative or development gains is achieved by TCGA92/S224 (3). It is important to understand the scope and limitations of this subsection so that you can apply it in suitable cases.

The subsection applies

  • where a dwelling house is acquired wholly or partly for the purpose of realising a gain from its disposal, or
  • where there is subsequent expenditure on the dwelling house wholly or partly for the purpose of realising a gain from its disposal.

Where the first part of the subsection applies no relief is due on any gain accruing from the disposal of the dwelling house. Where the second part of the subsection applies no relief is due on any part of the gain attributable to the expenditure.

If you plan to develop your property prior to sale  it could be worth transferring it to company before any work is carried out, this could help to ensure that any gain to the date of transfer will be exempt from tax.

There is a further potential risk that HMRC may view the property development as a trading activity.

steve@bicknells.net

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The Tax Advantages of Commercial Fit Out

Interior construction site

When you carryout out a refurbishment or Fit Out of your business premises you will be entitled to Capital Allowances.

Here is quick summary of the main types of allowance.

Business Premises Renovation Allowances

BPRA gives incentives to bring back into business use derelict or business properties that have been unused for at least one year. It gives an allowance of 100% for certain expenditure you incur when converting or renovating unused business premises in a disadvantaged area.

BPRA started on 11 April 2007 and ends on:

• 31 March 2017 for Corporation Tax
• 5 April 2017 for Income Tax

To qualify for BPRA, you must incur qualifying expenditure.

Qualifying expenditure is capital expenditure you incurred when you:

• convert a qualifying building into qualifying business premises
• renovate a qualifying building that is, or will be, a qualifying business premises
• repair qualifying business premises

Capital Allowances

Integral features

Integral features are:

• lifts, escalators and moving walkways
• space and water heating systems
• air-conditioning and air cooling systems
• hot and cold water systems (but not toilet and kitchen facilities)
• electrical systems, including lighting systems
• external solar shading

Fixtures

You can claim for fixtures, eg:

• fitted kitchens
• bathroom suites
• fire alarm and CCTV systems

You can claim if you rent or own the building, but only the person who bought the item can claim.

Annual Investment Allowance

The Allowance is set at up to £200,000 from January 2016

You can only claim AIA in the period you bought the item.

The date you bought it is:

• when you signed the contract, if payment is due within less than 4 months
• when payment’s due, if it’s due more than 4 months later

If you buy something under a hire purchase contract you can claim for the payments you haven’t made yet when you start using the item. You can’t claim on the interest payments.

If you don’t want to claim the full cost, eg you have low profits, you can claim part of the cost as AIA and part using writing down allowances. You can do this at any time as long as you still own the item.

If your business closes, you can’t claim AIA for items bought in the final accounting period.

Enhanced Capital Allowance

100% capital allowances can be obtained for expenditure on environmentally beneficial technology. This enables businesses to write off the whole capital cost against their profits in the year in which the expenditure is incurred and therefore to obtain valuable tax relief which can improve cashflow.

What doesn’t count as plant and machinery

You can’t claim capital allowances on:

• things you lease – you must own them
• buildings, including doors, gates, shutters, mains water and gas systems
• land and structures, eg bridges, roads, docks
• items used only for business entertainment, eg a yacht or karaoke machine

New Tenant – Lease Incentives

New Tenants may get incentives such as rent free periods or reverse premiums. The new accounting rules (FRS102) mean that these incentives are spread over the life of the lease not taken over the period to the first rent review. Spreading these savings out will mean that tenants get a tax advantage as the gain will be less at the beginning of their lease.

Fit Out Finance

Generally funding fit outs is an issue due to the nature of the security.

However there are lender who can provide funding, for example http://www.fitoutfinance.uk/

As the name suggests, Fit-Out Finance is dedicated to funding fit-outs of business premises, including:

• Head Office.
• Warehousing.
• Fast food outlets.
• Restaurants/retail premises.
• Showrooms.

Using a blend of hire purchase, lease, unsecured loan and other facilities where appropriate, we are able to fund not just the tangibles, but all manner of tertiary work, from survey through to painting and plumbing.

As previously noted HP and Loans are suitable for tax relief through Capital Allowances.

Here are a couple of examples of how funding can work.

Start Up Fast Food Outlet

Well researched & professional, our client was buying into a well-respected fast food franchise.

Their bank had supported the franchise purchase, but there was a further £75,000 required to fit the premises to franchisor specification.
With the customer’s background and a solid franchise, arranging leasing on equipment was fairly straight forward.

That left a £30,000 shortfall on less tangible works – as there were 2 owners in the business, we were able to secure Start-Up loans to fund the shortfall

A Warehouse

The client was a well established, profitable hirer of electrical equipment. Despite being profitable, the business was highly seasonal and therefore cashflow fluctuated wildly.
Most of their funding was done under their roof, being shared between the bank, and the bank’s own finance company, who handled their hire stock.
However, when they approached the finance company, they were confidently informed that racking and mezzanine floors couldn’t be financed; hence they ploughed on, pouring valuable cash into fixed assets.

They had spent over £100,000 on racking etc and were struggling with cashflow to complete the project.

The Funder was able to:
• Release the full value of the assets they had paid for.
• Provide ongoing further funding for a mixed bundle of assets, ranging from a mezzanine floor to bikes used to move around the facility efficiently.
• Provide a £35K term loan to cover intangible costs.

steve@bicknells.net

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Will CIS apply to my property ‘refurb’? do Landlords need to register?

Group of construction workers. House renovation.

Many small scale property developers don’t realise that the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) applies to them.

HMRC are also looking very closely at Landlords (Investors) to see if they should register too…

Terrace Hill (Berkeley) Ltd v HMRC [2015] UKFTT 75 (TC) TC 04282

Until now property investment has been excluded from CIS but HMRC say this is under review

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/cisrmanual/cisr12080.htm

For now let’s focus on Property Developers, here are a few facts:

  • Property development is a trade it includes building new buildings and improving or refurbing existing buildings
  • Property developers will be contractors because they employ subcontractors – bricklayer, carpenters, painters, electricians, plasterers etc
  • There is no lower limit below which you do not have to operate CIS
  • Subcontractors, especially Labour Only subcontractors need to have their employment status tested
  • Subcontractors need to be verified with HMRC to determine their tax status before they can be paid
  • Each month the Developer will need to file a return with HMRC of subcontractor deductions
  • Each month the subcontractors must be given a deduction statement
  • CIS applies to all types of Developer – Individuals, Partnerships and Companies

Failure to comply means big penalties

CIS Penalties

Here are some penalty horror stories!

Brian Parkinson a gardner and lanscaper who used occasional subcontractors and got £31,500 in CIS Penalties!

The FTT heard evidence that little or no loss of tax resulted from this omission, as the amount of tax Parkinson ought to have deducted under the CIS was put at £837.90. [Brian Parkinson and the Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs TC04526; Appeal number: TC/2013/00224].
This comprised £6,000 (5 x the £1,200 maximum) charged under the Taxes Management Act 1970 (TMA 1970), s98A(2)(a) and also month 13 penalties of £25,500 charged under TMA 1970, s. 98A(2)(b). – See more at: https://www.accountancylive.com/partial-win-gardener-over-%E2%80%98excessive%E2%80%99-cis-penalties#sthash.zJA59Gjv.AfCNNGRJ.dpuf
Or how about CJS Eastern an installer of lightning conductors

INCOME TAX – subcontractors – appellant company contracted with a third party provider to supply “operatives” – third party provider “net” for CIS purposes – company’s failure to make CIS returns  – fixed monthly penalties of £28,500 – Month 13 penalties of £56,500 – whether reasonable excuse – held, no – whether disproportionate as a breach of A1P1 – Tribunal’s jurisdiction and interaction with mitigation –  Bosher followed – fixed penalties upheld – Month 13 penalties set aside as excessive – appeal allowed in part

https://cases.legal/lang-en/act-uk2-156151.html

If you’re a property developer make sure you register for CIS with HMRC!

If you need help contact us

steve@bicknells.net

 

 

Will automatic planning consent lead to more homes?

Group of construction workers. House renovation.

Housing and home ownership are a top priority in the UK and last week new proposals were announced in the Productivity Plan (see page 11 section 9)

The UK has been incapable of building enough homes to keep up with growing demand. This harms productivity and restricts labour market flexibility, and it frustrates the ambitions of thousands of people who would like to own their own home. The government will:
  • introduce a new zonal system which will effectively give automatic permission on suitable brownfield sites
  • take tougher action to ensure that local authorities are using their powers to get local plans in place and make homes available for local people, intervening to arrange for local plans to be written where necessary
  • bring forward proposals for stronger, fairer compulsory purchase powers, and devolution of major new planning powers to the Mayors of London and Manchester
  • extend the Right to Buy to housing association tenants, and deliver 200,000 Starter Homes for first time buyers
  • restrict tax relief to ensure all individual landlords get the same level of tax relief for their finance costs

Automatic planning consent on Brownfield sites, when approved, follows a number of other important incentives such as the Starter Homes initiative 20% discount.

The 20% discount is achieved by waiving local authority fees for homebuilders of at least £45,000 per dwelling on brownfield sites.

At the heart of the Starter Homes initiative is a change to the planning system. This will allow house builders to develop under-used or unviable brownfield land and free them from planning costs and levies. In return, they will be able to offer homes at a minimum 20% discount exclusively to first time buyers, under the age of forty.  Under the proposals, developers offering Starter Homes would be exempt from those Section 106 charges and Community Infrastructure Levy charges. The homes could then not be re-sold at market value for a fixed period – making sure that the savings are passed onto homebuyers.Gov.uk

To qualify first time buyers must be under the age of 40 and living in England.

Also the Help to Buy ISA for first time buyers where they could qualify for a £3,000 bonus

Help to Buy ISA

There is also the Help to Scheme where home buyers may only need a 5% deposit

With a Help to Buy: equity loan the Government lends you up to 20% of the cost of your new-build home, so you’ll only need a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest.

You won’t be charged loan fees on the 20% loan for the first five years of owning your home.

– See more at: http://www.helptobuy.org.uk/equity-loan/equity-loans#sthash.Vna08ZpX.dpuf

steve@bicknells.net

Improvements to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)

fotolia_1931265[1]

CIS covers most construction work to buildings, including site preparation, decorating and refurbishment.

Exceptions

You don’t have to register if you only do certain jobs, including:

  • architecture and surveying
  • scaffolding hire (with no labour)
  • carpet fitting
  • delivering materials
  • work on construction sites that is clearly not construction, eg running a canteen or site facilities

 

So what is being changed?

The changes are outlined in this document – CIS Link

Key Changes

  • Reducing the Gross Status minimum turnover threshold to £100,000 a year for businesses with multiple directors (from April 2016)
  • Initial and annual compliance tests will focus on fewer obligations
  • Penalties triggered by failure to file a nil CIS return can be set aside on appeal from April 2015
  • It will be easier for Joint Ventures to obtain Gross Status if one party already holds Gross Status
  • Online verification will be mandatory from April 2017
  • Earlier repayments can be made to liquidators in insolvency proceedings. Currently where a subcontractor is a company, no repayment of any amount deducted and paid over to HMRC by a contractor can be made to the subcontractor until after the end of the tax year in which the deduction was made. These rules will be amended so that in certain cases where the amount deducted by the contractor is excessive, a repayment can be made during the tax year.
  • Mandatory online filing of CIS returns will be introduced with the offer of alternative filing arrangements for those unable to access an online channel by reason of age, disability, remote location or religious objection.
  • The directors’ self assessment filing requirements will be removed from the initial and annual compliance tests.

steve@bicknells.net

How do you account for Construction Retentions?

Home Office

It’s a very common question, the client pays you and keeps a retention of 5% reducing to 2.5% on completion  to be released after the end of the defects period.

You do the same with your sub-contractors.

The retentions need to be held in balance sheet accounts as they can’t be invoiced to client and aren’t due to the sub-contractors. But they should be included within sales and sub-contract costs.

HMRC’s guidance is in BIM51520

In the construction industry it is a common feature of construction contracts for the customer to retain part of the contract fee over a maintenance period pending the satisfactory completion of any remedial work required by the contractor. Typically this may be for a 12-month period between a Certificate of Completion being given and the issue of a Maintenance Certificate.

In their accounts, builders will generally deal with retentions in one of the following ways:

  • include retentions within turnover, provide for the estimated cost of remedial work, and make provision for any debt impairment (see BIM42700 onwards), or
  • defer recognition of retentions until their receipt becomes virtually certain.

Each of the above accords with generally accepted accounting practice and should be followed for tax purposes unless an unrealistically conservative view has been taken.

In recent years, construction industry customers have become increasingly reluctant to pay retention monies, irrespective of whether there are defects to be made good. It is now common for such monies never to get paid. Consequently, it will often be the case that, whichever of the above approaches is adopted, there will be little or no difference in the figure of net profit.

A challenge will only be appropriate in worthwhile cases. For example, where retentions are only recognised on receipt but, in practice, a large proportion is in fact consistently paid over to the builder and there is a significant tax effect (compared with the alternative provisions method).

There is guidance on VAT in VATTOS5170

……the tax point for retentions is delayed until either a VAT invoice is issued or payment of the retention is received, whichever is the earlier. It must be stressed that this only applies to the retained element of the contract price. The rest of the supply is subject to the normal tax point rules.

steve@bicknells.net