It’s a Pool Car isn’t it?

Black Elegant Vintage Car

Yet again, we have another case on Pool Cars which could have been prevented had the right procedures been put in place.

The Case was decided in May 2015 and involved Mark and Trudie Holmes and their company KMS Logistics (UK) Ltd. The company owned 7 prestige cars which were used assist in maintaining and attracting clients.

There was no prohibition (not even a verbal one) on the private use of the vehicles, mileage logs showed that the cars were mainly used by Mr & Mrs Holmes. Until 2003/4 they had been declared as a benefit in kind but then the stopped being declared! There even seemed to be confusion over who owned the cars.

So not surprising Mr & Mrs Holmes lost the case.

Read the full details by clicking here

So what should you do to prove there is no private use:

  1. Keep the car on the company’s business premises
  2. Keep the keys at the company’s business premises
  3. Prepare a Board Minute
  4. Make sure your contract of employment bans private use
  5. Keep a mileage log
  6. Insure the car principally for business use

HMRC have specific rules on keeping vehicles at home in EIM23465

Even if you do meet the 60% rule you still have to prove ‘no private use’

steve@bicknells.net

 

 

Trivial Benefits £50 exemption deferred

Businessman looking at a small present with a magnifying glass

It had been proposed that there will be a new statutory exemption for trivial benefits up to a limit of £50 from from 6 April 2015, this measure is not included in the first Finance Bill of 2015, it has been deferred until after the election.

The £50 tax exemption would have been on items such as birthday and Christmas gifts. The legislation would have also introduced an annual cap of £300 in some circumstances.

So we are stuck with the old rules for now

An employer may provide employees with a seasonal gift, such as a turkey, an ordinary bottle of wine or a box of chocolates at Christmas. All of these gifts can be treated as trivial benefits. . For an employer with a large number of employees the total cost of providing a gift to each employee may be considerable, but where the gift to each employee is a trivial benefit, this principle applies regardless of the total cost to the employer and the number of employees concerned. If a benefit is trivial it should not be included in a PSA (EIM21861).

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/eimanual/EIM21863.htm

There are some non taxable benefits you be interested in….

HMRC Helpsheet 207 – Non-taxable payments or benefits for employees

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/helpsheets/hs207.pdf

steve@bicknells.net

What tax allowances can childminders claim?

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

 

The Yacht that wasn’t a benefit in kind

Yacht de luxe.

This is the case of Gillian Rockall v HMRC (2014) HKFTT 643.

Mr Michael & Mrs Gillian Rockall were involved in running a hotel and conference centre and providing high-end residential courses, amongst the companies assets was a 140 foot ocean-going yacht costing $11.9 million called Masquerade of Sole.

HMRC issued assessments on Mr & Mrs Rockall for the tax years 2000-2001 to 2008-2009 on the basis of personal use (benefit is normally assessed as 20% of the market value).

The Yacht was used for:

  • Business Networking
  • Customer Training
  • Exploring Business Opportunities in the Caribbean and Mediterranean
  • Friends and Acquaintances were taken on occassional trips to provide a opinion on opportunities

The Yacht was also placed with an agent for charter when not required for the purposes above.

The First-Tier Tribunal took the view that the use of the Yacht was only for Business and not for private purposes.

However under S203 ITEPA 2003 a benefit in kind would arise because the asset was at the disposal of the employees.

The Rockalls appealed to the First-Tier Tax Tribunal, on the grounds that the use of the yacht was tax-deductible under s365 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 (ITEPA). This requires that the item comprising the benefit in kind was used ‘wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the duties of the employment’.

The tribunal has now ruled that the yacht was bought and operated purely for business purposes and thus was fully tax-deductible for both the Rockalls.

– See more at: http://www.step.org/yacht-used-impress-customers-were-legitimate-expense#sthash.dNRhVYmG.dpuf

steve@bicknells.net

Is your act theatrical enough to have tax deductible agents fees?

Las Vegas Elvis impersonator

Actors, singers, musicians, dancers and theatrical artists are permitted to make a deduction for agents fees under ITEPA 2003 S352.

But its more complicated than you might think based on recent cases…

Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan (2006) SpC 547 it was only on appeal that the Special Commissioner agreed that their chat show was considered theatrical.

The Special Commissioners also thought that Bruce Forsyth and Ant and Dec qualified.

But that Quiz shows were borderline, for example they felt Jeremy Paxman (University Challenge) and John Humphry (Mastermind) didn’t qualify, but Anne Robinson (The Weakest Link) did qualify and Chris Tarrant (Who wants to be a Millionaire) was borderline.

So do you think the special commissioners would see your act as Theatrical?

steve@bicknells.net

Are you losing out by having ‘Triangular Travel’?

businessman dream

Your normal commute to work isn’t business travel, but if you have to travel to visit a customer or visit somewhere on business then that is business travel.

Triangulation happens when you leave home on a valid business journey, but then return to your normal place of work, then travel home.

The travel between home and your normal place of work isn’t business travel.

You could avoid triangulation by not returning to your normal place of work, then the whole journey would be business travel.

If you are required to do training, that travel will count as business travel.

This can get even more complicate if you work from home.

On the 16th December 2013 Dr Samad Samadian v HMRC had his appeal on Travel heard by The honourable Mr Justice Sales and it was decided to uphold the previous decision of the First Tier Tribunal.

After an enquiry lasting more than seven years and three tribunal hearings, the First-tier Tribunal led by Judge Kevin Poole acknowledged Dr Samad Samadian had a dedicated office in his home which was necessary for his professional activity.

However, the panel did not accept that the home office could be treated as the starting point for calculating private practice business mileage involving habitual journeys.

So in summary:

  • Home to Hospitals – Disallowed
  • Hospital to Hospital – Disallowed as Business Expenses (but could be allowed against Employment)
  • Visits to Patients – Allowed

Are your mileage claims correct?

steve@bicknells.net

 

 

Can you claim a tax allowance for clothing?

You need to follow the code

 

Employees may be able to get tax relief if they – and not their employer – spend money on any tools or specialist clothing they need to be able to do your job. Employees can go back several years to get the relief – the time you’ve got depends on whether you’ve previously sent in a Self Assessment tax return.

As a general rule an employee can’t get tax relief for the cost of clothing they wear to work – but there are some exceptions. For example, if you work in a sector like the building trade or the metal working industry you’ll have to wear protective clothing like:

  • overalls
  • gloves
  • boots
  • helmets

If you must pay for the cost of repairing, cleaning or replacing this type of specialist clothing yourself and your employer doesn’t reimburse you, then you are entitled to tax relief. However, you cannot claim for the initial cost of buying this clothing.

EIM32712 sets out some flat rate expenses that can be claimed and EIM32485 allows £60 per year for laundry.

If you are an employee who wants to claim the laundry allowance you should send HMRC a letter as follows:

Re: Uniform Tax Rebate

I have been employed at……… since….. My job title is ……. and I wear a company uniform.

I am obliged to launder the uniform, which is supplied to me by the company. I therefor wish to claim any payment to cover the laundry costs.

The uniform provided is not suitable to be worn outside of the work environment due to having the company logo on it.

I would like to receive the rebate in the form of a cheque….

Self Employed workers have tried to claim for clothes but whilst HMRC have allowed claims for ‘Uniforms’ and ‘Costumes’ they have rejected claims for everyday clothes.

BIM37910 explains to HMRC Inspectors…

You should disallow expenditure on ordinary clothing worn by a trader during the course of their trade. This remains so even where particular standards of dress are required by, for example, the rules of a professional body.

The case of Mallalieu v Drummond [1983] 57 TC 330 (which is discussed in detail below) established that no deduction is available from trading profits for the costs of clothing which forms part of an ‘everyday’ wardrobe. This remains so even where the taxpayer can show that they only wear such clothing in the course of their profession. It is irrelevant that the person chooses not to wear the clothing in question on non-business occasions, the only question is whether the clothing might suitably be worn as part of a hypothetical person’s ‘everyday’ wardrobe.

Most professionals have to keep up appearances but their clothing costs are not allowable (even where they amount to a quasi uniform as in Mallalieu v Drummond).

The cost of clothing that is not part of an ‘everyday’ wardrobe (for example a nurse’s uniform or evening dress (‘tails’) worn by a professional waiter) faces no such bar to deduction.

You should therefore allow a deduction for protective clothing and uniforms.

This was recently tested by Sian Williams who claimed, unsuccessfully…

In her 2004/05 tax return, a newsreader claimed certain deductions from employment income with the BBC for “travel and subsistence costs”, and “other expenses and capital allowances”.

Of these, the following were in dispute:

  • Professional hairdo and colouring £975
  • Professional clothing for studio    £3,231
  • Laundry of professional clothes   £325

She also claimed that as a taxpayer she had the right to be treated fairly, HMRC should offer up details of the amounts which had been agreed as allowable expenses for other news readers and entertainers.

See articles by Ross Martin and the Guardian

 

steve@bicknells.net

You could employ your spouse to help you do your job

Accounting Standards

Many micro business owners employ their spouse and as long as they perform a role in the business that’s fine and it can be very tax efficient.

But there are circumstances in larger businesses with several owners/directors where it isn’t practical to directly employ your spouse.

However, it could be possible to claim an expense for using your spouse as an assistant, take a look at EIM32415

A deduction can be given in the following circumstances:

  • where the employee is paid solely by results so that, in taking on assistance, the employee can maximise his or her earnings from the employment.
  • where it is actually part of the duties of the employment to engage and remunerate assistants to do some of the work.

So it may be possible to amend your employment contract to identify parts of your job that could be done by someone else and you could add a clause which says that you must ensure the work specified is done and that its your duty to employ an assistant to do it.

The duties could be anything – Admin, Secretarial, Market Research, Telesales…..

Depending on how much you pay your assistant you may need to account for PAYE and NI.

steve@bicknells.net

5 key questions you need to ask your FD

Profitability

As businesses grow, their needs increase. The person steering the finances needs to be someone who can take on a broad commercial role. Forecasting, IT, tax issues, insurance and back office functions – all these need to run smoothly. But a fast-growth business needs someone who can anticipate both future opportunities and potential problems.

A good financial director will help owner-managers understand which aspects of the business are the most profitable, as well as forecasting ways to exploit other opportunities. (Santander)

So what key questions should you regularly ask your FD…..

  1. What is our cash cycle and how can we improve it – Cash Cycle Blog
  2. What Key Performance Indicators should we use and what are they telling us – KPI Blog
  3. How can we improve profitability – 15 ways to improve profitability Blog
  4. What is our Business Plan and is it the right plan – Business Plan Blog
  5. Can we reduce Overheads – 10 creative ways to reduce overheads Blog

steve@bicknells.net

4 places loved by Home Based Workers

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

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

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

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

Home Worker

steve@bicknells.net