HMRC raids increase by 28% in the last year! Reply

Regretful businessman in prison

In the last year HMRC have increased their raids on business premises by 28% and that’s a 53% increase over 5 years.

761 properties were raided last year!

HMRC possesses powers to raid premises with a search warrant granted by a judge or magistrate.

During August 2016 (Consultations end in October 2016) they issued 3 new consultations:

Tackling the hidden economy: Sanctions

Tackling the hidden economy: Extension of data – gathering powers to Money Service Businesses

HMRC have always been keen to seek out those who fail to register for tax, since 2011 they have been using CONNECT.

According to Accounting Web:

It uses a mathematical technique to search previously unrelated information and detect otherwise invisible ‘relationship’ networks. Using Connect, HMRC sifts through information on property transactions at the Land Registry, company ownerships, loans, bank accounts, employment history, voting and local authority rates registers and compares with self-assessment records to spot taxpayers who might be under-declaring or not declaring income.

Connect has made links between tax records and third party data from hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, insurers and even gas SAFE registrations. DVLA records and the shipping and Civil Aviation Authority registers help identify owners of cars and planes who declare income that the computer suggests cannot support such purchases.

If you have undeclared tax now would be a good time to tell HMRC.

steve@bicknells.net

Why it’s time to end Offshore and Contractor Loan Schemes? Reply

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There have been many creative schemes promoted to contractors, entertainers and sports stars, basically using a limited company to make loans to connected parties to avoid tax.

HMRC have been attacking these schemes for years, for example the Boyle case

Philip Boyle v HMRC [TC03103] 2013

On the 16th September HMRC published Spotlight 26: Contractor Loan Schemes – Too good to be true

Contractors and freelancers are bombarded by promoters who make claims that they can help individuals take home as much as 80% to 90% of their income. Sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is.

So why is this considered to be tax avoidance? These promoters use schemes to reduce the amount of tax you pay on your income by making payments which purport to be ‘loans’ from a trust or a company. Normally, a contractor would receive the contract income directly and pay tax on it. These arrangements artificially divert the income through a chain of companies, trusts or partnerships and pay the contractor in the form of a ‘loan’. The ‘loans’ are claimed to be non-taxable because they don’t form part of a contractor’s income. However, in reality the ‘loans’ aren’t repaid and the money is used by the contractor as if it were his or her income.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) view is that these schemes don’t work and strongly advises any contractor or freelancer who has used such a scheme to withdraw and settle their tax affairs. People who settle with HMRC avoid the costs of investigation and litigation and minimise interest and penalty charges on the tax which should have been paid.

Don’t be fooled by promoter websites..

The promoters’ websites and promotional literature claim that they are fully compliant and are HMRC approved. HMRC doesn’t view these arrangements as compliant and never approves any schemes.

Contractor loan schemes, of the sort described above, must be declared under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance legislation. The promoter is required to pass the scheme reference number (SRN) to all the users who must put this on their tax return. A failure to show the correct SRN on your tax return will lead to additional penalty charges.

Don’t be tempted, HMRC are closing in on unpaid tax, they will find you!

steve@bicknells.net

Contact Us

Does your tax agent ask for too many refunds? Reply

SA100 tax return form with calculator and pencil lying on table

High Volume Agents (HVAs) deal with large numbers of clients, often for a short time only, and make repayment claims or submit returns that generate repayments.

HVAs usually

  • provide services on a commission or ‘no repayment no fee’ basis
  • target clients in a specific trade or industry, for example the construction industry
  • submit high numbers of repayment claims relating to expenses incurred in their clients’ employment or trade
  • receive the tax repayment as a nominee for their client
  • are not members of a professional taxation accountancy body, although some of their staff may hold professional qualifications
  • have little or no face to face contact with their clients as much of their business is carried out electronically.

A repayment claim can be made using any of the following

  • P87
  • stand alone claim by correspondence
  • Self Assessment tax return
  • unsolicited return.

The range of expenses claimed that results in a repayment usually include

  • travel
  • subsistence
  • overnight accommodation
  • cost of food
  • use of home
  • wife, civil partner or relative’s wages
  • cost of tools
  • protective or specialist clothing
  • laundry
  • telephone costs.

Further details in CH820000

HMRC have targeted firms with as few as 30 clients! so don’t think it only applies to large scale operations

HMRC are particularly interested in claims where the expenses are more that 10% higher than the income.

An agent’s poor technical ability that puts tax at risk will generally fall into one or more of the following categories

  • bookkeeping or accounting errors
  • computational errors
  • lack of tax knowledge or expertise
  • unreasonable or untenable technical views.

HVA’s are asked to enter into a memorandum of understanding agreements which are designed to check clients are paying the correct tax, in general this is likely to result in higher tax payments.

So be careful who you ask to be you agent! your tax saving might be short lived.

 

steve@bicknells.net

 

HMRC – More sanctions against tax avoidance schemes 1

UK tax return form

Since 2010 there have been 42 changes to tax law to close loop holes and deter tax avoidance.

Key changes were Accelerated Payments and High Risk Promoter Rules.

There is new consultation document out now ‘Strengthening sanctions for tax avoidance’ which runs till 12th March 2015.

A serial avoider may:

  • Use a number of tax avoidance schemes each year that were intended to offset their tax liability several times over in the hope that at least one will work.
  • Repeatedly use tax avoidance schemes to shelter the same type of income year after year.
  • Repeatedly use avoidance schemes to cover the majority of income or gains as they arise.
  • Often use tax avoidance schemes to cover major life or commercial events.

The new sanctions are expected to include:

  • Surcharges on repeated or concurrent use of tax avoidance schemes
  • Being compelled to provide more documents and records
  • Stop notices
  • Name and shame

Will this end the use of tax avoidance schemes?

steve@bicknells.net

 

Have you got undeclared Credit Card sales? Reply

Kartenlesegerät, geld überweisen,  Kreditkarte, Hand

The Credit Card Sales Campaign is an opportunity to bring your tax affairs up to date if you’re an individual or business that accepts credit or debit card payments.

Who can do this

This opportunity is for you if:

  1. you accept card payments for goods or service
  2. you haven’t declared all your UK tax liabilities

Get the best terms

You need to tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if you either:

  • haven’t registered with them
  • have failed to declare all your income

This is called a ‘voluntary disclosure’.

What happens if you should disclose but don’t

HMRC has details of all credit and debit card payments to UK businesses. This information is used to identify individuals and businesses that might not have paid what they owe.

Credit Card Sales Campaign Helpline
Telephone: 0300 123 9272
From outside the UK: +44 300 123 9272
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

steve@bicknells.net

Doctor, Doctor, I think you should be an Employee 1

Young Doctor with stop sign

A report in the Telegraph on the 14th July 2014…

Dozens of NHS executives face possible investigation by HM Revenue and Customs after they refused to answer questions about their tax arrangements, it can be revealed.

An investigation has identified 86 senior health service officials paid off-payroll who have refused to give assurances to their employers that they are paying the correct level of income tax and national insurance.

They are paid through service companies – arrangements that allow public sector employees to be paid as contractors through private companies, potentially cutting their tax bills.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10966314/Dozens-of-NHS-executives-face-tax-inquiry-into-off-payroll-earnings.html

Monitor found 30 foundation trusts had issues to resolve in their report of the 10th July 2014:

  • 20 foundation trusts have 1 or more senior employees paid through an off-payroll arrangement, and they are waiting for responses after asking those employees for assurance about their tax arrangements
  • 23 foundation trusts (including some of the 20 above) still have at least 1 board member or senior member of staff with significant financial responsibility employed through an off-payroll arrangement
  • of these 23 trusts, 9 are facing wider issues relating to their performance which they have explained is affecting their ability to recruit and retain permanent skilled staff; this resulted in the need to use interim off-payroll contracts to attract high-performing staff to help improve the foundation trust’s situation
  • as a result of their performance issues, these 9 trusts are facing current enforcement action by Monitor, which is unrelated to their use of off-payroll employment
  • out of those 23 trusts, the other 14 which are not facing enforcement action have plans to end off-payroll arrangements by the end of the year

Will this end the use of PSC’s in the NHS?

steve@bicknells.net

Is there any point in DOTAS if the tax will be paid upfront? Reply

Scaring amounts

The Finance (No2) Bill 2014, which is due to receive Royal Assent in July, contains legislation which will enable HMRC to demand payment upfront of disputed tax in certain cases, principally involving tax avoidance or deferral. It is estimated that up to 43,000 taxpayers could receive such a demand. Those demands will be issued over an extended period but the first are likely to be issued as early as September 2014.

Taxpayers who have sought tax advantages through tax avoidance schemes that fall within the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) are likely to be most affected.

Here is a link to the SRNs (Scheme Reference Numbers) affected – click here

Over the next 2 years HMRC estimates that it will rake in £7 billion through the use of these notices. Of this £7 billion, individuals will weigh in with £5.1 billion. This would equate to each person having a gross income of £262,000.

Last week the Financial Times reported that Ingenious Media, an investment company, warned 1,300 of its investors, including business leaders, entertainers and sporting celebrities, such as David Beckham, to expect substantial tax bills with interest, as reward for using its tax avoidance scheme. (Contractor Weekly)

This is a radical change and many might say its been a long time coming.

It has always struck me as slightly bizarre the DOTAS were registered and allowed to exist.

steve@bicknells.net

 

Do you have a Second Income? own up now! Reply

sholder bags

On the 9th April 2014 HMRC launched the Second Income Campaign….

A second income could come from:

  • consultancy fees, eg for providing training
  • organising parties and events
  • providing services like taxi driving, hairdressing or fitness training
  • making and selling craft items
  • buying and selling goods, eg at market stalls or car boot sales

You need to tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if your additional income hasn’t been taxed through either:

  • your main job
  • another Pay As You Earn (PAYE) scheme
  • Self Assessment

This is called a ‘voluntary disclosure’. To get the best possible terms you need to tell HMRC that you want to take part in the campaign.

You’ll have 4 months to calculate and pay what you owe.

You can find out about the campaign and how to make a disclosure here

The criteria used to assess if an activity is a hobby or a business are:

  • The size and commerciality of the activity.
  • The frequency of the activity and transactions
  • The application of business principles.
  • Whether there is a genuine profit motive.
  • The amount of time devoted to the activities.
  • The existence of arm’s-length customers (as opposed to just selling your wares to family and friends).

If you have a Second Income its better to disclose it now rather than wait till HMRC find you.

steve@bicknells.net

A Trillion Euro’s lost to tax evasion in the EU 1

 

A Trillion is a huge amount, its almost too large to imagine.

Here is the latest campaign video

http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I080915

As part of the intensified battle against tax fraud, the Commission launched on 6th February 2014 the process to start negotiations with Russia and Norway on administrative cooperation agreements in the area of Value Added Tax (VAT). The broad goal of these agreements would be to establish a framework of mutual assistance in combatting cross-border VAT fraud and in helping each country recover the VAT it is due. VAT fraud involving third-country operators is particularly a risk in the telecoms and e-services sectors. Given the growth of these sectors, more effective tools to fight such fraud are essential to protect public budgets. Cooperation agreements with the EU’s neighbours and trading partners would improve Member States’ chances of identifying and clamping down on VAT fraud, and would stem the financial losses this causes. The Commission is therefore asking Member States for a mandate to start such negotiations with Russia and Norway, while continuing exploratory talks with a number of other important international partners.

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/tax_fraud_evasion/missing-part_en.htm

steve@bicknells.net

Key Points from the Autumn Statement 2013 Reply

Tax Money

The Chancellor George Osborne presented the Autumn Statement to the House of Commons on 5th December 2013 and things are getting better, economic growth forecasts for this year have more than doubled from 0.6% to 1.4% but the austerity plan is set to continue.

Here is a summary of the key announcements:

Business Rates

Business rate increases in England will be capped at 2% in 2014/15 (they were set to increase by 3.2%) and businesses will be able to pay over 12 months rather than 10.

The Retail Sector will also get a £1,000 discount in 2014/15 and 2015/16, this applies to pubs, cafes, restaurants and charity shops with a rateable value below £50,000.

A reoccupation relief of 50% is being introduced for up to 18 months on premises that have been empty for a year or more and it will apply from 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2016.

Small Business Rate Relief has been extended to April 2015 under the scheme small businesses with a rateable value of £6,000 or less can get 100% relief, the relief is scaled down to zero on rateable values of £12,000 and there is a lower multiplier on rates between £12,001 and £17,999.

Income Tax

As previously announced the personal allowance will be £10,000 for the tax year 2014/15.

From April 2015, a spouse or civil partner who is not liable to income tax will be able to transfer £1,000 of their allowance to a basic rate tax paying spouse and as a result save £200 in tax.

State Pension Age

By 2020 it will be 66, by 2028 it will be 67 and by mid 2030’s 68, then in 2040’s 69.

Capital Gains Tax

The annual exempt amount will be £11,000 for individuals for 2014/15.

But there was an exemption for principle private residence  letting for 36 months and from 6th April 2014 it will be reduced to 18 months.

Consultation will start in April on non-residents paying capital gains on property disposals.

Individual Savings Account (ISA)

The limit will rise to £11,880 for 2014/15 and of this £5,940 can be invested in cash ISA’s

Mortgage Guarantee Scheme

The scheme started in October will run for 3 years and end in January 2017.

Buyers will only need a 5% deposit and the government and the funder will guarantee 15% of the loan in return for a fee.

IR35

Legislation will be tightened from April 2014.

Anti-avoidance

A range of measures were discussed in addition to IR35 and these included:

  • Partnership Tax
  • Controlled foreign companies
  • Charities
  • High risk tax avoidance schemes
  • Dual contracts

Other headline measures

  • Employers NI for under 21’s to be scrapped in 2015
  • Rolling back green levies to allow an average saving of £50 on energy bills
  • Free school meals for infants
  • Scrapping of 1% above inflation rail fare increases
  • Electronic tax discs
  • Abolition of next years 2p per litre fuel duty rise

 

steve@bicknells.net