When businesses purchase assets they normally use finance, it makes sense to conserve your cash and spread the purchase cost over the life of the asset, but how will you choice impact on whether you can claim Capital Allowances, Annual Investment Allowance or Enhanced Capital Allowances.
You can claim capital allowances when you buy assetsthat you keep to use in your business, for example:
business vehicles, for example cars, vans or lorries
You can deduct some or all of the value of the item from your profits before you pay tax.
So clearly buying assets without finance or with a business loan is fine as you will definitely own the asset.
The normal assumption is that a vehicle bought under a HP agreement will become the property of the hirer once the final payment is made at the end of the lease period.
Section 67 Capital Allowances Act 2001 (CAA 2001) allows the capitalisation of the entire expenditure on the vehicle from delivery, providing the asset was in business use at the end of the chargeable period.
However, if a payment is not made and the vehicle is not acquired then it is treated as having been disposed of by s67(4).
Under any other finance arrangement it will depend on whether the vehicle is owned or not, usually the documentation will confirm the position but a PCP is considered to be an HP arrangement with a balloon payment. If the end payment is not paid and the option to purchase not taken then that is a disposal and thus a clawback of the allowances claimed.
Contract Hire and Leases
Contract Hire will not pass ownership to hirer so they are not eligible for Capital Allowances.
But the hire costs will normally be tax deductible and generally 50% of car hire VAT can be reclaimed.
Until the 2010-11 tax year, relief against general income could be claimed to the extent the loss was due to furnished holiday lettings. This is not available for tax years 2011-12 onwards, see PIM4130. Losses of a furnished holiday lettings business may now only be carried forward to use against future profits of that same furnished holiday lettings business.
Where a customer claims loss relief against general income, they must take the full amount of the loss available up to the amount of their general income. They can’t opt to take a smaller amount, either they claim for the full loss or they claim for none (ITA07/S121).
HMRC have recently confirmed their view that common areas in Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) are parts of a “dwelling house” and ineligible for capital allowance claims.
Claims relating to Houses in Multiple Occupancy:
We are aware that some taxpayers have submitted claims for plant and machinery allowances in respect of shared parts of houses in multiple occupation (such as hallways, stairs, landings, attics and basements within the houses). They contend that these shared areas are not part of the dwelling-house and that allowances are therefore available. We disagree with this position. If you come across such a claim, please notify the Capital Allowances single point of contact for your area.
The capital allowance legislation specifically denies tax relief for plant and machinery installed in a dwelling house. However, plant and machinery installed in the common areas such as hallways, stairs and lift shafts, in blocks of flats would qualify as the flats themselves are the dwellings, not the building as a whole.
Expenditure incurred on the provision of plant or machinery ‘for use in’ a dwelling-house is not qualifying expenditure for an ordinary property business, an overseas property business or the special leasing of plant or machinery.
This would seem inconsistent with the HMRC view on HMOs and there may be a test case on the interpretation, particularly as there is no definition of “dwelling house” in the tax legislation. There is also a lack of clarity concerning the status of University Halls of residence where there is often substantial expenditure on plant and machinery in common areas.
Furnished Holiday Lets although a holiday home is a ‘dwelling house’, providing the conditions are met to meet the Furnished Holiday Let (“FHL”) legislation, capital allowances can be claimed CA20025 – Capital Allowances Manual – HMRC internal manual – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). FHL are deemed as ‘trading’ for tax purposes. The restriction for claiming capital allowances on dwellings (CAA2001 35) is therefore NOT applicable to FHL’s.
Sections 21 and 22 explain the Assets which can’t be claimed and Section 23 lists items that can be claimed
Expenditure unaffected by sections 21 and 22
1. Machinery (including devices for providing motive power) not within any other item in this list.
2. Electrical systems (including lighting systems) and cold water, gas and sewerage systems provided mainly—(a) to meet the particular requirements of the qualifying activity, or (b) to serve particular plant or machinery used for the purposes of the qualifying activity.
3. Space or water heating systems; powered systems of ventilation, air cooling or air purification; and any floor or ceiling comprised in such systems.
4. Manufacturing or processing equipment; storage equipment (including cold rooms); display equipment; and counters, checkouts and similar equipment.
5. Cookers, washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators and similar equipment; washbasins, sinks, baths, showers, sanitary ware and similar equipment; and furniture and furnishings.
6. Lifts, hoists, escalators and moving walkways.
7. Sound insulation provided mainly to meet the particular requirements of the qualifying activity.
8. Computer, telecommunication and surveillance systems (including their wiring or other links).
9. Refrigeration or cooling equipment.
10. Fire alarm systems; sprinkler and other equipment for extinguishing or containing fires.
11. Burglar alarm systems.
12. Strong rooms in bank or building society premises; safes.
13. Partition walls, where moveable and intended to be moved in the course of the qualifying activity.
14. Decorative assets provided for the enjoyment of the public in hotel, restaurant or similar trades.
15. Advertising hoardings; signs, displays and similar assets.
16. Swimming pools (including diving boards, slides and structures on which such boards or slides are mounted).
17. Any glasshouse constructed so that the required environment (namely, air, heat, light, irrigation and temperature) for the growing of plants is provided automatically by means of devices forming an integral part of its structure.
18. Cold stores.
19. Caravans provided mainly for holiday lettings.
20. Buildings provided for testing aircraft engines run within the buildings.
21. Moveable buildings intended to be moved in the course of the qualifying activity.
22. The alteration of land for the purpose only of installing plant or machinery.
23. The provision of dry docks.
24. The provision of any jetty or similar structure provided mainly to carry plant or machinery.
25. The provision of pipelines or underground ducts or tunnels with a primary purpose of carrying utility conduits.
26. The provision of towers to support floodlights.
27.The provision of—(a) any reservoir incorporated into a water treatment works, or (b) any service reservoir of treated water for supply within any housing estate or other particular locality.
28.The provision of—(a) silos provided for temporary storage, or(b) storage tanks.
29. The provision of slurry pits or silage clamps.
30. The provision of fish tanks or fish ponds.
31. The provision of rails, sleepers and ballast for a railway or tramway.
32. The provision of structures and other assets for providing the setting for any ride at an amusement park or exhibition.
33. The provision of fixed zoo cages.
Sections 21 and 22 do not apply to any expenditure to which any of the provisions listed in subsection (2) applies.
(2)The provisions are—
section 28 (thermal insulation of industrial buildings);
section 29 (fire safety);
section 30 (safety at designated sports grounds);
section 31 (safety at regulated stands at sports grounds);
As CATAX say in their video 9 out of 10 commercial building owners are not claiming these capital allowances!
The key reason why they aren’t claiming is because when you buy or develop a building the costs don’t tend to be broken down to show these items so you need to have them retrospectively assessed by a surveyor.
If you are buying a commercial property the CPSE will ask the seller about Capital Allowances. Sellers will need to pool their fixtures expenditure (even where they have not, nor do not wish to claim allowances themselves) unless they are prepared to risk the price of their property being chipped down in recognition that no allowances will be available.
Often at the time of Sale a Section 198 will agree the Capital Allowances
CAA01/S200 – S201An election under CAA01/S198 or S199 must be made by notice in writing to HMRC.
It should contain the following information:
* the amount fixed by the election,
* the name of each person making the election,
* information sufficient to identify the fixture and the relevant land,
* particulars of the interest acquired by or the lease granted to the purchaser; and
* the tax district references of each of the persons making the election.
The election is irrevocable.
The time limit for making the election is two years after the time when the interest is acquired by the buyer or the buyer is granted the lease.
A copy of the election must be included with each party's return for the first period affected by it. This will normally be the period in which the disposal or acquisition takes place.
The amount apportioned to the fixture must be quantified when the election is made.
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
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
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.
As the name suggests, Fit-Out Finance is dedicated to funding fit-outs of business premises, including:
• Head Office.
• Fast food outlets.
• Restaurants/retail premises.
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
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.
It is not necessary to claim the maximum capital allowances available or even claim them at all, crazy as it might sound there are situations when not claiming capital allowances can reduce your tax bill!
Sole Trader Example
The personal tax allowance is currently £10,600 (2015/16)
Lets assume profits are £15,000 and Capital Allowances available are £5,000, so that would reduce taxable profits to £10,000 which would waste £600 of the personal tax allowance.
It would therefore be better to only claim £4,400 in capital allowances and claim the remaining £600 in the following year.
Companies within a Group can only offset losses in corresponding tax periods, so if the the capital allowances increase the loss in one part of the group beyond the profits of the rest of the group then there would be no benefit to claiming them in that period.
Companies can claim capital allowances in any of the following 3 tax years.
In the Finance Bill 2011 the period over which expenditure on plant or machinery can be given “short life assets” (SLA) treatment was extend from 4 year to 8 years.
The change will have effect for expenditure incurred
• on or after 1 April 2011 for businesses within the charge to corporation tax (CT); and
• on or after 6 April 2011 for businesses within the charge to income tax.
If a business elects for plant or machinery to be treated as a short life asset, capital allowances are calculated individually on the asset until a “cut-off” point. This ensures that, if the asset is sold or scrapped before the cut-off point, the total allowances given over the period of ownership equal the actual net cost of the asset to the business.
An election will be beneficial if the asset depreciates faster than the rate at which capital allowances are given, and it is sold before the cut-off date.
Expenditure incurred on an asset given SLA treatment is allocated to a ‘single asset pool’ for the cut-off period. The current four-year cut-off period is four years from the end of the chargeable period in which the expenditure is incurred.
Writing-down allowances are given on the reducing-balance each year, currently at 18 per cent. If the item is scrapped or sold within a ‘four-year cut-off’ period, the remaining balance of expenditure in the pool is compared with the disposal proceeds. A further allowance, or charge, is made for the difference. This ensures that allowances given to this point match the actual net cost of the SLA.
If the Asset was placed in the Main Pool the tax relief would come through in future years through the WDA. So using the SLA will speed up Tax Allowances.
If the asset is not disposed of within the ‘four-year cut-off’ period, the remaining expenditure in the single asset pool is transferred to the main capital allowances pool, where writing-down allowances will continue to be available in the normal way.
The exceptions to SLA treatment are listed in section 84 CAA 2001 and include most cars and all expenditure on ‘long-life assets’ (assets with a useful economic life of at least 25-years) and ‘integral features’ of a building or structure.
A SLA election must be made for corporation tax within two years of the end of the relevant chargeable period in which the expenditure is incurred. For income tax the time limit is normally the anniversary of the 31 January following the tax year in which the end of the relevant chargeable period occurs.
Assets that cannot be treated as SLAs are:
assets that were provided for some other purpose including leasing under a long funding lease before being brought into use for a qualifying activity CA23030;
those used in the designated period for a qualifying purpose and for no other purpose; and
cars provided for disabled people in receipt of certain allowances;
assets leased overseas that qualify for WDAs at the 10% rate CA24200;
assets leased to two or more persons jointly where at least one lessee is a non- resident who does not use the asset exclusively for earning profits chargeable to tax and the leasing is not protected leasing CA24400;
So, just an example, if you borrow £10,000 – Corporation Tax will be £2,500 and Benefit In Kind £215.20 (Interest £400, 40% tax and 13.8% NI)
If, your company, purchased assets and you used those assets privately, the treatment is much more favourable:
The cost of the asset is allowed against Corporation Tax and you can claim Capital Allowances and the Annual Investment Allowance
From April 2012 the rates of capital allowances have been reduced from (a) 20% to 18% and from on the Main Rate Pool (b) 10% to 8% for ‘special rate’ expenditure respectively. At the same time the maximum amount of the Annual Investment Allowances (AIA) will be reduced to £25,000 a year (currently £100,000).
So, based on buying an asset for £10,000 – there will be saving in Corporation Tax of £2,000 and the Benefit In Kind Tax of £1,076, thats a net saving in year 1 of £924 compared to a cost in year 1 of £2715.20 on a loan (total difference £3,639.20), although the benefit in kind will be £860.80 more expensive in future years.
The Assets could be purchased from the Director but they must be transfered at Market Value.
According to Indicator ‘Tax Breaks for Directors’ assets owned by companies include antiques, paintings, furniture, business suits (but not vehicles) and the 20% benefit in kind amounts can be deducted from the value of the asset should it subsequently sold to an employee or director.