HMRC Tax Experts to directly advise growing businesses Reply

On the 20th September 2017 HMRC announced

A new service to directly help mid-sized businesses as they expand and grow, has been launched today by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

There are around 170,000 mid-sized businesses registered in the UK. Businesses with either a turnover of more than £10 million or more than 20 employees, and undergoing significant growth, can now seek expert help from HMRC growth support specialists.

Known as the Growth Support Service, HMRC tax experts will offer dedicated support, tailored to the customer’s needs. It has been created to help growing, mid-sized businesses access the information and services they need.

This could include:

  • helping with tax queries about their growing business

  • supplying accurate information and co-ordinating technical expertise from across HMRC

  • supporting them to get their tax right first time and access relevant incentives or reliefs

I wonder if HMRC have plans to help other businesses too?

steve@bicknells.net

 

How will Clause 24 affect you? Reply

Clause 24 of the Finance Bill sets out restrictions for individuals on claiming mortgage interest as a cost against their property investment income, for individuals it will work as follows

2017/18 75% of the interest can be claimed in full and 25% will get relief at 20%

2018/19 50% of the interest can be claimed in full and 50% will get relief at 20%

2019/20 25% of the interest can be claimed in full and 75% will get relief at 20%

2020/21 100% will get only 20% relief

These rules will not apply to Companies, Companies will continue to claim full relief.

The rules also don’t apply to Furnished Holiday Lets.

Essentially Section 24 removes Interest from the property expenses and gives you tax relief at 20% (basic rate). So Higher rate tax payers will pay more tax.

The Mortgage Works have a spreadsheet calculator that demonstrates this and also incorporates other profits and income.

www.themortgageworks.co.uk/includes/xls/T1036_Tax_Change_Calculator.xlsx

steve@bicknells.net

DIY Corporation Tax Filing – are you excluded? Reply

There are a lot of companies that can’t file using the HMRC online service…

Who can’t use the service

You won’t be able to use the HMRC free service if any of the following apply:

  • your accounts require an audit or have been audited
  • your company turnover is above £632,000 per year
  • your charity turnover is above £6.5 million per year
  • your company must pay its Corporation Tax in instalments
  • your company is part of a group
  • your company is not registered in the UK
  • your company is in liquidation or receivership
  • your company is an insurance company – not including independent insurance brokers
  • your company is an investment company
  • your company is a credit union
  • your company is a commercial property management company
  • the Corporation Tax accounting period for the return is covered by more than one set of statutory accounts
  • you need to claim a repayment of a loan to a participator (for example, a director’s loan), more than 9 months after the end of the accounting period

If you can’t use HMRC’s free online service, you can use commercial software to submit your online return.

As we are moving towards Making Tax Digital, how is this going to enable businesses to file online?

Clearly they could buy third party software, such as BTC https://www.btcsoftware.co.uk/

I use BTC and this its brilliant, there are of course many other products available.

But as Tax is complicated, despite a constant effort to simplify it (which so far hasn’t really worked), surely HMRC are encouraging companies to turn to tax agents for help?

I thought the strategy was to reduce taxpayer reliance on Tax Agents?

steve@bicknells.net

 

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

The Second Finance Bill 2017 changes the timetable for Making Tax Digital – what are we doing now? Reply

The previous timetable for Making Tax Digital was

  • April 2018 – quarterly reporting for income tax purposes for unincorporated businesses with a turnover over £85,000
  • April 2019 – quarterly reporting for both incorporated and unincorporated businesses for income tax and VAT
  • April 2020 – quarterly reporting for corporation tax purposes

The new timetable will be

  • Only VAT registered businesses will need to keep digital records and only for VAT purposes.
  • They will only need to do so from April 2019.
  • Businesses will not be asked to keep digital records or update HMRC quarterly for other taxes until at least April 2020 (the original dates had implementation from April 2019).

If you are VAT registered then you will need to move to digital record keeping (i.e. use software to record all your VAT invoices and receipts).

This is massive change in timetable and one that many small businesses and landlords will welcome.

Whilst this now gives smaller businesses longer to prepare, MTDfB is still coming in 2020 and expected to require unincorporated businesses to report the information noted below, so its still worth starting preparations and using cloud based accounting systems.

The details below are an extract from gov.uk for Quarterly Reporting

Non-property businesses

Income:

  • turnover, takings, fees, sales or money earned
  • any other business income

Expenses:

  • cost of goods bought for resale or goods used
  • construction industry – payments to subcontractors
  • wages, salaries and other staff costs
  • car, van and travel expenses
  • rent, rates, power and insurance costs
  • repairs and renewals of property and equipment
  • phone, fax, stationary and other office costs
  • advertising and business entertaining costs
  • interest on bank and other charges
  • bank, credit card and other financial charges
  • irrecoverable debts written off
  • accountancy, legal and other professional fees
  • depreciation and loss/profit on sale of assets
  • other business expenses
  • goods and services for your own use
  • income, receipts and other profits included in business income or expenses but not taxable as business profits
  • disallowable element for each category

Property businesses

Income – furnished holiday lettings:

  • rental income and any income for services provided to tenants

Expenses – furnished holiday lettings:

  • tax taken off income
  • rent paid, repairs, insurance and cost of services provided
  • loan interest and other financial costs
  • legal, management and other professional fees
  • other allowable property expenses
  • private use adjustment
  • premiums for the grant of a lease
  • reverse premiums and inducements
  • property repairs and maintenance
  • costs of services provided, including wages

Income – property:

  • rental income and other income from property

Expenses – property:

  • tax taken off any income from total rents
  • premiums for the grant of a lease
  • reverse premiums and inducements
  • rent, rates, insurance, ground rents etc.
  • property repairs and maintenance
  • loan interest for residential properties and other related financial costs
  • other loan interest and financial costs
  • legal, management and other professional fees
  • costs of services provided, including wages
  • other allowable property expenses
  • private use adjustment

To find out all the latest information why not come to one of my seminars

steve@bicknells.net

Are you making the most of your tax free allowances? 1

Each year we a get tax free allowances:

NI Free £8,164

Tax Free Salary £11,500

Capital Gains Tax Allowance £11,300

Rent a Room £7,500

Dividend Allowance £5,000

Personal Savings Allowance £1,000

Then there are  many other tax saving opportunities like tax free childcare https://stevejbicknell.com/2016/08/19/childcare-3-part-report-for-childcare-providers-and-parents/

Plus tax free benefits https://stevejbicknell.com/2016/09/21/are-you-making-the-most-of-tax-free-benefits/

Have you tried to use these allowances?

What if you set out each year to take advantage of these tax free opportunities?

You would need your own business to be able to restrict your earnings to £8,164 or £11,500 as National Minimum Wage would mean you will get pay levels above these £7.50 x 37.5 hours x 52 weeks = £14,625, however, directors can pay themselves below NMW.

To use the Capital Gains Allowance you are going to need to have assets to sell and make a gain

Rent a Room is achievable especially if you take in students

Dividend Allowance is great if you have your own company

Everyone should be able to use the PSA

Why not sit down and work out how you could maximise the use of the tax free allowances that are available

steve@bicknells.net

 

 

 

 

 

Do Directors really have to do self assessment returns? read What happened to a Property Company Director Reply

The official guidance for Directors is…

As a director of a limited company, you must:

You don’t need to register for Self Assessment or send a tax return if your company is a non-profit organisation (for example, a charity) and you didn’t get any pay or benefits, like a company car.

https://www.gov.uk/running-a-limited-company

https://www.gov.uk/self-assessment-tax-returns/who-must-send-a-tax-return

So, basically, if you are a director you must register!

Many accountants think that this one size fits all approach is a little over the top and returns for salaried directors are unnecessary in some cases but the rules are absolutely clear, Directors must register!

So the latest case involving a property company came as a surprise to many accountants

http://financeandtax.decisions.tribunals.gov.uk/judgmentfiles/j9898/TC05929.pdf

Mohammed Salem Kadhem (case TC05929) became a director of a property company on 21 May 2014. He received no pay or dividends from that company and didn’t register for self-assessment.

It was reported in full at http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/tax/hmrc-policy/tribunal-company-directors-dont-have-to-submit-tax-returns?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=AWUKPOW210617&utm_content=AWUKPOW210617+CID_b1f3f98189c6021fa5eaf5a489ca5e3d&utm_source=internal_cm&utm_term=Company%20directors%20dont%20have%20to%20submit%20tax%20returns

Basically HMRC made mistakes in their approach to the case basically arguing that a notice to file had been sent but were unable to prove the notice was sent and Mohammed Salem Kadhem won.

The tribunal accepted that he had a reasonable excuse for filing a late return and all the penalties were quashed.

This doesn’t change the fact that all directors must register and a file self assessment returns. Don’t risk it, its better to file returns!

steve@bicknells.net

The Second Income Campaign re-visited! what is your side hustle? Reply

Second Jobs or as the Americans call them Side Hustles are very popular, here is a website focused on them

http://www.sidehustlenation.com/ideas/

Almost a third of British workers run some kind of creative business outside their main job contributing an estimated £15bn to the UK economy, according to research from Moo.com. One in ten part-time creative entrepreneurs plans to leave their job to focus on their business full-time within the next year. However, 60% said it was their passion for the business, and not making money, that motivated them. The most popular part-time creative ventures are in food and cooking, gardening, photography and knitting. (According to Law Donut)

So why are micro businesses taking off:

  1. You can start off working at home
  2. Your start up costs are low
  3. You can do it part time when it suits you
  4. With wages frozen and costs rising it can provide a useful additional income
  5. Its easy to be price competitive with low overheads
  6. The Internet makes it easy to sell your goods and services
  7. Your social capital can be used to generate sales ie use your contacts and connections
  8. There could be tax advantages – employees generally pay more tax than sole traders
  9. Some clients prefer the personal touch
  10. It could be start of something big

HMRC orginally launched their campaign in April 2014 and have updated it on 12th June 2017.

The Second Incomes Campaign is an opportunity open to individuals in employment who have an additional untaxed source of income.

Examples could include:

  • fees from consultancy or other services such as public speaking or providing training
  • payment for organising parties and events or providing entertainment
  • income from activities such as taxi driving, hairdressing, providing fitness training or landscape gardening
  • profits from spare time activities such as making and selling craft items
  • profits from buying and selling goods, for example regular market stalls, boot sales etc

 

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).

To take part in the Second Incomes Campaign you should:

  • tell HMRC that you want to take part in the Second Incomes Campaign (Notify)
  • tell HMRC about all income, gains, tax and duties you’ve not previously told them about (Disclose)
  • make a formal offer
  • pay what you owe
  • help HMRC as much as you can if they ask you for more information

To benefit from the reduced penalties offered HMRC will take account of the level to which you have helped them and the accuracy of the information you provided.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/second-incomes-campaign-your-guide-to-making-a-disclosure/second-incomes-campaign-your-guide-to-making-a-disclosure

steve@bicknells.net

What if you fail to register for CIS Reply

The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) applies to anyone who carries out construction work as a trade, in other words developers, contractors, building maintenance and repairs, decorating, property conversion, basically if you use sub-contractors to work on a building its probably within CIS. It does, however, exclude property investors (although this could change soon) and domestic householders.

Tax Aid have a good example of how it works

Rob is asked to undertake some repair work on Ben’s private house. He asks Wendy to help him with the electrical work. Wendy is working on a self-employed basis for this contract. Ben pays Rob without deduction of tax as Ben is a private householder. Rob then pays Wendy.

Rob should register under CIS as a contractor before making the payment to Wendy. Rob should ask Wendy for her UTR and check her CIS status with HMRC. He should then pay Wendy net of 20% tax or net of 30% tax depending on her status with HMRC (exceptionally, if Wendy is entitled to register with HMRC for gross payment, then HMRC would tell Rob that he can pay Wendy without deduction of tax; gross payment will only apply to larger businesses).

If HMRC advises Rob that Wendy is registered under CIS (but not for gross payment), then Rob will keep back 20% tax and pay this CIS tax across to HMRC on Wendy’s behalf.

If Rob failed to register as a contractor under the CIS scheme he could face very big penalties. These include a £3,000 fine for not keeping CIS records, and a £100 per month penalty per missed return (and returns are due monthly).

Failing to register for a number of years could lead to penalties in the tens of thousands of pounds. This can happen even when all the workers are registered as self-employed and have paid the tax due on their income.

In summary the penalties are:

The maximum penalty is currently £3,000 for failing to register then there are late filing penalties

How late the return is Penalty
1 day late £100
2 months late £200
6 months late £300 or 5% of the CIS deductions on the return, whichever is higher
12 months late £300 or 5% of the CIS deductions on the return, whichever is higher

For returns later than this, you may be given an additional penalty of up to £3,000 or 100% of the CIS deductions on the return, whichever is higher.

There is no lower limit for CIS registration and the penalties can be harsh as demonstrated in the cases below

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 work in construction make sure you register and comply with CIS!

steve@bicknells.net