The 2019 Loan Charge for disguised remuneration Reply

HMRC are getting tough on those who seek ways to avoid tax and the schemes are often treated as Tax Fraud.

The Finance (No. 2) Act 2017 contains some of the most significant changes to tax legislation in recent memory (the 2019 Loan Charge).

The legislation which is retrospective targets Employee Benefit Trusts, Employer Financed Retirement Benefit Schemes, Contractor Loans and many others where an employee was rewarded with a loan from the employer or a trust, but in realty the employee was never going to repay the loan and just wanted tax free money.

The 5th April 2019 Loan charge will require Income Tax and National Insurance to be paid on the balance outstanding, as most of the loans will be high value that probably means 40%/45% income tax and Employee NI at 2% and Employers NI at 13.8%, so that could be 45% + 2% +13.8% = 60.8% tax on the loan, plus possible interest and penalties

How re-describing loans is claimed to work

Scheme users are being told they can sign documents saying that the sums they’ve received from their disguised remuneration scheme under loan agreements are not loans at all. Instead, these sums of money are merely held by them in a ‘fiduciary capacity’ – for example, an individual acts in a fiduciary capacity if they hold money, or assets, for the benefit of someone else, not themselves.
It’s wrong to claim that the loan charge won’t apply because the sums received aren’t loans.

Why you shouldn’t use this scheme

Renaming something now doesn’t change what happened in the past. Attempting to describe a loan as something else doesn’t mean it’s not a loan.
The loan charge will apply to more than just loans, including any form of credit or other right to a payment regardless of what it’s called. If you adopt this approach and choose not to reflect the loan charge on your tax return you may face a significant penalty in addition to the tax charge.
Deliberately misleading, or concealing information from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) may result in criminal prosecution.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/disguised-remuneration-re-describing-loans-spotlight-39

The Options

  1. Repay in full before the 5th April 2019 – but be aware that if the company distributes money to you it may be taxable
  2. Settle with HMRC

Doing nothing is not an option, its likely you lead to bigger penalties and possible legal action.

The Advice from HMRC

Any arrangements to avoid the loan charge, which seek to deceive HMRC as to what is really happening, may be fraudulent.

A number of previous cases promoted as being compliant and legal have resulted in criminal convictions for the key people involved and extensive investigation of several hundred users. HMRC will investigate all of these arrangements and is likely to take similar action if it finds any that are seeking to deceive. At the very least, anyone who takes part in an offensive arrangement is likely to face penalty sums, chargeable along with any tax and interest that will be due.

Tax avoidance doesn’t pay. Most arrangements simply don’t work and people can end up paying more than they were trying to avoid. Users may have a long-term requirement to deal with the cost, commercial and tax fallout from these transactions with no support from the promoter of the original arrangement. If users are worried about their financial position, it is better to contact HMRC rather than risk more investigation and what is likely to be a larger bill.

steve@bicknells.net

Beware of fake HMRC Texts and E Mails Reply

Clients regularly tell me they have had Messages from HMRC, some are almost believable!

HMRC will never notify you of a tax rebate by email or text. HMRC also won’t ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email or text.

If you have the slightest doubt that a HMRC email or text is fake, my advice is:

do not open attachments, they could contain a virus
do not click on links, they could take you to a fake HMRC site
do not disclose personal/confidential information
forward suspicious HMRC text messages to 60599 (charged at your network rate)
forward suspicious emails to the HMRC phishing team at, phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk
check our security guidance: Dealing with HMRC Phishing and scams.

If you think you have disclosed personal information in response to a scam HMRC email or text, act immediately. Contact the HMRC security team at, security.custcon@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk, provide brief details of what you disclosed (e.g. name, address, HMRC User ID, password). Do not give your personal details in the email.

Protect yourself by reporting your suspicions to us and promoting our cyber security messages.

You can also report incidents to Action Fraud.

steve@bicknells.net

 

How do you de-register for CIS? Reply

Under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), contractors deduct money from a subcontractor’s payments and pass it to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The deductions count as advance payments towards the subcontractor’s tax and National Insurance.

Contractors must register for the scheme. Subcontractors don’t have to register, but deductions are taken from their payments at a higher rate if they’re not registered.

HMRC make it easy to join CIS but its hard to find the instructions on how to leave or cancel CIS.

For those who have struggled to find the instructions here they are

https://www.gov.uk/what-you-must-do-as-a-cis-contractor/tell-hmrc-about-changes

If you stop trading or using subcontractors

You must:

tell HMRC

stop filing monthly CIS reports

Do this even if you’ve stopped using subcontractors temporarily, for example because you’re using your own employees to carry out work.

In general I find a letter works best as you can send it recorded delivery and prove it was sent, you write to this address

National Insurance Contributions and Employers Office
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1BX

steve@bicknells.net

The Digital Records Trap – Will HMRC catch you out? Reply

Historically many companies have written up board minutes and in some cases declared dividends retrospectively at the end of year, but times are changing!

In the age of cloud accounting and making tax digital HMRC will know exactly when entries are posted and when documents are signed.

Unreliable records were a major factor in Dr Maqbool Baloch v HMRC, Dr Baloch a locum doctor was forced to pay £0.5 million in tax and penalties!

Dr Baloch tried to argue that he was employed via his Limited Company – KSM Medics Ltd – but the paperwork didn’t tie up – there were board minutes for meetings which HMRC could prove didn’t take place. As a result he was treated as Self Employed because he ticked a box that said he was self employed for his agency work even though Dr Baloch argued this was not a contract.

From April 2019 Making Tax Digital will apply to VAT, this will give HMRC access to real time information direct from your accounting records and time stamped.

In order to avoid problems preparing or extracting monthly accounts will mean dividends can be declared in the correct time periods.

steve@bicknells.net

 

How much extra tax do Property Investors pay? 2

Recent tax changes such as Clause 24 Interest Restrictions, 3% extra SDLT and 8% extra Capital Gains Tax have hit landlords hard and these NLA videos explain the full impact

http://nla-video-graphic.s3-website-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/

The NLA predict that the changes will mean that 20% of Landlords will sell their portfolios.

Since September lenders to Portfolio Landlords have been required to look at the whole portfolio before lending and this has lead to 70% of landlords with four or more properties saying that they have found it hard to obtain finance.

Overall Residential transactions have seen a slight decline in activity

Since 2015 more and more landlords have been using Limited Companies to purchase property investments even though mortgage interest rates are a around 1% higher there are many advantages:

  • Clause 24 Interest Rate Restrictions don’t apply to companies
  • Lenders can take a specific change and a debenture over a company and this is why separate companies for each investment can be an advantage
  • If you sell the company shares rather than the property the buyer will pay 0.5% SDLT on the shares, the capital gains tax on shares is 8% lower than on residential property and the potentially the company purchaser can takeover the existing debt without needing to refinance
  • Corporation Tax is 19% where as Landlords pay Income Tax rates, which means companies can help you to build a portfolio quicker as you retain more profit

steve@bicknells.net

 

 

What if you don’t get your self assessment done in time? Reply

What if you don’t have all the information you need for the return?

Returns which include provisional or estimated figures should be accepted provided they can be regarded as satisfying the filing requirement.

A provisional figure is one which the taxpayer / agent has supplied pending the submission of the final / accurate figure

An estimated figure is one which the taxpayer / agent wishes to be accepted as the final figure because it is not possible to provide an accurate figure for example where the records have been lost. The taxpayer is not required to tick box 20 of the Finishing your Tax Return section of the return page TR 6 (or equivalent in a return for an earlier year) where estimated figures have been used

HMRC SAM121190

Is there a reasonable excuse as to why you can’t file the return?

A reasonable excuse is something that stopped you meeting a tax obligation that you took reasonable care to meet, for example:

1. your partner or another close relative died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline
2. you had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs
3. you had a serious or life-threatening illness
4. your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online return
5. service issues with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) online services
6. a fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your tax return
7. postal delays that you couldn’t have predicted
8. delays related to a disability you have

What if you make a mistake?

If you make a mistake on your tax return, you’ve normally got 12 months from 31 January after the end of the tax year to correct or amend it.

White Space

The Self Assessment Return contain additional information boxes, these are known as white space, use these spaces to explain your calculations if you have any doubt about the answers you have given

Penalties for Late Filing

  • 1st Feb 2018 – £100 for missing the deadline
  • 30th April 2018 – £10 per day for 90 days after your are 3 months late (£900 in total)
  • 31st July 2018 – 5% or £300 which is ever is greater if you are 12 months late
  • 31st Jan 2019 – £300 or possibly 100% of tax due if deliberate

On top of these penalties there are also penalties for non payment

steve@bicknells.net

Now HMRC are stopping Post Office tax payments! Reply

On the 15th December 2017 you will no longer be able to pay tax at any Post Office Branch, fantastic timing! just in time for the January self assessment payment rush

The contract with Santander which allowed this method of payment expires on that date and Santander and HMRC have not reached agreement on a new contract.

To make things worse from the 13th January 2018 you won’t be able to pay by Credit Card either!

So your options will be

  • Debit card
  • Online Banking
  • Cheque in the Post
  • Direct Debit

These changes are likely to come as shock to many taxpayers and any reduction in ways to pay can only be bad news for taxpayers!

steve@bicknells.net

If a company owns CryptoCurrency how are gains taxed? Reply

In a company Capital Gains and Trading activity are both taxed at Corporation Tax Rates.

The downside to holding CryptoCurrency as an investment is that if you have a trading company it could put your trading status at risk for entrepreneurs relief if more that 20% of the business becomes investment related.

The best known Virtual Currency is Bitcoin and since 2014 there have been calls for tighter control of these currencies.

The European Banking Authority, the EBA, called on national supervisory authorities to discourage banks and credit institutions from buying, holding or selling virtual currencies.  It called for regulation of market participants at the interface between conventional and virtual currencies. Over the longer-term, the EBA is calling for a ‘substantial body’ of regulation to be applied to virtual currency market participants, including the creation of ‘scheme governing authorities’ accountable for the integrity of a virtual currency scheme and the imposition of capital requirements.  In the short term, the EBA is calling for national authorities to ‘shield regulated financial services from virtual currencies’.

 

Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is open-source; its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can take part.

steve@bicknells.net

 

HMRC forced to decline Credit Card Payments 2

If you thought you were going to pay your tax bill with a personal credit card in January 2018, then think again!

EU rules are forcing HMRC to change their policy in January.

https://www.gov.uk/pay-tax-debit-credit-card

You won’t be able to pay with a personal credit card from 13 January 2018.

This change was instigated by the Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), which outlined that there could be no onward charging consumers for credit or debit cards. This includes HMRC who have said that they cannot absorb the costs of the merchant providers for credit card facilities and therefore no payments will be taken by credit card. Debit cards payments will still be possible, as the underlying costs are not as high.

This is happening at the peak of self assessment time! so it will be a nightmare for tax payers

steve@bicknells.net

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