Should Income Tax and National Insurance be merged? Reply

Pay Packet And Banknotes

On the 14th November 2016 published Closer alignment of income tax and national insurance: a further review

ni-and-tax

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) are therefore recommending that government make changes to make NI more like PAYE.

This isn’t a new idea, its been kicked around since 1943! and George Osborn said it was good idea in his last budget

Will it get a mention in tomorrows Autumn Statement?

steve@bicknells.net

 

10 ways to pay less income tax Reply

Pay Packet And Banknotes

Income Tax is a tax you pay on your income. You don’t have to pay tax on all types of income.

You pay tax on things like:

  • money you earn from employment
  • profits you make if you’re self-employed – including from services you sell through websites or apps
  • some state benefits
  • most pensions, including state pensions, company and personal pensions and retirement annuities
  • interest on savings and pensioner bonds
  • rental income (unless you’re a live-in landlord and get £4,250 (£7,500 from April 2016) or less)
  • benefits you get from your job
  • income from a trust
  • dividends from company shares

So how can you pay less income tax?

Here are 10 suggestions…

  1. Pension

When you pay into a pension you get income tax relief on your contributions .

Lets say you invest £10,000 per year of earned gross income, increasing each year by 3% for inflation and see the effect of tax relief at 40% and 20%, assuming a return on the investment of 7% (which you should get with Commercial Property Investment)

40% Tax Rate 20% Tax Rate
Year Pension No Pension % Diff Year Pension No Pension % Diff
1 £10,700 £6,252 71% 1 £10,700 £8,336 28%
2 £22,470 £12,954 73% 2 £22,470 £17,272 30%
3 £35,395 £20,131 76% 3 £35,395 £26,841 32%
4 £49,564 £27,808 78% 4 £49,564 £37,078 34%
5 £65,077 £36,013 81% 5 £65,077 £48,017 36%
6 £82,036 £44,773 83% 6 £82,036 £59,698 37%
7 £100,555 £54,119 86% 7 £100,555 £72,158 39%
8 £120,754 £64,081 88% 8 £120,754 £85,441 41%
9 £142,761 £74,692 91% 9 £142,761 £99,590 43%
10 £166,715 £85,987 94% 10 £166,715 £114,649 45%
11 £192,765 £98,000 97% 11 £192,765 £130,667 48%
12 £221,070 £110,771 100% 12 £221,070 £147,694 50%
13 £251,801 £124,337 103% 13 £251,801 £165,782 52%
14 £285,140 £138,740 106% 14 £285,140 £184,987 54%
15 £321,285 £154,024 109% 15 £321,285 £205,365 56%
16 £360,445 £170,233 112% 16 £360,445 £226,978 59%
17 £402,846 £187,416 115% 17 £402,846 £249,888 61%
18 £448,731 £205,621 118% 18 £448,731 £274,161 64%
19 £498,358 £224,901 122% 19 £498,358 £299,868 66%
20 £552,006 £245,309 125% 20 £552,006 £327,079 69%

Even when you consider:

  • Your money is locked up till you are 55
  • You pay tax when you take money out of the pension
  • You can get 25% out of the pension tax free

The difference in growth is massive

If you do salary sacrifice you can increase the tax effect by saving national insurance too.

2. ISA

Individual Savings Accounts have been around for a few years and very soon the Help to Buy ISA will be launched

Help to Buy ISA

Top 10 facts and rules…

  1. Its only available to ‘First Time Buyers’
  2. ‘First Time Buyers’ can only have one Help to Buy ISA with one provider
  3. You can pay in £1,000 when you open the account and then save a maximum of £200 per month
  4. The maximum government bonus is £3,000 (but you can lower amounts of bonus if you have less than £12,000)
  5. The scheme will run for 4 years from the date it opens (Autumn 2015)
  6. Couples can have a Help to Buy ISA each which means if they don’t want to wait 4 years could save £12,000 in 25 months where as a single saver would need 55 months
  7. Unlike ISA’s where you open one per year, the Help to Buy ISA will continue for 4 years
  8. You can withdraw funds but if its not to buy a home then you won’t get the bonus
  9. More than 100,000 homes have now been bought with government backed schemes
  10. You will be able to get them at banks and building societies

3. Salary Sacrifice

Salary Sacrifice is a very tax efficient way to give your employees benefits and the most popular benefits are Pensions and Childcare. I wrote a blog back in 2011 which explained how it can save 45.8% in tax and NI

HMRC decided on 9th April 2013 that it was time to “clarify”  in their Manuals what are successful and unsuccessful salary sacrifice schemes and have added some further guidance. Their Staff are instructed not to approve schemes (Employment Income Manual EIM42772)….

You (HMRC) may get requests for advice:

  • on how to set up a salary sacrifice arrangement, or
  • on whether draft documentation will achieve a successful salary sacrifice.

You (HMRC) should not comment on either of these areas. Salary sacrifice is a matter of employment law, not tax law. The nature of an employee’s contract of employment is a matter for the employer and employee.

The specific updates are:

EIM42750 – Salary Sacrifice – updated – this contains the examples of schemes

EIM42777 – Contractual arrangements – this has interesting comments on childcare and pensions

4. Employment Expenses

As an employee you can claim tax relief for expenses incurred in doing your job, for example business mileage, cycling on business, hotels, meals, business phone calls, in fact anything as long as its business related

If your claim is less than £2500 you can make your claim using Form P87 http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/forms/p87.pdf if its more than £2500 you will need to complete a Self Assessment Return (you need to phone HMRC to request a Self Assessment Return – contact details below), if you know your UTR number you can register and file your Self Assessment Return on line.

5. Dividends

When you take dividends has never been more critical due to changes in the Summer Budget 2015, so if you have distributable reserves you might want to take more dividends this tax year, try the Dividend Calculator above to see how much difference it could make.

Dividend Calculator 2

6. Tax break for Couples

A new tax break as launched this week from 6 April 2015, which will be eligible to more than 4 million married couples and 15,000 civil partnerships.

The Allowance means a spouse or civil partner who doesn’t pay tax – therefore is not earning at all or is earning below the basic rate threshold (£10,600) – can transfer up to £1,060 of their personal tax-free allowance to a spouse or civil partner – as long as the recipient of the transfer doesn’t pay more than the basic rate of income tax.

7. Tax Free Benefits

Getting tax free benefits will save you lots of tax, here some ideas…

  1. Pensions – Up to £40k can be paid in to you pension scheme by your employer (2015/16)  and you can use carry forward to pay in even more
  2. Childcare – Up to £55 per week but check the rules to makesure your childcare complies (HMRC Leaflet IR115) – these rules are changing soon.
  3. Mobile Phone – One per employee
  4. Lunch – Tax Free Lunch Blog
  5. Cycle Schemes – Cycle to Work Blog
  6. Fitness – Fitness Blog
  7. Parties and Gifts – Christmas Blog
  8. Parking – Parking Blog
  9. Business Mileage Allowance – 45p for the first 10,000 miles then 25p
  10. Long Service Award – A bit restrictive as you need 20 years service, the tax free amount is £50 x the number of years
  11. Eye Tests and Spectacles – The Eye Test must be needed under the Health & Safety at Work Act
  12. Suggestion Schemes – Suggestion Scheme Blog
  13. Insurance such and Death in Service and Income Protection – Medical Insurance Blog
  14. Travel Expenses – Travel Blog
  15. Working From Home – Working from Home Blog

8. Earn less than £100k

Your Personal Allowance goes down by £1 for every £2 that your adjusted net income is above £100,000. This means your allowance is zero if your income is £121,200 or above.

9. Green Company Car

A calculator is available here: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/calcs/cars.htm and rates are shown in the table below for zero emission vehicles and some of the lower CO2 vehicles.

BIK CO2

10. Check your P800

The P800’s are likely to contain errors because:

  1. Large amounts of data are manually input
  2. Estimates especially for Bank Interest and Investment Income

So check the following carefully:

  1. P60 – you get this at the end of each tax year
  2. P45 – you get this when you leave a job
  3. PAYE Coding Notice
  4. P11D Expenses and benefits
  5. P9D Expenses payments and income from which tax cannot be deducted
  6. Bank and Building society statements
  7. Pension Tax Deductions

Its expected that around 3 million people will be asked to pay more tax and around 2 million people will have overpaid.

 

steve@bicknells.net

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That’s Scotch Tax! 2

Scottish Tax

On the 15th September HMRC issued the following announcement…

Depending on the level the Scottish Parliament sets the rate at Scottish taxpayers may pay a different rate of Income Tax to the rest of the UK.

Some of the Income Tax collected under the Scottish rate will fund the Scottish government and the rest will fund the UK government.

The Scottish rate of Income Tax doesn’t apply to income from savings such as building society interest or income from dividends. This rate will stay the same for all taxpayers across the UK.

The Scottish government is expected to announce the proposed Scottish rate of Income Tax for the tax year 2016 to 2017 in its autumn 2015 draft budget.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will collect the Scottish rate of Income Tax on behalf of the Scottish government.

Identifying Scottish taxpayers

It’s where you live, not where you work, that decides whether you’re a Scottish taxpayer.

You’ll pay the Scottish rate of Income Tax if:

  • you’re resident in the UK for tax purposes, and
  • your main residence for most of the tax year has a Scottish postcode

HMRC will contact potential Scottish taxpayers before April 2016. If the address HMRC holds for you is in Scotland you’ll be classed as a Scottish taxpayer. It’s your responsibility (not your employers’) to notify HMRC if you change your address.

Your April 2016 tax code will begin with the letter ‘S’ to show you’re a Scottish taxpayer.

If you pay your Income Tax through your wages (known as Pay As You Earn) HMRC will advise your employer to treat you as a Scottish taxpayer so you don’t need to do anything.

The Scotland Act 2012 contains the full definition of a Scottish taxpayer but where residency is not straightforward these examples of ‘close connection’ will help you.

National Insurance contributions are unaffected by the introduction of the Scottish rate of Income Tax.

Scottish Rate of Income Tax Calculator – click here

According to the Telegraph in August

Nicola Sturgeons’ rhetoric suggests she is planning to revive Labour’s ailing fortunes in Scotland, where it was all but wiped out in the general election, by veering Left and attempting to regain the party’s traditional working class support.

Among the policies she said she supported were a 50p top rate of income tax for people earning more than £150,000 and removing independent schools’ charitable status.

But the Tories said her blueprint would “send Scotland back to the 1970s” and warned it would merely result in an exodus of “wealth creators” south of the Border.

It will be interesting to see what the Scottish Parliament does to tax rates and whether or not its a success for Scotland.

steve@bicknells.net

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Is this the End of National Insurance? Reply

Pay Packet And Banknotes

You pay National Insurance contributions to qualify for certain benefits including the State Pension.

You pay National Insurance if you’re:

  • 16 or over
  • an employee earning above £155 a week
  • self-employed and making a profit of £5,965 or more a year

The Office of Tax Simplification is currently beginning a process of looking at merging National Insurance with Income Tax.

OTS NI TOR

ACCA’s head of tax Chas Roy-Chowdhury warned that an alignment of NI and income tax rates would be crucial prior to a merger taking place.

Whilst This is Money reported…

Middle and high earners could see their tax bills jump under radical plans to merge income tax and National Insurance, a tax expert has warned.

People taking home £50,000 a year could be £230 worse off, but low earners on £20,000 would save more than £530, and those on £30,000 would come out around £380 ahead, according to snap research by Tilney Bestinvest on the potential tax shake-up.

Chancellor George Osborne wants to reduce ‘complexity’ in the tax system to make it clearer exactly how much people have to cough up, and has ordered the Office of Tax Simplification to see if there is a case for change.

This change is also likely to lead to changes to Pension tax relief reform, Your Money reported…
The government has already announced a consultation on the pension tax relief system, and I believe that a merger of income tax and NI would likely result in the floated idea of a pension with ISA-like tax treatment. This is because at present, a basic rate taxpayer gets 20% tax relief on pension payments but surely this would increase to 32% under a combined system. It seems illogical to increase tax relief at a time when they are actually trying to reduce the cost to the Exchequer. An equal tax treatment of ISAs and pensions could be a prelude to merging the two, potentially drawing ISAs into some form of limetime allowance.
steve@bicknells.net

Does your accountant understand Construction? Reply

Business Accountant

fotolia_1931265[1]

Perhaps one of the most important things an individual can do when self-employed is to keep meticulous accounts. This means not only keeping a record of income and expenditure, but also work in progress at the end of the tax year. The case of Mark Smith v HMRC [2012] TC02321, which was an appeal heard in the First Tier Tribunal of the Tax Chamber illustrates the potential ramifications of failing to keep one’s accounts in sufficient order.

 

The appellant in this case was trading as a builder. He sought to appeal against assessments to tax and amendments to self-assessments in respect of the years ending 5 April 2001 to 5 April 2007 inclusive.

 

The central issue before the tribunal related to the appellant’s computation of profits. It was admitted that his accounts understated the profits gained in a particular tax year. However, it was his contention that this…

View original post 691 more words

Do you think National Insurance should be merged with Income Tax? it could happen soon 9

Pay Packet And Banknotes

The Tax Payer’s Alliance have been  campaigning and it looks like the Chancellor, George Osborne, has agreed that the first step is to re-name National Insurance as “Earnings Tax”. The change is to be proposed in legislation this week.

This story was reported in the Telegraph on 23rd February. There is also an interesting article on Tax Research UK (Richard Murphy).

You pay National Insurance contributions to build up your entitlement to certain state benefits, including the State Pension.

You pay National Insurance if you’re:

  • 16 or over
  • an employee earning above £149 a week
  • self employed and making a profit over £7,755 a year (Class 4) plus £2.70 per week Class 2 NI (you may not have to pay any Class 2 NI if your profits are below £5,725)

If you’re employed, you stop paying Class 1 National Insurance when you reach the State Pension age.

If you’re self-employed you stop paying:

  • Class 2 National Insurance when you reach State Pension age (or up to 4 months after this to pay off any contributions you owe)
  • Class 4 National Insurance from the start of the tax year after the one in which you reach State Pension age

Income Tax is whole different ball game. Whilst I can see its simpler to have one tax the changes that would be required to achieve it would be huge!

Is it worthwhile?

steve@bicknells.net

 

 

 

From April what could I take in wages and still be below the thresholds? 3

Pay

On the 6th April 2014 the personal allowance will increase to £10,000 (up £560) which means you can earn £10,000 before you pay income tax.

But you might want to keep your earnings below the NI Threshold, in previous years the employers and employee’s NI thresholds have been out of alignment but from 6th April 2014 they will be aligned, which means that earnings over £153 per week (£7,956 per year) will attract both 12% employees’ NI and 13.8% employers’ NI. For earnings above £805 per week (£41,865 per year), the employees’ NI rate drops to 2% but the employers’ NI rate remains unchanged.

So to avoid Income Tax and NI you would need to earn below £7,956.

But, there is some good news, from April 2014 there is a new ’employment allowance’ of £2,000 which you can offset against your employers NI.

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

 

Top 5 useful things I have learnt about RTI Reply

Payroll

Real Time Information (RTI) has now been with us for a few months and once you get used to Full Payment Submissions (FPS) and Employer Payment Summaries (EPS) its not too bad.

HMRC recently reported:

With over 1.4 million PAYE schemes successfully reporting in real time, the launch of PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) continues to go well. The vast majority of employers (83% of small & medium size employers and 77% of more than 1 million micro employers) have started reporting in real time, but we are aware that there are still some employers who have not started yet.

Given time you might even get to Love doing your RTI Payroll as much as Suzie Humphreys…

Here are some things that I have learnt that you might find helpful:

Split FPS Submissions

You can only submit each employee once for each payment period but you can make more than one Full Payment Submission, this is useful if you have Monthly and Weekly payrolls, or a late starter you have process after the FPS has been submitted, or if you split your payroll by seniority and different staff process sections.

Hashtag and Paying by BACS

At the moment if you pay employees by Direct BACS using systems such as Nat West Payaway the Direct BACS submission needs to include a Hashtag to enable HMRC to match the payment with the FPS, however, if you don’t use Direct BACS and you just pay by Online Banking, Bankline, BACS or CHAPS or any other method you don’t need the Hashtag. I am sure that will change!

Starters and Leavers

When you enter a new employee HMRC are notified on the first FPS that they appear on and you must no longer use a P46 to get starter information you need to us the new HMRC Starter Checklist

P45’s are just for the Employee to refer to and are useful to show to their new employer, don’t send them to HMRC. HMRC are notified of leavers on the FPS.

CIS

If you have deductions under the Construction Industry Scheme you need to enter them on the EPS to reduce the amount of tax payable.

NI Holiday

NI Holidays for new companies end in September 2013 but until then need to be entered on the EPS. Form E89 is used to keep track of how much has been claimed.

Here are some more useful tips and facts on RTI:

Relaxation of Rules for Small Companies

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) recognise that some small employers who pay employees weekly, or more frequently, but only process their payroll monthly may need longer to adapt to reporting PAYE information in real time. HMRC have therefore agreed a relaxation of reporting arrangements for small businesses.

HMRC is planning to extend the temporary relaxation for employers with fewer than 50 employees to April 2014. This relaxation means that these businesses are still required to report through the new system, but are able to do so once a month (but no later than the end of the tax month (5th)), rather than each time they pay their employees. This gives small businesses that pay weekly (or more frequently), but who only run their payroll at the end of the month, some extra time to adjust to the new requirements.

Annual Schemes

Many micro businesses such as one person companies are switching to annual payrolls.

An annual scheme must meet all of the following requirements:

  • all the employees are paid annually
  • all the employees are paid at the same time/same date
  • the employer is only required to pay HMRC annually

Once a business is registered as an annual scheme, an Employer Payment Summary (EPS) is not required for the 11 months of the tax year where no payments are made to the employees.

But currently HMRC are unable to process requests to become Annual.

HMRC are working to rectify this position and will publish a further ‘What’s New’ message to announce when this is ready.

Late Filing Penalties

If you do not report the final payment made to an employee, for the tax year 2013-2014, by 19 May in the following tax year you will be charged a late filing penalty.

Penalties are calculated on the basis of £100 per 50 employees and accrue for each month (or part month) that a return remains outstanding after 19 May.

If you fail to report this information by 19 May, or tell HMRC no return was due by sending an EPS, they will write to you (and your authorised agent if you have one) advising that a penalty may already have been incurred and that you must report this information as soon as possible to prevent the penalty building up any further.

steve@bicknells.net

Will I be taxed on Christmas gifts recieved at work? Reply

Christmas Gifts

It’s Christmas and even though times are tough, you could still get a gift from your employer or client or supplier, will it come with a tax bill attached?

The answer depends on the value.

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

The Helpsheet says, certain gifts from third parties are non-taxable if all these conditions are satisfied:

• the gift consists of goods or a voucher or token only capable of being used to obtain goods, and

• the person making the gift is not your employer or a person connected with your employer, and

• the gift is not made either in recognition of the performance of particular services in the course of your employment or in anticipation of particular services which are to be performed, and

• the gift has not been directly or indirectly procured by your employer or by a person connected with your employer, and

• the gift cost the donor £250 or less, and

• the total cost of all gifts made by the same donor to you, or to members of your family or household, during the tax year is £250 or less.

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

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

Will the employer or supplier or client have to account for VAT?

You do not have to account for VAT on business gifts made to the same person so long as the total cost of all the gifts does not exceed £50, excluding VAT, in any 12-month period. To check this it is acceptable for you to adopt any 12-month period that includes the day on which the gift is made.

But where the following apply:

  • the total cost of business gifts given to the same person in any 12-month period exceeds £50
  • you were entitled to claim the VAT on the purchase as input tax

you must normally account for output tax on the total cost value of all the gifts. How to work out the cost is explained in Notice 700, ‘The VAT Guide’.

http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/channelsPortalWebApp.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pageLibrary_PublicNoticesAndInfoSheets&propertyType=document&columns=1&id=HMCE_CL_000091#P32_2034

steve@bicknells.net