How does a property investor or partnership ask HMRC for incorporation clearance? Reply

Woman working with documents, Tablet pc and notebook. Property management Concept.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a partnership, an LLP or just have properties in your own name, provided you play an active role in managing your properties you could qualify for Section 162 Incorporation Tax Relief which will allow you to roll/hold over the capital gain into shares in your new company.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/incorporation-relief-hs276-self-assessment-helpsheet/hs276-incorporation-relief-2015

If you, either as an individual or in partnership, incorporate a business by transferring the business, together with all the assets of the business, in exchange wholly or partly for shares, you can defer some or all of the gain arising from the disposal of the ‘old assets’ (the business and the assets of the business) until such time as you dispose of the ‘new assets’ (the shares).

This relief is given automatically by Section 162 Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992 provided the various requirements are met.

The key problem area is that Property Investment is generally not considered to be a Trade but because of the uncertainty created by recent legal cases you are able to ask HMRC for a Non-Statutory Clearance. This is effectively written approval from HMRC.

An example of playing an active role (and therefore having a Trade/Business) came up in EM Ramsay v HMRC [2013] UKUT 0226 (TCC)

Mrs Ramsey carried out the following activities

  1. Mr & Mrs Ramsey personally met potential tenants
  2. Mrs Ramsey check the quarterly electric bills
  3. Mrs Ramsey arranged insurance
  4. Mrs Ramsey arranged and attended to maintenance issues (drains)
  5. Mrs Ramsey and her son maintained the garages and cleared rubbish
  6. Mrs Ramsey dealt with post
  7. Mrs Ramsey dealt with fire regulation issues
  8. Mrs Ramsey arranged for a fence to be erected
  9. Mrs Ramsey created a flower bed
  10. Shrubs were pruned and leaves swept
  11. The parking area was cleared of weeds
  12. The flag stones were bleached
  13. Communal areas were vacuumed
  14. Security checks were carried out
  15. She took rubbish to tip
  16. She cleaned vacant flats
  17. she helped elderly tenants with utilities

This work equated to at least 20 hours per week and Mrs Ramsey had no other employment.

It is because she did the work herself that her property investment was considered a ‘Business’ and eligible for Incorporation Tax Relief.

How do you request a Non-Statutory Clearance from HMRC?

You can ask HMRC for further guidance or advice if you:

  • have fully considered the relevant guidance and/or contacted the relevant helpline
  • have not been able to find the information you need
  • remain uncertain about HMRC’s interpretation of tax legislation

HMRC will then set out their advice in writing.

Annex A of HMRC explains the information required

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/377646/annex-a.pdf

steve@bicknells.net

When should you incorporate? Reply

Fotolia_91134201_XS Advice

When and how should you incorporate a business?

I have often heard sole traders say that it will cost too much to become a limited company. This is because many sole traders prepare their own accounts and do their own self assessment returns and are unaware that the cost involved in becoming a limited company really aren’t that high.

What is a Limited Company?

A limited company is an organisation that you can set up to run your business – it’s responsible in its own right for everything it does and its finances are separate to your personal finances.

Any profit it makes is owned by the company, after it pays Corporation Tax. The company can then share its profits.

What is a Sole Trader?

If you start working for yourself, you’re classed as a self-employed sole trader – even if you’ve not yet told HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

As a sole trader, you run your own business as an individual. You can keep all your business’s profits after you’ve paid tax on them.

You can employ staff. ‘Sole trader’ means you’re responsible for the business, not that you have to work alone.

You’re personally responsible for any losses your business makes.

The key Advantages and Disadvantages of Companies are shown below.

Incorporaton Calculator & 2016/17 Dividend Tax Calculator Allows calculation of tax on profit and dividends

The Incorporation Spreadsheet created by Practice Track is an Excel spreadsheet which shows the tax savings that are available to sole traders and partnerships if they chose to incorporate. It can also be used for incorporated clients to compute the taxes payable under the new dividend regime.

It is therefore a useful tool to use for planning purposes for clients who are already incorporated and can reinforce the point to many clients that they are still saving tax by being incorporated.

It also caters for salary and dividend profit distribution between multiple director-shareholders (up to six).

The detailed output sheets are not password protected so you can insert extra calculations or override the formulae if you wish.

How do you form a Limited Company?

You can form your company directly with Companies House for £15, it normally takes 24 hours

You’ll need:

  • the company’s name and registered address
  • names and addresses of directors (and company secretary if you have one)
  • details of shareholders and share capital

Personally, I find it easier to use a formation agent such as Company Wizard for £16.99

Often using an agent will mean the company is formed quickly, sometime within a couple of hours.

There are three different ways in which the sole trader can be incorporated. It’s highly likely that Incorporation Relief will be the best way to incorporate in most cases, however, it is worth considering all the options when advising clients.

These are: 

Incorporation Relief

Incorporation Tax will apply automatically unless the transferor elects for it not to in writing.

To benefit from Incorporation Relief the business will need to be valued at open market value including Goodwill prior to transfer to the limited company

There are 3 conditions which must be satisfied before incorporation relief can be claimed:

  1. The business transferred must be a going concern;
  2. All assets owned by the business (except cash) must be transferred to the limited company.
  3. The consideration paid for the business assets must be wholly or partly in shares.

Example You transfer your business in return for shares worth £100,000. You make a profit of £60,000. You later sell the shares and need to work out the gain – their cost for your Capital Gains Tax calculations is £40,000 (£100,000 – £60,000).

Example Your business is valued at £100,000 when you transfer it, and you receive 80% in shares (£80,000) and 20% in cash (£20,000). You made a gain of £50,000. You can postpone 80% of the gain (£40,000) until you sell the shares. You need to pay Capital Gains Tax on 20% of the gain (£10,000) in your next tax return.

The official helpsheet with further advice is HS276.

Holdover Relief

Holdover relief applies when business assets are transferred from an individual and avoids capital gains on the chargeable assets becoming immediately liable to capital gains tax.

Example

You sell a shop worth £81,000 to your brother for £40,000. It cost you £23,000. Include the £17,000 gain (£40,000 minus £23,000) when you’re working out your total taxable gain.

This method is useful if you want to keep a property outside of the company and prefer instead for the company to pay a rent for the property. This will have certain tax advantages but it is important to note that this can mean that the owner will lose entitlement to entrepreneurs’ relief on the property, because the property would then be regarded as an investment property.

Selling your Sole Trader Business to your Limited Company

Until December 2014, this was often the preferred option because Entrepreneurs Relief could be applied to gains and in many cases the company could write down the Goodwill against Corporation Tax.

However, this option could still be worth considering.

Let’s take a typical scenario:

  • Mr Smith has been running a small garage for a few years
  • he decides to incorporate his business and sets up Smiths Garage Limited with himself as the sole director and shareholder
  • he transfers the goodwill of the business and its other assets and liabilities to Smiths Garage Limited but does not claim incorporation tax relief under Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act (TCGA) 1992, s162, nor does he claim hold-over relief under TCGA s162
  • at the time of incorporation, the goodwill of the business is valued at £11,100
  • Mr Smith makes a chargeable gain on the transfer of the goodwill, which is deemed to be at market value, of £11,100 which, after deducting the annual CGT exemption (£11,100 2015-16) the company will pay
  • the acquisition of goodwill is done by way of a credit to Mr Smiths director’s loan account. Mr Smith is able to draw down on this account without any further tax charges.

 

In Summary

These considerations all show that incorporating a sole trader business is not only straightforward but can also greatly benefit the sole trader client both financially and in the potential  flexibility it can provide for their business.

steve@bicknells.net

Can a Residential Property Investor use Incorporation Tax Relief? 2

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There are many reasons why residential property investors are now rushing to incorporate, the biggest reason being the Restriction of Mortgage Interest Tax Relief.

Clause 24 of the Finance Bill sets out plans is to restrict 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

For a 20% tax payer that’s fine but for higher rate taxpayer its a disaster that will lead to them paying a lot more tax

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

When you sell or give a residential property to your Company you will incur Capital Gains Tax if you make a gain, its for this reason many investors and their advisers believe that they are ‘automatically’ entitled to claim Incorporation Tax Relief, but in many cases Incorporation Tax Relief will NOT be available!

In summary Incorporation Tax Relief allows Sole Traders to postpone/hold over a gain by transferring all their business assets into a limited company in return for Shares.

The key problem area is the Property Investment is generally not considered to be a Trade.

Some of the issues were resolved in EM Ramsay v HMRC [2013] UKUT 0226 (TCC)

Mrs Ramsey carried out the following activities

  1. Mr & Mrs Ramsey personally met potential tenants
  2. Mrs Ramsey check the quarterly electric bills
  3. Mrs Ramsey arranged insurance
  4. Mrs Ramsey arranged and attended to maintenance issues (drains)
  5. Mrs Ramsey and her son maintained the garages and cleared rubbish
  6. Mrs Ramsey dealt with post
  7. Mrs Ramsey dealt with fire regulation issues
  8. Mrs Ramsey arranged for a fence to be erected
  9. Mrs Ramsey created a flower bed
  10. Shrubs were pruned and leaves swept
  11. The parking area was cleared of weeds
  12. The flag stones were bleached
  13. Communal areas were vacuumed
  14. Security checks were carried out
  15. She took rubbish to tip
  16. She cleaned vacant flats
  17. she helped elderly tenants with utilities

This work equated to at least 20 hours per week and Mrs Ramsey had no other employment.

It is because she did the work herself that her property investment was considered a ‘Business’ and eligible for Incorporation Tax Relief. In summing up the Judge said…

Ramsay

 

If Mrs Ramsay had employed a Property Management Company or Letting Agent to do the work she would NOT have been able to claim ‘Incorporation Tax Relief’.

Most Buy to Let Landlords with one or two properties are Passive Investors who delegate all the responsibilities to professional letting agents, they will not be doing enough to comprise a business!

Steve@bicknells.net

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The tax benefits of goodwill on incorporation? 6

Business people

Lets start with a typical scenario:

  • Mr Smith has been running a small garage for a few years
  • he decides to incorporate his business and sets up Smiths Garage Limited with himself as the sole director and shareholder
  • he transfers the goodwill of the business and its other assets and liabilities to Smiths Garage Limited but does not claim incorporation tax relief under Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act (TCGA) 1992, s162, nor does he claim hold-over relief under TCGA s162
  • at the time of incorporation, the goodwill of the business is valued at £100,000
  • Mr Smith makes a chargeable gain on the transfer of the goodwill, which is deemed to be at market value, of £100,000 which, after deducting the annual CGT exemption (£10,900 2013-14), will be taxable at 10% due to the availability of entrepreneur’s relief (note rules changed 3rd December 2014 and ER is no longer available normal rates of CGT now apply)
  • the company will pay Mr Smith £100,000 for the acquisition of goodwill and this is done by way of a credit to Mr Smiths director’s loan account. Mr Smith is able to draw down on this account without any further tax charges.

In addition Mr Smith started his Sole Trader business after the 1st April 2002 so he can claim a corporation tax deduction for amortisation of the goodwill in the company accounts. Small Companies pay Corporation Tax at 20%, so being able to deduct Goodwill on £100,000 will save £20,000 in Corporation Tax. (note rules changed 3rd December 2014 and Section 849C CTA2009 prevents this on related party goodwill)

However, please bear the following in mind:

  1. If the business started before 1st April 2002, Corporation Tax Act 2009 s895 prevents the company from claiming a deduction against corporation tax, also refer to HMRC Spotlight 1: Goodwill – companies acquiring businesses carried on prior to 1 April 2002 by a related party
  2. Where a trader transfers his business to a limited company of which he is a ‘substantial shareholder’, the parties are treated as ‘related parties’ and the transfer must be at market value, but you can ask HMRC to carryout a post transaction valuation check by submitting form CG34
  3. Goodwill relating to personal services is not normally considered to have a market value as it can not be transferred
  4. In general it is expected that intangibles will have a useful life of no more than 20 years (note new rules – FRS102 states
    “If an entity is unable to make a reliable estimate of the useful life of goodwill, the life shall not exceed five years.”)
  5. Get professional advice to help you to prepare the valuation, disclose the capital gain and claim the tax relief

steve@bicknells.net