This month (November 2016) the Office of Tax Simplification published their Final Report on Lookthrough Taxation.
The proposal was that for Small Companies instead of charging the company tax (corporation tax), tax (income tax and national insurance) would be charged directly on the stakeholders based on their share of the profits. The end result being that Small Companies are treated in the same way as Sole Traders.
Back in July the OTS asked this key question Overall would lookthrough deliver simplification? and the answer was NO
Many suggested that it would discourage entrepreneurs and reduce funds retained in the business.
There are also complications such as Directors Loan Accounts and Salaries (including to family members).
Introducing lookthrough tax would have meant shareholders would be subject to Income Tax and Class 4 NI on company profits.
This could be the for runner to a longer study comparing Employees to Sole Traders to Companies.
For now common sense has prevailed.
The OTS report states Our conclusion is that lookthrough does not offer sufficient simplification to justify its introduction. On balance we feel that it would be more complicated than the current tax system, given the additional rules that would be needed
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.
The Office of Tax Simplification – Employment Status Report – March 2015 suggests we could see a new type of worker being created, part way between Employed and Self Employed. We could also see the term office holder removed from legislation.
Contractor Weekly reported – This involves the introduction of a new category of worker, a ‘third way’ between the employed and self-employed, acknowledging that some workers do not fit easily into either of the two traditional positions and that they should be subject to a modified set of tax rules. Freelancers might fall into this ‘third way’ and who might be seen as people who have chosen this route of working and want certainty over their status.
As part of the ongoing mission to create a simpler and fairer tax system the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has been tasked with carrying out reviews of employment status and also tax penalties, with a view to producing a report in time for next year’s Budget.
According to the OTS, the boundary between employment and self-employment no longer reflects modern working patterns, particularly in recent years. Many people have multiple jobs and can be classed as employed in one whilst self-employed in another. The rise of the freelancing business model has also caused some to suggest this is a ‘third way’ between employment and self-employment.
A worker’s employment status, that is whether they are employed or self-employed, is not a matter of choice. Whether someone is employed or self-employed depends upon the terms and conditions of the relevant engagement.
Many workers want to be self-employed because they will pay less tax, this calculator gives you a quick comparison between being employed, self employed or taking dividends in a limited company.