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

Only 8 days left to file your Self Assessment! don’t panic Reply

Red help button concept.

Over 4 Million Self Assessment Returns (over 40%) will be filed in January 2017, last year the 29th January saw the highest level of filing with 50,358 returns filed between 2pm and 3pm on that day!

Its likely that many of those who haven’t yet filed their 5th April 2016 returns will either start to panic now or the panic will set in and increase in the next few days.

Here are some things to ease that panic.

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?

Here are some excuses that HMRC have accepted

  1. a failure in the HMRC computer system
  2. your computer breaks down just before or during the preparation of your online return
  3. a serious illness, disability or serious mental health condition has made you incapable of filing your tax return
  4. you registered for HMRC Online Services but didn’t get your Activation Code in time
  5. it was lost in the post HMD Response International v’s HMRC 2011 The accountant produced a contemporaneous note in his office diary for 16 May showing that he had filed the return.

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.

What if you don’t know where to send the payment?

For all those struggling to work our whether to make a bank transfer to HMRC Shipley or Cumbernauld

Your payslip tells you which HMRC account to use. If you’re not sure, use HMRC Cumbernauld. You must use your UTR as the payment reference.

Sort code Account number Account name
083210 12001039 HMRC Cumbernauld
083210 12001020 HMRC Shipley

If you make a Faster Payment this will clear the same day if the amount is within your bank’s limits.

https://www.gov.uk/pay-self-assessment-tax-bill

What if you don’t know how much to pay because of payments on account?

You can check the amount by logging onto HMRC or by asking your accountant to check with their Agent Login.

If you make payments on account you will have made payments in January 2016 and July 2016 towards the final payment to be made in January 2017.

What are the penalties for missing the deadline?

HMRC have tool to help you estimate the penalties and interest

https://www.gov.uk/estimate-self-assessment-penalties

steve@bicknells.net

It’s Self Assessment season, it’s time to call your accountant Reply

As we get closer to the 31st January taxpayers across the land will start to worry about their self assessment tax returns.

Many tax payers will be frustated and confused by the information needed, just like the lady in the video above.

You’ll need to send a tax return if, in the last tax year:

  • you were self-employed – you can deduct allowable expenses
  • you got £2,500 or more in untaxed income, for example from renting out a property or savings and investments – contact the helpline if it was less than £2,500
  • your savings or investment income was £10,000 or more before tax
  • you made profits from selling things like shares, a second home or other chargeable assets and need to pay Capital Gains Tax
  • you were a company director – unless it was for a non-profit organisation (such as a charity) and you didn’t get any pay or benefits, like a company car
  • your income (or your partner’s) was over £50,000 and one of you claimed Child Benefit
  • you had income from abroad that you needed to pay tax on
  • you lived abroad and had a UK income
  • you got dividends from shares and you’re a higher or additional rate taxpayer – but if you don’t need to send a return for any other reason, contact the helpline instead
  • your income was over £100,000
  • you were a trustee of a trust or registered pension scheme
  • you had a P800 from HMRC saying you didn’t pay enough tax last year – and you didn’t pay what you owe through your tax code or with a voluntary payment

If you have a question and don’t have an accountant taxpayers have 3 main ways to contact HMRC:

  • Online
  • Phone
  • Post

Based on last year it could take 47 minutes at this time of year to get to speak to someone at HMRC!

An overworked office worker

Here are 10 of the most common problems faced by tax payers who don’t have an accountant

  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:
  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

To complete a self assessment return, the most common things you will need to know are:

  • Employment Income – P60 and P11D
  • Child Benefit
  • Pension Contributions – statement from provider
  • Donations to Charity
  • Bank and Building Society Interest
  • Dividends
  • Buy to Let Investments, Holiday Lets and Second Homes
  • Other Income
  • Employment Expenses not paid by your employer including mileage to approved rates and clothing
  • Professional Memberships related to your job and on HMRC List 3
  • Home Office Expenses
  • Capital Gains

Many tax payers are unaware of tax allowances and expenses that they can claim and often this means they end up paying too much tax.

For example employment expenses such as Flat Rate and Mileage.

Property Investors should be claiming

  • Mortgage or Loan Interest (but not capital)
  • Repairs and maintenance (but not improvements)
  • Decorating
  • Gardening
  • Cleaning
  • Travel costs to and from your properties for lettings or meetings
  • Advertising costs
  • Agents fees
  • Buildings and contents insurance
  • Ground Rent
  • Accountants Fees
  • Rent insurance (if you claim the income will need to be declared)
  • Legal fees relating to eviction

Using an accountant will help you get your tax affairs right

steve@bicknells.net

hashtag-sa

 

10 most common online self assessment issues Reply

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The deadline of the 31st January 2016 is fast approaching for filing 2014/15 Self Assessments online, thousands will probably file late and 50% will leave filing until January.

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:
  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

 

steve@bicknells.net

Contact Us

 

Does your accountant understand Construction? Reply

Business Accountant

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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

Will your tax return stand up to HMRC Profit Benchmarking? 1

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HMRC have been doing lots of research on SME businesses, the most interesting areas of research are:

Understanding Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) business life eventsSME Customer Journey Mapping

Research was carried out to understand:

  • the key life events and activities that SMEs experience
  • how these relate to tax
  • what opportunities there are for the improvement of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) services by more closely aligning them to business lifecycles

The Transparent Benchmarking Team Statement (November 2014)

HMRC is conducting a number of pilots, focussed on SME customers, designed to explore the effectiveness of publishing benchmarks on aiding greater voluntary compliance.

Following the first pilot (benchmark net profit ratios for Painters and Decorators, and Driving Instructors) in March 2014, HMRC will run two more in the autumn. One of these will focus on self-employed taxi drivers and pharmacists, where HMRC will be writing to around 2,500 agents that have a number of clients in the target sectors. The idea is to test whether publishing benchmarks through an agent is more effective than writing to a customer directly. Letters will also be sent to a sample of represented and unrepresented customers within the selected sectors to form control groups for evaluation purposes. All represented individuals and businesses written to directly will be informed that their agent has not received a copy of the letter.

The benchmark for both sectors is the net profit ratio. Because this is a controlled pilot exercise, not all agents or businesses within the relevant sectors will be receiving a letter. (source CIOT)

The Benchmarks we know so far are:

  • Painters & Decorators range from 59% to 79%
  • Driving Instructors 31% to 67%

So the range of profits are big!

We await the ranges for Taxi Drivers and Pharmacists.

If your profit doesn’t fit then you need to know why.

Do not ignore the letter because HMRC are likely to follow it up and assume you are deliberately trying to avoid tax!

You may have some valid reasons for not fitting the benchmark and you must explain those reasons to HMRC.

A deliberate error will results in a higher penalty (up 100% of the tax) but can also open the door to HMRC going back over up to 20 years of your accounts!

The letters refer to common mistakes in:

  • Travel Expenses
  • Telephone Costs
  • Utility and insurance charges
  • Professional Fees
  • Capital Expenditure

You may find these blogs helpful

Motor Expenses

Travel Expenses

Home Office Expenses

10 Ways to Save Tax

HMRC also have some useful toolkits/checklists…..

Business Profits Toolkit

Private and Personal Expenditure Toolkit

steve@bicknells.net

7 excuses for late Self Assessment Returns and Late Payment Reply

the dog ate my homework

Every year thousands of tax payers miss the deadline of 31st January, here are some excuses that HRMC accepted!

  1. a failure in the HMRC computer system (HMRC)
  2. your computer breaks down just before or during the preparation of your online return (HMRC)
  3. a serious illness, disability or serious mental health condition has made you incapable of filing your tax return (HMRC)
  4. you registered for HMRC Online Services but didn’t get your Activation Code in time (HMRC)
  5. it was lost in the post HMD Response International v’s HMRC 2011 The accountant produced a contemporaneous note in his office diary for 16 May showing that he had filed the return.
  6. “Impecuniosity”Maxine Barron v’s HMRC
  7. Cashflow difficulties caused by a change in CIS Status Kincaid v’s HMRC 2011

Around one in nine (11%) of the 560,000 people in Inner London who had to send in a tax return last year didn’t do so by the relevant deadline – 31 October for paper returns and 31 January for online submissions.

The one million taxpayers in Outer London were more punctual, with one in 11 (9%) failing to meet the deadline, but they were still the second worst offenders. The tardiest taxpayers outside of London were in the North West of England, with 8% of their 890,000 returns failing to meet the deadline.

Taxpayers in the rest of the English regions fared better. The most punctual were in the South West, with only 6% of their one million tax returns arriving late. The other English regions, as well as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, all registered 7% of late tax returns, which was the UK national average.

Don’t be late, get it done!!!

 

steve@bicknells.net

10 ways save tax on your Self Assessment Tax Return 2

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It’s Self Assessment season, most people who are required to do self assessment will submit their returns in December and January.

You must always send a tax return if you’re:

  • a self-employed sole trader
  • a partner in a business partnership
  • a company director (unless it’s for a non-profit organisation, eg a charity, and you don’t get any pay or benefits, like travel expenses or a company car)
  1. Don’t miss the deadline of 31st January or you will get penalties and interest
  2. If you are new to Self Assessment makesure you get your HMRC log in details early and know your NI and UTR numbers otherwise you won’t be able to file online which could lead to penalties
  3. Claim all your expenses for example a self employed worker will claim for travel , protective clothing (PPE), home office expenses
  4. Don’t forget Pension Contributions if the tax hasn’t been claimed by your pension provider or you are a higher rate tax payer
  5. Don’t forget Donations to Charity if you are a higher rate tax payer
  6. Have you included out of pocket expenses for example parking
  7. If you are employee could you claim a tax allowance for clothing?
  8. Does your company pay mileage below the HMRC rates, you could claim a tax allowance on the difference
  9. Check you have all your motoring expenses included
  10. Makesure you have claimed all your costs on Buy to Let

steve@bicknells.net

Will HMRC extend the Self Assessment deadline? £2m yet to file returns 2

Tax Money

There have been calls from Accounting Bodies to push back Friday’s deadline for Self Assessment returns because nearly 2 million tax payers have not yet filed their returns.

It was reported on Your Money .Com

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, ACCA head of taxation, said: “HMRC has a common-sense decision to make. Either it can stick to the deadline and penalise all those families and self-employed people who are struggling to get to grips with the self-assessment process, or it can do the right thing and give them a lifeline by extending the deadline. Self-assessment is not easy and there are fines starting at £100 for missing the deadline even if you don’t owe any tax.

“The circumstances around this year’s deadline are different in that there will be a high number of people who will never have done self-assessment in their lives. They are going to miss the deadline not because they have been putting it off, but because they are newcomers. If reports are to be believed that 2 million have yet to meet the deadline just two days before it closes, then it is likely a lot of people will miss it.”

The reason why there are so many newcomers this year is because of changes to Child Benefit and an increase in the number of those self employed.

So should HMRC extend the deadline?

steve@bicknells.net