Could you be personally liable for your company taxes?

One of the key reasons you trade through a limited company is to reduce your liability as a director. And one key benefit of getting incorporated as a company is that you – as a company director – are not generally liable for any amounts owed by the company.

But, did you know that, under some circumstances, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) can transfer the liability for some unpaid taxes to you as an individual?.

What’s a Joint and Several Liability Notice?

Under certain circumstances, HMRC can issue a Joint and Several Liability Notice (JSLN) to any director, shadow director or manager. This JSLN effectively transfers liability for taxes owed by the company to you personally. That means your personal assets could be at risk, and (in a worst-case scenario) these company debts could end up bankrupting you!

The JSLN legislation covers liabilities in respect of periods ending on or after 22 July 2020, regardless of when those periods started.

Notices can be given to you in respect of:

  • A company that’s insolvent or likely to become insolvent, and has entered into tax avoidance arrangements where Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) and General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR) rules are likely to apply.
  • A company that’s insolvent or likely to become insolvent, and has engaged in tax evasion activities, such as failing to register for taxes.
  • Cases where two previous businesses have been insolvent with unpaid taxes, with a successor company carrying on similar activities.
  • A case where the company has been issued with a penalty for facilitating tax avoidance or evasion, or proceedings has been commenced in respect of such penalties under DOTAS or GAAR.
  • a tax charge has been applied in respect of Covid support payments to which the company was not entitled.

These notices can be issued where the company has undertaken any tax avoidance measures, receives excess Covid support payments, or where there have been repeated insolvency or non-payment cases involving the same individuals.

Once a notice has been issued, you would be jointly and severally liable with the company in respect of all tax liabilities at the date of the notice. You would also be liable for any further tax liabilities arising in the next five years, or until the notice is withdrawn.

How would being served a JSLN affect you?

Suddenly becoming personally liable for your company’s tax liabilities is never going to be good news. The impact of a JSLN can be significant.

Once a notice has been issued to you, your personal assets are at risk. HMRC will do its best to reclaim any unpaid taxes owed by the company and – theoretically speaking – HMRC can claim against you without pursuing the company first.

Talk to us about any risks you may face around JSNLs

If a JSLN is issued, you should contact us immediately. You only have a window of 30 days to ask for a review of the decision to issue the JSLN, or to appeal against it.

We’ll be happy to talk through your situation and help you communicate with HMRC.

steve@bicknells.net

The top tax-effective benefits for directors and employees

Offering benefits-in-kind to your staff is a great way to make your business an attractive place to work. And these benefits add even more value if they’re also either tax-effective or tax-free.

You can offer certain concessions that make benefits provided to your employees (including directors) either low-tax or no tax. To be clear, we’re talking here about general employee benefits, not higher-value items such as company cars or share options etc.

Under certain circumstances, these general benefits-in-kind (BiK) become taxable if they’re provided as part of a flexible salary sacrifice system. But let’s look at the kinds of benefits you can offer – and the avantages they have for your employees.

The top tax-effective benefits to offer your team

If you want to offer employee benefits, but don’t want these BiK to end up attracting significant tax penalties for the employee, there are several useful benefits to consider.

For example:

  • Gifts of £50 or under – gifts not exceeding £50 can be given to employees without any tax or National Insurance charges arising. The cost is tax-deductible by the company. The gift must not be related to any work achievements, must not be money, must not be a contractual entitlement and, for directors, the total must not exceed £300 per annum.
  • Annual staff functions – annual functions, such as the yearly Christmas party or team summer barbecue, can be given to employees, provided the total cost per person during the year doesn’t exceed £150 per guest, including VAT.
  • Work mobile phones – a single mobile telephone can be provided to each employee together with the associated line rental and call charges, with no personal tax charge for any private use.
  • Free staff meals – free meals can be provided on company premises or in a staff canteen, provided that it’s on a reasonable scale.
  • Employer pension scheme contributions – as an employer, you can contribute (sometimes, have to contribute) to employee pension funds, within certain annual and lifetime limits. Topping up your employee’s contributions helps to increase the overall benefit of the mandatory work pension scheme.
  • Life insurance cover – Death in Service cover can be provided for your employees, and will normally be tax free, both the insurance premiums paid and any claims paid.
  • Health and medical check-ups – one health-screening assessment and one medical checkup per annum can be provided to each employee. This doesn’t cover full medical insurance, and also doesn’t generally cover medical treatment.
  • Welfare counselling – counselling can be provided to your employees free of tax, but this doesn’t cover medical treatment, legal, tax or financial advice. However, debt counselling is covered.
  • Business mileage – where your employee uses their own car for business travel, that business mileage can be reimbursed at a rate of £0.45/mile for the first 10,000 miles in a tax year and £0.25/mile thereafter.
  • Home-working allowance – you can pay an allowance of £6/week (£26/month) to employees who are required to work from home.
  • Private gyms – gym facilities can be provided to your employees and their family members, as long as the gym premises are not available to the general public.
  • Staff suggestions – rewards for making innovative business suggestions can be paid free of tax, as long as the amount doesn’t exceed £25. If an employee’s suggestion is implemented, a further award, linked to a proportion of the financial benefit to the company, can be made, subject to a cap of £5,000.
  • Long-service awards – you can offer a long-service award to a member of staff after a minimum of 20 years’ service. There must be at least ten years between awards that are made and the award has to be articles rather than cash. The overall cost can’t exceed £50 per year of service.

You can find out more details on the many available employee benefits-in-kind on the Expenses and benefits: A-Z page on the HMRC site.

If you provide a range of attractive tax-effective benefits to your employees, this goes a long way to creating a more satisfied, happy and productive workforce.

Many of the rules around employee benefits are complex and difficult to calculate, so it’s well worth talking to us about your benefits plans and where we can offer advice. We can walk you through the available options and show you the tax implications for your team.

steve@bicknells.net

Spreading your tax costs with Time To Pay

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) expects you to pay your taxes on time. But if you’re finding it difficult to pay in full, HMRC can be approached to allow a Time to Pay arrangement.

A Time to Pay arrangement will allow you to pay your debt off in pre-agreed installments, reducing the impact of a large tax bill – and helping you manage your debt and cashflow.

How does Time to Pay work?

If you need to request a Time to Pay arrangement for self-assessment tax, Employer’s PAYE and VAT, these can often be made online using a ‘self-service’ system.

Where you owe other types of tax, or where the conditions for online applications are not met, you’ll need to contact HMRC to discuss your situation.

  • The easiest (although not always the quickest) way to discuss your Time to Pay request is by telephone to 0300 200 3835.
  • HMRC agents will want to know about all taxes you owe, not just the one(s) where you want to spread payment. They will also ask for details of your income and outgoings, and any savings or assets that may be able to be used to reduce the amount owed.
  • Presuming that you agree to a payment plan with HMRC during the call, they will usually want to set up a Direct Debit straight away.

Making use of the self-serve Time to Pay system

If you don’t have any existing payment plans or debts with HMRC, the ‘self-serve’ system may be more straightforward, provided that the applicable tax returns have already been filed. The conditions and amounts vary depending on the particular tax.

For example:

  • Self-Assessment: You must apply no more than 60 days after the payment deadline and owe no more than £30,000.
  • Employer’s PAYE: You must be within 35 days of the deadline, owe no more than £15,000 and have no outstanding penalties. The maximum period over which the amount due can be spread is six months.
  • VAT: For VAT, you need to apply within 28 days of the due date and owe no more than £20,000. You can’t apply for a Time to Pay arrangement through the self-serve scheme if you use either the cash accounting or annual accounting schemes.

The self-serve option for Time to Pay does make the process easier, but remember that HMRC isn’t obliged to offer you the option of settling your taxes owed via installments.

If you fail to pay your taxes, HMRC can take recovery action in the County Court, and apply for the taxpayer to be put into liquidation or made bankrupt where appropriate.

Talk to us about making Time to Pay work for you

One of the best ways to avoid getting into difficulties with your tax liabilities is to work more closely with your accountant. As your tax adviser, we’ll produce regular forecasts so that any financial stresses can be foreseen well in advance.

Where unexpected circumstances do arise, putting a suitable payment plan in place with HMRC is the most sensible way to manage this situation. Ignoring your tax problems won’t make them go away and burying your head in the sand can lead to serious penalties and legal action.

Get in touch to talk about Time to Pay.

Steve@bicknells.net

How does Principle Private Residence Relief Work? (CGT)

signages for real property selling

As a UK accountant, one of the most common tax reliefs that clients ask about is Principle Private Residence Relief (PPR). This relief can be a significant tax saver for those selling their homes, but it is essential to understand the rules and regulations surrounding it.

What is PPR?

Firstly, PPR allows you to sell your main residence without incurring capital gains tax (CGT). However, if you have let out part of your home, it can affect your entitlement to PPR.

Tax when you sell your home: If you let out your home – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

If you rent out your home, then you will not be able to claim PPR for the period it is let. However, relief may still be available for the period you lived in the property and for the final 9 months of ownership.

a house for rent placard
Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

How is PPR calculated if you let the property?

To calculate the PPR tax reduction for the let period, you will need to apportion the gain between the period it was your main residence and the period it was rented out. The amount of tax relief will be calculated based on the proportion of time the property was your main residence.

For example, if you lived in the property for five years, and then rented it out for two years, there would be seven years of ownership. The tax relief would apply for five years, but the remaining two years would be subject to CGT with an adjustment for the 9 month period.

How do you calculate the Gain?

Calculating the capital gain can be a complex process and may be affected by several factors such as the purchase and sale price, any home improvements made during ownership, and the length of ownership. It is recommended to seek specialist advice from a tax professional to ensure all factors are considered in the calculation.

person holding orange and white iphone case
Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

How is the Gain taxed and reported?

The rates of CGT vary depending on the individual’s income tax rate. Currently, basic rate taxpayers will pay CGT at a rate of 18%, and higher rate taxpayers will pay at a rate of 28% on gains above the tax-free allowance of £12,300 (2022/23), £6,000 (2023/24), £3,000 (2024/25).

This blog explains how CGT is reported to HMRC How and when do you report capital gains tax on residential property disposals? – Steve J Bicknell Tel 01202 025252

How can you use Form 17?

Its worth seeking advice before the sale of any property as there could be ways to reduce the CGT for example couples can use Form 17 to change the ownership Declare beneficial interests in joint property and income – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and make best use of their tax allowances.

Working away and conculsion

If you work away from home, you can still claim PPR if the property remains your primary residence. However, if you buy another property to live in, this may affect your eligibility for PPR.

In conclusion, PPR can be a valuable tax relief for those selling their main residence. However, if you have let out your property, this may affect your entitlement to PPR. It is essential to understand the rules and regulations surrounding PPR and seek specialist advice when necessary.

Charity News Update

Download a free copy from our website we have 9 pages of guidance covering

  • The Cost of Living Crisis
  • Charity Law Reform
  • Annual Return Changes
  • Use of Social Media
  • The risk from Cyber Crime
  • Accountancy and Tax update
  • Fundraising update
  • VAT update

Plus lots of other great advice for Charities.

steve@bicknells.net

How and when do you report capital gains tax on residential property disposals?

real estate agent holding a signage

As a property owner in the UK, it is important to understand the capital gains tax (CGT) rules and regulations. CGT is a tax on the profit made when you sell or dispose of an asset, such as a property. In this blog, we will cover the 60-day reporting rule, how to calculate capital gains, how to report capital gains, how to get a reference, and how to appoint an agent.

The 60-day reporting rule

From 27 October 2021 (before that it was 30 days from 6 April 2020) the reporting deadline was re-set at 60 days and requires UK residents to report and pay CGT on the sale of a residential property within 60 days of completion. Failure to report within this timeframe can result in penalties and interest charges. Non-UK residents are also required to report and pay CGT within 60 days of completion, unlike UK residents they need to report under the CGT rules even if they made a loss or had no tax to pay.

Companies are not required to report under the 60 day rules.

The rules apply to:

  • Individuals
  • Trusts
  • Personal Representatives
  • Partnerships
  • LLPs
  • Joint Property Owners
  • Non UK Residents

Calculating capital gains

To calculate your capital gains, you need to subtract the cost of the property from the sale price. The cost of the property includes the purchase price, any fees or expenses incurred during the purchase, and any improvements made to the property. You can also deduct certain expenses, such as estate agent fees and legal fees, from the sale price. Once you have calculated your capital gains, you need to work out how much tax you owe. The amount of tax you pay depends on your income and the amount of capital gains you have made. The current CGT rates for residential property are 18% for basic rate taxpayers and 28% for higher rate taxpayers.

There is an annual exempt amount for individuals

  • 2022/23 £12,300
  • 2023/24 £6,000
  • 2024/25 £3,000

For Trusts the amounts above are halved

If the UK Resident lived in the property they could qualify for Private Residence Relief HS283 Private Residence Relief (2023) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

If there is no gain then UK Residents don’t need to report under the 60 day rules. Non UK Residents need to report even if its a loss.

Reporting capital gains

UK Residents need to use Report and pay your Capital Gains Tax: If you sold a property in the UK on or after 6 April 2020 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Even if they want an Agent to report for them they at least need to start the process and get an X reference to pass to their Agent/Accountant. The Agent can use the X reference in the Agent Gateway to generate a link for the client to accept to appoint them as Agent.

You only need one X reference/Property Account even if you have multiple property disposals.

The gain also need to be reported on the their Self Assessment Return showing the tax already paid.

Non UK Residents need to use HMRC: Structured Email (tax.service.gov.uk)

Problem Areas

Personal Representatives – Trusts can’t create accounts – the executors register and tick to report for someone else

Estimates – if the estimates are unreasonably low, HMRC will put in their own figures and charge interest

Overpayments – need to go back and change the figures

steve@bicknells.net

What is a Non Dom?

city view at london

Non-Dom status is a term used to describe individuals who are not domiciled in the United Kingdom for tax purposes. This means that they are not considered to be permanent residents of the UK and are therefore not subject to UK tax on their foreign income and gains, unless they choose to be.

The UK residency status test is used to determine an individual’s residency status for tax purposes. The test takes into account a number of factors, including the number of days spent in the UK, the individual’s ties to the UK, and their intentions for the future. If an individual spends more than 183 days in the UK in a tax year, or has significant ties to the UK, they will be considered a UK resident for tax purposes.

You might find this blog helpful Where should you pay tax? (Statutory Residence Test) – Steve J Bicknell Tel 01202 025252

If an individual is a Non-Dom and chooses to be taxed on the remittance basis, they will only be taxed on their UK income and gains, as well as any foreign income and gains that they bring into the UK. This means that they can avoid paying tax on their foreign income and gains that are kept outside of the UK.

However, there is a 7-year charge for Non-Doms who have been resident in the UK for 7 out of the previous 9 tax years. This charge is designed to discourage individuals from using Non-Dom status as a way to avoid paying UK tax on their foreign income and gains. The charge is currently set at £30,000 per year, but may be higher for individuals who have been resident in the UK for longer periods of time.

In conclusion, Non-Dom status can be a useful tool for individuals who have significant foreign income and gains, but it is important to understand the UK residency status test and the potential tax implications of choosing to be taxed on the remittance basis. The 7-year charge for Non-Doms is also an important consideration for those who are considering using Non-Dom status as a way to avoid paying UK tax. It is always advisable to seek professional advice before making any decisions regarding tax planning.

steve@bicknells.net

Residential Property Capital Gains Overpayment Madness

By now I am sure you are familiar with the rules

From 27 October 2021, you must report and pay within 60 days of completion of conveyance.

For example, if you complete the disposal on 1 November you must report and pay your Capital Gains Tax by 31 December.

If the completion date was between 6 April 2020 and 26 October 2021 you must report and pay within 30 days of completion of conveyance.

You may have to pay interest and a penalty if you do not report and pay on time.

Tell HMRC about Capital Gains Tax on UK property or land if you’re not a UK resident – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

You report the gains using this link Report and pay your Capital Gains Tax: If you have other capital gains to report – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

If you need a tax agent to help you you have to start the process get and X reference, give that to you tax agent/accountant, they then sent the client a link to become their agent.

You also have to report the information again on your self assessment return.

What happens if you over pay the CGT?

You would think that doing the self assessment would generate a refund, but thats not the case, very frustrating!

The only way to recover or offset the overpaid CGT is to follow a new workaround shared by HMRC at the end of June.

The workaround suggests either:

(a) amending the UK Property Return before submitting the self-assessment return for the year to recover the overpayment that way; or

(b) submitting the self-assessment return and then calling HMRC to ask for a manual transfer to be made of the payments showing on the property account against the self-assessment account so it can then be offset against the total self-assessment bill.

Offsetting overpaid CGT against income tax | ICAEW

CGT Overpayment – Refund request – Community Forum – GOV.UK (hmrc.gov.uk)

CG10450 – Overpayment relief – HMRC internal manual – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

steve@bicknells.net