Property Development is a trade, where as Property Investment isn’t – renting out a residential property is a VAT exempt supply.
If you are planning significant building work, setting up a Development Company or using a building contractor might save VAT.
Assuming you employ a builder…
The VAT Rules are in VAT Notice 708 Buildings & Construction
Your builder may be able to charge you VAT at the reduced rate of 5 per cent if you are converting premises into:
- a ‘single household dwelling’
- a different number of ‘single household dwellings’
- a ‘multiple occupancy dwelling’, such as bed-sits, or
- premises intended for use solely for a ‘relevant residential purpose’
As your builder will be VAT registered, they reclaim the VAT they are charged and then charge you VAT at 5%.
If your business is property rental and you do the work yourself, you can’t take advantage of the 5% rate.
If your Development Company is VAT registered you can reclaim all the VAT.
Get your existing business or your property development company to convert the property and then sell it to another company that you own (may be an SPV) will be a VAT Zero Rated transaction. The other company then carries on the rental business.
It’s a very common question, the client pays you and keeps a retention of 5% reducing to 2.5% on completion to be released after the end of the defects period.
You do the same with your sub-contractors.
The retentions need to be held in balance sheet accounts as they can’t be invoiced to client and aren’t due to the sub-contractors. But they should be included within sales and sub-contract costs.
HMRC’s guidance is in BIM51520
In the construction industry it is a common feature of construction contracts for the customer to retain part of the contract fee over a maintenance period pending the satisfactory completion of any remedial work required by the contractor. Typically this may be for a 12-month period between a Certificate of Completion being given and the issue of a Maintenance Certificate.
In their accounts, builders will generally deal with retentions in one of the following ways:
- include retentions within turnover, provide for the estimated cost of remedial work, and make provision for any debt impairment (see BIM42700 onwards), or
- defer recognition of retentions until their receipt becomes virtually certain.
Each of the above accords with generally accepted accounting practice and should be followed for tax purposes unless an unrealistically conservative view has been taken.
In recent years, construction industry customers have become increasingly reluctant to pay retention monies, irrespective of whether there are defects to be made good. It is now common for such monies never to get paid. Consequently, it will often be the case that, whichever of the above approaches is adopted, there will be little or no difference in the figure of net profit.
A challenge will only be appropriate in worthwhile cases. For example, where retentions are only recognised on receipt but, in practice, a large proportion is in fact consistently paid over to the builder and there is a significant tax effect (compared with the alternative provisions method).
There is guidance on VAT in VATTOS5170
……the tax point for retentions is delayed until either a VAT invoice is issued or payment of the retention is received, whichever is the earlier. It must be stressed that this only applies to the retained element of the contract price. The rest of the supply is subject to the normal tax point rules.
Typically, an employee is appointed to administer the tronc and is usually referred to as the troncmaster. HMRC does not prescribe who the troncmaster should be.
Frank owns a pub and restaurant. Tips paid by cheque, debit and credit card are all passed to Sharon, the troncmaster, who has been appointed by Frank. Sharon operates PAYE on the tips that she distributes. A staff committee decides on the allocation and Frank has nothing to do with this.
Even though Frank has appointed Sharon as troncmaster he has played no part, directly or indirectly, in the allocation of the tips because he is not involved in determining who should receive tips and how much each employee should receive. In these circumstances, no NICs will be due on the tips received by the tronc members. Example from NIM02942
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The Income Tax (Pay As You Earn) Regulations 2003 require an employer to
- Notify HMRC of the existence of a tronc created on or after 6 April 2004
- Give the troncmaster’s name (if known)
When you are notified of a tronc you should
- Confirm that there is an organised arrangement for sharing tips and determine
- How the tronc receives monies (for example employees paying in cash tips or an employer paying in credit card tips)
- Who holds the tronc monies and how (for example, is there a tronc bank account and if so who operates it?)
- On what basis are distributions made from the tronc and who decides that basis
- Which employees are tronc members
- Whether the person said to be the troncmaster accepts and understands the role (including the obligation to operate PAYE)
If you are satisfied that there is a tronc for PAYE purposes (bear in mind that a business could have more than one tronc, for example a hotel could have separate troncs for restaurant staff and housekeeping staff and each should be dealt with separately)
- Arrange for a PAYE scheme to be set up in the name of the troncmaster. Further information can be found in PAYE20160
It’s nearly Christmas, but did you know….
- While millions of people are exchanging presents, feasting on turkey, and nodding off in front of the television, 1,600 people are expected to take time out from the yuletide festivities and do their tax return online
- If your employer spent more than £150 per head on parties you could be facing a tax bill in the new year
- If you are given third party gifts (suppliers) worth more than £250, then you could he taxed on them
- 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.
- Shoppers spent £1.2bn on ‘Panic Saturday’ (20th December 2014)
- Christmas Shoppers will spend £74bn in 2014 and of this £17.4bn will be spent online
- From 2016, employers will be able to give employees tax-free “benefits” – not cash – of up to £50 a year.
- HMRC will not be holding any Christmas Parties for its staff according to the Telegraph
- Many people think Scrooge was an accountant but he was actually a moneylender
- There is no VAT on purchased gift vouchers as they are treated as cash equivalents, its only when they are used to purchase items that VAT needs to be accounted for.
Have a great Christmas
Normally the sale of the assets of a VAT registered or VAT registerable business will be subject to VAT at the appropriate rate. A transfer of a business as a going concern for VAT purposes (TOGC) however is the sale of a business including assets which must be treated as a matter of law, as ‘neither a supply of goods nor a supply of services’ by virtue of meeting certain conditions. Where the sale meets the conditions then the supply is outside the scope of VAT and therefore VAT is not chargeable.
It is important to be aware that the TOGC rules are mandatory and not optional. So it is important to establish from the outset whether the sale is or is not a TOGC.
The main conditions are:
- the assets must be sold as part of the transfer of a ‘business’ as a ‘going concern’
- the assets are to be used by the purchaser with the intention of carrying on the same kind of ‘business’ as the seller (but not necessarily identical)
- where the seller is a taxable person, the purchaser must be a taxable person already or become one as the result of the transfer
- in respect of land which would be standard rated if it were supplied, the purchaser must notify HMRC that he has opted to tax the land by the relevant date, and must notify the seller that their option has not been disapplied by the same date
- where only part of the ‘business’ is sold it must be capable of operating separately
- there must not be a series of immediately consecutive transfers of ‘business’
The TOGC rules are compulsory. You cannot choose to ‘opt out’. So, it is very important that you establish from the outset whether the business is being sold as a TOGC. Incorrect treatment could result in corrective action by HMRC which may attract a penalty and or interest.
- Gap in trading – for TOGC to apply there must be no significant gap in trading between the sale and purchase
- VAT registration – If the vendor is VAT registered, there can only be a VAT-free TOGC if the purchaser is registered at or before the transfer
- Buying part of a business – the part being bought must be capable of separate operation
- A series of sales – it may not be possible for one of the parties to carry on the trade
- Staged Sales – As long as the overall result is that of business transfer these should qualify for TOGC
There are situations where one company is VAT registered and other related companies are either partially exempt or not registered for VAT, so in these circumstances not charging VAT is an advantage.
The following are not Taxable supplies for VAT:
Common Directors – Notice 700/34 (May 2012)
An individual may act as a director of a number of companies. For convenience one company may pay all the director’s fees and then recover appropriate proportions from the others.
The individual’s services, such as attending meetings or approving expenditure, are supplied by the individual to the companies of which they are a director. The services are supplied directly to the relevant businesses by the individual and not from one company to another. Therefore there is no supply between the companies and so no VAT is due on the share of money recovered from each company.
Joint Employment – Notice 700/34 (May 2012)
Where staff are jointly employed there is no supply for VAT purposes between the joint employers. Staff are jointly employed if their contracts of employment or letters of appointment make it clear that they have more than one employer. The contract must expressly specify who the employers are for example ‘Company A, Company B and Company C’, or ‘Company A and its subsidiaries’.
Paying a Bill on behalf of an associated business
This is basically an inter company loan which will be repayable in full, its not a taxable supply.
If insurance is being recharged and both businesses names are on the policy it can be treated as a disbursement of an exempt insurance so that its not vatable.
Basically HMRC disallow Input VAT relating to Investments.
The most well known example of this was when BAA purchased Airport Development Investments Limited in June 2006, the decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal in February 2013.
The BAA VAT group sought to recover the VAT (£6.7m) incurred on the acquisition costs but recovery was refused by HMRC on the basis that they considered ADIL had not made onward taxable supplies, had not demonstrated any intention to make taxable supplies and was not a member of the VAT group at the time costs were incurred.
BAA used an SPV (Ferrovial) to purchase ADIL but did not bring the SPV into the BAA VAT Group until September 2006, 3 months after the acquisition.
The lessons to learn from this are:
- Once you have successfully made the acquisition join a VAT Group immediately and make it clear in correspondence that the SPV intends to join the VAT Group at the earliest opportunity
- Consider not using an SPV
- Buy the Assets instead of the Shares
- Show that the SPV will make taxable management charges
- Consider the scope of the advisors work, HMRC may disallow advice focussed on passively holding shares
AdWords are invoiced from the Republic of Ireland and subject to ‘Reverse Charge‘ VAT.
When you buy services from suppliers in other countries, you may have to account for the VAT yourself – depending on the circumstances. This is called the ‘reverse charge’, and is also known as ‘tax shift’. Where it applies, you act as if you are both the supplier and the customer – you charge yourself the VAT and then, assuming that the service relates to VAT taxable supplies that you make, you also claim it back. So there’s no net cost to you – the two taxes cancel each other out. [HMRC]
If you can’t give Google a UK VAT registration number they will charge Irish VAT at 21%.
If you can supply a VAT registration number you won’t be charged Irish VAT and will be subject to ‘Reverse Charge’, this means you calculate the amount of VAT – Output Tax – on the full value of the services supplied to you, and then fill in the relevant boxes on your VAT Return as follows:
- put the amount of VAT you calculated in Box 1, and if you’re entitled to reclaim the VAT on your purchase of these supplies, also put the same figure in Box 4 (this in effect cancels out the figure in Box 1)
- put the full value of the supply in both Box 6 and Box 7
So all the figures net off to Zero!
If you make reverse charge sales – sales to which a reverse charge is applied – you must notify HMRC and send in regular Reverse Charge Sales Lists.
Linked In invoices are also subject to ‘Reverse Charge’ this is how you can give Linked In your VAT Registration:
If you purchase LinkedIn products for business purposes, you can provide your Value Added Tax # (for European Union or EU VAT customers) for proper tax handling. This information can be added for future orders (not past receipts) on the Payment section of your Privacy & Settings page.
To add your VAT number:
- Move your cursor over your profile photo in the top right of your homepage and click Privacy & Settings. For verification purposes, you may need to sign in again.
- Click Manage Billing Info.
- Click Edit next to the VAT # field.
- Enter the 2-character country code followed by your VAT#. For example, LinkedIn’s Irish VAT# is IE9740425P.
- Click Update.
Here is a great guide I found which explains how to master adwords