The Apprenticeship Levy

The Apprenticeship Levy is charged on employers’ “paybills” at a rate of 0.5%. The levy is payable through Pay as You Earn (PAYE) and is payable alongside income tax and National Insurance. To keep the process as simple as possible “paybill” will be based on total employee earnings subject to Class 1 secondary NICs.

Each employer receives one annual allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment. There is a connected persons rule, similar to the Employment Allowance connected persons rule, so employers who operate multiple payrolls are only be able to claim one allowance.

1.) If you’re an employer with a pay bill over £3 million each year, you must pay the apprenticeship levy from 6 April 2017. You can find out how to do this here.

You will report and pay your levy to HMRC through the PAYE process.

The levy will not affect the way you fund training for apprentices who started an apprenticeship programme before 1 May 2017. You’ll need to carry on funding training for these apprentices under the terms and conditions that were in place at the time the apprenticeship started.

Detail on how to setup and use your online account can be found here.

2.) If you do not have to pay the levy then you can still receive support to pay your apprentices.

From May 2017, you will pay 10% towards to the cost of apprenticeship training and government will pay the rest (90%), up to the funding band maximum.

If you do not pay the levy, you won’t be able to use the apprenticeship service to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment until at least 2018.

Instead, you’ll need to agree a payment schedule with the provider and pay them directly for the training. The provider must prove that you have paid your contributions as a condition of government paying its contribution.

There are 2 different types of apprenticeships to choose from:

  • apprenticeship standards– each standard covers a specific occupation and sets out the core skills, knowledge and behaviours an apprentice will need; they are developed by employer groups known as ‘trailblazers’
  • apprenticeship frameworks– a series of work-related vocational and professional qualifications, with workplace- and classroom-based training

To choose training:

If you would like to discuss any of this further then please contact us on 0116 2423400

Becky Edwards, Payroll Manager 

Applying for a Mortgage? SA302’s are no more. A Tax overview is what you need.

HMRC’s form SA302 is a tax calculation produced when you have filed your Self-Assessment Tax Return online.

It is a calculation for a particular tax year showing your income, your tax allowances, the amount of tax you’ve already paid and what tax, if any, you still owe or which should be repaid to you.

If your Tax Return has to be amended and it affects the tax payable, HMRC will send you a revised SA302 showing the up to date position for that particular year.

If you are asked to provide evidence of your income, for example if you’re applying for a mortgage, and you have been paying through self-assessment, you are likely to be asked for an SA302 for one or more tax years.  Another document you may also be asked to produce is a tax year overview.  This is a simple summary or statement of the tax due and tax you’ve paid during the tax year.

If you have filed your own tax return online, you can access your HMRC account and print off both the SA302 and tax year overview as required.

HMRC have been encouraging taxpayers to obtain a copy of the ‘Tax overview’ and ‘Full Calculation’ from the online service for some time and, from 4 September 2017, they have confirmed that they will no longer send paper SA302s to agents on behalf of their clients.

There are a number of lenders that will accept the tax overview and printed calculation in place of a paper SA302 and HMRC are working on educating other lenders to increase acceptance so that, once the SA302’s are no more, mortgage advisors will be happy with these documents instead.

If you don’t know where to start getting your tax year overview or tax calculation, most accountants, including torrwaterfield, use commercial software to produce tax returns for their clients.  This automatically generates a tax calculation which is roughly equivalent to a form SA302.  The majority of mortgage providers have agreed with HMRC to accept this Tax Calculation and the Tax Year Overview which your accountant can print off for you.

For a complete list of mortgage providers and lenders who accept Tax Year over views please click here. 

If you would like any assistance on this, then please contact the office on 0116 242 3400.

James Yarnall, Accounts & Tax 

MATERNITY LEAVE AND PAY

I must admit that for most of my career to date I didn’t really think much about maternity leave and pay.  While training to be an accountant, just getting on with the job (apologies if that sounded a little like Theresa May!), it wasn’t really on my radar.  There did however come a point when I started thinking about it and realised that I didn’t really know anything about it, so here’s the basics:

Who is entitled to maternity leave?

 Any employee with an employment contract is entitled to maternity leave, no matter how long they have worked for their employer, as long as they give notice of the date they want to start their maternity leave at least 15 weeks before the baby is due.

How long is maternity leave?

Maternity leave is split into ‘Ordinary Maternity Leave’ and ‘Additional Maternity Leave’ which total 52 weeks.

All new mothers must take at least 2 weeks off after childbirth (or 4 weeks if they are a factory worker) but do not have to take the full 52 weeks.

 When does maternity leave start?

If there are no complications with the pregnancy, the employee can choose when to start maternity leave, but the earliest it can be started is 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth (EWC).  If the baby is born early, leave starts the following day; it will also start automatically if the employee is off work for pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before the EWC.

What about maternity pay?  Who is entitled to that?

To be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay, the employee must be on the payroll in the ‘qualifying week’ (the 15th week before the EWC) and have worked for that employer for at least 26 weeks before that week.  In addition, they must provide proof of their pregnancy (a MATB1 form usually obtained from their midwife around the midpoint of the pregnancy) and earn at least £113 per week (gross) in the 8 weeks before the qualifying week.

Therefore not all those that are entitled to maternity leave will get maternity pay from their employer, but they may be able to get Maternity Allowance from the government instead. 

How much is maternity pay?

Statutory maternity pay is payable for up to 39 weeks as follows:

  • The first 6 weeks: 90% of the gross average weekly earnings (AWE)
  • The remaining (up to) 33 weeks: £140.98 or 90% of the AWE (whichever is lower)

So while maternity leave can be up to 52 weeks, statutory pay isn’t for that whole time.

Maternity pay is paid in the same way as wages, with tax and national insurance deducted.

Additional contractual maternity pay, over the minimum statutory amount, can also be paid and is common in some industries and the public sector (for example 6 months at full- or half-pay).

What about Dads?

As a Mum-to-be myself I have focused this blog on maternity aspects, but Dads have an entitlement too!  Dads are entitled to up to 2 consecutive weeks of leave but it can’t start before the birth and must finish within 56 days of the birth (or due date if the baby is early).  Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) is paid at the lower of £140.98 per week or 90% of average weekly earnings.

Alternatively, a couple may choose “Shared Parental Leave” – our Payroll Manager, Becky Edwards wrote a blog earlier in the year specifically on this subject please click here to read this. 

Unpaid Parental Leave

 Many people don’t know that this exists!  Parents who have been with their employer for over a year can take unpaid time off to look after their child’s welfare, for example to spend more time with the child, settle them into nursery or look into schools.  It is available for a total of up 18 weeks per child, up to their 18th birthday.  It must be taken in whole weeks, at a maximum of 4 weeks at a time, unless the employer agrees otherwise.

Unpaid parental leave can be taken at any time (subject to giving 21 days notice) right from the birth of the child, so can be used in conjunction with maternity, paternity or shared parental leave.

The Employer Perspective

 Employment rights continue while an employee is on maternity leave, for example the right to employer pension contributions, returning to a job and paid holiday (which accrues while on maternity leave at the employee’s number of days worked prior to leave, even if they come back to work part-time).

You can reclaim at least 92% of SMP/SPP paid to employees – this increases to 103% if you qualify as a Small Employer (if you paid less than £45,000 in Class 1 National Insurance in the previous tax year).  The reclaim should be calculated by your payroll software and deducted from your PAYE/NI liability for the tax month, however if you can’t offset it in full you can ask for a repayment, but not until the start of the next tax year.

 Katie Kettle

Technical Manager (and Mum-to-be)Katie Kettle Colour

Did you look after your Grandchildren this summer?

Get paid to babysit!

Did you look after your Grandchildren this summer?  If they are aged under 12 you could be missing out on the chance to boost your future State Pension.

Top Grandparent facts:

  • 1 in 4 working families and 1 in 3 working mothers use Grandparents for childcare
  • 63% of all Grandparents with grandchildren under 16 help out with childcare
  • 1 in 5 Grandmothers provide at least 10 hours a week of childcare
  • the proportion of Grandparents who are of working age is set to grow as the retirement age gradually rises

Half of Britain’s 7 million working-age Grandparents have a Grandchild under the age of 16 and could qualify for Class 3 National Insurance credits for looking after children aged under 12 – which can be used to top up their income in retirement.

Applications for NI credits for caring for children under 12 need to be made to HM Revenue & Customs.  Applications need to be made in, or after, the October following the end of the tax year in which the caring took place.

Grandparents who have cared for their Grandchildren during the tax year 2011/12 are still able to apply for their credits now.

There is no minimum condition for the number of hours of care in a week as long as the credit is transferred for a full week.

This scheme will benefit women, and the self-employed who currently cannot qualify for state second pension.

If you have any questions or want to discuss this further then please get in touch 0116 2423400

Georginda Hare, BookkeeperGeorginda Hare BC.JPG

Have you been mis-sold PPI over the years?

There are millions of people who have already successfully claimed for mis-sold PPI, so make contact with your banks to make a claim; you could be owed thousands.

It has been estimated that the banks have paid out over £20billion so far.

The Financial Conduct Authority has confirmed you have until 29 August 2019 to make your claim.

What is PPI?

PPI is Payment Protection Insurance which was introduced to customers to cover payments on loans or credit cards if you became ill or unemployed.  This would ensure that you didn’t fall behind on installment payments.

If you have taken out a loan or credit card, or even mortgage, there is a strong chance that you may have PPI on the loans.

You now need to ask yourself whether you were mis-sold this insurance or whether this was correctly added.

Were you asked the correct questions on completing your loan agreement?

  • Were you told it was compulsory? It was a condition of that particular product to purchase the PPI.  You could only have the overdraft/loan if PPI is bought.
  • Didn’t realise you had cover? You have been paying the PPI with your loan repayments and weren’t even aware of this extra cost.
  • Were you told or sold the wrong thing? Having being sold PPI you were ultimately covered elsewhere on an existing policy, hence no requirement for this PPI policy.
  • Self-employed, unemployed or retired? PPI would have been worthless to you as it wouldn’t cover if your own business ceased or went bankrupt.
  • Had any medical problems in the past? If so, PPI may have been exempt as it would not cover against pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Has your provider already been fined? Than this would confirm that a certain amount of liability lies with them.

There is no time limit on how far back you can go.

Attached is a template: Template letter PPI for you to complete and send off to the financial institutions that may apply to you.  Complete the personal details including your name and address.

You could hear back from your bank with a refund of your PPI premiums, this may also include compensation and interest on the payments you have made.

If you are unsuccessful in seeking a refund, you have an opportunity to take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service, if necessary. 

If you wish to discuss this further or need any other business advice then please contact us 0116 2423400

Sarah Knight – Bookkeeper 

The Employment Allowance

What is employment allowance?

Employment Allowance is a National Insurance credit that is offset against Class 1 Employer’s NI. The maximum amount that can be claimed in each tax year is £3,000, although you can still claim if you pay less than £3,000. When it was first introduced in 2014 you could claim up to £2,000 but it increased to £3,000 in April 2016.

Eligibility

You can claim if:

  • You are a business, including sole traders and partnerships, or charity paying Employers Class 1 NI.
  • You can claim if you employ a care or support worker.

You can’t claim if:

  • You are a director and the only employee.
  • You employ someone for domestic work e.g. Cleaner or Gardener
  • You are a business that does more than half of your work in the public sector, for example the NHS.
  • If you have more than one employer PAYE reference, you can only claim against one of them.

How to claim Employment Allowance?

You would claim through your Payroll software and tick the box next to the “Eligible for Employment Allowance”. This will then send an EPS (Employer Payment Summary) to HMRC to let them know you’re eligible and to start claiming it.

In Sage 50 Payroll:

  • Go to “Company” on the left hand menu.
  • Then “Settings”.
  • Tick the box as shown.

If you use HMRC’s Basic PAYE tools:

  • Select the relevant Employer in the menu on the homepage.
  • Then select “Change employer details”.
  • Tick “Yes” in the “Employment Allowance indicator”.
  • Send an EPS as normal.

Stopping your claim:

You only need to stop your Employment Allowance claim if you stop being eligible. You do not need to stop your claim manually if you reach the £3,000 limit before the end of the tax year, this doesn’t make you ineligible. If you do stop this claim before the end of the tax year, any credit you have already been given will be removed and you will have to pay any Class 1 NI due.

When to claim?

You can claim at any time in the tax year. If you claim late and you don’t use your Employment Allowance against Class 1 National Insurance you have already paid to HMRC you can ask them to offset it against other liabilities e.g. Corporation Tax and VAT. If you have no outstanding liabilities you can also ask them to refund it directly to you.

If you were eligible, you can claim unused Employment Allowance for up to 4 previous years. Currently you can claim back the allowance from when it was first introduced in 2014.

If you need any further guidance HMRC’s employer guide to Employment Allowance is a very useful resource https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employment-allowance

If you have any questions on the above or would like any more information, please feel free to contact us on 0116 242 3400.

Polly Dennis, Payroll Apprentice

New Lifetime ISA

The Lifetime Individual Savings Account (ISA) is a longer term tax-free account that receives a government bonus. The accounts will be available from today (6 April 2017). HMRC have produced a helpful guide on the account. Some of which is reproduced below:

Opening a Lifetime ISA

You can open a Lifetime ISA if you’re aged 18 or over but under 40.

As with other ISAs, you won’t pay tax on any interest, income or capital gains from cash or investments held within your Lifetime ISA.

Saving in a Lifetime ISA

You can save up to £4,000 each year in a Lifetime ISA. There’s no maximum monthly savings contribution, and you can continue to save in it until you reach 50. The account can stay open after then but you can’t make any more payments into it.

The £4,000 limit, if used, will form part of your overall annual ISA limit. From the tax year 2017 to 2018, the overall annual ISA limit will be £20,000.

Example – you could save:

£11,000 in a cash ISA

£2,000 in a stocks and shares ISA

£3,000 in an innovative finance ISA

£4,000 in a Lifetime ISA in one tax year.

Your Lifetime ISA won’t close when the tax year finishes. You’ll keep your savings on a tax-free basis for as long as you keep the money in your Lifetime ISA.

Lifetime ISAs can hold cash, stocks and shares qualifying investments, or a combination of both.

Government bonus

When you save into your Lifetime ISA, you’ll receive a government bonus of 25% of the money you put in, up to a maximum of £1,000 a year.

Withdrawals

You can withdraw the funds held in your Lifetime ISA before you’re 60, but you’ll have to pay a withdrawal charge of 25% of the amount you withdraw.

A withdrawal charge will not apply if you’re:

using it towards a first home

aged 60

terminally ill with less than 12 months to live.

If you die, your Lifetime ISA will end on the date of your death and there won’t be a withdrawal charge for withdrawing funds or assets from your account.

Transferring a Lifetime ISA

You can transfer your Lifetime ISA to another Lifetime ISA with a different provider without incurring a withdrawal charge.

If you transfer it to a different type of ISA, you’ll have to pay a withdrawal charge.

Saving for your first home

Your Lifetime ISA savings and the bonus can be used towards buying your first home, worth up to £450,000, without incurring a withdrawal charge. You must be buying your home with a mortgage.

You must use a conveyancer or solicitor to act for you in the purchase, and the funds must be paid direct to them by your Lifetime ISA provider.

If you’re buying with another first time buyer, and you each have a Lifetime ISA, you can both use your government bonus. You can also buy a house with someone who isn’t a first time buyer but they will not be able to use their Lifetime ISA without incurring a withdrawal charge.

Your Lifetime ISA must have been opened for at least 12 months before you can withdraw funds from it to buy your first home.

If you have a Help to Buy ISA, you can transfer those savings into your Lifetime ISA or you can continue to save into both – but you’ll only be able to use the government bonus from one to buy your first home.

You can transfer the balance in your Help to Buy ISA into your Lifetime ISA at any time if the amount is not more than £4,000.

In 2017/18 only, you can transfer the total balance of your Help to Buy ISA, as it stands on 5 April 2017, into your Lifetime ISA without affecting the £4,000 limit.

If you would like to discuss any of this further then please get in touch.  0116 2423400 or info@torrwaterfield.co.uk

Are you a parent? What are your childcare choices?

In our Winter 2016 newsletter we led with an article about the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme that was expected to be launched in early 2017.

HM Revenue and Customs have today launched the Childcare Choices website which can be reached from the related article:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-families-will-soon-see-bills-cut-as-date-announced-for-the-launch-of-tax-free-childcare

The article also gives details of the availability of up to 30 hours of free childcare for 3 to 4 year olds from September this year.

We understand that parents can pre-register from Wednesday, with the new scheme launching at the end of April.

If you require any further information or advice then please contact us 0116 2423400 

Neil Fordintro-desktop-full

Spring Budget 2017

I am sure that you have seen the headlines in the papers this morning about the Budget and for a detailed analysis please see the report on our website:

www.torrwaterfield.co.uk/news/budget-report.

The items that have caught my attention and I think are relevant to most people are as follows:

National Insurance for the self-employed

At present, if self-employed, you pay class 2 National Insurance of £145.60 for a complete year, and class 4 at 9% based on your level of profits.  The Government do not think that this is fair as employees pay National Insurance at 12%.  To level this position, class 2 National Insurance will be abolished from 06/04/2018 and the class 4 element will increase to 10% from that date, and to 11% from 06/04/2019, thus bringing the self-employed more in line with the employed.

Dividend changes again …

From 06/04/2016 broadly the first £5,000 of dividend income is taxed at 0 % (Dividend Allowance).  This will continue until 05/04/2018.  However, from 06/04/2018 the Dividend Allowance will reduce to £2,000.  This will mainly affect the family company shareholder and increase their tax liability as follows:

Basic rate taxpayer – additional tax of £225

Higher rate taxpayer – additional tax of £975

Additional rate taxpayer – additional tax of £1,143

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs)

 The overall limit is increasing from £15,240 to £20,000 on 06/04/2017.

Property and trading income allowances

Although this was mentioned last year it comes into play on 06/04/2017. It is as it says, so if you have property or trading income of £1,000 or less you will no longer need to declare this or pay tax on it.  This could cover small amounts of rent from Air ‘bnb’ activities or trading on ebay. 

New Childcare provisions

 If you are taking out new childcare provisions from 06/04/2017 then, instead of opting for a salary sacrifice scheme and receiving vouchers, for every 80 pence that you contribute the Government will contribute 20 pence. The maximum the Government will contribute will generally be £2,000.

Making Tax Digital

This will be introduced on 06/04/2018 for businesses, the self-employed and landlords who have profits chargeable to Income Tax and pay Class 4 National insurance Contributions where their turnover is in excess of the VAT Threshold, which will be £85,000 from 01/04/2017.

As this is a very new area please contact us for further information.

Salary Sacrifice

 From 06/04/2017 this is changing, but it is still beneficial for both the employer and employee to sacrifice salary in respect of employer provided pensions, childcare vouchers, workplace nurseries and cycle to work schemes. 

Construction Industry

The government are launching a consultation on 20 March 2017 to look at various areas, including the qualifying criteria for Gross Payment Status and options to combat VAT supply chain fraud in supplies of labour.

In addition to the above, certain other changes come into force on 06/04/2017 that have been mentioned in earlier Budgets namely:

Restrictions on residential property interest

Landlords will no longer be able to deduct all of their finance costs from their property income.

Inheritance Tax residence nil rate band

There will be an additional nil rate band for deaths on or after 06/04/2017 where an interest in a main residence passes to direct descendants.

As mentioned above I have only mentioned the areas that I believe will be most relevant to the majority of our clients but other areas can be found on our website.

Please contact us if you have a specific query. 0116 24243400

Julia Harrison, Tax ManagerJulia Harrison April 2012

More Personal Tax to pay in January 2018?

No one wants to pay more tax, but from 6th April 2016, individuals who receive dividends will be taxed under new legislation. To explain how much this new measure could cost you we have created a short helpful video. 

Please visit our YouTube channel here to watch.  

Having viewed the video, if you would like to know how this will personally affect you in January 2018, please click here.