Do you wear a uniform or protective clothing for work? If so you could get some tax back from HMRC

What is a uniform?

  • Specialised clothing that is recognisable as a uniform or identifies you as having a particular occupation, it could be a branded T-shirt or a full on police/nurse uniform
  • You are required to wear it at work and clean and repair it yourself  – however if your employer provides this facility you cannot make a claim (even though you might not use the facility)
  • It can’t be just clothes in corporate colours
  • You cannot claim for the initial purchase

What is protective clothing?

  • Hard hats
  • Protective boots
  • Overalls

How much could I get?

  • First of all you must have paid the tax in order to get the relief
  • You can choose to claim the actual costs, in which case keep the receipts
  • Or you can claim a flat rate based on the nature of your occupation, it is mostly a standard £60 per year allowance but some industries, such as construction, can claim relief an allowance of £120 and airline pilots can claim relief on £1,022
  • If you are a basic rate tax payer then you will get 20% of the claim back and higher rate tax payers will get 40%
  • The good news is that you can make a claim for the previous 4 years plus the current tax year (although there are some restrictions)

How do I make a claim?

  • As part of your Tax Return, or
  • There is a simple form P87 which can be filled in online
  • But if you are not sure then please contact us  as we can help with confirming your eligibility and give guidance on the amount of the flat rate

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

Denise Burley, Accounts & Tax 

Autumn Budget – 29 October 2018

So, we already knew about some of the announcements before the chancellor, the Rt. Hon. Philip Hammond MP, spoke yesterday, so much so he even made a joke about toilets and leaks. As ever there was good news and bad news for taxpayers, a full summary is on our website but here are some good news/bad news highlights:

If you are a business…

Good news

  • Capital allowances – Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) increasing from £200,000 pa to £1million pa for 2 years from 1 January 2019
  • Capital allowances – a new Structures and Buildings Allowance (SBA) for non-residential buildings on eligible construction costs on or after 29 October 2018, this will enable business to claim 2% pa on cost
  • The corporation tax rate, as previously announced, will drop to 17% from 2020

Bad news

  • Capital allowances – the writing down allowance (WDA) on special rate pools, for things such as cars with CO2 emissions of over 130g/km, reducing from 8% to 6% pa
  • Capital allowances – discontinued 100% allowances for energy & water efficient equipment, although you will still be able to claim AIA’s
  • National Living Wage (previously National Minimum Wage) for over 25’s increasing from £7.83 per hour to £8.21 (which also has an effect on the auto-enrolment pension contribution cost)

And more bad news for larger companies

  • Digital Services Tax – for large digital companies (e.g. Amazon) – 2% on revenues linked to UK
  • Corporate capital loss restriction for large companies (from April 2020) – there is already a £5m cap on income losses, this is now extended to capital losses as well
  • Employment allowance restricted to businesses below £100,000 employers NIC
  • R&D tax credit (cashing in instead of reducing tax bill) capped at 3 times the PAYE & NIC liability
  • Off payroll working (IR35) currently in force for public companies will be introduced on private medium and large companies (although not until 2020) – PAYE and NIC will be deducted from the deemed employee and Employers National Insurance will be payable by the company.

If you are an Employee…

Good news

  • Personal allowance increasing from £11,850 to £12,500
  • Higher rate threshold increasing from £46,350 to £50,000 (these two increases will mean a basic rate tax payer will save £130 pa, a higher rate tax payer £860 pa and an additional rate taxpayer £600 pa)
  • National Living Wage for over 25’s increasing from £7.83 per hour to £8.21

Bad news

Other taxes…

Good news

  • Stamp Duty – First time buyers of a qualifying shared ownership in a property of £500,000 or less will get an exemption from SDLT and this is backdated to 22 November 2017 (i.e. you can claim a refund)
  • Stamp duty refunds – the time to make a claim for a refund on the 3% supplement on buying your new home before selling your old home, has been extended from 3 months to 12 months from the sale of your old home (although the filing deadline for SDLT returns is reduced to 14 days after the effective rate of transaction)
  • Capital Gains – annual exemption increased from £11,700 to £12,000 pa

Bad news

  • Rent a room relief – you will actually need to have shared the premises during part of the time you are claiming the relief, effectively excluding income from places like Airbnb
  • Entrepreneurs relief – to qualify, the minimum period is extended from 12 months to 24 months
  • Capital Gains – private residence relief final period exemption reduced from 18 months to 9 months
  • Capital Gains – lettings relief will only apply when the property is in shared ownership with a tenant, in reality this means very few people will qualify and therefore only get private residence relief on sale of their home, however this is subject to consultation and may well change

The above is only a brief summary of the proposed changes. For a more detailed breakdown please visit our website here.

If you have any questions about the budget, or how it will impact you or your business, please contact us on 0116 242 3400 and we will be happy to help.

Denise Burley

Self-employed Class 2 National Insurance will not be scrapped

The government has decided not to proceed with plans to abolish Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from April 2019.

Class 2 NICs are currently paid at a rate of £2.95 per week by self-employed individuals with profits of £6,205 or more per year. The government had planned to scrap the Class 2 contribution and had been investigating ways in which self-employed individuals with low profits, could maintain their State Pension entitlement if this inexpensive contribution had been abolished.

In a written statement to MPs, Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, stated that:

‘This change was originally intended to simplify the tax system for the self-employed. We delayed the implementation of this policy in November to consider concerns relating to the impact on self-employed individuals with low profits. We have since engaged with interested parties to explore the issue and further options for addressing any unintended consequences.’

‘A significant number of self-employed individuals on the lowest profits would have seen the voluntary payment they make to maintain access to the State Pension rise substantially. Having listened to those likely to be affected by this change we have concluded that it would not be right to proceed during this parliament, given the negative impacts it could have on some of the lowest earning in our society.’

If you want to discuss any of this further please get on touch, 0116 2423400 or info@torrwaterfield.co.uk 

Help When You Need It

For the times when you need a second opinion, simply don’t know the answer, or it’s outside of your business remit, you can contact our dedicated Employment Law, Health & Safety and Commercial Legal Advice lines.

Because we have partnered with Croner Taxwise you’ll receive access to the UK’s leading Employment Law firm, free of charge.

Croner Taxwise specialists will offer you advice on all Employment Law related issues, acting as an external HR team for you.

Employment Law Advice Line

The specialist team will provide you with commercially sound advice on matters relating to looking after your employees and their welfare.

From managing absenteeism to calculating holiday entitlements, the Employment Law team is here to help.

Health & Safety Advice Line

The key with Health & Safety in the workplace is to proactively manage your obligations and not, as many do, wait until something happens.

The dedicated Commercial Health and Safety experts are only a phone call away. They are ready to answer any questions you may have and help you understand your safety obligations.

Commercial Legal Advice Line

Their Legal Consultants are, as you would expect, highly experienced solicitors who you can call to advise you on issues ranging from landlord and tenant litigation to ascertaining if an issue worth pursuing on formal legal representation or not.

Access to all of these advice lines is FREE to all our Fee Protection clients. Call us today to find out more 0116 2423400

The following Tax Events are due on 19th April 2018.

The following Tax Events are due on 19th April 2018:

Business Tax Events

PAYE quarterly payments are due for small employers for the pay periods 6th January 2018 to 5th April 2018.

This deadline is relevant to small employers and contractors only. As a small employer with income tax, national insurance and student loan deductions of less than £1,500 a month you are required to make payment to HMRC of the income tax, national insurance and student loan deductions on a quarterly basis.

Postal payments for month/quarter ended 5 April should reach your HMRC Accounts Office by this date.

Where the payment is made electronically the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is Friday 20th April 2018 unless you are able to arrange a ‘Faster Payment’ to clear on or by Sunday 22nd April.

Penalties apply if payment is made late.

PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions are due for the month to 5th April 2018.

This deadline is relevant to employers who have made PAYE deductions from their employees’ salaries and to contractors who have paid subcontractors under the CIS.

Employers are required to make payment to HMRC of the income tax, national insurance and student loan deductions. Contractors are required to make payment to HMRC of the tax deductions made from subcontractors under the CIS.

Postal payments for month/quarter ended 5 April should reach your HMRC Accounts Office by this date.

Where the payment is made electronically the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is Friday 20th April 2018 unless you are able to arrange a ‘Faster Payment’ to clear on or by Sunday 22nd April.

Penalties apply if payment is made late.

Automatic interest is charged where PAYE tax, Student loan deductions, Class 1 NI or CIS deductions for 2017/18 are not paid by today. Penalties may also apply if any payments have been made late throughout the tax year.

This deadline is relevant to employers who have made PAYE deductions from their employees’ salaries and to contractors who have paid subcontractors under the CIS.

Deadline for employers’ final PAYE return to be submitted online for 2017/18.

This deadline is relevant to employers.

This is the last day by which your final Full Payment Summary (FPS) for the 2017/18 tax year should be sent to HMRC.

You will not be able to file an FPS relating to 2017/18 after 19th April. If you need to make an amendment or correction to the details reported on a 2017/18 FPS you will need to submit an Earlier Year Update (EYU).

Please be aware that if we deal with the payroll on your behalf that we will ensure that this matter is dealt with on a timely basis.

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

We send monthly reminders about all upcoming tax deadlines and other important business related deadlines. If you would like to receive these email notifications please register here https://www.torrwaterfield.co.uk/registration/register 

 

 

Employer Update March 2018

National Living/Minimum Wage Changes from 1 April 2018

From 1 April 2018 the National Living/Minimum Wage rates will increase as follows:

  • £7.83 an hour for workers aged 25 and over – previously £7.50
  • £7.38 an hour for workers aged 21 to 24 – previously £7.05
  • £5.90 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 – previously £5.60
  • £4.20 an hour for workers aged 16 to 17 – previously £4.05
  • £3.70 an hour for apprentices under 19 or in their first year – previously £3.50

If you are paying any employees with reference to the National Living/Minimum Wage you will need to amend the hourly rates accordingly.

Auto-enrolment: Minimum contributions increase with effect from 6 April 2018.

Under auto-enrolment all employers have to automatically enrol certain employees into a pension scheme and make minimum contributions into that scheme. From 6 April 2018 these minimum contributions will increase as part of the phasing in, and employers need to take steps now to ensure they comply with this change.

If the qualifying earnings basis is being used, the current minimum contribution until 5 April 2018 is 2% with at least 1% from the employer.

Between 6 April 2018 and 5 April 2019 the minimum contribution is 5% with at least 2% from the employer, so contributions should be reviewed now in readiness for this.

Looking ahead, from 6 April 2019 the minimum contribution will be 8% with at least 3% from the employer.

For more information see The Pensions Regulator contribution levels guidance here.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards

Rebecca Edwards, Payroll Manager

Tax Free Allowances – Are you making the most of them?

With the self-assessment tax return deadline now well passed, we can start to look forward to 2017-18’s income and consider whether you are fully utilising your tax free allowances.

Using the following to their full potential can often be the most tax efficient way of accessing the income in your company or savings.

Personal Allowance

This is a tax free amount that everybody starts with which can be used against any type of income. For 2017-18 the personal allowance is £11,500, however, this figure may be reduced should your income go above £100,000.

If you are not using the entire personal allowance, then it may be an option to transfer 10% of this to your spouse under the marriage allowance. This can only be done though if they’re a basic rate tax payer. It means that they would receive an additional £1,150 of personal allowance thus saving them £230 in tax.

Starting Rate

For those that have a fairly minimal salary but a lot of savings income, the starting rate is something that can be used. It is an additional 0% rate band if the first £5,000 of taxable income (i.e above the personal allowance) is savings. This could be especially useful for those with large credit balances on director’s loans in limited companies as they can charge interest on this which would not only be tax free for the individual but tax deductible for the company.

Dividend Allowance

Changes in the 2016-17 tax year meant that the traditional method of receiving tax credits on dividends were scrapped and replaced instead with the ‘Dividend Allowance’. This is a £5,000 tax free band on dividends for everyone regardless of their other income. For those with a limited company this could be utilised by a spouse shareholder, regardless of if the work elsewhere, to get an additional £5,000 tax free income.

Personal Savings Allowance

The final tax free allowance is the personal savings allowance which you receive regardless of if you earn from other sources. These do however vary based on the tax band you are in as follows:                   

Basic rate £1,000
Higher rate £500
Additional rate Nil

These could potentially be utilised in the same way as the starting rate by charging a limited company interest on credit director’s loan account balances.

As each case is different, please contact us on 0116 242 3400 if you wish to discuss tax free allowances any further.

Sam Jefferson, Accounts & Tax 

Dormant companies – obligations

What is a dormant company?

A company or association may be ‘dormant’ if it is not trading and doesn’t have any other income – for example from investments.

A dormant company has different obligations for corporation tax, annual accounts and returns for Companies House in comparison to a trading company.

Dormant companies and corporation tax

Your company is usually dormant for corporation tax if:

  • the company has stopped trading and has no other income
  • is a new limited company that hasn’t yet started trading

If HMRC think your company is dormant, you may get a letter informing you of the decision to treat the company as dormant, and that you don’t have to pay Corporation Tax nor file Company Tax Returns (form CT600.)

If you have not received a ‘notice to deliver a Company Tax Return’ HMRC can be informed of company dormancy by post or over the phone.

If the company becomes active after a period of dormancy, HMRC must be informed within 3 months.

Dormant companies and VAT

If the company was registered for VAT before becoming dormant the company should deregister for VAT within 30 days of the company becoming dormant, unless there are plans for the company to continue trading in the future, then NIL (empty) VAT returns should be sent while the company is dormant.

Dormant companies and employees

If the company has become dormant and there are no plans to restart trading in the financial year, the PAYE scheme in operation by the company should be closed.

Dormant companies and Companies House

A company must file a confirmation statement (previously an annual return) and annual accounts with Companies House, even if the company is dormant for Corporation Tax, and dormant according to Companies House.

A company is classified as dormant by Companies House if it’s had no ‘significant’ transactions in the financial year. Significant transactions could include operating a payroll, earning interest or paying bank charges and fees. Non-significant transactions that are allowed to be undertaken by a company include:

  • Payment of shares by subscribers
  • Fees paid to Companies House for filing a confirmation statement
  • Late filing penalties paid to Companies House

Companies House do not need to be informed if trading is restarted – the next set of non-dormant accounts filed will show the company is no longer dormant.

If you would like to discuss any of this further then please contact us on 0116 242 3400.

Aiden Hyett, Accounts & Tax 

A GUIDE TO ACCOUNTING REFERENCE DATES AND PERIODS

I am sometimes asked, “What date should my company accounts be made up to?”. It’s a very important question because there are deadlines connected to the filing of accounts with both Companies House and HM Revenue and Customs.  Automatic penalties are issued to companies where their accounts have been filed late.  Being aware of your accounting period will help you to organise your accounting records in a timely manner and give you a chance to avoid missing these very important deadlines.

How to determine an accounting period

Every company must prepare accounts that report on the performance and activities of the company during the financial year. The financial year starts on the day after the previous financial year ended or, in the case of a new company, on the day of incorporation. Financial years are determined by reference to an Accounting Reference Period (ARP). The financial period ends on the accounting reference date.

For all new companies, the first accounting reference date is set as the last day in the month in which its first anniversary falls.  For example, if a company was incorporated on 7 January 2017 the first accounting reference date would be 31 January 2018.  The subsequent accounting reference dates will automatically be on the same date each year.  It is worth bearing in mind that a company may make its accounts up to 7 days either side of their accounting reference date which will be of interest to companies that organise their accounting records weekly, such as bars and restaurants.

Can the accounting reference date be changed?

The accounting reference date can be changed by using the appropriate form AA01. You can change the current or previous accounting period; periods can be shortened as many times as you like, but you can only extend once in five years (with exception in certain circumstances).  The minimum you can shorten a period by is 1 day and you can lengthen a period to a maximum of 18 months (or longer if your company is in administration).

The form AA01 must be received at Companies House within the delivery time of the accounting period if you wish to change the date and you cannot change it if the accounts are already overdue.

Basic delivery times for filing accounts:

 Deadline for first accounts (if covering a period of 12 months or more)
Private company/Limited Liability Partnership 21 months from the date of incorporation*
Public Limited Company 18 months from the date of incorporation*
 Normal deadline (after your first year)
Private company/Limited Liability Partnership 9 months after the end of the accounting period*
Public Limited Company 6 months after the end of the accounting period*
*or 3 months from the accounting reference date (ARD), whichever is longer.

 

It is important to note that changing the accounting reference date will also change the filing deadline date, unless the first financial year is being lengthened.  This can be particularly noticeable for shortened accounting periods where the deadline may be unexpectedly brought forward because the filing date becomes 9 months after the end of the new accounting period, or 3 months after the date the change was made, whichever comes later.

We always recommend that you send your accounting records to us well before the company accounts delivery date as this enables us to prepare your accounts in time to meet the filing deadline and avoid penalties. 

What should I do if I am unsure?

The above guide is only a summary, so please contact us on 0116 2423400 if you would like any further advice and remember, you can always check your accounting reference.

Beth Judd, Accounts & Tax 

National Minimum Wage – where are we now?

Falling foul of the National Minimum Wage rules can be expensive – as well as having serious implications for employer reputation. Many firms have been named and shamed for getting it wrong – are you compliant?

Employer errors

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) keeps appearing in the headlines. Recently the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced that some 230 employers had been named and shamed for failing to pay NMW and National Living Wage (NLW). The retail, hairdressing and hospitality sectors were among the most non-compliant. Because of BEIS intervention, more than 13,000 low-paid employees were due to receive £2 million in back pay.

But the final price tag for employers who hadn’t kept the rules was much higher. Between them, they were also fined a record £1.9 million. Business Minister Margot James said there was a clear message to employers. ‘The government will come down hard on those who break the law.’

BEIS report that common employer errors include deducting money from employees to pay for uniforms, not accounting for overtime and wrongly paying apprentice rates to workers. So, what is the latest on NMW and how do employers keep on the right side of the law?

NMW and NLW – the basics

NMW is the least pay per hour most workers are entitled to by law. The rate is based on a worker’s age and whether they are an apprentice. NLW applies to working people aged 25 and over. From 1 April 2017, the rate ranges from £7.50 per hour for those aged 25 and over, to £3.50 per hour for apprentices under 19, or for those aged 19 or over who are in the first year of an apprenticeship. Changes to NLW rates are in the pipeline from April 2018, so employers may need to plan for these now.

NMW/NLW rates are reviewed by the Low Pay Commission, but it is HMRC who police the system. Employers can be faced with court action if they don’t pay NMW/NLW. Penalties for non-compliance stand at 200% of the back pay due to workers. The maximum penalty per worker is £20,000. There is a provision to reduce a penalty by half if unpaid wages and penalty are both paid within 14 days.

Not everyone qualifies for the NMW/NLW. These include people who are self-employed: volunteers: company directors: family members, or people who live with an employer and carry out household tasks eg au pairs.

But most other workers are entitled to NMW/NLW, including pieceworkers, home workers, agency workers, commission workers, part-time workers and casual workers. There are also rules regarding agricultural and horticultural workers, with slightly different small print for England, Scotland and Wales.

In calculating pay for minimum wage purposes, the starting point is total pay in a pay reference period – before deducting income tax and National Insurance. Some payments are not included, such as loans and pension payments.

To add to the complexity, there is also something called the Living Wage, which is an hourly pay rate, set independently by the Living Wage Foundation. This isn’t anything to do with the government, and any employer who pays this does so entirely voluntarily.

Latest guidance: social care workers

HMRC have updated their guidance to clarify how NMW applies in the social care sector for workers carrying out ‘sleepover shifts’, following confusion over whether such shifts qualified for NMW. BEIS had suggested sleepover shifts carried out before 26 July 2017 qualified for a flat rate allowance, not NMW. But the decision is that NMW does apply, and applies retrospectively.

This could have left employers with bills of up to six years in back pay and penalties. But from 26 July, enforcement activity for sleepover shift pay is suspended until November, with retrospective penalties for sleepover shifts before 26 July 2017 waived. The actual back pay is still due, unless employers can show they can’t pay. Although it is envisaged that underpayments will be pursued from this date, the government says it is committed to minimising the impact of future minimum wage enforcement in the social care sector.

If you would like to discuss any of this further then please get in touch 0116 2423400

Running a payroll can be time consuming and complicated and divert resources from the core activities of your business. We can address this by installing payroll software and training your staff. Outsourcing this activity also helps relieve the pressure and we can offer cost-effective solutions. We are able to provide the complete service, what ever the size or complexity of your business, or simply provide support when needed. If you would like a quote then please call 0116 2423400 or email info@torrwaterfield.co.uk