Important changes to HMRC payment methods.

Important changes to HMRC payment methods:

HMRC are making the following changes to the way you pay tax.

 Paying at the Post Office

HMRC are withdrawing this service from 15 December 2017.

 Paying by Personal Credit Card

HMRC will no longer accept payments of tax by personal credit card from 13 January 2018.

Please note that payments by company credit cards are still accepted.

The following methods of payment will continue to be accepted;

  • Direct Debit
  • Online or telephone banking, which includes Faster Payments, Bacs and CHAPS
  • Debit card online or by telephone

For further details please see;

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

https://www.gov.uk/pay-corporation-tax

https://www.gov.uk/pay-paye-tax

Don’t overlook your December employer PAYE/NI payment

The December payment deadline is a little way off but will soon be upon us. Any electronic payment for the tax period ended 5 December 2017 must clear into the HMRC account by Friday 22 December 2017.

If you pay by cheque in the post, payment must reach the Accounts Office by 19 December.

If you shut down early for Christmas we want to remind you to pay on time or make arrangements to ensure your payment will be made on time.

If you pay the right amount at the right time and use your 13 character Accounts Office reference you won’t incur interest and Late Payment Penalties.

If you would like to discuss any of the above please contact us on 0116 2423400

Autumn Budget 2017

Yesterday saw a budget that focused, as expected, on housing and a stormy economic forecast. Our full summary is available on our website, but the key tax developments are summarised below.

Personal Tax Rates and Allowances

The personal allowance is currently £11,500 and will increase to £11,850 in April 2018. The higher rate threshold similarly increases from £45,000 to £46,350. Phillip Hammond reaffirmed his commitment to raise these thresholds to £12,500 and £50,000 respectively by 2020.

 National Insurance for the self-employed

 After the embarrassment of Mr Hammond’s U-turn earlier this year after attempting to abolish Class 2 National Insurance and increase Class 4, it was announced that in order to give sufficient time for a more popular proposal to be devised, there will be a delay of one year before any reform.

Capital Gains Tax

 After unfavourable consultation, the proposal for a 30-day window between Capital Gains arising and the tax being due has been deferred until April 2020.

 Research and Development

 Large companies claiming relief for research and development under the RDEC scheme will see their credit increase from 11% to 12% as part of plans to help the economy grow after Brexit.

Corporation Tax

Indexation Allowance – a long standing relief for companies making capital gains will be frozen from 01 January 2018. This allowance protected companies from gains that arise as a result of inflation and as a result no relief will be available for inflation accruing after this date. This move is perhaps unsurprising, with property investors more often operating through a limited company as a result of this allowance and the increased taxation of landlords in recent budgets.

 Stamp Duty

 With the youth vote rocketing in the last election, the government has decided to act further on the concerns that first time buyers are struggling to get on to the property ladder. Stamp duty will be abolished immediately for first time buyers purchasing properties worth up to £300,000. Those buying their first houses in expensive areas such as London will pay no stamp duty on the first £300,000 of properties costing up to £500,000.

 Value Added Tax (VAT)

 The VAT registration threshold will remain at £85,000 p/a for two years from April 2018. This will come as a relief for many, as some predicted this could be lowered to nearer the EU average of £25,000.

Making Tax Digital (MTD)

 As announced in July, no business will be mandated to use MTD until April 2019, and then only for VAT obligations. The scope of MTD will not be widened until April 2020 at the earliest.

The above are only the areas that I feel will be relevant to the majority of our clients, other areas and greater detail can be found on our website, click here. 

Please contact us on 0116 242 3400 if you have a specific query.

Matt Smith.

What is the VAT cash accounting scheme?

What is the VAT cash accounting scheme?

The VAT cash accounting scheme is a useful tool for many small businesses, as you only pay the VAT on your sales to HMRC once you have received payment yourself.

However, you may only reclaim VAT on your purchases from HMRC when payment of the invoice has been made.

You can join the cash accounting scheme if your turnover is less than £1.35m, and can continue to use the scheme until your turnover reaches more than £1.6m.

Your business should be eligible to use the scheme if you meet the threshold requirement, unless your VAT affairs are not up-to-date, you have been convicted of a VAT offence or have been penalised for evading VAT over the past 12 months.

What is the advantage of using cash accounting?

Clearly the main benefit of joining this VAT scheme is in the cash flow benefits it provides. If you have a late paying client for example, you will not have to account for the VAT on any outstanding sales invoices until you have been paid. In fact, if you incur any bad debts, the VAT will never need to be paid to HMRC.

What is the disadvantage of using cash accounting?

There may be some disadvantages, depending on your situation.  For example, as you cannot reclaim the VAT on any purchases you make until payment is made, this could cause cashflow problems if you buy a substantial amount of stock on credit.

Joining the cash accounting scheme

You do not need to inform HMRC if you want to join the scheme. However, you must start at the beginning of a new VAT quarter.

You can also leave the scheme at the end of any VAT quarter, if necessary, or if your taxable turnover reaches the £1.6m mark.

If you would like any assistance on joining, leaving or any further information on the cash accounting scheme, then feel free to contact  the office on 0116 242 3400.

Tom Luckett,  Accounts & Tax 

New Vehicle Tax Rates April 2017

We all know that there are a few things we need to consider before buying a new car.

These are some common questions which are asked by clients (hopefully before they go ahead and make that major purchase):

“Should I purchase a car through my business or should I use my own car for business use?”

“Should I lease or purchase a car?”

…and perhaps the most common question of all:

“How much tax will I have to pay?”

You may be interested in purchasing an electric car because you are concerned about the environment.  The government have certainly put in place tax incentives to encourage us to think ‘green’ and, with BMW recently deciding to build their future electric cars in the UK, it would seem that the motor industry is following suit.

Despite the many obvious things we all have to consider when purchasing a new car perhaps there is one thing that you may not be aware of and that is the new vehicle tax rates that were introduced from 1 April 2017.

The way vehicle tax is calculated has changed for cars and some motor homes that were first registered with DVLA from 1 April 2017.  The change doesn’t affect any vehicle registered before 1 April 2017.

The rates explained

Vehicle tax for the first year is based on CO2 emissions.  From 1 April 2017 this rate has increased and is now between £0 for electric cars and £2,000 for the highest polluting cars.  Vehicle tax rates can be checked by visiting https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax-rate-tables.

After the first year, the amount of tax that needs to be paid depends on the type of vehicle. The rates are:

  • £140 a year for petrol or diesel vehicles
  • £130 a year for alternative fuel vehicles (hybrids, bioethanol and LPG)
  • £0 a year for vehicles with zero CO2 emissions (electric vehicles)

New vehicles with a list price of more than £40,000

If a vehicle has a list price (the published price before any discounts) of more than £40,000, the rate of tax is based on CO2 emissions for the first year.

After the first year, the rate depends on the type of vehicle (petrol, diesel, alternative fuel or zero emissions) as above plus an additional £310 a year for each of the next 5 years.

After those 5 years, the vehicle will then be taxed at one of the standard rates (£140, £130, or £0) depending on vehicle type.

So for vehicles with a list price of more than £40,000, from the second time they are taxed and for the next 5 years, the amount of tax to pay will be as follows:

  • £450 a year for petrol or diesel vehicles
  • £440 a year for alternative fuel vehicles (hybrids, bioethanol and LPG)
  • £310 a year for vehicles with zero CO2 emissions (electric vehicles)

If you are considering the purchase of a new car and would like more information about the new vehicle tax rates then please click on the following Youtube video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbV7Yfud1dE

There are certain accounting and tax issues associated with business vehicles so please get in touch if you have any questions about a vehicle you wish to use in your business.  Remember it is always a good idea to ask for advice before making a major purchase as it is important to know all the facts before making a decision.

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

Beth Judd, Accounts & Tax 

Late registration for VAT can be costly to your business.

Registering for VAT is a must if your turnover reaches a certain level; it’s part of your role to ensure that your business is suitably prepared and aware of when the registration needs to be made.

The VAT registration threshold is £85,000 – meaning that once your turnover crosses this level, in a 12 month rolling period, you may have to register for VAT. This can be a big change for a business and needs serious consideration as to the effects it can have.

A failure to comply with the HMRC rules to register on time can lead to penalties which soon tally up and leave you considerably out of pocket.

The penalty is worked out as a percentage of the VAT due, from the date when you should have registered to the date that HMRC either receive your notification or become fully aware that you were required to be registered. The rate of penalty depends on how late you were in registering:

If you registered: Then the penalty rate will be:
not more than 9 months late 5%
more than 9 months but not more than 18 months late 10%
more than 18 months late 15%

There will always be a minimum penalty of £50.

If you feel that your business could be approaching the VAT turnover threshold then get in touch so that we can help. 0116 2423400

Brook Lucas, Accounts & Tax

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

When Do I Have To Register for VAT?

If you are aware of an increase in turnover, or are unsure about whether you should be VAT registered or not, the following points should help:                                                      

  • If your turnover exceeds the registration threshold of £85,000 over a rolling 12 month period then you will need to register for VAT; you will then need to calculate at what point your turnover broke this threshold.
  • Once you know when you exceeded the registration threshold, you need to register by the end of the following month. For example, if the threshold was breached on 31 August, you have to register by 30 September and will be registered from 1 October.
  • If you expect you will breach the registration threshold in a single 30 day period, you must register for VAT immediately.
  • If you are late registering for VAT, then you must pay what you owe from the point at which you should have registered; as well as interest there may be penalties which depend on what you owe and how late your registration is.
  • It is possible to get an exception from registering if your turnover goes over the threshold temporarily. To do this you need to write to HMRC with evidence as to why you believe your net turnover won’t go over £83,000 (de-registration threshold) in the next 12 months. HMRC will then respond confirming whether an exception has been granted or not – this is not always guaranteed – and if denied, they will register you for VAT.
  • You can also register at any point voluntarily – you must pay HMRC any VAT you owe from the date that you become registered.

If you are unsure, there is a helpful link online (www.gov.uk/vat-registration/overview) which explains in further detail the steps you should take when registering for VAT.

If you have any queries or concerns with regards to any aspect of VAT, feel free to give our office a ring on 0116 242 3400 and we will be happy to discuss this with you. 

Jake Dempsey, Accounts & Tax

RESTRICTION ON INTEREST RELIEF ON RESIDENTIAL BUY TO LET PROPERTIES

As many owners of rental properties will be aware, from 6 April 2017 there is a restriction on the tax relief available on mortgage interest on residential Buy to Let (BTL) loans. The restriction, which is being phased in over 4 tax years to 2020/21, will eventually limit tax relief to the basic rate of income tax, currently 20%.

For a 40% tax payer (usually taxable income over £44,000) the staggering of the restriction means that over the next 4 years, tax relief on interest will be reduced by 1/8 each year to 50% of its 2016/17 level by 2020/21. For example, a 40% taxpayer paying £2,000 in BTL mortgage interest each year will currently be entitled to £800 of tax relief; this will reduce by £100 a year to £400 by 2020/21. As income is assessed before interest is deducted, more people will find themselves in the 40% tax bracket.

This, combined with the extra 3% Stamp Duty applying to additional residential homes being purchased, amounts to a significant increase in the tax burden relating to owning residential rental property.

The tax relief restriction does not apply to companies letting residential properties, so we are experiencing an increase in requests by individuals and couples wishing to set up a limited company to acquire properties they would like to buy for rental purposes. However, the increase in Stamp Duty still applies and commercial BTL mortgage rates tend to be higher than personal rates.

In some very restricted circumstances, it is possible to transfer existing rental properties into a limited company, taking advantage of incorporation relief to hold over Capital Gains, and in even more limited cases, to avoid payment of Stamp Duty on such a transfer.

If you would like to know more, please email peter.morris@torrwaterfield.co.uk or call 0116 2423400