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

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

Construction Industry – Subcontractor verification changes from 6 April 2017

Construction Industry – subcontractor verification’s

HMRC have confirmed in the latest Employer Bulletin that changes will be made to the verification of subcontractors in the construction Industry Scheme (CIS) from 6 April 2017.

From 6 April 2017, contractors must use an approved method of electronic communication to verify their subcontractors. So from 6 April 2017 HMRC will no longer accept any telephone calls to verify subcontractors and from then contractors must verify subcontractors using:

  • the free HMRC CIS online service, or
  • commercial CIS software.

This change is one of a series made to CIS to increase HMRC efficiency and accuracy, and to reduce administration. HMRC are also reminding contractors that they have also introduced additional features of the online system including the ability to amend returns online, and the addition of an online message/alert service.

Please contact us for help with CIS issues. 0116 2423400

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

Have you paid your self-assessment bill?

Tax Payments – How late can you be?

With the madness of the January tax return deadline, it may have slipped some of your minds to actually pay your self-assessment bill. If this is the case then you may be wondering how you will be penalised for doing so.

For those that have filed their self-assessment tax return before the deadline but have not paid the bill, there will be interest accruing at 2.75% pa for the first 30 days.

However, after 30 days from the deadline the full amount of tax due will be subject to a 5% penalty. This means that if you had a liability of £5,000 unpaid by midnight on 2 March 2017, there would be an immediate fine of £250 added to your account.

Similarly, if after 6 and 12 months from the filing deadline you have not paid the full balance, then there would be additional 5% penalties on the tax outstanding at those dates.

Furthering the example above, should there still be an outstanding debt of £5,000 on 1 August 2017 then an additional £250 penalty will be accrued and if the debt has still not been settled by 1 February 2018 then another £250 will be added. This means that within just 12 months, a £5,000 tax bill will have penalties totaling £750.

On top of this there will also still be interest accruing on both the tax and penalties. Making the estimated amount owing on 1 February 2018 £5,887.

Sam Jefferson, Accounts & Tax 

If you need further help please contact us.

Autumn Statement 2016

On Wednesday 23 November 2016 our new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, delivered his first (and last) Autumn Statement. 4221396001_5220447677001_5220145961001-vs

“No other major economy makes hundreds of tax changes twice a year, and neither should we” – this is perhaps the most welcome measure announced in the Autumn Statement.  In recent years the Autumn Statement has been a mini-Budget, meaning that many, sometimes significant, tax changes were being announced twice a year.  This has been problematic in terms of giving taxpayers a reduced degree of certainty regarding planning their tax affairs (plus it means I have to write an extra blog each year) so for this announcement alone, Philip Hammond gets a ‘thumbs up’ from me!

Following the spring 2017 Budget, the Budget will be delivered each autumn – spring will be reserved for a statement from the Office of Budget Responsibility to respond to their previous forecast.  The odd tweak of fiscal policy may be made each spring, if economic circumstances require it – personally I think this option has been retained so the Government are able to be more flexible in response to the future impact of Brexit (you can infer from that what you will…I’m taking it as that they have no idea what the impact will be).  I’m also hoping that an autumn Budget will give more time for us all to absorb the changes before they come into force the following April.

Our full Autumn Statement roundup can be found on our website here, but below are the main points that I think are relevant to our clients and their businesses.  A lot of the announcements aren’t new, but are instead Philip Hammond confirming that he plans to keep some of his predecessor’s policies.

Personal Tax Rates and Allowances

The personal allowance is currently £11,000 and will increase to £11,500 from April 2017.  The reduction in personal allowance for those with higher income (‘adjusted net income’ over £100,000) remains so that, from April 2017, there will be no personal allowance available where ‘adjusted net income’ is over £123,000. 

The higher rate threshold will increase from £43,000 currently to £45,000 from April 2017, for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance.

Philip Hammond confirmed his intention to keep George Osborne’s policy to increase the personal allowance to £12,500, and the higher rate threshold to £50,000, by the end of this Parliament.

Corporation Tax Rates and Allowances

The new corporation tax rates from April 2017 to March 2021 were announced at the Budget and have now been enacted – the rate will be reduced from 20% to 19% from April 2017 and a further 2% to 17% from April 2020, which will be welcomed by small and large businesses alike.

Again, this was announced in the Budget but has been kept by the new Chancellor – corporate losses (excluding capital losses) arising after 1 April 2017, when carried forward, will be able to be used against future profits from other streams.  Currently there are restrictions on how the losses can be relieved, which is restrictive for certain types of business.

National Insurance Contributions (NIC)

Previously payable by the self-employed, Class 2 NIC is being abolished from April 2018 – we knew this was coming, however what we didn’t know was how self-employed taxpayers would get entitlement to basic state pension and other contributory benefits and allowances, as payment of Class 4 NIC (also paid by the self-employed) has not in the past been ‘contributory’.  From April 2018, Class 4 NIC will become ‘contributory’ and those paying it will be entitled to state pension etc.  Those with income below the Small Profits Limit (£5,965 in 2016/17) will be able to pay Class 3 NIC, currently £14.10 per week to ‘top-up’ their entitlement.  There will no longer be the option for these individuals of voluntarily paying Class 2 NIC, for which the current rate is a mere £2.80 per week!

The Office for Tax Simplification are tasked with – you guessed it – making tax simpler.  One of their recommendations that is being implemented is the alignment of the thresholds at which employees and employers pay Class 1 NIC.

Other Payroll Matters

Having only been increased in October 2016, The National Living Wage is increasing from £7.20 to £7.50 from April 2017 and smaller increases to the National Minimum Wage are also coming in – full details on our website here

I mentioned in a blog post on 11 October 2016 that the Government have been consulting on the use of salary sacrifice schemes and on Wednesday, the Chancellor outlined the changes to be introduced from April 2017.  Salary sacrifice arrangements (other than relating to pensions, childcare, cycle to work and ultra-low emission cars) entered into after this date will no longer enjoy tax and national insurance savings – however agreements entered into before this date will remain tax and NI-free until April 2018, so subject to the administrative hurdles that have to be jumped for an effective salary sacrifice, there’s still some mileage left in them yet!

Philip Hammond continues George Osborne’s assault on company car drivers with a further 2% increase in the percentage applied to each band of company car from April 2018, and a further 3% from April 2019.  From April 2017, pure electric cars will be charged at 9%, rising to 13% in April 2018 and 16% in April 2019 – a huge increase from the 7% benefit in kind in the current year.  I can only assume this is a reaction to the amount of employers who have provided these cars to employees, and benefited from the low rate.  I do find it a little disappointing that tax incentives are introduced to encourage certain behaviours (such as the provision of electric cars) and then as soon as people actually take the Government up on their offer, it effectively gets withdrawn – this is especially harsh when it relates to company cars as many of these will be leased over a number of years and therefore the business and employees are stuck with the cars that no longer afford them the low tax charges that were in place when the vehicles were first provided.

VAT Flat Rate Scheme Anti-Avoidance

 Businesses registered for VAT under the flat rate scheme pay over VAT at a specific rate (currently between 4% and 14.5%) as determined by their type of business – it simplifies the accounting for VAT as these businesses pay VAT over to HMRC at a lower rate than the 20% they charge to customers, but do not reclaim VAT on most expenses.  For many small businesses, this can be both time-saving and money-saving.  From April 2017 a new 16.5% rate will apply to businesses with limited costs (i.e. labor-only businesses) using the flat rate scheme.  The details on which businesses will be affected by this are on our full Autumn Statement update here

Making Tax Digital

HM Revenue & Customs are consulting on various measures intended to bring the UK tax system into the digital age.  A major change is that from April 2018, most self-employed taxpayers and landlords will be required to keep their records digitally, update HMRC at least quarterly, plus submit a year end declaration.  While HMRC are keen to emphasis that this does not mean five tax returns per year, we eagerly await the details on how the proposals will work in practice when HMRC issue their response to the consultations in January 2017.

If you want to discuss any of this further then please get in touch here.

Katie Kettle, Chartered Certified Accountant

Technical Manager

 Katie Kettle Colour

Thinking of buying commercial property?

Before any purchase takes place you should always take advice as tax sacommercial-buildings-5-1508697.jpgvings are there to be made. In many cases the contract drawn up by solicitors will need to be worded carefully to ensure tax savings can be considered.

The Capital Allowances Act 2001 entitles a purchaser to claim tax relief in respect of the proportion of the expenditure that relates to eligible assets – known collectively as fixed “plant and machinery”.

Here are a few key points:

  • Capital allowances are available on second-hand property.
  • Optimising capital allowances improves cash flow.
  • Failure to comply with the rules can mean that qualifying expenditure is nil.

Capital allowances give tax relief for property owners. There are several types of allowances, applicable to different asset categories. The principal forms, found in all commercial properties are plant and machinery and integral features.

All too often, capital allowances are left unclaimed for several years. The reason for this may be a lack of awareness (by both clients and their advisers). This is not the case at Torr Waterfield, so whenever you are thinking about buying commercial property contact your account manager   before any purchase takes place so we can ensure you don’t miss out on potential tax savings.

If you would like to discuss this further please contact us. 

Mark Cunnold, Accountant & Client Manager Mark Cunnold 2 April 2012