Hot Topic Making Tax Digital for Business

The government have issued information on how Making Tax Digital for Business (MTDfB) is expected to work for VAT once the rules are introduced in April 2019.

Under the proposed rules, which have been issued subject to consultation, VAT registered businesses with turnover over the VAT registration threshold will be required to submit their VAT return digitally using software. Businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) will have to:

  • keep their records digitally (for VAT purposes only) and
  • provide their VAT return information to HMRC through Making Tax Digital (MTD) functional compatible software.

It has also been confirmed that MTD will be available on a voluntary basis to other businesses, for both VAT and income tax.

Exemptions will be available where HMRC are satisfied the business is run by a practising member of a religious society or order whose beliefs are incompatible with the use of electronic communications, some insolvent businesses; or where HMRC are satisfied that it is not reasonably practicable to make a return using an electronic return system for reasons of disability, age, remoteness of location or any other reason.

The proposed rules include provisions that where a business is in scope for MTD the business must use functional compatible software to meet the new requirements. This software will either be a software program or set of compatible software programs which can connect to HMRC systems via an Application Programming Interface (API). The functions of the compatible software include:

  • keeping records in a specified digital form
  • preserving digital records in a specified digital form
  • creating a VAT return from the digital records and providing HMRC with this information digitally
  • providing HMRC with VAT data on a voluntary basis and
  • receiving information from HMRC via the API platform that the business has complied.

Businesses will need to preserve digital records in the software for up to six years. The digital records include:

  • ‘designatory data’ including the business name, principal place of business and VAT registration number together with information about which VAT accounting schemes they use
  • the VAT account that each VAT registered business must keep, by law, and
  • information about supplies made and received.

Further information on the required information can be found in Annex 1.

The government will make the final detailed requirements available to the software providers by April 2018 to allow time for the software to be developed and tested prior to the rules coming into effect from April 2019.

VAT returns

Businesses within the scope of MTD for VAT will be required to submit their VAT returns using their functional compatible software.

The information contained with the VAT return will be generated by pulling information from the digital records. This information will contain as a minimum the 9 boxes required for the completion of the VAT return but can also contain a specific data set of supplementary information, all of which will be pulled from the digital records.

Businesses submitting monthly or non-standard period returns will be able to continue to do so. The VAT annual accounting scheme will also be retained with the current conditions. Businesses making these types of returns will also be required to keep digital records and submit their VAT returns through software.

Under the new rules some businesses may choose to voluntarily provide further information:

Periodic updates
Businesses will be able to submit VAT information more frequently than their VAT return obligations require on a voluntary basis as a ‘voluntary update’.
Supplementary data
HMRC believes that businesses and HMRC could benefit from the submission of supplementary data detailing how the figures in the return are arrived at. HMRC believe this additional data will help them target non compliance. The software will allow for the voluntary submission of supplementary VAT data as part of a VAT return or a voluntary update. This will allow HMRC to test with businesses the extent to which they and HMRC can benefit from such supplementary data.

Timescale

VAT is the first tax to be reportable under MTD and businesses within the scope of MTD will need to keep their records digitally, using approved MTD functional compatible software, from 1 April 2019. The software will create the return from the digital records and this will need to be submitted under MTD for return periods starting on or after 1 April 2019.

We will keep you informed of developments in this area and ensure we are ready to deal with the new requirements. Please contact us for more information 0116 2423400

Have you got a moment?

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Have you got a moment?

Do you dread hearing that in your office or, in fact, anywhere?

It invariably means that your plans have just been scuppered and that you will know have to spend a chunk of time looking at something completely different.

Exactly how long is a moment?

I guess I’ve always thought of it as being about 30 seconds but, if you’re looking for a proper definition, my dictionary simply gives it as “a brief period of time”.

It goes on to expand a little and ends with “momentous – of great importance” which implies anything but brief!

It seems from my quick research that in the Middle Ages they had a different concept of time measurement and that a moment would be equal to 90 seconds nowadays.

How should you respond to the initial question?

Clearly it depends who is asking!

My favoured response, used with care, would be something like “Yes – I’ll be with you dreckly!”

OK, so what does that mean?

“Dreckly” is a slang word in common usage in Cornwall.  It would appear to derive from “directly”, which would of course imply an immediate response.  However, in practice it has a meaning accepted to be “at some indeterminate point in the future”.

Now it crosses my mind that everyone has a different view on how many is a few … perhaps I’ll look into that another day.

Neil Ford, Technical Manager

Changes to information requirements about people with significant control

In 2016 UK companies and UK limited liability partnerships (LLPs) were required to keep a register of people with significant control (PSC register) and to file relevant information at Companies House.

New rules have now been introduced as part of the UK’s programme implementing the EU Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive and tackling money laundering and the financing of terrorist activity. Effectively, businesses are required to help police the system – in this case by supplying information about people with significant control (PSCs).

The new rules potentially affect companies and LLPs. There are also changes for Scottish limited partnerships and certain Scottish general partnerships (collectively referred to as ‘eligible Scottish partnerships’).

Most of these changes come into force from 26 June 2017, with some coming into force from 24 July 2017.

Overview of changes

There are three main areas of change:

  • how companies and LLPs report PSC information to Companies House
  • changes to exemptions
  • bringing some partnerships governed by the law of Scotland into the regime.

There is information on each of these areas of change below.

Changes in reporting

There are new timescales and new forms. Previously, PSC information was updated annually on confirmation statement CS01. Change is now event-driven and must be reported to Companies House whenever it occurs. It can no longer wait until the end of the year.

From now on, companies will need to use forms PSC01 to PSC09. LLPs and eligible Scottish partnerships will use an equivalent range of forms.

When the annual confirmation statement is made, confirmation will be required that PSC information which Companies House already holds is accurate.

There are 14 days to update the PSC register, and another 14 days to send the information to Companies House. That gives 28 days to notify Companies House of changes to the PSC register.

Exemptions

Under the old rules, some companies were exempt from the PSC rules. These were DTR5 companies which are not on a regulated market.

Under the new rules, such companies may have to comply. This could affect Alternative Investment Market companies (AIM) and ISDX (ICAP Securities and Derivatives Exchange) companies.

If the company has traded on an EEA or Schedule 1 specified market, it is still exempt from providing PSC information.

Partnerships governed by Scots law

The new rules apply a modified form of the PSC regime to limited partnerships governed by the law of Scotland and also to qualifying general partnerships governed by the law of Scotland. A qualifying general partnership is a partnership in which all partners are corporate bodies.

These partnerships do not have to keep their own PSC register, but do now have to report PSC information to Companies House. They have to identify their PSCs and return this information to Companies House within 14 days of 24 July 2017.

Any further changes to PSC information must be notified to Companies House within 14 days of the change.

Confirmation that details are still current and accurate will be required annually.

Is further guidance available?

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has updated its guidance on the PSC register. There is draft statutory guidance on what ‘significant influence or control’ means for eligible Scottish partnerships, and guidance for people with significant control.

All the guidance can be obtained from www.gov.uk/government/organisations/companies-house.

How can we help?

This is a complex area, especially if you are coming into the regime for the first time. It can also be a risky area, as failure to comply with the rules could lead to the business, its directors or partners, or identified PSCs committing a criminal offence.

If you would like to discuss these new requirements in more detail, or require assistance with this or other company secretarial requirement please contact us on 0116 2423400

Mike Waterfield

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Thinking of an Upgrade?

If the seemingly endless adverts are to be believed then if you subscribe to online bookkeeping software such as QuickBooks or Xero then your bookkeeping will become effortless, will probably be done in a coffee shop or on the go and will leave your accountant kissing an iPad with glee.

Whilst new software isn’t going to change your life, there is a lot to be said for having access to your records from any laptop/tablet/phone and from anywhere with a decent internet connection.

Online bookkeeping software allows you to send invoices and quotes to potential customers from your phone, enter purchase invoices from the sofa and even have bank transactions feed directly from your bank into the software to reduce the time taken to reconcile your bank.

The software can often be used by multiple users simultaneously, are compatible with Windows, Apple & Android operating systems and have a range of add-ons to allow data to be linked with third party software such as GoCardless or iZettle.

Cloud based software is constantly backed-up and saved by the software provider, and you can grant us direct access so there is no more need for taking and sending over backups. The software is constantly updated too so there’s no need to upgrade every few years.

If you’d like to discuss the packages available for your bookkeeping needs, or if you’re a Sage user and looking to upgrade to one of their subscription based products, please contact us and we can find the best option for you – we might even be able to obtain a lower subscription cost compared to going direct.

 

Matt Smith, Accounts Audit & Tax  

0116 24243400

Tax Calendar

The following Tax Events are due on 19th July 2017:

Business Tax Events

PAYE quarterly payments are due for small employers for the pay periods 6th April 2017 to 5th July 2017.

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.

Where the payment is made electronically the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is Friday 21st July 2017 unless you are able to arrange a ‘Faster Payment’ to clear on or by Saturday 22nd July. In year interest will be charged if payment is made late. Penalties also apply.

PAYE Student loan and CIS deductions due for the month to 5th July 2017.

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.  

Where the payment is made electronically the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is Friday 21st July 2017 unless you are able to arrange a ‘Faster Payment’ to clear on or by Saturday 22nd July. In year interest will be charged if payment is made late. Penalties also apply.

Class 1A NIC due for 2016/17.

This deadline is relevant for employers who have provided their employees with benefits for 2016/17. These benefits should have been reported by the 6th July and the amount of the Class 1A employer only NI liability due calculated on the form P11D(b).

Where the payment is made electronically the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is Friday 21st July 2017 unless you are able to arrange a ‘Faster Payment’ to clear on or by Saturday 22nd July. Interest will be charged if payment is made late. Penalties may also apply. 

We have a Tax Calendar on our website so you never miss a deadline to see future deadlines please visit our calendar  https://www.torrwaterfield.co.uk/resources/tax-calendar 

COMMUNITY INTEREST COMPANIES (CIC) – DID YOU KNOW?

A CIC is the usual legal entity for operators of a social enterprise that is non-charitable.

A CIC can be set up as a normal company ie as a company limited by shares or a company limited by guarantee.

A CIC enjoys the benefit of limited liability.

A CIC must undertake an activity that fulfils a social purpose.

A CIC is allowed to pay a salary to its directors.

Paid directors are allowed to be members of the Board.

A CIC can issue loans and bonds but there may be restrictions on the amount of interest that it may pay.

A CIC can issue shares but there are restrictions on their disposal and the amount of any dividends it may pay.

Assets of a CIC may only be disposed of at open market value and the proceeds used for community purposes.

If a CIC is wound up its assets must be transferred to another body with the same restriction on asset disposal.

A CIC is covered by the same tax regime as a normal company.

A CIC is required to file its accounts at Companies House each year.

A CIC is required to file a separate report at Companies House each year detailing aspects of its activities.

If you consider we may be able to assist with the operation of your CIC or in your decision as to whether a CIC would be appropriate for you please contact us. 0116 2423400 

Richard Jeffreys, Senior Audit Manager 

National Living/Minimum Wage Changes from 1 April 2017

From 1 April 2017 the National Living/Minimum Wage rates will increase as follows:

  • £7.50 an hour for workers aged 25 and over – previously £7.20
  • £7.05 an hour for workers aged 21 to 24  – previously £6.95
  • £5.60 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 – previously £5.55
  • £4.05 an hour for workers aged 16 to 17 – previously £4.00
  • £3.50 an hour for apprentices under 19 or in their first year – previously £3.40

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

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

 

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THE BENEFITS OF USING APPS

In today’s fast moving world we are all looking for ways to save time.  The majority of us carry some kind of hand held device, whether it is a tablet or simply a mobile phone on which we can organise our day to day lives.  We even provide our children with these devices to occupy them and give ourselves five minutes of peace and quiet!

Apps can be downloaded to hand held devices and are generally a cheap way to provide not only entertainment but also as a means to seek and manage information.  Where our children are happy to play games and line the pockets of the game creators of ‘Flappy Birds’ and ‘Candy Crush,’ perhaps we as adults are looking for something a little more informative and useful.

I monitor and manage important deadline dates for the clients of Torr Waterfield and I find the Companies House App an extremely useful business tool.  By searching for companies on this App I am able to instantly see information such as the following:

  • Company number
  • Date of incorporation
  • Registered Office address, along with a link to view the location on a map
  • The company accounts reference date
  • The date the last set of submitted accounts were made up to
  • The date the next set of accounts are due for submission
  • The date the last submitted annual return (now known as a confirmation statement) was made up to
  • The date the next annual return/ confirmation statement is due for submission
  • Nature of the business
  • Current and resigned company directors and secretaries and certain details about the company officers
  • History of submitted documents

This App is available to everyone, so if you think your business may find this company search facility useful then you may be interested to know that it can be downloaded for free.

As mentioned by my colleague Calum Ainge in his June 2016 blog, entitled Keep Up To Date And Download Our Free Tax App,’  the Torrwaterfield Tax App is also available free of charge and includes features such as key tax dates, tax tips, news, tax tables and it even has a tax calculator. app-phone

If you think that your business may benefit from the above Apps then all you need to do is either visit the App store or Google play and download your Apps for free.

Beth Judd, Accounts & Tax

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

Goodbye Annual Return Hello Confirmation Statement

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From 30 June 2016 the Confirmation Statement replaced the Annual Return.

The Confirmation Statement is intended to serve roughly the same purpose as the Annual Return but rather than providing a snapshot of your company data at a specific date, you now need to confirm that the information held at Companies House is accurate and up to date. 

As with the Annual Return reminders to file the Confirmation Statement are posted out from Companies House to the Registered Office advising that the Confirmation Statement is due.

Changes that can be submitted with the Confirmation Statement using the additional part of the form are:-

Principal business activities or standard industrial classification (SIC).

Statement of capital.

Trading status of shares.

Shareholder information.

Information about people with significant control (PSC)

Other changes (for example, registered office address or officer appointments) need to be completed separately, either before the Confirmation Statement or at the same time.

TorrWaterfield includes preparing the Confirmation Statement for clients to check, sign and return before then submitting it to Companies House, as part of our Registered Office service. This additional service can also be completed for any client upon request.  

Please contact us on 0116 242 3400 if you would like any further information regarding the new Confirmation Statement.

Heather Waterfield

Administration