The Training Continues

With just under 3 weeks until the 40 mile walk around Rutland, I completed my first practice walk. The walk will take place on the 27th of October and should take around 16 hours to complete. The team will be completing the walk for the chosen charity Coping with cancer. For previous updates read the blogs before.

We started just after 9am starting at Bradgate and finished at around 4:30 which calculates to 7 and a half hours including a pub stop. We visited the three peaks, the first being Bradgate park then Beacon Hill and Bardon Hill. The views from the three peaks made the walk worth it. All together I think we walked just under 18 miles. I’m sure the challenge leader took us the wrong way so I think we walked a bit further than planned.

The weather was perfect for the practice walk and thankfully it didn’t rain. I’m not too sure how difficult the 40 mile walk will be because it’s through the night and in the dark. The worst part was the hills which seemed like they didn’t end but hopefully there won’t be any in Rutland were the 40 Mile walk will take place.

I personally found the 18 mile walk possible but I’m not too sure I could do double the amount. Even though I’m going to give it a go and hopefully complete it all. It’s easier to walk when listening to someone tell stories and time does fly and you don’t realise how far you have actually walked.

The team will have to prepare for the walk over night with head torches and plenty of food. At least the walk will be a challenge and I’m looking forward to see how many people take part.

If you would like to show support and sponsor us no matter how small or large you can do so by donating on our Total giving page here. 

Sage Wilkins, Bookkeeper 

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 

Have you taken advantage of the Marriage Allowance?

A married couple or civil partnership can apply to transfer 10% of the income tax personal allowance from one to the other. Although called the marriage ‘allowance’, it is a transfer rather than an additional allowance.

To qualify for the allowance, neither of the partners can be higher rate taxpayers and cannot be claiming the married couple’s allowance. To benefit as a couple, one person should be earning below the personal allowance (£11,850 for 2018/19).

The maximum tax saving in 2018/19 is £237.00 (10% of the £11,850 personal allowance at 20%).

 

How to apply

 The application for the transfer is made by the person who wants to transfer part of their allowance to their partner. It is absolutely fundamental that the recipient of the allowance does not make the claim.

If your income is predictable, you can apply during the tax year here. If you apply during the tax year, the claim is in place until withdrawn or through either death or divorce.

If your income is unpredictable, because you are self-employed for example, you can make an application after the tax year on your Self-Assessment Tax Return. This claim must be done each year – it does not remain in place for future years.

 

Backdated claims

 Currently, you can backdate marriage allowance claims to include any tax year since 5 April 2015 if you were eligible. This means you could claim back as much as £662 if you can claim for 15/16, 16/17 and the 17/18 tax year.

 The Married couple’s allowance

 If either you or your partner were born before 6 April 1935 you may benefit more from the Married Couple’s Allowance instead, which you can read more about here.

For further information or help on the above, please call the office on 0116 242 3400 or email us at info@torrwaterfield.co.uk

Aiden Hyett, Accounts & Tax 

Is your child about to collect their GCSES? – You need to tell the Tax Man

(A-levels, further education or an approved training course, you MUST tell the taxman if you’re claiming child benefit or risk losing out on thousands of pounds a year)

June was a busy period for students throughout the UK as they completed their GCSE and A-Level exams, but what happens to your child benefits afterwards?

Your Child Benefit stops on 31 August on or after your child’s 16th birthday if they leave education or training. It continues if they stay in approved education or training, but you must tell the Child Benefit Office.

You’ll be sent a letter in your child’s last year at school asking you to confirm their plans.

You must report any change of circumstances to the Child Benefit Office.

‘What If my child continues education or training?’

Use the online service to tell the Child Benefit Office that your child is staying in approved education or training after age 16.

Approved education:

Education must be full-time (more than an average of 12 hours a week supervised study or course-related work experience) and can include:

  • A levels or similar – eg Pre-U, International Baccalaureate
  • Scottish Highers
  • NVQs and other vocational qualifications up to level 3
  • home education – if started before your child turned 16
  • traineeships in England

Courses are not approved if paid for by an employer or ‘advanced’, eg a university degree or BTEC Higher National Certificate.

Approved training should be unpaid and can include:

  • Foundation Apprenticeships or Traineeships in Wales
  • Employability Fund programmes or Get Ready for Work (if started before 1 April 2013) in Scotland
  • United Youth Pilot, Training for Success, Pathways to Success or Collaboration and Innovation Programme in Northern Ireland

Courses that are part of a job contract are not approved.

‘What if my child decides to leave education or training?’

Use the online service (CH459) to tell the Child Benefit Office that your child aged 16 or over has left approved education or training.

When your child leaves approved education or training, payments will stop at the end of February, 31 May, 31 August or 30 November (whichever comes first).

 Temporary breaks

 If there has been a break in your child’s education or training (for example if they change college), you might get Child Benefit during the break. In this case you should tell the Child Benefit Office.

 Apply for an extension

You could get Child Benefit for 20 weeks (called an ‘extension’) if your child leaves approved education or training and either:

  • registers with their local careers service, Connexions (or a similar organisation in Northern Ireland, the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein)
  • signed up to join the armed forces

To qualify for this, your child must:

  • be 16 or 17
  • work less than 24 hours a week
  • not get certain benefits (eg Income Support)

You must have been entitled to Child Benefit immediately before they left the approved education or training and apply for it within 3 months of them leaving.

Apply for the extension online

If you have any queries regarding this information please feel free to contact a member of TorrWaterfield on 0116 242 3400

Sam Koelling, Accountant

Are you up to date with Health and Safety?

Health and Safety is mandatory for just about every business, and it doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated to manage. If you are an employer running a low risk business the management of health and safety can be delegated to a competent person to help you with it. The HSE defines a competent person as “someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to assist you properly.”

Some of the main responsibilities which the law requires are:

  • Have a written up to date health and safety policy (If you employ 5 or more people)
  • Carry out a risk assessment
  • Display a current certificate as required by the Employers‘ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969
  • Display the Health and Safety Law Poster
  • Notify certain types of injuries, occupational diseases and events
  • Suitable first aid arrangements (first aid box, appointed person, accident book)

This is to ensure that a safe, pleasant and comfortable working environment is provided for all staff and clients and to maintain safe and healthy working conditions. Staff should familiarise themselves with the details of any policies and support their implementation by adhering to the relevant procedures.

The HSE have created the H&S ABC as guidance for small to medium businesses which explains in more detail the requirements for your business regarding Health and Safety and the necessary steps to take to make sure your business is compliant with health and safety law. For more information please visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/abc/ 

If you wish to discuss any of this further or need any further support with Health & Safety then please get in touch 0116  2423400 or amy.fisher@torrwaterfield.co.uk  

Amy Fisher, Health and Safety Coordinator 

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

P11d returns – Recap on the general principles of what is allowable.

BUSINESS TRAVEL

As we approach the time when employers have to deal with P11d returns, it is worth having a recap on the general principles of what is allowable.

Travel expenses have specific tests which must be satisfied in order for an employee to gain a deduction. These rules are different from the general rule for deductibility of expenses in that they do not need to be incurred “wholly and exclusively”. This is because with any business travel there are likely to be elements of mixed or private purpose, e.g. meals on trips or overnight accommodation. Meals and overnight accommodation come under the heading of “subsistence” and these follow the rules on business travel.

In order for travel expense to be allowable, it must satisfy one of two tests. Either

  • It is ‘necessarily incurred in the performance of duties’ or
  • The travel is ‘for necessary attendance’

Allowable business travel expenses include the actual costs of travel, the subsistence expenditure and other associated costs that are incurred as part of the cost of making the journey. They consist of expenses you are obliged to incur in performing your duties. Tax relief is not normally available on travel costs relating to commuting to and from the normal place of work, or private travel. There are some special rules on Worksite Travel Costs however, where exceptions occur that should be considered.

Road Travel – Use of Private Vehicles

You may claim a cost per mile for allowable business journeys in your own vehicle.  There is a distinction between the first 10,000 miles in any tax year and subsequent miles. The 2018 allowable mileage rates that may be claimed are as follows:

Type of Vehicle Motorcar Motorcycle – all Cycle
First 10000 Miles 45p per mile 24p per mile 20p per mile
10000+ Miles 25p per mile 24p per mile 20p per mile
       

You must retain valid VAT fuel receipts to support your claim. There is currently no HMRC requirement to state the fuel type.

Road Travel – Use of a Hire Car

Occasionally you may need to hire a car, either for a specific journey or if your own car is being serviced or repaired. If you regularly use your personal car for business travel and claim mileage rates you cannot claim the cost of the hire car, you should continue to claim the authorised mileage rates.

If you don’t use your personal car for business and you hire a car in your own name for business journeys for short term use, the hire costs and fuel are an allowable expense. If the hire car is used for personal use a proportion of the hire costs will be disallowable.

Hiring a car abroad specifically for business purposes is an allowable expense and the hire costs and fuel can be claimed.

Rail or Air Travel

The cost of train or airfares for business-related journeys is allowable. Additional costs such as excess baggage claims are also allowable if they are incurred in the performance of your duties and have no personal element.

Other Allowable Travel Costs

Allowable travel costs include bridge, tunnel and road tolls, bus and taxi fares, car-parking charges and congestion charges provided they have been incurred on a business trip.

Overseas Travel Costs

The cost of overseas travel is allowable where you are obliged to incur the expense in the performance of your duties.

Accommodation

The cost of hotel accommodation for nights spent away from home on business may be claimed. The cost of maintaining a rental property may also be allowable provided that use of the property is necessary for business purposes, and a permanent residence is being maintained elsewhere within the UK where a regular pattern of commuting back to that residence is evident. Where a rental property is not used exclusively for business purposes the proportion of costs relating to the period of private usage is not allowable. In such cases it will be necessary to determine the appropriate split of private and business usage and claim only for the business use.

The cost of accommodation in relation to site work is allowable if the period of time at the site is both expected to be no more than 24 months in total, including any time spent on-site prior to the current contract and in fact does not exceed 24 months. The “40% rule” also applies here; claims can be made for accommodation at/near a temporary workplace but never near a permanent workplace.

Incidental Overnight Expenses Allowance

On a business trip you may incur personal costs such as private telephone calls, laundry, newspapers or the cost of childcare. HMRC regards these as personal rather than business expenditure and are not allowable. However, if you are staying overnight while either away on business or on allowable work-related training, you are entitled to claim a subsistence allowance.

There are two Incidental Overnight Expenses Allowance rates: £5 per night in the UK and £10 per night overseas (including Eire). No receipts need to be produced. These allowances can only be claimed in relation to an overnight stay, for example, on a business trip in the UK lasting 5 days with 4 overnight stays, £20 can be claimed.

Incidental Overnight Expenses Allowances in relation to site work are claimable if the overnight stay is associated with a period of time at a site that is both expected to be no more than 24 months in total, including any time spent on-site prior to the current contract, and in fact does not exceed 24 months. The “40% rule” also applies here; claims can be made for accommodation at/near a temporary workplace but never near a permanent workplace.

Meals

When staying overnight meals are an allowable expense. Food and drink must have been purchased after the journey commenced. As a result of this rule costs incurred in preparing a pre-packed lunch are not allowable expenses. The levels of costs that are generally acceptable to HMRC are as follows and claims need to be supported with a valid receipt:

  • Breakfast or lunch: £15 in London and £10 outside London
  • Dinner: £40 in London and £30 outside London

HMRC accepts that reasonable costs of alcoholic beverages with a meal may be claimed. Where you have dined with work associates, only the proportion of the total cost that pertains to you as the director is allowable unless the purpose of the meal is business entertaining. Appropriate identification and explanation of the receipts must be provided in English when submitted in relation to meals overseas.

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

Nish Bathia, Director 

P11Ds – Return of Expenses and Benefits

It is that time of year again when your organisation’s P11D forms will need to be prepared and submitted to the Inland Revenue. The most common entries being the car or van benefit, with or without fuel for private use.

In addition to the above, directors/employees are sometimes provided with private health insurance.  The best way of dealing with this is to ensure that the contract is between the employer and the insurance company and therefore the amount is treated as a benefit in kind and reported on a P11D 

However, sometimes the employer will offer to pay the employee’s personal medical insurance directly.  In this case the contract for the health insurance will be between the insurance company and the director/employee and the payment is treated very differently to the above.  If the company pays the bill on behalf of the employee the amount is entered onto the P11D for tax purposes but is dealt with through the payroll for National Insurance.  This, as you can imagine, gets very messy.

This does not just apply to medical insurance but also any contract in the director/employee’s name that the employer settles on behalf of the director/employee.  Another common one that springs to mind is a mobile phone bill. 

The moral of the above is to set up medical insurance/mobile phone contracts between the employer and the supplier directly which simplifies the treatment of dealing with the whole reporting process.

The above is just a small part of the P11D system so please get in touch if you require any help. 0116 24243400 or info@torrwaterfield.co.uk

Julia Harrison , Tax Manager 

Why has my tax code changed?

“How do I know if my tax code is correct?”

Your tax code is used by your employer to calculate how much tax needs to be deducted from your pay. HMRC tells your employer which code to use to collect the right amount of tax from you. You can check your income tax online to see what your tax code is, how your tax code has been worked out and how much tax you have paid and are likely to pay in the coming months.

“What does my tax code actually mean?”

Your tax code represents how much tax free income you have for that tax year, for example the standard tax code for the 2018/19 tax year is 1185L and this means you have a tax free income of £11,850.

“What does the letter in my tax code mean?”

The letter in your tax code represents your situation and how that affects your tax free income, for example:

  • L = You’re entitled to the standard tax free allowance.
  • M & N = Marriage Allowance, this means you have either transferred or received personal allowance to or from your partner.
  • 0T = Your personal allowance has been used up or you’ve started a new job and your employer doesn’t have all of your starter details.

To see the full list on the HMRC website please click here.

“Why is there a W1/M1 at the end of my tax code?”

The W1/M1 means that the tax code is non-cumulative; in these cases tax will be calculated purely based on the taxable pay for that pay period. Each pay day is treated as if it is the first week or month of the tax year. All previous pay and tax are ignored.

There are a few reasons you may have been put on this type of code, for example:

  • Started a new job
  • Getting Company benefits or state pension
  • Becoming employed after being self employed

These tax codes are generally temporary and you or your employer can update this.

“How do I change my tax code?”

 You can use the HMRC online services to tell HMRC about any missing or incorrect information. They will then update this by sending you and your employer a P6 tax coding notice. If you can’t use the online services you can call HMRC on 0300 200 3300 and they will help guide you through and get your tax code updated.

If you would like to discuss this further then please get in touch on 0116 242 3400.

Polly Dennis, Payroll Assistant 

I’m self-employed, what do I need for my mortgage?

Applying for a mortgage always sounds like a tricky task, especially if you’re self-employed as you do not have a set and secure amount of income every year.

Previously, you could apply for a self-certified mortgage – this allowed you to disclose to your lender how much you were earning without actually providing any evidence. Unfortunately, this type of mortgage was scrapped and now all lenders require proof of income for all mortgages.

This means that if you are self-employed, you need to prove how much you earn in order to apply for a mortgage.

Lenders usually ask for the following as proof of income:

  • Two or three years’ worth of accounts prepared by a qualified accountant
  • HMRC Tax Year Summaries – that show how much income you declared to HMRC and how much tax you paid on that
  • Bank statements – including savings or ISA’s Proof of your deposit
  • Details of any debt repayments and other outgoings, including things such as childcare costs, credit purchases and pension contributions.

If you have only recently started up as self-employed, you may not have two or three years’ worth of accounts. In this situation the lender may ask for proof of future trading such as sales contracts.

Depending on whether you operate as a sole trader or a partnership the lender will assess you in different ways.  Lenders favour providing mortgages to those they consider to be low risk.  This usually includes people with a steady income that have a low risk of defaulting on their monthly payments.  For a sole trader, lenders will usually look at the net annual profit of the business.  For partnerships, they’ll look at each partner’s share of the profit.

If you have any queries on the above or would like some advice on applying for a mortgage, please feel free to contact us on 0116 242 3400.

Calum Ainge, Accounts & Tax