Are you due a tax refund, or is it a fake HMRC email / phone call?

In the current cyber-world attempted fraud is always increasing and taxpayers need to watch out not only for scam emails and texts but phone calls too.

Phishing emails are designed to steal personal or financial details and may also deliver malicious software.  Some of the most common examples involve HMRC and an email advising a taxpayer about a “tax refund notification”.  It asks the recipient to click on a link, which then requests personal banking details – leading individuals unwittingly to compromise their financial security.  HMRC scam emails often contain the taxman’s logo and official style reference numbers and increasingly appear to be genuine communications.  Scammers often sign off using the name of an actual member of HMRC staff.  These criminals are getting cleverer all the time sending their emails at peak times i.e. January, when it’s the deadline for completing your self-assessment return, and July, being the deadline for your tax credits submission.

Tax payers please take note that HMRC do not make contact by email or phone to advise you of a refund and never give personal information over the phone to someone you do not know.  If you are in any doubt contact your accountant/advisor immediately.

An example of a typical phishing email purporting to be from HMRC is shown below:

HMRC SCam

If you think you may have received something that isn’t legitimate or you’re unsure then please contact us on 0116 2423400

Mark Cunnold, Client Manager 

The Right to work in the UK

Do you know how to carry out a ‘right to work in the UK check?

The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 places a duty on employers to carry out checks to confirm someone’s right to work in the UK before employing them.

Punishments for employing an illegal worker are:

  • £20,000 for each illegal worker employed
  • Up to five years imprisonment for knowingly employing an illegal worker

Some employers may not know the specific checks and check-ups that must be used when employing a new worker:

The ‘Right to work Check’

Employers must carry out a ‘Right to work check’ on a worker before the employment begins to ensure that he or she is legally allowed to work in the UK and do the work in question. This check should be carried out on all employees to maintain accuracy and avoid any discrimination.

The ‘Right to work check’ means that an employer must check that a document, provided by the worker, is acceptable for showing the employee’s permission to work in the UK. There are three key steps to determine the check:

  1. Obtain the original version of one or more of the permitted documents
  2. Check the validity in the presence of the holder (worker)
  3. Take and retain a clear copy of the document in an un-editable format, e.g. PDF / JPEG, and record the date of the check.

These copies must be kept until 2 years after the employment ends.

List A and List B

HMRC provides two lists that show the documents required to prove a worker has the right to work in the UK. List A gives the documents that show the holder has an ongoing right to work in the UK. If an employer checks these correctly, they have an excuse against payment of a civil fine for the duration of that person’s employment.

Alternatively, List B gives documents that show the holder has the right to work in the UK for a limited time only. If an employer checks these correctly, they have an excuse against a civil penalty for a limited time. To retain a statutory excuse, another check must be carried out towards the end of this period.

HMRC’s employers guide to acceptable right to work documents explains list A and list B:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/acceptable-right-to-work-documents-an-employers-guide

HMRC also provide an online interactive tool on checking somebodies right to work in the UK. This should be used when carrying out the checking of documents, if extra clarification is needed:

If you have any questions on the above or would like any more information, please feel free to contact us on 0116 2423400.

Zahra Bates, Payroll Assistant 

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 

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

Help When You Need It

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

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

Tax investigations: What to do when HMRC comes knocking

Your business could be picked out of a hat for a tax investigation.  However, the Taxman now has extremely sophisticated software and tools to analyse your accounts and tax returns.  These days it is more likely that a business will be quickly and easily targeted for an investigation if it stands out for any of the following reasons:

  • Late filing of tax returns
  • Unpaid tax liabilities
  • Errors or omissions on tax returns
  • Fluctuations in tax returns (a drop in income, or increased costs)
  • You receive a tax refund (common for VAT returns where sales are zero rated)
  • Your income levels do not match the ‘norm’ for your business sector
  • Exceeding turnover thresholds for various tax schemes and not acting accordingly
  • You work in a high risk industry that has been targeted by HMRC
  • Your income levels are not consistent with your standard of living
  • HMRC receives a tip-off

HMRC could investigate your business in relation to its CIS, PAYE, VAT, Corporation tax or Self-Assessment Tax Returns.

Don’t Panic

Whilst HMRC may have found an inconsistency in your tax returns, or highlighted a risk area, there could be any number of legitimate reasons for this.

In most cases we find that providing HMRC with full answers to their questions, and sending them the necessary documents and evidence, will lead to them simply agreeing with your tax calculations and moving on.

What to do

  • Keep high quality accurate records
  • File returns on time
  • Pay your tax on time
  • Seek advice from TorrWaterfield

Contact TorrWaterfield – 0116 2423400

If you do receive a letter from HMRC, contact us straight away.  We can assist you throughout the entire tax investigation. 0116 2423400

We will:

  • Offer help and advice
  • Contact HMRC on your behalf, replying to their correspondence by post, email and telephone
  • Use our premises for meetings with HMRC
  • Appeal against HMRC’s decisions if necessary
  • Keep you updated throughout the whole process

Fee Protection

Many investigations are concluded after one letter, meeting or phone call.  But some can be on-going for months or years.

We encourage all of our clients to take out our fee protection.  ThStuart Caney April 2012is typically costs £190 per year.  We can then recover our cost from a third party, rather than charge you for our services. 

Stuart Caney, Accounts & Tax 

If like many of our clients you wish to benefit from this please contact Hollie Crown now for a personalised quote.

How to tell HMRC about your company car.

mercedes-1327610_960_720.jpg

You’ll pay tax if you or your family use a company car privately, including for commuting.

You pay tax on the value to you of the company car, which depends on things like how much it would cost to buy and the type of fuel it uses.

This value of the car is reduced if:

  • you have it part-time
  • you pay something towards its cost
  • it has low CO2 emissions

If your employer pays for fuel you use for personal journeys, you’ll pay tax on this separately.

If you need to pay tax on your company car, you can use HMRC’s online service to:

  • check your company car’s details
  • tell HMRC about any changes to your car since 6 April
  • update your fuel benefit, if your employer pays for fuel

You’ll need:

  • the car’s list price (including VAT and accessories) – you can get this from the manufacturer or your employer
  • CO2 emissions information
  • your National Insurance number the first time you sign in

You can do this here. You will need a HMRC online user id and password

When you can’t use this service

You can’t use the company car tax service if:

  • you’re part of a car averaging or car sharing scheme
  • your employer is managing benefits and expenses through the company payroll (known as ‘payrolling’)

Contact HMRC or your employer to update your company car details if you can’t do it online.

Personal tax account

Signing in to the company car tax service activates your personal tax account. You can use this to check your HMRC records and manage your other details.

Check your tax code

Updating your company car details may change your tax code. Check or update this using your personal tax account.

If you would like any further information then please contacts us, 0116 2423400 or info@torrwaterfield.co.uk

Becky Edwards, Payroll Manager 

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