Tax refund scams warning from HMRC

HMRC has issued a warning to taxpayers regarding the latest tax refund scams. These scams are targeting individuals via email and SMS messages.

HMRC is currently processing genuine tax refunds for the 2017/18 tax year and the fraudsters are sending scam messages which claim that taxpayers are entitled to a rebate. These messages go on to request that they provide their personal and account details in order to make their claim.

HMRC is keen to stress that it will only ever inform individuals of a tax refund by post or through their employer, and never via email, text messaging or voicemail.

Commenting on the issue, Treasury Minister Mel Stride said

We know that criminals will try and use events like the end of the financial year, the self assessment deadline, and the issuing of tax refunds to target the public and attempt to get them to reveal their personal data’.

HMRC is advising taxpayers not to click on any links, download any attachments or provide any personal information, and to forward any suspect messages to HMRC.

Please get in touch if you wish to discuss any of this further.

Torrwaterfield – 0116 2423400 info@torrwaterfield.co.uk

Clause 24 in the Finance Act – Is it affecting you?

We have known for some time that Landlords have been hit hard by recent tax changes:

  • Clause 24 restricting relief for interest;
  • 8% extra capital gains tax;
  • 3% extra stamp duty.

Clause 24 of the Finance Act set out restrictions for individuals on claiming loan interest as a cost against property investment income, for individuals it works as follows:

  • For the tax year just ended 2017/2018, 75% of the interest can be claimed in full and 25% will get relief at 20%;
  • For this tax year just started 2018/19, 50% of the interest can be claimed in full and 50% will get relief at 20%;
  • From 6 April next year to 5 April 2020, 25% of the interest can be claimed in full and 75% will get relief at 20%;
  • And finally from 6 April 2021, 100% will get only 20% relief.

Essentially Clause 24 removes Interest from the allowable property expenses, and gives you tax relief at 20% instead, so that Higher Rate tax payers will pay more tax.

However, these rules do not apply to companies and therefore they will continue to claim full relief.

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

Paul Witherington, Accounts & Tax 

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 

The following Tax Events are due on 19th April 2018.

The following Tax Events are due on 19th April 2018:

Business Tax Events

PAYE quarterly payments are due for small employers for the pay periods 6th January 2018 to 5th April 2018.

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.

Postal payments for month/quarter ended 5 April should reach your HMRC Accounts Office by this date.

Where the payment is made electronically the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is Friday 20th April 2018 unless you are able to arrange a ‘Faster Payment’ to clear on or by Sunday 22nd April.

Penalties apply if payment is made late.

PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions are due for the month to 5th April 2018.

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.

Postal payments for month/quarter ended 5 April should reach your HMRC Accounts Office by this date.

Where the payment is made electronically the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is Friday 20th April 2018 unless you are able to arrange a ‘Faster Payment’ to clear on or by Sunday 22nd April.

Penalties apply if payment is made late.

Automatic interest is charged where PAYE tax, Student loan deductions, Class 1 NI or CIS deductions for 2017/18 are not paid by today. Penalties may also apply if any payments have been made late throughout the tax year.

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.

Deadline for employers’ final PAYE return to be submitted online for 2017/18.

This deadline is relevant to employers.

This is the last day by which your final Full Payment Summary (FPS) for the 2017/18 tax year should be sent to HMRC.

You will not be able to file an FPS relating to 2017/18 after 19th April. If you need to make an amendment or correction to the details reported on a 2017/18 FPS you will need to submit an Earlier Year Update (EYU).

Please be aware that if we deal with the payroll on your behalf that we will ensure that this matter is dealt with on a timely basis.

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

We send monthly reminders about all upcoming tax deadlines and other important business related deadlines. If you would like to receive these email notifications please register here https://www.torrwaterfield.co.uk/registration/register 

 

 

How do you complete a Monthly CIS Return?

What is CIS?

The Construction Industry Scheme is a method of deducting tax from subcontractors in the building sector. Contractors deduct a percentage of the money owed on their payments to subcontractors and pass it over directly to HMRC. The amounts are effectively taxed at source as the sub-contractor does not get the money.  The deducted CIS tax counts as advance payments towards the tax and National Insurance contributions that will be calculated upon completion of the subcontractor’s self-assessment tax return.

What do I need to complete a return?

Monthly CIS returns need to be submitted by the contractor to HMRC to disclose the amount of CIS which has been deducted and is therefore due to be paid over to HMRC.

The contractor needs from the subcontractor an invoice which states the money they are owed.

The invoice should split out the materials and labour with CIS only being deductible on the labour element of the invoice. CIS is deducted at 20% providing the subcontractor has a UTR (unique tax reference) number which should be displayed on the invoice. If there is no UTR number then CIS will be deducted at 30%.

How do I do it?

CIS periods run from the 6th of the month to the 5th of the month following – for example, 6th March – 5th April. The CIS return then needs to be submitted and the liability paid over within two weeks of the period end – 19th April for example in order to avoid facing late filing charges. The return can be manually entered under the contractor’s logon on the HMRC website or it can be submitted via numerous accounting software programmes. The CIS is payable to HMRC upon payment of the invoice and not the date the invoice is issued, so it should only be included on the CIS return at this point. Once the return has been submitted to HMRC, statements should be sent out to all subcontractors for their own records.

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

Brook Lucas, Accounts & Tax 

With effect from 6 April 2018, all PILONs will be chargeable to Income Tax and Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (NICs)

With effect from 6 April 2018, all PILONs will be chargeable to Income Tax and Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (NICs), whether or not they are contractual payments. Payments or benefits paid in connection with the termination of a person’s employment will be split into two elements. The first element, post-employment notice pay (PENP) received is taxable as general earnings and will be subject to Class 1 NICs from 6 April 2018. The PENP represents the earnings that the employee would have received had they been given and worked their full and proper notice and on which they would ordinarily have paid tax and Class 1 NICs.

PENP is calculated by applying a formula to the total amount of the payment or benefits paid in connection with the termination of an employment. The second element is the remaining balance of the termination payment, or benefit, is not a PENP. This is taxable as specific employment income to the extent that it exceeds £30,000 and is treated in the same way as other payments and benefits taxable under section 403 Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003.

PENP calculations should not be applied to statutory and non-statutory redundancy payments. These payments are always taxable as specific employment income and subject to the £30,000 exemption where appropriate. As an employer, you will be required to apply the PENP formula to the total amount of relevant termination payments, or benefits. You should operate PAYE to deduct income tax and Class 1 NICs from the amount of PENP from 6 April 2018. You should then apply the £30,000 exemption, where applicable, to the second element of the relevant termination payment and deduct income tax (but not NICs) accordingly. Detailed guidance on how and to what payments you should apply the PENP formula to will be published in the Employment Income Manual in due course

Foreign Service relief

Foreign Service relief on termination payments is being removed for UK residents. Employees whose employment is terminated on, or after, 6 April 2018 and who receive a payment or benefit in connection with that termination will not be eligible for tax relief in respect of any period of foreign service undertaken as part of their office or employment if they are UK resident for the tax year in which their employment is terminated. This change is subject to parliamentary approval. Foreign Service relief will be retained for seafarers.

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

Are You Washing Away Your Potential Tax Refund?

If you wear a uniform or protective clothing at work and you have to wash it yourself you may be due a tax refund from HMRC, and if you don’t claim it, you’ll lose it after 4 years.

This typically applies to:

Retail staff

Hospitality & catering

Nurses, doctors, dentists and other healthcare workers

Police officers

Airline staff / cabin crew / pilots

Public transport (London Underground staff, train conductors, bus drivers)

Engineers & mechanics

Builders / plumbers / carpenters

PE teachers

However any item of clothing with a company logo on it can be claimed for!

How much can I claim?

The amount you can claim depends on your job. If claiming for the full 4 years, the standard rebate for most employees is £48. However for certain professions HMRC has agreed higher allowances. There are numerous calculators online that will inform you how much you are entitled to based on your circumstances.

How do I claim?

There are currently three ways to claim your refund:

  • By entering it as a deduction on your Self-Assessment tax return if you already fill one in.

 

 

  • By phone if you’ve had a successful claim in a previous year and your expenses are less than £1,000.

 

If you require any more information please contact the office on 0116 242 3400.

Tom Luckett, Accounts & Tax 

Lower heating bills for renters – Landlords do you need to make changes?

From 1 April 2018 all privately rented properties must have a minimum energy performance rating of “E”.

This means landlords must make improvements to homes, upgrading insulation or heating systems for example, which should make them cheaper to heat.

The regulations will come into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020.

The Government has announced it will be unlawful to rent out a property which breaches this minimum rating, meaning properties which fall in the less efficient “F” or “G” categories will no longer be acceptable.

A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for landlords who let homes that fall below the minimum standard.

Which properties are affected by the changes?

The new regulations apply to private, domestic rented properties in England and Wales which are let under an assured tenancy or a shorthold tenancy. The tenancy should be regulated under the Rent Acts including assured agricultural occupancy, protected and statutory tenancies under the Rent Act 1976.

The properties affected are any domestic, privately rented properties which are required by law to have an EPC or are contained within a larger unit which is required to have one. This includes houses, flats and self-contained units but isn’t applicable to bedsits. The EPC cannot be more than 10 years old.

Which properties are excluded?

Protected buildings and structures (such as those with listed status or restricted environmental regulations) are exempt if the measures needed to improve energy efficiency will alter the character or appearance of the building. In addition, temporary structures with intended use times of 2 years or less, residences used for less than 4 months of a year and buildings with floor area of less than 50 square metres are also exempt.

 Are there rules about how energy efficiency is improved?

There are no regulations relating to how the energy efficiency rating E is achieved so it is up to the individual landlord what work is carried out on the property. The regulations stipulate that only cost-effective improvements should be made and it’s possible that a landlord could be exempt in some cases. For example, if a landlord can prove that they’ve taken all possible cost-effective measures to make improvements but the rating still remains below E. Or, in some cases, the landlord may be unable to obtain consent from the occupying tenant.

Are there exemptions?

Any properties which are exempt from the new regulations need to be registered on the PRS Exemptions Register. This registration has been open since October 2017. Failure to register will be seen as non-compliance with the regulations. Once a property is assessed and declared exempt this remains valid for 5 years. After that period it would need to be reassessed.

How the regulations are enforced and what are the penalties?

The regulations will be enforced by the local authority who will serve landlords with compliance notices to confirm properties either meet the required standards or have been declared as exempt. If they find a landlord has not complied with either they are able to issue a penalty fine which, cumulatively, could reach up to £5,000. A landlord can request a review of a penalty notice followed by an appeals process if they are still not satisfied with the local authority’s decision.

There are several improvements you can make to a property which will improve the energy efficient rating and many are very simple to carry to out. You could improve the energy efficiency of your property significantly by:

  • Replacing a non-condensing boiler with a new condensing, A rated boiler with over 90% energy efficiency.
  • Installing or improving insulation in walls, roof, and loft spaces, pipework etc. to prevent heat loss. You may even be able to qualify for a free insulation grant to help with the cost.
  • Installing solar panels and a solar energy storage system to reduce the property’s energy dependence on the National Grid
  • Installing double glazed windows to reduce the amount of heat escaping through poorly fitted frames or basic single glazing.

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

Hollie Crown, Office Manager

Employer Update March 2018

National Living/Minimum Wage Changes from 1 April 2018

From 1 April 2018 the National Living/Minimum Wage rates will increase as follows:

  • £7.83 an hour for workers aged 25 and over – previously £7.50
  • £7.38 an hour for workers aged 21 to 24 – previously £7.05
  • £5.90 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 – previously £5.60
  • £4.20 an hour for workers aged 16 to 17 – previously £4.05
  • £3.70 an hour for apprentices under 19 or in their first year – previously £3.50

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

Auto-enrolment: Minimum contributions increase with effect from 6 April 2018.

Under auto-enrolment all employers have to automatically enrol certain employees into a pension scheme and make minimum contributions into that scheme. From 6 April 2018 these minimum contributions will increase as part of the phasing in, and employers need to take steps now to ensure they comply with this change.

If the qualifying earnings basis is being used, the current minimum contribution until 5 April 2018 is 2% with at least 1% from the employer.

Between 6 April 2018 and 5 April 2019 the minimum contribution is 5% with at least 2% from the employer, so contributions should be reviewed now in readiness for this.

Looking ahead, from 6 April 2019 the minimum contribution will be 8% with at least 3% from the employer.

For more information see The Pensions Regulator contribution levels guidance here.

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

Regards

Rebecca Edwards, Payroll Manager