Do you wear a uniform or protective clothing for work? If so you could get some tax back from HMRC

What is a uniform?

  • Specialised clothing that is recognisable as a uniform or identifies you as having a particular occupation, it could be a branded T-shirt or a full on police/nurse uniform
  • You are required to wear it at work and clean and repair it yourself  – however if your employer provides this facility you cannot make a claim (even though you might not use the facility)
  • It can’t be just clothes in corporate colours
  • You cannot claim for the initial purchase

What is protective clothing?

  • Hard hats
  • Protective boots
  • Overalls

How much could I get?

  • First of all you must have paid the tax in order to get the relief
  • You can choose to claim the actual costs, in which case keep the receipts
  • Or you can claim a flat rate based on the nature of your occupation, it is mostly a standard £60 per year allowance but some industries, such as construction, can claim relief an allowance of £120 and airline pilots can claim relief on £1,022
  • If you are a basic rate tax payer then you will get 20% of the claim back and higher rate tax payers will get 40%
  • The good news is that you can make a claim for the previous 4 years plus the current tax year (although there are some restrictions)

How do I make a claim?

  • As part of your Tax Return, or
  • There is a simple form P87 which can be filled in online
  • But if you are not sure then please contact us  as we can help with confirming your eligibility and give guidance on the amount of the flat rate

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

Denise Burley, Accounts & Tax 

Would your business benefit from monthly or quarterly management accounts?

Having quality management accounts can be beneficial to your business as they can help you to grow by making it more efficient and hopefully more profitable.

Management accounts are a set of detailed accounts prepared to illustrate the company’s   performance. The goals of the accounts are to provide key financial information which will help with short term financial decisions and in planning for long term development. 

The main advantage of having management accounts is being able to control the business. If you want to make projections, cash flows or be able to be accepted for finance, management accounts are an essential starting point. They will provide you with the up to date information throughout the year to give you accurate feedback of performance. If you find that your business is growing rapidly and want to be able to plan for the future, we recommend that you put in the controls and ways of reporting now to help guide the growth.

Typically, the accounts are prepared on a quarterly basis; it is not uncommon however to have monthly reports supplied to the business.

If you feel that additional guidance is needed as your business starts to grow, then please get in contact with us so we can help you make the right the decisions. Please visit our website for a complete list of our support services Click Here. 

Or contact us on 0116 2423400 or info@torrwaterfield.co.uk 

Eoghan Macilwraith, Accounts & Tax 

 

Autumn Budget – 29 October 2018

So, we already knew about some of the announcements before the chancellor, the Rt. Hon. Philip Hammond MP, spoke yesterday, so much so he even made a joke about toilets and leaks. As ever there was good news and bad news for taxpayers, a full summary is on our website but here are some good news/bad news highlights:

If you are a business…

Good news

  • Capital allowances – Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) increasing from £200,000 pa to £1million pa for 2 years from 1 January 2019
  • Capital allowances – a new Structures and Buildings Allowance (SBA) for non-residential buildings on eligible construction costs on or after 29 October 2018, this will enable business to claim 2% pa on cost
  • The corporation tax rate, as previously announced, will drop to 17% from 2020

Bad news

  • Capital allowances – the writing down allowance (WDA) on special rate pools, for things such as cars with CO2 emissions of over 130g/km, reducing from 8% to 6% pa
  • Capital allowances – discontinued 100% allowances for energy & water efficient equipment, although you will still be able to claim AIA’s
  • National Living Wage (previously National Minimum Wage) for over 25’s increasing from £7.83 per hour to £8.21 (which also has an effect on the auto-enrolment pension contribution cost)

And more bad news for larger companies

  • Digital Services Tax – for large digital companies (e.g. Amazon) – 2% on revenues linked to UK
  • Corporate capital loss restriction for large companies (from April 2020) – there is already a £5m cap on income losses, this is now extended to capital losses as well
  • Employment allowance restricted to businesses below £100,000 employers NIC
  • R&D tax credit (cashing in instead of reducing tax bill) capped at 3 times the PAYE & NIC liability
  • Off payroll working (IR35) currently in force for public companies will be introduced on private medium and large companies (although not until 2020) – PAYE and NIC will be deducted from the deemed employee and Employers National Insurance will be payable by the company.

If you are an Employee…

Good news

  • Personal allowance increasing from £11,850 to £12,500
  • Higher rate threshold increasing from £46,350 to £50,000 (these two increases will mean a basic rate tax payer will save £130 pa, a higher rate tax payer £860 pa and an additional rate taxpayer £600 pa)
  • National Living Wage for over 25’s increasing from £7.83 per hour to £8.21

Bad news

Other taxes…

Good news

  • Stamp Duty – First time buyers of a qualifying shared ownership in a property of £500,000 or less will get an exemption from SDLT and this is backdated to 22 November 2017 (i.e. you can claim a refund)
  • Stamp duty refunds – the time to make a claim for a refund on the 3% supplement on buying your new home before selling your old home, has been extended from 3 months to 12 months from the sale of your old home (although the filing deadline for SDLT returns is reduced to 14 days after the effective rate of transaction)
  • Capital Gains – annual exemption increased from £11,700 to £12,000 pa

Bad news

  • Rent a room relief – you will actually need to have shared the premises during part of the time you are claiming the relief, effectively excluding income from places like Airbnb
  • Entrepreneurs relief – to qualify, the minimum period is extended from 12 months to 24 months
  • Capital Gains – private residence relief final period exemption reduced from 18 months to 9 months
  • Capital Gains – lettings relief will only apply when the property is in shared ownership with a tenant, in reality this means very few people will qualify and therefore only get private residence relief on sale of their home, however this is subject to consultation and may well change

The above is only a brief summary of the proposed changes. For a more detailed breakdown please visit our website here.

If you have any questions about the budget, or how it will impact you or your business, please contact us on 0116 242 3400 and we will be happy to help.

Denise Burley

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 

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 

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

Tax Free Allowances – Are you making the most of them?

With the self-assessment tax return deadline now well passed, we can start to look forward to 2017-18’s income and consider whether you are fully utilising your tax free allowances.

Using the following to their full potential can often be the most tax efficient way of accessing the income in your company or savings.

Personal Allowance

This is a tax free amount that everybody starts with which can be used against any type of income. For 2017-18 the personal allowance is £11,500, however, this figure may be reduced should your income go above £100,000.

If you are not using the entire personal allowance, then it may be an option to transfer 10% of this to your spouse under the marriage allowance. This can only be done though if they’re a basic rate tax payer. It means that they would receive an additional £1,150 of personal allowance thus saving them £230 in tax.

Starting Rate

For those that have a fairly minimal salary but a lot of savings income, the starting rate is something that can be used. It is an additional 0% rate band if the first £5,000 of taxable income (i.e above the personal allowance) is savings. This could be especially useful for those with large credit balances on director’s loans in limited companies as they can charge interest on this which would not only be tax free for the individual but tax deductible for the company.

Dividend Allowance

Changes in the 2016-17 tax year meant that the traditional method of receiving tax credits on dividends were scrapped and replaced instead with the ‘Dividend Allowance’. This is a £5,000 tax free band on dividends for everyone regardless of their other income. For those with a limited company this could be utilised by a spouse shareholder, regardless of if the work elsewhere, to get an additional £5,000 tax free income.

Personal Savings Allowance

The final tax free allowance is the personal savings allowance which you receive regardless of if you earn from other sources. These do however vary based on the tax band you are in as follows:                   

Basic rate £1,000
Higher rate £500
Additional rate Nil

These could potentially be utilised in the same way as the starting rate by charging a limited company interest on credit director’s loan account balances.

As each case is different, please contact us on 0116 242 3400 if you wish to discuss tax free allowances any further.

Sam Jefferson, Accounts & Tax 

Deadline: March 3rd 5% late payment penalty on any 2016/17 outstanding tax

5% late payment penalty on any 2016/17 outstanding tax which was due on 31st January 2018 and still remains unpaid.

This deadline is relevant to individuals who need to complete a self assessment tax return and make direct payments to HMRC in respect of their income tax, Classes 2 and 4 NI, capital gains tax or High Income Child Benefit Charge liabilities.

The balance of any outstanding income tax, Classes 2 and 4 National Insurance, capital gains tax and High Income Child Benefit Charge for the year ended 5th April 2017 was due for payment by 31st January 2018. Where the payment is made late interest will be charged. On 3 March 2018 a late payment penalty of 5% will be added to the outstanding liability.

If we have already dealt with this matter on your behalf you need take no action.

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

Tax-free childcare roll out

The implementation of Tax-Free Childcare, the new government scheme to help working parents with the cost of childcare, is being rolled out to eligible parents in stages.

The scheme first made its debut in April 2017 and although there have been initial systems problems, HMRC’s aim is to have the scheme open to all eligible parents by 14 February 2018. Application is made online through the Childcare Choices site www.childcarechoices.gov.uk and applications can be made for all eligible children at the same time.

Under Tax-Free Childcare, for every £8 the parent pays, the government provides a £2 top-up, to a maximum of £2,000 per child each year – with a higher limit of £4,000 for disabled children. This gives a total childcare pot of £10,000, or £20,000 for disabled children. To be eligible, parents must generally have minimum weekly earnings of at least £120 each. There is also an upper earnings limit of £100,000.

Compensation may be available in certain circumstances where a parent:

  • is unable to complete an application for Tax-Free Childcare
  • is unable to access their childcare account
  • or doesn’t get a decision about whether they are eligible, without explanation, for more than 20 days.

Those employing a nanny should be able to use the childcare account to pay their PAYE tax and National Insurance. Delays in getting this system working may also give grounds for compensation. Application is made online GOV.UK childcare-service-compensation 

If you would like to discuss any of this further then please get in touch 0116 2423400 or https://www.torrwaterfield.co.uk/contact-us 

National Minimum Wage – where are we now?

Falling foul of the National Minimum Wage rules can be expensive – as well as having serious implications for employer reputation. Many firms have been named and shamed for getting it wrong – are you compliant?

Employer errors

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) keeps appearing in the headlines. Recently the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced that some 230 employers had been named and shamed for failing to pay NMW and National Living Wage (NLW). The retail, hairdressing and hospitality sectors were among the most non-compliant. Because of BEIS intervention, more than 13,000 low-paid employees were due to receive £2 million in back pay.

But the final price tag for employers who hadn’t kept the rules was much higher. Between them, they were also fined a record £1.9 million. Business Minister Margot James said there was a clear message to employers. ‘The government will come down hard on those who break the law.’

BEIS report that common employer errors include deducting money from employees to pay for uniforms, not accounting for overtime and wrongly paying apprentice rates to workers. So, what is the latest on NMW and how do employers keep on the right side of the law?

NMW and NLW – the basics

NMW is the least pay per hour most workers are entitled to by law. The rate is based on a worker’s age and whether they are an apprentice. NLW applies to working people aged 25 and over. From 1 April 2017, the rate ranges from £7.50 per hour for those aged 25 and over, to £3.50 per hour for apprentices under 19, or for those aged 19 or over who are in the first year of an apprenticeship. Changes to NLW rates are in the pipeline from April 2018, so employers may need to plan for these now.

NMW/NLW rates are reviewed by the Low Pay Commission, but it is HMRC who police the system. Employers can be faced with court action if they don’t pay NMW/NLW. Penalties for non-compliance stand at 200% of the back pay due to workers. The maximum penalty per worker is £20,000. There is a provision to reduce a penalty by half if unpaid wages and penalty are both paid within 14 days.

Not everyone qualifies for the NMW/NLW. These include people who are self-employed: volunteers: company directors: family members, or people who live with an employer and carry out household tasks eg au pairs.

But most other workers are entitled to NMW/NLW, including pieceworkers, home workers, agency workers, commission workers, part-time workers and casual workers. There are also rules regarding agricultural and horticultural workers, with slightly different small print for England, Scotland and Wales.

In calculating pay for minimum wage purposes, the starting point is total pay in a pay reference period – before deducting income tax and National Insurance. Some payments are not included, such as loans and pension payments.

To add to the complexity, there is also something called the Living Wage, which is an hourly pay rate, set independently by the Living Wage Foundation. This isn’t anything to do with the government, and any employer who pays this does so entirely voluntarily.

Latest guidance: social care workers

HMRC have updated their guidance to clarify how NMW applies in the social care sector for workers carrying out ‘sleepover shifts’, following confusion over whether such shifts qualified for NMW. BEIS had suggested sleepover shifts carried out before 26 July 2017 qualified for a flat rate allowance, not NMW. But the decision is that NMW does apply, and applies retrospectively.

This could have left employers with bills of up to six years in back pay and penalties. But from 26 July, enforcement activity for sleepover shift pay is suspended until November, with retrospective penalties for sleepover shifts before 26 July 2017 waived. The actual back pay is still due, unless employers can show they can’t pay. Although it is envisaged that underpayments will be pursued from this date, the government says it is committed to minimising the impact of future minimum wage enforcement in the social care sector.

If you would like to discuss any of this further then please get in touch 0116 2423400

Running a payroll can be time consuming and complicated and divert resources from the core activities of your business. We can address this by installing payroll software and training your staff. Outsourcing this activity also helps relieve the pressure and we can offer cost-effective solutions. We are able to provide the complete service, what ever the size or complexity of your business, or simply provide support when needed. If you would like a quote then please call 0116 2423400 or email info@torrwaterfield.co.uk