Have you become a landlord?

You can become a landlord for many different reasons; you might not even think of yourself as one. This could be because you’ve:

  • inherited a property
  • rented out a flat to cover your mortgage payments
  • moved in with someone and need to rent out your house.

If you follow this link http://bit.ly/2w4rf17 it takes to the gov.uk web page for Guidance on HMRC’s Let Property Campaign.

On the page there are examples of the most common tax errors people make when renting out their property and are all part of the Let Property Campaign which aims to help landlords bring their tax affairs back in to order. These include:

  1. Moving in with a partner and renting your property.
  2. Inheriting a property.
  3. Property bought as an investment.
  4. Relocation
  5. Divorce
  6. Moving in to a Care Home.
  7. Jointly owned investment property.
  8. Property bought for a family member at university.
  9. Armed Forces.
  10. Tied accommodation.

If any of the above apply to you, or if you are unsure whether your circumstances are covered, you can contact HM Revenue and Customs direct or you may wish to discuss matters with us first. Please call us on 0116 2423400

Linda Plumb, Credit Control

Did you look after your Grandchildren this summer?

Get paid to babysit!

Did you look after your Grandchildren this summer?  If they are aged under 12 you could be missing out on the chance to boost your future State Pension.

Top Grandparent facts:

  • 1 in 4 working families and 1 in 3 working mothers use Grandparents for childcare
  • 63% of all Grandparents with grandchildren under 16 help out with childcare
  • 1 in 5 Grandmothers provide at least 10 hours a week of childcare
  • the proportion of Grandparents who are of working age is set to grow as the retirement age gradually rises

Half of Britain’s 7 million working-age Grandparents have a Grandchild under the age of 16 and could qualify for Class 3 National Insurance credits for looking after children aged under 12 – which can be used to top up their income in retirement.

Applications for NI credits for caring for children under 12 need to be made to HM Revenue & Customs.  Applications need to be made in, or after, the October following the end of the tax year in which the caring took place.

Grandparents who have cared for their Grandchildren during the tax year 2011/12 are still able to apply for their credits now.

There is no minimum condition for the number of hours of care in a week as long as the credit is transferred for a full week.

This scheme will benefit women, and the self-employed who currently cannot qualify for state second pension.

If you have any questions or want to discuss this further then please get in touch 0116 2423400

Georginda Hare, BookkeeperGeorginda Hare BC.JPG

Are you a parent? What are your childcare choices?

In our Winter 2016 newsletter we led with an article about the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme that was expected to be launched in early 2017.

HM Revenue and Customs have today launched the Childcare Choices website which can be reached from the related article:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-families-will-soon-see-bills-cut-as-date-announced-for-the-launch-of-tax-free-childcare

The article also gives details of the availability of up to 30 hours of free childcare for 3 to 4 year olds from September this year.

We understand that parents can pre-register from Wednesday, with the new scheme launching at the end of April.

If you require any further information or advice then please contact us 0116 2423400 

Neil Fordintro-desktop-full

Spring Budget 2017

I am sure that you have seen the headlines in the papers this morning about the Budget and for a detailed analysis please see the report on our website:

www.torrwaterfield.co.uk/news/budget-report.

The items that have caught my attention and I think are relevant to most people are as follows:

National Insurance for the self-employed

At present, if self-employed, you pay class 2 National Insurance of £145.60 for a complete year, and class 4 at 9% based on your level of profits.  The Government do not think that this is fair as employees pay National Insurance at 12%.  To level this position, class 2 National Insurance will be abolished from 06/04/2018 and the class 4 element will increase to 10% from that date, and to 11% from 06/04/2019, thus bringing the self-employed more in line with the employed.

Dividend changes again …

From 06/04/2016 broadly the first £5,000 of dividend income is taxed at 0 % (Dividend Allowance).  This will continue until 05/04/2018.  However, from 06/04/2018 the Dividend Allowance will reduce to £2,000.  This will mainly affect the family company shareholder and increase their tax liability as follows:

Basic rate taxpayer – additional tax of £225

Higher rate taxpayer – additional tax of £975

Additional rate taxpayer – additional tax of £1,143

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs)

 The overall limit is increasing from £15,240 to £20,000 on 06/04/2017.

Property and trading income allowances

Although this was mentioned last year it comes into play on 06/04/2017. It is as it says, so if you have property or trading income of £1,000 or less you will no longer need to declare this or pay tax on it.  This could cover small amounts of rent from Air ‘bnb’ activities or trading on ebay. 

New Childcare provisions

 If you are taking out new childcare provisions from 06/04/2017 then, instead of opting for a salary sacrifice scheme and receiving vouchers, for every 80 pence that you contribute the Government will contribute 20 pence. The maximum the Government will contribute will generally be £2,000.

Making Tax Digital

This will be introduced on 06/04/2018 for businesses, the self-employed and landlords who have profits chargeable to Income Tax and pay Class 4 National insurance Contributions where their turnover is in excess of the VAT Threshold, which will be £85,000 from 01/04/2017.

As this is a very new area please contact us for further information.

Salary Sacrifice

 From 06/04/2017 this is changing, but it is still beneficial for both the employer and employee to sacrifice salary in respect of employer provided pensions, childcare vouchers, workplace nurseries and cycle to work schemes. 

Construction Industry

The government are launching a consultation on 20 March 2017 to look at various areas, including the qualifying criteria for Gross Payment Status and options to combat VAT supply chain fraud in supplies of labour.

In addition to the above, certain other changes come into force on 06/04/2017 that have been mentioned in earlier Budgets namely:

Restrictions on residential property interest

Landlords will no longer be able to deduct all of their finance costs from their property income.

Inheritance Tax residence nil rate band

There will be an additional nil rate band for deaths on or after 06/04/2017 where an interest in a main residence passes to direct descendants.

As mentioned above I have only mentioned the areas that I believe will be most relevant to the majority of our clients but other areas can be found on our website.

Please contact us if you have a specific query. 0116 24243400

Julia Harrison, Tax ManagerJulia Harrison April 2012

Have you paid your self-assessment bill?

Tax Payments – How late can you be?

With the madness of the January tax return deadline, it may have slipped some of your minds to actually pay your self-assessment bill. If this is the case then you may be wondering how you will be penalised for doing so.

For those that have filed their self-assessment tax return before the deadline but have not paid the bill, there will be interest accruing at 2.75% pa for the first 30 days.

However, after 30 days from the deadline the full amount of tax due will be subject to a 5% penalty. This means that if you had a liability of £5,000 unpaid by midnight on 2 March 2017, there would be an immediate fine of £250 added to your account.

Similarly, if after 6 and 12 months from the filing deadline you have not paid the full balance, then there would be additional 5% penalties on the tax outstanding at those dates.

Furthering the example above, should there still be an outstanding debt of £5,000 on 1 August 2017 then an additional £250 penalty will be accrued and if the debt has still not been settled by 1 February 2018 then another £250 will be added. This means that within just 12 months, a £5,000 tax bill will have penalties totaling £750.

On top of this there will also still be interest accruing on both the tax and penalties. Making the estimated amount owing on 1 February 2018 £5,887.

Sam Jefferson, Accounts & Tax 

If you need further help please contact us.

Shared parental leave – What are you entitled to?

Shared parental leave (SPL) allows employed parents and adopters to share leave and pay with their partner to care for children from birth until their first birthday.

  • Only employees can take SPL; they must have a partner (separated partners still qualify if sharing responsibility for care of child at the time of birth)
  • SPL allows mothers (or adopters) to shorten their maternity leave (and pay) to share the leave (and pay) with their partner in order to care for children in their first year; it is the mother’s choice whether to share leave
  • The mother can only share with one person; it is her choice provided her partner satisfies the qualifying conditions
  • Even if only one parent is entitled to SPL and/or ShPP (e.g. one is self-employed or not entitled to ShPP), the other partner may still  be entitled to SPL/ShPP if both satisfy the qualifying conditions
  • The employee taking SPL must have been employed 26 weeks by the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth and remain employed in the week before the start of SPL. Their partner must also satisfy an employment and earnings test
  • At least 8 weeks’ written notice must be given to end maternity leave and start of SPL
  • SPL can only be taken a week at a time but can start mid-week. SPLIT days can be used to work part-time by agreement with employer
  • SPL can be taken by both parents at the same time or at separate times; they must decide how to take it. The mother can remain on maternity leave while the partner is on SPL
  • SPL can be taken in up to three separate blocks (unlike maternity leave) or more if the employer agrees
  • There are detailed notice provisions which must be followed
  • Employees can work for up to 20 days during SPL (SPLIT days), as well as 10 days during maternity leave (KIT days). These must be agreed with employer.

 SHARED PARENTAL PAY (ShPP) 

Can pay be transferred as well as leave?

Yes.  Statutory maternity pay (SMP) is available to female employees from the 11th week before the expected week of birth or the actual birth if earlier.  It is paid for 39 weeks (the maternity pay period – MPP) with the first 6 weeks being at 90% of pay (and then either the flat rate of £139.58 or 90 per cent if this is lower for the remaining 33 weeks.  But, only 37 weeks is available for ShPP as the mother must take the first 2 weeks after the birth. Women who do not qualify for SMP will often qualify for maternity allowance which is paid at £139.58 or 90 per cent of average earnings if this is lower.

If you wish to discuss any of this in more detail please contact us 0116 2423400 

Becky Edwards, Payroll Manager 

The New Marriage Allowance

wedding-rings-1416826

 

The marriage allowance allows you transfer £1,100 of your Personal Allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner – if they earn more than you.

This reduces their tax by up to £220 in the tax year (6 April to 5 April the next year).

In order to benefit as a couple, you (as the lower earner) must have an income of £11,000 or less.

If you are eligible for marriage allowance in the 2015/2016 tax year, you can backdate your claim to 6 April 2015 and reduce the tax paid by up to £432.

Who can apply?

You can get marriage allowance if all the following apply:

  • You are married or in a civil partnership
  • You don’t earn anything, or your income is under £11,000
  • Your Partner’s income is between £11,001 and £43,000

You can also apply for marriage allowance if you or your partner:

  • Are currently receiving a pension
  • Live abroad – as long as you get a Personal Allowance

If you or your Partner were born before 6 April 1935, you might benefit more as a couple by applying for Married Couple’s Allowance instead.

If you would like to discuss this please get in touch. 

Paula McIntosh, Administration  

_DSC1574

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

Some good news from HMRC – that makes a change!

Trivial benefits provided by employers – ITEPA 2003, s 323A


gift-1420683.jpgNormally if something is trivial you would ignore it, however in this case trivial is in the eye of HMRC, not the director or employee!

From 6 April 2016 an employer can give an employee a present without putting it on a P11d (Return of Benefits) and there will be no tax or national insurance payable on it by either the employer or employee. The bonus for the employer is that they can also claim income tax or corporation tax relief on the gift as well as having a happy employee.

Sounds too good to be true, well there are some conditions:-

  • the trivial benefit must cost no more than £50
  • the benefit must not be a reward for services or in any way contractual
  • the benefit must not be cash or a cash voucher

Directors are employees so will be able to enjoy this as well. There is however a £300pa cap for them, which, if they are higher rate tax payers, would save £126 in tax & NIC if they had the gifts rather than salary.

HMRC have helpfully given the following examples (taken from their employment manual)

Example A

Employer A takes a group of employees out for a meal to celebrate a number of birthdays. Five employees attend the meal at a total cost to employer A of £240. Individual employees make different menu and drink selections. Rather than undertake a detailed analysis of the bill you should accept that the cost per head is £48, reflecting an average amount of £240/5. The benefit of the meal can be covered by the exemption since the cost for each individual does not exceed the trivial benefit financial limit.

Example B

Employer B provides each of its 100 employees with a turkey at Christmas and the total bill comes to £4,500. There are a variety of sizes. Because the employer has made a bulk order, the turkeys have not been priced up individually but would cost in the region of £40 to £60 each. Employees are able to choose which bird they have. Rather than undertake a detailed analysis of the individual benefits, you should accept that the cost per head is £45, reflecting an average amount of £4,500/100. The benefit can be covered by the exemption since the cost for each employee does not exceed the trivial benefit financial limit.

Example C

Employer C provides each member of its 25 strong work-force with a bottle of wine at Christmas. The total bill comes to £1,000. This reflects 20 bottles of wine that cost £15 per bottle provided to each of its employees, and 5 bottles of wine provided to each of its directors that cost £140 per bottle. In this case it is not impracticable to determine the cost of the individual benefit and the actual cost per item should be applied in determining whether the monetary limit has been exceeded for each employee and director. The benefit of the £15 bottles of wine can be covered by the exemption since the cost does not exceed the trivial benefit financial limit but not the benefit of the £140 bottles provided to the directors.

So just off to enjoy my wine which the directors are about to buy me because they are in a good mood and not because I am wonderful employee…………. 

If you wish to discuss this further please do hesitate to contact us on 0116 2423400 or click here. 

Denise Burley, Accounts & Tax

Could you and your employees save money through salary sacrifice?

Salary sacrifice is an agreement between an employer and employee to reduce the employee’s cash salary entitlement, usually in exchange for a non-cash benefit – think of it as swapping salary for something else.  This happens as part of a change to the employee’s contract.

How does this save money?

Shifting remuneration from cash to non-cash benefits can remove the PAYE and National Insurance (NI) liability on the amount shifted.  The employee saves tax and NI, and the employer saves NI – there are savings for both parties, which can be substantial and are certainly not to be too eagerly dismissed.

What types of benefits can currently be effectively provided through salary sacrifice?

Common types are:

  • Employer supported childcare (see our recent blog on this specific subject here)
  • Pensions
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Mobile phones
  • Car parking

Is this too good to be true?

My Dad always used to say to me “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” – in this case it’s “yes” and “no”.  The Government are aware that salary sacrifice schemes have been used in the past for all sorts of things that aren’t really the intended use.  They are currently consulting on removing the tax and NI advantage for certain salary sacrifice arrangements.  They want to encourage employers to provide certain benefits, therefore the proposed changes are not set to affect employer provided pensions, employer supported childcare, or cycles/cyclist safety equipment – these are set to stay for the foreseeable future.

Things to consider

  • A salary sacrifice arrangement can’t reduce an employee’s cash earnings to below the National Minimum Wage
  • Earnings related payments, such as overtime rates and payrises etc can be based on the notional salary or the new reduced cash salary – this must be made clear to the employee
  • Salary sacrifice reduces the amount of pay that is subject to NI and could affect an employee’s entitlement to contribution-based benefits such as Incapacity Benefit and State Pension, statutory pay such as Statutory Sick Pay and Statutory Maternity/Paternity/Adoption Pay and tax credits
  • Check with your pension provider or financial advisor that your workplace pension scheme allows salary sacrifice

For more information on salary sacrifice, just click here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/salary-sacrifice-and-the-effects-on-paye or contact us on 0116 242 3400.

Katie Kettle,  Technical Manager Katie Kettle Colour