Self-employed Class 2 National Insurance will not be scrapped

The government has decided not to proceed with plans to abolish Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from April 2019.

Class 2 NICs are currently paid at a rate of £2.95 per week by self-employed individuals with profits of £6,205 or more per year. The government had planned to scrap the Class 2 contribution and had been investigating ways in which self-employed individuals with low profits, could maintain their State Pension entitlement if this inexpensive contribution had been abolished.

In a written statement to MPs, Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, stated that:

‘This change was originally intended to simplify the tax system for the self-employed. We delayed the implementation of this policy in November to consider concerns relating to the impact on self-employed individuals with low profits. We have since engaged with interested parties to explore the issue and further options for addressing any unintended consequences.’

‘A significant number of self-employed individuals on the lowest profits would have seen the voluntary payment they make to maintain access to the State Pension rise substantially. Having listened to those likely to be affected by this change we have concluded that it would not be right to proceed during this parliament, given the negative impacts it could have on some of the lowest earning in our society.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘What If my child continues education or training?’

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

Approved education:

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

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

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

Approved training should be unpaid and can include:

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

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

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

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

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

 Temporary breaks

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

 Apply for an extension

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

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

To qualify for this, your child must:

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

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

Apply for the extension online

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

Sam Koelling, Accountant

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

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

BUSINESS TRAVEL

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

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

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

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

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

Road Travel – Use of Private Vehicles

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

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

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

Road Travel – Use of a Hire Car

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

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

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

Rail or Air Travel

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

Other Allowable Travel Costs

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

Overseas Travel Costs

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

Accommodation

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

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

Incidental Overnight Expenses Allowance

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

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

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

Meals

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

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

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

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

Nish Bathia, Director 

P11Ds – Return of Expenses and Benefits

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

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

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

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

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

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

Julia Harrison , Tax Manager 

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 

 

 

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 

Dormant companies – obligations

What is a dormant company?

A company or association may be ‘dormant’ if it is not trading and doesn’t have any other income – for example from investments.

A dormant company has different obligations for corporation tax, annual accounts and returns for Companies House in comparison to a trading company.

Dormant companies and corporation tax

Your company is usually dormant for corporation tax if:

  • the company has stopped trading and has no other income
  • is a new limited company that hasn’t yet started trading

If HMRC think your company is dormant, you may get a letter informing you of the decision to treat the company as dormant, and that you don’t have to pay Corporation Tax nor file Company Tax Returns (form CT600.)

If you have not received a ‘notice to deliver a Company Tax Return’ HMRC can be informed of company dormancy by post or over the phone.

If the company becomes active after a period of dormancy, HMRC must be informed within 3 months.

Dormant companies and VAT

If the company was registered for VAT before becoming dormant the company should deregister for VAT within 30 days of the company becoming dormant, unless there are plans for the company to continue trading in the future, then NIL (empty) VAT returns should be sent while the company is dormant.

Dormant companies and employees

If the company has become dormant and there are no plans to restart trading in the financial year, the PAYE scheme in operation by the company should be closed.

Dormant companies and Companies House

A company must file a confirmation statement (previously an annual return) and annual accounts with Companies House, even if the company is dormant for Corporation Tax, and dormant according to Companies House.

A company is classified as dormant by Companies House if it’s had no ‘significant’ transactions in the financial year. Significant transactions could include operating a payroll, earning interest or paying bank charges and fees. Non-significant transactions that are allowed to be undertaken by a company include:

  • Payment of shares by subscribers
  • Fees paid to Companies House for filing a confirmation statement
  • Late filing penalties paid to Companies House

Companies House do not need to be informed if trading is restarted – the next set of non-dormant accounts filed will show the company is no longer dormant.

If you would like to discuss any of this further then please contact us on 0116 242 3400.

Aiden Hyett, Accounts & Tax 

A GUIDE TO ACCOUNTING REFERENCE DATES AND PERIODS

I am sometimes asked, “What date should my company accounts be made up to?”. It’s a very important question because there are deadlines connected to the filing of accounts with both Companies House and HM Revenue and Customs.  Automatic penalties are issued to companies where their accounts have been filed late.  Being aware of your accounting period will help you to organise your accounting records in a timely manner and give you a chance to avoid missing these very important deadlines.

How to determine an accounting period

Every company must prepare accounts that report on the performance and activities of the company during the financial year. The financial year starts on the day after the previous financial year ended or, in the case of a new company, on the day of incorporation. Financial years are determined by reference to an Accounting Reference Period (ARP). The financial period ends on the accounting reference date.

For all new companies, the first accounting reference date is set as the last day in the month in which its first anniversary falls.  For example, if a company was incorporated on 7 January 2017 the first accounting reference date would be 31 January 2018.  The subsequent accounting reference dates will automatically be on the same date each year.  It is worth bearing in mind that a company may make its accounts up to 7 days either side of their accounting reference date which will be of interest to companies that organise their accounting records weekly, such as bars and restaurants.

Can the accounting reference date be changed?

The accounting reference date can be changed by using the appropriate form AA01. You can change the current or previous accounting period; periods can be shortened as many times as you like, but you can only extend once in five years (with exception in certain circumstances).  The minimum you can shorten a period by is 1 day and you can lengthen a period to a maximum of 18 months (or longer if your company is in administration).

The form AA01 must be received at Companies House within the delivery time of the accounting period if you wish to change the date and you cannot change it if the accounts are already overdue.

Basic delivery times for filing accounts:

 Deadline for first accounts (if covering a period of 12 months or more)
Private company/Limited Liability Partnership 21 months from the date of incorporation*
Public Limited Company 18 months from the date of incorporation*
 Normal deadline (after your first year)
Private company/Limited Liability Partnership 9 months after the end of the accounting period*
Public Limited Company 6 months after the end of the accounting period*
*or 3 months from the accounting reference date (ARD), whichever is longer.

 

It is important to note that changing the accounting reference date will also change the filing deadline date, unless the first financial year is being lengthened.  This can be particularly noticeable for shortened accounting periods where the deadline may be unexpectedly brought forward because the filing date becomes 9 months after the end of the new accounting period, or 3 months after the date the change was made, whichever comes later.

We always recommend that you send your accounting records to us well before the company accounts delivery date as this enables us to prepare your accounts in time to meet the filing deadline and avoid penalties. 

What should I do if I am unsure?

The above guide is only a summary, so please contact us on 0116 2423400 if you would like any further advice and remember, you can always check your accounting reference.

Beth Judd, Accounts & Tax