Autumn Budget 2017

Yesterday saw a budget that focused, as expected, on housing and a stormy economic forecast. Our full summary is available on our website, but the key tax developments are summarised below.

Personal Tax Rates and Allowances

The personal allowance is currently £11,500 and will increase to £11,850 in April 2018. The higher rate threshold similarly increases from £45,000 to £46,350. Phillip Hammond reaffirmed his commitment to raise these thresholds to £12,500 and £50,000 respectively by 2020.

 National Insurance for the self-employed

 After the embarrassment of Mr Hammond’s U-turn earlier this year after attempting to abolish Class 2 National Insurance and increase Class 4, it was announced that in order to give sufficient time for a more popular proposal to be devised, there will be a delay of one year before any reform.

Capital Gains Tax

 After unfavourable consultation, the proposal for a 30-day window between Capital Gains arising and the tax being due has been deferred until April 2020.

 Research and Development

 Large companies claiming relief for research and development under the RDEC scheme will see their credit increase from 11% to 12% as part of plans to help the economy grow after Brexit.

Corporation Tax

Indexation Allowance – a long standing relief for companies making capital gains will be frozen from 01 January 2018. This allowance protected companies from gains that arise as a result of inflation and as a result no relief will be available for inflation accruing after this date. This move is perhaps unsurprising, with property investors more often operating through a limited company as a result of this allowance and the increased taxation of landlords in recent budgets.

 Stamp Duty

 With the youth vote rocketing in the last election, the government has decided to act further on the concerns that first time buyers are struggling to get on to the property ladder. Stamp duty will be abolished immediately for first time buyers purchasing properties worth up to £300,000. Those buying their first houses in expensive areas such as London will pay no stamp duty on the first £300,000 of properties costing up to £500,000.

 Value Added Tax (VAT)

 The VAT registration threshold will remain at £85,000 p/a for two years from April 2018. This will come as a relief for many, as some predicted this could be lowered to nearer the EU average of £25,000.

Making Tax Digital (MTD)

 As announced in July, no business will be mandated to use MTD until April 2019, and then only for VAT obligations. The scope of MTD will not be widened until April 2020 at the earliest.

The above are only the areas that I feel will be relevant to the majority of our clients, other areas and greater detail can be found on our website, click here. 

Please contact us on 0116 242 3400 if you have a specific query.

Matt Smith.

New Vehicle Tax Rates April 2017

We all know that there are a few things we need to consider before buying a new car.

These are some common questions which are asked by clients (hopefully before they go ahead and make that major purchase):

“Should I purchase a car through my business or should I use my own car for business use?”

“Should I lease or purchase a car?”

…and perhaps the most common question of all:

“How much tax will I have to pay?”

You may be interested in purchasing an electric car because you are concerned about the environment.  The government have certainly put in place tax incentives to encourage us to think ‘green’ and, with BMW recently deciding to build their future electric cars in the UK, it would seem that the motor industry is following suit.

Despite the many obvious things we all have to consider when purchasing a new car perhaps there is one thing that you may not be aware of and that is the new vehicle tax rates that were introduced from 1 April 2017.

The way vehicle tax is calculated has changed for cars and some motor homes that were first registered with DVLA from 1 April 2017.  The change doesn’t affect any vehicle registered before 1 April 2017.

The rates explained

Vehicle tax for the first year is based on CO2 emissions.  From 1 April 2017 this rate has increased and is now between £0 for electric cars and £2,000 for the highest polluting cars.  Vehicle tax rates can be checked by visiting https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax-rate-tables.

After the first year, the amount of tax that needs to be paid depends on the type of vehicle. The rates are:

  • £140 a year for petrol or diesel vehicles
  • £130 a year for alternative fuel vehicles (hybrids, bioethanol and LPG)
  • £0 a year for vehicles with zero CO2 emissions (electric vehicles)

New vehicles with a list price of more than £40,000

If a vehicle has a list price (the published price before any discounts) of more than £40,000, the rate of tax is based on CO2 emissions for the first year.

After the first year, the rate depends on the type of vehicle (petrol, diesel, alternative fuel or zero emissions) as above plus an additional £310 a year for each of the next 5 years.

After those 5 years, the vehicle will then be taxed at one of the standard rates (£140, £130, or £0) depending on vehicle type.

So for vehicles with a list price of more than £40,000, from the second time they are taxed and for the next 5 years, the amount of tax to pay will be as follows:

  • £450 a year for petrol or diesel vehicles
  • £440 a year for alternative fuel vehicles (hybrids, bioethanol and LPG)
  • £310 a year for vehicles with zero CO2 emissions (electric vehicles)

If you are considering the purchase of a new car and would like more information about the new vehicle tax rates then please click on the following Youtube video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbV7Yfud1dE

There are certain accounting and tax issues associated with business vehicles so please get in touch if you have any questions about a vehicle you wish to use in your business.  Remember it is always a good idea to ask for advice before making a major purchase as it is important to know all the facts before making a decision.

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

Beth Judd, Accounts & Tax 

How to tell HMRC about your company car.

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

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

This value of the car is reduced if:

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

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

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

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

You’ll need:

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

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

When you can’t use this service

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

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

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

Personal tax account

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

Check your tax code

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

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

Becky Edwards, Payroll Manager 

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

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

VAT on Company Vehicles

If you are looking to buy a car through your VAT registered business then there are several things to consider; it can be a great tax saving idea however you must consider all of the implications. The most important point is that the VAT on the purchase of the vehicle can only be claimed back if it is used 100% for business purposes, meaning no private usage at all.

A good example of this would be a pool car. A pool car is available for use by any employee for solely business purposes during working hours and is kept on site when not in use.

You may also be able to claim all the VAT on a new car if it’s mainly used:

  • as a taxi
  • for driving instruction 


The same rules apply for commercial vehicles such as vans, lorries and tractors. As long as they are solely used for business use then the VAT can be reclaimed.

If the vehicle is not used 100% for business then you need to consider the other tax consequences such as a personal tax benefit in kind and an employer National insurance charge.

Please note a daily commute to your regular place of work is not considered as business use according to HMRC guidance.

Leasing a car

If you lease a car, you can usually claim back 50% of the VAT. You may be able to reclaim all the VAT if the car is used only for business and is not available for private use, or is mainly used as a taxi or for driving instruction.

Self-drive hire cars

If you hire a car to replace a business car that’s off the road, you can usually claim 50% of the VAT on the hire charge.

Additional costs

You can usually reclaim the VAT for:

  • all business-related running and maintenance costs, eg repairs or off-street parking
  • any accessories fitted for business use

You can do this even if you can’t reclaim VAT on the vehicle itself.

If you are considering buying a vehicle for your business or would like more details then please feel free to contact us. 

Calum Ainge, AccountantDSC_5428

The Ins and Outs of Mileage Rates

As HMRC seem to have a vendetta against cars, it is often not tax efficient for a business to own a car and pay for all of the running costs, when it is made available for private use, unless you want a low emissions car (below 95 g/km), and who wants one of those?

It is often easier, and more tax efficient, for directors and employees to use their own private cars and then repay them a mileage rate for any business mileage they may incur. The approved rate for this is a maximum of £0.45 per mile, for the first 10,000 miles, followed by £0.25 per mile for anything over the 10,000.

One common mistake that is made is thinking that the 10,000 miles relates to the year end of the business, it does not, it in fact relates the tax year (6th April to 5th April following).

If a director or employee has private use of a company car but has to pay for all of the fuel themselves, they can be reimbursed for fuel used on business mileage, just at a lower rate set by HMRC dependent on engine size and fuel type of the car.  For example a 1,995cc diesel car would attract a mileage rate of £0.10 and a 1,995cc petrol car would attract a mileage rate of £0.12.  To see how other engine sizes and fuel types compare, please use the following link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/advisory-fuel-rates/advisory-fuel-rates-from-1-march-2016.

One of the downfalls of claiming for business mileage is the need to keep detailed records which should include:

  • Date the journey was made
  • How many business miles were covered
  • Brief description of why the journey was made

Now this doesn’t seem like a lot, but if a lot of business miles are incurred by many employees then it can become an administrative nightmare!

If you would like to discuss any of _DSC1606the items discussed above then please contact us.

Phil Hinde, Accounts & Tax