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.

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

Have you got a moment?

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Have you got a moment?

Do you dread hearing that in your office or, in fact, anywhere?

It invariably means that your plans have just been scuppered and that you will know have to spend a chunk of time looking at something completely different.

Exactly how long is a moment?

I guess I’ve always thought of it as being about 30 seconds but, if you’re looking for a proper definition, my dictionary simply gives it as “a brief period of time”.

It goes on to expand a little and ends with “momentous – of great importance” which implies anything but brief!

It seems from my quick research that in the Middle Ages they had a different concept of time measurement and that a moment would be equal to 90 seconds nowadays.

How should you respond to the initial question?

Clearly it depends who is asking!

My favoured response, used with care, would be something like “Yes – I’ll be with you dreckly!”

OK, so what does that mean?

“Dreckly” is a slang word in common usage in Cornwall.  It would appear to derive from “directly”, which would of course imply an immediate response.  However, in practice it has a meaning accepted to be “at some indeterminate point in the future”.

Now it crosses my mind that everyone has a different view on how many is a few … perhaps I’ll look into that another day.

Neil Ford, Technical Manager

What is the VAT cash accounting scheme?

What is the VAT cash accounting scheme?

The VAT cash accounting scheme is a useful tool for many small businesses, as you only pay the VAT on your sales to HMRC once you have received payment yourself.

However, you may only reclaim VAT on your purchases from HMRC when payment of the invoice has been made.

You can join the cash accounting scheme if your turnover is less than £1.35m, and can continue to use the scheme until your turnover reaches more than £1.6m.

Your business should be eligible to use the scheme if you meet the threshold requirement, unless your VAT affairs are not up-to-date, you have been convicted of a VAT offence or have been penalised for evading VAT over the past 12 months.

What is the advantage of using cash accounting?

Clearly the main benefit of joining this VAT scheme is in the cash flow benefits it provides. If you have a late paying client for example, you will not have to account for the VAT on any outstanding sales invoices until you have been paid. In fact, if you incur any bad debts, the VAT will never need to be paid to HMRC.

What is the disadvantage of using cash accounting?

There may be some disadvantages, depending on your situation.  For example, as you cannot reclaim the VAT on any purchases you make until payment is made, this could cause cashflow problems if you buy a substantial amount of stock on credit.

Joining the cash accounting scheme

You do not need to inform HMRC if you want to join the scheme. However, you must start at the beginning of a new VAT quarter.

You can also leave the scheme at the end of any VAT quarter, if necessary, or if your taxable turnover reaches the £1.6m mark.

If you would like any assistance on joining, leaving or any further information on the cash accounting scheme, then feel free to contact  the office on 0116 242 3400.

Tom Luckett,  Accounts & Tax 

Tax Calendar

The following Tax Events are due on 19th July 2017:

Business Tax Events

PAYE quarterly payments are due for small employers for the pay periods 6th April 2017 to 5th July 2017.

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.

Where the payment is made electronically the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is Friday 21st July 2017 unless you are able to arrange a ‘Faster Payment’ to clear on or by Saturday 22nd July. In year interest will be charged if payment is made late. Penalties also apply.

PAYE Student loan and CIS deductions due for the month to 5th July 2017.

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.  

Where the payment is made electronically the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is Friday 21st July 2017 unless you are able to arrange a ‘Faster Payment’ to clear on or by Saturday 22nd July. In year interest will be charged if payment is made late. Penalties also apply.

Class 1A NIC due for 2016/17.

This deadline is relevant for employers who have provided their employees with benefits for 2016/17. These benefits should have been reported by the 6th July and the amount of the Class 1A employer only NI liability due calculated on the form P11D(b).

Where the payment is made electronically the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is Friday 21st July 2017 unless you are able to arrange a ‘Faster Payment’ to clear on or by Saturday 22nd July. Interest will be charged if payment is made late. Penalties may also apply. 

We have a Tax Calendar on our website so you never miss a deadline to see future deadlines please visit our calendar  https://www.torrwaterfield.co.uk/resources/tax-calendar 

New £10 Note

New £10 Note

It has recently been revealed that the new £10 note will have the face of the famous writer Jane Austen featured on the front.

Production of the new note began last August, however it is due to be launched on the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, July 18th, and all notes are to be issued during September 2017.

The current £10 note is the oldest Bank of England bank note which is currently still in circulation and, due to developments in technology, the security features can now be updated.

New features

The new note will be made of the same polymer materials as the £5 note.

It will be slightly bigger than the polymer £5 note, however it will be smaller than the current £10 note that is still in circulation.

The polymer notes are being introduced as they are cleaner, more secure and also much more durable than the old notes.

There has been no date released for when the old £10 notes will leave circulation, however I am sure that this will be announced closer to the time.

Over 20 countries currently issue polymer banknotes which include Australia, who introduced them in 1998, New Zealand, Mexico, Singapore and Canada who introduced them in 2011.

September 2017 is nearly upon us, so just bear in mind that these new notes will be replacing the old notes shortly.

For more information please see The Bank of England website here or contact us.

Jessica Cooper, Accounts & Tax 

New Lifetime ISA

The Lifetime Individual Savings Account (ISA) is a longer term tax-free account that receives a government bonus. The accounts will be available from today (6 April 2017). HMRC have produced a helpful guide on the account. Some of which is reproduced below:

Opening a Lifetime ISA

You can open a Lifetime ISA if you’re aged 18 or over but under 40.

As with other ISAs, you won’t pay tax on any interest, income or capital gains from cash or investments held within your Lifetime ISA.

Saving in a Lifetime ISA

You can save up to £4,000 each year in a Lifetime ISA. There’s no maximum monthly savings contribution, and you can continue to save in it until you reach 50. The account can stay open after then but you can’t make any more payments into it.

The £4,000 limit, if used, will form part of your overall annual ISA limit. From the tax year 2017 to 2018, the overall annual ISA limit will be £20,000.

Example – you could save:

£11,000 in a cash ISA

£2,000 in a stocks and shares ISA

£3,000 in an innovative finance ISA

£4,000 in a Lifetime ISA in one tax year.

Your Lifetime ISA won’t close when the tax year finishes. You’ll keep your savings on a tax-free basis for as long as you keep the money in your Lifetime ISA.

Lifetime ISAs can hold cash, stocks and shares qualifying investments, or a combination of both.

Government bonus

When you save into your Lifetime ISA, you’ll receive a government bonus of 25% of the money you put in, up to a maximum of £1,000 a year.

Withdrawals

You can withdraw the funds held in your Lifetime ISA before you’re 60, but you’ll have to pay a withdrawal charge of 25% of the amount you withdraw.

A withdrawal charge will not apply if you’re:

using it towards a first home

aged 60

terminally ill with less than 12 months to live.

If you die, your Lifetime ISA will end on the date of your death and there won’t be a withdrawal charge for withdrawing funds or assets from your account.

Transferring a Lifetime ISA

You can transfer your Lifetime ISA to another Lifetime ISA with a different provider without incurring a withdrawal charge.

If you transfer it to a different type of ISA, you’ll have to pay a withdrawal charge.

Saving for your first home

Your Lifetime ISA savings and the bonus can be used towards buying your first home, worth up to £450,000, without incurring a withdrawal charge. You must be buying your home with a mortgage.

You must use a conveyancer or solicitor to act for you in the purchase, and the funds must be paid direct to them by your Lifetime ISA provider.

If you’re buying with another first time buyer, and you each have a Lifetime ISA, you can both use your government bonus. You can also buy a house with someone who isn’t a first time buyer but they will not be able to use their Lifetime ISA without incurring a withdrawal charge.

Your Lifetime ISA must have been opened for at least 12 months before you can withdraw funds from it to buy your first home.

If you have a Help to Buy ISA, you can transfer those savings into your Lifetime ISA or you can continue to save into both – but you’ll only be able to use the government bonus from one to buy your first home.

You can transfer the balance in your Help to Buy ISA into your Lifetime ISA at any time if the amount is not more than £4,000.

In 2017/18 only, you can transfer the total balance of your Help to Buy ISA, as it stands on 5 April 2017, into your Lifetime ISA without affecting the £4,000 limit.

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

Time for new change

As you may or may not be aware The Royal Mint has revealed that a new issue of the £1 coin is to take place and is set to be released on 28th March 2017.

So why change?

Approximately 1 in 30 £1 coins are counterfeit – this in itself is a fairly high amount.

However, when you put this ratio into the estimated amount of £1 coins in circulation it is staggering.

As of March 2014, The Royal Mint estimated that there were 1,553,000,000 £1 coins in circulation of which 3.04% were counterfeit – meaning that there is around £47,211,200 of counterfeit £1 coins in circulation. The new coin should be considerably more difficult to attempt to fake due to a number of new features.

What are the features?

12-sides – New distinctive shape – making it instantly recognisable.

Bimetallic – it is made of two metals. The outer ring is gold coloured (nickel-brass) and the inner ring is silver coloured (nickel-plated alloy).

Latent image – it has an image like a hologram that changes from a ‘£’ symbol to the number ‘1’ when the coin is seen from different angles.

Micro-lettering – it has very small lettering on the lower inside rim on both sides of the coin. One pound on the obverse “heads” side and the year of production on the reverse “tails” side, for example 2016 or 2017.

Milled edges – it has grooves on alternate sides.

Hidden high security feature – a high security feature has been in built into the coin to protect it from counterfeiting in the future.

When will this happen?

The new coins will be introduced on 28th March 2017 leading to a co-circulation period where both old and new coins will be accepted. On 16th October 2017 a demonetisation period will begin where the old £1 coins are under no obligation to be accepted and should not be redistributed – they can however be deposited into most high street banks.

How can it affect my Business?

If you have a cash handling business then you need to ensure all machines that accept pound coins are compatible with the new design and if not, then your machinery supplier needs to be contacted as a matter of urgency. Once October 2017 comes around you have the right to refuse the old style one pound coins as this is the beginning of the demonetisation period. As mentioned above, once this time comes, do not worry, as the old style pound coins can be deposited into most high street banks for a significant period of time.

The pound won’t be round for much longer…

If you would like to discuss this more please contact us 0116 2423400

Brook Lucas, Accounts & Tax 

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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.

ARE YOU THINKING OF SELLING YOUR BUSINESS?

Selling a business can be a lengthy and stressful process. A sale may be considered due to pending retirement, illness, a lifestyle change, or a host of other reasons. The better and more time you have to prepare for a sale, the less stressful the experience will be.

Here at Torr Waterfield, we can help you with the process, from start to finish. Here are a few pointers to help you on your way…..

  • Review the strengths and weaknesses of your business. A SWOT analysis will help you to identify and address the weaknesses and threats, and improve the strengths and opportunities before sale
  • Consider the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the business, and how these can be identified and reviewed both by you and a potential buyer
  • What do you think the business is worth and what is the minimum value you would be prepared to sell it for? Just as importantly, are there likely to be potential buyers willing to pay that minimum price?
  • Consider ways to increase sales and reduce costs in the immediate period prior to sale. A business is often valued on a price to earnings ratio or earnings multiple method, so recent increased profitability can increase its value
  • Consider the infrastructure and management profile of the business, and whether the necessary skills and knowhow are sufficient in the event of your retirement/removal
  • Consider your own tax position and ensure the sale method is the most suitable to you e.g. Entrepreneur’s Relief is available for business asset and share sales fitting certain criteria. This relief allows chargeable gains on sales to be taxed at 10%, even for higher rate tax payers. Other sales methods, such as sale of assets and goodwill, may be more appropriate
  • Consider employee issues in the event of a sale; e.g. does TUPE (transfer of employment rights) apply? How will your employees react prior to and after a sale? Do you advise them of your plans and keep them up to date with progress?
  • Ensure that the position, legal or otherwise, and potential impact on a sale of any minority shareholders or partners has been taken into account
  • Consider what may happen to the business premises; will they be part of the sale? Are they owned by your Personal Pension, in which case it may be worthwhile continuing to lease the premises to the purchaser?
  • Appoint professional advisors and expert help to assist with your valuation, to help with any legal agreements that need to be drawn up and to review your tax position prior to and after the sale

You only sell your business once, so it must be done properly to ensure you get full benefit.

If you would like to find out more about selling your business, please speak to me at Torr Waterfield

Peter Morris , Director _DSC4779