Have you taken advantage of the Marriage Allowance?

A married couple or civil partnership can apply to transfer 10% of the income tax personal allowance from one to the other. Although called the marriage ‘allowance’, it is a transfer rather than an additional allowance.

To qualify for the allowance, neither of the partners can be higher rate taxpayers and cannot be claiming the married couple’s allowance. To benefit as a couple, one person should be earning below the personal allowance (£11,850 for 2018/19).

The maximum tax saving in 2018/19 is £237.00 (10% of the £11,850 personal allowance at 20%).

 

How to apply

 The application for the transfer is made by the person who wants to transfer part of their allowance to their partner. It is absolutely fundamental that the recipient of the allowance does not make the claim.

If your income is predictable, you can apply during the tax year here. If you apply during the tax year, the claim is in place until withdrawn or through either death or divorce.

If your income is unpredictable, because you are self-employed for example, you can make an application after the tax year on your Self-Assessment Tax Return. This claim must be done each year – it does not remain in place for future years.

 

Backdated claims

 Currently, you can backdate marriage allowance claims to include any tax year since 5 April 2015 if you were eligible. This means you could claim back as much as £662 if you can claim for 15/16, 16/17 and the 17/18 tax year.

 The Married couple’s allowance

 If either you or your partner were born before 6 April 1935 you may benefit more from the Married Couple’s Allowance instead, which you can read more about here.

For further information or help on the above, please call the office on 0116 242 3400 or email us at info@torrwaterfield.co.uk

Aiden Hyett, Accounts & Tax 

VAT on building a new home

If you’re building a new home, you may be able to reclaim the VAT back on the materials used, potentially making a lot of difference to the final costs.

You can apply for a VAT refund on building materials and services if you’re:

  • building a new home
  • converting a property into a home
  • building a non-profit communal residence – e.g. a hospice
  • building a property for a charity

The building work and materials have to qualify and you must apply to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) within 3 months of completing the work.

To qualify for the reclaim of VAT, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You may claim a VAT refund for building materials that are incorporated into the building and can’t be removed without tools or damaging the building.
  • The building must be for one of the following purposes:
  • Non-business – you can’t charge a fee for the use of the building
  • Charitable, for example a hospice
  • Residential, for example a children’s home

What doesn’t qualify?

  • building projects in the Channel Islands
  • materials or services that don’t have any VAT – for example, they were zero-rated or exempt
  • professional or supervisory fees – for example, architects or surveyors
  • hiring machinery or equipment
  • buildings for business purposes
  • buildings that can’t be sold or used separately from another property because of a planning permission condition
  • building materials that aren’t permanently attached to or part of the building itself
  • fitted furniture, some electrical and gas appliances, carpets or garden ornaments

How to claim

Fill in form 431NB to claim a VAT refund on a new build, or 431C to claim for a conversion.

There are lots of useful guidance notes included with these forms.

For further information or help on the above, please call the office on 0116 242 3400 or emails on info@torrwaterfield.co.uk 

James Yarnall, Accounts 

Clause 24 in the Finance Act – Is it affecting you?

We have known for some time that Landlords have been hit hard by recent tax changes:

  • Clause 24 restricting relief for interest;
  • 8% extra capital gains tax;
  • 3% extra stamp duty.

Clause 24 of the Finance Act set out restrictions for individuals on claiming loan interest as a cost against property investment income, for individuals it works as follows:

  • For the tax year just ended 2017/2018, 75% of the interest can be claimed in full and 25% will get relief at 20%;
  • For this tax year just started 2018/19, 50% of the interest can be claimed in full and 50% will get relief at 20%;
  • From 6 April next year to 5 April 2020, 25% of the interest can be claimed in full and 75% will get relief at 20%;
  • And finally from 6 April 2021, 100% will get only 20% relief.

Essentially Clause 24 removes Interest from the allowable property expenses, and gives you tax relief at 20% instead, so that Higher Rate tax payers will pay more tax.

However, these rules do not apply to companies and therefore they will continue to claim full relief.

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

Paul Witherington, Accounts & Tax 

Why has my tax code changed?

“How do I know if my tax code is correct?”

Your tax code is used by your employer to calculate how much tax needs to be deducted from your pay. HMRC tells your employer which code to use to collect the right amount of tax from you. You can check your income tax online to see what your tax code is, how your tax code has been worked out and how much tax you have paid and are likely to pay in the coming months.

“What does my tax code actually mean?”

Your tax code represents how much tax free income you have for that tax year, for example the standard tax code for the 2018/19 tax year is 1185L and this means you have a tax free income of £11,850.

“What does the letter in my tax code mean?”

The letter in your tax code represents your situation and how that affects your tax free income, for example:

  • L = You’re entitled to the standard tax free allowance.
  • M & N = Marriage Allowance, this means you have either transferred or received personal allowance to or from your partner.
  • 0T = Your personal allowance has been used up or you’ve started a new job and your employer doesn’t have all of your starter details.

To see the full list on the HMRC website please click here.

“Why is there a W1/M1 at the end of my tax code?”

The W1/M1 means that the tax code is non-cumulative; in these cases tax will be calculated purely based on the taxable pay for that pay period. Each pay day is treated as if it is the first week or month of the tax year. All previous pay and tax are ignored.

There are a few reasons you may have been put on this type of code, for example:

  • Started a new job
  • Getting Company benefits or state pension
  • Becoming employed after being self employed

These tax codes are generally temporary and you or your employer can update this.

“How do I change my tax code?”

 You can use the HMRC online services to tell HMRC about any missing or incorrect information. They will then update this by sending you and your employer a P6 tax coding notice. If you can’t use the online services you can call HMRC on 0300 200 3300 and they will help guide you through and get your tax code updated.

If you would like to discuss this further then please get in touch on 0116 242 3400.

Polly Dennis, Payroll Assistant 

Franchising – Pros & Cons

When starting up a business, you may be considering whether it would be a good idea to begin trading under a franchise name and thus becoming a ‘franchisee’. Below are some pros and cons which will hopefully aid you in your final decision of what route to take.

Pros

Brand Name

You will be trading under a brand name which is well known across the country. These are the names most likely to appear at the top of internet searches and to be recommended by others. They are trusted names and are held at a high standard by most for good reason.

Ongoing Help & Support

Once you start trading as a franchisee, there is continuing help and assistance offered to you by the franchisor. They want to ensure that your business is going to reflect positively on their brand. Support usually consists of training programs and first hand support whilst also assisting with other elements such as stock control.

They also tend to offer financial support with new business start-up costs, which could be for things such as equipment, vehicles and marketing campaigns.

Location

As can be seen on most high streets and in most shopping centres, the larger brand names get the prime locations. This is certainly the case when trading as a franchisee, people recognise the name and the logo and immediately trust that they are going to receive quality service. Customers are also more likely to trust a business which is situated around other successful businesses.

Finance

If your franchisor is reluctant to provide funds in relation to your start-up costs, this is not something to necessarily worry about. Being part of a big brand name is looked upon more favourably by banks when a business is trying to get a loan. The security and reliability of being a franchisee usually means that banks will be more than happy to help you out.

Cons

Fees

These can be high. There is usually an initial lump sum charged by the franchisor and continuing fees are charged in order to keep using the franchise brand name. These costs are generally calculated on business turnover, not the surplus made, which is bad news if you have a tight profit margin. Costs can all depend on how well the company is performing.

Lack of Independency

Once you are a franchisee, you are working under the franchisor’s name, and therefore are expected to do things their way, not your own. In this case you may feel that your entrepreneurial creativity is being restricted which could get frustrating. You are effectively working under someone else’s idea which may diminish the initial idea of being ‘self-employed’.

Other People’s Decisions

Due to the lack of control you have when being a franchisee, it means that although you could be running an extremely profitable business, a bad decision made by the franchisor could end up with you losing it all. Another risk would be that another company could damage the franchisor’s name and bring your profits down as a result of this. 

It is important to understand that these pros and cons can vary depending on which franchisor you have elected to work under, if any!

If you want to know more about the pros and cons of being a franchisee, please feel free to give us a call on 0116 2423400.

Jake Dempsey, Accounts & Tax 

How do you complete a Monthly CIS Return?

What is CIS?

The Construction Industry Scheme is a method of deducting tax from subcontractors in the building sector. Contractors deduct a percentage of the money owed on their payments to subcontractors and pass it over directly to HMRC. The amounts are effectively taxed at source as the sub-contractor does not get the money.  The deducted CIS tax counts as advance payments towards the tax and National Insurance contributions that will be calculated upon completion of the subcontractor’s self-assessment tax return.

What do I need to complete a return?

Monthly CIS returns need to be submitted by the contractor to HMRC to disclose the amount of CIS which has been deducted and is therefore due to be paid over to HMRC.

The contractor needs from the subcontractor an invoice which states the money they are owed.

The invoice should split out the materials and labour with CIS only being deductible on the labour element of the invoice. CIS is deducted at 20% providing the subcontractor has a UTR (unique tax reference) number which should be displayed on the invoice. If there is no UTR number then CIS will be deducted at 30%.

How do I do it?

CIS periods run from the 6th of the month to the 5th of the month following – for example, 6th March – 5th April. The CIS return then needs to be submitted and the liability paid over within two weeks of the period end – 19th April for example in order to avoid facing late filing charges. The return can be manually entered under the contractor’s logon on the HMRC website or it can be submitted via numerous accounting software programmes. The CIS is payable to HMRC upon payment of the invoice and not the date the invoice is issued, so it should only be included on the CIS return at this point. Once the return has been submitted to HMRC, statements should be sent out to all subcontractors for their own records.

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

Brook Lucas, Accounts & Tax 

From 1 April 2018, the Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme is open for online applications.

Businesses in the United Kingdom (UK) that store any goods imported from outside the European Union (EU) that are owned by, or on behalf of, someone established outside the EU, will need to apply for approval by HMRC if those goods are offered for sale in the UK.

The deadline for applications from existing fulfilment businesses falling within the scope of the scheme is 30 June 2018. Businesses that start trading on or after 1 April 2018 need to apply on or before 30 September 2018. There are penalties for late applications.

Businesses that only store or fulfil goods that they own, or only store or fulfil goods that are not imported from outside the EU, are not required to register.

Registered businesses must carry out certain checks and keep records from 1 April 2019. Businesses who meet the criteria of this scheme will not be allowed to trade as a fulfilment business from 1 April 2019 if they do not have approval from HMRC.

Those that do, risk a £10,000 penalty and a criminal conviction. To find out if you need to be registered please see the GOV.UK webpage, Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme.  

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

 

Spring Statement 2018

The Chancellor Philip Hammond presented his Spring Statement on Tuesday 13 March 2018.

In his speech he provided an update on the economy and responded to the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts. In addition he launched consultations on various aspects of the tax system.

Changes to the timing of tax legislation

Chancellor Philip Hammond has implemented some fundamental changes to the UK fiscal timetable.

In the 2016 Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced that he would be introducing a new Budget timetable, which would see the main annual Budget moving from its traditional spring setting to the autumn and the Autumn Statement being replaced by a Spring Statement. The first Autumn Budget was presented in November 2017.

The new process

While the general process of developing tax policy will remain the same, the timescales for policy making and consultation have changed significantly. The government hopes that the new system will allow more time to scrutinise and consult on draft tax legislation before it is introduced.

The new timing of the Autumn Budget will allow the announcement of most new measures well in advance of the tax year in which they are due to take effect. The Spring Statement also offers the opportunity for the government to consult during the early stages of policy making, and publish calls for evidence on long-term tax policy issues.

Under the new system, measures announced in the Autumn Budget will generally be consulted on during the winter and spring, with draft legislation being published in the summer, ahead of the introduction of the Finance Bill in the winter. This will then receive Royal Assent the following spring.

Click here to read our summary of the Spring Statement 2018

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

National Minimum Wage – where are we now?

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

Employer errors

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

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

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

NMW and NLW – the basics

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

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

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

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

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

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

Latest guidance: social care workers

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

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

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

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

14 Days left to submit your 2016/17 self assessment return

The following Tax Events are due on 31st January 2018:

Personal Tax Events

Deadline for submitting your 2016/17 self assessment return (£100 automatic penalty if your return is late) and the balance of your 2016/17 liability together with the first payment on account for 2017/18 are also due.

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

There is a penalty of £100 if your return is not submitted on time, even if there is no tax due or your return shows that you are due a tax refund.

The balance of any outstanding income tax, Classes 2 and 4 NI, capital gains tax and High Income Child Benefit Charge for the year ended 5th April 2017 is due for payment by 31st January 2018.  Where the payment is made late interest will be charged.

The first payment on account for 2017/18 in respect of income tax and any Class 4 NI or High Income Child Benefit Charge is also due for payment by 31st January 2018.

If we have already dealt with your self assessment return on your behalf you need take no action.

If you haven’t completed your self assessment return yet please contact us, we can help. 0116 2423400 or send us an email info@torrwaterfield.co.uk