Over the recent years technology has made payroll processing function far simpler. The following may help you decided how you would like to handle your payroll function. … Continue Reading
Q. The Taxman has sent me a new PAYE code for 2013/14, which includes about £1000 of savings income taxed at 40%. I don’t know how he got that figure as I don’t have any savings, and I only draw dividends from my company up to the limit of the 20% tax band.
A. The Taxman has looked at the income reported on your tax return for 2011/12, of say £7,475 wages plus £35,000 gross dividends (total £42,475), and assumed you will continue to receive the same amounts of wages and dividends in 2013/14. However, in 2013/14 your tax free personal allowance will be £9,440 and the limit of the 20% tax band will be £32,010 (total £41,450). If you draw the same amounts from your company in 2013/14 as you did in 2011/12, you will be taxed on £1,025 at the higher rate (40% for salary, 32.5% for dividends). To avoid the higher tax rate you will need to restrict the amount you draw from your company in 2013/14, and tell the Taxman to amend your PAYE code on the basis of you estimated salary and dividends for the year.
A. The answer is to include all of the property’s running costs (power, rates and repairs) in your B&B accounts and take out, or ‘disallow’, an amount that relates to your family’s use of the property. This is called a private use adjustment. In many towns the private use adjustment for B&Bs has been agreed locally with the Inspector of Taxes as a monthly or annual rate. However, from 1 April 2013 national rates of private use adjustment have been set by the Taxman as follows:
- 1 family member living in the premises: £350
- 2 family members living in the premises: £500
- 3 or more family members living in the premises: £650
Q. My family business is very traditional; the factory-floor workers are paid weekly, the management are paid monthly and the senior directors are paid quarterly. How will I report all these different pay dates under real time information (RTI)?
A. This is a problem, as the RTI system was designed on the basis that all employees on the same payroll are paid at the same time. Under RTI you must submit a report for the entire payroll called a Full Payment Summary (FPS), every time the employees are paid. Running the FPS with only say the weekly employees receiving pay will cause errors unless adjustments are done for those employees who are not being paid on that particular pay date. A solution may be to segment your payroll into weekly, monthly and quarterly runs, but you need to talk to your payroll software provider to check if that is possible, before you start to implement RTI.
If you are self-employed you may have a number of customers you go to regularly to work at their premises. This could apply to mobile hairdressers, cleaners, gardeners, and even medical professionals who work at private clinics. The miles you drive to reach each of your customers from your business base are used to calculate the amount of travel expenses you claim in your business accounts.
This is all good, but the Taxman has recently argued in a tax case that where the business is based at the person’s home, that home-office can’t be treated as the starting point for travel when the work is performed almost entirely at customers’ properties. The Taxman has particularly challenged travel expenses claimed by doctors who work at private clinics and do not see patients at their home-office. The Taxman has tried to ignore the necessary preparation and report writing work the doctor has to perform at his home-office.
The Taxman has agreed that travel between customers is allowable, so the mobile hairdresser or cleaner who travels to several customers each day should be able to claim the majority of their travel expenses. However, travel from the home-office to say one private clinic and back home again is in question.
This doesn’t mean you should stop claiming the cost of travelling to customers, but to head-off any challenge in the future, you should record every business related journey; where it started, number of miles and the reason for the journey – who were you seeing. Using an estimate of your total business mileage for the year is no longer an acceptable method of calculating your travel expenses. You should also record what part of your business you conduct at your home-office, such as preparing estimates or writing reports.
The letting of land is exempt from VAT unless it falls into one of the many exemptions from the exemption for VAT. One of those exemptions to the exemption is where accommodation is provided in hotels, inns, boarding houses and similar establishments, including rooms provided for the purpose of catering, i.e. an eating and drinking occasion.
If you hire a room in a hotel for a group function including a meal, and the hotel supplies the catering, the whole fee is subject to standard rate VAT. If the catering is supplied by an outside caterer, the Taxman used to take the view that the room hire would be exempt from VAT, whilst the catering cost would carry standard rate VAT (if the caterer was VAT registered). However, the Taxman changed his mind on this point in October 2011, and updated the VAT Notice 709/3: Hotels and holiday accommodation.
Unfortunately he didn’t tell anyone he had released a new version of that leaflet so few businesses were aware of the change in practice, and confusion reigned. Now the Taxman has issued some more guidance as HMRC Brief number 02/13.
That guidance says where a room in a hotel is supplied for the purposes of catering, whether or not the catering is supplied by the same establishment, the room hire is subject to VAT at the standard rate. If you run a hotel, pub or similar place that hires out rooms, and have got this wrong in the past, the Taxman has said he will not pursue you for the VAT which should have been charged. However, you need to get the VAT treatment right from now on.
The value of shares quoted on the stock market has risen recently. This may encourage you to sell some investments before the end of this tax year (5 April 2013) in order to use your annual capital gains exemption and to soak up any capital losses. Any gains covered by the exemption (currently £10,600 per person) or capital losses are free of capital gains tax.
We can’t advise you on what to sell, but we can help you calculate the level of your capital losses and potential gains. It is essential that you tell your financial adviser or stockbroker how much capital losses you have already realised, so future disposals can be made to meet the level of those capital losses.
If you have forgotten to declare a disposal which made a capital loss on your tax return form, there may be no harm done, but you need to submit a claim for the loss before it can be set against a later gain. The deadline for claiming capital losses is now four years from the end of the tax year in which the loss arose, so you can still claim for losses made in 2008/09 and later tax years. We can help you with these claims.
Don’t forget you can crystallise a capital loss on shares which you still hold, but are now worth nothing or almost nothing. This is called a negligible value claim.
Under real time information (RTI) PAYE reporting, a Full Payment Submission (FPS) report is required to be made to HMRC every time an employee is paid, not just once after the end of the tax year as is currently the case. RTI will be compulsory for most employers from the first pay date following 6 April 2013.
Many one-person companies may wish to pay the director just once a year and avoid monthly RTI reporting. If you want to do this, you must first check that your payroll software will cope with an annual payroll, as many main-stream payroll software packages do not.
The second stage is to understand what reports HMRC will require under RTI. An annual payroll must be registered with HMRC. The current advice on the HMRC website says: “If all payments on which tax and NICs are due are paid to your employees annually in a single tax month, you can ask HMRC to be treated as an ‘annual payer’. You must use the same month every year, so if this changes or you start paying your employees more frequently, you will need to tell HMRC.”
There should be more guidance on the HMRC website about annual payrolls soon. If you do not register the payroll as being annual you will need to submit an Employer Payment Summary (EPS) to HMRC every month, which shows nil payments made to the employee.
19/22 – PAYE/NIC and CIS deductions due for month to 5/12/2012
30 – Deadline for 2011/12 self assessment online returns to be filed if you are an employee and want tax underpaid to be collected by adjustment to your 2013/14 PAYE code (for underpayments of up to £3,000 only)
Q. I registered as self-employed in 2005, but as I didn’t have any income I ignored the tax returns the tax office sent me. When they demanded £1,000 tax for each year I got my act together and sent in the completed tax returns which showed no tax due. Now the Taxman won’t cancel the tax demands issued for the years before 2008/09. What can I do?
A. You have been caught by the tax law here. The years before 2008/09 are ‘out of time’ and the Taxman doesn’t have to cancel the tax demands for those years. Although you may be able to appeal for the tax demands to be cancelled under ‘special relief’, but you need to show it would be unconscionable for the Taxman to collect the excessive tax. This is a very high hurdle to clear.
Q. From 1 January 2013 Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) are not permitted to charge commission, and should instead charge fees for the advice and services they provide. Do firms of IFAs have to charge VAT on all the advice they give or is some advice exempt from VAT?
A. The VATman’s guidance says the IFA’s advice-only services will be subject to VAT, but if the fee is for an introduction to an exempt financial service, that introduction fee will be exempt from VAT. As an IFA you need to sort out exactly what you are charging for:
- general advice
- introductions to exempt services (such as to authorised dealers in securities) or
- introductions to services which are subject to VAT such as discretionary investment manager services.
We need to discuss your particular circumstances in detail to sort out the VAT position.
Q. I got divorced in 2007, but I still jointly own my former family home with my ex-wife. We agreed she would live there with my daughter until she finished her school exams. The house is now about to be sold. Will I have to pay capital gains tax on my share of the profit made?
A. You can escape tax on the gain made on your former home if all these conditions are met:
- Since you left the property your former spouse has occupied it as her main residence.
- The agreement for your ex-spouse to stay in the home was made either under a court order, or as part of your divorce.
- You haven’t elected for another property to be your main residence for any part of the period since you ceased living in your former home. If you have acquired another property in the meantime, you need to think carefully about which property you claim capital gains tax relief on, as this relief can’t be applied to two properties for the same period.
It’s one number (£77,000 from 1 April 2012), so why is so easy to get it wrong? We are talking about the compulsory VAT registration threshold in the UK. If your VAT taxable turnover (sales) total for the previous 12 calendar months exceeds this compulsory registration threshold, or the sales you expect to make in next 30 days will exceed that threshold, you MUST register for VAT within the next 30 days.
You can now register for VAT online on the HMRC website, but we recommend that you talk to us first, as so many things can go wrong. If you make a mistake with the form, the Taxman may not let you correct it. For example:
- If you exceed the VAT registration threshold due to a ‘blip’ in sales, you can ask the VATman for permission not to register for VAT, but you must ask first and permission may not be granted.
- You can reclaim VAT on services you purchased for your business in the six months before the day your VAT registration is effective from, so it is essential to time your VAT registration date with an eye on the invoice dates for those expensive services. If the service relates to an asset which was no longer held at registration, the VAT can’t be recovered as pre-registration VAT.
- If you receive a large order which will push your sales over the VAT registration threshold for the next 30 days alone, pay attention to the delivery dates for that order. A staggered delivery for the order may mean you do not exceed the VAT threshold in the next 30 days, and you may register for VAT too early.
The Taxman has announced a taskforce to investigate tax avoidance by landlords in South East England.
Private residential landlords have now been the subject of a taskforce in: Scotland, North Wales, London, East Anglia, North East, North West, and now South East England. That covers pretty much the whole of the UK. The message is clear; individuals who own rental properties must correctly declare all of the income and gains generated by those properties.
It is relatively easy for the Taxman to trace the owners of let properties through the Land Registry and compare the registered owner’s name to those recorded on the electoral roll for the property. If the names aren’t the same, the Taxman will assume the property has been let. He can also ask letting agents to provide lists of the landlords and properties they serve.