Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Maternity Allowance

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

Women who find that they are not eligible to claim Statutory Maternity Pay may nevertheless, still qualify for the Maternity Allowance (MA).

The amount of MA you get will depend on eligibility.

You might get Maternity Allowance for 39 weeks if one of the following applies:

  • you’re employed, but you can’t get Statutory Maternity Pay
  • you’re self-employed and pay Class 2 National Insurance (including voluntary National Insurance)
  • you’ve recently stopped working

In the 66 weeks before your baby’s due, you must also have been:

  • employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks
  • earning (or classed as earning) £30 a week or more in at least 13 weeks – the weeks don’t have to be together

You may still qualify if you’ve recently stopped working. It doesn’t matter if you had different jobs or periods of unemployment.

If you’re self-employed, to get the full amount of Maternity Allowance, you must have paid Class 2 National Insurance for at least 13 of the 66 weeks before your baby’s due.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will check if you’ve paid enough when you make your claim. They’ll write to you if you haven’t.

If you haven’t paid enough Class 2 National Insurance to get the full rate (£145.18 a week), you’ll get £27 a week for 39 weeks. You still need to meet all the other eligibility criteria to get this amount.

You may be able to get the full rate by making early National Insurance payments. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will send you a letter to tell you how.

Construction sector VAT shakeup

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Government are considering an extension of the VAT reverse charge to include the construction sector. The reverse charge process places the responsibility for paying VAT on the customer instead of the supplier. In their explanatory notes on this topic HMRC said:

What is being done and why

7.1 This instrument, with effect from the 1st October 2019, applies a reverse charge to certain supplies of construction services in order to remove the opportunity for missing trader fraud in the construction sector.

7.2 Missing trader fraud is an organised criminal attack on the VAT system. The fraud is perpetrated through transaction chains in certain business sectors with the loss occurring when the VAT charged by the supplier is not paid to HMRC but is retained by the recipient.

7.3 This type of fraud has been used by criminals to steal billions of pounds in VAT from governments throughout the European Union, both in relation to domestic supplies such as construction services, and also in connection with cross-border intracommunity trading in goods such as mobile telephones, computer chips and emissions allowances. A reverse charge for mobile telephones and computer chips was introduced with effect from 1st June 2007 and one for emissions allowances was introduced with effect from 1st November 2010. Further reverse charge measures were introduced for gas and electricity with effect from 1st July 2014 and for electronic communications with effect from 1st February 2016.

7.4 Construction services have been targeted by criminals because labour-only suppliers in the sector do not incur any significant VAT on their costs but can charge VAT to customers and then go missing, keeping the VAT for themselves. This instrument makes the reverse charge apply to construction services which, for these purposes, have been defined consistently with the activities covered in the Construction Industry Scheme. This is a statutory scheme which is concerned with tackling the risk of direct tax fraud in the construction industry.

7.5 The risk of fraud in the construction industry is principally centred around the supply of construction services between construction businesses in the supply chain and this instrument, therefore, does not require other types of business to apply the reverse charge when receiving construction services and there is also no reverse charge requirement in relation to building and construction materials that are supplied separately and independently of construction services.

7.6 Reverse charge accounting makes it impossible for fraudsters to perpetrate missing trader fraud because the customer rather than the supplier accounts for the VAT direct to HMRC.

7.7 The introduction of the reverse charge in this business sector will mean that businesses will need to adapt their systems and manage their cash flow differently. Due to the large number of small businesses potentially affected by a reverse charge TNA/EM/10-2015.1 3 for construction services the government has given a long lead-in time to help businesses

Ring in the changes, or else

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

There are a number of obligations that business owners should be aware, that involve them informing HMRC of changes to their business circumstances. In some cases, failure to comply may result in fines.

We have paraphrased some of occasions when you will need to advise HMRC:

  • You must tell HMRC if you decide to change the legal structure of your business, for example if you become a limited company or set up a partnership.
  • you’ll need to tell HMRC if you stop being self-employed or close a limited company. To close a partnership, the nominated partner needs to report this on the final partnership tax return.
  • You don’t need to tell HMRC a partner is joining or leaving unless the partnership is VAT-registered. If your partnership is VAT-registered, you must tell HMRC when a partner joins or leaves within 30 days – you can be fined if you don’t.

 

If a partner dies or becomes bankrupt you must:

 

  • If there are 2 partners, the partnership will be automatically dissolved. The remaining partner must re-register for Self-Assessment as a sole trader.
  • If there are more than 2 partners, the partnership will be dissolved unless the partnership has agreed otherwise.
  • If the nominated partner dies, the partnership must nominate another partner and tell HMRC as soon as possible. If they don’t, HMRC will nominate one and write to the partnership. That partner must then complete any outstanding partnership tax returns.

 

Additionally, if you start to employ staff you must register as an employer with HMRC.

VAT imposes a number of obligations. You will need to advise HMRC of changes to your turnover, businesses activity or if you become a member of a VAT group, and in most cases, you must tell them, within 30 days of the change.

Readers who are clients can be reassured that will do this for them (as long as we are given the facts). If you are concerned that you may have changes to disclose, please call and we will deal with this for you.

Tax Diary June/July 2018

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

1 June 2018 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 August 2017.

19 June 2018 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 June 2018. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 June 2018)

19 June 2018 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 June 2018.

19 June 2018 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 June 2018 is payable by today.

1 July 2018 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 30 September 2017.

6 July 2018 – Complete and submit forms P11D return of benefits and expenses and P11D(b) return of Class 1A NICs.

19 July 2018 – Pay Class 1A NICs (by the 22 July 2018 if paid electronically).

19 July 2018 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 July 2018. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 July 2018)

19 July 2018 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 July 2018.

19 July 2018 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 July 2018 is payable by today.

Thousands receive back pay

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

In a recent press release, HMRC urged underpaid workers to complain as figures show that the number of workers getting the money they're owed by employers has doubled after interventions by HMRC.

According to latest figures, in 2017-18, HMRC investigators identified £15.6 million in pay owed to more than a record 200,000 of the UK’s lowest paid workers.

HMRC launched its online complaints service in January 2017, and this has contributed to the 132% increase in the number of complaints received over the last year and the amount of money HMRC has been able to recoup for those unfairly underpaid.

The figures are published as the government launches its annual advertising campaign designed to encourage workers to act if they are not receiving the National Living Wage or the National Minimum Wage.

Industries most affected include restaurants, bars, hotels and hairdressing.

Further information:

  • People not receiving at least the minimum wage can fill in an online pay and work rights complaints form.
  • It is the responsibility of employers, no matter how big or small, to pay the correct wage to their staff, and failing to do so can result in fines of 200% of the arrears, public naming and, for the worst offences, criminal prosecution.

From 1 April 2018, the government’s National Living Wage rate increased by 33p to £7.83 per hour for those aged 25 and over.

The National Minimum Wage increased:

  • by 33p to £7.38 per hour for those aged 21 to 24;
  • by 30p to £5.90 per hour for those aged 18 to 20;
  • by 15p to £4.20 per hour for those aged 16 to 17;
  • by 20p to £3.70 per hour for apprentices.

Crackdown on abuse of UK businesses

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Reforms are being considered that will ensure that Scottish Limited Partnerships continue to be used as a legitimate vehicle for investment in the UK.

Measures to crack down on the abuse of a specialised financial arrangement to launder foreign money through the UK was unveiled at the end of April 2018. This is part of a package of government reforms.

Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs) and Limited Partnerships (LPs) are used by thousands of legitimate British businesses, particularly the private equity and pensions industry, to invest more than £30 billion a year in the UK. SLPs and LPs are business entities created by two or more partners where at least one partner is liable for what they invest.

However, evidence published shows the growing evidence that SLPs have been exploited in complex money laundering schemes, including one which involved using over 100 SLPs to move up to $80 billion out of Russia. They have also been linked to international criminal networks in Eastern Europe and other locations and have allegedly been used in arms deals.

Figures published, as part of the launch of the government consultation on this issue, show that just 5 frontmen were responsible for over half of 6,800 SLPs registered between January 2016 and mid-May 2017. By June 2017, 17,000 SLPs, over half of all SLPs, were registered at just 10 addresses.

New proposals would make it clearer who runs limited partnerships to enable British investors to continue to use them legitimately and invest in the UK, while cracking down on their use in unlawful activities. These include:

  • Requiring a real connection to the UK, including ensuring SLPs do business or maintain a service address in Scotland.
  • Registering new SLPs through a company formation agent, this will ensure that frontmen will be subjected to anti-money laundering checks.
  • New powers for Companies House to remove limited partnerships from the company register if they are dissolved or are no longer operating.

The reforms being proposed will apply to all limited partnerships in the UK and will also include new annual reporting requirements for limited partnerships in England and Wales and Northern Ireland, all of which will help Companies House ensure they comply with the law.

Last year, the government introduced laws requiring SLPs to report their beneficial owner and make their ownership structure more transparent, this resulted in an 80% reduction in the number of SLPs registered. Recent, additional reforms seek to raise standards further.

Employees holiday entitlement

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

The following definitions should help to clarify employee and employer rights and responsibilities regarding entitlement to holiday pay.

Almost all workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year (known as statutory leave entitlement or annual leave). An employer can include bank holidays as part of statutory annual leave.

Most workers who work a 5-day week must receive at least 28 days paid annual leave per year. This is the equivalent of 5.6 weeks of holiday.

Part-time workers are entitled to less paid holiday than full-time workers. They are entitled to at least 5.6 weeks of paid holiday but this amounts to fewer than 28 days because they work fewer hours per week.

Statutory paid holiday entitlement is limited to 28 days, and so staff working 6 days a week are still only entitled to 28 days’ paid holiday.

Bank holidays or public holidays do not have to be given as paid leave. An employer can choose to include bank holidays as part of a worker’s statutory annual leave. An employer can also choose to offer more leave than the legal minimum. They don’t have to apply all the rules that apply to statutory leave to the extra leave. For example, a worker might need to be employed for a certain amount of time before they become entitled to the additional entitlement.

Additionally, workers have the right to:

  • get paid for leave;

  • build up (‘accrue’) holiday entitlement during maternity, paternity and adoption leave;

  • build up holiday entitlement while off work sick;

  • request holiday at the same time as sick leave.

Paid annual leave is a legal right that an employer must provide. If a worker thinks their right to leave and pay are not being met there are a number of ways to resolve the dispute.

What to do if you cannot pay your tax

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

HMRC will consider extended options for settling your outstanding tax bill. The key is to contact HMRC, explain why you can’t pay on time, and discuss how you can settle any outstanding liabilities.

If you can’t pay before the deadline, call the Business Payment Support Service. Anyone can use this service, not just businesses.

Business Payment Support Service
 

Telephone: 0300 200 3835
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 4pm
 

Nominated partners in business partnerships can negotiate time to pay with HMRC on behalf of the partnership or individual partners.

 

If you’ve missed your payment date

 

If you’ve received a payment demand, like a tax bill or a letter threatening you with legal action, call the HMRC office that sent you the letter.

Call the Business Payment Support Service if you haven’t received a bill or letter about payment yet.

 

Self-assessment

Call the Self-assessment helpline if you’ve missed your payment date.

Telephone: 0300 200 3822
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 4pm

Premium rate fraudsters

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

There seems to be an endless growth in illegal sites who aim to make money by claiming to be associated with HMRC.

The Government announced recently that it had scuppered one of these schemes.

According to HMRC:

Scammers create websites that look similar to HMRC’s official site and then direct the public to call numbers with extortionate costs in comparison to the low cost and no cost service HMRC provides. These sites promote non-HMRC premium rate phone numbers as a means of reaching HMRC, but these are merely call forwarding services which connect callers to HMRC at a significant price. HMRC’s own 0300 numbers are mostly free or charged at the national landline rate.

In other cases, sites charge for forwarding information to HMRC which can be provided free of charge through hmrc.gov.uk.

Hapless taxpayers caught by these websites will find themselves with hefty phone costs for being routed to “free” HMRC helplines. The specific tactics and costs on each site vary, but the maximum cost of a call is £3.60 a minute, capped at £36 per call. Anecdotal reports show the average victim reporting a cost of around £15 per call.

 

To counter this activity, HMRC has successfully challenged the ownership of these websites, masquerading as official websites, and taken them out of the hands of cheats. Analysis has shown that had HMRC not taken this action then the public would have lost £2.4m to these phone scams.

This announcement comes at the start of scam awareness month organised by Citizens Advice which is running throughout June 2018. In 2017, HMRC took a formal approach to denying others ownership of misleading domains, so far 105 domains have been recovered which were being used to host a range of misleading content.

Readers who need to contact HMRC can find the official contact numbers at https://www.gov.uk/contact-hmrc.

Tax free home rentals

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

Since April 2016, the amount of tax-free income you can earn from letting a room in your home has increased to £7,500 per annum, or £3,750 if two persons own a property jointly.

You can use the scheme if:

  • you let a furnished room to a lodger
  • your letting activity amounts to a trade, for example, if you run a guest house or bed and breakfast business, or provide services, such as meals and cleaning

You can’t use the Rent-a-Room Scheme if:

  • not part of your main home when you let it
  • not furnished
  • used as an office or for any business – you can use the scheme if your lodger works in your home in the evening or at weekends or is a student who is provided with study facilities
  • in your UK home and is let while you live abroad

 

If your gross receipts from letting aren’t more than the Rent-a-Room limit of £7,500 (or £3,750 if jointly owned), you don’t pay tax on your profit. If they’re more than the limit, you may still be able to benefit under the Rent-a-Room Scheme.

 

Gross receipts include:

  • rental income (before expenses)
  • any amounts you receive for meals, goods and services, such as cleaning or laundry
  • any balancing charges

 

If your gross receipts are less than £7,500 (or £3,750), you are automatically exempt from tax on that income.

 

If you’ve made a loss, however, it may be better for you to pay tax in the normal way – that is, on your receipts less expenses.

 

If your gross receipts are more than £7,500 (or £3,750), you can choose how you want to work out your tax. It can be the actual profit made (rents less expenses) or the gross rents received less the £7,500 (£3,750) allowance; whichever produces the better result.