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Spring Statement 13th March 2019

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has announced that the government will respond to the forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) in the Spring Statement on Wednesday 13 March 2019. While Hammond has already stated that the Spring...

Post-Brexit Preparations

UK VAT-registered businesses which trade with the EU are being urged by HMRC to be prepared for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. HMRC sent letters to 145,000 firms advising businesses to take three actions ahead of the 29th March 2019 leave date: Register for a UK...

Making Tax Digital for VAT pilot update

HMRC has extended the Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV) pilot scheme to all eligible businesses, on the mandated compliance for VAT return periods beginning on or after 1 April 2019. However, MTDfV for some ‘more complex’ businesses has been deferred until 1 October...

Update letter from The Pensions Regulator

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is beginning to write reminders to all employers that, from 6 April 2019, the minimum amount to be paid to a workplace pension is increasing to 8% – and that they, the employers, must contribute at least 3% of the total contribution. To be...

Scottish Budget income tax changes

The Scottish Draft Budget took place on 12 December 2018. To assist those of you who might be affected, we have published a table containing the 2019/20 proposed rates and bands (for non-savings and non-dividend income), along with the 2018/19 rates and bands....

List of deliberate tax defaulters published online

HMRC have published an updated list containing details of taxpayers who have been penalised for deliberate errors in their tax returns or have purposely failed to comply with tax requirements. HMRC are able to publish details where an investigation has been made and...

Scottish Budget property tax changes

The 2019/20 Scottish Draft Budget includes changes to Scottish Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT). The policy priority for residential Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) continues to be to help first-time buyers and those moving through the property...

HMRC’s most bizarre excuses for late returns

As the deadline approaches for submitting returns, here are HMRC’s strangest reasons for late or failed submissions, from taxpayers who missed the Self-Assessment deadline last year. My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me. I’m too short to reach the post...

Employer tax rates and thresholds for 2019/20

HMRC have updated the online guidance available, now providing a detailed list of income tax and NIC rates applicable to employers for 2019/20. The comprehensive list can be used by employers for 2019/2020 for payroll and employee expenses. The list includes: PAYE tax...

Guide to completing P11Ds published

A new online guide has been published by HMRC to aid employers in determining which benefits and expenses need to be declared in the P11D forms. These forms can be completed online using: the PAYE online for employers’ service; or the online end-of-year expenses and...

MTD VAT Pilot is Now… Open to All

MTD VAT Pilot is Now… Open to All HMRC announced (10/1/2019) that their Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV) pilot is now open to all those mandated to keep digitally compliant records and to file MTD-compatible VAT returns for return periods commencing after 31...

Marketing considerations for 2019

As we leave 2018 behind, it’s worth taking stock of this period of increased regulation on customer data protection and privacy – in parallel with its acceleration in marketing technology capabilities. This blog provides an overview of what to consider in terms of the...

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

From 1st December 2018, there have been new company car advisory fuel rates published, stating that the previous rates can be used for up to one month from the date the new rates apply. The rates only apply to employees using a company car, and the advisory fuel rates...

Scottish tax bands diverge further

On the 12 December 2018, Derek Mackay, the Scottish Finance Secretary, unveiled the Scottish Budget for 2019/20 . You will recall that this time last year he introduced two additional tax bands, which meant that Scottish resident taxpayers would now pay income tax at...

Stamp duty relief benefits 180,000 new homeowners

According to HMRC, more than 180,000 first-time buyers have benefitted from First Time Buyers’ Relief (FTBR) from Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). Introduced in the November 2017 Budget, FTBR has saved homeowners more than £426 million. FTBR is a relief from a charge on...

Brexit: The ‘No Deal’ Scenario

In preparation for the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement, the Government has published a collection of documents outlining what a “no deal” Brexit could mean. They have stated: “The government does not want or expect a no deal...

Choosing the right location for your business

With Amazon’s recent decision on the new location for their business, here are some aspects to consider when making a similar investment of your own. The location should be consistent with your particular style and image. If your business is retailing, do you want a...

HMRC Tax Return Filing Time

The deadline for submitting 2017/18 self-assessment tax returns online is 31 January 2019 with a penalty of £100 if the return is late. Last year approximately 11 million taxpayers completed the return with 10.7 million being on time. In a statement, Angela MacDonald,...

Changes to Capital allowances

The Budget includes an increase to the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) for two years up to £1 million. This is in relation to qualifying expenditure incurred from 1 January 2019, currently at £200,000 per year. Additional changes to the rules outlined include the...

Changes to Entrepreneurs’ Relief

For disposals on or after 29 October 2018, the Chancellor announced changes to the Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER) rules. During his October Budget, he introduced a requirement for a person claiming ER to have at least a 5% interest in the distributable profits and the net...

Autumn Budget 2018

In the Autumn Budget, the Chancellor Philip Hammond stated that “austerity is coming to an end, but discipline will remain”. He outlined a promise for a “double deal dividend” from Brexit and referenced that there is likely to be a full-scale Spring Budget if Brexit...

Making Tax Digital for VAT pilot

In the middle of October, HMRC opened the Making Tax Digital for VAT pilot. This is now available for nearly 70% of those mandated to file MTD-compliant VAT returns for all future VAT-return periods starting after the 31 March 2019. The requirement to join VAT-MTD...

The Budget 2018

The end is nigh. During what one could be forgiven for thinking was a pre-election budget, the Chancellor confidently stated that ‘austerity is coming to an end – but discipline will remain’. He then went on to promise a ‘double deal dividend’ if Brexit...

Five Steps to a Successful Business Strategy

When setting out on a new venture or business idea, so many businesses do not succeed. This could be down to a combination of factors. Yet, one common factor is the challenges associated with executing the idea and establishing it in the market. To ensure your idea or...

Self-employed Class 2 National Insurance remains

The government has decided not to abolish Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from April 2019. This is today paid at a rate of £2.95 per week by self-employed individuals with profits of £6,205 or more annually. Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the...

VAT Making Tax Digital – A Giant Step

Growing confidence It’s official. Sole traders and companies with up-to-date VAT affairs are now able to join HMRC’s test phase for VAT Making Tax Digital (MTD). While testing of VAT-MTD started last April, until now it has been on a limited, controlled,...

Latest guidance from HMRC in Employer Bulletin

HMRC Employer bulletins are magazines published every two months, giving up-to-date information on payroll topics for employers and agents. The latest edition has useful information on reporting payroll information, information on the National Living Wage and the...

5 Steps to Resilience

Running and managing your own business can be one of the hardest challenges of your life. The ups, the downs, the cash flow challenges, finding the right people – the list is endless. Likewise, though, are the ups in terms of success: winning the next deal, finding...

New Fuel Rates published for Company Cars

New company car advisory fuel rates were published, on September 1st, with the guidance indicating that the previous rates may be used for up to one month from the date the new rates applied. This only effects employees using a company car. The listed rates are shown...

HMRC warns: Declare offshore assets

As of 1 October, the new Requirement to Correct (RTC) rules are upon us. Previously, under HMRC Offshore Disclosure Facilities, taxpayers had been encouraged to come clean with an offer of lower penalties than would have been incurred if “the error” had been...

Tax legislation next round published

For the Finance Bill 2018-19, the government has published draft legislation that could affect a range of taxes, from Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) to Income Tax. This is now open for consultation and is aligned to the commitment from the government for a ‘competitive...

Relief for first-time buyers in Scotland

Around 80% of first-time buyers will pay no Scottish Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT). 30 June 2018 saw the introduction of the First-Time Buyers tax relief. The change has meant that the zero-rated LBTT threshold has increased from £145,000 to £175,000 for...

Rising interest rates from Bank of England

The recent Bank of England 0.25% interest rate increase (to 0.75%) sees UK interest rates at their highest since March 2009. This change will have an immediate impact on interest costs, such as mortgages for those on variable or tracker rates, whilst the rise may take...

Raising finance for your business: Where to start

To help you kick-start your business, there are several ways in which to raise finance to get your idea underway or to further accelerate your growth. At the time of writing, these are the most common routes to explore for finance. However, new offerings for finance...

Cold calling ban requested on pensions

HMRC recently issued a consultation concerning draft technical regulations to ban pension cold calling The consultation document sets out the policy intentions behind the proposed ban and invites comments on the draft regulations to implement the ban set out at Annex...

Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV)

HMRC has published a new VAT Notice (700/22), ‘Making Tax Digital for VAT’. The new notice provides information on the new rules with which VAT-registered entities will have to comply. For VAT return periods commencing after 31 March 2019, VAT-registered entities with...

Summer holidays and Tax-Free Childcare

Throughout the summer holidays, the government has been reminding parents seeking help for childcare costs that they can use Tax-Free Childcare (TFC). This is worth up to £2,000 per child per year, to pay for regulated holiday clubs. Findings from a recent survey by...

HMRC proposes new VAT rules for construction services

Subject to consultation, HMRC proposes to introduce new VAT rules for construction services, which have been published in a draft statutory instrument for consultation. It suggests, under the draft legislation, that supplies of standard or reduced-rated construction...

Fraudsters stopped by HMRC, saving the public £2.4m

Fraudsters have been tackled by HMRC, with a focus on the use of premium rate phone numbers for services HMRC provide for free. The reported fraudsters create fake websites for HMRC and then look to charge for what are actually free services from HMRC, through...

RTI filing extended by HMRC until April 2019

The payroll Real Time Information (RTI) late filing easement has been extended by HMRC until April 2019. For the RTI payroll, it is a requirement for employers to submit details of payments made to employees on or before the day that salaries/wages are paid. The new...

HMRC confirms UK ‘tax gap’ fall to 5.7%

The tax gap for 2016 – 2017 has fallen to 5.7%, HMRC has confirmed. The “tax gap” relates to the tax that should be paid and the actual tax paid to HMRC. In a statement, Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘These really positive figures show that...

Supporting the Self-Employed through Universal Credit

A recent report published by the government,“Universal Credit: supporting self employment,” considered the impact of the Monthly Income Floor (MIF) earnings requirement. To be eligible for Universal Credit (UC) claimants must earn the at least the MIF. The MIF is...

IR35 Update

Who would have thought that the Intermediaries Legislation – commonly known as IR35 – is almost twenty years old? Despite the passage of time, issues regarding employment status are less clear than ever. This is certainly no less true in the last few months, which has...

HMRC scam warnings

There have been warnings issued by HMRC regarding tax scams that approach individuals through SMS and emails. At present, HMRC are processing real refunds for the previous year and the scam is intended to replicate this approach through messages claiming the taxpayer...

QuickBooks files first MTD-compliant VAT return

In what can only be described as a momentous achievement for Intuit, QuickBooks, the world’s leading online accounting software provider, has submitted its first Making Tax Digital (MTD) VAT filing to HMRC – through QuickBooks Online on 15th May 2018. Dominic Allon,...

Scottish Budget Update

With the new Scottish Income Tax rates and bands introduced from 6 April 2018, UK tax reliefs will continue to work north of the border as intended. The following will apply: Transferable Marriage Allowance Taxpayers can transfer 10% of their tax-free Personal...

Remember P11D due for submission

For the year ending 5 April 2018, P11D reports detailing expenses and benefits are due for submission by 6 July 2018. It is important not to leave this task until the last minute, as it can take time to process the relevant information. Employees pay tax on benefits...

Amended VAT fuel scale charges

With effect from 1 May 2018, the VAT fuel scale charges have been amended. VAT-registered entities who calculate and apply the charges must use the new scales from the start of the next VAT return period, starting on or after 1 May 2018. VAT-registered businesses use...

Exemption for workplace charging

In the Autumn Budget 2017, it was announced that the government intends to implement an exemption; for the benefit of electricity provided by an employer, at the workplace, to charge electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. This means that there are no requirements for...

A Quick Guide to GDPR

From the 25 May 2018, companies that collect data on citizens in European Union (EU) countries need to comply with strict new rules regarding the protection of customers – in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Federation of Small Businesses...

Spring Statement and Budget 2018

The Headlines Phillip Hammond was in a playful mood when he presented his first Spring Statement on Tuesday 13 March 2018. He even referred to himself as being “at my most positively Tigger-like”. Hammond opened with an update on our economy and reported on the Office...

5 ways cloud accounting could transform your business

Whether you are a small business owner, or you are self-employed, embracing cloud accounting and technology could help your business transform and succeed. Here are five ways this can happen. Avoid paperwork and errors Having to manage multiple data sources in manual...

Tips for Tax Planning before Year-end 5 April

Make full use of your ISA allowance, a tax-free way to save, with individuals permitted to invest up to a limit of £20,000 for the 2017/18 tax year. A saver may only pay into a maximum of one Cash ISA, one Stocks and Shares ISA, and one Innovative Finance ISA per...

One million employers reach Auto Enrolment Pensions

It has been announced that approximately 9.3 million people are now saving into a pension according to the Pensions Regulator, a milestone has been achieved of one million employers having rolled out the scheme. In the past, many workers have missed out on valuable...

What is GDPR and how will it impact your business?

With the General Data Protection Regulation regime coming into force in the UK from 25 May 2018, key changes will be introduced to the way personal data is handled. The question, therefore, is whether your business is prepared for the forthcoming change. It is...

Inheritance Tax thresholds report

A recent poll, conducted by Canada Life, highlighted the confusion surrounding Inheritance Tax thresholds. It was found that 70% of UK adults over the age of 45, and with assets over the £325,000 individual Inheritance Tax threshold (IHT), were not aware that their...

Tax-Free Childcare update

From 14 February 2018, HMRC has made the scheme available to all parents of eligible children, who can now apply online. The Tax Free Childcare scheme is available to help towards the cost of childcare for working parents. The scheme has been rolled out in stages to...

Revision to Income Tax bands in Scotland

Due to “an anomaly that meant some higher rate taxpayers saw their bills fall while others on slightly lower incomes saw a rise, due in part to changes in the personal allowance,” Derek Mackay, Scottish Finance Secretary, has amended the proposed Scottish Income Tax...

HMRC scam messages stopped

HMRC have announced that they have prevented thousands of convincing scam text messages from reaching customers’ phones, up to 90% of all HMRC related scam messages being sent. The HMRC press release states: “Fraudsters alleging to be from HMRC send text messages to...

Corporation Tax changes for large companies

From April 2019, new rules will apply to companies with annual taxable profits in excess of £20 million. These companies will be categorised as ‘very large’ and will be required to make QIPs four months earlier than smaller companies. However, a company will not...

Rejected excuses for late Self Assessment

Since 31 January, HMRC has released the latest list of rejected excuses for late filing for Self Assessment. HMRC does this every year, and this year certainly did not disappoint! I couldn’t file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me...

HMRC payments announcement

With effect from 15 December 2017, HMRC has announced that the option will no longer be available to provide payment for tax via the Post Office, and that after the 13 January 2018, HMRC has removed the ability to pay with a personal credit card. This is due to the...

Stamp Duty Relief for first time buyers in Scotland

The Scottish Government has announced a first-time buyers’ Land and Buildings Transaction Tax relief for properties up to £175k – increasing the zero-tax level from £145k. There will also be relief for first-time buyers purchasing above the £175k on the portion of the...

Your finances for 2018 – 5 Promises to keep

The start of a new year is a great time for reflection, in particular when it comes to your finances, and planning to best achieve your goals in the forthcoming year. Following these 5 simple steps, should help you prepare to have your finances in order. Prioritise...

Delay in the abolition of Class 2 NIC

Following the previous announcement that the government plan to abolish Class 2 national insurance contributions, and make other NIC changes in 2018, there has now been an update. The changes have been delayed until April 2019, when the changes are now planned to...

Tax deductible expenses for sole traders

Do you work from home? Did you know, as a sole trader you can charge a proportion of household expenses to the business. The following expenses will need to be logged effectively to best support your books and tax return. Telephone & Broadband You should monitor...

8 phishing and scamming tactics highlighted by HMRC

We recommend that you are always vigilant when it comes to the risk of scams and phishing. To help, please see the current list of tactics provided by HMRC of known scams. Tax refund and rebate emails HMRC will not contact you via email to organise a tax rebate. Some...

Fuel rates update for company cars

There are new advisory fuel rates for employees using company cars, or where an employee is required to repay the cost of fuel used for private travel. Although the new rates came into effect on 1 December 2017, the old rates could still be used until the 31 December...

Tax exemption on employee gifts

If you have purchased your employees a seasonal gift, you might like to know what criteria you need to meet to ensure the gift can be exempt from tax. The cost of the gift must be £50 or less per employee, or on average where gifts are given to multiple employees. If...

Delay to roll out of tax free childcare

The Tax Free Childcare Scheme was anticipated to be fully launched by the end of 2017. However, the Government has since announced that completion of the rollout will be delayed. The Scheme was first made available in April 2017 to parents of children under 6 years of...

Paradise Papers

The second biggest data leak of all time, after the Panama Papers, contains a vast 1.4TB of data which is over 13.4 million records. Some of the most infamous names ousted have included the Queen and corporations such as Facebook and Apple. The papers suggest that...

Interest rates rise update

With the Bank of England interest rate rise, the first in more than 10 years, the official bank rate has been lifted from 0.25% to 0.5%, to the rate before Brexit. It is estimated that there may be further interest rate rises over the next 3 years as outlined by Bank...

New Help to Save Scheme launched

A new scheme will be launched in 2018, by the Government to incentivise those on low incomes to build up their savings. The Help to Save Scheme will be available to employed people who receive Working Tax Credits, and to those who receive Universal Credit with a...

Criminal Finances Act 2017

There has been an update to the Criminal Finance Act 2017, which imposes new duties on agents moving forward. The legislation makes companies and partnerships (relevant bodies) criminally culpable for the failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion committed by...

Important deadlines to remember for your Limited company

Running your own Limited company has so many exciting benefits; being your own boss, making decisions and the sense of pride and achievement when business is going well. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly tough, stressful, and time-consuming, with a whole list...

Class 2 National Insurance delayed

In a written statement to the House of Commons made on the 2 November 2017, Andrew Jones (The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury) announced the planned abolition of class 2 national insurance contributions (NIC) is to be delayed by one year to 6 April 2019. His...