May 2014 Newsletter

Welcome to May's Tax Tips & News, our newsletter designed to bring you tax tips and news to keep you abreast of the latest developments in taxation.

If you need further assistance just let us know or you can send us a question for our Question and Answer Section.

We are committed to ensuring none of our clients pay a penny more in tax than is necessary and they receive useful tax and business advice and support throughout the year.

Please contact us for advice in your own specific circumstances. We're here to help!

Second Incomes

The Taxman is reaching out to employees with second incomes; which could be anything from selling home-made items, to working as a self-employed consultant. All of the income and expenses from that second source of income should be declared to HMRC, and the correct tax must be paid where a profit has been made. 

The Second Incomes Campaign provides a means to declare any "forgotten" second income with minimal fuss and penalties. All the tax due must be paid alongside any interest, this will be calculated from the date the tax was originally due to be paid.

To use the Second Incomes Campaign you must first notify HMRC either by completing an online form, or by calling: 0300 123 0945. HMRC will then respond with a disclosure reference number. You then have four months in which to make a full disclosure of the second source of income (quoting the reference number) and pay all the tax, interest and penalties due. We can help you calculate the amounts to be paid, and claim any losses.

Second Homes

If you have more than one home, - properties actually used as your home - you can elect for one of those properties to be your tax-exempt main home. Once this election is made, it can be changed at any time, and this allows you to manage the tax you pay when disposing of your properties.

However, from April 2015 the ability to elect for one property or another to be tax-exempt may well be removed. This is because the Government wants to tax overseas residents on the profits they make when they sell their homes in the UK.

Such overseas residents live in their UK homes for only a small part of the tax year, but currently pay no UK tax when those properties are sold (although they may pay tax in another country on the gain). If the election to opt for one property to be tax-exempt remained in place, all overseas residents would opt to have their UK home treated as their tax-exempt main home, and no additional tax would be raised.

So from April 2015 which property is your tax-exempt main home will be determined by factors such as where you are located most of the tax year, or where your family is based, or where the children go to school etc. It's not clear how the elections which are currently in place will be treated.

If you are planning to dispose of one of your properties after April 2015 we can help you plan how to make the best use of the other continuing tax exemptions.

Tax Nudge

A "nudge" in this context is a piece of advice or an arrangement designed to encourage you to pick the option the Government wants you to choose, such as contributing to a pension, or eating healthier foods.

In this case the nudge is information about the average profit ratios businesses in your business sector make, as reported on their tax returns. Working out these average profit ratios is called "benchmarking". 

The Taxman is writing to a sample of traders in selected trade sectors quoting benchmarked profit ratios for those sectors. He asks the trader to review his turnover and expense figures before completing the 2013/14 tax return, with a view to ensuring the reported net profit (also known as bottom line) lies in a range around the benchmarked net profit ratio.

If you receive one of these benchmark letters, please send us a copy as the Taxman is unlikely to have copied us in. We can help you review your income and expenses to be reported on your tax return.

Don't take the letter as a sign that the Taxman has any evidence that your reported figures are wrong. There are many valid reasons why your business may not be typical. For example you operate in a difficult geographical location, or your business may open for different hours than other similar businesses.

However, if you have been hiding sales which have been paid by credit or debit cards, the Taxman can now easily prove that your sales are understated. This is because he can request details of all transactions processed by debit and credit card companies. 

That sales data can be broken down by trader, and compared to the VAT and tax returns you have submitted. However, remember the credit and debit card data could contain errors.So if you are challenged on the basis of your credit card sales don't assume the Taxmans information is 100% correct.

Flat Rate VAT

The flat rate VAT scheme for small businesses is designed to reduce administration hassle for the businesses that use it, not to reduce the amount of VAT the business pays over to HMRC, but that is often a side effect of using the scheme.

You can use the flat rate VAT scheme if you have an annual turnover up to £150,000 (net of VAT). Once registered to use the scheme, you must apply VAT to your sales at the rates required for the particular product or service (20%, 5% or zero). However, when completing the quarterly VAT returns you ignore any VAT paid on purchases, apart from large assets costing over £2000. You calculate the VAT to be paid over to HMRC as a flat percentage of your gross sales, with the percentage used determined by the trade sector which most of your sales fall into.

For example a hairdresser which is registered for the flat rate scheme must use a flat rate of 13%. On sales of £3,000 in the quarter she charges VAT at 20%: £600. She will pay VAT to HMRC of: 13% x £3,600 = £468.

You must choose to register for the flat rate VAT scheme, it will not be offered to you, even if you would be better off using the scheme. When you register you must choose which of 55 trade categories best fits the majority of sales made by your business. This is important as the flat rate percentages vary from 4% to 14.5% for different trade sectors, so an incorrect choice of trade sector can be very expensive.

You can change the trade sector you opt to use, but HMRC generally only permit a change to be made from the beginning of the current VAT quarter. You must also review the trade sector chosen on the anniversary of starting to use the flat rate VAT scheme. If your sales mix has altered so most of the sales are in a different trade sector, you must switch to using the flat rate percentage relevant to the majority of your sales. We can help you decide if the flat rate scheme would be advantageous for your business.

May Question and Answer Section

Q. If a director takes a £25,000 loan from his company and agrees to pay interest at say 3.5%, does this need to be declared on the company's tax return or on a form P11D?

A. This must be shown on the company's corporation return if it has not been repaid to the company within nine months of the end of the accounting year in which this was made. This will generate a corporation tax charge equivalent to 25% of the outstanding amount. The amount of interest paid on the loan is irrelevant for the corporation tax charge.

However, if the loan is made for a fixed period at a fixed interest rate which is equal to, or higher than, the official rate of interest (now 3.25%), there is no benefit in kind charge for the director personally, and no need to report this on the form P11D.

Q. If my employer leases a car to me at the fair market value for such a lease, which I pay in full to the employing company, will I be taxed as if I had the use of a company car with no lease?

A. The law that taxes company cars was recently changed to ensure employees are always taxed on the provision of a company car, irrespective of how that car is provided. So although you lease the car from your employer you will still be subject to the benefit in kind charge, which is calculated as a percentage of the vehicle's list price when new. The percentage varies from 0% to 35% depending on the vehicle's CO2 emissions. Any amounts you pay to your employer for the personal use of the car reduce the benefit in kind charge, but you will not be better off using the leasing arrangement.

Q. My husband supports the IT and telecoms systems used by my company, which pays him £150 per week through the payroll for this work. Can the company also pay a small pension contribution on his behalf?

A. Yes your company can pay a pension contribution for your husband as he is an employee of the company, although as he earns less than the personal allowance (£10,000 per year) the company is not obliged to auto-enrol him in a pension scheme. The company can claim a tax deduction for his wages and pension contribution, as long as that total sum is not excessive for the work he does. You may want to get some comparable quotes for IT and telephone systems support to check you are paying a fair rate for the work he does.

May Key Tax Dates

02 - Last day for car change notifications in the quarter to 5 April - Use P46 Car

19 - Deadline for Employers' 2013/14 end of year PAYE Returns (P35, P14, P38 & P38A). Penalties for non-submission.

19/22 - PAYE/NIC, student loan and CIS deductions due for month to 5/5/2014

31 - Deadline for copies of P60 to be issued to employees for 2013/14