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Small Business Saturday 05/12/2015

This year for Small Business Saturday we will be offering all small businesses the opportunity to get our Cloud Bookkeeper service for a reduced rate for 6months. The offer will last 24hours so be quick to snap up the offer by emailing us at info@cloudbookkeeper.co.uk

 

 

http://www.cloudbookkeeper.co.uk/2969/

Tax Simplification for Individuals

New method of assessment

A new, simpler process for paying tax will take effect from 2016-17. The new system will be used for self-assessment taxpayers who have simple tax affairs where HMRC already hold all the data needed to calculate the tax liability, and where existing payment processes are not available. Taxpayers will be sent a calculation which will be a legally enforceable demand for payment, although taxpayers will be able to challenge and appeal the calculations.

Digital tax accounts

At the Spring Budget 2015 the government announced proposals for the introduction of personalised digital tax accounts to replace the current annual tax returns system. The government has now announced that companies, unincorporated businesses, self-employed people and landlords will all be required to keep track of their tax affairs digitally and update HMRC at least quarterly via their digital tax account. HMRC will ensure the availability of free apps and software that link securely to HMRC systems and provide support to those who need help using digital technology and will include features which will prevent errors and promote compliance. The measure will not apply to employees, or pensioners, with a secondary income source from self-employment or property and whose gross income from this secondary source is under £10,000 per year.

The measure will be implemented for income tax and NICs from April 2018, VAT from April 2019 and corporation tax from April 2020. The roll out will be staggered and there will be testing before the reporting becomes mandatory.

Self-assessment time limit clarification

The government is to publish draft legislation clarifying the time allowed for making a self-assessment, making it clear that the time limit is four years from the end of the relevant tax year. (This will be legislated in Finance Bill 2016).

Stamp Taxes Update

SDLT on acquisition of additional properties

From 1 April 2016, higher rates of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) will be charged on purchases of additional residential properties (above £40,000), such as buy to let properties and second homes. The higher rates will be 3 percentage points above the current SDLT rates.

The higher rates will not apply to purchases of caravans, mobile homes or houseboats, or to corporates or funds making significant investments in residential property given the role of this investment in supporting the government’s housing agenda.

The government will consult on whether an exemption for corporates and funds owning more than 15 residential properties is appropriate.

SDLT payment

A consultation is to be undertaken on possible changes to the SDLT filing and payment process, including a reduction in the filing and payment window from 30 days to 14 days. It is expected that any changes would take effect from 2017-18.

ATED and 15% higher rate SDLT

From 1 April 2016 the reliefs available from Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED) and from the 15% higher rate of SDLT will be extended to equity release schemes (home reversion plans), property development activities and properties occupied by employees.

SDLT and Authorised property funds

A seeding relief will be introduced for Property Authorised Investment Funds (PAIFs) and Co-ownership Authorised Contractual Schemes (CoACSs) and changes made to the SDLT treatment of CoACSs investing in property so that SDLT does not arise on the transactions in units.

There will be a defined seeding period of 18 months, a 3 year clawback mechanism, and a portfolio test of 100 residential properties and £100 million value or 10 non-residential properties and £100 million value.

These changes will take effect from the date of Royal Assent to Finance Bill 2016.

Deep in the Money Options

Shares transferred to a clearance service or depositary receipt issuer as a result of the exercise of an option will be charged at the 1.5% higher rate of stamp duty based on either their market value or the option strike price, whichever is higher.

HMRC will prevent avoidance using ‘Deep in the Money Options’, which are options with a strike price significantly below (for call options) or above (for put options) market value. Share transfers made other than to a clearance service or depositary receipt system as a result of exercising an option will be unaffected.

This change will apply to options entered into on or after 25 November 2015 and exercised on or after Budget 2016.

HMRC to close 137 Local offices

In a controversial move, HMRC is to close 137 local offices and replace them with 13 larger regional centres in a bid to save £100m by 2025.

Lin Homer, HMRC’s chief executive, explained: “HMRC has too many expensive, isolated and outdated offices. This makes it difficult for us to collaborate, modernise our ways of working, and make the changes we need to transform our service to customers and clamp down further on the minority who try to cheat the system. The new regional centres will bring our staff together in more modern and cost-effective buildings in areas with lower rents.”

But the move has been criticised in some quarters, with the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) saying that 11,000 full-time equivalent staff posts had been cut from HMRC since 2010 and any further cuts would be “absolutely devastating”.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Closing this many offices would pose a significant threat to the operation of HMRC, its service to the public and the working lives of staff, and the need for parliamentary scrutiny of the plans is undeniable and urgent.

The plan comes as HMRC faces criticism of its call centres, with its record of answering calls being described as “staggeringly bad” at the Commons Treasury committee earlier this month. Only half of calls were answered successfully between April and June, although performance has improved since.

Cloud Bookkeeper HQ Surrey

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 15.32.27Cloud Bookkeeper is pleased to announce the opening of our HQ in surrey. As the Uk’s market leader for cloud bookkeeping its a pleasure to say that we are also the UK’s very first Cloud Bookkeeping company on the high street.

Amazon to Xero a2x

Agreat new plug in has been developed by A2X to feed transactions from Amazon through to Xero.

When Amazon creates a new settlement file A2X automatically fetches it, crunches the data and generates a summary of the income and expenses charged or received from Amazon.

You can configure A2X to summarize sales by SKU, Product Type, or to group all Sales together. You can also optionally group sales by country.

 

Tax-efficient savings for children

There are a number of ways to save or invest for children – some accounts are tax-efficient but rigid, others are often flexible but liable to tax. Interest earned from CTFs and Junior ISAs is paid tax-free, but the money is effectively locked in until the child is 18, at which time it belongs to the child. Standard savings accounts usually offer lower interest rates and the interest is likely to be taxable, but there will be flexibility on withdrawals and transfers, enabling the parent to keep a tight rein on the money.

Junior ISAs operate in much the same way as ordinary ‘adult’ ISAs. The maximum investment limit for 2015/16 is £4,080, so there is a real opportunity for parents and grandparents to make tax-free savings investments on behalf of their children/grandchildren. Until April 2015 it was only possible for children who did hold child trust funds (CTFs) to invest in Junior ISAs, which meant that many young savers were trapped in accounts yielding poor interest rates.

From April 2015 all children (under-18s) who are UK resident should be able to hold a Junior ISA and transfers from CTF accounts to Junior ISAs will be allowed. This change is important as it allows parents to look for a better return on their investment, pay lower charges and have more choice of products. Whether a CTF should be transferred to a Junior ISA greatly depends on whether the child currently pays tax, and whether they will save enough to pay tax on their savings when they’re 18. If it is likely that the child will save more than £15,240 (the annual ISA limit from 6 April 2015) in their first 18 years, then it is probably worth considering a Junior ISA, as these convert to full cash ISAs when the child turns 18.

Just like adults, children are also entitled to an annual personal allowance (£10,600 for 2015/16). Although Junior ISAs (and CTFs) are tax-free, unless the child stands to earn interest of more than £10,600 from other types of investment accounts, he or she should not pay tax on the interest earned in any case. Therefore, for those with modest savings, one of the most important considerations when choosing a savings plan should be the interest rate on offer and potential return on the investment.

Paying inheritance tax

Various rules exist for determining the time for payment of inheritance tax (IHT). In certain circumstances it will be possible to pay in installments, and it is even possible to settle a liability by transferring ownership of assets to the Crown (for example, a valuable painting may be donated to a national museum in lieu of an inheritance tax bill).

Unless it can be paid in installments, IHT is generally due for payment as follows:

  • Chargeable lifetime transfers: Tax is due six months after the end of the month of the transfer. But if the transfer is made between 6 April and 1 October in any year, the tax is due at the end of April the following year.
  • Estates: The personal representatives must pay the tax at the time that the IHT account is sent to HMRC, and this depends on the length of time it takes to sort out the estate.
  • PETs: Tax due on a potentially exempt transfer (PET) that becomes chargeable because of the transferor’s death within seven years needs to be paid six months after the end of the month in which the death occurs.

IHT is often due to be paid before the cash and assets left in a will are released to the beneficiaries. This means that the beneficiaries have to find the money to pay the tax elsewhere. The most obvious way to solve this problem is to take out a loan to pay the tax owed. The loan can then be paid off after cash from the estate is received or, in the case of assets, the assets are sold to raise the funds needed.

It may be worth considering a life insurance policy that will pay out on death and so cover any IHT arising on an estate. Remember, though, that HMRC may consider a life insurance policy to form part of an estate, so the plan should be set up under a trust. A fringe benefit of this is that all proceeds of the policy are paid free of tax.

Do i pay tax on tips ?

Confusion often arises regarding tips and gratuities as the tax and NIC treatment depends on how they are paid to the recipient.

Cash tips handed to an employee, or left on the table at a restaurant and retained by that employee, are not subject to tax and NICs under PAYE, but the employee will need to declare the income to HMRC – HMRC often make an adjustment to the employee’s PAYE tax code number to reflect the amount likely to be received during a tax year so any liability is collected via the payroll. By contrast, if an employer passes tips to employees that are either handed to him (or the employees) or left in a common box/plate by customers, the employer must operate PAYE on all payments made.

Tips will also be subject to PAYE if they are included in cheque and debit/credit card payments to the employer, or if they pass service charges to employees.

Amounts paid by a customer as service charges, tips, gratuities and cover charges count towards National Minimum Wage (NMW) pay if they are paid by the employer to the worker via the employer’s payroll and the amounts are shown on the pay slips issued by the employer. Tips given directly to the worker by a customer do not count towards NMW pay

HMRC Video – Paid too much or Too Little Tax?

HMRC have released a new video to explain what you will need to do as a UK Tax Payer if you think that you have paid too much or too little tax.

If you’ve overpaid or underpaid your tax during the tax year, HMRC will notify you by letter between now and October 2015. The letter is called a P800 tax calculation and will detail any taxable income and tax paid in the tax year. It will also detail whether you have paid the correct tax or under/over paid your tax in the year too.

Please see the Video below for more information:

Rent a room

In the Summer Budget 2015, the government announced that the level of rent-a-room relief will be increased from the current level of £4,250 to £7,500 from April 2016. This means that from 6 April 2016, an individual will be able to receive up to £7,500 tax-free income from renting out a room or rooms in their only or main residential property. The relief also covers bed and breakfast receipts as long as the rooms are in the landlord’s main residence.

To qualify under the rent-a-room scheme, the accommodation has to be furnished and a lodger can occupy a single room or an entire floor of the house. However, the scheme doesn’t apply if the house is converted into separate flats that are rented out. Nor does the scheme apply to let unfurnished accommodation in the individual’s home.

The rent-a-room tax break does not apply where part of a home is let as an office or other business premises. The relief only covers the circumstance where payments are made for the use of living accommodation.

If additional services are provided (cleaning and laundry etc.), the payments must be added to the rent to work out the total receipts. If income exceeds £4,250 a year in total, a liability to tax will arise, even if the rent is less than that.

There are two options if the individual is receiving more than the annual limit a year:

– the first £4,250 is counted as the tax-free allowance and income tax is paid on the remaining income
– renting the room is treated as a normal rental business, working out a profit and loss account using the normal income and expenditure rules

In most cases, the first option will be more advantageous.

The principal point to bear in mind is that those using the rent-a-room scheme cannot claim any expenses relating to the letting (e.g. insurance, repairs, heating).

To work out whether it is preferable to join the scheme or declare all of the letting income and claiming expenses via self-assessment, the following methods of calculation need to be compared:

– Method A: paying tax on the profit they make from letting worked out in the normal way for a rental business (i.e. rents received less expenses).
– Method B: paying tax on the gross amount of their receipts (including receipts for any related services they provide) less the £4,250 exemption limit.

Method A applies automatically unless the taxpayer tells their tax office within the time limit that they want method B.

Once a taxpayer has elected for method B, it continues to apply in the future until they tell HMRC they want method A. The taxpayer may want to switch methods where the taxable profit is less under method A, or where expenses are more than the rents (so there is a loss).

The individual has up to one year after the end of the tax year when their income from lodgers went over £4,250 to decide the best option to take.