Additional Covid19 info

13 May 2020

The Self employment grant claim system has now been launched by HMRC. We are assisting clients where they have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak in submitting their claim. We will need your NI number, UTR number and we will set up a Government Gateway account for you if you do not already have one. The claim cannot be made via our agent account with HMRC. HMRC benefit from this by engaging far more tax payers onto their digital tax platform. Call or email for assistance.

5 May 2020 - Self employment grant scheme to launch on 13 May 2020

HMRC has begun contacting around 3.5m taxpayers who may be eligible for the government’s self-employment income support scheme (SEISS), to explain the application process of making a claim when the service opens next week.

This will be launched on Wednesday 13 May, with payments reaching bank accounts by 25 May 2020, or six working days after the claim is made.

An online checker is now available which will let taxpayers check their eligibility, as well as give them an application date. Individuals will need their unique taxpayer reference (UTR) and National Insurance number and that these match their government gateway account.

This is a temporary scheme that will enable those eligible to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months’ profits) in a single payment.

Taxpayers are eligible if their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus, they traded in 2019-20, intend to continue trading and they meet the following three criteria:

  1. Earning at least half of their income through self-employment;
  2. Having trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year; and
  3. Trading in the tax year 2018 to 2019, having submitted their self assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year.

HMRC is using information from 2018-19 tax returns, and returns for 2016-17 and 2017-18 to determine their eligibility and is contacting customers who may be eligible via email, text or letter.

Where individuals are ineligible for the scheme, HMRC will direct them to guidance setting out the conditions to help them understand why they are ineligible, and advice about other support that might be available to them, such as income tax deferrals, rental support, Universal Credit, access to mortgage holidays and the various business support schemes the government has introduced to protect businesses during this time.

HMRC warns it expects support phone lines to be very busy over the next few weeks as people enter this new scheme, so is encouraging taxpayers to only call if they cannot find what they need on GOV.UK, from their tax agent or via HMRC’s webchat service.

Online check service

4 May 2020

The Chancellor has announced a 100% government backed loan scheme for small businesses, designed to offer up to £50,000 of fast-track finance for those affected by coronavirus. Interest free for 12 months and cash will be available within days or even 24 hours. For more details https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-bounce-back-loans-to-launch-today and  https://www.accountancydaily.co/covid-19-ps50k-bounce-back-loans-small-businesses

20 April 2020 - We are registering and starting the furlough claims for clients, reimbursement from HMRC under the Job Retention Scheme will arrive 6 days after the claim is made.

6 April Job retention update 

Child benefit - make sure you are registered or re-registered

If you are one of the many tax payers who cancelled your child benefit income you may now be entitled to it during this lockdown period or longer depending on how quickly you resume earning the higher income threshold of £50k.

Defer your VAT and corporation tax payments

VAT and corporation tax payments can be deferred until January 2021, make sure you maintain submissions within the normal due dates.

SSP reclaim for directors - the interaction with auto-enrolment duties

If you are a director and consider re-claiming SSP for yourself you may inadvertently create an implied employment contract which then brings you within auto-enrolment obligations.

THIS SUMMARY IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT SHORT NOTICE AS THE GOVERNMENT RELEASES ITS OWN UPDATES – THIS SUMMARY WAS LAST UPDATED FRIDAY 27th MARCH 2020 @ 10.08am

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

On Thursday 26 March the government announced their intention to provide further support for the self-employed in the form of a taxable cash grant.

The scheme allows individuals to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the 3 months from March to May 2020. This may be extended if needed.

The taxable cash grant will be in the form of a single lump sum to cover the three months from March to May 2020. It will be paid in June 2020 to those that are eligible directly into their bank account.

The self-employed including members of Partnerships will be eligible if their trading profits for 18/19 were less than £50,000 and more than 50% of their income stems from self-employment.

Alternatively, they will be eligible if their average trading profits for the tax years 16/17, 17/18 and 18/19 were less than £50,000 and more than 50% of their income stems from self-employment. For those that started trading between 2016-19 HMRC will only use those years for which a Self-Assessment tax return has been filed.

The scheme will be open to those that have submitted an income tax self-assessment tax return for the year to 5 April 2019 (the 18/19 tax year). Worth noting that HMRC’s guidance does state that the 18/19 tax return must be filed by 23 April 2020 in order to eligible. For those that have yet to file their 18/19 tax return, it represents something of an opportunity to bring your affairs up to date and record your earnings for that year as well as qualify for the relief if all other conditions are met.

Additional eligibility criteria include the requirement that the individual must have lost trading profits due to Covid-19 and they must have traded in 2019/2020, intend to trade in 2020/2021 and are trading at the point of application or would have been except for Covid-19.

Individuals that claim Tax Credits would need to include the grant as part of their income.

It is crucial to observe that HMRC will contact and invite those that are eligible to apply. Applications will need to be made online when the invitations have been issued by HMRC.

Individuals do not need to contact HMRC now.

This seems an opportune moment to remind readers that HMRC does not send texts or make calls asking for bank or credit card details. If this happens then it is likely to be a scam. Please be wary.

We will update this guidance as and when HMRC issue further guidance of their own.

Nominating your primary residence 

We have a client who currently has an interest in two residential properties. He lives in one as his main residence and the other was bought as a second home just for weekends. As he has two properties available to him (neither let out to tenants) he consider making a private residence nomination. There are time limits for doing this.

You may only obtain capital gains tax relief on one main residence at any one given time. If you own more than one main residence consider the tax position. You can notify HMRC within two years after purchasing your second home which of the two properties is to be your main home and exempt from capital gains tax when you sell it.

A home must have been physically occupied in order to qualify for relief. Intending to occupy the property does not qualify for tax relief. For our client there will be occupation of both properties, the main home, and the holiday home.

A good tip to make a note of, each time there is a change in your combination of residences a new period begins and there is a fresh opportunity to make a nomination or vary an earlier one and this can be backdated up to two years.

Where time has run out be careful when making a claim that a particular property is to be the actual main residence. Documentary evidence such as correspondence address, where council tax is paid, electoral register etc are all typical factors that are considered.

The two-year time limit may be waived in certain circumstances for dual residences. For example when the market value of either one of the properties is negligible and you were unaware that a nomination could be made. The nomination, when finally made (it still ahs to be within a 'reasonable' time) will be backdated to the date when the second property came into your ownership.

If you have made no nomination to date remember that when the combination of available properties changes you can made a new nomination and backdate it, this includes a previously let property becoming available to you as a second home at the end of a tenancy.


Capital gains tax case

Client enquiry:
Which value is to be used as the base cost when calculating the capital gains tax when the client sells the late parents home? Is it;

a) the value of the part inherited share 10 years ago when her father died ? Leaving a quarter share to her in a will trust or
b) the value when her mother died, inheriting the other 25%. There was a second beneficiary in the terms of the will and factors affecting rights to inhabit the property.

Would the values be apportioned or split some other way? Would she have to pay capital gains tax for the 10 years that her mother remained living in the house?
In the detail of this case the client only gained absolute entitlement to her share of the property after the death of her mother and so the later date is used for the valuation hence a smaller taxable gain arises.

Tax relief on Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes (SEIS)

Significant tax relief can be achieved through these investments. It is also possible to carry an investment back to the previous tax year to utilise the available tax relief where there is insufficient tax to relieve in the year of investment.

The tax relief, when the criteria is met such as investing for three years and gaining a certificate from HMRC, is 30% of the amount invested for EIS and 50% for SEIS. If you have invested in these we will claim the tax relief for you.

There is more information on the EIS page on the HMRC website

Protect your assets in a Discretionary trust

If you are thinking about giving something to your children to help them onto the property ladder a discretionary trust protects the asset when compared to giving it to them outright. It also starts the seven year clock ticking when at the end of the seven year period the asset will then no longer form part of your estate, on a sliding scale over the seven year period.

The trust must be registered with HMRC and will need to prepare it's own tax return each year. There are different tax rules and rates for trusts so careful planning is required before deciding to put an asset into a trust. There are inheritance tax obligations on entry to a trust and 10 yearly charges if the asset is worth in excess of the current inheritance tax free band of £325,000.

However if you want to protect an asset's ownership and/or start the process of reducing the value of your estate for inheritance tax purposes this may be a valid consideration.


The latest scam to hit taxpayers is a call to mobile phone numbers from fraudsters posing as HMRC officials requesting immediate payment of £500 in so-called phishing attacks.
Taxpayers are being told that the tax bill relates to unresolved tax issues dating back 10 years and the fraudsters ask for immediate payment by credit card. However, HMRC does not even accept credit card payments anymore so anyone being told to pay by credit card should immediately be on alert and notify HMRC of the scam.

It appears that the company has accessed old mailing addresses and frequently cites the wrong postcode when the taxpayer asks where the information has come from.


Are you a non UK resident with property in the UK?

Non UK residents are only subject to UK tax on the sale of residential April 2015. They are subject to non resident capital gains tax (NRCGT) and there are three main differences from CGT:
Only the gain arising since April 2015 is chargeable. If the property is held in a non UK company, the company rate of NRCGT is 20% and therefore greater than the current rate of corporation tax. A non resident capital gains tax return must be filed within 30 days of the sale. The tax must also be paid by this date unless a self assessment will be filed in which case the due date is the usual tax return filing deadline.
Bear in mind that, if an individual sells a property during a period of non UK residence which lasts less than five years, any pre April 2015 gain will become chargeable on their return to the UK.

Flat rate VAT scheme

Limited cost traders from 1 April 2017 Under the new rules, businesses in the scheme which have a low cost base,referred to as ‘limited cost traders’, will see the VAT rate increase. Limited cost traders include consultants, IT contractors, journalists, entertainers,hairdressers, beauticians, construction (labour only), accountants ,lawyers,architects, surveyors. This list is not exhaustive, it includes any business on the flat rate scheme that does not purchase physical goods totalling more than 2% of vat inclusive sales.
Software does not count as a physical good. A business is considered a limited cost trader when VAT inclusive expenditure on goods is either:
Less than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover in an accounting period;
or greater than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover, but less than £1,000 per annum, if the prescribed accounting period is not one year, the figure is the relevant proportion of £1,000).

When working out the amount spent on goods, it cannot include purchases of:
Capital goods, food, drink, vehicles or parts for vehicles.
This is assessed and reported on a quarter-by-quarter basis removing the original simplicity of the flat rate scheme. Rate rise The VAT flat rate percentage for low cost traders will increase to 16.5%.

Comment

The benefits of remaining within the flat rate scheme, for many traders, are completely wiped out by these changes and some small businesses are likely to be caught out by the additional reporting requirements. Others businesses under the VAT threshold may even find that without the benefit of the flat rate scheme, they no longer have a need to be VAT registered.


Tax free childcare

A useful article for all working parents paying for childcare:

From 24 November 2017 the childcare scheme covering 30 hours free childcare a week and the tax-free childcare option for qualified parents is available to parents whose youngest child is under six or who has their sixth birthday on that day. Parents can apply online through the childcare service which can be accessed via the childcare choices website.

In April this year, HMRC started rolling out the childcare service. Since then more than 275,000 parents have an open childcare account. Of these, more than 216,000 parents received an eligibility code for 30 hours free childcare for September.

However, HMRC acknowledges that while the majority of parents used the childcare service without significant problems, over the summer some parents did not receive the intended level of service when using the website. HMRC says it has now made significant improvements.

Over the coming months, HMRC will gradually open the childcare service to parents of older children, while continuing to make further improvements to the system.

HMRC says this is so it can manage the volume of applications going through the service, ensuring parents continue to receive a better experience and prompt eligibility responses when they apply – almost all parents receive a response within five working days, and most get their decision instantly. All eligible parents will be able to apply by the end of March 2018.

The scheme was originally meant to start on 28 April, for parents of the youngest children with all parents being able to join by the end of 2017.

The Childcare Choices website is here

Source: by Pat Sweet, tax reporter.

Exam news

July 2019 Kamil Kacprzak has passed his latest set of ACCA exams.

Silviya Syulevska passed her penultimate ACCA exams and is now studying for the ACCA finals.

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