2020 May bank holiday will be moved to mark 75th anniversary of VE Day
The government has announced that the date of next year’s early May bank holiday is to move from Monday, 4 May to Friday, 8 May to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. This is only the second time ever that the early May bank holiday has been moved – the first was in 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of VE Day. There will be commemorative events taking place across the country ... read more
Gifts with strings attached
The majority of gifts made during a person's life are not subject to tax at the time of the gift. These lifetime transfers are known as 'potentially exempt transfers' or 'PETs'. These gifts or transfers achieve their potential of becoming exempt from Inheritance Tax if the taxpayer survives for more than seven years after making the gift. There is a tapered ... read more
The tax consequences of social events
The cost of a staff party or other annual entertainment is generally allowed as a deduction for tax purposes. If you meet the various criteria outlined below there is no requirement to report anything to HMRC or pay tax and National Insurance. There will also be no taxable benefit charged to employees.
An annual Christmas party or other annual event offered to staff ... read more
Selling the family heirlooms
There are special rules concerning the payment of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on the sale of personal possessions also known as 'chattels'. Personal possessions are generally defined as possessions with a predictable useful life of 50 years or less and are exempt from CGT up to a value of £6,000.
Personal possessions include items like jewellery, paintings, antiques ... read more
When does ATED apply?
The Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED) came into effect from 1 April 2013. The tax applies to certain Non-Natural Persons (NNPs) that own interests in dwellings valued at more than £500,000. These provisions affect most companies, partnerships with company members and collective investment schemes. There is no ATED or ATED-related Capital Gains Tax payable if an ... read more
VAT and disaggregation
The artificial separation of businesses is where two or more businesses are split, and each 'separate' entity operates below the VAT registration threshold (currently £85,000). This is known as disaggregation. HMRC has legal powers to direct that businesses that have been artificially separated to avoid VAT be treated as a single entity for VAT purposes.
The ... read more
HMRC’s complaint handling process
Taxpayers may find themselves in a position where they need to make a complaint to HMRC. Complaints can relate to many different issues such as unreasonable delays, mistakes and poor treatment by HMRC’s staff. Note, there is a separate procedure to be followed by taxpayers that disagree with a decision of HMRC. In such cases the review and appeals process should be ... read more
On your e-bike
The Cycling Minister, Michael Ellis, has announced a number of changes to the Cycle to Work scheme in an announcement that was timed to coincide with Bike week. Bike week is an annual celebration to showcase cycling across the UK and runs from 8 – 16 June.
The Cycle to Work scheme was introduced almost 20 years ago to help promote the use of healthy ways to commute to ... read more
HMRC cancels penalties charged to 6,000 families
The High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) was introduced in January 2013 and applies a charge to taxpayers whose income exceeds £50,000 in a tax year and who are in receipt of child benefit. The charge claws back the financial benefit of receiving child benefit either by reducing or removing the benefit entirely.
HMRC has been reviewing a significant number of cases ... read more
HMRC blocks phone fraudsters
Fraudsters have been blocked from using HMRC’s most used helpline numbers after the introduction of new defensive controls. These fraudsters had been able to make calls to taxpayers across the UK which appeared to be coming from HMRC by mimicking helpline numbers. These fraudsters are usually operating as part of large criminal gangs with deep pockets and cutting-edge ... read more
Free television licences scrapped for over-75s
The TV licence fee has not been payable by those aged 75 or over since 2001. During 2015, the government reached an agreement with the BBC as part of the last charter renewal that it will take on the cost of free television licences for over-75s by 31 May 2020 as part of the fee settlement.
The BBC estimated that the change would have reduced their licence fee income by ... read more
Genuine HMRC messages
HMRC has issued an updated version of their online guidance on Genuine HMRC contact and recognising phishing emails and texts. The guidance provides a current list of genuine messages from HMRC. This includes email messages, text messages and telephone contacts from HMRC.
The latest updates on the list includes confirmation that HMRC is contacting some taxpayers by email who ... read more
Free information about companies
A surprising amount of free information about companies is available from Companies House. This is in line with the government’s commitment to free data and ensures that all publicly available digital data held on the UK register of companies is accessible free of charge. These records provide access to over 170 million digital records on companies and directors.
They ... read more
Employer owned property and sub-letting
In some industries, employers provide accommodation to employees because this is required by the nature of the job. There are no tax charges in respect of the provision of living accommodation where
it is necessary for the proper performance of the employee’s duties that he or she should reside in the accommodation, or
the accommodation is provided for the better ... read more
Cashback schemes and tax
Statement of Practice 4/97 sets out HMRC’s views on the correct treatment for tax purposes of commission, cashbacks and discounts. Cashbacks are taken to mean lump sums received by a customer as an inducement for entering into a transaction for the purchase of goods, investments or services and received as a direct consequence of having entered into that transaction.
In ... read more
VAT reverse charge construction industry
A change to the VAT rules first announced at Budget 2018, will come into effect from 1 October 2019. This change will make the supply of construction services between construction or building businesses subject to the domestic reverse charge. The reverse charge will only apply to supplies of specified construction services to other businesses in the construction sector. The ... read more
Working past retirement age
There are many taxpayers who have reached the State Pension age and continue to work. In most cases they no longer need to pay any National Insurance Contributions (NICs).
At State Pension age, the requirement to pay Class 1 and Class 2 NICs on employed or self-employed earnings ceases. However, you will remain liable to pay any NICs that were due to be paid on earnings before ... read more
Working from home allowance
If you are self-employed and running a business from your home, there are simplified arrangements available for claiming a fixed rate deduction for certain expenses where there is a mix of business and private use. The simplified expenses rules are not available to limited companies or business partnerships involving a limited company.
The use of the flat rate expenses for ... read more
Working tax credits you could claim
The Working Tax Credit (WTC) is designed to help taxpayers on low incomes by providing top-up payments and includes those who do not have children. There are extra amounts available for qualifying childcare expenses and working households in which someone has a disability. The basic amount of WTC is £1,960 a year and is always included for qualifying applicants. There are ... read more
New crackdown on funeral plans
The government has announced new plans to crackdown on high pressure and bullying tactics to sell pre paid funeral plans. These tactics are often used to target those who are old and vulnerable and unaware exactly what they are buying. In some cases, the funeral plans are sold with misleading promises and to maximise the salesperson's commission.
Demand for funeral plans ... read more