Advice to help you grow your business faster

Annual party benefits

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 then there is no requirement to report anything to HMRC or pay tax and National Insurance.

Claims to reduce payments on account

Self-Assessment taxpayers are usually required to pay their Income Tax liabilities in three instalments each year. The first two payments are due on 31 January during the tax year and 31 July following the tax year.

These payments on account are

Exempt beneficial loans

An employee can obtain a benefit when provided with an employment-related cheap or interest-free loan. The benefit is the difference between the interest the employee pays, if any, and the commercial rate the employee would have to pay on a loan

Companies can claim super-deduction from 1 April

The new super-deduction tax break, that will allow companies to deduct 130% of the cost of any qualifying investment from their taxable profits, is available on most new plant and machinery investments that ordinarily qualify for 18% main rate

National Minimum and Living Wage increases 1 April 2021

The new National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) rates came into effect on 1 April 2021. The new rate for the NLW is £8.91 which is a 19p increase over last year. The NLW is the minimum hourly rate that must be paid to those aged 23

Archiving international trade documents

There are important rules that all businesses must follow to keep business and accounting records accessible if requested by HMRC. The exact documentation that must be held and the time limits for doing so can vary significantly. For example, most

Updating Self-Assessment tax returns

There are special rules to follow if you have submitted a Self-Assessment return and subsequently realise you need to change it. This can happen if for example you made a mistake like entering a number incorrectly or missing information from the

Film and TV restart scheme

The government’s £500 million scheme to kickstart film and television production entitled the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme, helps UK film and TV productions struggling to secure insurance for COVID-19 related costs.

The Scheme allows TV and

OTS recommended changes to IHT

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury has written to the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) to confirm that HM Treasury strongly supports some key recommendations on changes to Inheritance Tax.

The government announced on 23 March 2021 that it

£1.5bn boost for rates relief

A new Business Rates relief fund will provide a £1.5 billion tranche of support to businesses outside the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors affected by COVID-19.

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses have not been paying rates during the

New support for High Streets and sea-side towns

As lockdown measures begin to be eased, a new package of support measures to help high streets and coastal areas across England has been announced by the Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick. The support will be delivered via a new £56 million

5% late penalties apply from 1 April 2021

Self-Assessment taxpayers that failed to pay their outstanding tax liabilities or set up a payment plan by midnight on 1 April 2021 will be charged a 5% late payment penalty charge.

Under the normal rules a 5% late payment penalty would have been

Tax Diary March/April 2021

1 April 2021 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 30 June 2020.

19 April 2021 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 April 2021. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 April 2021)

19 April 2021 – Filing

Flat Rate Scheme limited cost trader check

The VAT Flat Rate Scheme has been designed to simplify the way a business accounts for VAT and in so doing reduce the administration costs of complying with the VAT legislation. The scheme is open to businesses that expect their annual taxable

Incorporation relief

When a taxpayer owns a business as a sole trader or in partnership, a capital gain will be deemed to arise if the business is converted into a company by reference to the market value of the business assets including goodwill. This could give rise to

Calculating Minimum Wage if paid annual salary

New National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates will come into effect on 1 April 2021. These changes will see the National Living Wage increase by 19p to an hourly rate of £8.91 and the National Minimum Wage will increase to £8.36 (a rise of

Consider signing up to PROOF scheme

One of the services offered by Companies House helps combat fraud and protect your company from unauthorised changes to records. The free service is known as the protected online filing (PROOF) scheme and means that any forms covered by PROOF can

Have you claimed too much from furlough scheme?

HMRC’s guidance makes it clear that any business that makes an error in making a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) claim must pay back any amount overclaimed. Any claims based on inaccurate information can be recovered by HMRC.

If you’ve

Disposing of garden or grounds

In general, there is no Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on a property which has been used as a main family residence. This relief from CGT is commonly known as private residence relief.

However, there are some grey areas which might result in CGT being due

What would a business vaccine aim to prevent?

Now we are getting used to the idea that the various vaccines will provide some defence against COVID outbreaks, what would a vaccine for our businesses attempt to prevent?

We have listed below a few strategies that you might like to consider that

Reminder of eight-step export routine

Following the end of the Brexit transition period, the process for exporting goods to the EU mirrors the process for all other international destinations.

Businesses, especially those that only trade with EU should by now be aware of the rules and

Changing accounting date

There are special rules in place which limit the ability to change a company’s year end date. A company’s year-end date is also known as its ‘accounting reference date’ and is historically set by reference to the date the company was incorporated.

Expenditure disallowed

When deciding whether an expense is allowed or disallowed for tax purposes it is important to bear in mind that the expenditure must be incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of your trade or employment.

Under the legislation any

Tax-free mileage expenses

If you use your own vehicle for business journeys, then you may be able to claim a tax-free allowance from your employer known as a Mileage Allowance Payment or MAP. The allowance is available if employees use their own car, van, motorcycle or bike

Tax-free property and trading income

Two separate £1,000 tax allowances for property and trading income were introduced in April 2017. If you have both or either type of income highlighted below then you can claim a £1,000 allowance for each.

The £1,000 exemptions from tax apply

Rent-a-room relief

The rent-a-room scheme is a set of special rules designed to help homeowners who rent-a-room in their home. The current tax-free threshold of £7,500 per year has been in place since 6 April 2016. If you are using this scheme you should ensure that

COVID – beating the bug

Although it cannot be understated, that COVID has resulted in widespread personal tragedies and business hardships, there are stories circulating of businesses that have managed to buck the downward trend.

Very often this is due to being in the

Passports – expensive items

Many families will be organising UK holidays this year and so passports may be left in draws for 2021.

But when the market for overseas holidays opens up, better check that your passports still meet that important “6 months before they

Reminder, what are badges of trade

The ‘badges of trade’ tests whilst not conclusive are used by HMRC to help determine whether an activity is a proper economic trade / business activity or merely a money-making by-product of a hobby.

They are useful when careful consideration needs

Off-payroll working rules from 6 April 2021

The rules for individuals providing services to the public sector via an intermediary such as a personal service company (PSC) changed from April 2017. The new rules shifted the responsibility for deciding whether the intermediaries’ legislation

VAT deferral scheme open for business

Businesses that took the option to defer the payment of their VAT liabilities between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 need to decide what course of action they will take.

There are two options available for repaying this VAT. The first option is to

Reminder of year end payroll chores

It is not long until the current 2020-21 tax year comes to an end and there are a number of year end payroll chores that must be completed. This includes sending a final PAYE submission for the tax year. The last Full Payment Submission (FPS) needs

Temporary carry back of losses

A new temporary extension to the eligible carry back period for trading losses has been announced. This will allow trading losses to be carried back for three years (rather than one). The extension to the relief applies to both incorporated

New mortgage guarantee scheme

One of the measures announced as part of the March 2021 Budget was the introduction of a new mortgage guarantee scheme to help home buyers purchase a property. The new scheme is designed for prospective home buyers who only have a small deposit and

Breaking even – a moveable feast

In our previous newsfeeds we have described how you can calculate the level of turnover you need to create in order to meet all your costs whether they be fixed costs (rent, rates etc.,) or variable costs (goods you need to buy to convert into goods

Lending to fund losses

One of the Chancellors key announcements in the Budget last week was to replace the government guaranteed Bounce Back and Business Interruption loans – due to end for new applications from 31 March 2021 – with a new Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS).

The

Spring Budget 2021 – VAT

It has been confirmed, by the Chancellor, that the taxable turnover threshold that determines whether businesses should be registered for VAT will be frozen at £85,000 until 31 March 2024. The taxable turnover threshold that determines whether

Spring Budget 2021 – Capital allowances

Designed to help offset the increased Corporation Tax main rate and promote investment, the Chancellor announced the introduction of a new ground breaking super-deduction tax relief. The new temporary tax relief applies on qualifying capital asset

Spring Budget 2021 – Government backed loan schemes

The deadline for applications for all the government-backed loan schemes including the Bounce Back Loan scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans and the Future Fund ends on 31 March 2021.

The Chancellor did not announce any further extension

Spring Budget 2021 – CJRS and SEISS schemes extended

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) commonly known as the furlough scheme will be extended until the 30 September 2021. The Chancellor confirmed that employees will receive up to 80% of their salary for hours not worked subject to a monthly

Spring Budget 2021 – Corporation Tax

The Chancellor confirmed that the Corporation Tax main rate will remain at 19% from 1 April 2021 for the next 2 years. The main rate had been expected to increase to help pay the massive costs of the coronavirus pandemic to the public purse.

Spring Budget 2021 – Income Tax Rates & Allowances

It has been confirmed as part of the Budget announcements that the 2021-22 personal allowance will increase to £12,570 (2020-21: £12,500) and the basic rate limit to £37,700 (2020-21: £37,500). As a result, the higher rate threshold will increase to

Budget Summary – March 2021

More has been disclosed, leaked, of this year’s Budget announcements than in previous years. But we now have the details and there is a lot to consider. The following Budget summary is split into four sections:

COVID-19 related support measures

What is pensions credit?

Pension Credit is an income-related benefit made up of 2 parts – Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.

Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income if it’s below £173.75 (for single people) or £265.20 (for couples). You may still be eligible if you

Capital or debt?

What is the difference between capital and debt, and why is the distinction important?

One important distinction is that capital represents the amount of funds introduced by shareholders, partners or sole traders plus any retained profits that the

Outcome of the Uber case

The Supreme Court has handed down a landmark judgement in the Uber case. The Supreme Court unanimously upheld the decisions of earlier courts and has found that Uber drivers are ‘workers’ and not self-employed as Uber has tried to argue.

The

VAT Agricultural Flat Rate Scheme

Businesses that use the flat rate scheme pay VAT as a fixed percentage of their VAT inclusive turnover. The VAT Agricultural Flat Rate Scheme is a variant of the flat rate scheme specifically designed for farmers and other activities relating to

Government to publish range of tax consultations

In a recent HM Treasury press release it has been confirmed that the government will publish a number of tax-related consultations and calls for evidence at the end of March. These consultations would usually be published on Budget day but instead

Tax Diary March/April 2021

1 March 2021 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 May 2020.

2 March 2021 – Self-assessment tax for 2019/20 paid after this date will incur a 5% surcharge.

19 March 2021 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 March 2021.

Capital Gains Tax exemptions

As with Income Tax personal allowances, taxpayers have an annual exempt amount for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) which is forfeited if not used. The annual exemption for individuals in 2020-21 is £12,300. A husband and wife each have a separate exemption.

Inheritance Tax – tax-free gifts

We wanted to remind our readers of the Inheritance Tax (IHT) implications of making cash gifts during the current tax 2020-21 tax year that ends on 5 April 2021.

You can give away up to £3,000 worth of gifts each tax year. This is known as your

Claiming Self-Employed Income Support Scheme grants

Under the third Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant, claimants received up to 80% of average trading profits for November and December 2020, and January 2021. This meant that a maximum grant for the three months of £7,500 was made

What is overtrading?

A reminder that traders who buy and sell goods – wholesalers or retailers – need to be wary of the financial consequences if, as expected, pent up consumer activity leads to a surge in demand for your products from July 2021 or earlier if you can

Emerging from lockdown

The Prime Minister has set out the government’s objectives for easing lockdown restrictions.

If the planned opening of schools, social interactions and businesses is achieved without significant increases in infection, after 21st June 2021, there

Buying equipment for your job

Employees who need to buy substantial equipment to use as part of their employment may be able to claim tax relief. In most cases they can claim relief based on the full cost as it usually qualifies for a type of capital allowance called the Annual

Tax breaks working from home

Employees who are working from home may be able to claim tax relief for any additional costs due to home working. No tax relief will be due if employers reimburse employees for the additional household expenses incurred.

The tax relief covers

Guidance for paying deferred VAT updated

The coronavirus VAT payment holiday gave businesses the chance to defer the payment of any VAT liabilities between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. The option for businesses to defer their VAT payments ended on 30 June 2020.

There are two options

Simplified export declarations

Following the end of the Brexit transition period, businesses need to make customs declarations when exporting goods to the EU as well as to the rest of the world. Businesses can make customs declarations themselves or hire a third party such as a

Added protection for pension savers

The new Pensions Scheme Act received Royal Assent on 11 February 2021. The Act covers a number of important pensions-related issues and has faced a long journey through parliament, starting in October 2019, that included delays due to both Brexit and

Marriage Allowance tax break

If you are entitled to the marriage allowance and have not yet applied, then you could receive a payment of up to £1,188 from HMRC. HMRC used the occasion of Valentine’s Day to remind couples to make a claim.

The marriage allowance is available to

Financial outcomes for your business

There are three possible financial outcomes for your business, each with their own challenges:

Make a profit
Breakeven, or
Make a loss

Making a profit

Clearly, this will be your goal. If you make profits – and taxation will never eat up all

How much do your customers owe you?

Many business owners are buoyed by turnover; if it’s sold it’s as good as money in the bank, but is it?

What are your credit terms? How many days do you allow your customers to keep your money before insisting they pay you?

30 days is probably the

Present criteria for claiming via the furlough scheme

The detailed Furlough Scheme rules were last updated 4 February 2021.

People who are unable to work can receive up to 80% of their wages. This payment is subject to a monthly maximum amount of £2,500 per employee (for hours not worked). Employers

VAT and overseas goods sold to customers in the UK

Following the end of the Brexit transition period, new rules on tax and duty now apply on goods sent to the UK from overseas. These changes are meant to ensure that goods from EU and non-EU countries are treated in the same way and that UK businesses

Bounce Back Loans scheme changes

The Bounce Back Loans scheme was launched in May 2020 to provide financial support to businesses across the UK that were losing revenue and disrupted cashflow as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme allows qualifying small businesses to

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

Claims for the third Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant closed on 29 January 2021. Under this grant, the self-employed received up to 80% of average trading profits for November and December 2020 and January 2021. This meant that a

Accounting for import VAT on your VAT return

Following the end of the transition period, businesses registered for VAT can account for import VAT on their VAT return, often referred to as postponed VAT accounting. For most businesses, this means that they will declare and recover import VAT on

Why keeping adequate accounting records is important

A recent investigation by the Insolvency Service resulted in the sole director of a Leicester clothing manufacturer being jailed for six months after failing to provide adequate company accounting records.

The investigation found that the defendant

Protecting your capital

Business owners in vulnerable sectors: predominantly retailers, leisure and entertainment trades, will have seen their hard-won capital all but exhausted by the needs to meet fixed costs when income generation has been restricted or eliminated by

Can we supply the coming consumer bounce-back?

Will the Government’s endeavours to nail the COVID virus with the vaccine roll-out have the desired effect of opening up the UK economy, the easing of lock-down and a gradual return to “normality”?

Fingers crossed…

One thing is for

Tax codes for employees

The P9X form is used to notify employers which tax codes to use for employees. The latest version of the form has just been published and shows the tax codes to use from 6 April 2021. The forms states that the basic personal allowance for the tax

Claims to adjust payments on account

Self-Assessment taxpayers are usually required to pay their Income Tax liabilities in three instalments each year. The first two payments are due on:

31 January during the tax year e.g., for 2020-21 the first payment on account was due on 31

Companies House to pause strike off process

Companies House has announced that they have once again temporarily paused the voluntary and compulsory strike off processes. The hiatus is set to be in place for one month from 21 January until 21 February 2021. When a company is struck off, the

New Treasury Directive re furlough scheme

An updated Treasury Direction under sections 71 and 76 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 concerning the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was published on 25 January 2021. The new direction formally extends the CJRS until 30 April

Scottish Budget Statement 2021-22

Scotland’s Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes delivered her second Budget statement to the Scottish parliament on 28 January 2021. The date was selected to allow the Scottish Government time to deliver their Budget and have it approved before the start

Did you miss the Self-Assessment deadline?

HMRC has announced that more than 10.7 million people submitted their 2019-20 Self-Assessment tax returns by the 31 January deadline. This leaves over 1.8 million taxpayers that have missed the deadline and are yet to file. Are you among those that

Keeping pay and tax records

Following the 31 January 2021 deadline for submission of Self-Assessment tax returns for 2019-20, it can be a useful exercise to review the rules for keeping your pay and tax records. There are no set rules for how to keep your records, but you must

Accounts and tax for companies

If you have recently setup a new limited company or are thinking of doing so then one of the areas that you need to be aware is the accounts and tax filing regime for companies.

After the end of its financial year, a private limited company must

New funding boost for young people

The government has announced a new £1,000 cash bonus to encourage employers to take on new trainees. The traineeship scheme supports young people to gain the skills and experience they need from the very start, helping them to get a job, an

Business owners – year end planning tips

A few housekeeping tips for readers with business interests; especially those with an upcoming financial year end at the end of March 2021.

Don’t forget to include any grants received to support COVID challenges in your accounts as income. These

Landlords – year end planning tips

A few housekeeping tips for readers with buy to let or holiday let properties to think about and action – if applicable – before the end of the current financial year, 5 April 2021.

Buy-to-let

Have you experienced a drop in rental income since

Tax Diary February/March 2021

1 February 2021 – Due date for Corporation Tax payable for the year ended 30 April 2020.

19 February 2021 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 February 2021. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 February 2021)

19

Carry a company trading loss back to previous years

Corporation Tax relief may be available where your company or organisation makes a trading loss. A qualifying trading loss may be used to claim relief from Corporation Tax by offsetting the loss against profits in previous years.

This could be an

Keep your business moving

An interesting press release published jointly by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Business Minister, Paul Scully has highlighted some important actions that businesses should ensure they undertake now that the UK has

No late online filing penalties until 28 February 2021

HMRC has announced that fines for taxpayers that file their Self-Assessment returns late will be waived until 28 February 2021. The filing deadline for 2019-20 returns remains at 31 January 2021. HMRC is still encouraging taxpayers to try and meet

Funding to get young people into work

Employers can now apply for a £1000 cash boost to help them take on new trainees.

The new scheme will support young people to gain the skills and experience they need from the very start, helping them to get a job, an apprenticeship, or pursue

Landlords need to embrace a digital approach

HMRC are slowly rolling out their Making Tax Digital (MTD) scheme. Eventually, selected landlords submitting their rental income and outgoings via self-assessment will need to embrace this new MTD requirement.

What will it involve?

Self-employed

Tax when you sell shares

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is normally charged at a simple flat rate of 20% when you sell shares unless they are in a CGT free wrapper such as an ISA or pension.

If you only pay basic rate tax and make a small capital gain you may only be subject to a

Online tax payment plans

New figures published by HMRC have revealed that some 25,000 taxpayers have set up an online payment plan to manage their tax liabilities spreading payments of £69 million for up to 12 monthly instalments.

This follows an increase in the limit for

Government help for people in debt

New government proposals have been published that look at further extending debt solutions to help more people suffering from problem debts. The proposals specifically look at increasing the financial eligibility criteria for debt relief orders

Government tackles late payment to small firms

The Government has announced an overhaul of the Prompt Payment Code (PPC).

Under the new reforms, companies that have signed up to the PPC will be obliged to pay small businesses within 30 days – half the time outlined in the current Code.

Despite

Rights to regenerate

We will soon have the rights to turn derelict buildings into homes and community assets. In a recent press release the Ministry of Housing said:

The public will be able to convert vacant plots of land and derelict buildings into new homes or

Have you paid your Data Protection Fee?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the independent regulatory office in charge of upholding information rights in the interest of the public. Under the Data Protection Act 2018, all organisations that process personal information must

VAT Reverse charge for construction sector

A further reminder that new VAT rules for building contractors and sub-contractors will come into effect from 1 March 2021. The new rules were originally expected to commence from 1 October 2019, but an initial 12 month delay was announced. The start

CJRS guidance on who can be furloughed

HMRC’s guidance on which employees can be placed on furlough using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been updated. The scheme will continue until at least 30 April 2021.

The updated guidance includes new information about employees who are

Apply for the new Global Health Insurance Card

UK residents can now apply for the new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).

Under Britain’s new agreement with the EU, UK residents’ rights to emergency and medically necessary healthcare will continue when travelling in the EU. This includes

Testing for international arrivals

Passengers arriving from all international destinations will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before departing for England to help protect against new strains of coronavirus circulating internationally.

Transport Secretary

Tax returns filing deadline at the end of this month

The 31 January 2021 tax return filing deadline is not just the final date for submission of your Self-Assessment tax return but also an important date for payment of tax due to HMRC. This includes the payment of any balance of Self-Assessment

Looking for a customs agent?

The Brexit transition period has come to an end and a new customs border has been created between the UK and EU. If you are moving goods to or from the UK then you need to ensure that you have all the correct procedures in place.

One of the most

Did you file your tax return on Christmas Day?

A new press release by HMRC has highlighted that 2,700 taxpayers took the time to file their tax return online on Christmas Day with a further 8,500 taxpayers completing their tax returns on Boxing Day. In total, 31,400 Self-Assessment returns were

£4.6 billion lockdown grants announced

Following a rapid rise in COVID infections, from today 5th January 2021, England has been placed into a new lockdown. Following this the Chancellor has announced £4.6 billion of new lockdown grants to help support businesses forced to close. The

Time to revisit solvency

If you have managed to retain profits in your business this fat-on-the-bone will help to see you through loss making periods as we endeavour to emerge from COVID disruption, hopefully, later this year.

How long these reserves may last depends on how

Lock-down 3 – business considerations

It’s official. We are in lock-down 3 in England, Scotland following suit and the other regions expected to enforce similar restrictions.
It is evident that any freeing impact of the vaccine roll-outs will not have sufficient impact before February at

Internal Market Bill becomes law

The UK Internal Market Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 17 December 2020 and came into force on 1 January 2021 following the end of the Brexit transition period. The new Act ensures that businesses can continue to trade seamlessly across all four

Child Trust Fund court fees waived

Children born after 31 August 2002 and before 3 January 2011 were entitled to a Child Trust Fund (CTF) account provided they met the necessary conditions. These funds were long term saving accounts for newly born children. The first of these children

Help to Save bonuses

The Help to Save scheme was launched by the government in September 2018 to help those on low incomes to boost their savings. Under the scheme, those eligible could save between £1 and £50 every calendar month and receive a 50% government bonus. The

Happy New Year

There really hasn’t been much to feel merry about during the recent holiday period.

Lock-down and the need to socially distance has kept many of us under virtual house arrest.

Thankfully, the recent announcement that the Oxford vaccine has been

More Red-Tape

True to predictions, Boris Johnson and his team achieved a trade deal with the EU to operate from 1 January 2021, and although there are generally no tariffs to pay on the movement of goods back and forth, this is far from free movement of

New regulations to exempt payments made to employees for coronavirus antigen tests from NICs

The Social Security Contributions (Disregarded Payments) (Coronavirus) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 will come into force on 25 January 2021 to provide that payments made by employers to employees to cover or reimburse the costs of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Tax Diary January/February 2021

1 January 2021 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 March 2020.

19 January 2021 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 January 2021. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 January 2021)

19 January 2021 –

Sharing costs

Independence is a cultivated concern. We all want to be self-sufficient.

In a business environment this might manifest as having a separate Wi-Fi source even though it may be possible to share Wi-Fi with a number of business neighbours and divide

Too good to be true?

Right now, any reference to a return to 2019 trading conditions seems to echo the title of this short article, too good to be true.

Common sense tells us that we are unlikely to emerge largely, COVID-free until the end of 2021 and additionally, many

Tax-free gifts for Christmas

After a very difficult 2020, the traditional Christmas break is almost with us. If you are an employer and looking to give your employees a small token of appreciation for Christmas, then your best option is probably to give them a gift. In order to

Are you ready to make customs declarations?

HMRC has written to VAT registered businesses across the country to remind them to be prepared for new trading rules with the EU from 1 January 2021 after the Brexit transition period comes to an end. Time is running short and without having all of

Accounting for import VAT on your VAT return

From 1 January 2021, businesses will be able to account for import VAT on imports into Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) from EU and non-EU countries. Businesses in Northern Ireland will be able to use the postponed VAT accounting for goods

Presenting our new brand: From TaxAssist to Heighten

From the 1st October our brand has evolved. We’ve grown out of TaxAssist and have turned a new page as Heighten. Over the last few months we’ve poured our hearts into re-imagining our brand so that it’s more in line with our values and vision as a firm, and speaks to the kind of clients

Employing domestic staff

When you employ someone to work in your home it is your responsibility to meet the employee’s rights and deduct the correct amount of tax from their salary. This can include employees such as a nanny, housekeeper, gardener or carer. The rules are

SDLT change for mixed use buildings

HMRC’s published guidance on the application of the 3% higher rate of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) has been updated. The higher rates of SDLT were introduced on 1 April 2016 and apply to purchases of additional residential property such as buy to let

Correcting errors on VAT returns

Where an error on a past VAT return is uncovered, businesses have a duty to correct the error as soon as possible. As a general rule, any necessary adjustment can be made on a current VAT return. However, in order to be able to do so, there are three

HMRC crackdown on avoidance schemes

HMRC and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have come together to jointly target misleading marketing by promoters of tax avoidance schemes. HMRC and the ASA can jointly issue an Enforcement Notice to companies irresponsibly advertising tax

New Christmas grant for pubs

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has announced an additional one-off £1,000 Christmas grant for wet-led pubs in tiers 2 and 3 who will miss out on much needed business during the busy Christmas period.

A wet-led pub is a bar which doesn’t serve

Could the Trader Support Service help your business?

The new Trader Support Service has been designed to help businesses moving goods under the Northern Ireland Protocol from 1 January 2021, after the Brexit transition period comes to an end. There will be changes in moving goods between Great Britain

VAT on delivery charges

The process for working out the VAT treatment of delivery charges can be quite complex.

We have listed below some of the main issues to bear in mind when deciding whether or not VAT needs to be applied.

No charge for delivery. HMRC’s guidance is

Do you owe CGT on the sale of a residential property?

HMRC has issued a press release to remind taxpayers that have sold a residential property, which was not their main home, during the 2019-20 tax year that the payment date for any Capital Gains Tax (CGT) owed is 31 January 2021.

Due to the impact of

Double entry demystified

Most business owners will know the difference between a profit statement and a balance sheet.

Both are created from a process known as double-entry bookkeeping.

If asked to consider two aspects of a £50 purchase from a stationery store, most would

Beware requests from bogus charities

It has been estimated that almost £350,000 of charitable donations last year ended up in the pockets of criminals.

Government recently issued advice to reduce this activity. They said:

The vast majority of fundraising appeals and collections are

Treasury directive re third SEISS grant

HM Treasury has published a further Treasury Direction made under the Coronavirus Act 2020, ss. 71 and 76, which modifies and extends the effect of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).The Direction mainly deals with the expansion of the

New advisory fuel rates published

Advisory fuel rates are intended to reflect actual average fuel costs and are updated quarterly. The rates can be used by employers who reimburse employees for business travel in their company cars or where employees are required to repay the cost of

Deadlines for paying deferred VAT

The coronavirus VAT payment holiday gave businesses the chance to defer the payment of any VAT liabilities between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. The option for businesses to defer their VAT payments ended on 30 June 2020.

There are two options

EU exit – did you read this letter?

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma has written a letter to businesses in the professional services sector. The letter (available in English and Welsh) provides tailored advice on what key actions

Confirmation of Minimum Wage increases 2021

The Chancellor used the recent Spending Review to confirm that increased National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates will come into effect on 1 April 2021.

From 1 April 2021, the National Living Wage will increase by 19p to £8.91. This

Pay January tax by instalments

The deadline for submitting your 2019-20 Self-Assessment tax returns online is 31 January 2021. You should also be aware that payment of any tax due should also be made by this date. This includes the payment of any balance of Self-Assessment

HMRC’s Annual Tax Summary

The Annual Tax Summary is a document provided by HMRC that provides details on the tax you pay and how this is used by government.

The Annual Tax Summary shows:

your taxable income from all sources that HMRC knew about at the time that it was

Coping with the new EU reality

It is apparent that our final exit from the EU, 1 January 2021, will disrupt the movement of goods, back and forth, while transport links and customs authorities adjust to the new reality.

Hopefully, readers that are directly affected – with

Supply chains, a predictive approach for 2021

One of the more positive aspects – perhaps the only positive aspect – of COVID disruption has been the movement away from fixed systems to more flexible systems to cope with the changing demands of lock-down.

Who would have predicted a year ago that

Spending Review 2021/22

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak delivered the government’s spending plans for the coming year to Parliament on 25 November 2020. The Spending Review usually covers 3 to 4 years but given the many unknowns as a result of the pandemic the review will only

Beware tax deadline scammers

Fraudsters are continuing to target taxpayers with scam emails in advance of the 31 January deadline for submission of Self-Assessment returns. In fact, over the last year, HMRC received more than 846,000 reports about suspicious HMRC contact.

A

Reasonable excuses for making a late furlough claim

HMRC’s guidance on making claims through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was updated on 19 November 2020. The updated guidance now includes various examples of what is meant by a ‘reasonable excuse’ for employers that submit furlough claims

Tax Diary December 2020/January 2021

1 December 2020 – Due date for Corporation Tax payable for the year ended 28 February 2020.

19 December 2020 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 December 2020. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 December 2020)

19

Trading with businesses in Northern Ireland?

More than 7,000 businesses have now signed up to the new Trader Support Service (TSS), which will support traders moving goods under the Northern Ireland Protocol from 1 January 2021.

Recently, registrations to the TSS have increased by around 50%,

Why compound interest is important

Many of us are building a pension fund, a portfolio of shares or deposits with our bank or building society.

Most of these investment options reward us for our participation by offering income (usually in the form of interest or dividends) or by

Bounce Back loans still available

The Bounce Back Loans scheme was launched in May 2020 to provide financial support to businesses across the UK that are losing revenue and seeing their cashflow disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme allows small businesses to

Claiming the Self-Employed Income Support for first time?

The Government has confirmed that the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant extension will apply for 6 months from 1 November 2020. It will be possible to claim the SEISS grant extension even if no previous claim had been made under the

Email to replace Companies House postal reminders

Companies House has issued a press release to remind all companies to sign up for email reminders for annual accounts and confirmation statement. Companies House has now stopped sending reminders by post and has sent a final reminder letter to all

Those who shout loudest

Many of the business disruption grants that have become available in the last few weeks are being distributed by local authorities. They include support for:

Businesses obliged to close due to local or national lockdown and
Businesses that have

Do you need a customs agent?

If your business acquires goods or sells goods to the EU, and you have no import/export trade with non-EU countries you probably have no experience of dealing with the raft of red tape involved in clearing goods through customs and settling any

Further support for mortgage borrowers

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced new proposals to ensure that lenders provide tailored support to mortgage borrowers who continue to face payment difficulties due to the COVID-19 crisis. This follows the additional government

Protection for landlords and tenants

The government guidance for landlords and tenants as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has been updated. The Coronavirus Act 2020 provides protection to social and private tenants by delaying when landlords can start proceedings to evict tenants.

Coding out debts deadline

The coding threshold entitles tax payers to have tax underpayments collected via a tax code, provided they are in employment or in receipt of a UK-based pension. The coding applies to certain debts such as Self-Assessment liabilities, tax credit

Getting the most out of digital data

One of the great benefits of data stored in an electronic format is that it can be sorted in an endless array of reports. This offers business owners who have invested in accounts software a range of options.

Once you have input basic accounts

Barter your way through COVID disruption

While we wait for the magic-bullets that promise to reduce the impact of COVID – vaccines etc – should we be exploring ways to exchange goods and services with our suppliers and customers?
Barter is defined as: the exchange of goods and services

Options for Christmas bash

It is unlikely that hospitality venues will be open to all-comers for the festive season, which closes down our options to celebrate Christmas and New Year with family, friends and work colleagues. If the present lock-down is effective, from 5 November to 2 December, perhaps there will be sufficient elbow room for limited access to

Online sales platform

If you sell goods or material that can be sold from the internet, have you considered this form of sales platform for your business?

Providing access for your goods on the internet is a sensible strategy. If we have learnt anything from COVID it is

Uncertainty

While politicians and scientists try and figure out the best way to control COVID, we are left to pick up the pieces and try and salvage what we can of our businesses.

Our economy is built on various, level playing field assumptions:

Same legal

Filing deadlines for company confirmation statement

As well as filing accounts with Companies House, there is an important requirement to check that the information Companies House has about your company is correct. This is facilitated by the filing of an annual company confirmation statement. The

Registration of partnerships with HMRC

A Partnership is a relatively simple way for two or more persons (or legal entities) to set up and run a business together with a view to profit. Partnerships can take many forms. Legal persons other than individuals can also be partners in a

Sale of income in exchange for capital amount

A capital sum received by an individual in respect of the sale or relinquishment of income derived from their personal activities can sometimes be treated as earned income and chargeable to Income Tax. If this is the case, the amount charged to

Contributions towards capital expenditure

A wide variety of grants or subsidies are available to businesses and can be received in addition to their ordinary business income. It is important to identify these contributions and to establish whether they are capital or revenue in

Tax-free perk for Christmas

If you are an employer and looking to give a small Christmas bonus to your employees, then your best option is probably to give them a gift. In order to ensure that this is not a taxable gift, it is important to ensure that the trivial benefits in

Responding to a court judgement

In today’s precarious business environment many companies are unable to pay their debts. If this happens, your creditors can ultimately apply to the court to get their debts paid. This can be done either by getting a court judgement or making an

Taxable business gains

If you are in business as a self-employed sole trader or as part of a partnership, there may be occasions when you are required to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT). CGT is normally charged at a flat rate of 20% on the amount of ‘profit’ or ‘gain’.

You

Less than 100 days to file your tax return

HMRC has published a news release to remind taxpayers that there is now less than 100 days to file their 2019-20, Self-Assessment tax return. Last year over 11 million taxpayers were required to complete a tax return, but over 958,000 taxpayers

New national lockdown and changes to business support measures

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson speaking at a press conference on Saturday night, 31 October 2020, confirmed widespread expectations of a second national lockdown in England to help stem the growing resurgence of the coronavirus. The Government was

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You can’t keep getting advice from your mate down the pub anymore and know you need proven advice for businesses at your growth.

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You’ve outgrown your existing accountant, you have hired more staff, your payroll is increasing and overseeing accounting is taking over your day.

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You have goals, but you aren’t sure how to get there. You need someone and track your an grow in both your personal and business life.

Carry back charitable donations

If you pay Income Tax at the basic rate no additional relief is due on your charitable donations. However, if you are a higher rate or additional rate taxpayer then you can claim tax relief on the difference between the basic rate and your highest

Venues required to enforce rule of six

Since 18 September 2020, many designated venues in England have been required to enforce the rule of 6. The ‘rule of 6’ bans any social gathering of more than 6 people, except under limited circumstances such as if a single household or support

Job Support Scheme for closed businesses

The CJRS or furlough scheme ended on 31 October 2020 and has been replaced by the Job Support Scheme (JSS). This JSS has been designed to help businesses and employees deal with a fresh spike of the virus and a winter of uncertainty.

The JSS is now

Temporary extension to the Help to Buy scheme

The Help to Buy equity loans scheme is open to both first-time buyers and home movers on new-build homes in England with a purchase price up to £600,000. The Help to Buy equity loans provide a low-interest loan towards the deposit. The loan is