Archive for April, 2015

Annual Investment Allowance

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The most generous tax allowance presently available to businesses that encourages direct investment in new plant, equipment and commercial vehicles, is the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA).

If you buy qualifying assets you can write off the expenditure against your taxable profits in the same accounting period. The present limit to this allowance is generous, £500,000.

The AIA is due to reduce from 1 January 2016, and unless Parliament set a new limit from that date, it will revert to a paltry £25,000.

Consequently, business readers who are contemplating an investment in new plant and equipment should take this AIA into account when making a decision to invest.

Entrepreneurs that stand to gain the greater advantage are the self-employed: sole traders, partnerships and LLPs, who may be faced with income charges at the 40% or 45% rates in the tax year 2015-16.

For incorporated businesses and self-employed traders paying tax at the standard rate of income tax, the tax savings will be limited to 20% of qualifying expenditure.

Certainly, we do not advise making investment decisions based solely on any tax advantages that may flow from the investment. Due regard should be taken of the effects on profitability, cash flow and future business growth.

If you would like to discuss how this relief could benefit your business, we would be happy to discuss your options. Planning for large investments is key. Do not make decisions without considering all the effects. Please call if you would like to discuss these matters in more detail.

Source: New feed.

Queens Award for Enterprise 2015

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

All of this year’s (2015) winners are UK businesses leading the way in international trade, innovation and sustainable development in a broad range of sectors including car manufacturing, education, software design and fashion.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) unveiled the 141 winners of the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise and 6 individual recipients of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion 21 April 2015.

The Queen’s Awards scheme is regarded as the most prestigious business awards in the country and 2015 marks its 50th anniversary.

This year, 105 businesses received awards for international trade; 24 for innovation and 12 for sustainable development. Two small companies, Wavestore Ltd and Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging Ltd, achieved double recognition, receiving awards for both innovation and international trade. In addition, 6 people who were nominated by their peers have been recognised for their efforts to encourage entrepreneurship in the UK with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion. Winners include entrepreneurs, a professor of creative entrepreneurship and the founder of the Creative Innovation Centre in Somerset.

Winners of the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are visited by a Royal representative and are presented with a crystal bowl as a mark of their achievement. They are also invited to attend a reception at Buckingham Palace in July 2015. Businesses are also able to use the Queen’s Award emblem in advertising, marketing and on packaging for 5 years.

Firms that won a Queen’s Award for international trade showed they have benefited from substantial international growth in overseas earnings and commercial success within their sector.

Awards for innovation are given to businesses that can demonstrate that their innovative products or services are commercially successful.

Sustainable development winners have to show they are involved in activity that ensures a better quality of life for everyone, now and in the future.

The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion is for individuals who have played an important role in promoting enterprise skills and supporting entrepreneurs.

Entries to the 2016 Awards close on Wednesday 30 September 2015. To apply and for more information, go to www.gov.uk/queens-awards-for-enterprise/overview

Source: New feed.

A few miscellaneous effects of holding ISAs

Monday, April 27th, 2015

If you move abroad

If you open an Individual Savings Account (ISA) in the UK and then move abroad, you can’t put money into it after you move (unless you’re a Crown employee working overseas or their spouse or civil partner).

However, you can keep your ISA open and you’ll still get UK tax relief on money and investments held in it.

You can pay into your ISA again if you return and become a UK resident (subject to the current annual ISA allowance of £15,240).

If you die

Your ISA ends on the date of your death. There will be no Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax to pay up to that date but ISA investments will form part of your estate for Inheritance Tax purposes.

Your ISA provider can be instructed to sell the investments and either:

  • pay the proceeds to the administrator or beneficiary of your estate
  • transfer the investments directly to them

If your spouse or civil partner dies

If your spouse or civil partner died on or after 3 December 2014, you can inherit their ISA allowance.

As well as your normal ISA allowance, you can add a tax-free amount up to the value they held in their ISA when they died.

Contact your ISA provider or the provider of your spouse or civil partner’s ISA for details.

Source: New feed.

Black taxis urged to go green

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

On 26 March 2015 the government announced a new initiative to support taxi owners to convert to lower emission vehicles. The initiative is £45 million to support the rollout of greener taxis. A £20 million fund will be made available to local authorities to support the rollout of ultra-low emission taxis across the UK. The money will be available to reduce the upfront cost of purpose built taxis and to install charging infrastructure for taxi and private hire use.

A further £25 million has been set aside specifically for the Greater London Area to help taxi drivers cover the cost of upgrading to a greener vehicle.

All taxis will also qualify for the government’s plug-in car grant, which currently offers up to £5,000 off the cost of an eligible low emission vehicle.

From 26 March local authorities are invited to bid for feasibility studies to prepare for the rollout of these vehicles in their fleets. The news follows Geely’s recent announcement outlining plans for a new £250 million state of the art facility to produce the next generation of low-emission London Black Taxis. Geely, who owns the iconic London Taxi Company, was awarded £17 million from the government’s Regional Growth Fund to build this facility, which will create 1,000 local jobs and ensure the London black taxi continues to be designed, developed and made in the UK.

These new taxis will comply with the new regulations being introduced by the Mayor of London that will require all London taxis to be zero-emission capable from January 2018.

Business Minister Matthew Hancock said:

This is a historic moment for the automotive sector and goes to show that it is thriving in Britain today. Low emission vehicles are the future and show that we can meet our climate change obligations in a way that enhances technology. I’m looking forward to the roll-out of greener taxis across the UK and have no doubt that with the support of Geely this will happen very quickly.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

As London strives towards the greenest taxi fleet from 2018, it is essential to support the taxi trade in the transition to cleaner vehicles. With the additional funds announced today, more help is on the way for taxi drivers to upgrade to the latest technology in zero-emission capable cabs. Alongside the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone from 2020 these measures will boost jobs and growth in the development and manufacturing of ultra low emission technologies, secure the long-term future of the taxi industry, and ensure everyone who lives, works in, or visits our city has the cleanest possible air to breathe.

Source: New feed.

Emergency tax codes

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

You’re on an emergency tax code if your payslip says your tax code is one of the following:

  • 1060L W1
  • 1060L M1
  • 1060L X

Emergency tax codes are temporary. While you’re on an emergency tax code, you pay tax on all your income above the basic Personal Allowance (£10,600 for the 2015 to 2016 tax year).

If your tax code is just 1060L it’s not an emergency tax code.

Tax code 0T can also be used as a temporary code. It means you don’t get any Personal Allowance you’re entitled to until your tax code is updated.

When you might get an emergency tax code

You may be put on an emergency tax code if you’ve started:

  • a new job
  • working for an employer after being self-employed
  • getting company benefits or the State Pension

Getting the right tax code

Your tax code is usually updated automatically after you’ve given your employer details of your previous income or pension. This is usually from your P45 – if you don’t have one, your employer may ask you to fill in a ‘new starter checklist’.

You’ll be sent your new tax code in a PAYE Coding Notice. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will also tell your employer or pension provider. Your next payslip should show:

  • your new tax code
  • adjustments to your pay if you were paying the wrong amount of tax

Please contact us if you are concerned that you may have the wrong tax code and be paying too much tax, or if you receive a Notice of Coding that you don’t understand.

Source: New feed.

The following tax changes came into effect Monday 6 April 2015

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Following on from our previous blog posting: tax changes that were effective from 1 April 2015 (and that mainly affected Companies), we have included below tax changes that affect individuals from 6 April 2015, the start of the 2015-16 tax year.

  • Individuals over the age of 55 have flexible access to their defined contribution pension savings
  • The Income Tax Personal Allowance increases to £10,600
  • The higher rate income tax threshold increases to £42,385
  • The new Marriage Allowance comes into effect
  • The starting rate of savings income tax reduces from 10% to 0% for savings up to £5,000
  • The cash ISA limit increases to £15,240
  • Child Trust Funds can now be transferred into Junior ISAs
  • Spouses can now inherit their deceased partner’s ISA benefits
  • If an individual dies before the age of 75, they can now pass on their unused defined contribution pension savings free of income tax
  • Beneficiaries of individuals who die under the age of 75 with a joint life or guaranteed term annuity can now receive any future payments from such policies free of income tax
  • Employers will no longer have to pay employer NICs for employees under the age of 21
  • Class 2 NICs for the self-employed can now be collected through Self-Assessment
  • The Employment Allowance extends to include people employing care and support workers to look after themselves or family members
  • A new annual remittance basis charge of £90,000 is introduced for non-domiciled individuals who have been resident in the UK in at least 17 of the last 20 years, and the charge paid by non-domiciled individuals who have been resident in the UK in at least 12 of the last 14 years has increased from £50,000 to £60,000
  • Non-UK resident individuals, trusts, personal representatives and narrowly controlled companies are now subject to Capital Gains Tax on gains accruing on the disposal of UK residential property
  • Capital Gains Tax annual exemption amount has increased to £11,100
  • The Capital Gains Tax charge on disposals of properties liable to ATED extends to cover residential properties worth £1 million – £2 million
  • The requirement that 70% of Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme money must be spent before EIS or VCT funding can be raised is removed
  • The Fuel Benefit Charge multiplier for both cars and vans increases by RPI
  • The Van Benefit Charge increases by RPI – in 2015-16 the Van Benefit Charge rate paid by zero emission vans is 20% of the rate paid by conventionally fuelled vans
  • Tax Credit payments are stopped in-year where, due to a change in circumstances, a claimant has already received their full annual entitlement

Please contact us if you need more information on any of the above changes.

Source: New feed.

Shared Parental Leave law became effective on 5 April 2015

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Parents in work can now share responsibility for looking after their newborn or newly adopted child as Shared Parental Leave law becomes effective 5 April 2015.

Eligible couples whose child is due on or after Sunday 5 April 2015 can now share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay in the first year of their child’s life. Couples who adopt a child can share the same benefits as parents to the first year of the child’s adoption.

Parents can take the time off at the same time as each other or separately. An estimated 285,000 couples a year will be able to take advantage of this change in the law. Shared parental leave and pay are only available in England, Scotland and Wales.

To work out what you may be entitled to you’ll need to know:

  • your employment status (eg employed or worker)
  • the date you started your current job
  • the date you finished work (if you’ve finished)
  • how much you earn
  • when you want your leave to start
  • how much leave you want to take

You’ll need the same information about your partner if you plan to share the care of the child with them.

Source: New feed.

The following tax changes came into effect Wednesday 1 April 2015

Thursday, April 9th, 2015
  • The Corporation Tax rate has been reduced to 20%
  • The new Diverted Profits Tax has been introduced
  • The bank levy has increased from 0.156% to 0.21%
  • Air Passenger Duty has been restructured – abolishing bands C and D
  • Hospice charities, blood bikes, search and rescue, and air ambulance charities will be eligible for VAT refunds
  • Business rates changes (England only):

    • The business rates multiplier has increased from 48.2p to 49.3p (47.1p to 48.0p for small business multiplier). This includes the 2% inflation cap
    • The Small Business Rate Relief scheme has doubled for a further year – providing 100% relief for businesses with a single property with a rateable value of less than £6,000, and tapered relief with a rateable value of £6,000 – £12,000
    • The business rates discount for shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants with a rateable value of £50k or below has increased from £1,000 to £1,500
  • The cultural test for high-end TV tax relief has been modernised and the minimum UK expenditure requirement for all TV tax reliefs has reduced from 25% to 10%
  • A new tax relief on the production of children’s television has been introduced
  • The amount of banks’ annual profit that can be offset by carried forward losses has been restricted to 50%
  • Two new bands for the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED) have been introduced
  • Capital Gains Tax exemption for wasting assets will only apply if the corporate selling the asset has used it in their own business
  • An investment allowance for North Sea oil and gas, replacing the existing offshore field allowances and simplifying the existing regime, has been introduced
  • A reduced rate of fuel duty to methanol will apply – the rate is 9.32 pence per litre
  • Fuels used to generate good quality electricity by CHP (combined heat and power) plants for onsite purposes are exempt from the Carbon Price Floor
  • Climate Change Levy main rates have increased in line with RPI
  • The VAT registration threshold has increased from £81,000 to £82,000 and the deregistration threshold from £79,000 to £80,000
  • Scottish government’s Land and Buildings Transactions Tax (LBTT) will replace Stamp Duty Land Tax in Scotland
  • The associated companies rules have been replaced with simpler rules based on 51% group membership
  • The standard and lower rates of landfill tax have been increased in line with RPI

Source: New feed.

Pension's flexibility a word of caution

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

The new flexibility, that certain pension pot holders can avail themselves from 6 April 2015, offers more opportunity regarding the funds they have saved. Once you reach minimum pension age, normally 55, you will be able to:

  • leave your pension fund invested, no change; 
  • enter drawdown, thereby taking some of your money whilst leaving the rest where it is; 
  • withdraw cash in one or a number of lump sums; 
  • purchase an annuity; 
  • go with a combination of all of the above; 
  • or take your entire pension pot in one go. 

Additionally, from April 2016, people who already have an annuity will be able to effectively sell it on, so that they too can benefit from the pension freedoms announced at last year’s Budget.

Currently, people who have bought an annuity are unable to sell it without having to pay at least 55% tax on the proceeds of the sale. From April 2016, the tax rules will change so that people who already have income from an annuity can sell that when they choose and will pay their usual rate of tax they pay on income, instead of 55%.

With so many options to choose from, and a variety of tax traps to avoid, there has never been a more compelling time to seek professional advice BEFORE you make any decisions.

Source: New feed.

Goodbye tax returns, hello digital accounts

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

In an effort to streamline and simplify the administration of the Self Assessment tax system HMRC is planning to open digital accounts for fifty million taxpayers by 2020. When completed, these taxpayers will no longer be required to submit Self Assessment tax returns to HMRC.

Instead, HMRC will gather information from employers, pension providers, banks and building societies, and automatically post data regarding salaries, benefits, pensions and investment income to the digital accounts.

It is still not clear how information regarding property income, capital gains, business profits and other chargeable income or gains will be gathered by HMRC, although it has been mooted that it will be possible to link business accounting software with the digital accounts by 2020.

This is a radical shift from the present “gathering and filing” processes that presently places the responsibility for the make-up and lodgement of Self Assessment data on the taxpayer. In some respects it harks back to the days prior to Self Assessment when HMRC used to issue assessments to taxpayers, who were then obliged to check the numbers.

 Information published so far by HMRC indicates that:

  • Taxpayers, and their agents, will be able to access their digital accounts to make real time changes to data and pay their tax.
  • Fifteen million taxpayers will be set up with digital accounts as early as 2016 with the remainder given access to their digital accounts by 2020.

 More details are needed in order to assess the impact of these changes and HMRC have advised they will publish this later this year.

It will be interesting to see how the change will impact associated issues such as late filing penalties. Hopefully, HMRC will abandon these charges for taxpayers where little or no tax is due.

The Government will also need to consider digital exclusion: how are they going to accommodate taxpayers who cannot easily access the internet for various reasons?

Source: New feed.

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