News

The latest breaking news in the industry!

04-03-2021

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 £50,270 (2020-21: £50,000) from 6 April 2021. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak revealed that these rates will be frozen until April 2026. This freeze is ... read more

04-03-2021

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. However, the Corporation Tax main rate will increase to 25% from 1 April 2023 for companies with profits over £250,000. The Chancellor also announced the ... read more

04-03-2021

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 maximum of £2,500 until the scheme ends. The CJRS will also continue in its present form for employers until the end of June 2021. As the economy ... read more

04-03-2021

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 to these loan schemes but instead announced that a new successor loan guarantee programme would be introduced from 6 April 2021. The Recovery Loan ... read more

04-03-2021

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 investments and will apply from 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2023. The new super-deduction is designed to help companies finance expansion in the wake of ... read more

04-03-2021

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 businesses can apply for deregistration will also be frozen at the current rate of £83,000 for the same time period. Businesses are required to register ... read more

03-03-2021

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 for UK businesses Support for the UK housing market Taxation changes Other announcements Please call if you need to discuss how these changes may ... read more

02-03-2021

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 business has created at any particular date. Debt on the other hand is a liability, an amount of money that has to be repaid and subject to an interest ... read more

02-03-2021

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 have savings, a pension or your own home. Savings Credit is an extra payment for people who saved some money towards their retirement, for example a ... read more

25-02-2021

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 available to those who met the eligibility requirements. The claim window for this grant has now closed. The government has confirmed that a fourth SEISS ... read more

25-02-2021

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 annual exemption. Any unused part of the annual exemption can be carried forward, but only for one year. So, if you didn’t make any cash gifts in 2019-20, ... read more

25-02-2021

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. This also applies to civil partners who are treated in the same way as married couples for CGT purposes. Married couples and civil partners should ... read more

25-02-2021

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 will be published on 23 March. This will allow more time for these consultations to be examined. None of the announcements will require legislation in ... read more

25-02-2021

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 agricultural production (such as horticulture). Farmers cannot join this scheme if the value of their non-farming activities is above the VAT ... read more

25-02-2021

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 decision of the Supreme Court as the final court of appeal in the UK marks the end of the case for Uber. The Uber case had been ongoing since an employment ... read more

25-02-2021

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. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 March 2021) 19 March 2021 - Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended ... read more

23-02-2021

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 will be no legal limits on social contact. Which means, all businesses including hospitality and entertainment concerns will have the opportunity to ... read more

23-02-2021

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 trade before 21st June 2021. What is overtrading? Let’s assume that the past year’s disruption has meant you have run-through your cash reserves and ... read more

18-02-2021

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 qualifying married couples and those in a civil partnership where a spouse or civil partner is a non-taxpayer i.e., has an income below their personal ... read more

18-02-2021

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 the coronavirus pandemic. The Act has been described by government as ‘the biggest shake-up of UK pensions for decades. The Act will provide for ... read more

18-02-2021

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 courier, freight forwarder or customs agent. Businesses can use simplified export declarations to help export most goods. The use of simplified export ... read more

18-02-2021

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 available for repaying this VAT. The first option is to pay the deferred VAT in full on or before 31 March 2021. No interest or penalties will accrue ... read more

18-02-2021

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 expenses such as business telephone calls or heating and lighting costs. Expenses that are for both for private and business use (such as broadband) cannot ... read more

18-02-2021

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 Investment Allowance. Any tax relief would be reduced if the employer provides a contribution towards buying the item. The way to claim tax relief ... read more

17-02-2021

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 most widely used credit term, which in real terms probably means customers pay after 40, 60 days or more. This topic has real relevance during the ... read more

17-02-2021

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 your profits - this will generate cash resources that can be accumulated in the business or used to finance working capital or other investments in ... read more

11-02-2021

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 had not kept adequate accounting records which meant the liquidator could not ascertain where cheque and debit card withdrawals totalling more than ... read more

11-02-2021

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 the same VAT return. The normal VAT recovery rules that define what VAT can be reclaimed as input tax will still apply. These new rules save ... read more

11-02-2021

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 maximum grant for the three months of £7,500 was made available to those who met the eligibility requirements. It had previously been confirmed that a ... read more

11-02-2021

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 borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 with no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. In most cases businesses receive the cash within 24 hours of ... read more

11-02-2021

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 are not disadvantaged by competition from VAT free imports. For goods sold directly to customers in the UK from overseas with a value of £135 or ... read more

11-02-2021

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 have the discretion to top-up the payments if they so wish. To use the extended scheme - to 30 April 2021 - the steps that are required are: Check ... read more

09-02-2021

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 sure, when the pubs can open, when we can start to book a holiday and when High Street restaurants, cafes and stores open for business, get ready for a ... read more

09-02-2021

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 lock-down directives. And this is in spite of the valiant attempts by Rishi Sunak and his team at the Treasury to provide financial support to those ... read more

04-02-2021

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 apprenticeship, or pursue further study. The traineeship programme has helped nearly 120,000 young people since 2013. A traineeship can last from 6 weeks up ... read more

04-02-2021

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 prepare full annual accounts and a company tax return. The deadline for filing the first set of accounts with Companies House is 21 months after the date ... read more

04-02-2021

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 usually hold them on paper, digitally or as part of a software program. If you are keeping records used to complete a personal (non-business) ... read more

04-02-2021

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 missed the 31 January 2021 filing deadline for your 2019-20 Self-Assessment returns? HMRC had announced that due to the coronavirus pandemic, fines ... read more

04-02-2021

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 of the next tax year. This is the second time that Scotland has held a Budget before the rest of the UK. The UK Budget is scheduled to take place on ... read more

04-02-2021

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 2021. There were no changes to the amounts that employers can claim for the period from 1 February to 30 April 2021. This means that employers can continue to ... read more

04-02-2021

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 company's legal existence is removed from the Companies House register. The strike off can be voluntary or compulsory. Companies House will continue to ... read more

04-02-2021

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 January 2021. 31 July following the tax year e.g., for 2020-21 the second payment on account is due on 31 July 2021. These payments on account are based ... read more

04-02-2021

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 year starting 6 April 2021 will be £12,570 (£12,500 in 2020-21) and this means that the tax code for emergency use will be 1257L. The basic rate limit ... read more

02-02-2021

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 April 2020? If yes, make sure you let us have estimates of your buy-to-let income and expenses to say 31 December 2020 (covering the nine months from 1 ... read more

02-02-2021

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 grants are taxable. If you have furloughed staff at any time during 2020-21, check to make sure you have your paperwork in good order: Written ... read more

28-01-2021

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 February 2021 - Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 February 2021. 19 February 2021 - CIS tax deducted for the month ended ... read more

28-01-2021

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 this deadline. Taxpayers remain obliged to pay their tax bill by 31 January and interest will be charged from 1 February 2021 on any outstanding ... read more

28-01-2021

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 left the EU single market and customs union. In his message to keep business moving, the Minister highlighted six key actions that many firms need ... read more

28-01-2021

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 especially useful option for the many companies that have been adversely affected during the pandemic and may have incurred significant losses. Carrying ... read more

28-01-2021

Making good fuel provided for private motoring

Where an employee with a company car is provided with fuel for their own private use by their employer, the default position is that the employee is required to pay the car fuel benefit charge. The charge is determined by reference to the CO2 rating of the car, applied to the car fuel benefit multiplier, currently £24,500. The car fuel benefit charge is not applicable when the employee pays for ... read more

28-01-2021

Flat Rate Scheme annual review

Using the VAT Flat Rate scheme, businesses pay VAT as a fixed percentage of their VAT inclusive turnover. The actual percentage used depends on the type of business. The 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 ... read more

28-01-2021

Claiming the NIC Employment Allowance

The Employment Allowance allows eligible employers to reduce their National Insurance liability. The allowance increased to £4,000 (was £3,000) from 6 April 2020. An employer can claim less than the maximum if this will cover their total Class 1 NIC bill. The allowance is only available to employers that have employer NIC liabilities of under £100,000 in the previous tax year. Connected ... read more

28-01-2021

Drifting into the HICBC

The High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) could apply to taxpayers if their income exceeds £50,000 for the first time this year and they are in receipt of child benefit. The charge effectively claws back the financial benefit of receiving child benefit either by reducing or removing the benefit entirely. If a taxpayer (or their partner) exceeded the £50,000 threshold for the first time during ... read more

27-01-2021

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 landlords with property income above £10,000 will need to follow the MTD for Income Tax rules from their next accounting period starting on or after 6 ... read more

27-01-2021

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 further study. The cash boost - which is available until 31 July 2021 - will help businesses with the cost of providing a high-quality work placement for a ... read more

21-01-2021

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 (DROs), helping more people deal with financial difficulties to get a fresh start. A DRO is a special way of dealing with debts aimed at those with ... read more

21-01-2021

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 making an online payment plan to £30,000 (previously £10,000) that took effect from 1 October 2020. Taxpayers with outstanding tax liabilities may be ... read more

21-01-2021

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 reduced rate of 10%. Once the total of your taxable income and gains exceeds the higher rate threshold, the excess will be subject to 20% CGT. There ... read more

21-01-2021

Tax returns filing deadline is fast approaching

The approaching deadline for submitting 2019-20 Self-Assessment tax returns online is 23:59 on Sunday, 31 January 2021. The filing deadline is not just the final date for submission of your Self-Assessment tax return but also an important date for payment off tax due to HMRC. This includes the payment of any balance of Self-Assessment liability for the 2019-20 plus the first payment on account due ... read more

21-01-2021

Simplified expenses motor vehicles

There are simplified arrangements in place for the self-employed (and some partnerships) to claim a fixed rate deduction for certain expenses where there is a mix of business and private use. The simplified expenses regime is not available to limited companies or business partnerships involving a limited company. The fixed rate deduction can be used instead of working out the actual costs of ... read more

21-01-2021

Striking companies from Companies Register

There are a limited range of circumstances when a company can request to be removed from the register (known as being struck off). For example, a voluntary strike off can be requested by a dormant or non-trading company. A limited company can be closed down by getting it 'struck off' the Companies Register, but only if it: hasn't traded or sold off any stock in the last 3 months. For example, ... read more

21-01-2021

Basics of CGT Rollover Relief

Business Asset Rollover Relief is a valuable relief that allows you to defer payment of CGT on gains made when you sell or dispose of certain assets and use all or part of the proceeds to buy new assets. The relief means that the tax on the gain of the old asset is postponed. The amount of the gain is effectively rolled over into the cost of the new asset and any CGT liability is deferred until ... read more

19-01-2021

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 almost 3,000 companies signing the Code, poor payment practices are still rife, with many payments delayed well beyond the current 60-day target ... read more

18-01-2021

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 community spaces, under plans announced 16 January 2021 by the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP. The ‘Right to Regenerate’ proposals would make it ... read more

14-01-2021

Rogue employers named and shamed for failing to pay minimum wage

139 employers, including some of the UK’s biggest household names, have been named and shamed in a government press release for failing to pay £6.7 million to over 95,000 workers in breach of the national minimum wage (NMW) legislation. This is the first time in over two years that the government has named and shamed employers for failing to pay the NMW, as the naming and shaming scheme was ... read more

14-01-2021

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 unable to work because they have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19). This guidance confirms that employers may furlough ... read more

14-01-2021

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 date was then delayed for a further 5 months until 1 March 2021 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The new rules will make the supply of ... read more

14-01-2021

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 register with the ICO. By law, every organisation or sole trader who processes personal information needs to pay a data protection fee to the ICO, ... read more

14-01-2021

Tax and duties for goods sent from abroad

Following the end of the Brexit transition period new rules regarding tax and duty apply to goods sent to the UK from the EU. These changes are to ensure that goods from EU and non-EU countries are treated in the same way and that UK businesses are not disadvantaged by competition from VAT free imports. For goods sold directly to customers in the UK from overseas with a value of £135 or less ... read more

14-01-2021

New IPO search facility

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is the official UK government body responsible for intellectual property (IP) rights including patents, designs, trademarks and copyright. The IPO has launched a new service that allows users to search for the goods and services they intend to use their trade mark on before they apply. Intellectual Property Offices worldwide use a trade mark classification ... read more

14-01-2021

IHT Main Residence Nil Rate Band

The Inheritance Tax residence nil-rate band (RNRB) is a transferable allowance for married couples and civil partners (per person) when their main residence is passed down to a direct descendent such as children or grandchildren after their death. The RNRB came into effect on 6 April 2017 and was introduced in stages. The allowance increased to the present maximum level of £175,000 from 6 April ... read more

14-01-2021

Tax on an inherited private pension

Private pensions can be an efficient way to pass on wealth, but it is important to consider what, if any, tax will be payable on an inherited private pension. The person who died will usually have nominated the recipient by telling their pension provider that they should inherit any monies left in their pension pot. If the nominated person can’t be found or has since died, the pension provider may ... read more

12-01-2021

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 Grant Shapps has announced that inbound passengers arriving by boat, plane or train will have to take a test up to 72 hours before departing the country ... read more

12-01-2021

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 medically necessary treatment for a pre-existing or chronic condition. Current European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) are valid as long as they are in ... read more

07-01-2021

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 filed between 24 and 26 December. Although this was a Christmas like no other, the number of submissions was actually slightly down on Christmas 2019. ... read more

07-01-2021

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 important areas that businesses must consider is how to make customs declarations. Customs declarations can be difficult and time consuming to complete. ... read more

07-01-2021

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 liability for the 2019-20 plus the first payment on account due for the current 2020-21 tax year. The 31 January 2021 is also the payment date for any CGT ... read more

07-01-2021

Time to pay arrangements

One of the measures announced by HMRC at the start of the coronavirus pandemic was the introduction of emergency measures to help those affected by COVID-19 using the existing Time to Pay service. Businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through this service. There is an option to set ... read more

07-01-2021

No VAT on women’s sanitary products

The UK was unable to zero rate VAT on women’s sanitary products under EU rules and the items were subject to 5% VAT. Following the end of the transition period the UK is no longer bound by the EU VAT Directive which mandates a minimum 5% rate of VAT on all sanitary products. The VAT charge on sanitary products became widely known as the 'Tampon Tax' has therefore been abolished from 1 January ... read more

07-01-2021

Repaying furlough grants if overclaimed

Any business that has overclaimed a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) grant must pay back the overpayment to HMRC. The rules outlined below for paying HMRC back an overclaim also applies to businesses that would like to make a voluntary repayment because they do not want or need the CJRS grant. The CJRS is currently due to continue until 30 April 2021. Any overpayments can be corrected in ... read more

07-01-2021

Income Tax charge to recover CJRS overclaims

Employers should notify HMRC if they have received a CJRS payment to which they are not entitled and pay back any amounts of CJRS grants claimed in error. By paying back any amounts they were not entitled to, employers can avoid any tax liability for overclaimed CJRS grants. Failure to do so within the stated notification period will be treated as deliberate and concealed conduct. This can result ... read more

05-01-2021

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 the earliest, and more likely, later in the year. What now for businesses directly affected by these measures, predominantly the hospitality and ... read more

05-01-2021

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 effectively you manage the process. If you are impacted by COVID disruption, you will need to ensure that you avail yourself of any Government ... read more

05-01-2021

£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 lockdown in England is expected to last until March with a review not due to take place until the February half-term. There are also similar lockdowns ... read more

04-01-2021

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 50% bonus is payable at the end of the second and fourth years and is based on how much account holders have saved. The first bonus payment has now ... read more

04-01-2021

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 who qualified began turning 18 years of age from 1 September 2020. For most young adults, the process is straightforward. However, if a young person ... read more

04-01-2021

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 parts of the UK as the EU’s internal market rules have come to an end. The UK Internal Market Act 2020 establishes 2 principles (the Market Access ... read more

04-01-2021

Outcome of EU trade negotiations

Despite many expectations to the contrary, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced on Christmas Eve that the UK and EU had agreed an EU trade deal after four and a half years of strenuous negotiations. This is the first agreement the EU has ever reached allowing zero tariffs and zero quotas and went into effect at 11pm on 31 December 2020. This means there will be no tariffs or quotas on the ... read more

04-01-2021

R&D tax relief for SMEs

There are two schemes for claiming R&D tax relief - the Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Scheme and the R&D Expenditure Credit (RDEC) Scheme for large companies. The SME scheme offers more generous reliefs to qualifying companies. The amount of R&D tax relief available depends on the total qualifying spend on R&D activities. A company is defined as an SME if staff headcount ... read more

03-01-2021

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 goods. Importers from and exporters to the EU will now need to deal with a raft of additional customs documentation. Firms affected who do not have the ... read more

03-01-2021

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 cleared for use offers some hope that by Easter or early summer we may be able to return to pre-COVID conditions. Can you imagine walking into a crowded ... read more

21-12-2020

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) antigen tests are to be disregarded for NICs purposes, and so there will be no NICs liability for either the employer or the employee. The Government ... read more

20-12-2020

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 - Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 January 2021. 19 January 2021 - CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 January ... read more

17-12-2020

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 traders and consumers are apprehensive of the coming EU exit. Never-the-less, we would be wise to be on the lookout for signs of optimism. In a ... read more

17-12-2020

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 the cost between you? There will always be what-ifs to this type of co-operative effort but if the cost sharing made a joint contribution to cost ... read more

17-12-2020

Furlough extended to end April 2021

During an announcement to Parliament today, 17 December 2020, the Chancellor confirmed the following: An extension of the furlough scheme until the end of April 2021, The date for Budget 2021 has been fixed as 3 March 2021, and Businesses will have until the end of March 2021 to apply for Government backed, Bounce-Back and other loan schemes. In a following press release it was ... read more

17-12-2020

SMP, SAP, SSP, ShPP, SPBP and SSP to rise from April 2021

According to proposals set out in a government policy paper, the revised rates for statutory maternity pay (SMP), statutory adoption pay (SAP), statutory paternity pay (SPP), statutory shared parental pay (ShPP), statutory parental bereavement pay (SPBP) and statutory sick pay (SSP) for tax year 2021/22 are to be as follows: the standard weekly rates of SMP, SAP, SPP, ShPP and SPBP will ... read more

17-12-2020

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 imported from outside the UK and EU. The normal rules setting out what VAT can be reclaimed as input tax will apply. HMRC’s guidance on the new ... read more

17-12-2020

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 the correct procedures and agreements in place it will be almost impossible to trade with the EU from 1 January 2021, technically from 11pm GMT on 31 ... read more

17-12-2020

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 ensure that this is not a taxable gift, it is important to that the trivial benefits in kind (BiK) rules apply. There is no tax to pay on trivial ... read more

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