OTS calls for overhaul of ‘complex’ tax charges and reliefs

May 2, 2018: An overhaul of “the complex patchwork” of tax charges and reliefs affecting businesses throughout various stages of the business lifecycle is urgently required in order to stimulate growth among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has said. In a report published midway through April, the OTS looked closely at business... Read more

1.3 million SMEs hoping to branch out internationally to boost growth

May 2, 2018: An annual survey suggests that some 1.3 million UK-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) intend to branch out overseas this year in a bid to expand their horizons and fuel their growth plans. According to CitySprint’s latest annual survey of business owners and decision makers, ambitions among Britain’s SMEs remain strong despite the fact that... Read more

Workplace pension contributions more than double

May 2, 2018: The percentage of salary employers and employees must contribute to a workplace pension has increased from 6 April 2018. Employees will now contribute three per cent (up from one per cent) of their annual salary into a personal workplace pension, while employer contributions have increased from one to two per cent. Under the new rules,... Read more

Dividend Allowance cut could cost you £1,143. Is it time to restructure?

May 2, 2018: For a while, company directors have been able to make a tax-efficient living by taking a combination of salary and dividends due to the generous Dividend Allowance. However, changes which took effect from 6 April 2018 have cut the allowance from £5,000 to just £2,000. The changes are meant to level the playing field between... Read more

Do you offer an EMI scheme? These are the new rules you need to know about

May 2, 2018: EU State Aid approval for the Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI) scheme expired on 6 April 2018, meaning any share options received after this date may not be eligible for tax reliefs. This is an important change for employers who currently grant EMI share options or plan to do so in the future. The Government said... Read more

270,000 late penalty notices cancelled by the Revenue

May 2, 2018: A response to a freedom of information request has revealed that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) cancelled 270,000 late penalty notices in 2016. However, this figure was dwarfed by the 610,000 cancellations in 2015 and the 400,000 cancellations in 2014. The request was made by a partner in a ‘magic circle’ law firm, who was... Read more

Millions of people have not checked their online tax accounts for errors

April 3, 2018: Millions of people from across the UK could be paying more tax than they need to, it has emerged, after figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) showed that more than 15 million individuals have not checked their Personal Tax Accounts. The figure means that less than half of taxpayers have accessed their accounts, risking... Read more

Government extends childcare voucher scheme for additional six months

April 3, 2018: Working parents across the UK will be delighted to hear that the Government has agreed to a six-month extension of the childcare voucher scheme. It has been estimated that around 80 per cent of working parents may be better off using Childcare Vouchers rather than the new tax-free childcare scheme. The voucher scheme allows employees... Read more

Are you one of the 90 per cent of businesses that are unprepared for GDPR?

April 3, 2018: With less than 60 days left until the deadline for compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), more than 90 per cent of UK small businesses admit they are not yet fully ready. In fact, a poll conducted by the Federation of Small Business (FSB) found that only eight per cent of SMEs have... Read more

HMRC takes new steps to tackle online VAT fraud

April 3, 2018: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has been granted new powers to help combat online VAT fraud conducted on digital marketplaces. Originally outlined by the Chancellor in the 2017 Autumn Budget, the new powers – known by the term ‘joint-and-several liability’ (JSL) for online marketplaces – strengthen existing arrangements to make online marketplaces accountable for VAT... Read more

Quarterly digital reporting to HM Revenue & Customs opens to self-employed individuals

April 3, 2018: Since March this year, self-employed individuals have had the option of reporting their income digitally to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) as part of a pilot of the Government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) programme. The Government has long had the ambition of taking most taxes including Income Tax, VAT and Corporation Tax onto a system... Read more

Late payments in the spotlight after Carillion collapse

April 3, 2018: Small businesses in the UK have long been scourged by late payments, but the problem was brought into sharp focus earlier this year following the collapse of construction giant, Carillion, emphasising the importance of careful credit control. According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), some suppliers were waiting as long as 120 days to... Read more

Spring Statement 2018

March 13, 2018: By the time Chancellor Philip Hammond rose to his feet in the House of Commons to deliver the first Spring Statement, he had already offered plenty of hints that this would be a low-key affair. Gone was the primetime Wednesday slot after Prime Minister’s Questions, gone was the trailing of policy announcements in the days... Read more

Tax-Free Childcare launches for all parents of under-12s

March 1, 2018: A scheme, enabling parents of children aged 12 and under to benefit from up to £2,000 towards the cost of childcare, has now been extended to all working parents with children in the age group. The scheme provides a Government top-up worth £2 for every £8 contributed by parents, up to a maximum of £2,000... Read more

SMEs invest three working weeks a year on tax compliance

March 1, 2018: A new study, prepared by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), has found that the UK’s average small business spends nearly three working weeks every 12 months complying with tax rules. This costs SMEs around £5,000 a year on average, according to the survey of 1,000 small businesses. Of the challenges they face, around half... Read more

Does Nesquik attract VAT? It depends on the flavour, Revenue says

March 1, 2018: An apparently counterintuitive judgement was handed down last month by the Upper Tier Tribunal as it ruled VAT should be applied to the strawberry and banana flavours of Nesquik milk powder, but not to the chocolate equivalent. The case arose after Nestlé, the manufacturer of the powders made a repayment claim to HM Revenue &... Read more

Only a third of EIS taken up by companies outside London

March 1, 2018: New data from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) shows that businesses in London and the South East account for 66 per cent of the Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) uptake. Despite accounting for 62 per cent of the UK economy, businesses outside London and the South-East only account for £610 million out of nearly £1.9 billion... Read more

Cash payments plunge as digital payments become the default for many consumers

March 1, 2018: New research from finance and banking trade body, UK Finance, has found that debit card transactions will overtake those made with cash this year. Meanwhile, ATM usage peaked several years ago, with more than 2.9 billion transactions taking place in 2012, falling to 2.7 billion in 2016, which amounted to £6 billion less than in... Read more

Chancellor calls for Inheritance Tax review to make regime “fit for purpose”

March 1, 2018: The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has asked the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) to undertake a review of the Inheritance Tax (IHT) system to ensure that it meets the needs of modern households. In a letter to the OTS, an independent branch of the Treasury, Mr Hammond said that the current system is “particularly complex” and... Read more

Remain-supporting former minister strikes optimistic note on post-Brexit economy

February 6, 2018: Former Conservative Treasury Minister, Lord Jim O’Neil has told the BBC that gloomy predictions for the post-Brexit UK economy are likely to be ‘dwarfed’ by global growth figures surpassing expectations. He said: “I certainly wouldn’t have thought the UK economy would be as robust as it currently seems. “That is because some parts of the... Read more

Millennials set for ‘inheritance boom’… but not until the 2030s

February 6, 2018: A new report from think-tank, the Resolution Foundation, predicts that so-called ‘millennials’, those aged between 17 and 35, will receive the biggest inheritance of any post-war generation from their baby boomer parents and grandparents. The think-tank estimates that the average value of inheritances will more than double over the next two decades, peaking in 2035.... Read more

Ban on passing credit card fees on to consumers hits small businesses in the pocket

February 6, 2018: A ban on passing on charges from credit card providers to consumers, which came into effect last month, is hitting small businesses in the pocket. Businesses are now faced with the option of either increasing prices for all customers to cover the charges or taking a hit to their own bottom lines. Before the ban... Read more

Excuses, excuses: HMRC reveals top late tax return apologies

February 6, 2018: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has once again revealed the worst excuses that taxpayers have given them for failing to meet the 31 January Self-Assessment (SA) deadline. Whilst there are sometimes reasonable excuses for a late submission, such as a serious illness, disability or a serious mental health condition that makes a person incapable of... Read more

HMRC offers practical support to businesses affected by Carillion’s collapse

February 6, 2018: The start of 2018 saw the somewhat unexpected collapse of one of the UK’s largest construction and contracting businesses, Carillion. Despite winning a number of new public sector bids, including a £1.4 billion contract for HS2, it was revealed in early January that the company would be going into compulsory liquidation. In the months prior... Read more

Are you ready for the latest minimum wage rise?

February 6, 2018: On 1 April 2018, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) will increase for all age groups. Aimed at improving the prospects of young workers, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the Autumn Budget that statutory wage rates would once again increase this year. For those currently receiving the NLW, i.e. anyone... Read more

Are you ready for the latest minimum wage rise?

February 6, 2018: On 1 April 2018, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) will increase for all age groups. Aimed at improving the prospects of young workers, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the Autumn Budget that statutory wage rates would once again increase this year. For those currently receiving the NLW, i.e. anyone... Read more

Revenue aims for 100 serious and complex tax crime prosecutions by 2022

January 5, 2018: With tax avoidance and evasion continuing to be high on the political agenda, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced its intention to achieve 100 serious and complex tax crime prosecutions by the end of the current Parliament in 2022. The announcement was included in HMRC’s Single Department Plan, published last month, which sets out... Read more

Points mean penalties in HM Revenue & Customs late filing reforms

January 5, 2018: A shake-up of penalties for late submissions and payments under the Government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) programme is to see a points-based system introduced, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has confirmed. The new system is set to be introduced in tandem with the launch of MTD for VAT in 2019 and will see taxpayers receiving... Read more

Don’t PIN your hopes on paying your tax by credit card

January 5, 2018: If you have in the past paid your tax bill using a credit card, you will need to use a different method this year. That is because credit card payments to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have fallen victim to a Government initiative originally intended to make it easier to pay for goods and services... Read more

Recently given your staff a gift?

January 5, 2018: Maybe you have recently given your staff members a bottle of wine or a voucher to help celebrate the New Year or as a thank you for their services in 2018, but did you know this could be classed as a trivial benefit in kind. While the cost may not be ‘trivial’ to some, this... Read more