New code launched to help protect victims of sophisticated banking fraud

June 3, 2019: A new code has been launched by 17 UK banks to protect customers who fall victim to a sophisticated form of fraud known as Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams. APP scams involve tricking people into making payments to fraudsters, who are masquerading as legitimate payees. Victims of these scams who notify the banks signed up... Read more

EIS and SEIS tax relief funding passes £2.1 billion

June 3, 2019: A rise over the course of the 2017-18 tax year saw funding for the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) tax reliefs pass the £2.1 billion mark. The EIS scheme saw the larger increase in approved funding, with an increase in funds raised of £28 million. In comparison, SEIS approved funding... Read more

Significant lack of awareness around gifting rules for IHT

June 3, 2019: A new report published by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has revealed a worrying lack of awareness about the Inheritance Tax (IHT) benefits of making a gift. Its study found that only 25 per cent of those who had made a gift had a ‘working knowledge’... Read more

Revenue tests new trigger to increase the accuracy of PAYE codes

June 3, 2019: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is trialling a new trigger, which is intended to improve the accuracy of employees’ PAYE tax codes. According to HMRC, as many as half a million tax codes being used by employers across the UK could be incorrect, leading to employees either overpaying or underpaying tax. To address the problem,... Read more

MTD for VAT – relaxation on posting supplier statements

June 3, 2019: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has updated its VAT notice regarding Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT to relax several of the digital recordkeeping requirements. One of the changes, secured with the help of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIoT), relates to purchase invoices from suppliers. It has become apparent in sectors that receive a... Read more

Government confirms that HMRC will get a higher priority when firms go bust

June 3, 2019: From April next year, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will rank third just after secured creditors, such as banks, and insolvency practitioners in order to recover additional outstanding tax from failing businesses. Currently, HMRC is ranked alongside unsecured creditors, such as suppliers, trade creditors, contractors and customers, who on average rarely recover more than four... Read more

IR35: off-payroll working rules set to change next year

May 10, 2019: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has published new guidance on the expansion of the IR35 requirements to contractors working in the private sector. IR35 governs the tax status of people working through personal service companies (PSCs) and until now required public sector employers to determine whether contractors working for them should be taxed as employees.... Read more

Additional year to prepare for Making Tax Digital for taxes other than VAT

May 10, 2019: The Chancellor’s Spring Statement contained an important nugget of information for businesses that had been wondering when they will need to be ready for Making Tax Digital (MTD) for taxes other than VAT. Until recently, the Government’s official line was that the rollout of the UK’s digital system would be confined to VAT until “April... Read more

Employers must comply with new payslip rules

May 10, 2019: Under the Government’s Good Work Plan, more than 300,000 workers have received a payslip for the first time under new rules that came into force in April. However, experts fear that many employers may be unaware of the recent changes and how it could affect them. The new rules require employers to include variable rates... Read more

Registering for Making Tax Digital for VAT takes seven days, warns HM Revenue & Customs

May 10, 2019: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has warned businesses across the UK that the registration process for Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT takes seven working days. This means that VAT-registered businesses turning over £85,000 or more need to register more than seven days before submitting a return if they want to pay their tax bill... Read more

Beware the Employer Compliance Check Questionnaire

May 9, 2019: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is understood to be sending out “Employer Compliance Check Questionnaires” without notifying agents, which could land businesses in trouble if the wrong information is provided. The questionnaires are understood to be a replacement or substitute for a PAYE audit, which would typically require a visit from HMRC to ensure that... Read more

Pass on up to £950,000 tax-free in 2019-20

May 9, 2019: As of 6 April, direct descendants can inherit up to £950,000 completely free of income tax from their parents or grandparents thanks to increases in the residence nil-rate band. This tax-free allowance on inherited property has risen from £125,000 to £150,000 this year and will rise again next year to £175,000. In order to qualify... Read more

Businesses get to grips with new employment costs

April 1, 2019: Employers across the UK are starting April with a sudden increase in employment costs following a rise in workplace pension contributions and minimum wage costs. The sharp increase in expenditure on staff couldn’t come at a worse time for business who are experiencing growing uncertainty over the UK and wider global economy. Minimum contributions for... Read more

Invoice fraud cost UK firms £93 million last year

April 1, 2019: A recent survey conducted by UK Finance revealed that more than four in 10 UK businesses are unaware of the potential risks associated with invoice fraud. Last year these scams cost UK firms almost £93 million, with 3,280 invoice and bank scam cases reported – costing on average £28,000 per case. Fortunately, in 2018, £29.6... Read more

Tax-free HMRC scheme assists families with childcare costs

April 1, 2019: A Government scheme set up by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is advising parents to apply for the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, which provides contributions on savings used to cover childcare costs. Research has revealed that more than a million families are failing to make use of the Tax-Free Childcare scheme. The Tax-Free Childcare scheme is... Read more

UK SMEs hit by £17.4 billion cybercrime bill in 2018

April 1, 2019: New research from internet service provider, Beaming, has revealed that in 2018 UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were affected by cybercrime to the tune of £17.4 billion. Business cybercrime is the flavour of the month for fraudsters, with hacking, phishing and data breaches affecting millions of UK companies and causing billions of pounds of... Read more

ITV presenter Lorraine Kelly wins important IR35 appeal

April 1, 2019: Lorraine Kelly has won an appeal against HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) at a First Tier Tribunal (FTT) following a £1.2 million demand for unpaid income tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs). HMRC claimed that Lorraine Kelly should have been working inside the rules of IR35 at ITV Breakfast Ltd during the relevant period. This... Read more

Are you registered for Making Tax Digital yet?

April 1, 2019: Launched on 1 April 2019, most VAT registered businesses are now required to comply with the new Making Tax Digital for VAT regime. However, many businesses may not be aware that they are required to register to use the new system and that this process can take up to seven working days to complete. If... Read more

Spring Statement 2019

March 13, 2019:

National Living Wage

March 1, 2019: From 1 April 2019, employers will be required by law to pay their employees the following minimum wages: Year 25 and over (National Living Wage) 21 to 24 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice Current rate £7.83 £7.38 £5.90 £4.20 £3.70 April 2019 £8.21 £7.70 £6.15 £4.35 £3.90 It is thought that this increase in... Read more

Making Tax Digital productivity boost expected to be worth billions to UK SMEs

March 1, 2019: New research suggests that the UK’s SMEs could benefit to the tune of as much as £57 billion over the next five years because of digital productivity improvements associated with HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative. The report by research firm, Volterra Partners, anticipates a ‘digital snowball’ effect from the launch... Read more

Delay in issuing Self-Assessment penalty notifications

March 1, 2019: While 93.68 per cent of the 11.5 million taxpayers who were required to file their Self-Assessment Tax Returns by midnight on 31 January did so on time, 731,186 missed the deadline. Those who missed the deadline will have to wait longer than in previous years to receive penalty notifications from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).... Read more

Advisory fuel rates for company car users remain the same

March 1, 2019: New advisory fuel rates from 1 March 2019 for drivers of company cars have fallen for all but one class of vehicle. The rates apply where a business is reimbursing employees for travel in a company car, or where employees must repay the cost of fuel used when travelling in a company car in a... Read more

Make the grandest romantic gesture and reduce your tax bill

March 1, 2019: Getting married or conducting a civil partnership ceremony is often the happiest day of most people’s lives but unfortunately almost one million married or civil partnered couples in the UK have not used up to £900 in tax relief available to them. The Marriage Allowance scheme currently allows couples to transfer up to £1,190 of... Read more

Tribunal finds in favour of Middlesbrough FC in low pay claim

March 1, 2019: In a landmark case, Middlesbrough FC has effectively won the right to pay staff below the minimum wage by providing other benefits to them. In February, an employment tribunal at Teesside Magistrates’ Court overturned a ruling that the Championship football club had broken employment laws by deducting the cost of 2016/17 season tickets over several... Read more

Are you making full use of the generous R&D relief scheme?

March 1, 2019: Hundreds of businesses across the UK enjoy tax relief totalling millions of pounds thanks to the Government’s generous R&D relief scheme. Last year nearly 40,000 claims were made for Research and Development (R&D) tax credits in the UK, almost double the amount made in the previous year. Businesses both large and small benefited from £3.5... Read more

Entrepreneurs’ Relief changes fail to meet up to the test

February 1, 2019: During the last Budget, the Government announced new conditions to entrepreneurs’ relief that would take immediate effect to change the definition of a “personal company” for shareholders who claim entrepreneurs’ relief. By introducing these changes, they hope to restrict shareholders relief to those with a genuine material stake of at least five per cent in... Read more

Just over half of businesses are prepared for Making Tax Digital

February 1, 2019: A new study into preparations for Making Tax Digital amongst businesses has found that only 57 per cent of firms are ready to comply with the new regime by 1 April 2019. Despite the various delays and changes to the Government’s new digital tax system, businesses have had several years to prepare themselves for this... Read more

Late payers to be flagged up to businesses under new proposals

February 1, 2019: The Small Business Commissioner, Paul Uppal, has recommended a new “traffic light” system that will warn smaller firms which businesses have a consistent record of late payment and those most likely to request longer payment terms. It is thought that around £2.5 billion is lost annually within the economy due to late payments and they... Read more

HM Revenue & Customs drops insistence that all company directors must submit tax returns

February 1, 2019: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has dropped its insistence that all company directors must submit tax returns following a series of tribunal rulings. For several years, HMRC has advised in its guidance on the gov.uk website that company directors should register for Self-Assessment and this has also been part of online tools designed to help... Read more