Archive for May, 2017

Possible bonus when you register for VAT

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Businesses are required to register for VAT purposes when their annual taxable turnover exceeds £85,000 (this limit applies from 1 April 2017). You will not have to account for VAT on your taxable sales up to the date you are required to register, but interestingly, you may be able to claim back VAT you have paid out on purchases of goods, services and equipment, prior to the VAT registration date.

 

Accordingly, if you started a new business and were not required to register for VAT straight away, the first thing you should do when you do register is to explore the possibility that you can recover VAT you have paid on past purchases.

There’s a time limit for backdating claims for VAT paid before registration. From your date of registration, the time limit is:

  • 4 years for goods you still have, or that were used to make other goods you still have
  • 6 months for services

You can only reclaim VAT on purchases for the business now registered for VAT. They must relate to your ‘business purpose’. This means they must relate to VAT taxable goods or services that you supply.

Complications can arise if you have acquired assets prior to registration. There is an argument that any attempt to recover VAT on the purchase of equipment, vans etc. prior to VAT registration, should be restricted for any contribution the assets will have made to sales prior to registration, but it is not impossible to recover a proportion of the VAT charged.

You should make a claim on your first VAT Return (add them to your Box 4 figure) and keep records including:

  • invoices and receipts
  • a description and purchase dates
  • information about how they relate to your business now

If your pre-registration purchases and other costs are significant, this facility can produce a reasonable cash flow benefit. Please call if you would like our help to assess any possible claim you could make, in particular, the recovery of VAT paid on the purchase of pre-registration equipment. We can also advise how to make the correct entries in your accounts software, if you use this to file your VAT return.

No Laffer Matter- Rettie’s Summary of LBTT

Friday, May 26th, 2017

LBTT – is No Laffer Matter – read Rettie’s excellent article.
Blog by Donald Parbrook at 25th May 2017

Many readers of my blog will know that I’ve previously commented upon the outrageous rates of duty payable when moving house. Land and Buildings Transaction Tax replaced Stamp Duty in Scotland in April 2015, the first major tax legislation for a Scottish Parliament for three hundred years and the SNP moved to make the cost of moving house considerably higher at the upper end of the market.
It would be fair to say that LBTT rates of 10% and 12% look like a punishment for those foolish enough to aspire to live in a relatively expensive property. From time to time media articles report that the duty has raised less than forecast by some margin. For those who aren’t buying their only/main residence the 3% additional supplement is further agony.
However, the big problem, is the tax isn’t yielding what the SNP hoped. By loading almost the entire tax burden onto more expensive transactions, the number of people paying a significant tax charge is small. Rettie report that 500 people buying expensive homes paid more in tax than 31,000 people did on more normal homes. The excessively high rates have damaged house prices and transaction volumes. By blocking people from moving at the top, people further down the market aren’t inclined to “move up” so their homes, in turn, don’t change hands. These LBTT rates seem to be about punishing wealthy house movers rather than efficient and fair taxation from property transactions.
Rettie’s excellent recent article is worth a read- .

Nuggets | LBTT Aged 2, Toddler With Tantrums


The Scottish Government’s refusal to do a U-turn and accept more money can raised if LBTT rates are reduced at the top end but the bands move to capture a little more tax on ordinary house movers is a worrying omen. It is generally thought that the 50% income tax rate does more harm than good and that any small sum of tax raised from the few Scots who would pay it is counter-balanced by having less attractive tax rates than in England. However, if the attitude to the LBTT rate mistake is anything to go by, we should prepare ourselves for the disheartening politics of envy and punitive taxation on wealth and wealth creators.
It’s noteworthy that none of the major political parties is campaigning on a promise to cut taxation and reduce the role of the state in our lives!

Donald Parbrook is head of tax at Milne Craig.
However, any opinions expressed are entirely personal in nature.

Do you use your car for business purposes

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Many employees use their own cars to undertake journeys for their employers. In most cases, employers will pay for this. Generally, they will pay a rate per mile.

HMRC consider this type of mileage payment as tax exempt as long as the rate per mile paid does not exceed a certain amount. Currently, the tax-free rates for cars are:

  • 45p per mile for the first 10,000 business miles in a tax year, and
  • 25p per mile for any additional miles in excess of 10,000.

The same rates per mile apply if you use your own van for business travel.

It is also possible to claim up to 24p per mile for the use of a motorbike and 20p per mile for the use of a bicycle. In both these cases there is no break point at 10,000 miles – you can claim these rates however many business miles you undertake.

Complications arise if you are paid more or less than these agreed rates per mile.

Are you paid more than the approved rates?

If you are paid more, any excess will be treated as a benefit and you will have to pay tax on the difference. Generally, this will be adjusted on the tax code that your employer uses to work out your weekly/monthly tax deduction from salary/wages.

Are you paid less than the approved rates?

If you are paid less than the approved rates per mile, you can claim the difference as a deduction from your taxable income. It’s called Mileage Allowance Relief (MAR).

Consider Jane, who undertook 2,000 business miles for her employer, but was only paid 35p per mile. She can claim 2,000 times 10p (45p – 35p) or £200 against her taxable income.

You will need to advise HMRC of any claim in order to get your tax reduced. If you pay no tax (if your income is below the current personal allowance – £11,000 for 2016-17) there is no tax to recover so a claim is inappropriate.

Your employer can also pay you up to 5p per mile if you carry a passenger as part of your business trip. Again, any payment in excess of this rate will be taxable, but payments of less than 5p per mile cannot be claimed as tax relief.

Changes to taxable benefits from April 2017

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

The good news, the way in which benefits in kind are taxed – company cars, mobile phones, etc. – is unchanged for the tax year just ended, to 5 April 2017. Consequently, you can expect your tax position regarding any benefits you enjoy to be unchanged for 2016-17; as long as the benefits themselves have not changed.

Unfortunately, from April 2017, the taxman is tightening his grip, and many tax-free benefits will be taxed as if they were part of your salary – this will increase the combined income tax and National Insurance charges in many cases.

A number of benefits are not affected, and will continue to be classified as tax exempt. They are:

  • Cars with emissions between 0 and 75g CO2 per kilometre.
  • Childcare vouchers.
  • Workplace nurseries.
  • Employer pension contributions and pensions advice.
  • Cycles and safety equipment under the cycle to work scheme.
  • Intangible benefits that are not taxed, such as additional annual leave or flexible working hours.
  • Counselling and other outplacement services on termination.
  • Retraining courses.

It is fine for employers to continue providing other benefits after 5 April 2017, but there will no longer be any tax or National Insurance benefit in doing so – in other words, the benefits will be treated as if they were part of salary.

As always, when these changes occur there are transitional arrangements, a delay in the date on which the full tax and National Insurance charges will apply from. Where an arrangement is already in place on 6 April 2017, existing legislation will continue until the sooner of:

  • When the arrangements are varied, renegotiated, revised or renewed (including auto-renewal), and
  • 6 April 2021 for cars, vans, fuel, accommodation or school fees, or
  • 6 April 2018 for any other benefit.

Damage limitation

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

The phrase “in-limbo” comes to mind when describing the present outlook for businesses in the UK. What will be the outcome of the June election? What will be the outcome of the withdrawal from the EU?

We will all likely be affected. If not directly involved in trade with Europe, we are possibly part of the downward supply chain.

What to do?

First of all, damage limitation planning may be appropriate. If part of your export sales are with Europe, or with firms who supply goods or services to Europe, there is an increased risk that your future prospects may be negatively affected post Brexit. Accordingly, you could:

  • See what opportunities there are to seek out new markets outside the EU.
  • Collaborate with customers who are dependent on EU sales to make joint approaches to non-EU markets.
  • What government assistance is available?
  • Take a fresh look at investment decisions to see if it would be more prudent to retain liquidity, or reduce borrowings to meet any future financial challenges.

It would also be illuminating to prepare realistic financial forecasts based on various what-if criteria.

There are compelling reasons for being prepared and the present hiatus may be that quiet period before the storm that gives us the space to do just that. Businesses that have concerns should face their anxieties head-on, and we can help.

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