Archive for January, 2020

VAT – leaving the Flat Rate Scheme

Friday, January 17th, 2020

The VAT Flat Rate Scheme (FRS) does simplify the calculation of VAT returns, but there are certain circumstances when you may no longer use the FRS.

You will need to leave if your turnover on the anniversary of joining was more than £230,000 including VAT in the last twelve months or if you expect your total income in the next thirty days to be more than £230,000 (including VAT).

You may also decide that you should leave the FRS if you are classified as a “limited cost trader”. This is defined by HMRC as:

You are classed as a ‘limited cost business’ if your goods cost less than either:

  • 2% of your turnover
  • £1,000 a year (if your costs are more than 2%)

This means you pay a higher rate of 16.5%.

If you are obliged to use a rate of 16.5% – if your circumstances reveal that you are a limited cost trader – there is no real benefit in using the FRS apart from the simplicity of the reporting.

Traders who use the FRS can make a cash profit if the rate they use – based on their business classification – is one of the lower rates. The FRS rates currently range from 4% to 16.5%. The profit arises because the amount that they are required to pay under the FRS is less than the VAT added to their sales less any VAT included in purchases of goods or services.

If you do benefit in this way you may be reluctant to leave the FRS. Unfortunately, ignoring the turnover exit limits or the limited cost trader regulations is not to be recommended. HMRC are empowered to enforce these rules and charge penalties for non-compliance.

We recommend a periodic review of the VAT scheme that you use to ensure that you are still meeting the requirements to stay in the scheme. It is also advisable to check out any other schemes that you might qualify to join and see what benefits they might offer.

Please call if you would like to discuss your options.

Budget day 2020

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

The treasury has announced that the next budget will be presented by the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, on Wednesday 11th March 2020.

In recent years, the Budget has been held in the Autumn. The Autumn Budget 2019 was postponed due to the pre-election uncertainties last year. Now that our government has a significant working majority those uncertainties have been removed. Accordingly, matters that need to be resolved for the tax year 2020-21 – certain Income Tax allowances for example – can be attended to.

It is difficult to predict what The Chancellor will include in his announced changes.

During the recent election campaigning, Boris Johnson did promise that none of the major taxes would be increased and he did announce that the promised decrease in corporation tax, 19% to 17% from April 2020, would likely be deferred.

Hopefully, there will be measures to support business owners as we transition through the EU withdrawal process. Certainly, there should be confirmation that UK businesses in receipt of EU funding will continue to receive equivalent funding from the government once the EU funding tap is turned off.

Due to the possible disruption in supply lines from the and of this month – when the transition away from the EU begins – it would be helpful if the government included supportive changes in the budget that helped UK businesses to maintain their profitability and cash flow.

Parliamentary committees will need to get their skates and resolve any debate on budget clauses as quickly as possible. There is less than 30 days between 11 March and the end of the tax year – 5 April 2020.

We will be reporting on significant changes in this blog immediately following the budget. Until then, we can probably rest easy that tax rates are unlikely to be increased.

Tax Diary January/February 2020

Friday, January 10th, 2020

1 January 2020 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 March 2019.

19 January 2020 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 January 2020. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 January 2020)

19 January 2020 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 January 2020.

19 January 2020 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 January 2020 is payable by today.

31 January 2020 – Last day to file 2018-19 self-assessment tax returns online.

31 January 2020 – Balance of self-assessment tax owing for 2018-19 due to be settled on or before today. Also due is any first payment on account for 2019-20.

1 February 2020 – Due date for Corporation Tax payable for the year ended 30 April 2019.

19 February 2020 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 February 2020. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 February 2020)

19 February 2020 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 February 2020.

19 February 2020 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 February 2020 is payable by today.

Keeping business records if self-employed

Friday, January 10th, 2020

Now that we are approaching the end of the 2019-20 tax year it’s worth noting that you are required to keep your self-employed business records – that underpin your self-assessment tax return for 2019-20 – for 5 years after the 31 January 2021 submission deadline.

This means that you will need to retain your 2019-20 business records until the end of January 2026.

If you lose your business records or if they are stolen or destroyed and you are unable to recreate the transactions, you must do your best to provide figures for your tax return. You will need to advise HMRC if you use estimated or provisional figures.

Your records will need to back-up your business sales, expenses and VAT/PAYE records if you are registered for VAT or employ people.

HMRC may ask to see your:

  • Receipts for goods or stock,
  • Bank statements, cheque book stubs,
  • Copy sales invoices, till rolls and bank paying in slips.

Also, if you have produced accounts using the traditional, accruals method, HMRC may ask to see further records that provide details of:

  • what you are owed but have not received yet
  • what you have committed to spend but have not paid out yet, for example you have received an invoice but have not paid it yet
  • the value of stock and work in progress at the end of your accounting period
  • your year-end bank balances
  • how much you have invested in the business in the year
  • how much money you’ve taken out for your own use.

If you keep your records in a computerised format, make sure you backup each year’s transactions so you can provide details if required.

Spousal CGT tax advantages

Friday, January 10th, 2020

It is fairly common knowledge that the UK tax system is biased in favour of married couples or those partners who have entered into a formal civil partnership.

Note that from 2 December 2019, the Civil Partnership (Opposite Sex Couples) Regulations 2019 came into effect in England and Wales allowing opposite sex couples to enter into a Civil Partnership for the first time.

Transfers of chargeable assets for CGT purposes are exempt between spouses and civil partners. Also, the annual exemption is available to both parties. This combination means that couples may be able to share the gain on a disposal of assets and reduce their overall CGT charge.

This strategy, of transferring partial ownership to a spouse (or civil partner), can also reduce an overall CGT charge if the transferring partner/spouse is due to pay CGT at the higher 20% or 28% rate (as their gains fall to be taxed in the higher rate tax band) and the receiving partner/spouse would only be liable to pay CGT at the lower 10% or 18% (as their share of a transferred gain would fall into their free basic rate band).

The 10% and 20% rates have applied from April 2016, but do not apply to disposals of residential property or carried interest – for these latter items, disposals are taxed at 18% to 28%, dependent on where the gains sit in the basic or higher rates bands.

And don’t forget, CGT is assessed and payable as part of your self-assessment. Any tax payable for 2019-20 will be due for payment 31 January 2021. On the same day you will also have to pay any other underpayment of Income Tax for 2019-20 and your first payment on account for 2020-21.

Also, please note that from 6 April 2020, any CGT due on the sale of a residential property by a UK resident will need to be reported and paid within 30 days of the completion of the sale transaction.

If you own assets that are subject to CGT on disposal and you, and possibly your spouse, are struggling to fully utilise your CGT annual exemption, or you would like to discuss ways to minimise any CGT payable, please call to discuss your options.

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