Archive for February, 2020

Budget predictions 11 March 2020

Monday, February 17th, 2020

Following the resignation of Sajid Javid last week, there has been much speculation on how this will affect the direction of the budget to be presented to parliament next month.

Rishi Sunak, who replaces Sajid, is stepping into the Chancellor’s role with little experience but does seem to have “rising star” status as far as number 10 is concerned.

What can we expect from the forthcoming budget?

Infrastructure and the NHS seem to be the two major areas for investment. HS2 and other rail improvements in the North are likely to be beneficiaries as will carbon capture and other climate related projects, for example, improving the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals.

The government has already said it will not be increasing any of the major taxes and has recently published details of an increase in the NIC threshold, to £9,500.

Corporation tax was due to reduce to 17% (from the present 19%) from April 2020. However, Boris Johnson, during the recent election campaign, did say that this intended increase would be dropped, and the rate maintained at 19%.

There is speculation that higher rate tax relief will be trimmed for contributions into private pension funds.

A cross-party group of MPs has called for a reduction in the rate of inheritance tax, from 40% to 10%, together with a reduction in many of the inheritance tax allowances and reliefs.

  1. rates are another target for relief in an attempt to support beleaguered High Street businesses. Additional support has already been announced for retailers and pubs.

Meanwhile, back at number 11 Downing Street, Rishi Sunak will be burning the midnight oil to prepare himself for his dispatch-box presentation on 11 March. We will be reporting on the outcome of his disclosures in due course.

Breathing space for those in debt

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

In a recent news story published to the Government website it was announced that a new breathing space period will freeze interest, fees and enforcement for people in problem debt, with further protections for those in mental health crisis treatment.

The article is reproduced below:

Millions of people with problem debt, including those facing mental health problems, will be helped by the government to get their finances under control, new figures released on Time to Talk Day (Thursday 6 February) show.

A 60-day breathing space period will see enforcement action from creditors halted and interest frozen for people with problem debt. During this period, individuals will receive professional debt advice to find a long-term solution to their financial difficulties.

As well as this, those receiving mental health crisis treatment will receive the same protections until their treatment is complete, in acknowledgement of the clear impact problem debt can have on wellbeing.

The impact assessment for breathing space, published today, forecasts that it will help over 700,000 people across the UK get professional help in its first year, increasing up to 1.2 million a year by the tenth year of operation.

Of this, 25,000 to 50,000 people in mental health crisis treatment are expected to benefit from breathing space every year.

As well as covering debts like credit cards and loans, breathing space will cover a wide range of government debts.

Creditors will also benefit from introducing breathing space, with over £400 million in extra repayments expected in the first year, as individuals get the support they need to get their payments back on track.

The announcement builds on previous government work to alleviate the impact of problem debt, including reforming regulation around consumer credit, widening access to professional debt advice and helping build individual financial resilience.

Tax-free gifts

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

There are certain gifts you can make that will not create a capital gains tax (CGT) charge, but care should be taken as there are exceptions. This article outlines some of the more common issues that need to be considered.

Gifts to your spouse or civil partner

Ordinarily, you will not pay CGT if you gift assets – that would normally create a charge to CGT if sold elsewhere – to your spouse or civil partner.

The major exception to this rule is if you were separated and did not live together at any time during the tax year in which your gift was made (the tax year ends 5 April).

Another exception is if you gave them goods to sell-on as part of their business activity.

When the receiving partner subsequently sells the gifted item, they will pay CGT on the difference between the sales proceeds less the cost when the asset was first purchased. For example, If Jon buys shares for £1,000, keeps them for two years and then gives them to his civil partner Tim – when the shares are worth £5,000 – and Tim subsequently sells the shares a year later for £10,000; Tim’s CGT charge will be based on a gain of £9,000 (£10,000 less the original cost £1,000).

For this reason, it is recommended that the person gifting assets should provide evidence of the original purchase as this will be needed to calculate the amount of any future capital gain.

Gifts to a charity

You should not have to pay CGT if you gift a chargeable asset to a charity.

However, you may create a CGT charge if you sell an asset to a charity for more than you paid for it or less than its market value.

The CGT gain would be worked out based on the amount the charity pays you rather than the value of the asset when sold.

Planning options

If you are considering making a significant gift it is always advisable to check out any tax consequences before transferring ownership. Aside from CGT, there may also be stamp duty or inheritance tax complications. Please call so we can help you consider your options.

Do you have a furnished holiday lets business?

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

Most property owners who let property under the Furnished Holiday Let (FHL) tax rules, submit their income and expenditure details on their tax return each year.

This article considers occupancy, and the need to review occupancy of FHL properties each year.

If your FHL business accounts year is the end of the tax year, 31 March (5 April), we suggest that you take out your calculator and booking diary before this date. If you do not meet HMRC’s criteria you may lose some or all of the valuable tax concessions for which FHL businesses qualify.

Here’s HMRC’s summary of the occupancy regulations:

The pattern of occupation condition

If the total of all lettings that exceed 31 continuous days is more than 155 days during the year, this condition isn’t met so your property won’t be a FHL for that year.

Availability conditions

Your property must be available for letting as furnished holiday accommodation letting for at least 210 days in the year.

Don’t count any days when you’re staying in the property. HMRC don’t consider the property to be available for letting while you’re staying there.

The letting condition

You must let the property commercially as furnished holiday accommodation to the public for at least 105 days in the year.

Don’t count any days when you let the property to friends or relatives at zero or reduced rates as this isn’t a commercial let.

Don’t count longer-term lets of more than 31 days, unless the 31 days is exceeded because something unforeseen happens.

The averaging election – if you’ve more than one property

A period of grace election – if your property reaches the occupancy threshold in some years but not in others.

If your initial run-through of the number crunching indicates that you may not meet the requirements to qualify as an FHL on one or more properties, please call so that we can help you check your calculations and see if the averaging rules apply in your favour.

Tax Diary February/March 2020

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

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.

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

2 March 2020 – Self assessment tax for 2019/19 paid after this date will incur a 5% surcharge.

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

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

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

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