Savings Income and Tax

Savings income is added to your other income and taxed . Banks and building societies are required by law to deduct income tax at 20% from interest before they pay it to you. They pay this to HM Revenue & Customs. This is confirmed by the entry ‘net interest’ on your bank or building society statement.
If you’re a higher rate (40%) taxpayer you owe tax on the difference. If you have a low income you may be able to claim tax back.
If you are a basic rate taxpayer you do not have to take any action as no extra tax is due and 20% tax has already been deducted at source by the bank or building society.
If you are a higher rate taxpayer than you have to let the Tax Office know what interest you have received so they can collect the extra tax either by asking you to fill in a tax return( if you are self-employed and normally have file self assessment) or adjust your tax code if you are employed or you receive pension. Then they will also send you a form called Tax Review P810 in order to check your level of savings income and then a change your code if necessary.
Your interest is taxable in the tax year that it is paid to you, or credited to your account, even if part of it has accrued in the previous tax year. So you do not have to include any interest earned this year when working out your taxable income if it hasn’t been paid yet.Your bank/building society may send you a ‘Certificate of Tax Deducted’ or a statement containing this information after the end of each tax year.
Also, if you have a joint account with a husband, wife or civil partner you should declare half of the income as yours. The second half should count towards their income.
On some types of savings income you do not have to pay any tax. Among them, we can mention the following:
Cash mini ISA;
• all prizes received from Premium Bonds;
• interest received from Fixed Interest Savings Certificates;
• interest from Index Linked Savings Certificates;
• interest, including bonuses, received from Children’s Bonus Bonds.
Also the interest paid by HMRC on over-payments of tax (so called repayment supplement ) is non-taxable.
If you are not due to pay any tax you can register your bank or building society account to receive your interest without tax taken off. You do this by completing form R85 and giving it to your bank or building society.
If you need to know more about the interest on savings and whether it is taxable or not, Taxfile’s tax accountants are here to help.

Data Protection Act and HMRC

As a tax agent you might have found it quite difficult trying to deal with subcontractors’ tax returns (those working in the Construction Industry Scheme) for the year ending on the 5th April 2008. The main reason behind this situation is the struggle of gathering all the relevant data in order to submit an accurate, complete and compliant tax return to HM Revenue & Customs.
In the past years we used to be able to ask the tax office for a so called ”captured voucher list” for our subcontractor clients quite easily. We cannot say this is happening this year, now when the construction scheme has changed and we need their help even more. According to the HMRC, excessive demands were placed before on their resources when requests were made for payment details for scores of subcontractors at a time.
Their refusal of giving away information is normally stated in a letter and we can quote:
Under Section 12(B) 1 Taxes Management Act 1970 your client must keep all records they need to enable to make a correct and complete tax return.They may receive a penalty of up to £3000 for each failure to keep or to preserve adequate records they need for future reference.[…] If they have lost any of their deduction statements given to them by the contractor(s) or they think they were not given a deduction statement(s), your client must in the first instance go back to the contractor concerned and ask for either a duplicate, or the missing deduction statement.”
That said, unless we can provide evidence that contact has been made to the contractor(s) concerned the HMRC will not be able to release any information. The evidence in question can be either a letter from the contractor(s) confirming why that they are unable to provide the documentation or a letter with the name of the contractor(s) and the dates the client worked for him/them.
As we needed to know more about this subject, we asked one of our legal associates to do some research on this matter. Under Data Protection Law 1998 s.63(1) it is required by all Government departments to reveal information held by them on our clients. However s.29 of the Act states that the right to disclosure of personal data and to have copies of it does not apply to to data collected for the assessment or collection of any taxes:
Personal data processed for any of the following purposes[…](c) the assessment or collection of any tax or duty or of any imposition of a similar nature are exempt from the first data protection principle.” It looks as if there is a clear statutory right for hmrc to refuse to reveal the information requested.
However, there is nothing in the Taxes Management Act 1970 requiring the client to go back to the contractor for a duplicate copy of the missing document(s) in the first place. As there is no policy stating that that the client or agent should first contact the contractor, it appears as if the policy has no status in law.
Taxfile‘s tax accountants in South London would like to know your opinion on this matter. Have you found it difficult this year to deal with your subcontractors’ tax return? Have you gathered all your data from the contractors or you managed to get some help from HMRC? Write your comments, your opinion matters to us.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)-2008 Budget

The 2007 Pre-Budget report issued in October 2007 announced major changes to the way in which Capital Gains Tax will be calculated for disposals after 5th April 2008.
Among the most important changes related to CGT we can mention:

removal of the link to income tax rates and bands, meaning that various rules providing for the interaction of income tax and CGT rules are no longer required.

•introduction of a single rate of CGT of 18%, replacing the current rules that charge CGT at income tax rates as though the gains were additional income. The flat 18% rate applies irrespective of the type of asset disposed of and the period for which it has been held by the taxpayer.There is one important exception for certain types of business gains that may attract the new Entrepreneurs’ relief. This relief is based on taxing the first £1 million of the gains at 10 %, but even this is achieved by reducing the amount of the relivable gain (by 4/9ths), so that the resultant chargeable gain can still be taxed at 18%!
abolition of taper relief which normally has the effect of reducing the effective rate at which CGT is paid. It operates by reducing the amount of a gain which is charged to CGT, the amount of the reduction being determined by whether the disposed asset on whose disposal the gain was a “business” or a “non-business” asset, and the length of time that the asset had been owned before the disposal. and

abolition of indexation allowance for non-corporate tax payers (currently frozen at April 1998) that normally compensates for the effect of inflation by reference to increases in the retail prices index;

The abolition of the kink test for CGT purposes which means that in future the ”gains accruing on all disposals of assets owned at 31 March 1982 will be based on their market value at that date, so effectively “rebasing” all allowable expenditure to 31 March 1982”(HMRC).

• great simplification of the computation of chargeable gains due to the abolition of indexation allowance and taper relief.
As a large number of entrepreneurs and business owners aim to dispose of their businesses/companies for substantially more than £1 million, they are the biggest losers of the CGT reforms since their CGT rates will generally be much higher than 10%. (Before the 6th April 2008 CGT rate was often below 10% due to the benefit of indexation relief.)
Taxfile‘s tax accountants in Exeter and South London can help you make the most of every opportunity to minimize your tax liability, making sure you are paying the right amount of tax and all this for at very reasonable rates.