Pension Credits

Pension Credit is a tax-free payment for people aged 60 or over living in Great Britain, giving them extra money each week.
In order to get Pension Credit you do not need to have paid National Insurance Contributions(NIC’s).
Pension Credit is made up two elements:

Guarantee Credit element which might be paid to people over 60 and adds up to their weekly income guaranteeing a certain minimum level.

Savings Credit element, which is an extra amount for people aged 65 or over who have some savings for their retirement. The savings Credit will add up to their Guarantee Credit.

If you live your husband,wife or civil partner than you will need to add up your income in order to have Pension Credit calculated.
You are likely to be entitled to Pension Credit if your weekly income is less than £124.05 if you are single and £189.35 if you have a partner.

You may still be able to get Pension Credit if your weekly income is more than these amounts if, for example, you or your partner:
• have a severe disability
• look after a person who is severely disabled
• have certain housing costs – for example, mortgage interest payments

Also, if you or your partner are 65 or over you may be rewarded for saving for your retirement, up to:
£19.71 if you are single
£26.13 a week if you have a partner

You can get Pension Credit even if you live with your grown-up family, you own your own home or you get financial support from friends, family or charity.
You can apply for Pension Credit by freephone by calling the Pension Credit application line 0800 99 1234 or follow the link for the application form .
You can only apply if you are 60 or over or if you are turning 60 in four months time.

If you need further help, Taxfile’s tax accountants in South London and Exeter would be more than happy to guide you through your application.

Revenue Determinations

Under Self Assessment, taxpayers are required to file their tax return by a certain filing date. If they fail to do so they face the risk of having the HMRC determine their tax liability by raising a so called Revenue Determination.
The Revenue Determination is meant to encourage the taxpayer to send in his/her return to the HMRC by estimating the taxpayer’s tax liability.
Once a Revenue Determination charge has been added to the taxpayer’s Self-Assessment record a notice known as ‘Determination of tax due’ will be issued to the taxpayer and his/her agent.

A Revenue Determination will automatically involve any payments on account for the following tax year. Also, where Revenue Determination and any overdue payment on account remains unpaid, interest and surcharge will be added to the taxpayer’s record.

There is no right of appeal against a Revenue Determination but the submission of the completed tax return will take the place of the Determination and the determined amount of tax will be automatically amended to the return amount. Any related interest, surcharge and payments on account will also be automatically amended.

A Revenue Determination must always be raised for an amount equal to or greater than the previous or last year’s liability, and include where necessary an appropriate percentage addition to the previous year figure.
Very important to know is that Determinations can only be raised within 5 years from the filing date.
Taxpayers can displace the determination with their own self assessment at any time up to the fifth anniversary of the filing date for the year of assessment in question (or one year after the determination was issued, if later). After five years things become a little bit more difficult as a certain concept may need to be applied, that of equitable liability.
In order to avoid having to deal with a Revenue Determinations, self-assessment taxpayers need to make sure that they are familiar with the filing deadlines and seek help from tax companies like Taxfile when sending their tax return , especially now with a new 31st October paper return deadline in place.

Non-taxable payments and benefits

Under general tax law, expenses payments and benefits made to certain directors and employees are taxable earnings (better known as remuneration).
As it is the case with most rules, there are exceptions where benefits or payments to an employee are not normally taxed:
• Annual parties or similar functions provided that the cost incurred by the employer for every employee is less than £150.
• Living accommodation related to the work.
• Equipment provided for disabled employees like a wheelchair or hearing aid and their private use
• The provision of goodwill entertainment for an employee.
• Late night taxis where an employee is provided with a taxi paid for by his employer for a journey from work to home.
• Work-related training expenses
• Long service and suggestion scheme awards provided that the cost to the employer does not exceed £50 per year of service for the employee.
• Meals and food vouchers where the vouchers are non-transferable, they are used
for meals only and the value of vouchers issued to employees does not exceed 15p for each working day.
• Mobile phones unless the calls paid by the employer can be converted into money by the employee.
• Parking spaces
• Removals expenses and benefits which exempts from tax the first £8,000 of removal expenses.
• Re-training expenses and courses for an employee who is about to leave or has left within the
previous year.
• Pensions on retirement or death
• Sports facilities generally available to the employer’s employees and members of their families
and households but not to the public.
• Medical treatment abroad
For more information on each of the non-taxable payments and benefits mentioned above just follow the HMRC link.
Alternatively, you can contact Taxfile‘s tax accountants in South London and Exeter for any query that you might have.

Use of Home as Office

If you are self-employed, there is a type of relief called use of home as office that can be offset against your tax liability.
If you run your business partially from home you can could set a proportion of your home running costs against income tax.What sounds like a very easy task for any tax accountant has proven to be quite difficult as the HM Revenue & Customs can easily argue the figures as there are no clear rules that can be applied.
Among the expenses allowed in this category we can mention the following: Council Tax, Mortgage interest, Rent, Repairs and maintenance, Cleaning, Heat, light and power, Telephone, Broadband, Metered water charges.
The factors to be taken into account when apportioning an expense include according to HMRC:
the area used for business purposes,
the usage in connection with electricity,gas or water and
the time used for business purposes compared to other use.
By following this link you can see some examples provided by HMRC related to ways of approaching the use of home as office.
This is what the courts have approved in terms of apportioning expenditure for home as office:
“… it is possible to apportion the use and cost of a room on a time basis, and to allow the expense of the room during the hours in which it is used exclusively for business purposes, in the same way as it is possible to calculate the business expenses of a car which is sometimes used for business purposes exclusively and sometimes used for pleasure.” (Templeman J in Caillebotte v Quinn [1975] )
Very important is to retain good records to evidence whatever claim you make for using your home as office in case the taxman argues your figures. For more help in understanding tax reliefs for self-employed, Taxfile in South London and Exeter is here to help.