New tax planning & tax advice service from Taxfile

New: Tax Advice & Planning Service

New tax planning & tax advice service from Taxfile

You can now get tax planning and tax advice from Taxfile. We have highly experienced senior accounting staff who can give you the right tax advice when you need it most — for example, when your circumstances are changing, if you’ve had trouble keeping on top of your tax commitments and need to bring things up to date, or perhaps a friend or relative simply needs a bit of reassurance with regard to their tax situation. Perhaps you have assets or income abroad as well as income in the UK and want to make sense of your tax position. Or, perhaps you have recently made a tidy profit trading crypto coins like Bitcoin and want to know where you are from the standpoint of Capital Gains or Income Tax. Maybe you need to disclose income from property rental that you have previously not told HMRC about (more about that in a later post). Those are all examples of typical situations where our new Professional Tax Advice and Tax Planning services can help you to see the wood from the trees.

A Free Telephone Consultation

In the first instance, we are inviting clients to speak for just 15 minutes with one of our resident tax planning experts. This will be in the form of a free, introductory telephone call, perhaps in February or March if it suits you. We can then see what’s needed and take it from there. We can, of course, discuss any costs with you before you commit to anything further, and there is no obligation.

Whether it’s about labour taxes, investment taxes, business taxes, disclosures to HMRC or even professional help to support you during an HMRC tax investigation, we can make sense of all the options for you and — in a fair and ethical way — help to make sure you are paying no more tax than you should do. With decades of experience in accountancy and tax planning, we know exactly what’s what when it comes to tax, so can definitely help you. Call 0208 761 8000 to arrange your free 15 minute telephone appointment with a tax expert, at a mutually convenient time. Alternatively, Read more

Airbnb in HMRC crack-down on hidden income from renting out rooms

Hosts renting out rooms to be targeted by HMRC

Airbnb in HMRC crack-down on hidden income from renting out roomsHosts who rent out a spare room could soon see themselves being straddled with an unexpected tax bill if companies like ‘Airbnb’ are forced to share data with UK authorities.

Airbnb, the website that allows you to list, find or rent a room in a private residence, has announced that it now has to share details of its users’ rental profits with the tax authorities in Ireland. Airbnb was already required to share this information in America but, until now, has not been required to do so in the UK. However, HMRC are cracking down on unpaid tax from hidden income and this may result in companies like Airbnb soon having to share details of income earned by its UK customers.

Airbnb, which has headquarters in Ireland and America, say they are not currently governed by the same legalities in the UK and so will not be reporting income automatically in the UK but, as part of its crack-down on unpaid taxes, HMRC has said it will be approaching intermediaries like Airbnb for data on their clients. Read more

George Osborne

Highlights from the Chancellor’s Budget, 18 March 2015

Along with some encouraging news about the UK economy, some interesting new measures were announced in the Chancellor’s Budget yesterday and below we highlight those which we feel will directly impact the majority of UK taxpayers:

  • As widely forecast, the tax-free allowance will increase. The amount people can earn before paying tax will rise to £10,800 from 2016-17 and then to £11,000 from 2017-18. At the same points in time, higher earners will also receive a two stage increase to the threshold at which they start to pay a 40% rate of tax, with the threshold increasing to £43,300 by 2017-18.
  • The Chancellor also announced a brand new Personal Savings Allowance whereby the first £1,000 of interest (£500 for higher rate taxpayers) will be tax tree. This new allowance will kick in from April 2016 and will take 95% of taxpayers out of savings tax completely. (Fact Sheet available here).
  • Another new scheme announced was the introduction of a new ‘Help to Buy ISA’ aimed at prospective first time buyers. This fairly generous scheme means that the Government will chip in up to £50 extra per month (up to a ceiling of £3,000) when an eligible saver saves up to £200 per month towards their first home. (Fact Sheet available here).
  • In another ISA reform, savers will now be able to withdraw money from a new Flexible ISA and deposit it back later in the same financial year without losing any of their usual ISA tax benefits. £15,240 will be able to be put into this re-styled savings vehicle. Read more

The Shocking Truth about Tax on the Poor

How much is taken in taxHave you ever wondered how much of one’s total income is taken up in tax? And I don’t mean just Income Tax. I mean in ALL taxes paid by ordinary taxpayers throughout the course of a year. Such a figure would need to take into account National Insurance (income tax in all but name, some might say), the insidious Value Added Tax or ‘VAT’ – which on its own is a hefty 20% tax on what is often already taxed money for most ordinary taxpayers, and don’t forget to include Council Tax and finally, of course, Income Tax itself.

Well, the answer may surprise you. Before seeing the answer, though, try The Guardian’s little quiz about this and see how you get on. There are only 8 questions, and for each you simply choose from 4 possible answers – so it’s quick to complete and, once submitted, you are immediately taken to a feedback page where you will be told how your answers compared to the average respondent and, more interestingly, what the correct answers were. It’s interesting to note that, in a joint poll by The Equality Trust and Ipsos MORI, nearly 70% of people drastically underestimated how much the poorest pay in tax, as a percentage of their total income. They also over estimated how much the richest pay as a proportion of total income. This wide misconception is due to most people incorrectly focusing only on Income Tax alone which, in reality, only makes up a small proportion of total taxes paid throughout the course of a typical year.

Spoiler alert: be warned that I’m shortly going to divulge the answers Read more

The Chancellor’s Budget, March 2014

The Chancellor, George Osborne, has now presented his March 2014 Budget to Parliament. There was lots of talk about the economy, growth forecasts, supporting UK businesses and employment – as well as some obvious political spin bearing in mind the European and General Elections are just around the corner – however we thought we’d concentrate on the most important changes, mainly in relation to tax itself as that’s what is going to affect Taxfile customers and readers the most. So here is our snapshot:

For individuals:

  • The threshold before earnings are subject to income tax (the ‘tax-free personal allowance’) is set to rise to £10,500;
  • The higher rate of tax will kick in for earnings above £41,865 from April 2014, rising again to £42,285 in 2015;
  • The first part of the ‘Help to Buy’ equity loan scheme for those aspiring to buy a new home is to be extended until 2020 (previously 2016);
  • The Stamp Duty on homes worth over £500k is to increase to 15% for those which are bought by companies;
  • Inheritance tax will be scrapped for members of the emergency services who “give their lives protecting us”;
  • Cash and Shares ISAs will be merged into a single New ISA (“NISA”). The annual tax-free limit for the NISA will be £15k (£4k for junior equivalent) from 1 July 2014.
  • From April 2015, pensioners will no longer be forced to buy an annuity with their pension fund. They will now be able to cash in as much or as little as they want to from their pension pot.
  • From June 2014, the amount people will be able to invest into Premium Bonds will increase to £40k (from £30k). From 2015 this will rise again to Read more

Assets hidden offshore? Not for long!

Financial information sharing now reaches the Cayman Islands, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.

On November 5th, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (‘HMRC’) announced that the Cayman Islands had joined the ever-growing list of offshore territories which will now automatically share financial information with them in respect to UK taxpayers who may have accounts there. This follows similar agreements which took place in October for Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Clearly the idea is to further aid in HMRC’s clampdown on tax evasion and avoidance.

The Cayman Islands also agreed to become an integral part of the G5 multi-lateral information sharing initiative involving a total of 31 territories including the UK, France, Germany and Spain, based on an earlier agreement with the U.S. and now also including cooperation with South Africa. The transparency of who really owns and controls UK companies is also a key HMRC aim.

This is all an important step towards the creation of a global standard in tax transparency and information sharing, an initiative originally agreed Read more

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.

Darling’s Increase in Personal Allowance

The Chancellor Alistair Darling has announced an increase in the personal tax allowance of £600 and an adjustment to the higher rate threshold (the total of the personal allowance and basic rate limit).

According to the tax office we do not need to make any adjustments to our tax code numbers at the moment.The emergency code for new employees without a code number remains 543L.
This change is supposed to give 22 million people on low and middle incomes a gain of £120.
Alistair Darling explains this in saying that [the need of the increase in the personal allowance] represented the fairest and most effective way to help those who had lost out due to the abolition of the 10p starting rate announced by Gordon Brown last year in his final Budget as Chancellor”

From September, all basic rate taxpayers would get a one-off increase of £60, followed by a monthly increase of £10 for the rest of the year.

By giving £600 extra to the personal tax allowance, the government also reduces the threshold at which an individual starts to pay tax at the higher rate by £600. People used to pay basic rate tax on earnings up to £36,000 above their personal allowance but higher rate tax will now apply at £34,800 and as a result 150,000 people will become higher rate tax payers.
Still confused about all these changes in the tax system? Taxfile’s tax accountants in South London and Exeter are here to help for any tax issues you might have. Visit their website or call them on 020 8761 8000 and find all the answers to your questions.