Making Tax Digital for VAT

From 1st of April 2019 HMRC’s VAT Notice 700/22 will come into effect; Making Tax Digital (MTD) for Value Added Tax (VAT).  The MTD initiative is believed to benefit HMRC on two levels.

It will help to ensure the correct VAT is being paid to HMRC, & seeing that VAT accounts for the highest unpaid tax in the UK (35%), the government has estimated that it will generate £610M in 2020-21 from eliminating erroneous returns.

The MTD initiative will also save HMRC money as it will no longer have the cost associated with maintaining the VAT portal where submissions are currently made, estimating a saving of £10M a year of taxpayers’ money.

HMRC’s long-term vision is to have one of the most digitally advanced tax administration systems in the world & they hope that by 2020 they will have MTD applied to all of UK’s taxation processes.

For this vision to be fulfilled it is believed that they will then strive to have all taxation data recorded in the Standard Audit File for Tax (SAF-T) format.  Once this is achieved, HMRC will be able to undertake tax & VAT investigations frequently & randomly with very little cost, as it will free up resources from having to obtain & enter the data for analysis.

Being VAT registered means that your annual income equals or exceeds the current threshold value of £85,000.00.  Currently, any business or individual registered for VAT, whether on a Flat Rate Scheme or on the Standard Rate, will from April 2019 need to prepare for the changes outlined by Notice 700/22.

When will it be applicable to me?

The 1st quarter of your VAT return that starts on, or after 1st April 2019.

Am I exempt from MTD?

Groups or individuals exempt from MTD include;

  • those with religious beliefs that prevent them from using technology
  • those going into insolvency
  • those that it is reasonably impractical to do so (eg. geolocation, physical &/or mental disabilities – that prevent the use of technology)

What are my responsibilities?

You will need to ensure that all your transactions (expenses & sales) are individually recorded digitally with a MTD-compliant software.  You still need physical &/or electronic copies of these records stored for at least 6 years.  The MTD-compliant software is then used to calculate & submit your VAT returns.

What should my ‘digital’ data look like?

From April 2019 all digital record keeping will include;

  • Business Name
  • Business Address
  • VAT Registration Number
  • VAT Account Schemes
  • Information about Supplies & Sales

All Supplies & Sales invoices should include;

  • a Tax Point Date
  • Sequential (alpha-)numerical labelling format
  • Itemisation of services/goods
  • NET amount clearly shown
  • VAT rate & VAT amount clearly stated

Currently, the date, NET & VAT amount all need to be digitally stored for each-and-every-one of your transactions.  It is also recommended that a digital upload of your bank feed is included to back the entries for both expenses & sales.  VAT will then be calculated using these digital entries & submitted to HMRC via the compliant software used to record them.

View our latest MTDfVAT Newsletter HERE

Late with your tax return and tax payment?

Missed the tax return deadline? What now?

Missed the tax return deadline? What now?If you missed the deadline to submit your self-assessment tax return, the first thing to know is that you are now into the penalty stage. HMRC applies an automatic £100 penalty to those who are even 1 day late (the deadline was 11.59pm on 31st January) and further penalties are added if you take even longer to comply. It’s worse, of course, if you also haven’t paid any tax owed as you’ll then owe interest too, so our advice is to pay as much as you can before 28th February, so you’ll reduce any element of interest. However, if there is a genuine reason why you were late with your return, and it fits certain criteria, you have the option to appeal …

Circumstances that are taken into account by HMRC when considering appeals include:

  • if a close relative or partner died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline;
  • if you had to stay in hospital unexpectedly;
  • if you had a life-threatening or serious illness;
  • if your computer or software failed at the time you were preparing your online return;
  • if HMRC’s online services were disrupted;
  • if you were prevented from filing your return or paying your tax because of a fire, flood or theft;
  • if there were unexpected postal delays;
  • and occasionally other reasons which, if genuine, HMRC may deem to be relevant.

Excuses that aren’t usually accepted by HMRC include: Read more

Final day to submit your Self-Assessment tax return

Today is the Tax Return Deadline!

0 days to the Self-Assessment tax return deadline!

[As at 31 January]: TODAY IS THE FINAL DAY to file your Self Assessment tax return with HMRC. Miss the deadline (11.59pm on 31st January 2019) and you’ll straight away be in for a £100 fine from HRMC, so don’t delay — contact Taxfile AFTER 9AM to book an appointment with one of our helpful tax advisors and accountancy experts.

We’ll make filling in and filing your tax return a breeze and what’s more, we’re currently open 6 DAYS A WEEK from now until the end of January (Saturday mornings by appointment only). Don’t leave it to the last minute, though, as there is always a bottleneck for those who do — so come in as early as you can this week.

It doesn’t matter if you have zero tax to pay – you still need to submit your tax return on time! You also need to have paid HMRC any tax due for the 2017-18 financial year by the same 31 January deadline.

So get our professional help with filing of your tax return — you can book an appointment online, drop by the Tulse Hill shop or the Battersea office to book one, send us an email message via our contact form or, better still, simply call us on 0208 761 8000 and we’ll book you in and help sort out your tax return accurately and on time. Don’t delay — time is quickly slipping by and if you leave it too late you’ll be caught in the last minute bottleneck!

We’ll require your records, figures and receipts for the financial year 6 April 2016 to 5 April 2018.

* Please note: in extremely busy times such as January, a deposit may be required before commencement of appointments.

Email phishing scam or genuine HMRC communication?

Received an HMRC Tax Refund Email? It’s probably a Phishing Scam!

Email phishing scam or genuine HMRC communication?Several Taxfile customers have recently told us that they’ve been receiving emails, supposedly from HMRC, inviting them to click links within the emails in order to apply for tax refunds. Regrettably, some have confirmed that they did indeed click the links then log onto fake HMRC websites, which looked every bit real to them, thereby giving away such sensitive information as their bank details and things like their mother’s maiden name. Handing over such sensitive information to fraudsters would be an expensive mistake. In view of this, we thought we’d give our readers more information on what to look out for, what to expect to receive from HMRC, and what not to.

Firstly: How to Recognise a Scam Email

Here is an example of a real phishing (scam) email recently received by one of our customers. We’ve highlighted various areas of the email to indicate some of the telltale signs that the email is, indeed, a phishing attempt by fraudsters rather than a genuine communication from HMRC.

Example of a phishing email

Some of the many telltale signs that this email is fake include:

  • The sender is from a non-official domain (hmrcupdate.com is *not* a genuine HMRC website). Be careful, though, because some of the more advanced phishing emails do include genuine HMRC domains through what’s known as domain ‘spoofing’.
  • The recipient is not identified by name in either the ‘To’ field nor in the salutation (‘Dear Sir | Madam’ is a dead giveaway, as is the fact that the email was sent to ‘undisclosed recipients‘!). Genuine HMRC emails will always address you by the name you provided them.
  • Phishing emails often include silly errors that simply would not be published by the likes of HMRC. Under the logo, the date is wrong — it does not even mention a month!
  • The email states that you ‘are due some refunds‘ (plural). If HMRC did send emails announcing that a refund was available (and it doesn’t) then it would be singular, not plural! This is one of many hints that the sender has poor English (read on).
  • Press here‘ is another example of poor English. Of course, in the UK, we’d say ‘Click here’.
  • Povide us‘ is clearly spelt wrong — there should be an ‘r’ in ‘Provide’. Spelling errors are a common indication that the email is non-genuine and has instead come from overseas where English spelling and grammar are often not as accurate as they should be.
  • Further down it says ‘for refund‘ whereas it should say ‘for the refund’. Poor English/grammar again and another hint that this is a scam.
  • When you hover over the link included in the email (*without* clicking it), if your email application’s “status bar” is showing at the bottom of the screen, you can see where the link is pointing to. In this case it’s pointing to a goo.gl domain and this simply wouldn’t be the case if this was a genuine HMRC email.
  • Lastly, the email states that you have only 5 days to action the request. That is yet another telltale sign that this is a phishing scam. Fraudsters try to panic you into acting whereas HMRC would not make such a statement in a genuine email.

So you can see, when you look very carefully, that this is clearly a scam email. However, we should warn readers that other phishing emails are not so obvious. In fact, we’ve seen some real improvements in scam emails in recent months. One recent email was so genuine-looking that we’re not even 100% sure ourselves whether it’s a scam or not.

So what do you do if you are still not sure if an email is genuine?

If, after close scrutiny, you are still not sure whether the email is genuine, there are several things you can do … Read more

Tax Return 2014

Still Haven’t Filed Your Tax Return? Expect a Nasty Bill from HMRC!

Tax Return 2014If you still haven’t filed your tax return for the financial year up to 5 April 2014 you can expect the penalties from HMRC to begin racking up daily — and potentially very significantly — starting from Friday 1 May.

If you missed the 31 January Tax Return deadline …

If you missed the 31 January 2015 deadline for tax returns, you already owe HMRC £100 in fines on top of any tax you owe. If you don’t owe any tax whatsoever, HMRC still require a tax return from you, plus that £100 in penalties.

If you still haven’t filed your return by 1 May …

From 1 May 2015 you can also expect a £10 daily penalty to kick in, on top of the £100 fine above, up to a maximum addition for the period of £900 (90 days) extra. But it gets even worse…

If you STILL haven’t filed your return by 30 July …

After the 90 day period beginning on May 1st, if you STILL haven’t filed your tax return you’ll receive a further £300 penalty (or 5% of the tax due; whichever is highest) plus a possible additional fine equivalent to 100% (or more) of the tax due, depending on how serious the case is.

Each of these individual penalties is in addition to the preceding ones.

So, to conclude, if by 30 July 2015 you STILL haven’t filed your latest tax return you will be in for a minimum penalty of an incredible £1300.00 and that’s in addition to the tax you owe. Also, 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
Tax Deadline

You have only HOURS left to submit your Tax Return!

Tax Return DeadlineYou’re running out of time to submit your tax return and have just HOURS left! We are here to help you fill in and submit your self assessment tax returns to HMRC on Saturday 31st (by appointment only, 9-1pm) so come and see us quickly or you may miss the HMRC deadline. If you do miss it, you’ll get an automatic fine of £100 minimum – and it could get significantly worse (up to £1,600) if you continue to delay.

It doesn’t matter if you have zero tax to pay – you still need to submit your tax return on time. You also need to have paid HMRC any tax due for the 2013-14 financial year. So don’t miss your last chance to get our professional help with filing of your tax return!

ACT NOW and contact us on 020 8761 8000 or book an appointment online.

Read more

Taxfile passes HMRC inspection with flying colours!

HMRC inspect high volume tax return agentsHMRC have recently been targeting tax agents who file high volumes of tax returns and, as one of the UK’s top 100 tax return preparers by volume, Taxfile had the honour of having an inspection by HMRC inspectors during late October.

The two senior inspectors met all Taxfile staff who prepare tax returns and analysed the procedures undertaken by them to arrive at the figures entered on customer returns. They also reviewed, on a spot-check basis, a selection of files worked upon over this Summer. Analysis included checks on procedures, figure work and record keeping including the level of detail recorded in notes. The result was a resounding success – Taxfile passed with flying colours – of course!

HMRC were also satisfied with the way Taxfile had dealt with any occasional instances of missing client receipts. They reiterated that, where clients had lost receipts, some kind of proof of purchase was always needed in lieu of the official receipts. For example bank statements showing that the purchase was made via a debit card or cheque, or credit card statements showing the purchase was made originally with a Visa or MasterCard. Our own recommendation is to Read more

HMRC are clamping down on landlords

HMRC are clamping down on landlords who do not declare income from lettingsHMRC are constantly reviewing who has and has not declared income properly from letting out property, whether that’s from short-term lets, long-term lets, holiday lets, letting rooms to students or to workforces. And with new, sophisticated, data sharing systems now in full force across many agencies, authorities, online, via tip-offs and surveillance, the Government has its sights on an estimated 1.5 million landlords who they think have under-paid tax.

Taxfile are here to help landlords get their tax right and to make sure all genuine expenditure is offset against their final tax bill. They can also help out when things have become complicated by liaising with HMRC on behalf of the landlord under fire. Contact Taxfile for an informal chat, without obligation (you can even book an appointment online) or ask for a copy of our ‘Landlords Beware’ information sheet.

Online banking may save you money!

Online banking can save you money on your accounting costsDo you have online banking? Sending us downloaded statement information straight from your online banking means we can more easily import the data into our system and check for expenses and income which might otherwise have been overlooked. It can also fill in the gaps where you are missing receipts or invoices. This simple service could therefore save both time and money! Most online banking platforms allow you to export this information, for example as a CSV file, and this format is perfect for our accounting system.

Don’t have online banking? No problem! We also have a new system where we can scan in your paper statements straight into our ‘Bankstream’ accounting platform, making analysis faster and easier.

Either way, ask us for further information or, better still, send us a sample download of a typical month’s bank data (or Read more