Taxfile Partners with Local Government to Offer Self Assessment Assistance

With the self-assessment tax deadline looming in the midst of a global pandemic and no announcement of an extension from the government (28 days would do), 5.4m* taxpayers (45%) still needing to submit a tax return before the 31st January and many of those are left feeling hopeless and helpless, unsure how to complete it themselves and having difficulty finding or affording an accountant who can do it on their behalf.

Some will attempt to complete the tax return online themselves but without a Government Gateway ID that task will be impossible.  Obtaining the Government Gateway ID would require having their ID checked and confirmed online and without a valid UK passport and/or driving licence the task will lead to long phone calls on hold waiting for a HMRC advisor, who are currently running somewhat of a skeleton crew as a result of the pandemic (at least that’s the impression given due to the long waiting times even on the authorised agents helplines and the reduced opening hours).

Even if you do have Government Gateway ID (and password), you will need to work through HMRC’s Self-Assessment form, deciding which of the sections are relevant to you & compiling the information required for each part. Take a look at these help sheets especially useful for people with self-employed earnings (some of the business income references use the word business which can confuse as the rules and guidelines are equally applicable to sole traders working for themselves).

Also check out the HMRC’s toolkit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hmrc-business-profits-toolkit.

 You will need to accurately assess all your business income and more so, expenses, ensuring the correct figures are entered and submitted.  Knowing what expenses you can and can’t claim can really have a negative or positive effect on the tax bill you will be presented with at the end but how do you ensure you are paying the correct amount of tax?

 Looking for assistance from HMRC’s website can provide some valuable information if you know what you are looking for (see the help sheets mentioned above) but from the distance, for the everyday taxpayer, this task can be rather daunting.  Finding personal help, assistance, and guidance can be difficult, especially when the people that can help those most are currently experiencing their busiest period in the industry whilst coping with the effects of COVID on their workforce.

Many may opt for the avoidance strategy until the £100 late filing penalty lands on their door and further threats of daily fines & interest kicks them into action.  You will have a ground to appeal any fines or penalties if you have been affected by COVID.  This will involve writing a formal letter to HMRC and providing any evidence they may request to overturn the fine.

We do recommend that however hard it maybe, it’s a good idea to put some money on your HMRC self-assessment account to settle last year’s tax if you can at least estimate it because at the end of February any tax still outstanding from the previous year which ended 05/04/20 will attract a surcharge which is almost impossible to appeal against so give it a go and work out your taxable profit and then put it in this calculator so you can guesstimate how much you need to rustle up.

If you need an injection to your cash flow even if you were eligible and claimed for the SEISS grants, we would strongly recommend you apply for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) if you have not done so already.  This can be done via your bank provider online & in many cases they may require you to open a business bank account.  You are then eligible for a maximum of 25% of your 2018/19 business turnover (a minimum of £2k and maximum amount of £50k being leant).  The interest rate for this loan is 2.5% for 6-years and the government will pay the interest for the first 12-months of the loan.

Taxfile is currently working closely with local government and our director is on the board of the local business improvement district, we like to think of ourselves as the local tax office for the people of south London, we may be able to give you a little help along the way so why not give us a call for a free 20 minute confidential chat on 020 8761 8000

 

*figure correct on 01/01/21

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Deadlines and Extensions

The deadline for the 2nd SEISS grant looms, please apply before it is too late.

The second SEISS grant is worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

If you’re eligible and your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020, you must make your claim for the second grant on or before 19th October 2020.

That is less than 10-days from now.  If you need help making your claim or are unsure, please call us on 020 8761 8000.

The SEISS grants have been extended for 2 further payments but with a new prerequisite.

The scheme has been extended for a 3rd and 4th grant for those that are actively continuing to trade, but are facing reduced demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

To be eligible for the grant extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:

  • currently be eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
  • declare that they are currently actively trading and intend to continue to trade
  • declare that they are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus in the qualifying period (the qualifying period for the grant extension is between 1 November and the date of claim)

The extension will provide two grants and will last for six months, from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period.

The third grant will cover a three-month period from 1st November 2020 until the end of January 2021.  This grant will only be 20% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £1,875 in total.

The fourth grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April.

HMRC will review the level of this grant and set it in due course as its value will be dependent on how the pandemic has affected the workforce in February 2021.

All the SEISS grants are subject to Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions.

EDIT:  As of 22/10/2020 the government have updated the terms for the 3rd SEISS grant:

The Government will provide a taxable grant covering 40% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £3,750 in total.

To be eligible for the Grant Extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:

  • have been previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme first and second grant (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
  • declare that they intend to continue to trade and either:
    • are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus
    • were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus

Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment (MTDfITSA). Are you ready?

Making tax digital for Income Tax Self Assessment

The Government has now pencilled in what they regard as a firm date to implement MTD for ITSA, for all landlords and business owners that have an income above £10,000.

The next accounting period starting on or after 06/04/2023 that meet the above mentioned criteria will need to be compiled & submitted via MTD-compatible software.

If you are self-employed or a landlord with a turnover greater than £10k, how will MTD affect you?

1.  You will need to submit a quarterly summary of your businesses income & expenses to HMRC using MTD-compliant software.  Yes, you read that correctly.  No longer can you do your tax return in one go, with a lot of our customers leaving it to December or even January before they come to see us.  As your tax agents, we would need your business transactions every 3 months, to compile, compute, and submit through to HMRC.

The timing of the quarterly updates is determined by the accounting period of the business but typically the 4 quarters will be:

  • 6 April to 5 July
  • 6 July to 5 October
  • 6 October to 5 January
  • 6 January to 5 April

2.  All your income and expenses will need to be individually logged electronically.  The technical term used is that every business transaction will have an ‘electronic signature’.  These signatures will then be submitted to HMRC every 3 months and you will receive an estimated tax projection for the year based on the information provided.

3.  At the end of the year, any non-business information, foreign income, other income, etc is added to finalise your tax affairs and submitted using the MTD-compatible software.  This replaces the need for a Self Assessment tax return.  You will then have Read more

Making Tax Digital – A New Time Line

Making Tax Digital (‘MTD’) was announced as the new initiative by HMRC to revolutionise and modernise the tax system in the UK.

MTD centres around keeping digital financial records that can then be accessed by software to calculate and submit taxes through to HMRC. The goal is that there will be direct ‘digital link’ between the financial record and the software used to calculate and submit the records and therefore ensuring an accuracy in the figures being generated.

With initial teething problems, MTD for VAT started back in April 2019, and as a result of various delays around Brexit & COVID-19, it still has not sailed out of its ‘soft-landing’ period.

On 21st July 2020 the Treasury published a 10-year plan to modernize the UK’s tax system which outlines a blueprint for the transition of the UK’s tax system into the digital age.

MTD for VAT

Introduced in April 2019, MTD for VAT had a soft-landing period where the rules for this ‘digital-link’ were relaxed.  Prior to COVID-19, April 2020 was the date stipulated where all digital links were to be in place for submissions.

As a direct consequence of COVID-19, it has been now been stated that as of 1st April 2021, the ‘soft-landing’ period comes to an end and all VAT registered businesses submitting VAT returns will need to ensure they have these digital links in place for their submissions.

Furthermore, from April 2022, MTD for VAT will apply to all VAT registered businesses and not just those that have a turnover greater than the VAT threshold.

MTD for Income Tax

The 10-year plan targets 6th April 2023 for self-employed businesses and unincorporated landlords to begin reporting Read more

Watch out for scam emails, texts & calls

Watch Out – Fraudsters Are About!

Watch out for scam emails, texts & calls

Have you noticed a significant increase in the number of scam calls, phishing emails and dodgy texts to your mobile in recent weeks? We certainly have. Some of Taxfile’s customers have been asking if any are genuine, so we thought we’d send out this warning

If you receive a call, email or text from HMRC asking for your personal or financial details, it’s simple: DO NOT to give ANY information away via text, email or to someone calling you by telephone. They could be anyone! Your information will be used against you if it gets into the wrong hands — and that could potentially cost you a LOT of money. So if they call, text or email you out of the blue:

  • don’t confirm your date of birth,
  • don’t confirm your National Insurance Number,
  • don’t tell them your your mother’s Maiden name,
  • don’t confirm your Unique Taxpayer Reference (‘UTR’) or any other piece of personal or financial information,
  • … even if they say it’s urgent (most fraudsters will say it is, so as to panic you into divulging your information).

Even one bit of data given away can be dangerous these days. ‘Social Engineering’ scams can use one bit of information as a starting point to eventually build a more complete picture of your sensitive data. Once they have enough pieces of the jigsaw, they can potentially take over your identity, empty your bank account or go on a spending spree with a credit or debit card issued in your name. People have lost thousands! So, the message is to be careful not to give anything away via email, SMS/text or to someone who has telephoned you out of the blue.

If HMRC do send you a genuine email, text your mobile or call you, they will never ask for personal information, financial information or payment details. It may help you to check here to see a list of genuine communications that HMRC has recently sent.

If you’re going to give HMRC information and want to be sure it’s genuine, you need to Read more

2nd SEISS grant now open for applications (started 17 August 2020)

2nd SEISS Grant Applications – NOW OPEN!

2nd SEISS grant now open for applications (started 17 August 2020)

The Government previously announced that, much like the furlough scheme, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (‘SEISS’) is to be extended for a second period and in fact it’s now open for applications.

If your business has been adversely affected as a result of COVID-19 on or after 14th July 2020 you can make a claim from 17th August 2020 for the second and final grant.

You can make a claim for the second grant, if you’re eligible, even if you did not make a claim for the first grant. 

Your eligibility for the 2nd SEISS grant must meet the same criteria as those outlined for the 1st grant:

  • you must have traded in the tax year 2018/19 and submitted your Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020;
  • you must have traded as self-employed in the tax year 2019/20;
  • you must have all intentions to trade as self-employed in the tax year 2020/21;
  • your average trading profits must be less than £50,0000;
  • your trade must have been adversely affected by coronavirus.

Like the first SEISS grant, the second SEISS grant is a taxable one. However, this time, it is based on 70% of your average monthly trading profits. It will be paid out in a single instalment, based on a 3-month period of average profits, and is capped at a maximum of £6,570.

Taxfile will be in touch with clients to remind them. Now that the 2nd grant is available, do feel free to call us if you’d like our assistance in helping you to make your claim.

Please remember the deadline for claiming the first SEISS grant was 13 July 2020. You can start claiming the second SEISS grant now, as it opened to applications on 17 August 2020.

Please call Taxfile on 020 8761 8000 if you need help to make a claim for either of these SEISS grants and we’ll be happy to help. Alternatively, fill in and submit the form below and we’ll be in touch to help you.

First Name (required):

Surname (required):

Email Address (required):

Telephone Number (required):

Your Message (please edit as you see fit):

How did you discover this website today e.g. via a Search engine? (Required)

Please click the button below to submit the form.

[Article updated 17 August 2020].

Landlords & Property Investors Take Note: New Capital Gains Tax Rules for 2020

The new capital gains tax (CGT) rules will come into effect on April 2020, which will more than likely impact the sales of most additional properties in the UK.

CGT is paid on profits from the sale of investment properties that are not the sellers main place of residence. The amount of CGT paid is dependent on the annual income of the individual.  Current capital gains tax rates on property for 2019-2020 are 18% for basic rate taxpayers (£12,001-£50,000) and 28% for higher rate taxpayers (£50,001+).

The changes coming into effect in 04/2020 are threefold:

1. The timing of when you pay the CGT to HMRC
2. The amount of tax relief you can claim if you previously lived in the property
3. How the letting relief will work

Timing:
Previously a UK resident CGT has been calculated & submitted alongside their self assessment income tax irrespective of the completion date for the sale of the investment property. From April 2020, sellers will need to pay the full amount owed within 30-days of the completion of the sale and failure to pay within the 30-day limit will result in penalties.

Tax Relief:
The private residence relief (PRR) applies to landlords selling a property where in the past they have used that property as their main place of residence.

Currently, you are exempt from paying tax on the final 18-months that you owned the property, regardless of whether it was being rented. From April 2020 it is expected to be halved to 9-months.  So once you have not lived in a property that was once your main place of residence for longer than 9-months, you will probably be required to pay some CGT on the profits when it is sold.

Lettings Relief:
As a landlord, if you have qualified for PRR, then it may also be possible to claim lettings relief.

Letting relief can currently be claimed if you used to live in the property being sold, and have also let out part or all of it for residential accommodation.

You can claim the lowest of the following:
the same as the amount of PRR you will receive
£40,000
the chargeable gain you make from the period you let out the property

When the new rules come in from April 2020, you will only be able to claim this relief if you live there when it is being sold  (i.e if you share occupancy with your tenant).

Under current rules there are certain costs that can be deducted from your CGT:

  • Stamp duty paid on the purchase of the property
  • Estate agent fees
  • Solicitor fees
  • Improvement costs that added value to the property (such as extensions)
  • Qualifying buying and selling costs (such as surveyor fees)

Aside from this, capital gains tax is only payable on property that is owned by individuals. If the property is owned by a limited company, corporation tax is applied instead of CGT.

Corporation tax is currently 19%, but the current government hinted at a reduction to 17% for 20/21 but we await the confirmation from the Chancellor budget due in the Spring of 2020.

If you have any queries around CGT or need an accountant to calculate & submit your CGT, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We offer a free 20-minute consultation.

Late with your tax return and tax payment?

Missed the tax return deadline? What now?

Missed the tax return deadline? What now?

[Updated August 2020] 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 as soon as possible, 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

The Early Bird Gang

HMRC expects people to do tax returns for various reasons;

  • Those that have an income outside of a PAYE scheme (i.e. self-employed)
  • High earners on PAYE schemes, earning above £100K
  • Company Directors & Shareholders
  • Landlords who have rental incomes

The tax returns calculated generally run between the dates 06/04/xx through to 05/04/xy, the calculation, submission, and payment deadline  of taxes owed to HMRC (or you), would need to be submitted at the latest 31/01/xz, before penalties & interest are imposed.

Each year, the Government announces a tax free allowance, which is the amount you can earn before your income starts to get taxed.  The tax free allowance for 2018/19 is £11,850.00.  However, this allowance decreases by £1 for every £2 earned above £100k, meaning by the time your reach £125K, the allowance is £0.

The amount of tax paid on income is also specified by the government & is subject to change with announcements made generally in the Budget statements.  For 2018-19 the rates are as follows;

Tax Rate (Band) Taxable Income Tax Rate
Personal allowance Up to £11,850 0%
Basic rate £11,851 to £46,350 20%
Higher rate £46,351 to £150,000 40%
Additional rate Over £150,000 45%

*For 2019-20 the new rates & tax free allowance can be found HERE.

Since 6th April 2019, you would have been able to calculate & submit your 2018/19 tax return to HMRC, so since then the Tax Agents at Taxfile have been busy filing away for the early birds.   We have been open on Saturdays too, to keep up with the influx of tax returns & CIS returns.

However, the last Saturday that we will be open will be 29th June.  If you would like to join our ‘gang’ of Early Bird & can only come in on Saturdays, you only have a few weekends left.

Please note, on Saturdays, all our agents see clients by appointment only, and can not generally deal with walk-in clients.  So please book in advance by either calling 020 8761 8000 or booking online HERE.

So get our professional help at Taxfile & we’ll make filling in and filing your tax return a breeze.

See our Newsletter HERE

HMRC’s Anti-Money Laundering Fees Increase

In December 2018, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an organisation founded on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering, stated;

‘…the UK had a well developed & robust regime to effectively combat money laundering & terrorist financing.  However, it needed to strengthen its supervision, & increase the resources of its financial intelligence unit.’

The FATF conducted an assessment of the UK’s anti-money laundering & counter terrorist financing (AML/CFT), and as a result of this assessment HMRC has decided to inject money into the unit to increase supervision for those organisations that are not supervised by a professional accounting or tax body for AML purposes.

Such businesses are required to register for supervision with HMRC, which promises to provide in return more staff available with face-to-face and desk-based intervention with registered and un-registered businesses.  They will also aim to provide more educational products and activities, including webinars & online learning programs.  They hope the education will help businesses to approach all AML activities correctly from the outset.

The new fees for anti-money laundering supervision, which came into effect on 1st May 2019, has disgruntled many tax & accounting businesses.

  • the annual registration fee increased from £130 to £300 per premises for businesses with a turnover of £5,000 or above
  • the annual registration fee increased to £180 for businesses with a turnover below £5,000
  • the charge for fit and proper (F&P) testing increased to £150 from £100.
  • the approval check fee will remain at £40

On 15th April 2019, the Treasury issued a consultation of the introduction of EU’s Fifth Money Laundering Directive (5MLD) into UK’s national law.  The consultation closes on 19th June 2019 & the impact of this will highlight where accountants may have to further tighten their AML compliance.  The 5MLD will expand the definition of a tax adviser in terms of money laundering compliance, as well as highlight diligience around electronic money & individual identification, based on FATF recommendation to understand the ownership & control structure of customers.