Tax “Payment Plans” are ENDING – Act NOW if you Owe Tax!

Tax Debt “Payment Plans” are Ending - Act NOW if you Owe Tax!

Are you late paying your tax? Do you owe unpaid tax for the last financial year, or earlier? Are you struggling to pay it?

Taxfile has recently been helping some of our customers with tax debts from 2019/20 and earlier. In particular, we’re helping them to arrange payment plans with HMRC as part of their ‘Time to Pay‘ scheme. This spreads the cost of those tax debts instead of paying them off in one go. This is really useful to those who are struggling financially following the pandemic. The new payment plans are only available until 1 April 2021, though, so really you should apply by 31 March 2021. Our advice is to act now if you are in a position to take advantage of the payment plans while they’re still — just about — available.

The benefits of arranging a tax payment plan now

Agreeing a payment plan with HMRC will help avoid the 5% late payment penalty that’s usually charged on outstanding tax not paid by the deadline. And, of course, spreading the cost helps those who might otherwise struggle to get together the full amount in one transaction. The HMRC interest rate seems relatively low too.

How Tax Payment Plans have gone so far

What we’ve found so far is that Read more

TODAY is the deadline for submission of your tax return. Contact Taxfile for help filing & avoid a minimum £100 fine!

TODAY is the Self Assessment Tax Return Deadline!

TODAY is the self-assessment tax return deadline!

[As at 28 February 2021]: TODAY is the deadline for submitting your Self Assessment tax return with HMRC. Miss the deadline (recently extended to 28 February) and you’ll straight away be in for a £100 HMRC fine, so don’t delay — contact Taxfile for help with your tax return. We’re open today (Sunday 28 Feb) for a limited time. Book a time-slot* with one of our helpful tax advisors and accountancy experts A.S.A.P. and we’ll make it easy! Read more

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

SEISS Grant – Round 3

Instead of constantly updating our original SEISS grant post we decided to create a new one as over the last month the government has chopped and changed the requirements, the dates, & the amount available due to the everchanging situation around the COVID-19 pandemic.

The points that need to be highlighted for the third extension of the SEISS grant are:

  • The prerequisite is the same as the previous two SEISS grants (changing from a prerequisite to be working if applying).
  • The amount is 80% for 3-months determined from your average trading profits like in the 1st SEISS grant application (changing from 20%, then 40%, then 80% for November & 40% for December and January)
  • Applications will open from 30/11 and will most probably follow suit of the two other applications, in that using your UTR & NI number you will then be given a date/time you can apply (changing from applications opening on 14/12/20).

If you need any help determining your application date or with the application then please call us on or after 30/11 on 020 8761 8000.

Need a Limited Company? Questions you may be asking yourself

Need a Limited Company: Questions you may be asking yourself

“What are the main differences between being self-employed and running a limited company?”

“What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a private limited company?”

The major difference between running a private limited company and being self-employed are the administrative requirements you are required to do by law & although the volume is more, the data contained within those returns are pretty similar to being a sole trader.

A limited company will:

  • need to keep company records
  • report any changes to Companies House & HMRC
  • need to file an annual company tax return along with the company’s accounts, giving an undistorted view of its finances.

So why go through the extra cost and resources of having a Limited Company?

In forming a limited company, you are limiting your personal liability.  What this means is that the Limited Company becomes a legal entity of its own.  Think of it as another being, that you work for.  However, it is important to keep in mind that you cannot abuse your power with the limited liability, to take selfish and unnecessary risks.  As a director, you are ethically and morally responsible for the business decisions and transactions the company makes.

As a director of a private limited company you will:

  • make decisions that benefit the company rather than your own
  • abide by the rules and regulations outlined by the company Articles of Association, which are written rules about running the company agreed by the shareholders or guarantors, directors and the company secretary
  • notify any shareholders if you might benefit personally from a company transaction
  • always act with the intention of making the company successful.

Having a Limited company can also add professionalism to your business.  This can help your business become even more successful because customers, clients, and B2B companies will be more inclined to trust you and buy your products or services if you are a limited company rather than a sole trader. It is quite common for B2B companies only to trade with another limited company as a general rule.

A final benefit is, if you have a profitable Limited Company, how you distribute salaries and dividends can have income tax savings, especially once your Read more

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

Income Tax – Second Payment on Account Deferral

The self-assessment tax line usually follows the process outlined in the image below, with 31st July signalling the last day you can make your second payment on account before interest would be charged.

However, due to COVID-19, the 2nd payment on account can now be deferred till 31/01/2021.  This means that the amount needs to be paid sometime between now and the end of January, when you will be making the outstanding payment for your 19/20 tax return (if applicable), along with the first payment on account towards your 20/21 tax return.

You can choose to make the payment as normal if you want to but if you choose to to make the payment(s) over time, there is nothing you need to do.  HMRC has just extended the deadline and there is no need to call them or tell us.  If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact our expert tax agents on 020 8761 8000.

Wandsworth Council chooses Taxfile for its Tax Return Support Scheme

In an extraordinary measure to help its community, Wandsworth council has set up a Tax Return Support Scheme for those needing to do a 2018/19 tax return in order to qualify for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

In response to COVID-19, SEISS will provide direct cash grants worth 80% of trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for self-employed individuals with profits of less than £50,000 per annum.  To be eligible for this scheme, you will need to have submitted your tax returns for 2018-19 by the extended deadline of Thursday 23 April.

To assist the community captured by Wandsworth council, the scheme is to help members submit tax returns when they otherwise might not have been in a position to do so.

At Taxfile we are delighted to be considered as one of their ‘local accountants’ who will advise and assist residents to complete their 2018/19 tax returns.   This service is provided by Wandsworth council for FREE, as the council covers the cost.

The submissions need to be sent to HMRC by no later than 23/04/20, so the council has placed a cut-off date 17/04/2020 to take advantage of their free support.

To be eligible for Wandsworth council’s Tax return Support Scheme you must;

 

  • Be a Wandsworth resident
  • Be self-employed (sole trader, freelancer or CIS contractor)
  • Have a Unique Tax Reference number (UTR)
  • Have made a profit of less than £50,000 or less in the 2018/19 tax year
  • Not yet have submitted your 2018/19 tax return
  • Not be a director of your own limited company

[UPDATE: Please note that the Wandsworth council’s scheme has now ended].

If you would like any advice, we offer a free 20-minute consultation, please call us on 020 8761 8000.