The Taxpayers Charter & how it can help you

The Taxpayers CharterMany ordinary working taxpayers do not even know it exists, but The Taxpayers Charter is there to make sure that HMRC give you a service that is even-handed, accurate and based on mutual trust and respect. HMRC also want to make it as easy as possible for you to get things right.

The Charter is there to protect you and, better still, it gives you certain rights. In return for 3 simple obligations on your part (honesty, respect for HMRC staff and diligence to get things right) HMRC promises to:

  1. Respect you.
    This includes treating you with courtesy and making you aware of your rights;
  2. Help and support you to get things right.
    This includes processing the information you supply as quickly and accurately as possible and also correcting any mistakes as quickly as they can;
  3. Treat you as honest.
    This includes only questioning what you tell them if they have good grounds to do so;
  4. Treat you even-handedly.
    This includes consideration of any financial difficulties which you may be having and explaining what you can do if you disagree with their decisions, or if you wish to make a complaint;
  5. Be professional and act with integrity.
    Critically, this includes a useful sub-clause to ‘make sure that you are dealt with by people who have the right level of expertise‘ and another to ‘let you know how appeals, investigations or complaints are progressing‘. Here at Taxfile we feel that these may be the most helpful clauses of all, judging by past history;
  6. Tackle people who deliberately break the rules and challenge those who bend the rules;
  7. Protect your information and respect your privacy.
    This includes a sub-clause to respect your legal rights when they visit premises;
  8. Accept that someone else can represent you;
    Hey – we would be happy to represent you!
  9. Do all we can to keep the cost of dealing with us as low as possible.
    For example if you, or your representative (see clause 8 above) feel that an HMRC officer is relentlessly dragging out a tax enquiry with perhaps unfair queries, creating unnecessary work, then Read more

It’s official: thousands are on the wrong tax code!

With the tax return deadline being only hours away (midnight 31 January 2014) there is still time to get professional help if you need it – particularly because HMRC  often get it wrong according to new research by UHY Hacker Young.

In just one example, HMRC sent a tax bill to a pensioner which demanded over £576k in tax! With an income of only £11k per annum this was clearly incorrect but what if it had been only hundreds of pounds wrong – would the pensioner have noticed and, if so, would he have been confident enough to question it with the might of HMRC?

According to the research, HMRC employees have been making ‘basic’ errors which have led to problems such as people being on the wrong tax code and consequently underpaying or overpaying tax. While underpaying it may sound attractive on the face of it, chances are the system will catch up and then a correction will need to be made later on, leaving the taxpayer with an unforeseen bill to pay – a real blow for cashflow.

While the UHY Hacker Young research cites an error rate in 2013 of 37% in the sample tested, HMRC are arguing that the research is wrong and that their PAYE coding notices are 99% accurate. Either way, when you consider that Read more

Clothing: Wholly and Exclusively for trade purposes

When dealing with self-employment expenses, great care needs to be taken.
An expense needs to have incurred wholly and exclusively for the purpose of the trade in order to be considered allowable. Some expenses by their very nature have a non-trade use and so are disallowed by the Tax Man.
So it is the case with ordinary clothing worn by a trader during the course of their trade,the so-called civilian clothing.
This rule applies even when particular standards of dress are required by the rules of professional bodies.
The cost of clothing that is not part of an everyday wardrobe like for instance protective clothing for a builder or a nurse’s uniform are allowed as trading expenses. The cost of clothing acquired for a film, stage or TV performance incurred by an actor or other entertainers is also allowable. The clothing in this case is called a costume as it is used in a performance.
A well known case with regards to clothing expenditure is the case of Mallalieu v Drummond. The case was concerned with the issue of whether a barrister was entitled to a deduction for expenditure on purchase and laundry of professional clothing.
The barrister acquired and wore particular items of clothing, both in court and to and from the court to her chambers. She did not wear such clothes when she was not at work. Also, her personal wardrobe was made up of very colourful clothes.
The Inspector disallowed the barrister’s expenditure.The test whether her expenditure was ‘ wholly and exclusively’ incurred for the purpose of her profession was subjective.
Also,the General Commissioners considered that when a barrister purchased court clothes their purpose was to enable them both to earn profits in their profession and to be properly clothed, so it had a dual purpose (professional and non professional one at the same time).
Apportionment for business use can only be made when there is a objective benchmark by which any trade element can be distinguished from the non-trade element.
A common example of this approach is the running costs of a car used partly for the purposes of the trade and partly for other purposes.
If you are still confused with regards to what items you are entitled to claim back in your tax return come to Taxfile in one of their offices, either South London or Exeter branch to get help with this matter.