TAX HELP! Your 1-stop tax shop

Taxfile: Your One-Stop Tax & Accountancy Shop

TAX HELP! Your 1-stop tax shop

Taxfile has over 100 years of combined tax and accounting experience. It’s incredible to think that the key personnel have administered over 30,000 tax submissions in the past 20 years! Beginning way back in 1994 (and continuing as Guy Bridger Limited from 1997), we originally started business offering only CIS sub-contractor returns but quickly developed the service to help the self-employed, local businesses and higher rate taxpayers with their tax computations. Along the way we added tax and accounting services for taxi drivers, cab drivers, landlords and more. We also offer Capital Gains tax expertise and tax investigation help and, more recently, professional help with disclosures, written tax advice and tax planning for things like inheritance.

We have exceptional accounting experience in all key tax and accounting areas including:

Taxfile helps individuals as well as businesses. Our customers are very varied, turning over anything from £10,000 to over £1 million a year. A few are high wealth individuals who no longer need to work but still need to account for their taxes etc. Some customers have retired, others operate small businesses and some don’t even live in the UK but may have assets here. So, whatever your income, assets or situation, the message is that if you need ANY tax-related help, you’ve found the right place in Taxfile.

Taxfile also has the back-up and expertise of professional bodies on tap (so nothing is too complicated for us) and also has excellent relations with the tax authorities — we’re very well trusted by HMRC. Guy even helps in the local employment zone, which aims to improve business in the Tulse Hill and West Norwood area. So, Taxfile is very much part of the local community, particularly in South London (but expanding to other areas too — keep an eye on this blog for forthcoming information about that in the very near future).

Whatever help you need with tax and accountancy-related matters, call Taxfile on 0208 761 8000 and we’ll be delighted to help you. Alternatively, Read more

The Spring Budget, March 2017

Spring Budget 2017: Key Changes Affecting SMEs & the Self-Employed

Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered his Spring Budget to the House of Commons today.

If you missed it, you can watch and listen to the entire speech by clicking the video above. For those without 55 minutes to spare, we spotlight the key changes, particularly in relation to tax, National Insurance, the self-employed and small businesses.

  • For the self-employed, Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) were already set to be abolished from April 2018. Today, to the surprise of many, the Chancellor announced that Class 4 NIC rates will increase from 9% to 10% from April 2018, increasing again to 11% in April 2019. The Chancellor said that this was to more closely align self-employed NI rates with those paid by employees, particularly in view of the new State Pension to which the self-employed will now have access.
  • Tax-free dividends for those working through a limited company will also be reduced from the current £5,000 level to just £2,000 in April 2018. Corporation Tax will then be charged above that threshold. Again, the reason cited was to bring the self-employed more in line with employees in terms of tax paid overall.
  • The National Living Wage, for those over 25, will increase to £7.50 per hour from April.
  • From April this year, the personal allowance (the amount people can earn before paying income tax) will increase to £11,500 and to £12,500 by 2020. The threshold for higher rate tax will also increase from £43,000 to £45,000 this April.
  • Up to £2,000 (tax-free) will be available towards the cost of childcare for children under 12 from April this year. So for every 80 pence you pay in childcare costs up to £10,000 maximum, the government will add a further 20 pence.
  • Those lucky enough to be able to afford it will be able to save up to £20k maximum in their ISAs from this April. There will also be an NS&I bond introduced, which will pay 2.2% interest on a maximum of £3,000 per person.
  • There will be help for businesses following business rate increases, particularly pubs, which will receive a £1,000 discount if their rateable value is less than £100k (apparently that’s 90% of all English pubs). Also businesses coming out of ‘small business rate relief’ will be helped through the transition with a promise of increases no larger than £50 per month from next year.
  • There will also be an expansion of the clampdown on tax avoidance where some businesses were converting capital losses into trading losses.

Other announcements made by the Chancellor Read more

CIS - tax refunds for construction workers

Construction Industry Scheme (CIS): How to Claim a Tax Refund

CIS - tax refunds for construction workersIt’s now time to start the process of claiming your tax refund if you are a subcontractor working within the construction industry and have been paying tax, in advance, through the Construction Industry Scheme (‘CIS’). In this article we will tell you how you qualify and how to claim your tax refund. First, though, a little bit of background to the scheme:

The CIS Scheme

The Construction Industry Scheme, or CIS, is a scheme whereby a contractor in the construction industry usually deducts a proportion of the money due to their subcontractor, at source. The deducted amount is then passed direct to HMRC and counts towards the subcontractor’s tax and National Insurance, the tax element effectively being paid in advance. The exact proportion deducted depends on whether the subcontractor concerned has registered under the CIS system. If the subcontractor has not registered, the deduction will usually be made at a rate of 30%. If they have already registered, then the deduction will usually be made at a rate of 20%. Either way, by the financial year end, the amount of tax deducted at source will usually end up being more than they really needed to have paid, simply because it won’t have factored in the personal allowance which every UK taxpayer is entitled to (most UK citizens can earn up to £10,000 before paying tax at time of writing, this figure being set to rise to £10,600 in the tax year 2015-16, 10,800 a year later then increasing to £11,000 by 2017-18 following the recent budget proposals). Hence, many subcontractors in the construction industry will be due a tax refund because of the overpayment. The good news is that the time to apply for the refund is pretty much now, so get in touch if you’d like our help claiming.

What kind of work does CIS cover?

You qualify to be in the CIS system if you are a subcontractor who supplies construction work to buildings. This includes labouring, decorating, site preparation and refurbishment but excludes things like architecture, surveying services, the hire of scaffolding without labour, the fitting of carpets, the delivery of materials, and finally non-construction type services such as site facilities (canteens etc.).

What if your business is not in the UK?

Even if your business is abroad, the same rules apply if you work as a subcontractor within the UK. However there are some slightly different rules regarding the treatment of taxation for non-resident workers from countries which have ‘Double Taxation’ treaties with the UK (we can, of course, also help with that — just get in contact).

Registering for CIS

If you haven’t already registered for CIS as a sub-contractor, Taxfile can help to do this for you. You’ll need to be registered for Self Assessment (we can also help with this) and this will give you your UTR (unique taxpayer reference) number. We’ll also need your name, National Insurance number, your legal business/trading name and contact details. Once registered with CIS one of the immediate benefits will be that you’ll then have tax deductions made at the 20% rate rather than at 30%, which would otherwise be the case. If your business is a legal partnership you will also need to register it for CIS but this would need to be done in addition to being registered as an individual or sole trader. Of course, Taxfile can help with that too. Once you have been registered with CIS and have passed certain eligibility criteria, it is also possible to apply for ‘gross payment status’ meaning that you’ll then be paid by the contractor without the usual ‘at source’ deductions. Instead you’ll need to pay any outstanding tax and National Insurance at the financial year end; however HMRC will review your business each year to check that you still qualify for this status (paying tax late and/or submitting returns late would put your gross payment status at risk).

Offsetting Expenses against your tax

Taxfile can also help you to offset certain expenses against your subcontractor income. This means that any tax refund will be larger — or any tax outstanding will be lower. We can offset 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

RTI (Real Time Information) – last Full Payment Submission (FPS) due soon

Exactly eleven months ago at time of writing, HMRC launched ‘RTI’ (Real Time Information) in the UK. This is the mechanism through which employees now have to report PAYE information for employees on the day it actually happens, or alternatively before that day, for example to confirm to HMRC each time an employee is paid through PAYE, including any NI or Income Tax deductions. RTI is, almost without exception, for all employees including those whose earnings fall below the NIC’s Lower Earnings Limit (‘LEL’), e.g. students.

The RTI reporting has to be done electronically using payroll software, whether that’s the employer themselves reporting it, or their nominated accountant, payroll bureau or bookkeeper. The information reported to HMRC will also now need to include new information which includes the usual hours worked by each employee and any unusual break in the normal working pattern, for instance if an employee takes unpaid leave. RTI also includes other changes to how various things are reported e.g. starter and leaver dates and also employers no longer need to submit end of year forms P14 and P35 because this will be handled on the last Full Payment Submission (‘FPS’) for the tax year in question – this is due in less than a month  at time of writing as the new tax year begins Read more

‘Employment Allowance’ to save businesses up to £2k in NIC

In April 2014 the new ‘Employment Allowance’ will be introduced. This will cut up to £2k off the National Insurance costs incurred by businesses and save employers nearly £5.5 billion across the UK as a whole by the end of the Parliament. This equates to £200 per UK employee.

These savings will also be helped by the abolishment of the National Insurance previously paid by businesses for employees under 21 years of age (from April 2015) and by the increase in the “threshold before an employer has to begin paying National Insurance contributions for employees” (from April 2011).

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said:

“Small businesses make a vital contribution to our economy, creating jobs and stimulating growth. The ones I have visited today want to expand, take on new staff and make new investments so the actions we have taken to cut the jobs tax will be a real boost to them.” Read more

Autumn Statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer

George OsborneOn 5 December 2013 George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, gave his Autumn Statement in Parliament. Key announcements included:

  • A rise for the Personal Allowance, as was long-anticipated, to £10,000 in 2014/15;
  • the higher 40% tax rate threshold also increasing to £41,865;
  • A new, transferable, tax allowance of £1,000 for married couples and those in civil partnerships from April 2015;
  • For employees aged under 21 employers will not have to pay Class 1 National Insurance (‘NI’) Contributions on earnings up to the Upper Earnings Limit;
  • Capital Gains Tax (‘CGT’) for future gains will now also apply to NON-resident individuals from April 2015 (previously this had been applied only to UK resident landlords);
  • For 2014/15 the annual ISA subscription limit will increase to £11,880 (of which £5,940 can be in cash);
  • There were also announcements relating to the continuing clamp-down on tax avoidance, improvements and plans for UK infrastructure, and the proposed inheritance tax (‘IHT’) simplification for trusts.

The full speech transcript can be read here or alternatively view the following video recording: Read more

2008 Pre-Budget Report

In his 2008 Pre-Budget Report speech on 24 November, the Chancellor has set out his actions for supporting people through the difficult times of the current global financial crisis. Among the most important changes to do with tax, VAT and benefits, we can mention the following:
•Personal tax allowance increases to £6475, and the basic rate tax limit to £37,400 from April 2009. This means that basic rate taxpayers will pay £145 less tax a year in 2009-10;
•Basic Personal allowance for individuals with income over £100,000 to be reduced to half its value from April 2010;
•Personal allowances will be scrapped for those earning in excess of £140,000 a year from April 2010.
•A new, higher rate of Income Tax of 45% will be introduced for incomes above £150,000;
•Employee, employer and self-employed rates of National Insurance Contributions will increase by 0.5 per cent from April 2011 but those earning less than £20,000 will be exempted.
•The child benefit increases was brought forward to 5th January 2009 instead of April. This is worth an additional £22 on average to families. The commitment to increase the child element of the Child Tax Credit by £25 above indexation in April 2010 will also be brought forward to April 2009.Children will receive a one-off £70 payment for Christmas.
•All pensioners will be paid £60 in the New Year, the equivalent of bringing forward the April increase in the Basic State Pension for a single pensioner to January.In April 2009 the level of a full State Pension will rise in line with prices from £90.70 to £95.25 a week.
•Pensioners on modest incomes will get an increase in pension credit from £124 to £130 and for couples from £189 to £198 from January 2009;
•The standard rate of VAT will be reduced by 2.5% from 17.5% to 15% on 1 December 2008. This new rate will apply until 31 December 2009, when it will revert to 17.5%.This reduction will be offset by increased duties on alcohol, tobacco and petrol.
•The planned increase in the Small Company Rate from 21% to 22% from 1 April 2009 will take effect from 1st April 2010.
•SMEs will be allowed to spread business tax payments over a period to help to ease cashflow and credit constraints.
•Business losses of up to £50,000 could now be offset against profits made in the past three years rather than just one;
Taxfile‘s tax agents recommend the following link for more details regarding the Pre-budget Report.

Lump sums, redundancy & compensation payments

When dealing with lump sums, redundancy and compensation payments great care needs to be exercised. The reason behind this is that this type of income will not necessarily be taxed as normal employment income.
Up to the first £30,000 of any compensation payment can be paid to you without deduction of tax if it is made in connection with the termination of your employment. This also applies to statutory redundancy payments. This tax exemption applies whether the payment is made as a result of an unfair dismissal claim or for breach of contract.
In order to qualify for compensation for loss of office relief, strict criteria must be met.
For instance, if your contract of employment gave you a right to compensation on ceasing to be employed or payment in lieu of notice (i.e. the employer pays in lieu of notice instead of the employee working the notice period), then the lump sum you receive will be taxable under PAYE scheme, regardless of the amount.
Also, even if the contract says nothing about pay in lieu of notice but there is an expectation of payment because it has been routinely paid to others, that constitutes an implied contractual term and the payment will still be liable to tax and NICs.
HMRC
often challenges this aspect, trying to prove that the payments were contractual in nature therefore they need to be fully taxed.
Very important to remember is that the limit of £30,000 relief relates to each employment but employments with employers under common control only count once. If a payment was received in the previous fiscal year for the same employment but the relief was not used, than the balance can be claimed against any relevant payments in a subsequent year.
Some employees with redundancy payments that exceed £30,000 choose to pay some or all of the excess into their approved occupational pension scheme. As long as the payment is within the scheme’s rules, it has no liability for tax or NICs.
As different rules apply to different lump sum payments connected with an employment it is very important to seek advice from professionals like Taxfile‘s tax accountants in South London and Exeter. They will make sure that your circumstances have been carefully considered before submitting your tax return to HMRC.

What is the basic state pension?

The basic State Pension is money you may be able to get when you reach State Pension age. The amount you receive depends on the qualifying years you have built through your National Insurance contributions.

There are two circumstances to be considered:

If you reach State Pension age before 6 April 2010, you normally need to have 44 qualifying years to be entitled to the full basic State Pension if you are a man, or 39 qualifying years if you are a woman. In this case, to get any State Pension you need to meet two minimum conditions:

• you must have at least one qualifying year where you have paid or have been treated as having paid enough NI when you are in employment or voluntary Class 3 contributions.you cannot get any basic state Pension based on NI credits alone.(You will normally get NI credits when you are ill, unemployed or getting Carer’s Allowance)

• you must have at least 25% of the qualifying years needed for for a full basic state pension(11 years for a man and 10 years for s woman)to get any basic state Pension.

You will not be entitled to a refund of the NI contributions you have paid because those contributions pay towards other benefits like sickness, unemployment, and bereavement benefits.

If you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2010, the current contributions conditions are being replaced with new rules:

• the number of qualifying years needed to get a full basic State Pension will be reduced to 30 for women and men .

• you will no longer need to have 25% of the qualifying years needed for a full basic state Pension to get any basic State Pension.

• you will no longer have to have at least one qualifying year where you have paid NI contributions.

The minimum state pension amount is £21.83 a week and the maximum amount is £87.30 a week in 2007/08 tax year.

In order to make up for time when you did not pay NI , you may be able to pay NI Class 3. You have to pay the contributions within six years of the end of the tax year the payment is for.

If you are still confused about State Pension, Taxfile in South London can help you get a better understanding of it, explaining you the importance of filling in a retirement pension forcast form called BR19 so you know exactly where you stand.