Guy Bridger outside the Tax Office

“Pay As You Go” Self-Assessment is on it’s way!

Pay-as-you-go Self AssessmentA few years ago Guy Bridger, from Taxfile, was helping to advise The Office of Tax Simplification and the then Director Michael Jack. Guy proposed that, while the bulk of the working population have their taxes calculated by their employer and thereforGuy Meets Rt. Hon Michael Jacke pay taxes in ‘real time’ with clarity, ease and convenience, the same was unfortunately not true for the UK’s small business owners and the self-employed. For those, it is too often the case that taxes are paid as much as 18 months in arrears because of limitations in the existing tax system. This time lag often means that the tax due to be paid has been spent already, simply because that old system had too large a reporting and payment window. So Guy suggested that ‘real time’ reporting and payments of tax would be significantly more convenient and beneficial to the small business owner and self-employed individual. It would enable them to keep on top of taxes and, as an added bonus, their accounts records too.

The Government has now recognised this good advice. In a new system nicknamed ‘Pay As You Go Self-Assessment’, the Chancellor has announced that small businesses, landlords and self-employed workers making more than £10k in profit each year will be able to account for tax in virtually “real time”. This will be made possible via 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

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

Overpayment of tax through PAYE

PAYE (Pay As You Earn) is the system used by employers and pension providers to deduct tax from your wages or pension. If you think you’ve paid too much Tax through PAYE you can contact Taxfile‘s tax accountants in South London and they will clarify that for you.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) gives you a tax code that shows your employer or pension provider how much tax to deduct from your wages or pension before you get paid. You’ll find your tax code on your P45 or your wages/pension payslip.

It is possible you might have overpaid tax in the following circumstances:
• you started a new job and had an emergency tax code for a while
• you were only employed for part of the year
• your employer was using a wrong tax code
• you’re a student who only worked at holiday times
• you had more than one job at the same time
• you stopped working and didn’t get any taxable earnings or benefits for the rest of the year
• your circumstances changed – for example you retired, were made redundant or became self-employed
• you have taken a pension in the form of a lump sum rather than a small monthly amount (this is known as ‘trivial commutation’), the rate of tax you pay on the lump sum could be higher than the basic rate of tax you pay over the year and could cause an overpayment.

Any overpaid tax from previous years will we calculated by the tax office and they will send you a refund in the post or through bank transfer.

What you need to bear in mind is that you can only reclaim overpaid taxes for up to a maximum of six years previous to the current tax year.