Employed or Self Employed?

If you work for someone else, it is important to know whether you are working for that person as employed or self-employed as an independent contractor.
If you are the one having to employ somebody, it is your responsibility to correctly determine the employment status of that person.
A worker’s employment status will determine the charge to tax on income and the class of National Insurance contributions due.
It is necessary to determine whether the person works under a contract of service (as an employee) or under a contract for services (as self-employed or independent contractor).
There are some test and factors that can determine the worker’s right status. For instance if the workers are paid by the hour, week or month and if they can get overtime pay or bonus it means that they are employed. Also, if they work a certain amount of hours and they can be moved from task to task than again they are considered to be employees.
Important to establish is whether the workers can be replaced by somebody else and whether they are being told where, when and how to carry out their work. Again if the answer is affirmative than that worker classifies as an employee within the company.
If the workers are self-employed,the answer to all the following questions should be positive:
•Do they regularly work for a number of different people?
•Can they hire someone to do the work or engage helpers at their own expense (the so called right of substitution and engagement of helpers)?
•Do they carry a financial risk?
•Can they decide what work to do, how and when to do the work and where to provide the services?
•Are they providing the main items of equipment they need to do heir job?
•Do they agree to do a job for a fixed price regardless of the time it takes?

Very important to highlight the HMRC’s view of a worker : “Just because a worker is self-employed in one job, doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will be self-employed in another job. Equally, if a worker is employed in one job, he or she could be self-employed in another.
It is a general requirement that those wishing to take on workers consider the terms and conditions of a particular engagement to determine whether the worker is an employee or self-employed. If you any doubts, you can always ask your local Status Inspector for an opinion as to the employment status of your workers. Also there is an Employment Status Indicator (ESI) tool that enables you to check the employment status of an individual or group of workers.
Unfortunately, the status of self-employed workers is a favourite target of the Taxman, particularly during a PAYE compliance visit.
So take Taxfile‘s tax agents advice and protect yourself with a contract and and keep all the correspondence between you and the contractor covering the main points about employment status to avoid problems in the future.

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.

Types of CIS cards in the Construction Industry Scheme

There are five types of registration cards and certificates used in the Construction Industry Scheme:

CIS 4(P) is the permanent registration card issued to most subcontractors. It entitles the holder to be paid with a deduction on account of tax and National Insurance contributions. It does not have an expiry date but it shows the photograph and signature of the authorised holder, along with their National Insurance number.

CIS 4(T) is the temporary registration card issued to subcontractors who do not hold or do not know their National Insurance number. It enables the holder to be paid with a deduction on account of tax and National Insurance contributions while they obtain a valid National Insurance number.

CIS 6 is the subcontractor certificate issued to individuals, partners in firms and directors of most companies that meet the required turnover, business and compliance requirements. The certificate shows the photograph and signature of the holder and entitles them to be paid gross.

CIS 5 is the subcontractor certificate issued to companies that can’t be issued with a CIS 6. There is no photograph on the certificate but it bears the company secretary’s signature. It entitles the subcontracting company to be paid gross.

CIS 5 (Partner) is the subcontractor certificate issued to one partner in business partnerships that can’t be issued with a CIS 6. There is no photograph on the certificate but it bears the signature of the partner nominated to hold the certificate by the firm. It entitles the partnership to be paid gross.

Sometimes a subcontractor’s payment status will change from payment under deduction to gross payment. If this happens, the Tax Office will tell the subcontractor and any contractors who have verified or used the subcontractor in the current or previous two tax years. The revised payment status should then be applied to all subsequent payments to the subcontractor as soon as it is practical for the contractor to do so.

Subcontractors who meet certain qualifying conditions get the tax certificates and those who do not get the registration cards.

Only a minority of subcontractors will qualify for a Tax Certificate which then entitles them to gross payments. To qualify you must pass three tests; the turnover test, the business test and the compliance test.

  1. The turnover test
    To meet the turnover test as an individual you must show that for a continuous three year period you have had a net turnover of £30,000 a year or more.
  2. The business test
    You need to be in a business that provides labour to carry out construction work, conduct your business primarily through a bank account and also keep proper business records.
  3. The compliance test
    Tax affairs must be kept up-to date during the three years before application. You need to show you have paid all tax, including any PAYE and subcontractor deductions and submitted all tax returns on time.

If you qualify, you should receive your certificate within 30 days of application; if not you will automatically be sent a registration card. If you do get a subcontractor’s tax certificate it will be one of three types; either a CIS6, which is the most common type, a CIS5 which is issued to some companies because of their size, or a CIS5 (Partner) which is again issued to firms which have complex operations or geographical spread. Only the CIS6 shows the authorised user’s photograph and signature.

If you need further information about types of registration cards and CIS tax certificates, Taxfile’s tax accountants in South London, Battersea, Devon, Yorkshire or Carlisle can help you with your registration.

Call 0208 761 8000 or learn more about our tax and accountancy services for CIS contractors and subcontractors in the construction industry here.

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.

Penalties Reform – The Next Stage

Hello self-employed taxpayers,

I hope you enjoyed your holidays. I’m sure it might be quite difficult for those of you who haven’t submitted your tax return yet with the the deadline coming soon.
Now, you might wonder what this Next Stage is all about!
Well, as part of ”The Review of Powers, Deterrents and Safeguards HMRC has been developing ideas and consulting on how to modernise and align civil financial penalties.[…]The first substantial measure,[…] was a single new penalty regime for incorrect returns for income tax, corporation tax, Pay As You Earn(PAYE), national insurance contributions (NICs) and value added tax(VAT)(the main taxes)”(HMRC and the Taxpayer, Modernising Powers, Deterrents and Safeguards, Penalties Reform:The Next Stage.Consultation Document 10 January 2008).
In other words, the Tax Office wants to make sure that people do pay the right amount of tax and at the right time. The payment of taxes together with the repayments and reliefs cannot be voluntary or arbitrary. They must be governed at all times by a framework of rules
and obligations. According to HMRC, these penalties should influence behaviour, should be effective and fair.
Penalties have been considered in the following categories:
•incorrect returns
•failure to notify a new taxable activity
late filing and late payment
•record keeping and information powers failure
•other regulatory failures.

There will be no penalty where taxpayers make a mistake or misinterpret the law despite taking reasonable care in completing their returns.
To make sure your tax return is submitted correctly and in time visit Taxfile‘s tax accountants in South London and they will do it on your behalf.

PAYE forms: P45, P60, P11D

PAYE (PAY As You Earn) is the HM Revenue and Customs system for collecting income tax from the pay of employees.

As an employer, you need to deduct income tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) from your employees’ pay and send it to the HMRC.

As an employee, you should receive a P45 or a P60 from your employer that show you the tax you pay on your wages. If you receive benefits or expenses your employer has to send a form P11D to the tax office.

P45 form

You receive a P45 from your employer when you stop working for them. It shows:
•your tax code, tax reference number and Tax Office
•your NI number
•when you were last paid
•your earnings in the tax year from all your jobs
•how much tax was deducted from your earnings

You are entitled by law to get a P45 when you stop working for your employer.

P60 form

P60 is a summary of your pay and the tax and the tax deducted during the year.

Your employer should give you a P60 at the end of every tax year (tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April the next year)

It is very important to keep your P60 safe as you might need it to prove your income if you apply for a loan or to claim back any overpaid tax.

P11D form

Your employer doesn’t have to give you a copy of P11D but he must tell you the details included on the form. This form shows the expenses payments, benefits and facilities provided by the employer.

For more information, you can visit Taxfile‘s tax accountants in South London. Their multilingual staff (including English, Polish, French, Hungarian and Dutch) are ready to help you with any type of tax affair.