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

Taxfile Partners with Vantage Tax Fee Protection

Great news for ALL Taxfile clients!

We are proud to announce that we have partnered with Vantage Tax Fee Protection, a market leading insurance company that will protect all of our clients from any HMRC investigations for tax returns submitted by us.

You are protected as a result of:

  • Corporation Tax and Income Tax full or aspect enquiries
  • PAYE/NIC compliance checks from the outset and disputes with HMRC following such checks
  • CIS enquiries and disputes
  • VAT compliance checks from the outset and disputes with HMRC following such checks
  • Enquiries under Section 60 or 61 of the VAT Act 1994 (provided there is no dishonesty or fraud)
  • Business record checks, inspections and interventions under HMRC’s Information & Inspection Powers at Schedule 36 FA 2008… & more.

Most accountants would charge you a considerable sum for such a leading standard of protection but at Taxfile we will spread the cost through the business on each tax return submitted and as a result the additional cost is a fraction of what would be paid individually by you or your business.

The protection will only add (exclusive of VAT):

  • £5 on a self assessment income tax return
  • £10 on a VAT return
  • £25 on a corporation tax return
  • £4 on a payroll submission

I think you will agree with us, a very small price to pay for peace of mind.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Deadlines and Extensions

The deadline for the 2nd SEISS grant looms, please apply before it is too late.

The second SEISS grant is worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

If you’re eligible and your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020, you must make your claim for the second grant on or before 19th October 2020.

That is less than 10-days from now.  If you need help making your claim or are unsure, please call us on 020 8761 8000.

The SEISS grants have been extended for 2 further payments but with a new prerequisite.

The scheme has been extended for a 3rd and 4th grant for those that are actively continuing to trade, but are facing reduced demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

To be eligible for the grant extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:

  • currently be eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
  • declare that they are currently actively trading and intend to continue to trade
  • declare that they are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus in the qualifying period (the qualifying period for the grant extension is between 1 November and the date of claim)

The extension will provide two grants and will last for six months, from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period.

The third grant will cover a three-month period from 1st November 2020 until the end of January 2021.  This grant will only be 20% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £1,875 in total.

The fourth grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April.

HMRC will review the level of this grant and set it in due course as its value will be dependent on how the pandemic has affected the workforce in February 2021.

All the SEISS grants are subject to Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions.

EDIT:  As of 22/10/2020 the government have updated the terms for the 3rd SEISS grant:

The Government will provide a taxable grant covering 40% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £3,750 in total.

To be eligible for the Grant Extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:

  • have been previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme first and second grant (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
  • declare that they intend to continue to trade and either:
    • are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus
    • were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus

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

2nd SEISS grant now open for applications (started 17 August 2020)

2nd SEISS Grant Applications – NOW OPEN!

2nd SEISS grant now open for applications (started 17 August 2020)

The Government previously announced that, much like the furlough scheme, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (‘SEISS’) is to be extended for a second period and in fact it’s now open for applications.

If your business has been adversely affected as a result of COVID-19 on or after 14th July 2020 you can make a claim from 17th August 2020 for the second and final grant.

You can make a claim for the second grant, if you’re eligible, even if you did not make a claim for the first grant. 

Your eligibility for the 2nd SEISS grant must meet the same criteria as those outlined for the 1st grant:

  • you must have traded in the tax year 2018/19 and submitted your Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020;
  • you must have traded as self-employed in the tax year 2019/20;
  • you must have all intentions to trade as self-employed in the tax year 2020/21;
  • your average trading profits must be less than £50,0000;
  • your trade must have been adversely affected by coronavirus.

Like the first SEISS grant, the second SEISS grant is a taxable one. However, this time, it is based on 70% of your average monthly trading profits. It will be paid out in a single instalment, based on a 3-month period of average profits, and is capped at a maximum of £6,570.

Taxfile will be in touch with clients to remind them. Now that the 2nd grant is available, do feel free to call us if you’d like our assistance in helping you to make your claim.

Please remember the deadline for claiming the first SEISS grant was 13 July 2020. You can start claiming the second SEISS grant now, as it opened to applications on 17 August 2020.

Please call Taxfile on 020 8761 8000 if you need help to make a claim for either of these SEISS grants and we’ll be happy to help. Alternatively, fill in and submit the form below and we’ll be in touch to help you.

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[Article updated 17 August 2020].

First SEISS Grant Application Deadline Day Looms

First SEISS Grant Application Deadline Day Looms

Back in April, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government announced the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (‘SEISS’), a taxable grant to support self-employed individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19.

The deadline for claiming this initial grant has been set as Monday 13 July 2020.

After this date you will no longer be able to claim for this first SEISS grant.

The 1st SEISS grant covered a 3 month period, for loss of income due to COVID-19, from April to June 2020. If you are eligible for this grant, you only have until Monday 13th July 2020 to make the claim. After this date the applications will close and you will have no means of applying.

Need Help?

If you have been putting it off, have not checked your eligibility status, or are unsure how to do so, then please call Taxfile on 020 8761 8000, and we can help you. Alternatively, fill in and submit the form below and we’ll be in touch.

(Interested in the 2nd SEISS grant? Click here).

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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.

 

Coronavirus: Government Support for the Self-Employed

Rishi Sunak, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced the self-employed and those who run a business as a partnership are to receive 80% of earnings, calculated from the mean average of their trading profits for the 3 previous tax returns (2016/17, 2017/18, & 2018/19).  The trading profit is the taxable profit that is calculated as part of your income tax return, from either self-employment or as part of a partnership.

The scheme is called the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

The average is determined by adding the trading profits for the three years, then dividing by three (if you’ve only been trading for two years, the government will add those two years and divide by two instead).  This average can then be divided by 12 to calculate you monthly income average.  80% of this average will be what the government will offer you as a grant which is taxable (-meaning it will need to be declared in your 2020/21 tax return as income received).

The grant is capped at £2,500 p/m and last only for 3 months (although this may be extended depending on how the coronavirus pandemic plays out in the UK).

For you to be eligible, more than half of your income must come from your self-employment. In other words, you can’t claim if more than half your income come comes from another source, such as full-time employment.

Similarly, if more than 50% of your income comes from other sources usually included on your Self-Assessment tax return, such as investment or rental income, then you are not eligible.

Furthermore, you aren’t eligible for the grant if the 2018-19 trading profit is equal to or greater than £50,000, and the average profits for previous years starting in 2016-17 are equal to or greater than £50,000.

If you have not yet submitted your 2018/19 tax return (that was due 31/01/20), you will NOT be eligible for the grant.  If you were self-employed during this period (06/04/2018-05/04/2019), then you have till the 23rd of April to submit your tax return and qualify for the SEISS.  Contact us at Taxfile to help submit your 2018/19 tax return on 020 8761 8000.

Who isn’t eligible?

You are not eligible for the SEISS grant if any of the following applies:

  • Your trading profits are equal to or more than £50,000 – for both tax year 2018/19 and when averaged across the tax years you traded in during last three full tax years starting in 2016/17.
  • You aren’t self-employed or in a partnership at the moment, or don’t intend to be in the future. It’s not enough to merely be enrolled for Self Assessment and to have undertaken self-employment work or have a role in a partnership at some point in the past year. You must be trading now and intend to do so in the 2020/21 tax year too.
  • You failed to submit a Self Assessment tax return for the 2018/19 tax year before 23 April 2020.
  • You haven’t lost trading profits due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Less than 50% of your income comes from your self-employment or partnership.

To apply for the SEISS, the government will contact you (via post) and invite you to apply online, using details they have via your self-assessment registration.  It is estimated that the scheme will be available from June 2020, and that will be the earliest that the grant will be available to the self-employed.

Other coronavirus measures for self-employed workers

There are other coronavirus emergency measures that the government has put in place that might help you, as a self-employed individual or member of a partnership.

Deferred income tax payments

Self Assessment payments due on 31 July 2020 (that is, income tax payments on account) can be deferred until 31 January 2021.

Anybody who fills in a Self Assessment return and who is liable for payments on account can make use of this, not just the self-employed.

Time to Pay

If you’re self-employed and struggling to meet outstanding tax obligations due to financial difficulties, you can contact HMRC to see if you’re eligible for support via the existing HMRC Time to Pay Scheme.  This allows more time to settle financial obligations if you can demonstrate a reasonable ability to pay in future. Contact HMRC on the special coronavirus helpline: 0800 0159 559.

Universal Credit increases

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, the government has increased Universal Credit amounts beyond the already anticipated yearly increase as of April 2020.

The standard allowance will be £409.89 per month.

Grants for businesses that pay little or no rates

If your business operates from a property and is registered for the Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR), or Rural Rate Relief (RRR), then it will receive an automatic grant of £10,000 from your local authority.

You don’t need to do anything to receive this (note: the requirements differ depending on where in the UK your business is located).

However, if your business doesn’t pay any rates, you may need to contact your local authority to ensure it has your bank details for the payment.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Businesses can apply for a loan with approved lenders. The government will underwrite 80% of the loan, making the loan more widely available to those who might not normally be able to apply.

It will also pay the interest for the first six months.

MOTs have been suspended

Those who use a vehicle for their self-employed work will be pleased to hear that MOTs have been suspended for six months, provided the MOT falls after 30 March 2020.

The vehicle must be kept in a road-worthy condition but the exemption is automatic, so there’s no need to apply for it.

If in your self-employment business you use a lorry, bus or trailer then there are different rules – MOTs are suspended for three months as of 21 March 2020.

This again is automatic, although you may need to apply under certain conditions.

Deferral of VAT Payments

If you are a VAT registered business in the UK and have a VAT payment to make between 20/03/20 & 30/06/20, this payment can be now deferred till 31/03/2021 without any penalties or charges imposed.  If you pay via Direct debit, this needs to be cancelled with your bank for the deferment to occur.   More information can be found at deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Landlords & Property Investors Take Note: New Capital Gains Tax Rules for 2020

The new capital gains tax (CGT) rules will come into effect on April 2020, which will more than likely impact the sales of most additional properties in the UK.

CGT is paid on profits from the sale of investment properties that are not the sellers main place of residence. The amount of CGT paid is dependent on the annual income of the individual.  Current capital gains tax rates on property for 2019-2020 are 18% for basic rate taxpayers (£12,001-£50,000) and 28% for higher rate taxpayers (£50,001+).

The changes coming into effect in 04/2020 are threefold:

1. The timing of when you pay the CGT to HMRC
2. The amount of tax relief you can claim if you previously lived in the property
3. How the letting relief will work

Timing:
Previously a UK resident CGT has been calculated & submitted alongside their self assessment income tax irrespective of the completion date for the sale of the investment property. From April 2020, sellers will need to pay the full amount owed within 30-days of the completion of the sale and failure to pay within the 30-day limit will result in penalties.

Tax Relief:
The private residence relief (PRR) applies to landlords selling a property where in the past they have used that property as their main place of residence.

Currently, you are exempt from paying tax on the final 18-months that you owned the property, regardless of whether it was being rented. From April 2020 it is expected to be halved to 9-months.  So once you have not lived in a property that was once your main place of residence for longer than 9-months, you will probably be required to pay some CGT on the profits when it is sold.

Lettings Relief:
As a landlord, if you have qualified for PRR, then it may also be possible to claim lettings relief.

Letting relief can currently be claimed if you used to live in the property being sold, and have also let out part or all of it for residential accommodation.

You can claim the lowest of the following:
the same as the amount of PRR you will receive
£40,000
the chargeable gain you make from the period you let out the property

When the new rules come in from April 2020, you will only be able to claim this relief if you live there when it is being sold  (i.e if you share occupancy with your tenant).

Under current rules there are certain costs that can be deducted from your CGT:

  • Stamp duty paid on the purchase of the property
  • Estate agent fees
  • Solicitor fees
  • Improvement costs that added value to the property (such as extensions)
  • Qualifying buying and selling costs (such as surveyor fees)

Aside from this, capital gains tax is only payable on property that is owned by individuals. If the property is owned by a limited company, corporation tax is applied instead of CGT.

Corporation tax is currently 19%, but the current government hinted at a reduction to 17% for 20/21 but we await the confirmation from the Chancellor budget due in the Spring of 2020.

If you have any queries around CGT or need an accountant to calculate & submit your CGT, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We offer a free 20-minute consultation.