Tax bomb

Avoid Significant HMRC Penalties – file your tax return on time!

File your tax return in time or face severe fines[UPDATED] Did you know that you get an automatic £100 minimum penalty if you file your Self Assessment tax return (or pay any tax owed) even one day late? After 3 months you can add £10 per day extra to that fine (up to 90 days/£900 max) and after 6 months it gets significantly worse. And remember that you need to file your return on time even if you don’t owe any tax, or if you have already paid it! Latest indications are that there are also no warnings given by HMRC. See the table below for the detail.

Late return penalties by HMRC

So our message is simple: don’t file late, and don’t pay late! Taxfile are here to help you, of course. We know Self Assessment Tax Returns back to front and we can help you file accurately, and on time.

Key Dates for the tax year to 5 April 2015:

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Taxfile Autumn Newsletter Now Available

Taxfile Newsletter Autumn 2014Download our jam-packed Autumn Newsletter right here for up-to-the-minute news, ways to save money, tips, new developments and tax information from Taxfile. Includes important news regarding tax return deadlines, refunds for C.I.S. sub-contractors working in the construction industry, key dates, ways to save money, HMRC tax news for landlords, imminent price changes plus an interesting mind map showing information about our lovely multi-lingual staff! Download the newsletter here (Acrobat PDF format – right-click to save the PDF to your hard drive then open it in Acrobat Reader or alternatively left-click the link to view the newsletter directly in most browsers).

Save Money, Beat the December Price Increase!

Beat the price increaseWhere possible, Taxfile customers are urged to submit their records to Taxfile before December 1st 2014 so as to beat the price increases which will come into effect from that date. Taxfile has held its prices for several years now, and unusually long for our industry, however every so often we have to take stock and catch up with inflation and the ever-increasing costs of operating a business inside London. At time of writing, Taxfile customers still have time to submit their paperwork and records for professional tax and accountancy help – for example for tax returns – so can totally avoid the price increases this year if they act reasonably fast and get their figures and records etc. to us before December 1st. This will also avoid bottlenecks as we fast approach the busiest time in the tax year. Taxfile will also be sending out reminders to its active customer database.

** New – Early Bird Reduction **

* If you miss the December 1st deadline, don’t worry because we’re offering a 5% ‘Early Bird’ reduction on prevailing Taxfile prices if you submit all your records to us before the end of December.

Call 020 8761 8000, click here to contact us or book an appointment online.

Taxfile would like to thank its customers for their loyalty and custom throughout the years, and for their understanding when occasionally we have to make these increases so as to keep pace with the rising cost of operating in London.

(For tax returns, figures and records are required for the year ending 5 April 2014).

Record haul by HMRC in tax avoidance crackdown

Record anti-avoidance tax haul by HMRCBack in January we reported that HMRC had raised an extra £20.7 billion in additional revenue for the financial year 2012-13 as a result of it’s drive on tax compliance and a massive crackdown on tax avoidance by organisations and individuals alike. Now we can confirm that the financial year 2013-14 figures are in and HMRC has increased their haul to £23.9 billion in additional tax for the year – an all time record and one which represents 5% of the total tax yield for the year. This is an increase of £3.9 billion on the year before and it’s up a whopping £9 billion compared to 3 years ago. George Osborne will be doubly pleased because this year’s figure also beats the target he set in his Autumn Statement by £1 billion clear.

Of the £23.9 billion raised in these latest figures, £8 billion is derived from large businesses, £1 billion from criminals and a further £2.7 billion is the result of successfully tackling tax avoidance schemes in the courts. That leaves £12.2 billion which we Read more

New HMRC Service to Replace Closing Enquiry Centres

Tax adviceHer Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (‘HMRC’) have now completed a 7 month pilot scheme, held across the North East of England, whereby they closed existing HMRC Enquiry Centres and instead offered those requiring extra help with tax-related issues assistance in a different, more tailored way. With the pilot scheme now complete and deemed a success, all Enquiry Centres across the UK will be closed by 30 June 2014 (just a few days away at time of writing) in favour of the new, more tailored system.

Since the end of May, HMRC have already been rolling out the replacement service, being “a new way to support people who need extra help to get their taxes, tax credits and child benefit entitlements right”. The new service will be more tailored to individual needs and will apparently be more efficient than the Enquiry Centres, which have seen demand drastically falling over recent years. So evidently the new service is also about saving the Government money, which is good to see as it helps to reduce the UK’s overall tax burden and mitigates possible tax increases.

The Replacement Service

The replacement service will be available by telephone or face-to-face via a mobile squad of advisers, who will deal with you on the telephone, visit your home or meet you within your local community, if preferred. The HMRC specialist involved will try to resolve, as fully as possible, all tax and tax credit-related queries during the course of the initial session. This will be aided by liaison, during that session, between the adviser and other experts from different departments within HMRC; the aim being to Read more

HMRC’s ‘Direct Recovery’ of owed tax – straight from your bank account!

Direct Recovery of tax from your bank accountPart of the Chancellor’s recent Budget included plans to recover tax owed to the Treasury direct from the debtor’s bank account — all done directly and without a Court Order being necessary. This has been criticised widely but HMRC says that only 17,000 people in the UK per year would fall into this potential scenario and that it would only occur for those owing more than £1,000 in unpaid tax or tax credits owed. Moreover they say that they would only target long-standing tax debts from those who had received a minimum of 4 payment demands and whose bank and savings accounts combined had a minimum total balance of £5,000 or more remaining after any tax bad been directly seized. Also the debtor involved will have been issued with a final warning period of 14 days, during which the funds concerned would be frozen, before any tax was directly withdrawn.

Meanwhile many, including the Treasury Committee, have raised concerns by stating that it is well-known that HMRC make mistakes including, for example, sometimes asking for the wrong amount of tax from people, issuing incorrect tax cards, or worse. Similar mistakes applied through the new ‘Direct Recovery’ of tax from bank and savings accounts could be seriously detrimental to people and Read more

Time for ‘tax year end planning’ (pre-Budget)

The budget will take place on March 19th 2014 so that gives us all just 5 weeks (at time of writing) for ‘tax year end planning’. So perhaps now is the time to start reviewing investments.

N.B. We’re not financial advisers (we are tax agents and accountants) so we can’t give advice on investments. But let us simply point out that if a portfolio shows signs of some gains, one can usually realise up to £10,900 in capital gains for the tax year 2013/2014, without a capital gains tax (CGT) liability coming into force.

It might also be worth considering making the most of ISA allowances before the tax year ends (April 5th). £11,520 can currently be invested into an ISA for the tax year 2013/2014, of which £5,760 maximum can be in a ‘Cash ISA’. Because you cannot carry forward ISA allowances into a new tax year, there is only very limited time remaining to make the most of the current ISA allowance. Tax benefits in relation to ISAs are well recognised in the UK, so much so that the Treasury has already looked at the possibility of capping their total value … and who knows what news the coming Budget will bring in this regard, particularly bearing in mind the continued need for austerity measures to reduce the budget deficit during these troubled economic times.

If you would like independent financial advice, Read more

So are you one of the 6.6% who missed the tax return deadline?

Despite it being an all time record year for receipt, on-line, of ‘on time’ tax returns this year, of the 10.74 million tax returns which were due by 31 January 2013, about 708,740 were – or still are – late. That represents a shortfall of 6.6% and, at a starting penalty of £100 per late return, that’s quite a hefty total penalty. However, one could argue that an additional £71 million in the HMRC coffers in these troubled economic times is very welcome for the exchequer, even if it’s small change in the big scheme of things.

So did you miss the deadline? Here’s what you can expect in terms of additional penalties:

Late return penalties by HMRC

Remember: you still have to submit a tax return even if you do not owe any tax. Taxfile are Read more

New opening hours for Feb-March

Please note that Taxfile’s opening hours for February and March 2013 are:

  • Mondays & Tuesdays: 9.00am-6.00pm
  • Wednesdays & Thursdays: 9.00am-5.00pm
  • Fridays: 9.00am-3.00pm
  • Saturdays & Sundays: closed (answerphone service)

Please contact us if you need accounting help or tax-related assistance.

 

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