Received a ‘P800 tax calculation’ from HRMC in the post?

If you have paid either too much or too little tax during the financial year, HMRC will send you a ‘P800 Tax Calculation’ some time between now and October 2015.

If you’ve paid too much tax

If you’ve paid too much tax then you will receive a cheque for the overpayment within 2 weeks of the P800 being issued.

If you’ve paid too little tax

If you’ve paid too little then the P800 will explain how much you owe and how HMRC intend to collect it. Usually this will be by adjusting your tax code so that the tax is recouped via future tax on earnings, however exceptions to this would include, for example, a situation where the taxpayer is now unemployed, in which case HMRC would explain alternative options for paying the money due. 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

The Shocking Truth about Tax on the Poor

How much is taken in taxHave you ever wondered how much of one’s total income is taken up in tax? And I don’t mean just Income Tax. I mean in ALL taxes paid by ordinary taxpayers throughout the course of a year. Such a figure would need to take into account National Insurance (income tax in all but name, some might say), the insidious Value Added Tax or ‘VAT’ – which on its own is a hefty 20% tax on what is often already taxed money for most ordinary taxpayers, and don’t forget to include Council Tax and finally, of course, Income Tax itself.

Well, the answer may surprise you. Before seeing the answer, though, try The Guardian’s little quiz about this and see how you get on. There are only 8 questions, and for each you simply choose from 4 possible answers – so it’s quick to complete and, once submitted, you are immediately taken to a feedback page where you will be told how your answers compared to the average respondent and, more interestingly, what the correct answers were. It’s interesting to note that, in a joint poll by The Equality Trust and Ipsos MORI, nearly 70% of people drastically underestimated how much the poorest pay in tax, as a percentage of their total income. They also over estimated how much the richest pay as a proportion of total income. This wide misconception is due to most people incorrectly focusing only on Income Tax alone which, in reality, only makes up a small proportion of total taxes paid throughout the course of a typical year.

Spoiler alert: be warned that I’m shortly going to divulge the answers 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 Sensitive): Tax Year End Changes for Pension Allowances

The start of the new Tax Year on 6 April 2014 – just 6½ weeks away at time of writing – will see two very important changes in relation to pensions allowances.

The first change will affect the ‘Annual Allowance’ (or ‘AA’) which is the annual limit on pension savings attracting tax relief. This limit will be reduced from £50k to £40k (having been as high as £255k back in 2010/11) and includes contributions made by anyone into your pension whether that’s you or your employer. Should your pension savings be greater than this amount then you will have to pay a tax charge and include such information on your Self Assessment tax return. A calculator is available to work out whether you have any unused annual allowance available, this being particularly useful because you are eligible to carry forwards any unused allowance if it exists from the 3 previous tax years. If present the unused allowance can be used to offset against any tax charge.

The second change will affect the ‘Lifetime Allowance‘ (or ‘LTA’) which is the amount payable from a private and/or work pension scheme (excludes State pension) before tax also becomes payable. Having already recently been cut from £1.8 million the LTA is currently set at £1.5 million but will be reduced to £1.25 million from 6 April 2014. The LTA is only applied to pension savings when you actually take your pension benefits, or at certain key events such as reaching the age of 75. Other examples of applicable key events are explained here. 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

Corporation Tax (CT)

The fourth largest source of government revenues is Corporation Tax, charged on the profits and chargeable gains of companies. The main rate band is 30%, which is levied on taxable income above £1.5m. The small companies rate of 19% is charged on the first £300,000 of profits where profits are between £50,000 and £1,500,000.
Profits between the lower and upper profit thresholds (£300,000-£1,500,000), are in effect charged at a marginal rate of tax of 32.75%.
Companies that are resident in the UK are subject to Corporation Tax on their profits (income plus gains) arising in an accounting period which cannot be more than 12 months.
Non-resident companies may be subject to Corporation Tax (CT) where they trade in the UK through a permanent establishment.
• A company incorporated in the UK is treated as UK resident.
• A non-UK incorporated company is treated as resident in the UK if its central management and control is exercised in the UK.

A company’s trading losses can normally be set against:
• Income and gains of the same accounting period.
• Income and gains of the previous year.
• Trading profits from the same trade in future years.

In terms of Dividends, companies do not have to pay tax at the time they pay a dividend. Corporation tax is paid at the normal time on the company’s taxable profits without any deduction for dividends paid. For small companies, profits that are paid out as dividends are charged at not less than 19%.
A shareholder receives the dividend with an accompanying tax credit equal to 10% of the dividend plus tax credit. The tax credit is equivalent to the basic rate of income tax on dividends. Companies pay no tax on dividends received.
Companies normally have to file their return within 12 months of the end of the accounting period. If a return is filed late, the company is automatically charged a fixed penalty of between £100 and £1,000, depending on how late the return is and whether lateness is habitual. An additional tax-linked penalty is charged if the return is filed more than six months late.
If you need to know more about corporation tax, our tax experts at Taxfile in South London can help you understand it better and at the same time minimize your tax liability, making sure you pay the right amount of tax.