What is the Construction Industry Scheme?

The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) sets out the rules for how payments to subcontractors for construction work must be handled by contractors.

A contractor is a business or other concern that pays subcontractors for construction work. A subcontractor on the other hand is a business that carries out construction work for a contractor.
Under the Scheme, all payments made from contractors to subcontractors must take account of the subcontractor’s tax status as determined by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). This may require the contractors to make a deduction, which they then pay to HMRC.

As of 6 April 2007 the new Construction Industry Scheme replaced the previous scheme. The main changes in the scheme are the following:

• There are no more CIS cards, certificates or vouchers.

• Contractors have the responsibility to ‘verify’ new subcontractors by contacting HMRC.
•Subcontractors are still paid either net or gross, depending on their own circumstances, but it is HMRC who tell the contractor during verification which treatment to use.
•There is a higher rate tax deduction of 30% if a subcontractor has not registered with HMRC.

• The standard rate of deduction for those registered with the Inland Revenue is 20% .
• There are no more CIS annual returns. Now contractors must make a return every month to HMRC, showing payments made to all subcontractors. Returns must be made using official forms. Photocopies are not acceptable.
• Contractors must declare on their return that none of the workers listed on the return are employees. This is called a Status declaration.
•Nil returns must be made when there are no payments in any month. These can be made over the telephone as well as over the Internet or on paper. If made by paper, this must be on an official form. Photocopies will not be accepted. There will be financial penalties for failure to submit a return (including nil returns).

For most of subcontractors, the new CIS is still a puzzle. For this reason, the tax accountants at Taxfile in South London can unveil the mystery behind it. You can pop in to see one of our tax advisers in our office in South London, just two minutes away from Tulse Hill station or you can visit us on www.taxfile.co.uk.

Taxfile knows everything about taxi drivers’ tax!

There are a few things that need to be considered when it comes to taxi drivers’ tax. Among them we can mention the following:

•Mileage Allowances
Taxi drivers can claim as an alternative to vehicle running costs mileage allowances of 40p for the first 10,000 miles and 25p per mile thereafter. You may not claim mileage allowance and vehicle running costs. Should you choose to claim the mileage allowance then keep good records of mileage covered, purpose of journey.

•Taxi Capital Allowances
If you bought a vehicle in 2005-06 and used it as a taxi you can claim a first year tax allowance of 40% of the cost of the taxi, restricted to £3,000 for vehicles costing over £12,000. On vehicles purchased in previous tax years you can claim 25% writing down allowance on the balance not yet claimed. If you have bought and sold a vehicle used as a taxi during the financial year the tax allowance is restricted to any loss made on resale and any profit made over the written down value is taxable as a balancing charge. First year allowance in the current tax year 2006-07 is 50%.

• Taxis bought on Hire Purchase
Claim capital allowances on the original cost of the vehicle, interest and other charges count as business expenses and go in the self assessment tax return.

•Taxi Running Costs
When completing the self assessment tax return taxi drivers should enter fuel costs as cost of sales not motoring expenses. Do not claim fuel expenses when you are on holiday, the revenue will check should they inquire into your self assessment tax return.Taxi running costs also include repairs, servicing and parts including tyres, road tax, taxi insurance and AA/RAC membership. Include radio hire and taxi office costs in general administrative expenses.

• Household expenses
If you run your taxi business from home you can claim a proportion of household expenses as business expenses. Household expenses are likely to be disallowed unless they are either specific to the business or a specific area of your home is devoted entirely to your business.

• Spouse Costs
You can claim expenses for partners who work for your taxi business and payments up to £94 would not attract income tax or national insurance however any payments claimed must be real payments for real work done. The Revenue naturally adopt a strict view on expenses claimed for partner work as it is an area some people might use to reduce the tax liability.

•Other Expenses
The best method of ensuring the taxi drivers tax bill is as low as possible in the future is undoubtedly to meticulously maintain good records of all taxi receipts and expenses and mileage covered which offers the opportunity for taxi drivers to compare vehicle running costs against mileage allowances and choose the most tax efficient option. General if the taxi cab capital allowances are high vehicle running costs will be the best option and if taxi cab capital allowances are low then mileage allowances may well legally increase the costs you can claim and save you money.

Taxfile in South London taxi and cab drivers choose the best accounting option in order to reduce their tax liability.
Taxfile can also provide you with a record-keeper to fill in with all your takings and your expenses for the year. For more information, you can visit us on https://www.taxfile.co.uk/.

Business welcomes tax Tory plans

The Tories yesterday set out proposals for easing the burden of tax and regulation on British businesses in an attempt to improve the economy’s competitiveness.

However Chancellor George Osborne said that any tax reductions would have to be paid for by tax increases elsewhere, such as new environmental taxes:

” Any reductions in specific taxes will have to be balanced elsewhere, most notably green taxes.”

The former Cabinet minister John Redwood called for a series of tax reductions including abolishing inheritance tax, reducing corporation and capital gains taxes, abolishing stamp duty on share deals and raising the threshold for the higher rate of income tax.

Mr Redwood said that ” reducing the tax burden was the best way to stimulate economic growth and increase overall prosperity.[…] we believe a lower tax economy would be a more successful economy. If you have the courage to cut the rates , the rich pay more.”

The proposals received great support from business organisations.

Richard Lambert, CBI director-general said that the goal of getting corporation tax down to 25% and reducing tax on small businesses, represents a welcome direction of travel after a period when the burden of business taxes has grown substantially. He added, ” A focus on cutting regulation and red tape, one of the biggest irritants for firms trying to succeed and expand, is also positive. Too often, while our European competitors manage to implement EU directives in a few pages, the UK gold plates them with reams of prescriptive and complex regulations and guidance.”

Companies like Taxfile In South London can help you understand better the way corporation tax and capital gains taxes, inheritance tax and income tax works, giving you the right accounting advice at the right price.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

Capital gains tax (CGT) is a tax on capital “gains”. If when you sell or give away an asset it has increased in value, you may be taxable on the profit. This does not apply when you sell personal belongings worth £6000 or less.

You might have to pay capital gains tax if you:

• sell, give away, exchange or dispose of an assets or part of an asset.

• receive money from an asset-for example compensation for a damaged asset.

You do not have to pay capital gains tax on:

• your car

• your main home

•personal belongings sold for less than £6000 like furniture, paintings

• bettings, pools or lottery winnings

• ISAs, VCTs.

There are a few ways of cutting your CGT bill:

•if you are married or in a civil partnership and living together you can transfer assets to your husband, wife or civil partner without having to pay CGT
•you can’t give assets to your children or others or sell them assets cheaply without having to consider CGT
•if you make a loss you may be able to make a claim for that loss and deduct it from other gains, but only if the asset normally attracts CGT – for example you cannot set a loss on selling your car against gains from disposing of other assets
•if someone dies and leaves their belongings to their beneficiaries, there is no CGT to pay at that time – however if an asset is later disposed of by a beneficiary, any CGT they may have to pay will be based on the difference between the market value at the time of death and the value at the time of disposal.

If you are still confused about the way CGT works, Taxfile in South London can help you understand it better giving you the right advice at the right price.

Tax Enquiry Nightmare Gets Worse

If you are unlucky enough to be the subject of a tax enquiry by the tax man, it could now be an even worse nightmare for you than ever before. HMRC has recently introduced a new bonus scheme for the tax inspectors who conduct the enquiries, which means they have a vested interest in coming down hard on ordinary folk and negotiating far less. The more tax they find you need to pay – in their opinion – the more they will earn.

The average extra tax they are demanding in recent enquiries now averages a worrying £7,778 for each self-assessment enquiry it undertakes – that’s a steep jump of £3,251 extra on last year’s average. The new statistics also show that the amount of extra tax generated just from the band of those earning more than £200k per year has risen to £197 million which is a 150% increase on the preceding year. Clearly those bonuses are having the desired affect on the individual tax inspectors who appear to be squeezing every last penny from each of the enquiries they are undertaking.

It’s times like these when services of tax advisers like TaxFile really come into their own. Because they know the rules (and any allowable expenses) as well as the tax inspectors do, they level the playing field for ordinary hard-working people and can argue the case on your behalf. For a low fixed fee the whole headache can be taken over by an accounting professional who is on your side. Taxfile have offices in South London. Telephone 0208 761 8000 for further information.

Don’t forget 31 July deadline to renew Tax Credit info

31 July is the date by which HMRC needs to receive your Tax Credit record update. You should have received your Renewal Pack by the end of June latest (if you haven’t, call 0845 300 3900). HMRC needs the renewal to check for any changes to your circumstances. Remember to read the instructions very carefully and send off before the deadline otherwise you may run the risk of Tax Credit payments being interrupted, or worse, being asked to return some of the money paid since 6 April 2007 plus any amounts overpaid for the previous year.

If you were awarded more than one tax credit award during the 2006-7 period, you need the equivalent number of Renewal Packs.

More details on how to renew your tax credit information at the HMRC website.

Brussels wants to impose VAT on food & children’s clothes

The European Commission is trying to harmonise VAT rates across its member countries. In so doing it wants the UK to fall in line with a rate of at least 5% on food and children’s clothing.

When it joined the EU in 1973 the UK had fought very hard not to have to charge VAT on such items (as well as the printed word, e.g. newspapers) and, as a concession to Brussels it had agreed to impose a ‘zero rated’ level of VAT. That way, VAT was effectively levied but at a valueless rate. Now Brussels wants the zero rate to be scrapped and replaced by a rate of 5% minimum, for certain products including nappies, for example.

The labour Government will fight to retain the zero rate and can use its veto if required. If successful, UK families will save a staggering £28 billion each year.

Taxfile, a walk-in “tax advice shop” based in South London, can help with all VAT matters including VAT returns and registering for VAT as well as book keeping, general accounting, tax advice and so on.

Taxman’s mistakes mean 1 million pay wrong bill

There are more than a million of us in the UK who are paying the wrong amount of tax, thanks to the taxman. £157 million was overpaid to the Revenue last year, according to the National Audit Office (NAO). 540,000 of us – that’s over half a million – were overcharged, but still others were undercharged, the latter totalling £125 million in the same period.

The NAO attributes the staggering level or errors to the fact that many people change jobs so frequently and this makes the calculation more complicated. But it doesn’t end there. Correcting the mistakes will cost both the Revenue and the tax-payer time and money, as well as unnecessary stress. Unexpected tax demands will come as a shock, particularly to vulnerable groups such as pensioners, who are likely to be the most severely affected.

Matthew Elliott of The Tax-Payers’ Alliance commented that “This report demonstrates yet again that the tax system is becoming too complicated and taxpayers who do not have the money to afford top accountants are getting tied up and ripped off by the taxman….It’s the complexity of the system that’s trapping people, so it needs radical reform.

At TaxFile in Tulse Hill, South London you can drop in to see one of their tax advisers and, for an affordable fixed fee, they will sort your tax out for you and relieve you of the stress and uncertainty. TaxFile bridge the gap between you and the taxman. They level the playing field. They specialise in one thing; tax, and do not charge the higher fees normally associated with swishy accountants.

Taxman wants powers to seize tax straight from bank accounts

HM Revenue & Customs is seeking the right to seize unpaid tax straight out of bank and building society accounts, without consent. Apparently such powers would be used only against deliberate tax evaders in a bid to avoid seeking a court order. They are part of a consultative document called, “Modernising Powers, Deterrents and Safeguards“. It would work like this: the relevant amount would be frozen in the account. It would be withdrawn by HMRC only if a payment ultimatum had not been met after several written letters were sent, several telephone calls had been made, and at least one visit had been made to the non-payer’s home. We all know that tax bills are not always correct, however, and this is a major worry for some.

A spokesman for HMRC defended the idea saying that it would use the proposed powers only against chronic late payers and continued, “We do not, and will not, seek access to personal bank accounts unless all other exacting avenues of communication have failed.

Tax advice from such companies as South London based TaxFile can help to level the playing field when a tax dispute arises. As we say above, tax bills from the HMRC are not always correct first time, and a little professional advice from an expert in the field of tax accounting will mean that you only pay the correct amount of tax and nothing more.

Taxman sinks his teeth into your pension

This was the headline in the Daily Mail article of 4 July 2007, complete with a picture of a vampire! The story outlines how pensioners on low incomes are being taxed up to 40% in what the Mail describes as “an extraordinary cash grab by HM Revenue & Customs”.

Under “trivial commutation” rules, pensioners with pension funds of £16k or under can actually cash them in instead of using them to buy annuities which would, of course, pay ridiculously small monthly amounts. As you might expect, the first 25% of the pension fund taken as cash comes tax-free. It is the other three-quarters which fall foul of HMRC’s cash grab. While most of the pensioners involved are basic-rate tax payers, many have this portion of the fund taxed at the higher 40% rate by the Revenue.

The reason for this ludicrous state of affairs is that, even more absurdly, if HMRC does not have a pensioner’s tax details, they assume the pensioner receives this amount of income every month and apply an emergency 40% rate charge to the top three-quarters of the fund. Pensioners who realise the mistake are then left to try to reclaim the overpayment, however many of them will not know how to even start such a claim as some will not have dealt directly with the tax system before. It is thought that up to 50,000 pensioners will be hit with this overcharge each year.

Walk-in accounting services provided by companies such as TaxFile in Tulse Hill are perfectly placed to offer low cost solutions to this type of tax error. When it comes to tax advice, they are a low cost alternative to a full accountancy firm and even the playing field between ordinary folk and Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs.