Foster Carers and their tax relief

Fostering is looking after someone else’s children in your own home at a time when his or her family is unable to do so. Foster care relief applies to people who get income from providing foster care to children and young people.
Anyone receiving this type of income is considered by the tax office to be self-employed and therefore liable for tax.
If total receipts from fostering no dot exceed a certain amount, often referred to as qualifying amount, than the foster carer will be exempt from income tax for that year.
A qualifying amount is made up of two elements added together.
One element is the fixed amount of £10,000 per year for each household. Only a proportion of the fixed amount can be claimed if the foster carer is registered for less than a year.
The second element consists of an amount per week for each foster child which varies depending on the child’s age.
If total receipts from fostering exceed the qualifying amount than there are two ways of calculating your tax. One is called the profit method and it is calculated by deducting the allowable expenses from the receipts.
The other one is called the simplified method and is calculated by deducting from the receipts the qualifying amount with no additional relief for expenses. Capital allowances are not available if such a claim is made. The election must be made on or before the first anniversary of 31 January next following the end of the year of assessment to which it relates. If they do not make such an election the will need to calculate their profit in the normal way (the profit method).
As profits from fostering as treated as earnings from self-employment, than National Insurance Contributions will be due (Class2 £2.30 per week and Class4 8% on the profit).
As a foster carer need you to keep good records consisting of total receipts for the year from their local authority, HSS trust or independent fostering provider.You also need to keep a record of the number of weeks that you care for each child placed with you in the year.
Also you need to keep a record of the date of birth for each child.
If your total receipts from fostering exceed the qualifying amount and you are using the profit method than you would need to keep records of your expenses as well.
If you are a foster carer and need help with filling in your tax return, Taxfile‘s tax agents in South London and Exeter are here to help.

Use of Home as Office

If you are self-employed, there is a type of relief called use of home as office that can be offset against your tax liability.
If you run your business partially from home you can could set a proportion of your home running costs against income tax.What sounds like a very easy task for any tax accountant has proven to be quite difficult as the HM Revenue & Customs can easily argue the figures as there are no clear rules that can be applied.
Among the expenses allowed in this category we can mention the following: Council Tax, Mortgage interest, Rent, Repairs and maintenance, Cleaning, Heat, light and power, Telephone, Broadband, Metered water charges.
The factors to be taken into account when apportioning an expense include according to HMRC:
the area used for business purposes,
the usage in connection with electricity,gas or water and
the time used for business purposes compared to other use.
By following this link you can see some examples provided by HMRC related to ways of approaching the use of home as office.
This is what the courts have approved in terms of apportioning expenditure for home as office:
“… it is possible to apportion the use and cost of a room on a time basis, and to allow the expense of the room during the hours in which it is used exclusively for business purposes, in the same way as it is possible to calculate the business expenses of a car which is sometimes used for business purposes exclusively and sometimes used for pleasure.” (Templeman J in Caillebotte v Quinn [1975] )
Very important is to retain good records to evidence whatever claim you make for using your home as office in case the taxman argues your figures. For more help in understanding tax reliefs for self-employed, Taxfile in South London and Exeter is here to help.