[Updated]: It’s common knowledge that most of Taxfile’s South London staff are multi-lingual but can you guess which staff member speaks no less than four languages fluently (Russian, Pashto, Dari and English) and which staff member is into both metal music and Irish dancing? And who should you ask for if you need payroll services? And who specialises in bookkeeping … who in limited company accounts and so on? Our staff ‘mind map’ tells you a bit more about each member of the team, what their specialities are, key interests and, of course, their contact details in case you ever need their help. Take a look … Read more
George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced his Autumn Statement on Wednesday (3 Dec 2014) in what could be seen as a mini budget. Here we focus on the key announcements, concentrating on those relating purely to taxation, as it is those which affect you, our customers, most directly.
1). First some good news: The UK is seeing the fastest growth out of all the G7 countries, and the number of people employed is at its highest point ever. This is good for all of us because it restores optimism in the UK economy, higher employment speaking for itself.
2). As we announced in a separate blog post, Stamp Duty (Land Tax) has been given a major shake-up and, for anyone buying a house for £935,000 or less, the amount of Stamp Duty which they’ll have to pay will be less, and sometimes very significant. See our separate blog post and infographic for more detail.
3). In the financial year 2015-16, the tax-free personal allowance (which is the amount you can earn before you start to pay any tax) will increase to 10,600 which is an increase of £600. So … more tax-free money in your pocket, which is good.
4). Economy flights will become cheaper for under 12s from 1 May 2015 and under 16s from 1 March 2016, because their tickets will become exempt from tax on those dates. So … a small concession, but another welcome one. Average 4-person families will save £26 for flights within Europe and £142 on flights to the U.S.
5). From 3 December 2014, spouses will be able to inherit their partner’s ISA benefits should their partner pass away. Currently this is not the case and the change will mean that, from 6 April 2015, the surviving spouse or civil partner will be able to Read more
Do you have online banking? Sending us downloaded statement information straight from your online banking means we can more easily import the data into our system and check for expenses and income which might otherwise have been overlooked. It can also fill in the gaps where you are missing receipts or invoices. This simple service could therefore save both time and money! Most online banking platforms allow you to export this information, for example as a CSV file, and this format is perfect for our accounting system.
Don’t have online banking? No problem! We also have a new system where we can scan in your paper statements straight into our ‘Bankstream’ accounting platform, making analysis faster and easier.
Either way, ask us for further information or, better still, send us a sample download of a typical month’s bank data (or Read more
Have 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 (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) has announced some new initiatives over the course of the last month and one of these is The Let Property campaign which is a campaign designed to recover undeclared tax from those receiving income from residential property lets. The idea is to encourage those landlords with under-declared income or gains (potentially including income tax, Capital Gains Tax and VAT) to contact them in order to make a full disclosure. By doing so they may well avoid the higher penalties which may be applied to them should HMRC discover the undeclared income/gains via other means. Don’t forget that they now have access to information shared across systems, including in relation to properties both at home and abroad, as well as being gained through their digital intelligence system ‘Connect’ which identifies links between individuals, entities and properties. So the message to landlords is loud and clear!
The campaign applies to landlords whether they have just a single property or a large portfolio of properties and encompasses lets to students, business workforces and the holiday market. Read more
Have you ever wondered what other services the Taxfile group can help you with? Well, find all the answers in the new downloadable brochure, which outlines services undertaken at the various different offices in both South London and Exeter, Devon. From accountancy and bookkeeping for SMBs to simple tax returns for individuals and right through to the most complex of complicated tax issues – we’re here to help and the new brochure gives you all the contact details for each office including address, email, telephone, Skype ID, how to book appointments on-line and, finally, what discounts are available – both to new and existing customers – it’s all there … or rather I should say … it’s all here! (A4 PDF format, less than 1MB).
The VAT flat rate scheme was introduced on 24th April 2002 and was designed to assist small businesses through calculating VAT payments as a percentage of their turnover.
This scheme was developed to reduce the cost of complying with VAT obligations and the time spent by removing the need to calculate and record output and input tax in calculating the net VAT.
The scheme is optional and available to businesses with a VAT exclusive annual taxable turnover of up to £150,000(£225,000 after 1 April 2009) and total turnover including the value of exempt supply and other non- taxable income does not exceed £187,500(not required after 1 April 2009).
The flat rate percentage depends on the trade sector of the business you are running and it can range from 2% to 13.5%.
To see the category of the business you are falling into and what percentage you need to use follow this link from hmrc. As you could probably notice, the flat rate percentages have been changed since the decrease of normal VAT rate from 17.5% to 15%.
Under this scheme, businesses charge their customers the normal rate for the supply of goods and services.
Although businesses do not need to calculate the VAT on each and every transaction they make, they still need to keep a record of their flat rate calculation showing their turnover, the percentage used and the tax calculation.
As far as capital assets are concerned,for those costing more than £2000 (including VAT), the VAT can be recovered in the normal way as long as they meet certain conditions.
There are a few special categories of businesses like farmers, barristers and florists where special VAT flat rate rules apply. About all this we can explain more in due course.
Taxfile‘s tax accountants in South London and Exeter will first assess your eligibility for the flat rate scheme then will weight up pros and cons and see how beneficial it is for you.
Then finally they will register you within the scheme and offer ongoing support.
Using Standard VAT Accounting, we must complete four VAT returns each year. Any VAT due is payable quarterly, and any VAT refunds due are also repayable quarterly.
In contrast to standard VAT accounting, there are several alternative ways we can account for VAT that could save us time and money. Each of the schemes has advantages and disadvantages.
Among these schemes we can mention the following:
Annual accounting for VAT
Using this method, VAT is paid on account throughout the year in nine monthly or three quarterly instalments. These instalments are based on the VAT paid in the previous year. If the business has been trading for less than a year, the instalments are based on an estimate of the VAT liability.
•we only have to send a VAT return once a year
•reduces the amount of time spent in sorting out paperwork
• improves the cash flow of the business
•this method is not suitable for businesses that regularly reclaim VAT as they would only get one repayment at the end of the year.
• if the turnover of the business decreases, the payments may be higher than under the standard VAT accounting.
Cash accounting for VAT
When using the standard VAT accounting, the VAT is payable when an invoice is issued.
•If we use the cash accounting scheme, we do not need to pay VAT until the customer has paid us.
• it is a beneficial method because it improves the cash flow
• we do not need to pay the VAT if the client never pays us.
•we cannot reclaim VAT on purchases until we have paid for them.
The flat rate VAT scheme
The flat rate VAT scheme is designed to help small businesses reduce the amount of time they spend accounting for VAT.
• we do not have to calculate the VAT on each and every transaction but just pay a flat rate percentage of the turnover as VAT
• one minus using this scheme is that we cannot reclaim VAT on our purchases, especially if we buy a lot of goods and services.
VAT schemes for retailers
Retailers, especially those who sell a high volume of low value goods to the general public, can find it very time consuming and costly to issue VAT invoices for every sale. The VAT retail schemes enable retailers to aggregate their sales and account for VAT on the total.
The main retail schemes are: apportionment schemes, direct calculation schemes and the point of sale scheme.
Margin schemes for second-hand goods, art, antiques, collectibles
The VAT we can recover when buying and selling second-hand goods is quite limited.
•This scheme comes in handy because it calculates the VAT on the difference between the purchase price and the sale price , that is the margin.
•we need to keep very detailed records, otherwise we will be liable for VAT on the full selling price.
Tour operators’ margin scheme
Tour operators often buy goods and services from businesses in foreign countries, and cannot often reclaim their input tax. The Tour Operators’ Margin Scheme solves this problem by allowing tour operators to calculate the VAT on just the value that they add.
As every method comes with pros and cons, it is better to seek guidance from tax accountants like Taxfile in South London and Exeter to analyse your circumstances and tell you which scheme suits you best.
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