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Last resort for tax returns this year

Every Day of January is the 31st

Every Day of January is the 31st

HMRC have announced that those members of the public not able to pay their taxes or submit tax returns on time will be able to appeal against the late filing penalties they will inevitably get this winter. From what we have been hearing HMRC are expecting everyone to have adequate proof of sickness. Does this mean that they will be expected to waste the time of the medical community who, if I am right, are rather busy these days?

What will happen if tax filers struggle with the HMRC online service and cannot get help over the phone, perhaps because HMRC are closing early, not open over the two Sundays, under-staffed on the helplines and rather strangely make you wait 40 minutes in a queue (which has been the case the past year)?

What are people to do?

Buy last minute accounting software from some of the companies climbing on the band wagon to further stress and pressure people into adopting overbearing products and systems designed for businesses not necessarily for sole traders, who probably use their personal bank accounts to get paid, so have mixed use issues? These software products are now being pedalled to the public as the fix-all solution — but who wants to have all their personal bank info imported into a tax and accounting package? Are people expected to analyse every minutiae and, in doing so, become experts on what they can claim or most likely not claim anyway! Or have to master percentages for use of things such as telephone, Internet usage and then apportion in the software (how does this work if at all)?

When I worked with the office of tax simplification we worked out what was actually happening in society and gave it credence;

  • People earn an income from dealing with their clients;
  • They may or may not provide materials or use tools;
  • They may or may not use transport;
  • They probably have some communication and technology costs;
  • Then they may have some professional costs like insurance.

It’s hardly rocket science.

When you come to use the HMRC software it leads you through the maze somewhat similar to the psychology of coping with your first orientation of a new Ikea store!

So I can tell you …

Read more

10 days to the tax return deadline!

10 DAYS to the Self Assessment Tax Return Deadline!

10 days to the self-assessment tax return deadline!

[As at 21 January 2021]: There are only 10 days left in which to file your Self Assessment tax return with HMRC. Miss the deadline (31st January) and you’ll straight away be in for a £100 HMRC fine, so don’t delay — contact Taxfile for help with your tax return. Book a time-slot* with one of our helpful tax advisors and accountancy experts TODAY and we’ll make it easy! Read more

Guy Tells No. 10 to Extend Self-Assessment Deadline

Guy Tells No. 10 to Extend Self-Assessment Deadline

Guy Tells No. 10 to Extend Self-Assessment Deadline

Guy Bridger, Taxfile’s founder, has personally delivered a post card to Boris Johnson. He recently slipped it under the door of Number 10 Downing Street (there is no letterbox!).

The Issue with the Tax Return Deadline – & Guy’s Suggested Solution

In his communication to Boris, Guy suggested that the tax return filing deadline should be permanently extended, for example to the end of February, instead of 31 January as it is currently. In his proposed scenario, people would have longer to file their tax return. As well as taking the pressure off over Christmas, New Year and during January, this later deadline would also mean less likelihood of receiving a surcharge on the possible tax debt they owed for the last tax year’s calculation. Taking this a step further and with the help of video journalist David Gyimah, Guy has also been making a documentary about the tax return filing deadline and the immense pressure it puts people under during Christmas and the New Year — and especially during the entire month of January.

In contrast, limited company businesses currently have 9 months in which to file their accounts to Companies House and at the same time pay their taxes. Interestingly, they have 12 months to file their Corporation Tax return.

Guy & Taxfile

Guy has worked in South London for 25 years, dealing with members of the public and their tax responsibilities. At Taxfile, he has long-serving, thoughtful staff on hand six, sometimes seven, days a week every January. This is a measure of just how much work the current tax return deadline causes during this key accounting month every year. Taxfile makes it their task to remind — even nag — every customer about the deadline, as most of them will have to submit a Self-Assessment tax return by 31 January.

Consulting with the Office of Tax Simplification

Guy Bridger’s last visit to the Treasury was when he worked with The Office of Tax Simplification, resulting in the recognition that people actually prepare their self-employed accounts on a cash basis.

When Guy worked with John Whiting there, the other theme he was interested in was the idea that people who were sole traders perhaps didn’t need to form a limited company. This was because, in agreement with John and many members of the consultation body, it was our view that Read more

Small Trader? Make the Most of These 2 Allowances!

Small Trader? Make the Most of These 2 Allowances!

Small trader? Make the most of these 2 allowances!

Small traders with very modest incomes are currently eligible for a couple of very useful allowances. Both of these could save them money — and some paperwork:

1. Tax-Free Allowance for small traders

If you receive income of no more than £1000 per annum (before expenses) from property or trading income, you don’t need to tell HMRC, you don’t need to pay tax and usually you don’t need to do a self-assessment tax return. If you have both types of income and each earns you no more than £1000 gross per annum, you are usually eligible for the tax-free allowance in BOTH cases! There are exceptions, of course, but these are the general guidelines. Income from property or land speaks for itself, while ‘trading‘ would include things like self-employment, hiring out personal equipment or services like gardening, window cleaning or babysitting. Partnerships are not eligible.

2. Trading Income Allowance

If you are paying tax but have expenses below £1000 per annum, you could reduce the tax by claiming for ‘Trading Income Allowance’ instead of claiming for the actual expenses themselves. In effect, it’s like claiming for £1000 worth of expenses rather than the lower amount of expenses that you’ve incurred in reality. This aspect is all explained in greater detail, with a simple example, in our previous Trading Income Allowance article here.

It’s important to know, though, that you cannot claim both the Read more

Don't miss THIS on your self-assessment tax return!

Don’t Miss THIS on your Tax Return! (Checklist)

Don't miss THIS on your self-assessment tax return! (Checklist)

The standard Self-Assessment Tax Return includes all the usual areas that you’d expect to have to confirm to HMRC. These include the obvious things like personal details, information about income for the period in question, any assets, dividends, interest received, pensions and so on.

However, there are a number of additional areas that you need to check and confirm before the return is submitted and filed with HMRC. It’s not an exhaustive list, but things people sometimes miss and that you need to check you have allowed for (if applicable) include:

  • Employment Income — have you confirmed any employment income? Have you supplied Taxfile, if we’re your tax agent or accountant, with copies of P60’s and P11D’s. Did you have any employment expenses?
  • Self-Employment Income or Partnership Income — have you confirmed any self-employed or partnership income and relevant expenses? Have you supplied all CIS vouchers, invoices, cash income etc. if applicable?
  • UK Land & Property Income — have you confirmed any rental income and relevant expenses for each property you perhaps rent out?
  • Foreign Income — did you receive any foreign income? Have you confirmed it?
  • Trust Income — did you receive any trust income or are you treated as having received any trust income?
  • Capital Gains — have you sold any assets or investments which may be subject to capital gains tax e.g. a rental house, stocks and shares etc?
  • Residence — were you, for all or part of the year, not resident, not ‘ordinarily resident’ or not ‘domiciled’ in the UK?
  • Investment Income — have you confirmed any bank/building society interest, dividends, etc?
  • Pension Income — are you in receipt of any? It needs confirming if so.
  • Any other income received that doesn’t fit into any of the above e.g. Job Seekers Allowance, Tax Credits? Child Benefit is an important one, especially if one parent is earning £50k or more. Marriage Allowance is another.
  • Do you have a pension that you pay into? If so, how much did you pay for the period in question?
  • Have you given any money to charity? Higher rate taxpayers can usually get extra tax relief on this.
  • Do you have a student loan?
  • Are you subject to the High Income Benefit Charge?
  • Do you use a service company?
  • Have you been paying your National Insurance?
  • Have you been keeping good records?

Taxfile will always prompt you to check for things like these if you’re our customer, before we submit your tax return on your behalf. As we say above, though, the list is not an exhaustive one, so there may be other information we need, depending upon your individual situation. The list of what HMRC requires each year also Read more

Making Tax Digital – A New Time Line

Making Tax Digital (‘MTD’) was announced as the new initiative by HMRC to revolutionise and modernise the tax system in the UK.

MTD centres around keeping digital financial records that can then be accessed by software to calculate and submit taxes through to HMRC. The goal is that there will be direct ‘digital link’ between the financial record and the software used to calculate and submit the records and therefore ensuring an accuracy in the figures being generated.

With initial teething problems, MTD for VAT started back in April 2019, and as a result of various delays around Brexit & COVID-19, it still has not sailed out of its ‘soft-landing’ period.

On 21st July 2020 the Treasury published a 10-year plan to modernize the UK’s tax system which outlines a blueprint for the transition of the UK’s tax system into the digital age.

MTD for VAT

Introduced in April 2019, MTD for VAT had a soft-landing period where the rules for this ‘digital-link’ were relaxed.  Prior to COVID-19, April 2020 was the date stipulated where all digital links were to be in place for submissions.

As a direct consequence of COVID-19, it has been now been stated that as of 1st April 2021, the ‘soft-landing’ period comes to an end and all VAT registered businesses submitting VAT returns will need to ensure they have these digital links in place for their submissions.

Furthermore, from April 2022, MTD for VAT will apply to all VAT registered businesses and not just those that have a turnover greater than the VAT threshold.

MTD for Income Tax

The 10-year plan targets 6th April 2023 for self-employed businesses and unincorporated landlords to begin reporting Read more

Watch out for scam emails, texts & calls

Watch Out – Fraudsters Are About!

Watch out for scam emails, texts & calls

Have you noticed a significant increase in the number of scam calls, phishing emails and dodgy texts to your mobile in recent weeks? We certainly have. Some of Taxfile’s customers have been asking if any are genuine, so we thought we’d send out this warning

If you receive a call, email or text from HMRC asking for your personal or financial details, it’s simple: DO NOT to give ANY information away via text, email or to someone calling you by telephone. They could be anyone! Your information will be used against you if it gets into the wrong hands — and that could potentially cost you a LOT of money. So if they call, text or email you out of the blue:

  • don’t confirm your date of birth,
  • don’t confirm your National Insurance Number,
  • don’t tell them your your mother’s Maiden name,
  • don’t confirm your Unique Taxpayer Reference (‘UTR’) or any other piece of personal or financial information,
  • … even if they say it’s urgent (most fraudsters will say it is, so as to panic you into divulging your information).

Even one bit of data given away can be dangerous these days. ‘Social Engineering’ scams can use one bit of information as a starting point to eventually build a more complete picture of your sensitive data. Once they have enough pieces of the jigsaw, they can potentially take over your identity, empty your bank account or go on a spending spree with a credit or debit card issued in your name. People have lost thousands! So, the message is to be careful not to give anything away via email, SMS/text or to someone who has telephoned you out of the blue.

If HMRC do send you a genuine email, text your mobile or call you, they will never ask for personal information, financial information or payment details. It may help you to check here to see a list of genuine communications that HMRC has recently sent.

If you’re going to give HMRC information and want to be sure it’s genuine, you need to Read more

2nd SEISS grant now open for applications (started 17 August 2020)

2nd SEISS Grant Applications – NOW OPEN!

2nd SEISS grant now open for applications (started 17 August 2020)

The Government previously announced that, much like the furlough scheme, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (‘SEISS’) is to be extended for a second period and in fact it’s now open for applications.

If your business has been adversely affected as a result of COVID-19 on or after 14th July 2020 you can make a claim from 17th August 2020 for the second and final grant.

You can make a claim for the second grant, if you’re eligible, even if you did not make a claim for the first grant. 

Your eligibility for the 2nd SEISS grant must meet the same criteria as those outlined for the 1st grant:

  • you must have traded in the tax year 2018/19 and submitted your Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020;
  • you must have traded as self-employed in the tax year 2019/20;
  • you must have all intentions to trade as self-employed in the tax year 2020/21;
  • your average trading profits must be less than £50,0000;
  • your trade must have been adversely affected by coronavirus.

Like the first SEISS grant, the second SEISS grant is a taxable one. However, this time, it is based on 70% of your average monthly trading profits. It will be paid out in a single instalment, based on a 3-month period of average profits, and is capped at a maximum of £6,570.

Taxfile will be in touch with clients to remind them. Now that the 2nd grant is available, do feel free to call us if you’d like our assistance in helping you to make your claim.

Please remember the deadline for claiming the first SEISS grant was 13 July 2020. You can start claiming the second SEISS grant now, as it opened to applications on 17 August 2020.

Please call Taxfile on 020 8761 8000 if you need help to make a claim for either of these SEISS grants and we’ll be happy to help. Alternatively, fill in and submit the form below and we’ll be in touch to help you.

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[Article updated 17 August 2020].

Late with your tax return and tax payment?

Missed the tax return deadline? What now?

Missed the tax return deadline? What now?

[Updated August 2020] If you missed the deadline to submit your self-assessment tax return, the first thing to know is that you are now into the penalty stage. HMRC applies an automatic £100 penalty to those who are even 1 day late (the deadline was 11.59pm on 31st January) and further penalties are added if you take even longer to comply. It’s worse, of course, if you also haven’t paid any tax owed as you’ll then owe interest too, so our advice is to pay as much as you can as soon as possible, so you’ll reduce any element of interest. However, if there is a genuine reason why you were late with your return, and it fits certain criteria, you have the option to appeal …

Circumstances that are taken into account by HMRC when considering appeals include:

  • if a close relative or partner died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline;
  • if you had to stay in hospital unexpectedly;
  • if you had a life-threatening or serious illness;
  • if your computer or software failed at the time you were preparing your online return;
  • if HMRC’s online services were disrupted;
  • if you were prevented from filing your return or paying your tax because of a fire, flood or theft;
  • if there were unexpected postal delays;
  • and occasionally other reasons which, if genuine, HMRC may deem to be relevant.

Excuses that aren’t usually accepted by HMRC include: Read more

TODAY is the deadline for submission of your tax return. Contact Taxfile for help filing & avoid a minimum £100 fine!

31 JANUARY was the Tax Return Deadline!

TODAY is the Self-Assessment tax return deadline!

[As at 31 January 2020]: 31st January was the last day to file your Self Assessment tax return on time with HMRC. Did you miss the deadline? If so, you’ll straight away be in for a £100 fine from HRMC, and if you continue not to submit your return, other penalties will soon also be added to your debt (click here for more details). So don’t delay — contact Taxfile to book an appointment with one of our helpful tax advisors and accountancy experts.

We’ll make filling in and filing your tax return a breeze and what’s more, we’re currently open 6 DAYS A WEEK from now until the end of January (Saturday mornings by appointment only). Don’t leave it to the last minute, though, as there is always a bottleneck for those who do — so come in as early as you can this week.

It doesn’t matter if you have zero tax to pay – you still need to submit your tax return on time! You also need to have paid HMRC any tax due for the 2018-19 financial year by the same 31 January deadline.

So get our professional help with filing of your tax return — you can book an appointment online, drop by the Tulse Hill shop or the Battersea office to book one, send us an email message via our contact form or, better still, simply call us on 0208 761 8000 and we’ll book you in and help sort out your tax return accurately and on time. Don’t delay — time is quickly slipping by and if you leave it too late you’ll be caught in the last minute bottleneck!

We’ll require your records, figures and receipts for Read more