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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

Final day to submit your Self-Assessment tax return

Today is the Tax Return Deadline!

0 days to the Self-Assessment tax return deadline!

[As at 31 January]: TODAY IS THE FINAL DAY to file your Self Assessment tax return with HMRC. Miss the deadline (11.59pm on 31st January 2019) and you’ll straight away be in for a £100 fine from HRMC, so don’t delay — contact Taxfile AFTER 9AM 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 2017-18 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 the financial year 6 April 2016 to 5 April 2018.

* Please note: in extremely busy times such as January, a deposit may be required before commencement of appointments.

Christmas & New Year Opening Times at Taxfile

Christmas & New Year Opening Times at Taxfile

Christmas & New Year Opening Times at Taxfile

Please take a look at the calendar above and note our opening times over Christmas and New Year. As you can see, we’re closed on several days over the festive period. This is particularly important for those who need to come to see us for help with time-sensitive accounting and tax-related services in the run-up to January 31st.

Need Help Filing Your Tax Return?
Make an Appointment NOW!

In particular, we urge anyone who needs to file a 2017/18 Self-Assessment tax return to come and see us well before Christmas. By doing so, you’ll avoid the last minute stampede — way too many people leave it until January, which is the busiest time in the tax and accounting calendar. While the HMRC deadline for tax returns is the end of January, you run the risk of being caught up in the bottleneck if you leave things later than December. Taxfile files tax returns for thousands of customers during November, December and January, so we’re incredibly busy at this time of year — particularly January, which is frenetic! So, those leaving it until the last minute not only run the risk of being charged more to cover the long hours and overtime that we need to work during January, but they also risk receiving a fine from HMRC if they miss the deadline completely because they left things so late.

So the message is: please book an appointment with us now, ideally for a date before Christmas.

For Self-Assessment tax returns, records for the period 6th April 2017 to 5th April 2018 are required. For business accounts, we will also need to do accounts based upon the business’s individual year end.

Open for Saturday Appointments

We are happy to see people on Saturdays at this busy time of year (with the exception of the festive closures of course – see the calendar above). Saturday morning appointments should be more convenient for those who work on weekdays. As you can see on the calendar, we’re open from 10am to 1pm for most Saturdays in December and January but only for those with a pre-agreed appointment.

To book an appointment, please call 0208 761 8000 or book an appointment online here. Many thanks.

Letting a room through Airbnb? HMRC tracks your income & data!

Letting a Room through Airbnb? HMRC Tracks your Income!

Letting a room through Airbnb? HMRC tracks your income & data!

Back in late 2015, we forewarned that HMRC was planning to force on-line companies like Airbnb to share customer income data with them. That plan has come to fruition and HMRC is now receiving detailed information from Airbnb and other online providers. The data will tell HMRC about lettings income that may have been previously falling under their radar.

Airbnb is an on-line marketplace where people can rent out rooms, cottages, apartments and suchlike to those looking for short-term accommodation, city breaks, holidays or lower cost alternatives to hotels and overnight business stays.

We understand that various on-line providers, including Airbnb, are now exchanging information with HMRC. HMRC then uses their analytical tool “Connect” to track and monitor income from such sources. This powerful application was developed by BAE Systems and is the most advanced data gathering tool HMRC has at its disposal.

So, if you let property or a room on Airbnb, you can expect detailed information to be passed to the Revenue about your letting activities and the income it generates. While you may currently be able to earn up to £7,500* per year tax-free for furnished accommodation under the Government’s ‘Rent a Room Scheme‘, care needs to be taken to submit a tax return and pay tax on any income received once you have gone over that limit. Higher rate taxpayers also need to take care if their rental income pushes them into a higher tax bracket.

In order to qualify under the Rent a Room Scheme:

  • The room must be furnished;
  • The relief cannot be used if you let your home whilst living abroad;
  • The accommodation provided cannot be office space or business space.

Changes arriving in 2019:

HMRC recently held a consultation with relevant professionals and the public about whether the scheme should continue in its present form. Following this, they have announced that the scheme will be more restricted; landlords who do not live in their “main residence” at the same time as their tenants will probably no longer be able to claim “rent a room relief” from 6 April 2019.

Tax Help & Advice for Lettings Income

If you need our help handling your lettings tax needs, Taxfile is here to assist you. We’re tax experts and can guide you through the maze of rules and regulations concerning lettings, renting out accommodation, tax thresholds, knowing when it’s appropriate to work under the Rent a Room Scheme, whether you can claim expenses and so on. Book an appointment at your nearest Taxfile office: for Tulse Hill in London SE21 book an appointment on-line here; book here for Dulwich in SE21; for Battersea in SW8 book your appointment here or for Exeter and the South West, book your appointment here. We also have tax advisers who are available in other UK locations including Poole in Dorset, Carlisle, Yorkshire and Plymouth. Alternatively, simply call 0208 761 8000 or send us an email here and we’ll be happy to help to get you on the right track.

Learn more about our services to landlords and those earning an income from property lettings here.

* Correct for tax years 2016-17 and 2017-18. For tax year 2015-16 the threshold was only £4,250. Also note that the current year’s threshold reduces to £3,750 if someone else, for example a joint owner, receives lettings income in the same property.