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Mortgage Holidays ENDING

Mortgage Holiday Deadline Looming

Could you do with a few months’ mortgage holiday?

The availability of a three month mortgage holiday was first announced in March 2020, as part of a package of support for individuals as COVID-19 spread rapidly through the UK.  For the 1.8M people that took up the initiative in March, the holidays came to an end in June 2020, while the pandemic still raged on.

Mortgage lenders then announced their own support if your income had been affected by the pandemic, with a repayment holiday of up to a maximum of six months.

If you have not taken any holidays on your mortgage payments yet, you can apply for a payment holiday of up to six months in total.  However, you should continue to make payments if you can afford to.  The deadline for applying for a repayment holiday is 31st March 2021, so act now if you have not applied for a mortgage holiday and are still suffering a cash flow constraint due to the pandemic. Applying by end of March can still get you a mortgage holiday until 31 July 2021.

Your payment holiday can be up to a maximum of six months. If you have already taken the full six-month payment holiday, you cannot apply for another one, however your lender might be able to help you in other ways.  Contact them so you don’t miss a mortgage payment and adversely affect your credit rating.

If you have already taken a payment holiday but not for the full 6 months, then this can be extended up to the maximum term. However, it’s in your best interests to start your repayments again if you can afford to.

Note that cancelling your direct debit is not a payment holiday and will be counted as a missed payment if it has not been agreed with your lender — possibly resulting in your credit file being adversely affected and impacting your ability to re-mortgage.

The main options your lender may consider for repayment once your mortgage payment holiday period is over are:

  • Spreading your deferred payments over the outstanding term of your mortgage by increasing your monthly mortgage repayments.
  • Increasing the length of your mortgage term, resulting in a smaller increase in your monthly repayments.
  • Making interest-only or capital-only repayments during your mortgage holiday.

There is help for you out there and it can be flexible, but ultimately it needs you to ACT NOW. Call your lender by 31 March or you will simply miss out.

HMRC Extends the Self-Assessment Submission Deadline to 28th February BUT Payments still need to be made by 31st January

Self-Assessment tax return deadline extendedto February but tax needs to be paid by 31 January

Yesterday HMRC made an 11th hour decision to give the remaining 3 million tax payers an additional 28-days to file their tax return electronically.

For most, a submission after the 31st of January would have resulted in a £100 late filing penalty.  With planning already underway at HMRC on how to cope with the administrative task of appeals around COVID & late filing, HMRC has decided to only issue the penalties after 28th February, effectively offering a 1-month extension on the electronic submission of self-assessment income tax.

However, the payment date for taxes remains unchanged, so it is important to note that taxpayers are still obliged to pay any tax they still owe (including any deferred payments) by 31/01.  In fact we are advising our clients to pay as much as they can into their HMRC self-assessment account and to view it as a bank account with HMRC so that, once their taxes are filed, they are not left with any unwanted surprises with interest on late payments, as any unpaid tax from 19/20 will be charged interest as of 01/02.

The extension has been welcomed and our own Director Guy Bridger had approached the Treasury requesting this extension.  so even though there is a sense of relief, we are adamant that tax payers realise they need to settle their outstanding tax bill if they can, even if it is an estimate, otherwise they will face HMRC’s low rate of annual interest on late payment of taxes along with the initial surcharge of 5% of any tax unpaid for the 19/20 tax year after 28-days.  So Guy’s suggestion is to pay as much tax as you can before 28th of February.

Please view your UTR as a bank account with HMRC, and any money paid into HMRC’s account with your UTR is money that will sit on your account until it needs to be used up.

So, even though your taxes can now be filed electronically by no later than 28/02, you will need to pay money into your HMRC account by 31/01.  If you still need us to calculate and submit your 19/20 taxes, please come and see us or call us on 020 8761 8000. Even though we might not file them before the 31st January, you will at least know the outstanding amount owed.

Guy Tells No. 10 to Extend Self-Assessment Deadline

BREAKING NEWS: No. 10 Heeds Guy’s Plea — & Extends Self-Assessment Deadline!

HMRC Heeds Guy's Plea & Extends Self-Assessment Deadline!

[BREAKING NEWS:] 11 days ago we published a post confirming that Guy Bridger, Taxfile’s founder, had personally delivered a postcard to No. 10 Downing Street, making the case for an extension to the Self-Assessment tax return deadline until the end of February. In Guy’s postcard to Boris Johnson, he had argued that there was simply too much pressure on people during Christmas, the New Year and the month of January, due to the bottleneck caused by the Self Assessment tax return deadline.

Well, in some very welcome good news, it seems the Government has listened to Guy’s plea. This afternoon HMRC confirmed:

“Self Assessment customers will not receive a penalty for filing their 2019-20 tax return late, as long as they file online by 28‌‌ ‌February.”

They went on to say:

“We are still encouraging customers who have not yet filed to do so by 31‌‌ January, if possible.”

This is great news for the people of the UK, in what are otherwise challenging times. Tens of thousands of accountants across the nation will also be hugely relieved. We also suspect that under-pressure HMRC staff will be happy about this development.  Accountants and taxpayers across the UK may well be queueing to buy Guy a drink when the pubs re-open!

It’s important to realise, however, that the tax owed for the tax year 2019-20 will still be due by 31 January. HMRC will charge interest from 1 February as usual. Guy’s company Taxfile is here to help compute the figures, though. For those who wish to take advantage and submit tax returns online during the February extension, but also want pay tax by 31 January in order to avoid interest, we have now published some further guidance here on what to do. That new guidance will help even if you’re not yet 100% sure of the figures, so take a look via that bold link.

Contact Taxfile for Help with Tax Returns & Any Tax-Related Issue

To contact Guy Bridger or any of the helpful tax experts at his company Taxfile, simply get in touch. We’re here to help!

 

You can learn more about Guy Bridger, his involvement at The Office of Tax Simplification and his company Taxfile here. If you would like to read Guy’s original article about the postcard given to Boris Johnson, click here.

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

[THERE IS BREAKING NEWS ABOUT THIS POST – CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS]

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 for Income Tax Self Assessment (MTDfITSA). Are you ready?

Making tax digital for Income Tax Self Assessment

The Government has now pencilled in what they regard as a firm date to implement MTD for ITSA, for all landlords and business owners that have an income above £10,000.

The next accounting period starting on or after 06/04/2023 that meet the above mentioned criteria will need to be compiled & submitted via MTD-compatible software.

If you are self-employed or a landlord with a turnover greater than £10k, how will MTD affect you?

1.  You will need to submit a quarterly summary of your businesses income & expenses to HMRC using MTD-compliant software.  Yes, you read that correctly.  No longer can you do your tax return in one go, with a lot of our customers leaving it to December or even January before they come to see us.  As your tax agents, we would need your business transactions every 3 months, to compile, compute, and submit through to HMRC.

The timing of the quarterly updates is determined by the accounting period of the business but typically the 4 quarters will be:

  • 6 April to 5 July
  • 6 July to 5 October
  • 6 October to 5 January
  • 6 January to 5 April

2.  All your income and expenses will need to be individually logged electronically.  The technical term used is that every business transaction will have an ‘electronic signature’.  These signatures will then be submitted to HMRC every 3 months and you will receive an estimated tax projection for the year based on the information provided.

3.  At the end of the year, any non-business information, foreign income, other income, etc is added to finalise your tax affairs and submitted using the MTD-compatible software.  This replaces the need for a Self Assessment tax return.  You will then have 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

The Early Bird Gang

HMRC expects people to do tax returns for various reasons;

  • Those that have an income outside of a PAYE scheme (i.e. self-employed)
  • High earners on PAYE schemes, earning above £100K
  • Company Directors & Shareholders
  • Landlords who have rental incomes

The tax returns calculated generally run between the dates 06/04/xx through to 05/04/xy, the calculation, submission, and payment deadline  of taxes owed to HMRC (or you), would need to be submitted at the latest 31/01/xz, before penalties & interest are imposed.

Each year, the Government announces a tax free allowance, which is the amount you can earn before your income starts to get taxed.  The tax free allowance for 2018/19 is £11,850.00.  However, this allowance decreases by £1 for every £2 earned above £100k, meaning by the time your reach £125K, the allowance is £0.

The amount of tax paid on income is also specified by the government & is subject to change with announcements made generally in the Budget statements.  For 2018-19 the rates are as follows;

Tax Rate (Band) Taxable Income Tax Rate
Personal allowance Up to £11,850 0%
Basic rate £11,851 to £46,350 20%
Higher rate £46,351 to £150,000 40%
Additional rate Over £150,000 45%

*For 2019-20 the new rates & tax free allowance can be found HERE.

Since 6th April 2019, you would have been able to calculate & submit your 2018/19 tax return to HMRC, so since then the Tax Agents at Taxfile have been busy filing away for the early birds.   We have been open on Saturdays too, to keep up with the influx of tax returns & CIS returns.

However, the last Saturday that we will be open will be 29th June.  If you would like to join our ‘gang’ of Early Bird & can only come in on Saturdays, you only have a few weekends left.

Please note, on Saturdays, all our agents see clients by appointment only, and can not generally deal with walk-in clients.  So please book in advance by either calling 020 8761 8000 or booking online HERE.

So get our professional help at Taxfile & we’ll make filling in and filing your tax return a breeze.

See our Newsletter HERE

Holiday lettings: tax guide for landlords with furnished lets in the UK/EU

A Tax Guide for Landlords with Holiday Lets

Holiday lettings: tax guide for landlords with furnished lets in the UK/EU

Do you have a holiday cottage, flat or apartment that you rent out to holidaymakers? If so, our handy ‘Holiday lettings’ guide for landlords could be very useful to you — and it could save you money. It’s packed full of useful information and tax tips that will help you to make the most of your holiday property, at the same time as keeping on the right side of the tax man.

The Pros

We’ve written a section all about the tax breaks that apply to qualifying holiday lets. These include capital allowances for things you pay for when fitting out your holiday property, the tax treatment of expenses, the ability to pay pension contributions on your profits, several types of relief (some of which may affect your exposure to Capital Gains Tax) and small business rate relief.

The Cons

There’s also a section in the guide that covers some of the downsides to tax on holiday lettings. These include the need to get your VAT Registration status and charges right (where applicable) and also the tax treatment of any trading losses.

Qualifying Conditions

Lastly, there’s a section that outlines the qualifying conditions that apply if you want to treat your property as a holiday let rather than as an ordinary rental property. That’s important because different tax rules apply to each category and you could miss out on some excellent tax breaks if you don’t get it right. For example, the holiday rental property must be fully furnished and allow for self-catering holidays. Also, the property must be available for a particular number of days per year and be rented out in a particular way. It should not be occupied by the same tenant(s) for more than Read more