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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.

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

Further Delays on the Roll-Out of the Domestic Reverse Charge for the Building & Construction Services.

The domestic reverse-charge is a major change to the way VAT is collected by HMRC in the building and construction industry reporting under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).

It was being introduced to combat VAT fraud in the sector and the initial roll-out on 1st October 2019 was delayed due to a combination of the sector being ill-prepared for the change and Brexit. The date was moved forward 12-months to 1st October 2020 but due to COVID-19 the start date has been further advanced to 1st March 2021.

At Taxfile, we will start contacting our VAT clients working under the CIS, in preparation for the 1st March 2021 start date.

If you would like to know how to prepare your business for this, you will need to: 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

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

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.

Overseas assests - requirement to correct

Undeclared Overseas Assets? Beware the ‘Requirement to Correct’ Deadline!

Overseas assests - requirement to correct

What does this mean for me?

If you are a taxpayer with overseas assets which are undeclared as regards income tax, capital gains tax or inheritance tax, you have an obligation to sort things out by 30 September 2018.

People who ignore this requirement and whose income or assets subsequently come to light will face much, much higher penalties and sanctions after the deadline.

Why bother now?

The United Kingdom has signed up for information exchange with a whole host of other countries. The information it receives from them will be input into its intelligence system known as Connect. This increases the likelihood of undeclared sources coming to light.

What if I do nothing?

After the deadline date, if your undeclared sources of income or gains come to light, you will face potential penalties as follows:

  • A tax geared penalty of between 100% and 200% of the tax due;
  • A potential asset based penalty of up to 10% of the asset value where the relevant tax at stake is over £25,000 in any one tax year;
  • Adverse publicity from being publicly named as a tax cheat where the tax is over £25,000;
  • A further potential penalty of 50% of the standard penalty if the Revenue show that assets or funds have been moved in an attempt to avoid the requirement to correct.

If you have a reasonable excuse for failing to correct your tax position, such as failing health for example, then penalties may be reduced or not charged in exceptional circumstances.

Get Started:

If you think you might be affected or are in any doubt, we suggest you act now to avoid any problems before the deadline.

Call Taxfile on 0208 761 8000 for a no-obligation discussion if you want to put things right. Alternatively, book an appointment here. We have a wealth of experience in dealing with voluntary disclosures and negotiating settlements with HMRC, so can definitely help you. We offer tax advice and accountancy services from our offices in Tulse Hill, Dulwich and Battersea in South and South West London along with tax experts in Exeter, Plymouth, Poole, Dorset, Devon, Yorkshire and Carlisle.