News & Opinion

Keyword:

13-02-2019
Gifts out of disposable income

There is an annual Inheritance Tax exemption of £3,000 for gifts. This exemption can also be carried forward to the following tax year if not used to make a maximum gift of £6,000. You can also give unlimited individual gifts of up to £250 per person during the tax year, but only if you haven’t used another exemption on the same person. There are additional, special allowances for gifts made at a wedding or civil ceremony.

Use the following relief to exempt regular financial support to your family

It is also possible for wealthier taxpayers to make tax exempt gifts and payments that are paid as normal expenditure out of income. This is a very flexible exemption from IHT as there are no specific requirements such as having to make fixed regular gifts to the same person. With proper planning this can be a very useful tool. For example, to enable grandparents to help pay school fees for their grandchildren.

However, careful consideration has to be given to ensure that these payments form part of the transferor’s normal expenditure and is made out of income and not out of capital. The person gifting the money must ensure that they are left with enough money to maintain their normal standard of living out of their regular income after making the gift.

If you are unsure if your family arrangements are covered by this relief from IHT, please call for further advice.

Read more..

13-02-2019
What work is covered by the CIS scheme?

The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) is a set of special rules for tax and National Insurance for those working in the construction industry. Businesses in the construction industry are known as 'contractors' and 'subcontractors'. Under the scheme, contractors deduct money from subcontractors' payments and pass it to HMRC.

Contractors are defined as those who pay subcontractors for construction work or spent an average of more than £1m a year on construction over a three-year period. Subcontractors do not have to register for the CIS, but contractors must deduct 30% from their payments to unregistered subcontractors.

The alternative is to register as a CIS subcontractor where a 20% deduction is taken or to apply for gross payment status, where the contractor will not make any deductions and the subcontractor is responsible to pay all their tax and National Insurance at the end of the tax year.

The CIS covers all construction work carried out in the UK, including jobs such as:

  • site preparation
  • alterations
  • dismantling
  • construction
  • repairs
  • decorating
  • demolition

Exceptions to the definition of construction work includes professional work done by architects and surveyors, carpet fitting, scaffolding hire (with no labour) and work on construction sites that’s clearly not construction. The CIS does not apply to construction work carried on outside the UK.

Read more..

13-02-2019
When do you pay Capital Gains Tax?

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is normally charged at a simple flat rate of 20% and this applies to most chargeable gains made by individuals. However, if you only pay basic rate tax and make a small capital gain, you may only be subject to a reduced rate of 10%.

Once the total of your taxable income and gains exceed the higher rate threshold, the excess will be subject to 20% CGT. A higher rate of CGT applies (18% and 28%) to gains on the disposal of residential property (apart from a qualifying principal private residence). There is an annual CGT exemption for individuals of £11,700 for the current tax year and this will increase to £12,000 from 6 April 2019.

The usual due date for paying any CGT you owe to HMRC is the 31 January, following the end of the tax year in which a capital gain was made. This means that CGT for any gains crystalised before 6 April 2019 will be due for payment on or before 31 January 2020. However, if you waited until the start of the next tax year, you would have until 31 January 2021 to pay any CGT due. At the extreme end of the scale, you could benefit from an extra whole year to pay any CGT due just by waiting to crystallise a gain from the 5 April 2019 (2018-19 tax year) until the 6 April 2019 (2019-20 tax year). 

The usual way to report a gain is to complete the relevant sections of your Self Assessment tax return.

Reduction in payment period to 30 days

There are existing special payment and reporting requirements if you live abroad and sell a UK residential property and you must inform HMRC within 30 days of the sale. The notification must be made whether or not there is any non-resident CGT to be paid. Any non-resident CGT that is due must also be paid within 30 days of the conveyance date. There are penalties for late payment and we would strongly advise that you monitor any CGT due and ensure the relevant payment deadlines are met.

These changes will also apply to UK-residents from April 2020 if there is CGT to be paid on a residential property sale.

Read more..

13-02-2019
Class 4 NICs who is liable?

There are two types of National Insurance Contributions (NICs) payable by most self-employed people. These are known as Class 2 NICs and Class 4 NICs. Class 2 NICs are paid by all self-employed taxpayers unless they qualify for the small earnings exception or other exemptions which remove the necessity to pay NICs. Class 2 NICs are payable at a flat weekly rate.

In addition, most self-employed people are also required to pay Class 4 NICs. Class 4 NICs are payable (as well as Class 2 NICs) if profits are £8,424 or more a year. Class 4 NIC rates for the tax year 2018-19 are 9% for chargeable profits between £8,424 and £46,350 plus 2% on any profits over £46,350.

A number of categories of people are exempt from paying Class 4 NICs, these include:

  • People under the age of 16 at the beginning of the year of assessment.
  • People over State pension age at the beginning of the year of assessment. A person who attains State pension age during the course of the year of assessment remains liable for Class 4 NICs for the whole of that year.
  • Trustees, guardians etc, of an incapacitated person are exempted from Class 4 NICs on that income.

The Class 4 NIC rate is substantially lower than the corresponding rate for employees who pay National Insurance at 12% on the same income levels. Both the employed and self-employed pay 2% National Insurance contributions on income above the higher rate threshold.

Read more..

13-02-2019
Reduction in special Writing Down Allowance

Businesses can claim Capital Allowances tax relief for certain types of capital expenditure. For expenditure on plant and machinery that exceeds the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) and does not qualify for a first year allowance, a standard 18% Writing Down Allowance (WDA) is available. This is based on the cost of the items in the year they are acquired.

There is a lower rate known as the Special Writing Down Allowance available for certain long life assets, integral features and certain motor vehicles. The special rate of Writing Down Allowance is being reduced from 8% to 6% from April 2019. This reduction has been put in place to align tax depreciation with commercial depreciation rates and to align with the new Structures and Buildings Allowance.

Qualifying expenditure on cars must be allocated to one of two general P&M pools of expenditure. Which pool is appropriate depends on the car’s CO2 emissions. Expenditure on cars with CO2 emissions over 110g/km driven is dealt with in the special rate pool and attracts a WDA of 8% p.a (reducing to 6% in 2019-20). Expenditure on cars with CO2 emissions from 50g/km up to and including 110g/km driven, is dealt with in the main pool and attracts a WDA of 18% p.a. Cars with CO2 emissions up to 50g/km benefit from 100% first year Capital Allowance.

Read more..

13-02-2019
EIS Income Tax relief restriction for connected parties

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is designed to help smaller higher-risk trading companies raise finance by offering a range of tax reliefs to investors who purchase new shares in those companies.

In order for investors to be able to claim EIS tax reliefs, the company which issues the shares has to meet a number of rules regarding the kind of company it is, the amount of money it can raise, how and when that money must be employed for the purposes of the trade, and the trading activities carried on.

The amount of Income Tax relief for individual investors in the EIS is 30%, and the maximum annual amount that an individual can invest through the EIS is £1 million. The generous tax allowances are designed to off-set the fact that making investments in these types of companies can carry a high-risk. 

There is an Income Tax relief restriction that effectively denies EIS relief for connected parties. This measure is in place partly to ensure that the scheme attracts outside investors. The legislation defines associates as including business partners, trustees of any settlement of which the investor is a settlor or beneficiary, and relatives. Relatives are defined as spouses and civil partners, parents and grandparents, children and grandchildren. This means, for example, that parents could not invest in their children’s businesses. 

However, the list of associates does not include 'family' members such as brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, unmarried partners and in-laws. This leaves some scope to attract investment from one's extended family.

Read more..

13-02-2019
Tax codes for employees

The P9X form is used to notify employers of the tax code to use for employees. The form shows the tax codes to use from 6 April 2019. The basic Personal Allowance for the tax year starting 6 April 2019 will be £12,500 and the tax code for emergency will be 1250L. The basic rate limit is £37,500 except for those defined as Scottish taxpayers who have a lower basic rate limit as well as an intermediate rate.

As a result of the increase in the basic Personal Allowance, there will be a general uplift of tax codes with suffix 'L' which have increased by 65. Employers should add 65 to any tax code ending in L, for example 1185L will become 1250L. The new form P9X is available online on GOV.UK to download or print.

The P9X (2019) form also includes information to help employers in the new tax year. The document reminds employers that have new employees starting work between 6 April and 24 May 2019 and who provide you with a P45 to follow the instructions at www.gov.uk/new-employee

Read more..

06-02-2019
Alcohol duty freeze confirmed

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond recently paid a visit to an independent brewery in Liverpool and confirmed that the duty rates on beers, spirits and most ciders will be frozen at the current rates for another year from 1 February 2019. These measures mean that the average price for a bottle of whisky will be £1.50 less and a pint of beer 14p less than if the rates had increased as expected based on the duty escalator.

The Chancellor hailed the duty freeze as offering much needed support to the pubs and drink industry as well as for beer lovers who can raise a toast as Dry January has finished. However, it was not all good news as an RPI inflationary increase in the duty band for high strength sparkling cider known as 'white ciders' with alcohol levels above 5.5% came into effect from 1 February 2019. The price of wine also increased by RPI inflation from the same date.

Philip Hammond, Chancellor of Exchequer, said:

'These duties would have otherwise come into effect today (1 February 2019) but instead we’re supporting an industry that employs 900,000 people across the UK. Whether it’s local pubs, craft cider mills or independent distillers, this government is helping these businesses to thrive and ensuring they remain at the heart of our economy.'

The government is also looking at the efficiency of the Small Brewers Relief to make sure the scheme continues to support the country’s smallest beer makers, helping them to grow and expand into new markets.

Read more..

06-02-2019
Will you pay tax on your inheritance?

If you inherit property, money or shares you are usually not liable to pay tax on the inheritance. This is because any Inheritance Tax (IHT) due should be paid out of the deceased’s estate before any cash or assets are distributed to the heirs.

There is normally no tax to be paid by the deceased’s estate if the value of the estate is below the IHT nil rate threshold of £325,000. There is also an IHT main residence nil-rate band (RNRB) that was introduced in April 2017. The RNRB will ultimately allow for a £175,000 per person transferable allowance for married couples and civil partners when their qualifying main residence is passed down to children after their death. The RNRB is in addition to the £325,000 IHT threshold.

If you receive an inheritance, you will be liable to Income Tax on any profit earned after the inheritance, such as dividends from shares. You may also need to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on any increase in value on assets after the date of inheritance, if the same assets are sold or otherwise disposed of.

The main exception is if you received a gift during a person's lifetime. These lifetime transfers are known as Potentially Exempt Transfers (PETs). These gifts or transfers achieve their potential of becoming exempt from IHT if the taxpayer survives for more than seven years after making the gift. If the person making the gift dies within 3 years of making the gift, then IHT is payable as if the gift was made on death.

A tapered relief is available if death occurs between three and seven years after the gift is made. There are insurance products such as a seven-year term assurance policy that can be used to reduce the amount of IHT due should the taxpayer pass away within seven years of making a gift. You may also have to pay IHT if your inheritance was put into a trust and the trust can’t or won’t pay any tax due.

Read more..

06-02-2019
Struggling to pay your January tax bill?

Have you missed the 31 January 2019 deadline for paying your tax bill? The 31 January was not just the final date for submission of your Self Assessment tax return but also an important date for payment of other tax due. This included the payment of any Capital Gains Tax due in relation to the 2017-18 tax year, and also the due date for your first payment on account for 2018-19.

If you were unable to pay some or all of the monies due to HMRC, you need to be pro-active and contact HMRC as soon as possible. Avoiding the issue and hoping the problem will go away is only making things worse. You can contact HMRC to apply to make a payment plan and seek to agree a way forward. We can also help deal with this on your behalf and seek to negotiate the most favourable repayment terms possible.

Requests for time to pay or other arrangements are usually handled by the Business Payment Support Service (BPSS). The BPSS is available to all taxpayers (not just businesses).

The services offered by the BPSS depend on individual circumstances but can include:

  • agreeing instalment arrangements
  • suspending any debt collection proceedings
  • reviewing penalties for missing statutory deadlines
  • reducing any payments on account
  • agreeing to defer payments due to short-term cash flow difficulties

Need help negotiating with HMRC?

If you have missed the 31 January payment date and have received a payment demand, like a tax bill or a letter threatening you with legal action, then you need to take immediate action. Call the HMRC payment support service as soon as you can, their contact numbers are on the GOV.UK website. If you need help considering your options please call our offices.

Read more..