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Scary Letters

Have you received a scary letter from HMRC lately? Perhaps all HMRC letters are scary, but this latest nudge-letter really takes the biscuit.

In it HMRC says the taxpayer’s effective rate of income tax is lower than the average for taxpayers with similar levels of income. It goes on to suggest that there could be something wrong with the self-assessment tax return for 2011/12 and the taxpayer should check what they submitted for that year. Penalties and interest are mentioned, which would worry anyone – even those with nothing…

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PAYE Reconciliations

If most of your income is taxed under PAYE (Pay As You Earn) you may soon receive a reconciliation of the income tax you have paid compared to the amount that was due to be paid for 2013/14. This calculation arrives on a form P800, which should be checked very carefully for errors and omissions. If mistakes are missed they can be carried forward for several years, resulting in escalating amounts of tax over or under-paid.

For example the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) may be due where…

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VAT on Digital Services

Do you sell digital services such as: music or software downloads, e-books or online videos? If so, do you know where your customers are, and whether they are businesses or individuals?

From 1st January 2015, when you sell digital services across international borders you will have to collect information about your customers to determine if they are businesses or not, and where they are based. Where your international sale is to a non-business customer, from 2015 you will have to charge that customer VAT of the country where he…

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Real Time Information (RTI) Penalty Notices

As an employer you may have received an RTI penalty warning letter accusing you of not submitting all of the RTI returns required for 2013/14. However, that letter may be incorrect.

HMRC has admitted that its computer has churned out inappropriate penalty warning letters to employers who have submitted employer payment summaries (EPS) during 2013/14. If you have submitted all the required RTI returns for the tax year you can ignore the warning letter, as a penalty will not be charged.

This “cry wolf” by HMRC sets a dangerous precedent,…

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VAT and Discounts

Do you offer prompt payment discounts to your customers – known as PPDs?

Under UK law VAT is payable on the net amount after deducting the discount, whether or not the customer takes advantage of the discount.

Say you sell a carpet for £1,000 + VAT, and offer 3% discount if the customer pays with 10 days. VAT is charged at 20% on £970 ie £194, rather than as 20% of £1,000 which is £200. Even if the customer takes two weeks to pay and thus doesn’t qualify for the…

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Real Time Information (RTI) Interest

In the past some employers would play the PAYE system, holding on to the PAYE deductions until the last payment date of the year, and then paying the balance due before interest was charged. That is no longer possible under real time information (RTI), as interest is now charged on late paid PAYE and CIS deductions on a monthly basis throughout the tax year.

The interest is applied to payments which fall due on and after 19 May 2014, which are paid late. If you check your business tax…

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Marginal Tax Rates

What rate of tax would you pay on an additional £1 of earnings? If your annual income is between £41,865 and £150,000 you may think the tax rate would be 40%, but the peculiarities of the UK tax system mean you could pay much more.

To start with earned income above the 40% threshold carries a national insurance charge (NICs) of 2% so for every £1 you earn above £41,865 (for 2014/15) you will pay 42% in tax and NICs.

Child benefit is withdrawn from the highest earner in the…

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Marginal Tax Rates

What rate of tax would you pay on an additional £1 of earnings? If your annual income is between £41,865 and £150,000 you may think the tax rate would be 40%, but the peculiarities of the UK tax system mean you could pay much more.

To start with earned income above the 40% threshold carries a national insurance charge (NICs) of 2% so for every £1 you earn above £41,865 (for 2014/15) you will pay 42% in tax and NICs.

Child benefit is withdrawn from the highest earner in the…

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Salaried Members of LLPs

Do you operate your business as an LLP? If you do, you need to be aware of the change in tax treatment of certain LLP members from 6 April 2014. Members who meet all of these conditions will be taxed as employees:

 

A. works for the LLP as an LLP member and at least 80% of the amounts paid to him for that work are disguised salary;

 

B. does not have significant influence over the affairs of the whole of the LLP; and

 

C. is not required to contribute funds to…

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Corporation Tax Rates

The corporation tax rates for small and large companies will be aligned at 20% from April 2015. This will remove the need for the associated companies rule and the marginal rate of corporation tax will disappear. The rates for the three financial to 31 March 2016 have been announced as:

 

Year beginning 1 April: 2013 2014 2015
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