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Pension freedom or liberation?

Pension freedom is a GOOD thing. The change in law from 6 April 2015 means that members of defined contribution pension schemes who are aged 55 or more should be able to draw what they want from their pension schemes. But “pension liberation” is a BAD thing. This is when scammers use confidence tricks to separate taxpayers from their pension savings, and the taxpayer has to pay high charges and tax penalties. Can you tell the difference?

If you are thinking about taking funds from your pension plan, you…

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Budget March 2015 – Download our free guide (PDF)

In this analysis we have mainly concentrated on the tax measures that will directly affect individuals, employers and small businesses.

We are committed to ensuring all our clients don’t pay a penny more in tax than is necessary.

If you have any questions or would like one-to-one advice tailored to your needs, please call us on 01792 466 428 or email [email protected].

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Company cars

Does your company still own or lease the car you use for private journeys? You may need to rethink that arrangement in light of the tax charges due to apply in the years ahead.

From 6 April 2015 all company cars will generate a tax charge for the driver and the employer, even electric cars will be taxed on 5% of their list price. The taxable benefit for other low emission vehicles (51-75g/kg) will leap up from 5% to 9% of the vehicle’s list price. The taxable benefit for…

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Child benefit claw-back

If you or your spouse/partner claim child benefit, and at least one of you has adjusted net income of £50,000 or more for the year, the highest earner must declare the benefit on their tax return in order to pay back part or all of the child benefit as a tax charge.

HMRC is writing to taxpayers who it thinks should have paid the child benefit tax charge for 2013/14, but didn’t. Unfortunately some people who have received such letters are childless, or haven’t claimed child benefit for decades.

If…

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RTI penalties

Last month we warned you about the penalties coming into effect for late filed RTI reports. The good news is that HMRC are cutting employers just a little slack, and will now allow three extra days in which to submit the full payment submission (FPS) report.

Normally the FPS must be submitted on or before the day the employees are paid, but there are some circumstances in which the FPS can be submitted up to 7 or 14 days later. For example, the FPS can be submitted within 7…

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Salary, dividend or pension contribution?

When you work for your own company you can decide how much salary to pay yourself, how much to pay into your pension fund, and what proportion of the remaining profits to take as a dividend. The split is important as it will affect the tax and national insurance payable by you and your company.

A salary just sufficient to be covered by your personal allowance (£10,600 for 2015/16), will be tax free, assuming you have no other income. However, if your company has more than one employee (including…

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Unpaid Self Assessment Tax Surcharge Imminent

If you have not made arrangements to settle your outstanding self-assessment tax, which was due for payment on 31 January 2015, penalties could be levied by HMRC.  In order to avoid a 5% surcharge being levied on your balancing payment for 2013/14, payment will need to be made no later than 2 March 2015.  HMRC is taking a very stringent approach with taxpayers with little clemency for late payment. The easiest method to settle the outstanding tax is via…

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Holiday Pay

There has been some panic whipped up in the media about employers having to pay vast amounts of back-dated holiday pay to employees who regularly get paid for overtime.

In general holiday pay is calculated according to an employee’s “normal pay”, which for years has been judged not to include overtime payments. However, in a recent Employment Tribunal (Fulton v Bear Scotland [2014] UKEATS/0047/13), the judge decided that both guaranteed and non-guaranteed overtime should…

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VAT Benchmarking

HMRC are currently writing to around 7,500 furniture retailers and car repair businesses asking the owners to check the figures reported on their VAT returns. If you receive one of those letters, don’t panic. HMRC do not believe your VAT return is wrong, they are just asking you to double check your sales and purchase figures.

The HMRC letter asks you to work out your VAT mark-up ratio by comparing the difference between your sales and purchases (i.e. gross profit),…

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Supporting the Sick

It is such a pain when a key employee is off sick. You are required to pay that person statutory sick pay (SSP) once he or she has been absent from work for four days. To add insult to injury you can’t reclaim any of the SSP paid since 6 April 2014. Payments of SSP made for periods before 6 April 2014 can be reclaimed from HMRC where the SSP exceeds 13% of the class 1 NI paid to HMRC for the month.

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