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March Questions and Answers

Q. What are the implications of selling my Scottish home? I own and live in a property in Scotland. What are the implications of me selling the house to a relative, who will buy it using a buy-to-let mortgage, and allow me to stay in it and pay rent to her as a tenant?

A. If the house has always been your main residence, there should be no capital gains tax implications for you. Depending on the purchase price, your relative may have to pay the Scottish land and…

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Practical implications of the dividend tax allowance

The new rules governing the taxation of dividends are set to take effect in relation to dividends received after 5 April 2016. The changes include:

a £5,000 dividend nil rate (also known as the ‘dividend tax allowance’ (DTA)), which will effectively tax at the nil rate, the first £5,000 of taxable dividend income (i.e. after deducting the personal allowance, but treating dividends as the top slice of income, so the personal allowance is used last against dividends). Any dividends above the first £5,000 will be taxed as if…

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March Key Tax Dates

19/22 – PAYE/NIC, student loan and CIS deductions due for month to 5/3/2016

31 – Last minute tax planning for the 2015/16 tax year. Ensure you use up all exemptions to which you are entitled

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Employee bonus schemes in the spotlight

HMRC have recently published the latest addition to their tax avoidance guidance series, entitled Employee Bonus Schemes: Growth Securities Ownership Plan and other avoidance schemes based on contracts for difference (Spotlight 28). The Spotlight guidance confirms that, in HMRC’s opinion, growth securities ownership plan schemes do not work and any payment made by an employer to an employee on the maturity of the contract for difference should be taxed as employment income and subject to PAYE income tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs).

Broadly, under this type of arrangement,…

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Landlords’ replacement wear and tear allowance

Capital allowances are not available for expenditure on furniture and furnishings for use in dwelling houses. However, until 5 April 2016 (1 April 2016 for corporation tax) a deduction for wear and tear may be claimed (known as a ‘wear and tear allowance election’), equal to 10% of the ‘net rents’ from furnished lettings (ie after deducting payments that would normally be borne by the tenant, such as water rates). In addition, a deduction may be claimed for replacing fixtures that are an integral part of a building…

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Personal savings allowance update

From 6 April 2016, the personal savings allowance (PSA) will allow basic rate taxpayers to receive up to £1,000 of savings income tax-free. For higher rate taxpayers, this limit will be £500. HMRC have published guidance setting out details of what counts as savings income and how the allowance will be calculated, including some useful examples.

Savings income includes account interest from:

– bank and building society accounts;
– accounts with providers like credit unions or National Savings and Investments.

It also includes:

– interest distributions (but not dividend distributions) from authorised unit…

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Februrary Question and Answer Section

Q. Did my extended leave constitute a cessation of trade? I have been the sole director of a trading limited company for many years. Last year, I decided to take a long holiday and travelled around the world with my wife – indeed, we got on so well that we stayed away for around 12 months! Whilst I was away the company continued to collect outstanding payments, but it received no other income. I have now taken on another director/shareholder (50%) and company trading has resumed. Should I…

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Could EA exemption be avoided?

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has recently warned that Government plans to exclude one-person businesses from claiming the national insurance Employment Allowance (EA) from April 2016 will be too easy to dodge.

The Institute says that the planned curbs are easily avoided, either by appointing another director, such as a spouse, civil partner, other family member or friend, and paying that person a token wage; or by arranging payments of earnings so that the worker is not a director when at least one of the payments is made….

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Simplification of VAT MOSS for small businesses

HMRC Brief 4/2016 entitled VAT MOSS – simplifications for businesses trading below the VAT registration threshold, outlines simplifications available to businesses trading below the UK’s VAT registration threshold (currently £l;82,000) that make supplies of digital services (telecommunications, broadcasting or electronically supplied services) to consumers in other EU member states. Some simplifications are already in place and Brief 4/2016 announces two new areas of help for the smallest businesses.

Businesses need to determine where their customer is located. There are specific rules in place for certain types of transactions (see…

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HMRC prepare for National Living Wage (NLW)

The government has recently launched its campaign to promote the introduction of the new national living wage (NLW), which will take effect from 1 April 2016. From that date workers in the UK aged over 25 earning the minimum rate of £l;6.70 per hour will see a 50p increase in their minimum hourly rate, which is set to rise to £l;7.20 per hour.

The NLW will be enforced by HMRC alongside the national minimum wage (NMW), which they have enforced since its introduction in 1999.

The NMW is the minimum…

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