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61 Friar Gate  Derby  DE1 1DJ

 

Registered to carry out audit work Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

www.auditregister.org.uk under number 8011438

Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
Phone

01332 202660

Blog

Government’s draft IR35 legislation contains important changes

Adrian Mooy - Thursday, August 29, 2019
 
After much anticipation, the Government has now published its draft legislation for the off-payroll working (IR35) rules, which will be enforced in the private sector from 6 April 2020.

 

The latest policy document for the private sector shares a number of similarities with that already in force in the public sector.

 

However, it does introduce a few new changes which contractors and businesses should be aware of as they begin to prepare for the changes ahead.

 

It was already known that the Government intended to introduce some form of exemption for small businesses, but this has now been confirmed in the draft legislation.

 

This means that contractors engaged by a company classed as ‘small’ in a tax year according to the Companies Act 2006 will need to continue operating IR35 as they currently do.

 

The new legislation will also introduce a new term for hiring organisations to provide IR35 decisions, referred to as a ‘status determination statement’ (SDS), which must be provided by businesses to contractors.

 

This must include both a decision on IR35 and the reasoning behind it. Not providing an SDS will be seen as a business failing to fulfil its obligations, and thus the liability will sit with it until a suitable SDS is submitted to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

 

To reduce the number of conflicts, the draft legislation has also confirmed that businesses will only have 45 days to consider and respond to any disagreements of a status decision with the reasoning behind their decision.

 

This differs drastically from the current system which allows a contractor to challenge the decision at any point via HMRC or through an appeal heard at Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and/or judge at a tribunal hearing.

HMRC advises VAT-registered businesses to plan for potential no-deal Brexit

Adrian Mooy - Tuesday, August 27, 2019
 
HMRC has written to 145,000 VAT-registered businesses that only trade with the EU, advising them to plan ahead for a potential no-deal Brexit.

 

The letters outline changes to customs, excise and VAT in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a Brexit deal. UK firms are advised to register for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.
 
Without this, businesses will not be able to move goods in and out of the UK. HMRC also recommends giving couriers EORI numbers so that they can clear goods.

 

Additionally, firms will need an EU EORI number in order to 'deal with the customs processes of EU Member States'.

 

Commenting on the matter, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: 'Businesses still need clarity on many other cross-border trade issues, such as customs procedures at borders following a no-deal exit and when the government will launch an official database to provide ease of access to information on tariffs and quotas.'

 

The government has started to automatically enrol UK firms into a customs system in order to simplify trade with the EU post-Brexit. HMRC stated that it will 'continue to engage with businesses, representative organisations, intermediaries and infrastructure providers to ensure they have the information and support they need'.

Changes in VAT for Contractors and Subcontractors

Adrian Mooy - Saturday, August 24, 2019
 
Confused by the new CIS reverse charge VAT rules that come into effect from 1 October 2019?

 

HMRC have issued further guidance at:
 
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/vat-domestic-reverse-charge-for-building-and-construction-services#overview
 
The basics are that as from 1 October 2019 if you are a VAT registered subcontractor working for a contractor you will no longer be paid for the VAT element of your invoice and pay it over to HMRC. The customer will need to do this for you.
 
You will need to verify your customer is VAT registered and make a note on the invoice to make it clear that the domestic reverse charge applies and that the customer is required to account for the VAT.
 
Practically the software you are using should account for this for you with a different tax code.
 
If you are working on Zero rate new builds the rules will not apply.
 
Worried about how your cash flow will be affected when the new rules come in? HMRC are suggesting you change to monthly VAT returns or contact their business support services.
 
Still confused?  Get in contact with us and we can help you be ready for the change.

 


Off payroll working rules going ahead

Adrian Mooy - Thursday, August 22, 2019
 
The draft Finance Bill clauses issued for consultation on 11 July include legislation to extend the “off-payroll” working rules to the private sector from 6 April 2020. These changes will have significant implications for workers providing their services through personal service companies and also the end user organisations that engage such workers.

 

End users will be required to determine whether the worker would have been an employee if directly engaged and hence the new rules apply to the services provided by the worker via his or her personal service company. This will be a significant additional administrative burden on the large and medium-sized businesses who will be required to operate the new rules. The current CEST (Check Employment Status for Tax) online tool would be improved before the proposed start date.

 

Small Employers Excepted

 

Small businesses acting as end users will be outside of the new obligations. Services supplied to such organisations will continue to be dealt with under the current IR35 rules, with the worker and his or her personal service company effectively self-assessing whether the rules apply to that particular engagement.
 
The draft Finance Bill confirms that the definition of “small” is linked to the Companies Act 2006 definition.
 
This is where the business satisfies two or more of the following conditions:

 

 - Annual turnover of £10.2 million or less
 - Balance Sheet total of £5.1 million or less (gross assets)
 - 50 employees or less

 

There will be an obligation to pass details of the status determination down the labour supply chain. The liability for tax and national insurance will be the responsibility of the entity paying the personal service company. However, if HMRC are unable to collect the tax from that entity, the liability will pass up the labour supply chain, thus encouraging those entities further up the supply chain to carry out due diligence.

Private Residence Relief changes

Adrian Mooy - Monday, August 19, 2019
 
The government published draft legislation on the changes to Private Residence Relief (PRR). The draft legislation is subject to consultation which closes on 5 September 2019.

 

For properties that have not been occupied throughout the period of ownership, available deductions for capital gains tax purposes will be limited as follows:
 
the final period exemption will be reduced from 18 months to 9 months and
 
lettings relief will be reformed so that it only applies in those circumstances where the owner of the property is in shared-occupancy with a tenant. Letting relief will be restricted or curtailed for disposals on or after 6 April 2020, regardless of when the period of letting took place.

 

Brian Slater, Chair of CIOT's Property Taxes Sub-committee, said:

 

'Many home owners are still unaware that the final period exemption was reduced from 36 months to 18 months in 2014. A further reduction to just nine months is likely to bring more property disposals within the scope of CGT.

 

Another aspect of the relief which is also changing from 6 April 2020 is lettings relief, limiting it to narrowly defined circumstances in which the owner shares occupation of their house with a tenant.'

Non-residents landlord scheme

Adrian Mooy - Friday, August 16, 2019
 
A non-resident landlord is a landlord who lets out property in the UK but spends more than six months in the tax year outside the UK. A special tax scheme – the non-residents landlord scheme – applies to these landlords. Under the scheme, tax must be deducted by a letting agent or tenant from the rent paid to the non-resident landlord and paid over to HMRC.

 

Tenants

 

A tenant falls within the NRL scheme where the landlord is a non-resident landlord and the rent paid to the landlord is more than £100 a week. Where the rent is less than £100 a week (£5,200 a year), the tenant is not required to deduct tax from the rent (unless told to do so by HMRC). The tenant is also relieved of the obligation to deduct tax if HMRC have notified the tenant in writing that the landlord can receive the rent without tax being deducted; however the tenant must still register with HMRC and complete an annual return.

 

Where the tenant pays rent to a letting agent, it is the letting agent rather than the tenant who must operate the scheme.

 

Letting agents

 

Letting agents must also operate the NRL scheme where they collect rent on behalf of a non-resident landlord, regardless of how much rent they collect (unless HMRC have informed the letting agent in writing that the landlord can receive the rent without tax being deducted).
A letting agent is someone who helps the landlord run their business, receives rent on their behalf or controls where it goes and who usually lives in the UK.

 

Complying with the scheme

 

To comply with the scheme, tenants and letting agents must

 

 • register with the HMRC within 30 days of the date on which they are first required to operate the scheme– letting agents should use form NRL4i and tenants should write to HMRC
 • work out the tax to be deducted each quarter
 • send quarterly payments of tax deducted to HMRC Accounts Office, Shipley
 • send a report to HMRC and the landlord by 5 July after the end of the tax year on form NRLY
 • provide the non-resident landlord with a certificate of tax deducted each year (on form NRL6)
 • keep records for four years to show that they have complied with the scheme

 

Calculating the tax

 

Tax should be calculated on a quarterly basis on:

 

•any rental income paid to the landlord in the quarter
•any payments that they make in the quarter to third parties which are not ‘deductible payments’

 

Deductible payments are those that the tenant or letting agent can be ‘reasonably satisfied’ will be deductible in computing the profits of the landlord’s property rental business. Reassuringly, in their guidance, HMRC state that they ‘do not expect letting agents and tenants to be tax experts’.

 

The quarters run to 30 June, 30 September, 31 December and 31 March. The tax deducted must be paid over to HMRC within 30 days of the end of the quarter.

 

The non-resident landlord

 

The non-resident landlord can set the tax deducted under the scheme against that payable on the profits of his or her property rental business.

 

Property income receipts – what should be included?

Adrian Mooy - Thursday, August 15, 2019
 
When calculating the profit or loss for a property rental business, it is important that nothing is overlooked. The receipts which need to be taken into account may include more than simply the rent received from letting out the property.

 

Rent and other receipts

 

Income from a property rental business includes all gross rents received before any deductions, for example, for property management fees or for letting agents’ fees. Other receipts, such as ground rents, should be taken into account.

 

Deposits

 

The treatment of deposits can be complex. A deposit may be taken to cover the cost of any damage incurred by the tenant. Where a property is let on an assured shorthold tenancy, the tenants’ deposit must be placed in a tenancy deposit scheme.
Deposits not returned at the end of the tenancy or amounts claimed against bonds should normally be included as income. However, any balance of a deposit that is not used to cover services or repairs and is returned to the tenant should be excluded from income.

 

Jointly-owned property

 

Where a property is owned by two or more people, it is important that the profit or loss is allocated between the joint owners correctly. Where the joint owners are married or in a civil partnership, profits and losses will be allocated equally, even if the property is owned in unequal shares, unless a form 17 election has been made for profits and losses to be allocated in accordance with actual ownerships shares where these are unequal.
Where the joint owners are not spouses or civil partners, profits and losses are normally divided in accordance with actual ownership shares, unless a different split has been agreed.

 

Overseas rental properties

 

Where a person has both UK and overseas rental properties, it is important that they are dealt with separately. The person will have two property rental business – one for UK properties and one for overseas properties. Losses arising on an overseas let cannot be offset against profits of a UK let and vice versa. Proper records should be kept so that the income and expenses can be allocated to the correct property rental business.

 

Furnished holiday lettings

 

Different tax rules apply to the commercial letting of furnished holiday lettings and where a let qualifies as a furnished holiday let it must be kept separate from UK lets that are not furnished holiday lettings. Likewise, furnished lets in the EEA must be dealt with separately from UK furnished holiday lets.

 

Getting it right

 

Good record keeping is essential to ensure that not only that all sources of income are taken into account, but also that any income received is allocated to the correct property rental business.

 

Partner note: HMRC’s property rental toolkit (see www.gov.uk/government/publications/hmrc-property-rental-toolkit).

 

Using a SIPP to save for retirement

Adrian Mooy - Wednesday, August 14, 2019
 
A SIPP is a self-invested personal pension which is set up by an insurance company or specialist SIPP provider. It is attractive to those who wish to manage their own investments. Contribution to a SIPP may be made by both the individual and, where appropriate, by the individual’s employer.

 

Investments

 

The range of potential investment is greater for a SIPP than for a personal pension or group personal pension scheme.

 

The SIPP can invest in a wide range of assets, including:

 

 • quoted and unquoted shares;
 • unlisted shares;
 • collective investment schemes (OEICs and unit trusts);
 • investment trusts;
 • property and land (but excluding residential property); and
 • insurance funds.

 

A SIPP can also borrow money to purchase investments. For example, a SIPP could take out a mortgage to fund the purchase a commercial property, which could be rented out. The rental income would be paid into the SIPP and this could be used to pay the mortgage and other costs associated with the property.

 

Making contributions

 

Tax-relieved contributions can be made to the SIPP up to the normal limits set by the annual allowance. This is set at £40,000 for 2019/20. The annual allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 which adjusted net income exceeds £150,000 where threshold income exceeds £110,000, until the minimum level of £10,000 is reached. Anyone with adjusted net income of £210,000 and above and threshold income of at least £110,000 will only receive the minimum annual allowance of £10,000. Where the annual allowance is unused, it can be carried forward for three years. Any contributions made by the employer also count towards the annual allowance.

 

SIPPs operate on a relief at source basis, meaning that the individual makes contributions from net pay. The SIPP provider claims back basic rate relief, with any higher or additional rate relief being claimed through the self-assessment return.

 

Drawing a pension

 

A SIPP is a money purchase scheme and the value of benefits available to provide a pension depend on contributions that have been made to the scheme, investment growth (or reduction) and charges.

 

It is possible to draw retirement benefits at age 55. A tax-free lump sum can be taken to the value of 25% of the accumulated funds. Withdrawals in excess of this are taxed at the individual’s marginal rate of tax.

 

To prevent recycling contributions, where pension benefits have been flexibly accessed a reduced money purchase annual allowance, set at £4,000 for 2019/20, applies.

 


Closing a business – when a member’s voluntary liquidation is beneficial

Adrian Mooy - Tuesday, August 13, 2019
 
Although it is possible to strike off a company and for distributions made prior to dissolution to be treated as capital rather than as a dividend, this is not an option where the amount of the distributions exceeds £25,000.

 

Where the taxpayer’s personal circumstances are such that it is beneficial for the remaining funds to be taxed as capital (and liable to capital gains tax), rather than as a dividend, a member’s voluntary liquidation (MVL) can be an attractive option, as depending upon the level of funds to be extracted the costs of the liquidation may be more than covered by the tax savings that can be achieved.
 
What is an MVL?

 

An MVL is a process that allows the shareholders to put the company into liquidation. This route is only an option if the company is solvent (i.e. its assets are greater than its liabilities). The directors must sign a declaration of solvency confirming that the company is able to pay its debts in full within the next 12 months and 75% of the members must agree to place the company into liquidation. The shareholders must pass a special resolution to wind up the company. They will also need to pass an ordinary resolution to appoint liquidators. The liquidator must be a licenced insolvency practitioner.
 
What are the tax implications?

 

Under an MVL the capital extracted from the company is treated as a capital distribution and is liable to capital gains tax, rather than being taxed as a dividend. Where entrepreneurs’ relief is in point, the rate of tax will only be 10%, assuming enough of the entrepreneurs’ relief lifetime limit remains available. If significant funds are available for distribution, this can generate considerable tax savings.

 

Example

 

Edward and Oliver are directors of a company in which they both own 50% of the shares and 50% of the voting rights. Each is entitled to 50% of the profits available for distribution and 50% of the assets on a winding up.

 

They wish to wind the company up, but as they have cash and assets of £10 million to distribute, they opt for an MVL, to allow them to take advantage of the capital gains tax treatment. Both are additional rate taxpayers, and both meet the qualifying conditions for entrepreneurs’ relief.

 

Edward and Oliver each receive £5 million on the winding up of the company. They both have the full amount of the entrepreneurs’ relief lifetime limit (£10 million) unused, and it is assumed for simplicity that the annual exempt amount has been used elsewhere. The gain is therefore taxed at 10% and each will pay tax of £500,000 on their distribution of £5 million.

 

Had they not opted for an MVL and the extracted funds taxed as a dividend, they would have each paid £1,905,000 in tax on the £5 million distribution (£5m @ 38.1%).

 

Anti-avoidance

 

Anti-avoidance provisions apply which are designed to target ‘moneyboxing’ (where the company retains more funds than it needs in order to extract them as capital when the company is liquidated) and ‘pheonixism’ (where the company is liquidated, the value extracted as capital and a new company is set up to carry on what is essentially the same business). Liquidation distributions which are caught by the rules are treated as income rather than capital.

 

Inheritance tax and spouses and civil partners

Adrian Mooy - Monday, August 12, 2019
 
Special rules apply for inheritance tax purposes to married couples and civil partners. To ensure valuable tax reliefs are not lost, it is beneficial to consider the combined position, rather than dealing with each individual separately. Married couples and civil partners benefit from exemptions that are not available to unmarried couples.

 

Inter-spouse exemption

 

The main inheritance tax benefit of being married or in a civil partnership is the inter-spouse exemption. Transfers between married couples and civil partners are not subject to inheritance tax. This applies both to lifetime transfers and to those made on death.

 

The inter-spouse exemption makes it possible for the first spouse or civil partner to die to leave their entire estate to their partner without triggering an IHT liability, regardless of whether it exceeds the nil rate band.

 

Transferable nil rate band

 

The proportion of the nil rate band that is unused on the death of the first spouse or civil partner can be used by the surviving partner on his or her death. This makes tax planning easier and there is no panic about each spouse using their own nil rate band. If the entire estate is left to the spouse on the first death, on the death of the surviving spouse or civil partner, there will be two nil rate bands to play with.

 

If the first spouse or civil partner to die has used some of their nil rate band, for example, to leave part of their estate to their children, the surviving spouse or civil partner can utilise the remaining portion. It should be noticed it is the unused percentage that is transferred, rather than the absolute amount unused at the time of the first death – this provides an automatic uplift for increases in the nil rate band.

 

The nil rate band is currently £325,000.

 

Residence nil rate band

 

The residence nil rate band (RNRB) is an additional nil rate band which is available where a main residence is left to a direct descendant. It is set at £150,000 for 2019/20, and will increase to £175,000 for 2020/21. The RNRB is reduced by £1 for every £2 by which the value of the estate exceeds £2 million.

 

As with the nil rate band, the unused proportion of the RNRB can be transferred to the surviving spouse.

 

Example

 

George and Maud have been married for over 50 years. Maud died in 2017 leaving £32,500 to each of her two children. The remainder of her estate, including her share of the family home, was left to her husband George.

 

George dies in July 2019. At the time of his death, his estate was worth £780,000 and included the family home, valued at £550,000, which was left equally to the couple’s children, Paul and Joanna.

 

At the time of her death Maud had used up £65,000 of her nil rate band. The nil rate band at the time of her death was £325,000. The transfer to George was covered by the inter-spouse exemption and was free from inheritance tax. Maud has used up £65,000 of her nil rate band (20%), leaving 80% unused. She has not used her RNRB band as she left her share of her main residence to George.

 

On George’s death, the executors can claim the unused portion of Maud’s nil rate band and RBRB. The nil rate bands available to George are as follows:
 
Nil rate bands                                                                             £
 
George’s nil rate band                                                           325,000
George’s RNRB                                                                    150,000
Unused portion of Maud’s nil rate band (80% of £325,000)  260,000
Unused proportion of Maud’s RNRB (100% of £150,000)    150,000
Total                                                                                     £885,000
 
As George’s estate on death is less than the available nil rate bands, no inheritance tax is payable.

 


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