Accountancy Blog

New rules for termination payments

New rules are coming into force on 6 April 2018.

The tax treatment of termination payments can be complex, not least because a termination package typically comprises several different elements, which may be treated differently for tax and national insurance purposes.

In a bid to simplify matters, the rules for taxing payments made on the termination of someone’s employment are changing from 6 April 2018.

The rules introduce a new approach and reclassify some payments currently benefitting from the £30,000 exemption as earnings (with the result that benefit of the exemption is lost). More…

Devolution of tax powers – what you need to know

What tax powers are moving away from Westminster?

It may feel like we’re living in increasingly uncertain times ever since the UK voted to leave the EU.

That centred on most of the electorate’s desire to obtain more devolved powers from Brussels, but in reality devolution has been going on a lot closer to home for decades.

Back in September 1997, Scotland and Wales held referendums to transfer certain powers from central government to the regions, while Northern Ireland followed suit a year later.

While these devolution deals saw the creation of the Scottish parliament, the national assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland assembly, many of the powers to raise certain taxes have either recently come into force or are due to take effect in 2018. More…

No more extra credit card fees on bills

Retailers and businesses are no longer able to charge consumers extra for using a credit card to pay for goods or services.

Interchange fees charged by firms on people who paid by credit card were banned on 13 January 2018 on the back of a widespread piece of EU legislation.

Some were previously surcharging consumers up to 3%, despite the cost to businesses that let people pay by credit card being capped at 0.3% by another EU ruling in December 2015.

Larger surcharges have been more common among businesses with takeaway apps and airlines, while local councils and government agencies have also been affected by the ban. More…

Fraudulent tax bills

Vulnerable and elderly people are being told they owe large amounts of tax which they can only pay off through digital vouchers and gift cards.

HMRC has issued a warning over fraudsters who are preying on victims by cold-calling them and impersonating members of staff from the Revenue.

Figures from Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre, show there have been more than 1,500 reports of this scam between January 2016 and August 2017.

The numbers have increased in recent months, with the vast majority of victims being over the age of 65 and suffering an average financial loss of £1,150. More…

Making tax digital – are you ready?

The overwhelming majority of business owners and landlords remain in the dark over making tax digital (MTD), government research shows.

Ipsos Mori polled 2,900 small businesses and landlords on behalf of HMRC and found that 71% were unaware of the requirement to submit quarterly updates to the taxman.

A further 13% had heard of the requirements but knew nothing about them.

Subject to any further change, MTD will mean most businesses and the self-employed access their tax affairs online through digital accounts from 2020.

As it stands, VAT-registered businesses will be the first to submit quarterly reports to HMRC – for VAT only – from April 2019. More…

Staircase tax – amendments to be made

The government has started the process to reverse the so-called ‘staircase tax’ to ease the pressure on small businesses.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid published draft legislation, which stands to benefit thousands of small business owners, to abolish the measure.

The loophole was first introduced after the Supreme Court ruled that an office spread over more than one floor in a mixed-use building would be taxed as two separate premises.

As a result, more than 1,000 businesses were braced to receive higher rate tax bills, with some paying more due to the loss of small business rate relief. More…

What to expect if the Revenue comes knocking

What to expect when the Revenue comes knocking.

Anyone whose business comes under the Revenue’s microscope is usually in for a roller-coaster ride.

HMRC has upped its game in recent years when it comes to probing businesses or sole traders who may be suspected of falsely reporting or underpaying tax.

Nobody appears to be beyond its remit, whether you’re the chief executive of a Premier League football club or the owner of a microbusiness with a much more modest turnover. More…

Charitable donations and tax planning

How to include charitable donations in your tax planning strategy.

Incorporating charitable giving into your tax planning strategy can be a useful way to reduce both your income tax and the inheritance tax (IHT) that will eventually become payable on your estate.

As such, gifts may become an important component of both the estate planning process and the more immediate goals of reducing your income tax bill.

You can make charitable gifts at any time during your lifetime and posthumous gifts can be written into your will. More…

Tax card 2018/19

Tax Card 2018/19


  2018/19 2017/18
Starting rate* of 0% on savings up to £5,000 £5,000
Basic rate band £34,500 £33,500
Higher rate band £34,501 – £150,000 £33,501 – £150,000
Additional rate band Over £150,000 Over £150,000
Basic rate 20% 20%
Higher rate 40% 40%
Additional rate 45% 45%
Dividend ordinary rate 7.5% 7.5%
Dividend upper rate 32.5% 32.5%
Dividend additional rate 38.1% 38.1%

* The starting rate does not apply if taxable income exceeds the starting rate limit.

Income tax in Scotland

2018/19 2018/19 rates 2017/18 2017/18 rates
Starter rate band £2,000* 19%    
Basic rate band £2,001 – £12,150 20% £31,500 20%
Intermediate rate band £12,151 – £32,423 21%    
Higher rate band £32,424 – £150,000 41% £31,501 – £150,000 40%
Top/additional rate band Above £150,000 46% Above £150,000 45%

* Assumes individuals are in receipt of the personal allowance.

Allowances that reduce taxable income or are not taxable

  2018/19 2017/18
Personal allowance* £11,850 £11,500
Personal savings allowance:

Basic rate taxpayer

Higher rate taxpayer

Additional rate taxpayer









Dividend allowance at 0% £2,000 £5,000
Marriage/civil partner transferable allowance** £1,185 £1,150
Trading allowance and property allowance each*** £1,000 £1,000
Rent a room allowance £7,500 £7,500
Blind person’s allowance £2,390 £2,320

* The personal allowance is reduced by £1 for each £2 of income from £100,000 to £123,700 (2017/18, £123,000).

** Any unused personal allowance maybe transferred to a spouse or civil partner who is not liable to higher or additional rate tax.

*** Note that landlords and traders with gross income from each of these sources in excess of £1,000 can deduct the allowance from their gross income as an alternative to claiming expenses.

Allowances that reduce tax

  2018/19 2017/18
Married couples’/civil partners’ allowance (MCA) tax reduction £869.50 £844.50

Available to people born before 6 April 1935. The age for MCA is that of the elder spouse or civil partner. The loss of tax reduction is 10p for each £2 of income above £28,900 (2017/18, £28,000) until £336 (2017/18, £326) is reached.

High income child benefit charge

  2018/19 2017/18
Threshold £50,000 £50,000

There is a tax charge of 1% of the child benefit received for each £100 that the threshold is exceeded up to a maximum of 100%.


The taxable benefit in kind (BIK) is calculated as a percentage of the car’s UK list price. The percentage depends on the car’s CO2 emissions in grams per kilometre (g/km). Diesel cars which are certified to RDE2 standard are treated as petrol-fuelled.

Emissions Petrol               Diesel
0 – 50g/km 13% 17%
51 – 75g/km 16% 20%
76 – 94g/km 19% 23%
Over 94g/km add 1% for every 5g/km or part thereof
180g/km* and over 37% maximum

* Over 159g/km for diesel.

The list price is on the day before first registration, including most accessories and is reduced by any employee’s capital contribution (max £5,000) when the car is first made available.

Where the cost of all fuel for private use is borne by the employee, the fuel benefit is nil. Otherwise, the fuel benefit is calculated by applying the car benefit percentage (above) to £23,400 (2017/18, £22,600).

Vans where private use is more than home to work travel; £3,350 (2017/18, £3,230) benefit and £633 (2017/18, £610) for private fuel. Payments by employees for private use may reduce these BIK. Vans with zero emissions have a benefit of £1,340 (2017/18, £646).


Cars and vans First 10,000 business miles 45p
Thereafter 25p
Motorcycles 24p
Bicycles 20p
Business passenger 5p

For national insurance purposes: 45p for all business miles for cars and vans.


  2018/19 2017/18
Main rates Individual basic rate 10% 10%
Individual above basic rate 20% 20%
Trusts and estates 20% 20%
Gains on residential property not eligible for PPR relief and carried interest – surcharge 8% 8%
Annual exemption Individuals £11,700 £11,300
Trusts £5,850 £5,650
Entrepreneurs’ relief Applicable rate 10% 10%
Lifetime limit £10m £10m
Investors’ relief Applicable rate 10% 10%
Lifetime limit £10m £10m


  2018/19 2017/18
Nil-rate band threshold* £325,000 £325,000
Main residence nil-rate band** £125,000 £100,000
Combined threshold limit for married couples and civil partners, including main residence nil-rate band £900,000 £850,000

* Up to 100% of any unused part of a deceased person’s nil-rate band can be claimed by the surviving spouse/civil partner on their death. This also applies to the main residence nil-rate band, albeit the main residence nil-rate is subject to the taper withdrawal below.

** For estates worth in excess of £2m, a 50% taper withdrawal applies.

Tax rates

  2018/19 2017/18
Main rate 40% 40%
Chargeable on lifetime transfers 20% 20%
Transfers on or within 7 years of death* 40% 40%
Reduced rate** 36% 36%

* All lifetime transfers not covered by exemptions and made within 7 years of death will be added back into the estate for the purposes of calculating the tax payable. This may then be reduced as shown in the next table.

** Applies if 10% or more of net estate given to charity.

Years before death 0 – 3 3 – 4 4 – 5 5 – 6 6 – 7
Tax reduced by 0% 20% 40% 60% 80%



Financial year from 1 April 2018 2017
Corporation tax rate 19% 19%
Loans to participators 32.5% 32.5%
Diverted profits tax 25% 25%



Initial allowances

First-year allowance: for certain environmentally beneficial equipment, new and unused electric and low CO2 emission cars (up to 50g/km) 100%
Annual investment allowance:

on first £200,000 (excludes cars)



Writing down allowances

Other plant and machinery 18%
Long-life assets, integral features of buildings, thermal insulation 8%
Cars 51g/km – 110g/km 18%
Over 110g/km 8%
Patent rights and know-how – annual reducing balance 25%


From 1 April 2018 2017
Standard rate 20% 20%
VAT fraction 1/6 1/6
Reduced rate e.g. on domestic fuel 5% 5%
VAT fraction 1/21 1/21


Taxable turnover limits

From 1 April 2018 2017
Registration (last 12 months or next 30 days) over £85,000 £85,000
Deregistration (next year) under £83,000 £83,000
Registration for distance selling into the UK (last 12 months or next 30 days) over £70,000 £70,000
Annual and cash accounting schemes turnover limit £1.35m £1.35m
Flat rate scheme £150,000 £150,000



Research and development (R&D)
Revenue expenditure – SMEs 230%
Capital expenditure – all companies 100%
Large company R&D taxable expenditure credit* 12%

* Effective from 1 January 2018, replacing previous rate of 11%.


Annual investment limit 2018/19 2017/18
ISA £20,000 £20,000
Lifetime ISA £4,000 £4,000
Help to Buy ISA £1,000 initial and £200 per month
Junior ISA and Child Trust Fund £4,260 £4,128
Venture Capital Trust at 30% £200,000 £200,000
Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) at 30% £2m* £1m
Seed EIS (SEIS) at 50% £100,000 £100,000
SEIS capital gains tax reinvestment relief 50% 50%
Social investment tax relief at 30% £1m £1m

* Amounts over £1m must be in a knowledge-intensive company.


Lifetime allowance limit £1.03m
Money purchase annual allowance £4,000
Annual allowance limit £40,000*
Minimum age for accessing benefits 55
On cumulative benefits exceeding £1.03m

* Tapered at a rate of 50% of income down to £10,000 if threshold income over £110,000 and adjusted income over £150,000.

Subject to certain conditions, the unused amount of the annual allowance can be carried forward up to 3 years and used once the current year annual allowance has been fully utilised.


Class 1
Employee Employer
Earnings per week
Up to £162                             nil* Up to £162                             nil
From £162.01 to £892       12% Over £162                              13.8%**
Over £892                               2%  
Over state pension age         0% Over state pension age 13.8%

* Entitlement to contribution-based benefits are retained for earnings between £116 and £162 per week.

** 0% for employees under 21 and apprentices under 25 on earnings up to £892 per week.

Class 1A
On relevant benefits, including car and fuel benefits 13.8%


Class 2
Self-employed above small profits threshold £2.95 per week
Small profits threshold £6,205 per annum


Class 3
Voluntary £14.65 per week


Class 4*
Self-employed on profits £8,424-£46,350 9%
Over £46,350 2%

* Exemption applies if the state retirement age is reached by 6 April 2018.

Employment allowance

Per employer, per year (excluding 1-person companies) £3,000*

*1 claim only for companies in a group or under common control. Not available where the director is the only employee paid earnings above the secondary threshold for class 1 national insurance contributions.

Apprenticeship levy

A levy of 0.5% applies where the pay bill exceeds £3m. There is an allowance of £15,000. Further conditions apply so please consult with us.


The incremental rate of tax is only payable on the part of the property price within each band.

An additional 3% rate applies to certain second properties above £40,000 for all 3 taxes.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland – stamp duty land tax

From 22 November 2017 (reverts to land transaction tax in Wales from 1 April 2018).

On the transfer of residential property                     On the transfer of non-residential property
£0 – £125,000 0% Less than £150,000 0%
£125,001 – £250,000 2% £150,001 – £250,000 2%
£250,001 – £925,000 5% Over £250,000 5%
£925,001 – £1.5m 10%    
Over £1.5m 12%    

First-time buyers pay nothing on the first £300,000 and then 5% on the next £200,000. If the property is over £500,000, the rates in the table above apply.

For purchases by companies and other non-natural persons in excess of £500,000 a rate of 15% applies, subject to certain exclusions.

Scotland – land and buildings transaction tax

On the transfer of residential property                   On the transfer of non-residential property
£0 – £145,000 0% £0 – £150,000 0%
£145,001 – £250,000 2% £150,001 – £350,000 3%
£250,001 – £325,000 5% Over £350,000 4.5%
£325,001 – £750,000 10%    
Over £750,000 12%    

First-time buyers pay nothing on the first £175,000 from 6 April 2018 (subject to consultation).

Wales from 1 April 2018 – proposed land transaction tax

On the transfer of residential property                   On the transfer of non-residential property
£0 – £180,000 0% £0 – £150,000 0%
£180,001 – £250,000 3.5% £150,001– £250,000 1%
£250,001 – £400,000 5% £250,001 – £1m 5%
£400,001 – £750,000 7.5% Over £1m 6%
£750,000 – £1.5m 10%    
Over £1.5m 12%    


These rates and allowances are based on autumn announcements made by the UK and Northern Ireland, Scottish and Welsh governments and are for information only. They are subject to change before 6 April and are subject to confirmation by the various governments.

Rates apply to the UK and Northern Ireland unless indicated otherwise.



Self-employed and Sole trader numbers increase

The number of private sector businesses in the UK hit a record high of 5.7 million at the start of 2017, according to government figures.

Annual statistics from the Department for Business, Industry, Energy and Strategy showed a year-on-year rise of 197,000, compared to the same time in 2016.

The number of firms in 2017 is also 2.2 million higher than at the start of the millennium, with 4.5 million businesses in operation back in the year 2000.

Sole traders and the self-employed were behind the year-on-year rise, accounting for 79% of the overall increase.

Small businesses alone accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2017, with that figure rising to 99.9% when factoring in medium-sized firms. More…