Accountancy Blog

Making Tax Digital – it’s here………

MTD zero-hour is here.

The moment has come: if your business has a taxable turnover above the VAT-registration threshold, which is currently £85,000, you’re now obliged to keep records in digital form and to file your VAT returns using HMRC-approved software.

You probably got a bit fed up of being reminded about the deadline for the first wave of the Government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) scheme in the course of the past year or so, and who could blame you?

Adverts from Revenue were appearing all over our favourite websites and social media, alongside agenda-laden reminders from software providers, banks, and anyone else with a stake in this project. MTD even started to pop up in commercial breaks during prime time TV, and on colossal posters on the London Underground. There was simply no escaping it. More…

Apprenticeship ‘starts’ fall by a quarter

The number of people starting apprenticeships has fallen by 26% since the Government’s reforms to the apprenticeship system, according to a report from the National Audit Office (NAO).

In April 2017, the Department for Education (DfE) introduced several changes to the apprenticeships scheme, including a levy on large employers and a co-funding requirement from smaller firms.

The changes were intended to improve the quality of apprenticeships and meet employers’ needs, but instead seem to have caused participation in the scheme to decrease “substantially”.

In the 2017/18 academic year, there were 375,800 new apprenticeship ‘starts’ – down from 509,400 in 2015/16. More…

IHT and the probate charge

Affluent families in England and Wales face paying probate charges of up to £6,000 from this month after ministers confirmed it as a fee rather than a tax.

Families have been used to paying flat fees of up to £215 to obtain the grant of probate needed in England and Wales to administer estates worth more than £5,000.

Critics had labelled the move as a “stealth tax”. Taxes are usually introduced in parliamentary bills, before going through a committee stage, and being voted on by MPs and Lords.

Ministers, however, circumnavigated this by classifying the charges as a fee, which saw the legislation narrowly approved by MPs and passed as a statutory instrument.

Instead of the flat rate, which is in place until 5 April 2019, the proposed system sets fees on the following sliding scale based on the value of an estate. More…

Thousands face huge tax avoidance bills

Contractors whose employers paid them through loans from offshore trusts are being urged to speak to HMRC as soon as possible or risk receiving massive tax bills.

Up to 50,000 contractors in the UK are believed to have benefitted from the lower income tax rates applied under loan advances, instead of being paid salaries.

Those yet to have settled outstanding loans dating back to when the schemes first arose in 1999 could be facing a hefty tax bill.

Anyone who is affected by these loan arrangements will need to pay a loan charge to the Revenue on the outstanding balance by 5 April 2019. More…

Stamp duty surcharge for the oversea buyer

The Government is considering introducing a new stamp duty surcharge, which is designed to clamp down on overseas wealth being used to buy homes in England.

Ministers have expressed concerns that affluent foreign investors, particularly those buying properties in London, have been driving up house prices for domestic buyers.

Figures from the Land Registry showed that nearly half of all foreign-owned properties in England and Northern Ireland, where stamp duty applies, are in London.

This has resulted in thousands of people fleeing the capital to purchase homes in places like Scotland, Birmingham and Bristol, where their money goes considerably further. More…