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…

Are we leaving the EU?

What can your firm do before 29 March 2019?

As the clock continues to tick down to the 29 March 2019, when the UK is scheduled to officially leave the EU at 11pm, there is still much uncertainty around what Brexit will mean for UK business.

What is certain is that it will bring change for businesses of every size and sector, but planning for it seems almost impossible.

For businesses that buy and sell to the EU it is important to have contingency plans in place which are flexible enough to cope with a variety of outcomes.

Preparing for the worst will give your business the best chance of moving through the transition regardless of the outcome of negotiations. More…

The politics of tax breaks

How did we end up with such a complex system of tax reliefs?

If there’s one thing accountants love, it’s identifying obscure tax reliefs to which you may be entitled and using them to reduce your tax bills.

Tax reliefs, or tax breaks as they are sometimes called, aren’t without controversy, however. There are too many of them, say critics, and they deny the public purse much-needed funds.

In January this year, think tank the Resolution Foundation published the results of its own annual review on the cost to the nation of tax reliefs and suggested the bill had grown to £164 billion in 2018/19, equivalent to £6,000 per UK household.

Attempts to tot up the number of individual reliefs in recent years consistently put the number well above 1,000. More…

Government launches service to prepare firms for EU exit

The Government has launched a new website service to help businesses prepare for the UK’s exit from the EU later this month.

‘Prepare your business for leaving the EU’ is an online tool that provides information on specific rules and regulations, and aims to inform business owners of what is changing in their sector.

The service asks business owners seven questions before providing what the Government describes as “guidance relevant to your business”.

With an agreement yet to be reached on the UK’s scheduled exit from the EU at 11pm on Friday 29 March 2019, the Treasury has stepped up its efforts to prepare exporters. More…

Making Tax Digital for VAT: one month to go

The first batch of VAT-registered businesses have less than a month to go until they enter into the Government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) regime.

All VAT-registered businesses turning over more than £85,000 will be mandated into MTD by 1 October 2019, with the majority of firms adopting the scheme by 1 June 2019.

Firms with a VAT return quarter ending on 30 June 2019 will be the first to begin operating under the regime on 1 April 2019.

A month later, VAT-registered business with a return quarter ending on 30 April 2019 will be the second batch of businesses to go through MTD. More…