Showing posts with label tax. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tax. Show all posts

Friday, December 12, 2014

An update on VAT MOSS

Furious at the upcoming changes regarding VAT on sales of digital services to non-business customers in the EU, many small businesses have taken their anger to social media as the surge in messages tagged #VATMOSS or #VATMESS can attest.

We mentioned the upcoming changes in a previous article but to recap, from 1st January 2015, if a UK business sells digital services (e.g. apps, music, e-books) to a consumer in the EU (B2C) then that UK business would normally need to register for VAT in the country of the consumer. To avoid having to register for VAT in multiple countries HMRC offer the Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) where a UK business can declare their EU B2C digital service sales and pay the appropriate VAT to HMRC. MOSS returns are due quarterly to 31 March, 30 June etc and to be submitted, together with payment in the domestic currency, sterling for the UK MOSS, by the 20th of the following month.

The problem is that to be able to use MOSS a UK business must be registered for VAT in the UK. This lead to concerns that many unregistered businesses would now have to register in order to use MOSS, and be forced to charge VAT on their UK sales even though those sales are below the UK threshold.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Using goodwill to save tax on incorporation

Incorporating a sole trader may happen for a number of reasons. For example you started a business on the side not sure whether it would work out and you wanted to reduce overhead costs initially. After a while the success is here and you want to make use of the lower taxes enjoyed by limited companies. Another reason could be that you had paid significant taxes prior to starting your business and because, as a sole trader you can offset trading losses against salaries in previous years, it makes sense to not incorporate right away if you know that your business will incur losses initially. Once the business starts to make a profit however, it makes sense to incorporate.

Incorporating means creating a company and having this new company of which you are the shareholder buy the existing unincorporated business from yourself. If the value of your business is say £100,000 you will make a capital gain of £100,000 and your company will have a goodwill of £100,000 on its balance sheet (assuming there are no fixed assets). Either the company pays you right away or most probably it credits the director's loan account allowing you to draw funds as they become available in the business. But why is it a good thing?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Back to Back loans and Remittance

The Government has announced that it is withdrawing its current treatment for commercial loan arrangements secured using unremitted foreign income or gains as collateral for a loan enjoyed in the UK. Money brought to or used in the UK under a loan facility secured by foreign income or gains will be treated as a taxable remittance of that amount of foreign income or gains. If the loan is serviced or repaid from different foreign income or gains, the repayments of capital and interest will constitute remittances in the normal way. HMRC have updated their guidance at RDRM33170.

HMRC consider that a large numbers of arrangements are not commercial and are not within the intended scope of the guidance. There was no consultation prior to the announcement and was effective immediately following HMRC’s announcement on 4 August 2014. Further details from HMRC can be found here.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Optimum salary for directors: changes this year

This is one of the questions we hear most often: what is the optimum salary I should take as a director?

There are many salary calculators on the web that you can use but the easiest way in the past has been to take the maximum salary that does not attract taxes nor national insurance, neither for the employee nor for the employee (see our previous article). In 2013/2014 that amount was £7,696 pa. But in 2014/2015, due to the new £2,000 Employment Allowance, there is now a new option for directors' salaries:
  1. If the company is able to use all the £2,000 Employment Allowance in the year, then the best route for the Director’s salary will be to pay over the LEL but below the secondary level in 2014/15 i.e. £7,956 pa (£663 per month). The rest will have to topped up by dividends as per in the previous years.

Friday, February 14, 2014

What is a reasonable excuse?

The deadline for filing your 2012/2013 tax return has come and gone and now 710,000 taxpayers will receive an initial fine of £100 (assuming they actually fine before the end of the month still).

That is unless they have a "reasonable excuse". But what is a reasonable excuse?

HMRC gave the following as examples of what they would consider to be a reasonable excuse:

  • A failure in the HMRC computer system
  • Your computer breaks down just before or during the preparation of your online return
  • An extended period of exceptional weather very close to the filing deadline (which may be very relevant this year)
  • Delay caused by HMRC reviewing the need to complete a return
  • Loss of tax records through fire, flood or theft
  • Serious illness
  • Disability
  • Bereavement
  • HMRC Online Service does not accept the return (where it can be proved a genuine attempt to file was made)
  • Delayed receipt of online activation codes after having registered to file online (new for 2012/13 returns)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nominating income when paying the RBC

For non-domiciled residents (RND) who have been in the UK for more than 7 out of the 9 previous tax years, using the remittance basis (i.e. choosing to be taxed on UK income only as long as it's not remitted into the UK) has a cost beyond the loss of personal allowances. It's called the remittance basis charge (RBC) and it's currently £30,000 if you have been in the UK for 7 out of the previous 9 tax years or £50,000 if you have been in the UK for 12 out of the previous 14 tax years.

What is less known is that the RBC is actually a tax and therefore if you decide to pay that charge, you also need to nominate the corresponding income. You would think that doing so allows you to bring that taxed income back to the UK without further cost. Unfortunately, HMRC designed the rules so that it becomes impossible to take a credit for the remittance basis charge until and unless all other non-UK income and gains are remitted to the UK. As this is rather unlikely, the RBC is essentially an additional cost of electing to be taxed on the remittance basis.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Non-Residents to be subject to Capital Gains Tax

One of the announcements made today in the Autumn Statement is that capital gains tax will be extended to non-residents who own residential property. This extends the previous measure to bring non-resident companies within the scope of capital gains tax on 'high value' residential property, measure that was introduced alongside the infamous ATED (Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings). So now both high value and low value residential property gains will be taxed, regardless of whether the property is owned by a company or not. The change is to take effect in April 2015.

This move was expected but still, it could reduce confidence going forward. Non residents were strongly encouraged by the Government to take their properties out of companies so that a future sale of bricks and mortar (rather than shares) is subject to stamp duty. In exchange they would not be subject to the annual charge (ATED) nor to the capital gains tax. Having de-enveloped as they were asked to do, they will in fact be subject to capital gains tax after all.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

France discovering the Laffer curve

Although the latest figures published by the French Finance Ministry show a slight year-on-year increase in revenue levels compared to 2012, they also reveal that the record tax rises implemented this year are weighing heavily on overall revenue growth. This is in spite of surprisingly positive figures for August 2013.

Revenues derived from individual income tax amounted to EUR41bn (USD55bn) as at the end of August this year, compared to EUR34bn the same time the year before. Income from corporation tax stood at EUR23bn as at the end of August 2013, compared to EUR17bn in August 2012. However, close scrutiny of expected revenues for the entire year paints an altogether different picture. The Finance Ministry has revised downwards its forecast for 2013, currently anticipating total net revenues of EUR287.8bn, compared to the EUR298.6bn provided for in the initial finance law for 2013. The revision marks a shortfall of EUR10bn, added to which a further EUR5bn shortfall is expected due to lower income from social security contributions. This will push the total revenue shortfall figure to EUR15bn, despite the fact that the 2013 Budget provided for tax rises totaling EUR30bn.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What is the optimum salary for a director?

It's common practice for directors of small businesses who are also the company owners to pay themselves a small salary and then take the rest of their income as dividends from the available profit. The reason is for tax efficiency. A company starts paying corporation tax from the first pound of profit and salaries being an expense, they reduce that profit. Dividends on the other hand are distributed after corporation tax of 20% (for small businesses) has been paid. The problem with salaries on the other hand is that they can be heavily taxed on the recipient and also they generate significant Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (12% for the employee and 13.8% for the employer). Thankfully Income Tax and NIC are only charged after you earn a certain amount per year.

From 6th April 2013 the rate at which you can pay a salary to an employee without suffering Income Tax and NIC will increase from £7,488 to £7,696 per annum. This is known as the Employers’ Earnings Threshold. If you have Limited Company and pay yourself a small salary then you should consider increasing the salary up to this threshold.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

HMRC finds it hard to police IR35 Compliance

Despite a six-fold increase in IR35 investigations during the first half of this tax year, HM Revenue and Customs has failed to turn up any compliance failures by contractors, according to data obtained by tax and accounting group Bloomsbury Professional. HMRC ramped up its investigation into "disguised employment" after it was alleged that a number of senior public sector figures had illegitimately received income through personal services companies to avoid liability to personal income taxes and national insurance contributions.

During the first six months of the tax year, 193 new investigations were launched but these have yet to yield a single penny for the tax man. This is despite a massive hike in enforcement activity, up from 59 investigations for the full tax year 2011/12. Martin Casimir, Managing Director at Bloomsbury Professional, commented: “HMRC has been stung into action by a handful of very high profile cases where individuals and employers may not be IR35 compliant. Ordinary contractors and freelancers are now dealing with the fallout.”

Monday, November 12, 2012

What is the settlements legislation?

Sharing dividend income from a limited company with a non-fee-earner has been a classic tax avoidance tactic employed by consultants, contractors and locum doctors who operate through limited companies. It is useful as it allows the use a non-fee-earner’s tax allowances and progressive taxation rates in order to save significant tax.

However, unless the non-fee-earner is a spouse or civil partner qualifying for a spousal exemption, HMRC could treat all the company’s fee income as that earned by the contractor, and tax them accordingly. The settlements legislation will apply if a contractor gives shares in their contractor limited company to a partner, family member or friend who does not work in the business yet receives an income.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mobile Apps Developement and VAT

Selling online is complex because once you reach a certain turnover in a foreign jurisdiction, you are required to register for VAT in that jurisdiction, start collecting VAT at the local rate and then pay VAT to the local jurisdiction (rather than HMRC). The threshold depends on the country and is either €35,000 or €100,000 (see full list there). Setting up the right infrastructure for distance selling requires that you are able to identify the location of your foreign clients and bill them appropriately. It is not always an easy task especially if you sell virtual goods or if you rely on a third party distribution platform such as the ones provided by mobile app vendors. Especially since each platform behaves differently. Here is a quick summary of what you need to know:

Apple AppStore

You supply your products to Apple, who then market and supply them to consumers. Apple charges VAT to the consumers based on their location. Apple’s commission is a markup to the price, which they then add VAT to. Because of this, under HMRC rules this isn’t deemed to be a supply of “agency services” from Apple to you. So you can account for VAT on your supply to Apple as normal. Because you are supplying software to Apple’s EU subsidiary, and because the subsidiary is based in Luxembourg, you can zero rate the VAT. You will have to report the sales onto an EC Sales list however. As with many things Apple, this model is very slick!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Top tax saving tips for the self-employed

The most frequent question I get when I meet clients starting their new business is how to reduce their taxes. Obviously this is a loaded question and most of the work we do is geared towards insuring that our clients pay their fair share but not more! There are hundreds of ways you can reduce your tax liability but if you can do just 5 things, here they are:

1. Incorporate

When you start your own business, you have basically 2 options: run your business as a sole trader (or a partnership) or setup a limited company. The sole trader option can seem quite attractive since it's quite simple to administer. However, using a limited company can bring significant tax savings since companies are not subject to National Insurance. As a matter of fact, for a company with annual profits of £80,000 the overall tax savings can be as much as £5,000 per year.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

More bad news for non-doms

Non-domiciled individuals have been watching this Budget particularly carefully as it had already been announced prior to its delivery on 21 March 2012 that the Chancellor would be taking action in relation to individuals who acquire UK property through offshore companies. In order to tackle what the Government calls the 'enveloping' of high value properties into companies to 'avoid paying a fair share of tax', three measures are to be introduced:
  • a new 15% rate of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) to purchases of UK residential properties worth over £2 million by 'non-natural persons'
  • an annual charge on UK residential properties valued at over £2million owned by such persons
  • an extension of the capital gains tax (CGT) regime to gains on the disposal of UK residential property and shares or interests in such property by non-natural persons who are non-resident

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Budget Summary 2012

Amidst fears of a double-dip recession, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne had the unenviable task of presenting the Budget for the third time on 21st March. It came as no surprise when the Chancellor announced very early on in his speech that there would be no "unfunded giveaways", confirming speculation that any concessions would need to be offset by an increase in tax elsewhere.

Although there was a significant change to the Stamp Duty on residential property costing over £2,000,000, the wealthy will benefit from a cut in the top rate of tax down to 45% from April 2013 (currently 50%). Individuals will gain from an £1,100 increase in the personal allowance from April 2013 but they could also lose out if they are earning over £50,000 and in receipt of Child Benefit. Large companies will welcome the 2% cut in their rate of corporation tax. But whether small or large, all businesses were disappointed the government did not reverse their plans to reduce the Annual Investment Allowance to just £25,000.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Missed the tax deadline?

If you are yet to file your self assessment tax return help is still available! But don’t delay as the new HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) penalty regime will mean that the penalties increase the longer you postpone filing your return. An estimated 1 million taxpayers are expected to receive an automatic late filing penalty of £100 so if you have missed the deadline you are by no means alone. What's different this year however is the new penalty regime.

If you've missed the deadline you'll have to pay a penalty of £100. You should send your tax return online as soon as you can to avoid further penalties. Don't send a paper tax return as the penalties will be even higher. The longer you delay, the more you'll have to pay. When your tax return is three months late, you'll have to pay a penalty for each additional day it is late. When it's six months late, you'll have to pay a further penalty and another final penalty when it's 12 months late. Together these can add up to a penalty of £1,600 or more.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Annual Party Tax Considerations

When it comes to dining either employees or clients, you have to be aware of the tax implications. If you dine your employees, it is considered an allowable business expense for the company but a taxable benefit for the employee. Unless the company has put a PAYE Settlement Agreement (PSA) in place those benefits have to be reported on the employee's P11D and the employee will end up paying taxes on those. When you dine clients however, this is considered entertainment and it is therefore not an allowable business expense from a corporation tax standpoint (effectively increasing the tax rate for the company).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme

This new tax advantaged form of venture capital scheme was announced at the Autumn Statement 2011; it will be focused on smaller, start up companies and will provide a form of relief similar to the EIS Scheme. This scheme will make tax relief available to investors who subscribe for shares and have less than a 30% stake in the company.

The main points to note are as follows:
  • The type of company this applies to is one that has less than 25 employees with assets of up to £200,000 who are preparing to carry on new business

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Flash Update: Autumn Statement

On 29th November 2011, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced the Autumn Statement which provides an update on the Government's plans for the economy.

Here is a summary of the key changes impacting small businesses...

Businesses in need of finance
Government to back £20 billion of small business loans under the National Loan Guarantee Scheme. The Scheme will lower the cost of bank loans for smaller businesses with turnover of up to £50 million. Ministers hope the Scheme will be live by the start of 2012 and it is envisaged it will run for the next two years. The Scheme should deliver up to a one percentage point reduction in the cost of a business loan.

Friday, November 25, 2011

50p tax band to cost UK £1bn a year

The UK faces a lost generation of wealth creators, with the 50% top rate of income tax set to push them away and cost the economy billions, a new report has said.

Published by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), the report, entitled ‘The 50p tax - good intentions, bad outcomes’ is an examination of how the UK's high-rate marginal tax impacts on Treasury revenues, and looks at how income tax has changed since the 1980s.

According to the Cebr's figures, the UK's 270,000 major wealth creators (the top 1% of income tax payers) contribute around GBP40bn (USD62bn) in income tax a year, or 25% of the GBP163bn paid in income tax to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in total. The 50% rate of tax is charged on all incomes over a GBP150,000 threshold. Among the conclusions offered by the report is the assertion that the UK has lost its place as an attractive, low-tax jurisdiction that welcomes wealth-creators and has instead become one of the most punitive. As a result, the Cebr has warned that other European countries now are competing in a "silent auction" for the tax from high earners.