Showing posts with label capital gains. Show all posts
Showing posts with label capital gains. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

HMRC asking for records of Crypto Exchanges

With Bitcoin looking like it's here to stay, HM Revenue & Customs, is now pressuring crypto-currency exchanges to reveal customers' names and transaction histories, in a bid to claw back unpaid taxes, industry sources said. Letters requesting lists of customers and transaction data have landed on the doorsteps of at least three exchanges doing business in the U.K. – Coinbase, eToro and CEX.IO – in the last week or so, the sources said.

The move is following a pattern set by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other governments. Last month, the IRS began sending warning letters to over 10,000 Americans who it says participated in virtual currency transactions but did not report them properly.

HMRC is looking to get up to 10 years worth of historical data but that might prove difficult to achieve. Still, even if the administration manages to go back 3 years, it would mean serious tax bills for those who thought trading virtual currencies was a tax free endeavour! HMRC published in 2018 a policy paper explaining the tax treatment of crypto-assets. As described in the paper, for most people, capital gains tax will be due on any gains they might have realised. But doing the calculation of the gain might prove more complex than with other securities. Indeed, transferring bitcoins in or out of an exchange is not a taxable event per se. And conversely, buying something with Bitcoin or receiving income in crypto-currency is a taxable event!

This is why it's crucial to keep records or all transactions and refrain from using crypto-currencies as a payment currency, at least until there is a de minimis exemption like with other currencies. As, even if your gains are below the annual allowance of £12,000 (for 2019/20), you still need to declare the sales if they total more than 4 times the annual allowance, i.e. £48,000. For people who don't already do a tax return, it means registering for Self Assessment. And if you are aware of gains that you have failed to declare in the past, it's a good idea to come forward and call HMRC to avoid steeper penalties.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Managing cash in your business

With interest rates at a record low in the UK, and with dividend tax rates now going up all to way to 38.1% for additional rate tax payers, many small businesses are reluctant to extract money from their limited company and are wondering how to make that cash left in the business produce significant income. Unfortunately there is not one single answer and each available options comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.

Savings Account

The simple answer is to open a savings account for the company. Most banks will allow for that but unfortunately the rates are ridiculously low. Major banks will typically pay between 0.5% and 1% depending on how long you are willing to lock your money for. And while it's possible to find slightly better rates at smaller banks or financial institutions, one has to be aware that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) that protects personal accounts up to £85,000 is not always available for Limited Companies.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Changes in off-plan treatment for PPR relief

Principal property relief (PPR) sometimes also called private residence relief (PRR) saw its usefulness seriously curtailed following a recent decision of the Upper Tribunal (UT) that overturned a First-tier Tribunal (FTT) ruling of 2017. The issue at stake is how to determine the date of acquisition of an off-plan property and the new ruling means that property owners should be very cautious when they purchase off-plan their principal residence.

PPR reduces any taxable capital gain on a property if the property has been used as a principal residence for part of its ownership. The case in question concerned the definition of ownership for the purpose of the relief. HMRC argued that the date of acquisition was the date when contracts were exchanged whereas the taxpayer argued it was the date when he was finally able to occupy the property, three years later. The FTT agreed with the taxpayer but HMRC appealed and the UT decided to side with HMRC.

The UT took the view that even though there was a period when the property was not even a dwelling, it was a chargeable asset nonetheless. As a matter of fact, the taxpayer had the right all along to sell the property and therefore there was no doubt that profit from such a sale would be taxable.

Now, not all is lost in case the delay in taking up occupation is less than a year (2 years at most in exceptional circumstances) thanks Extra Statutory Concession D49 that allows for relief in such a case. But caution should be exercised if you suspect there will be delays in construction as it will now most probably have negative tax implications for the homeowner upon resale.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Saving tax with Deferral of Capital Gains

While Capital Gain Taxes have been slashed in the recent budget to 10% and 20% (from the 18% and 28% that it used to be), CGT has remained unchanged for residential property gains. While the tax rate for gains is lower than the one for income, amounts tend to be much bigger and far appart, making it harder to use allowances and low rate bands.

This is where deferral comes in handy. The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) provides one of the mechanisms that allows such a deferral. Most people misunderstand that the general EIS conditions for income tax relief are much more restrictive than the conditions for CGT deferral. In particular the requirement that one owns less than 30% of the company or that one is connected to the business only applies to the income tax relief component of the EIS, not the CGT deferral. Same thing for the requirement that the investment be held 3 years or more: if you sell earlier the deferral just ends then (see HMRC note).