HMRC Countdown: File your Tax Return

With less than 100 days until the self assessment tax return deadline of 31 January 2019, HMRC is urging taxpayers to complete their tax returns early, in order to avoid the last minute rush.

The deadline for submitting 2017/18 self assessment tax returns online is 31 January 2019. An automatic penalty of £100 applies if the return is late.

HMRC advise that last year, more than 11 million taxpayers completed a 2016/17 Self Assessment tax return, with 10.7 million completing on time. There were 4,852,744 taxpayers who filed in January 2018 (44.8% of the total), and 758,707 on 31 January, the deadline day.

HMRC is advising taxpayers not to leave the completion of their 2017/18 Self Assessment tax until the last minute.

Contact us for help with your self assessment tax return.

Personal Tax changes – Allowance and basic rate band increases

At the Budget, the Chancellor announced that increases to the personal allowance and basic rate band for 2019/20.

The personal allowance is currently £11,850. The personal allowance for 2019/20 will be £12,500. Also for 2019/20, the basic rate band will be increased to £37,500 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies is £50,000 for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance. The additional rate of tax of 45% will remain payable on taxable income above £150,000.

The government had pledged to raise the thresholds to these levels by 2020/21.

AUTUMN BUDGET 2018

The Chancellor Philip Hammond presented his second Autumn Budget on Monday 29 October 2018. In his speech he stated that ‘austerity is coming to an end – but discipline will remain’. He also promised a ‘double deal dividend’ if the Brexit negotiations are successful but stated that there may be a full-scale Spring Budget in 2019 if not.

MAIN BUDGET TAX PROPOSALS

  • increases to the personal allowance and basic rate band
  • extending off-payroll working to medium/large organisations in the private sector
  • a temporary increase to the Annual Investment Allowance
  • freezing the VAT registration threshold for a further two years
  • changes to Entrepreneurs’ Relief and private residence relief
  • measures to tackle the plastic problem.

Previously announced measures include:

  • increases in car benefits
  • plans for Making Tax Digital for Business
  • extending the charge to gains on non-UK residents of non-residential UK property.

Our full report on the Autumn Budget can be found here.

UK BUDGET DATE ANNOUNCED

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has announced that the Budget will take place on Monday 29 October.

Breaking with the tradition of a Wednesday in November, perhaps in a bid to avoid the ongoing Brexit negotiations, the government is expected to set out its plans ‘to build a stronger, more prosperous economy, building on the recent Spring Statement and last year’s Budget’.

The government announcements are expected to include updates on draft legislation and consultations, and proposed tax rates and reliefs.

SELF-EMPLOYED CLASS 2 NATIONAL INSURANCE WILL NOT BE SCRAPPED

The government has decided not to proceed with plans to abolish Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from April 2019.

Class 2 NICs are currently paid at a rate of £2.95 per week by self-employed individuals with profits of £6,205 or more per year. The government had planned to scrap the Class 2 contribution and had been investigating ways in which self-employed individuals with low profits, could maintain their State Pension entitlement if this inexpensive contribution had been abolished.

In a written statement to MPs, Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, stated that:

‘This change was originally intended to simplify the tax system for the self-employed. We delayed the implementation of this policy in November to consider concerns relating to the impact on self-employed individuals with low profits. We have since engaged with interested parties to explore the issue and further options for addressing any unintended consequences.’

‘A significant number of self-employed individuals on the lowest profits would have seen the voluntary payment they make to maintain access to the State Pension rise substantially. Having listened to those likely to be affected by this change we have concluded that it would not be right to proceed during this parliament, given the negative impacts it could have on some of the lowest earning in our society.’

SOFTWARE SUPPLIERS – MAKING TAX DIGITAL FOR VAT

HMRC is working with more than 150 software suppliers who have said they will provide software for Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV) in time for April 2019.

From 1 April 2019, businesses will be mandated to use the MTDfB system to meet their VAT obligations under MTDfV. Only businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) will be required to use MTDfV, however HMRC is piloting the new system, on a small scale, from April 2018.

HMRC has advised that more than 40 suppliers have said they will have software ready during the first phase of the pilot and other software suppliers are expected to follow.

Contact us for help with Making Tax Digital for VAT.

Internet link: GOV.UK software suppliers

STAMP DUTY CUT

 

According to the latest statistics 121,500 first-time buyers have saved a total of £284,000,000 following the introduction of a relief for first-time buyers under the Stamp Duty Land Tax rules.

Over the next five years, it is estimated that this relief, part of the UK government’s housing policy will help over 1 million people getting onto the housing ladder.

First-time buyers purchasing homes of £300,000 and under pay no stamp duty at all, and those who bought properties of up to £500,000 will also have benefited from a stamp duty cut.

Bank of England raises UK interest rates

The Bank of England has raised the interest rate for only the second time in a decade.

The rate has risen by a quarter of a percentage point, from 0.5% to 0.75% – the highest level since March 2009.

While the decision means that the 3.5 million people with variable or tracker mortgages will pay more, the rise will be welcomed by savers.

 

  • On a £150,000 variable mortgage, a rise to 0.75% is likely to increase the annual cost by £224
  • A Bank rate rise does not guarantee the equivalent increase in interest paid to savers. Half did not move after the last rate rise
  • No easy access savings account at a major High Street bank pays interest of more than 5%

What happens next?

The Bank is sticking to its guidance that interest rates will continue to head higher, but only at gradual pace and to a limited extent.

The financial markets have taken this on board and are forecasting one, and perhaps two, rises of 0.25% before 2020.

Xero Cloud Accounting

Xero is an online accounting platform, allowing you to deal with your business finances on the go. It brings together your real-time bank transactions, invoicing and expenses in one simple dashboard, easily accessible wherever you are.

It saves you time, hassle – and money, too. Because everything you can see, we can see at the same time – putting us in the perfect position to advise you on your financial situation.

WHY XERO REALLY ADDS UP…

Xero is the world’s leading online accountancy platform, already helping more than 200,000 businesses to streamline their financial data. They all love it. We love it. 

Modern cloud accounting software, like Xero can help you in a variety of ways,

  • Manage invoices, expenses & cashflow in real time
  • Send invoices automatically and get paid online
  • Get balances, sales figures & bills on the move
  • Use simple budgeting tools to keep on top of spending
  • Integrate with more than 700+ brilliantly useful apps

Click the link below to find out more about Xero.

https://www.xero.com/uk/features-and-tools/accounting-software/

 

HMRC EXTENDS RTI LATE FILING EASEMENT UNTIL APRIL 2019

 

HMRC has extended the payroll Real Time Information (RTI) late filing easement until April 2019.

Under RTI payroll obligations employers must submit details of payments made to employees on or before the day that wages are paid via a Full Payment Submission.

The updated guidance extends the easement, introduced in April 2015 to April 2019. The easement applies where an employer’s FPS is late but all reported payments on the FPS are within three days of the employees’ payday. This easement applies from 6 March 2015 to 5 April 2019. However, HMRC go on to clarify that employers who persistently file after the payment date but within three days may be contacted or considered for a penalty. Potential monthly penalties range from £100 to £400 depending on the size of the employer.