MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) are the legal minimum wage rates that must be paid to employees. Employers are liable to be penalised for not complying with the NMW and NLW rules.

There are different levels of NMW and NLW, depending on age and whether the employee is an apprentice. The rates are due to increase from 1 April 2019 as shown in the following table:

  FROM 1 APRIL 2018 (£) FROM 1 APRIL 2019 (£)
NLW for workers aged 25 and over 7.83 8.21
NMW main rate for workers aged 21-24 7.38 7.70
NMW 18-20 rate 5.90 6.15
NMW 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18 4.20 4.35
NMW apprentice rate * 3.70 3.90

*for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

There are no exemptions from paying the NMW on the grounds of the size of the business.

If you would like help with payroll matters please get in touch.

PENSIONS AUTO ENROLMENT CONTRIBUTIONS TO RISE

Minimum pension contributions are set to increase from 6 April 2019:

DURATION EMPLOYER MINIMUM (%) TOTAL MINIMUM CONTRIBUTION (%)
Current contributions 2 5
6 April 2019 onwards 3 8

The Pensions Regulator has produced guidance for employers on dealing with the increase including a letter template to advise employees of the change.  

Contact us if you would like help with auto enrolment.

START DATE LOOMING FOR MAKING TAX DIGITAL FOR VAT

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride, has made a statement to the House of Commons setting out HMRC’s progress on delivery of Making Tax Digital (MTD). He confirmed there would be no further delays in implementation.

For most businesses, compliance with the regulations is mandated for VAT return periods beginning on or after 1 April 2019. However, MTD for VAT for some ‘more complex’ businesses has been deferred until 1 October 2019. This deferral applies to trusts; not for profit organisations not set up as companies; VAT divisions; VAT groups; public sector entities such as government departments and NHS Trusts, which have to provide additional information on their VAT return; local authorities; public corporations; traders based overseas; those required to make payments on account; annual accounting scheme users.

Contact us for help and advice on MTD for VAT.

CONGRATULATIONS TO OWEN ON PASSING HIS AAT EXAM

We would like to congratulate Owen on passing his AAT level 3 Management accounting exam.

Owen is looking forward to starting his next module Advanced bookkeeping, we wish him all the best for his studies and for the exam

UNBELIEVABLE EXCUSES’ FOR LATE FILING OF TAX RETURNS

HMRC has revealed some of the most ‘bizarre excuses’ taxpayers have given for failing to file their self assessment tax return on time.

Excuses included ‘I’m too short to reach the post box’, and ‘my boiler had broken and my fingers were too cold to type’. One taxpayer claimed that a junior member of staff ‘forgot to wear their glasses’, and accidentally registered a client for self assessment. Another told HMRC that their mother-in-law was a witch, and that she had put a curse on the taxpayer, which prevented them from filing their tax return on time.

In addition to these excuses, HMRC also stated that, every year, they receive some unconvincing expenses claims.

One individual attempted to claim £40 for ‘extra woolly underwear’, whilst another taxpayer tried to claim £756 for pet insurance. Meanwhile, a carpenter attempted to claim £900 for a 55-inch TV and sound bar, which he claimed would ‘help him price his jobs’.

HMRC Director General of Customer Services, Angela MacDonald, said:

‘Help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time, but it’s unfair to the majority of honest taxpayers when others make bogus claims.’

 

Internet link: GOV.UK news

SPRING STATEMENT DATE ANNOUNCED

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has announced that the government will respond to the forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) in the Spring Statement on Wednesday 13 March 2019.

The Chancellor may take the opportunity to announce tax changes and consultations.

PENSION CONTRIBUTION INCREASES AHEAD

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is reminding employers that from 6 April 2019, the amount that will need to be paid into a workplace pension will increase to an overall minimum of 8%, with employers contributing at least 3% of this total amount.

TPR is now starting to write to all employers to remind them of their duties. TRP website provides further information on the increases and a link to a letter template advising employees of the increase.

TPR is advising employers that they should also check with their payroll software provider and pension provider to ensure plans are in place ahead of 6 April 2019.

Please contact us if you would like help with your payroll or pensions auto enrolment compliance.

SELF ASSESSMENT DEADLINE APPROACHING

The deadline for submitting your 2017/18 self assessment return is 31 January 2019. The deadline applies to taxpayers who need to complete a tax return and make direct payments to HMRC in respect of their income tax, Classes 2 and 4 National Insurance Contributions (NIC), capital gains tax and High Income Child Benefit Charge liabilities.

There is a penalty of £100 if a taxpayer’s return is not submitted on time, even if there is no tax due or the return shows that they are due a tax refund.

The balance of any outstanding income tax, Classes 2 and 4 NIC, capital gains tax and High Income Child Benefit Charge for the year ended 5th April 2018 is also due for payment by 31 January 2019. Where the payment is made late interest will be charged.

The first payment on account for 2018/19 in respect of income tax and any Class 4 NIC or High Income Child Benefit Charge is also due for payment by 31st January 2019.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at Gareth Hughes & Co.

Our office will close at 1pm on Friday 21 December 2018 and re open at 9am on Wednesday 2 January 2019.

TAX-FREE GIFTS TO EMPLOYEES

Some employers may wish to give a small gift to their employees. As long as the employer meets the relevant conditions, no tax charge will arise on the employee.

A tax exemption is available which should help employers ensure that the benefits provided are exempt and do not result in a reportable employee benefit in kind. In order for the benefit to be exempt it must satisfy the following conditions:

  • the cost of providing the benefit does not exceed £50 per employee
  • the benefit is not cash or a cash voucher
  • the employee is not entitled to the benefit  as part of a contractual arrangement (including salary sacrifice)
  • the benefit is not provided in recognition of particular services performed by the employee as part of their employment duties
  • where the employer is a ‘close’ company and the benefit is provided to an individual who is a director, an office holder or a member of their household or their family, then the exemption is capped at a total cost of £300 in a tax year.

If any of these conditions are not met then the benefit will be taxed in the normal way subject to any other exemptions or allowable deductions.