Blog

Free guides, news, and expert advice to help you get the most out of your business.

  • Business record keeping for the self-employed

    If you are self-employed as a sole trader or as a partner in a business partnership, then you must keep suitable business records as well as separate personal records of your income. For tax purposes, the business records must be held for at least 5 years after the 31 January submission deadline for the relevant […]

  • Making Tax Digital for VAT

    The deadline for businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold to keep digital records for VAT purposes using Making Tax Digital (MTD), is here. For VAT returns periods starting on or after 1 April 2019, businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) will have to: keep their records digitally (for VAT purposes […]

  • Income Excluded from UK Property Business

    Most of our readers will be aware of the £1,000 property income allowance that came into effect on 6 April 2017. This allowance applies to income from property (including foreign property). If your annual gross property income is £1,000 or less, the amount is exempt from tax and doesn’t need to be reported on your […]

  • Benefits of submitting your tax return early

    The 2018-19 tax year ended on 5 April 2019 and the new 2019-20 tax year started on 6 April 2019. Many taxpayers will be tempted to delay dealing with their 2018-19 tax returns until later on this year or near the deadline in January 2020. The 31 January 2020 is not just the final date for submission of […]

  • Help to save scheme

    The Help to Save scheme for people on low incomes was officially launched in September 2018 and since then over 80,000 people have signed up. The scheme allows those in work entitled to Working Tax Credit and in receipt of Working Tax Credits or Child Tax Credits to save up to £50 a month for […]

  • Landlords under the red light for underpaid and undeclared tax

    There was a 51% rise in the number of landlords found to have underpaid or undeclared tax on letting income in 2018. A Freedom of Information request from Telegraph Money revealed the steep rise in residential landlords being pursued by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). HMRC’s Let Property campaign saw 8,704 property landlords investigated last […]

  • Company tax deductions for charitable donations

    There are special rules in place when a limited company gives to a charity. This can include Corporation Tax relief for qualifying donations made to registered charities or community amateur sports clubs (CASC), as well as Capital Allowances for giving away equipment that has been used by a company. However, the rules are different if […]

  • Statutory payment rates for the tax year 2019/20

    The following statutory payment rates have been confirmed: The standard weekly rates of Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP), Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) will increase from £145.18 to £148.68 from 01 April 2019. The weekly rate of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will increase from £92.05 to £94.25 from 06 April 2019 […]

  • Cycle to work schemes

    There are special rules involving bicycles usually referred to as ‘Cycle to Work’ arrangements. The Cycle to Work scheme was introduced almost 20 years ago to help promote the use of healthy ways to commute to work using an environmentally friendly mode of transport. Employers of all sizes across the public, private and voluntary sectors […]

  • Lettings relief changes and other exemptions April 2020

    Two changes to the way Private Residence Relief works are due to come into effect from April 2020. These changes could reduce the amount of CGT relief available on the sale of a private residence. The changes are: 1.Home owners that let all or part of their house may not benefit from the full Private […]

  • Pension qualifying earnings band figures and minimum contributions for tax year 2019/20

    The Automatic Enrollment Order for 2019 has now been published. As expected, the earnings trigger has remained frozen for another year, which determines when an eligible worker is entitled to be automatically enrolled into a qualifying workplace pension scheme, at £10,000 from 6 April 2019. It also continues to align the qualifying earnings band with National Insurance […]

  • Tax Due by the end of this month

    The 31 January 2019 is not just the final date for submission of your self assessment tax return but also an important date for payment of tax due. This is the final payment deadline for any remaining tax due for the 2017-18 tax year. In addition, the 31 January 2019 is also the payment date […]

  • 7 Ways Self-Employed can prepare for 2019

    It’s that time of year when lots of people talk about personal New Year’s resolutions, but it’s also a great opportunity for you to reassess your business aims and objectives if you’re self-employed. We’ve put together a list of seven New Year’s resolutions for the self-employed – read on for what you should consider as […]

  • Autumn Budget – All you need to know as a Landlord

    Following announcements made during Phillip Hammond’s Autumn Budget, we’ve taken a look at the changes landlords could face across the UK – including adjustments to the income tax, personal allowance and higher rate thresholds. Chancellor Hammond opened the 2018 Autumn Budget with a confident prediction that it would “open a new chapter in our country’s […]

  • What is a company confirmation statement

    As well as filing accounts with Companies House, there is a requirement to check that the information Companies House stores about your company is correct every year. This is facilitated by the filing of an annual company confirmation statement. The confirmation statement was introduced in June 2016 and replaced the more cumbersome annual return. A […]

  • CGT Rollover Relief – ownership of assets

    Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rollover relief is a valuable relief that allows for a delay in the payment of CGT on gains when you sell or dispose of certain assets and use all or part of the proceeds to buy new assets. The relief means that the tax on the gain of the old asset […]

  • Self-employed contractors face National Insurance crackdown under IR35 reform

    As part of the Autumn Budget 2018, Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced that reforms to IR35 – which previously hit the public sector – will now be rolled out to private sector businesses, meaning some contractors may see their National Insurance contributions go up. Reforms to the off-payroll working rules were introduced to the public […]

  • Help-to-Save scheme launched

    The new Help to Save scheme for people on low incomes was launched with effect from 12 September 2018 following an 8-month trial. The new scheme allows those in work entitled to Working Tax Credit, and in receipt of Working Tax Credits or Child Tax Credits to save up to £50 a month for two years […]

  • MTD (Making Tax Digital) Overview

    After MTD for VAT has been implemented, MTD for income tax (for the self-employed and those with income from property) and MTD for corporation tax are expected to follow, but not before April 2020 at the earliest. From 01 April 2019 all VAT registered businesses and organisations with taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (currently […]

  • Self-Assessment Deadlines

    The 2017-18 tax return deadline for taxpayers who continue to submit paper Self-Assessment returns, is 31 October 2018. Late submission of a Self-Assessment return will become liable to a £100 late filing penalty. The penalty usually applies even if there is no liability or if any tax due is paid in full by 31 January […]

  • Capital Gains Tax Rollover Relief

    Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Rollover Relief is a valuable relief that allows for a delay in the payment of CGT on gains when you sell or dispose of certain assets and use all or part of the proceeds to buy new assets. The relief means that the tax on the gain of the old asset […]

  • Fraudulent Emails

    HMRC continues to warn taxpayers to be aware of email phishing scams. Phishing emails are used by fraudsters to access recipients’ valuable personal details, such as usernames and passwords. Fake email messages can appear to be genuine but clicking on a link from within the email can result in personal information being compromised and the […]

  • Employer Pension Contributions

    Employer contributions to any type of pension arrangement in a registered pension scheme are always paid gross. Tax relief is given by deducting the gross amount of the contributions from an employer’s taxable profits before Corporation Tax is calculated. Employers’ contributions can normally be treated as a deduction for the accounting period in which the contribution […]

  • Tax Free Health Benefits

    There is no requirement for employers to pay tax and National Insurance on certain health benefits covered by tax concessions or exemptions. For example, there is no requirement to report employees’ medical or dental treatment or insurance if they are a part of a salary sacrifice arrangement. In addition, the following health benefits can be […]

  • Claiming Employment Allowance

    The employment allowance of £3,000 per year, is available to most businesses and charities to be offset against their employers Class 1 NIC bill. The allowance can be claimed as part of the normal payroll process. An employer can claim less than the maximum if this will cover their total Class 1 NIC bill. Eligible […]

  • Allowable costs for property businesses

    Costs that can be deducted by individuals that have a property rental business, depend on the type of property that is being rented out. There are three main categories of property business that need to be considered. Residential properties This is by far the most common type of investment property held by individuals. Tax relief can be […]

  • Rent a Room Relief to be Modified

    The publication of the draft Finance Bill 2018-19 includes legislation to change the way the rent-a-room relief scheme works. Following last year’s Budget, a consultation was launched by HM Treasury to examine the design of the rent-a-room scheme. When the relief was first launched it was intended to be used where one bedroom in a […]

  • Maternity Allowance

    The maternity allowance is a financial benefit for pregnant women who are self-employed, who are working but do not qualify for statutory maternity pay (SMP) or who have recently stopped working. The maternity allowance is paid directly by the Department for Work and Pensions for up to 39 weeks for qualifying applicants. An application must be […]

  • Gifts with Complications

    Most gifts made during a person’s lifetime are not subject to tax at the time of the gift. The lifetime transfers are known as ‘potentially exempt transfers’ or ‘PETs’. These gifts or transfers achieve their potential of becoming exempt from Inheritance Tax if the taxpayer survives for more than seven years after making the gift. […]

  • Employee expenses covered by exemption

    There is no longer a requirement to report certain routine expenses to HMRC. The types of expenses and benefits covered are referred to as exemptions and have replaced dispensations which can no longer be applied for. The business expenses and benefits that no longer need to be reported (since April 2016) include reimbursed costs to […]

  • VAT reverse charge could hit the construction sector

    HMRC has launched a new consultation inviting comments from interested parties regarding the introduction of new VAT reverse charge legislation for certain construction services. The new legislation will make the supply of construction services between construction or building businesses subject to the domestic reverse charge. This move is part of the government’s measures to combat […]

  • Tax-Free childcare in the school holidays

    HMRC is reminding parents that the Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) scheme can help balance work and school holiday childcare. The TFC scheme helps support working families with their childcare costs and can be used to pay for regulated holiday clubs during the school holidays. The TFC scheme provides for a government top-up on parental contributions. For every […]

  • The Pensions Regulator to Seize Assets

    The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has announced that employers who refuse to pay workplace pension fines could have their assets seized to pay their debts. TPR can issue fines to employers who fail to meet their automatic enrolment duties and can secure court orders if the debts are not then paid. TPR is to now appoint […]

  • Tax On Lodger’s Rent

    The rent-a-room scheme is a set of special rules designed to help homeowners who rent-a-room in their home. Homeowners pay no tax on lodger’s rent up to £7,500. This tax relief applies to the letting/renting of furnished accommodation and is usually used when one bedroom in a home is rented out to a lodger for an […]

  • Protect Your Home Address

    New laws have come into effect (from 26 April 2018) to help tackle the problem of identity fraud and personal harm for company directors. The new laws, which were introduced into parliament on 22 February 2018, allow company directors and others such as secretaries, people with significant control (PSC) and LLP members, to remove their […]

  • Making Money From A Hobby

    The ‘badges of trade’ tests whilst not conclusive are used by HMRC to help determine whether an activity is a proper economic / business activity or just a money-making side line to a hobby. However, there is a point where careful consideration needs to be given to deciding whether your hobby has in fact become […]

  • Spring Statement 2018

    Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, stood up in Parliament at 12.34pm on Tuesday 13th March, to deliver his first – already heralded as ‘slimmed down’ – Spring Statement. He had forewarned the media and Parliament that he would not be making any specific tax or spending changes. These, together with any new governmental […]

  • How to Pay Yourself Efficiently

    If you’re a limited company, the amount of money you pay yourself determines the size of your tax bill. When you pay a salary, this cuts into profits and therefore lowers the amount of Corporation Tax you pay each year. A combination of salary, dividends and bonuses is a way of ensuring you pay yourself enough to live on as an owner-manager or a contractor. But how do you know how much to take in salary and dividends? What’s the most tax efficient way to pay yourself and when do you do it? There are a few different options to consider. Ultimately, your accountant will look at your business closely and advise on the way that best suits you. As the government tinkers with the rules most years, it’s always wise to check before going ahead.

  • 5 Tax-Efficient Ways to Reward Your Employees

    Increasing salary is far from the only way to make employees feel valued. If you want to reward your employees in tax-efficient ways, explore what’s commonly known as benefits in kind (BiKs) and salary sacrifice. The idea is that instead of an increase in salary, the employer offers benefits and other options specifically intended to improve the working lives of the employees. Here are five suggestions that could help. It’s also worth remembering that being known as an employer that rewards employees is a great way of attracting and keeping the best talent.