RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY INCOME AND INTEREST RELIEF

The government has issued guidance and examples on the restriction of income tax relief for interest costs incurred by landlords of residential properties. The new rules, which are phased in from April 2017, only apply to residential properties and do not apply to companies or furnished holiday lettings.

From April 2017 income tax relief will start to be restricted to the basic rate of tax. The restriction will be phased in over four years and therefore be fully in place by 2020/21. In the first year the restriction will apply to 25% of the interest, then 50% the year after and 75% in the third.

The restriction may result in additional amounts of tax being due but will depend on the marginal rate of tax for the taxpayer. Basic rate taxpayers should not be substantively affected by these rules. A higher rate taxpayer will, in principle, get 20% less relief for finance costs. However the calculation method may mean that some taxpayers move into the higher rate tax brackets as the following example illustrates:

Consider the 2020/21 tax year when the transitional period is over. Assume that the personal allowance is £11,000, the basic rate band £32,000 and the higher rate band starts at £43,000.

Assume Ellisha has a salary of £28,000, rental income before interest of £23,000 and interest on the property mortgage of £8,000. Under the current tax rules, taxable rental income is £15,000. She will not pay higher rate tax as her total income is £43,000 - the point from which higher rate tax is payable.

With the new rules, taxable rental income is £23,000. So £8,000 is taxable at 40% - £3,200. Interest relief is given after having computed the tax liability on her income. The relief is £8,000 at 20% - £1,600. So an extra £1,600 tax is payable.

Other complications

It should be noted that the tax reduction cannot be used to create a tax refund. So the amount of interest relief is restricted where either total property income or total taxable income (excluding savings and dividend income) of the landlord is lower than the finance costs incurred. The unrelieved interest is carried forward and may get tax relief in a later year.

Child benefit is clawed back if ‘adjusted net income’ is above £50,000. Interest will not be deductible in the calculation of ‘adjusted net income’.

The personal allowance is reduced if ‘adjusted net income’ is above £100,000.

Please contact us if you would like advice on how these rules will affect you.

Internet links: News Examples

TPR LATEST PENSIONS AUTO ENROLMENT AWARENESS

According to the latest research by the TPR, based on surveys carried out between February and April 2016, the understanding amongst small employers of their duties under pensions auto enrolment saw a significant rise from 68% to 81%.

Executive Director of Automatic Enrolment, Charles Counsell said:

‘More than 9 in 10 small employers are now aware of automatic enrolment, and there is now almost universal engagement from business advisers helping their clients to carry out their duties.

This is the first employers’ survey since large numbers of small and micro employers have begun to visit TPR’s website for help in meeting their duties. It’s great to see such positive feedback, with 79% of the employers who used our website finding all or most of what they needed.’

Other key findings from the employers’ survey were as follows:

• Understanding remained largely unchanged for micro employers, rising from 56% to 60%.

• Direct communications from TPR continued to be the main catalyst for employers to start preparing for automatic enrolment. Of those
  employers who stated that both TPR direct communications and advertising prompted action, nearly two thirds stated the advertising
  encouraged them to look again at the direct communications.

• The vast majority (90%) of employers continued to express confidence in future compliance with automatic enrolment (93% in Autumn 2015).

• The majority of employers continued to have positive perceptions of workplace pensions. However, automatic enrolment was still more likely
  to be perceived as a challenge among micro employers than among small employers.

The research can be found here employers' research.

If you would like help with pensions auto enrolment please contact us.

Internet link: TPR press release

HMRC LATEST ‘TAX CHEAT’ TARGETS

HMRC have launched a new taskforce to tackle wealthy tax cheats who are living beyond their means in Northern Ireland and expect the campaign to recover approximately £18 million.

HMRC have announced that they are using Land Registry and Merchant Acquirer data to identify those with ‘badges of wealth’ such as large houses, aeroplanes, boats and undeclared offshore bank accounts which are not in keeping with the information they report to HMRC.

HMRC’s Ian McCafferty, Taskforce Lead, said:

‘Our intelligence shows that people being targeted by this taskforce have no intention of playing by the rules and could end up facing a heavy fine or even a criminal conviction. Those who pay the tax they are supposed to have nothing to worry about.

Using the information we hold, we can target people whose lifestyle does not reflect the tax they are paying. It’s not fair that a small minority are living the millionaire lifestyle as a result of them not paying their tax, while the rest of us live within our means and pay our fair share.

Earlier this year a separate taskforce used similar HMRC data to identify and prosecute Dr Francis Gerard D’Arcy, a Belfast ear, nose and throat consultant. After a successful prosecution, he was sentenced to four concurrent, two-year jail sentences for evading taxes of nearly £500,000. This new taskforce will be targeting similar wealthy individuals who have evaded their taxes.’

Other HMRC taskforces are in operation in various parts of the country. These can be viewed here

Internet link: News

LATEST ONS LABOUR MARKET STATISTICS

The ONS has announced that in the three months from March to May 2016, the number of people in work increased. The number of unemployed people and the number of people not working and not seeking or available to work (economically inactive) fell.

The statistics reveal that there were:

• 31.70 million people in work (176,000 more than for the three months to February 2016 and 624,000 more than for a year earlier)

• 23.19 million people working full-time (401,000 more than for a year earlier)

• 8.52 million people working part-time (223,000 more than for a year earlier)

The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 74.4%.

There were 1.65 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 54,000 fewer than for the three months to February 2016.

Average weekly earnings increased by 2.3% including bonuses and by 2.2% excluding bonuses compared with a year earlier.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said:

‘These figures confirm the UK labour market continued to create jobs ahead of the referendum vote, although there was some underlying uncertainty represented by falling vacancies and subdued wage growth.

Prospects for the labour market are now more uncertain following the UK’s decision to leave the EU. This highlights the need for continued labour market flexibility, and to ensure the National Living Wage remains affordable for businesses, reflecting the broader economic situation.

Ultimately, increasing productivity, including by ensuring everyone has the skills to meet their full potential, will help to share prosperity across all areas of the UK.’

Internet links: ONS Bulletin CBI news

UPDATED STUDENT LOAN DEDUCTION GUIDANCE

HMRC have issued updated guidance to employers on how to deal with student loan deductions via the PAYE system.

Employers should familiarise themselves with the guidance which has been updated to reflect the introduction of plan 2 loans which are repayable from a different threshold but at the same nine percent basis.

With effect from the 2016/17 tax year there are two plan types for student loan repayments:

• plan 1 with a threshold of £17,495 (£1,457 a month or £336 per week)

• plan 2 with a threshold of £21,000 (£1,750 a month or £403 per week)

The updated guidance includes the following advice on identifying the plan type:

‘Start making student loan deductions from the next available payday using the correct plan type if any of the following apply:

• your new employee’s P45 shows deductions should continue - ask your employee to confirm their plan type

• your new employee tells you they’re repaying a student loan - ask your employee to confirm their plan type

• your new employee fills in a starter checklist showing they have a student loan - the checklist should tell you which plan type to use

• HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) sends you form SL1 ‘Start Notice’ - this will tell you which plan type to use

If your employee doesn’t know which plan type they’re on, ask them to contact the Student Loan Company (SLC). If they’re still unable to confirm their plan type, start making deductions using plan type 1 until you receive further instructions from HMRC.’

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

Internet link: Guidance

WORKING IN HOT TEMPERATURES

ACAS have some guidance on ‘hot weather’ working. The guidance confirms that:

‘In the UK there is no maximum temperature that a workplace is allowed to be, rather advice from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) states ‘during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable’. What is reasonable depends on the type of work being done (manual, office, etc) and the type of workplace (kitchen, air conditioned office, etc).

The HSE offers further guidance on workplace temperatures including details on carrying out an optional thermal comfort risk assessment if staff are unhappy with the temperature - Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - Temperature.’

The ACAS guidance also covers issues such as getting to work, keeping cool at work, fasting during hot weather, vulnerable workers and dress code during hot weather.

Internet link: ACAS website

CHARITY NEWS

Annual returns

The Charity Commission, which is the relevant body for charities registered in England and Wales, has announced that its latest annual return is now available and can be found on GOV.UK.

All registered charities, in England and Wales, with an income of more than £10,000 and all Charitable Incorporated Organisations reporting on their financial years ending in 2016 must complete the online form within ten months of the end of their financial year.

Part of the data submitted is used to populate the Charity Commission’s online public register of charities, which is a key source of data about charities in England and Wales.

The Charity Commission would like trustees to be aware that the function to view and amend details about a charity’s trustees, contact addresses and emails is now separate from the annual return, so charities can update these details at any time. Charities will also be asked to confirm that this information is correct before submitting their annual return.

David Holdsworth, Chief Operating Officer at the Charity Commission, said:

‘We are delighted to announce the official launch of the 2016 annual return in both English and Welsh. This is a first for the commission and is also part of our commitment to becoming a truly digital by default regulator. We have worked closely with the sector to ensure we are providing easy to use services that help trustees comply with their filing duties.

Although charities have 10 months from the end of their financial year to complete their annual return, we urge them not to wait until then. We also encourage them to take a minute to make sure their information is up to date, and to use the built in customer feedback to tell us what they think.’

The commission is also taking this opportunity to remind trustees that filing their charity’s annual return on time is essential so that:

• they are accountable to the regulator,

• transparent in their activities for the benefit of the public, and

• demonstrate compliance to their donors.

Failure to file on time can result in the commission taking regulatory action.

Northern Ireland

For charities registered in Northern Ireland the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is the relevant body and returns should be submitted via charitycommissionni/annual reporting. This applies to registered charities, not to those on the deemed list which have not yet been entered on the register.

Scotland

Please note that for charities registered in Scotland the equivalent return, should be submitted to the Scottish Charity Regulator within nine months of their year end OSCR/online-services.

Fundraising

In other charity news the Scottish Charity Regulator has announced the adoption of a new model for fundraising regulation for Scotland. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the new Fundraising Regulator will oversee standards for fundraising and deal with complaints about charity fundraising.

In Scotland a new Independent Panel, with representatives from the public, fundraising professional bodies, charities, OSCR and the Scottish Government will fulfil this function. The aim is to have the panel in place by the autumn of 2016. In the meantime a Scottish fundraising complaints hub has already been set up
.
Please contact us for further information on charity returns and accounts or any guidance in this area.

Internet link: News