HMRC OUTLINE MAKING TAX DIGITAL PLANS

HMRC have issued a series of consultation documents outlining further plans for the government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative.
HMRC have published six consultation documents on MTD. The six consultations set out detailed plans on how HMRC propose to make tax digital and to simplify the tax system. The consultations look at the following areas:

• How digital record keeping and regular updates will operate - this considers compulsory digital record-keeping and quarterly ‘updates’ to
  HMRC and an End of Year declaration within nine months of the end of the period of account.

• Options to simplify tax for unincorporated businesses, including changes to basis periods, extending cash basis accounting and reducing
  reporting requirements for unincorporated businesses.

• Extending cash basis accounting to unincorporated property businesses.

• Voluntary pay as you go arrangements, where taxpayers can pay what they want when they want, subject to the normal payment on account
  rules. Regular direct debit arrangements and quarterly payments on account are also being considered.

• Changes to tax administration, including changes to the enquiry regime, penalties for late submission of quarterly updates and End of Year
  declarations and also the late payment of tax.

• How HMRC will make better use of the information which they currently receive from third parties, including updating of PAYE codes more
  regularly and coding out of bank interest via PAYE.

Commenting on the plans, Jane Ellison Financial Secretary to the Treasury said:

‘This new system will make the UK’s tax administration more efficient and straightforward and will offer businesses greater clarity when it comes to paying their tax bills.’

However professional bodies have expressed their concerns about HMRC’s proposals. Frank Haskew, Head of the Tax Faculty at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, said:

‘This is not the time to be rushing through fundamental changes to business processes that are likely to result in major upheaval and extra costs, especially when the business benefit to the UK has not been clearly demonstrated.’

Under the Government’s plans, the changes to the tax system will be introduced gradually between 2018 and 2020. We will keep you informed of developments.

Internet link: GOV.UK MTD

GOVERNMENT PROPOSE NEW SANCTIONS FOR TAX AVOIDANCE

The government has announced new proposals for sanctions for ‘enablers and users of tax avoidance which is defeated by HMRC’.

The consultation proposes a new penalty for those who enable tax avoidance and changes to the existing penalty legislation which applies to those who use avoidance.

The proposals are to introduce ‘sanctions for those who design, market or facilitate the use of tax avoidance arrangements which are defeated by HMRC and to change the way the existing penalty regime works for those whose tax returns are found to be inaccurate as a result of using such arrangements.’

The government is seeking views on proposals for sanctions against those who enable or use tax avoidance arrangements which are later defeated.

Internet link: GOV.UK consultation

ACCOUNTING STANDARDS AND THE TAX IMPLICATIONS OF NEW UK GAAP

HMRC have updated their guidance on the tax implications of changes to the ‘generally accepted accounting practice’ used to prepare financial statements as many UK companies will be required to apply one of the EU-endorsed IFRS, FRS 101 or FRS 102 over the next few years.

HMRC have stated that the purpose of these two papers is to assist companies who are thinking of choosing or have already chosen to apply either FRS 101 or FRS 102. The guidance includes an overview of the key accounting changes and key tax considerations that arise.

Please contact us if you would like information on how these changes will affect you and your business.

Internet link: GOV.UK accounting standards

HMRC GENUINE AND PHISHING/BOGUS EMAILS AND CALLS

HMRC have issued an update of their guidance on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact be it via email or text.

They have also issued a warning regarding two telephone scams that they are aware of.

The details of the two phone scams are as follows:

• Taxpayers receive telephone calls claiming to be from HMRC requesting personal information in order to receive a tax refund, or to demand
  money for an unpaid tax bill.

• A recorded message is left, allegedly from HMRC, advising ‘that HMRC are bringing a lawsuit against the individual and is going to sue them.
  The recipient is asked to phone 0161 8508494 and press “1” to speak to the officer dealing with the case.

HMRC are advising that taxpayers should not reply to the message and should report this to Action Fraud, or you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2050.

Internet links: HMRC guidance Employer Bulletin

COMPLAIN TO HMRC - ONLINE

HMRC have always had complaints procedures and have extended these to now include an online form which can be used to make complaints about your self-assessment and PAYE. The guidance also includes other ways to complain.

If you would like help with PAYE or self assessment issues please contact us.

Internet link: GOV.UK guidance

GOVERNMENT URGED TO DELAY THE LAUNCH OF LIFETIME ISA

The government is being urged by both pension providers and banks to delay the April 2017 launch of the new Lifetime ISA as they are warning that they will not be ready to offer the savings product by this time.

A new Lifetime ISA introduces a new type of savings account for adults under the age of 40. Individuals will be able to contribute up to £4,000 per year and receive a 25% bonus from the government. Funds, including the government bonus, can be used to buy a first home at any time from 12 months after opening the account, and can be withdrawn from age 60 completely tax-free.

Further details of the new account, which is expected to be available from 2017, are as follows:

• Any savings an individual puts into the account before their 50th birthday will receive an added 25% bonus from the government.

• There is no maximum monthly contribution and up to £4,000 a year can be saved into a Lifetime ISA.

• The savings and bonus can be used towards a deposit on a first home worth up to £450,000 across the country.

• Accounts are limited to one per person rather than one per home, so two first time buyers can both receive a bonus when buying together.

• Where an individual already has a Help to Buy ISA they will be able to transfer those savings into the Lifetime ISA in 2017, or continue saving
  into both. However only the bonus from one account can be used to buy a house.

• Where the funds are withdrawn at any time before the account holder is aged 60 they will lose the government bonus (and any interest or
  growth on this) and will also have to pay a 5% charge.

• After the account holder’s 60th birthday they will be able to take all the savings tax-free.

In the article published by This is Money pension providers Aegon and Standard Life have stated that they have delayed their plans until final details regarding the Lifetime ISA are released.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is yet to consult on the initiative. Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon, stated that a consultation is ‘likely to take three months’ to carry out.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Standard Life said: ‘As we want the Lifetime ISA to be a success, we would prefer that its launch is delayed until providers receive more detail on the product and how it is to be implemented.’

The Treasury is expected to confirm full details in the autumn.

Internet link: Article

ADVISORY FUEL RATES FOR COMPANY CARS

New company car advisory fuel rates have been published which take effect from 1 September 2016. The guidance states: ‘You can use the previous rates for up to one month from the date the new rates apply’. The rates only apply to employees using a company car.

The advisory fuel rates for journeys undertaken on or after 1 September 2016 are:

  Engine Size
 Petrol
   1400cc or less
  11p
   1401cc - 2000cc
  13p
   over 2000cc
  20p
     
   Engine Size  LPG
    1400cc or less
   7p
    1401 - 2000cc
   9p
    over 2000cc
  13p
     
   Engine Size  Diesel
    1600cc or less
   9p
    1601cc - 2000cc
  11p
    over 2000cc
  13p
The guidance states that the rates only apply when you either:

• reimburse employees for business travel in their company cars

• require employees to repay the cost of fuel used for private travel

You must not use these rates in any other circumstances.

If you would like to discuss your car policy, please contact us.

Internet link: GOV.UK AFR

GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYERS

HMRC have issued their latest guidance to employers in the August edition of the Employer Bulletin. This publication, which is issued every two months, includes articles on:

• expenses and benefits in kind consultations

• HMRC Toolkits – helping to reduce errors

• Automatic penalties for late intermediary returns

• the Apprenticeship Levy and apprentices

• guidance on paying HMRC

• student loan deductions

• Automatic enrolment update

• National insurance contributions for employees over State Pension age

• Basic PAYE tools usage

• the impact on tax codes of the Personal Savings Allowance.

For help with your payroll contact us.

Internet link: Employer Bulletin