At first glance Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Statement seemed remarkably short on announcements. The most important news was probably that this would be the last Autumn Statement in this form, and in future we will see a Spring Statement and an Autumn Budget. This change will at least reduce the current trend of giving good news to take effect years into the future and then repeating it at six monthly intervals, whilst letting the bad news slip out in the small print and then stealthily take effect without further publicity. (more…)
HMRC have had a series of consultations on how they intend to deliver Making Tax Digital. From April 2018, all but the very smallest of unincorporated businesses and landlords (turnover less than £10,000) will be required by law to keep their records on accounts software. Many people already do that – but there will be an additional requirement in that, the software must be capable of sending information to HMRC every three months.
HMRC have now issued the latest Advisory Fuel Rates for Company Cars.
The new rates are below (previous rate in brackets where there is a change):
A recent consultation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) proposes a complete revamp of the Rules. The current Accounts Rules have not notably changed for many years and can be difficult to fully understand. The SRA have recognised this and have reported that ‘of the approximately 9000 firms that hold client money, in the period June 2012 to December 2013, over 50% received a qualified accountant’s report but only 179 were referred to consideration for further regulatory action’.
This would suggest that many of the breaches reported on in the past have been technical in nature, rather than breaches which signified a risk to client money.
Whilst the Autumn Statement was not seen as containing seismic shifts in financial policy, there are still changes in certain areas that will have an impact on businesses’ investment and transaction plans.
On the positive side, after a number of years where changes have happened or have been muted, the Annual Investment Allowance has been held at £200,000, which provides businesses with certainty as they consider investment plans. With the effects of Brexit still being debated and, in many cases, yet to emerge, this means that companies can also take time to consider and make the right decision.
You can do most things online from ordering shopping to updating your library books. In the near future you may add keeping HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) up to date with your tax affairs through “real time” digital accounts.
What does that mean for you and how will this affect you?
HMRC have had a series of consultations on how they intend to deliver this change. From April 2018, it proposed that unincorporated businesses and landlords with gross income above £10,000 will be required to submit quarterly returns to HMRC. So, whether you are renting out your land/house or have a small holding business and where your income is over £10,000 you will be affected under the current proposals.
It’s 3 weeks to Christmas! Therefore, a seasonal reminder that employers can give employees a benefit in kind without incurring any tax/NICs.
With effect from April 2016 the rules surrounding trivial benefits changed slightly, and in addition HMRC have issued revised guidance in respect of the treatment of some non cash vouchers and in particular store gift cards. To qualify, the benefit in kind needs to be “trivial.” Previously, there was little monetary value indication below which a benefit would be regarded as trivial, and therefore could be given without incurring any tax or NICs.
“Hammond’s inaugural Autumn Statement was a difficult balance between the Government trying to boost the economy post-Brexit, as well as trying to keep a hold on our ever-increasing debt. Last month’s record intake of tax would have traditionally helped, but this easily could have originated from the Government targeting tax avoidance.
“The Chancellor’s first statement will also prove to be his last, announcing to the surprise of his colleagues and peers that as of next year, there will solely be an Autumn Budget, replacing the traditional Spring Budget. Having just one set of real tax changes each year should provide more certainty and consistency, thereby raising personal and business confidence.
The Lifetime Allowance is a combined limit on the total amount of pension benefits which an individual may build up in pension schemes. Up to the quantum of the Lifetime Allowance benefits may be taken as a lump sum or as pension income without triggering a tax charge. For the purposes of the Lifetime Allowance a calculation of NHS scheme benefits is made. If an individual’s pension benefits from one or more sources exceed the Lifetime Allowance then a tax charge is rendered on the excess above the limit on the following basis:
The government is concerned that many small companies are missing out on generous Research and Development (R&D) tax credits. For the last year HMRC have been offering companies an advance assurance scheme to check whether or not their activities qualify before they make a claim. So far over 200 applications for advance assurance have been made.
There is a general misconception that R&D involves scientists in white coats, but it should be remembered that R&D includes the development or improvement of a product or process. This means that some of the work by your engineers or technical staff may qualify as R&D. For Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) the tax credit is 230% of the expenditure on qualifying R&D, and where the company incurs a trading loss, HMRC will provide an immediate cash refund rather than waiting until there is a profit in a future period.