Displaying items by tag: Tax
December is probably the second most popular trading year end for businesses; the most popular being the 31 March.
Your end of year planning should include a review of your results – prior to your year end – so that there is an opportunity to make any advantageous changes. From our perspective, there is nothing quite so depressing as being made aware of these “opportunities” after the year end date has passed and when there is no way to incorporate possible tax saving strategies.
For traders with a December year end, a good time to do this is from October 2019, when the results for the nine months to 30 September are available.
Apart from your management accounts we could also discuss the following matters and if any investment be considered before or after your year end:
- Are you contemplating the purchase of new equipment or vehicles?
- Are you considering significant repairs or improvements to plant or buildings?
- Could you write off or consider a sale of redundant stock?
- We could estimate your business taxes based on trading for the current year and plan for savings to fund the future payment.
- If you have made trading losses are there opportunities to set off these losses against past profits and recover tax to aid cash flow?
With all the uncertainties that the exit form the EU has caused in the past two years there has never been a more opportune time to invest in planning. Business fitness could be the key issue for 2020 and beyond.
Accordingly, if we have not already organised a review, and your trading year end is imminent, please call so that we can discuss your options.
If you are starting to look forward to the forthcoming end-of-year and Christmas celebrations, and we could all do with a bit of festive cheer, you may find the following article useful: it sets out the rules and regulations that qualify such events for a tax-free status: no benefits in kind, tax or NIC consequences.
The cost of an annual staff party or similar function is allowed as a deduction for tax purposes. However, the cost is only deductible if it relates to employees and their guests, which would include directors in the case of a company, but not sole traders and business partners in the case of an unincorporated organisations. Also, it does not include ex-employees.
If the criteria below are followed there will be no taxable benefit charged to employees:
- The event must be open to all employees at a specific location.
- An annual Christmas party or other annual event offered to staff generally is not taxable on those attending provided that the average cost per head of the functions does not exceed £150 p.a. (including VAT). The guests of staff attending are included in the head count when computing the cost per head attending.
- All costs must be considered, including the costs of transport to and from the event, accommodation provided, and VAT. The total cost of the event is divided by the number attending to find the average cost. If the limit is exceeded then individual members of staff will be taxable on their average cost, plus the cost for any guests they were permitted to bring.
- VAT input tax can be recovered on staff entertaining expenditure. If the guests of staff are also invited to the event the input tax should be apportioned, as the VAT applicable to non-staff is not recoverable. However, if non-staff attendees pay a reasonable contribution to the event, all the VAT can be reclaimed and of course output tax should be accounted for on the amount of the contribution.
If there was a measure of stability in UK politics, we would be expecting the usual dispatch-box presentation by the Chancellor before Christmas. The annual budget is usually presented November each year.
This may still happen this year, but present uncertainties regarding the Brexit outcome, and the present government’s slim majority may scupper that timetable – we may have two budgets this Autumn or none at all.
Never-the-less, we will advise if and when a date is agreed. If we do leave the EU with no-deal, gripping the sides of your chair may be in order as the fiscal changes required (changes to taxation) to meet the resulting economic consequences, may be significant.
We will keep you posted.
In much the same way that we make judgements about our personal fitness: are we overweight, do we get enough exercise, do we eat the right food; similar judgements can be made about your business.
There is also a raft of external pressures that we have to consider as individuals. For example, if you are about to run a marathon your diet and daily exercise will need to prepare you for the physical demands of the coming event. Simply continuing a couch potato regime will inevitably lead to disaster.
In much the same way, we not only need to meet current demands when we sit down to manage our business activity on a day by day basis, we also need to keep a weather eye on changes to the economy and the antics of the politicians that pull the strings.
If a slow-down in activity is likely, for whatever reason, the demands on your business will likely result in lower sales, pressure on your profit margins, a reduction in cash balances and downward pressure on your earnings from the business.
Compare this with a rapid up-turn in economic activity. You will need sufficient cash reserves to meet increased sales, investment in stock and possible increased staffing costs.
In both cases, significant changes will make similar demands on your business cash flow, and whilst the details will differ, to survive these changes we need to be prepared, we need to manage our business fitness.
Without a doubt, losing the ability to move goods and personnel across Europe is probably the most dramatic change in the UK’s ability to trade in the EU since we first joined in the 1970s. Even if our business does not actively trade with companies in the EU, it is highly likely that a number of our suppliers and customers may do so.
How will this affect your business? What plans do you have in place to counter any down-side risks?
We suggest that undertake a formal risk assessment to identify and counter financial pressures that you may face after 31 October 2019. Please call so we can help you ready your business for the coming changes. The clock is ticking.
1 August 2019 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 October 2018.
19 August 2019 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 August 2019. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 August 2019)
19 August 2019 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 August 2019.
19 August 2019 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 August 2019 is payable by today.
1 September 2019 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 30 November 2018.
19 September 2019 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 September 2019. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 September 2019)
19 September 2019 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 September 2019.
19 September 2019 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 September 2019 is payable by today.
It has been confirmed that from April 2020, the government will introduce a new 2% Digital Services Tax (DST) on the revenues of search engines, social media platforms and online marketplaces which derive value from UK users.
This is an attempt to tax, in the UK, revenues earned by these social media platforms from customers resident in the UK. At present, significant profits are being earned in the UK but transferred off-shore thus avoiding UK taxation.
In the notes confirming that these changes would be included in the Finance Bill 2019, HMRC said:
The revenues from the business activity – subject to DST – will include any revenue earned by the group, which is connected to the business activity, irrespective of how the business monetises the platform. If revenues are attributable to the business activity and another activity, the business will need to apportion the revenue to each activity on a just and reasonable basis.
A UK user is a user that is normally located in the UK.
The Digital Services Tax will apply to businesses that provide a social media platform, search engine or an online marketplace to UK users. These businesses will be liable to Digital Services Tax when the group’s worldwide revenues from these digital activities are more than £500m and more than £25m of these revenues are derived from UK users.
If you are setting up a new business one of the options, you will need to consider is your business structure. There are two basic choices:
- Be self-employed, or
- Incorporate your business, be a limited company.
There is a world of difference between the two options.
Self-employed suggests that you work on your own, and this is certainly one self-employed option, but there are others.
You could have a business partner, or partners, and trade as self-employed but in a formal partnership arrangement. There are two basic types of partnership: a limited partnership (where the partners are not personally liable for any business risks) and a non-limited version where the partners’ personal assets are at risk in the event that the business cannot pay its debts.
This personal liability aspect is one of the key reasons that need to be considered when deciding on a structure for your business. The other is the impact of NIC and income tax.
If you are self-employed the profits of the business are taxable based on the tax status of the business owner or owners. There is no flat rate applied to business profits. The more you earn, the more NIC and income tax you will pay. And don’t forget, if you are self-employed and you run into financial difficulties, your personal assets may be at risk – unless you have opted for the Limited Liability Partnership arrangement.
A limited company
Alternatively, you could set up a limited company that is treated as a legal entity in its own right. Companies pay corporation tax, not income tax, at a single rate, presently 19%.
At first sight it may seem like a no-brainer, why would you be self-employed and pay much higher rates of NIC and income tax? Combine this with the limited liability aspect and the argument for trading as limited seems compelling.
Planning is key
Every potential new business-person should consider both options. There are pluses and minuses to each, and both need to be considered.
If you are thinking about a new business, perhaps your first venture into self-employment, please call so we can help you consider all the possibilities. This is not a process to be taken lightly and messing up could prove to be very expensive.
The way we organise our business and personal financial affairs determines the amount of taxes we pay. Most of us are focussed on outcomes, outcomes that on the face of it increase our profits or income without due regard for the effect these transactions have on our tax position.
A classic example is the rule that removes your entitlement to the annual personal tax allowance if your income exceeds £100,000. For the tax year 2019-20, your £12,500 personal tax allowance would be reduced by £1 for £2 that your income exceeds £100,000. And so, when your income reaches £125,000 you will no longer be entitled to claim this allowance. Because you are being taxed at a 40% income tax rate and you also progressively lose your personal tax allowance – between £100,000 and £125,000 – you are effectively taxed at 60% on this top £25,000 of your income.
With the benefit of hindsight, or more practically, with the benefit of tax planning, there might be lawful ways that you could reduce your income without compromising your finances and maintain your claim to the personal tax allowance.
Clearly, cost benefit considerations need to be advanced at this point. It is difficult to argue that you adopt a tax planning strategy if the cost of the support you need are more than taxes saved.
Planning requires a three-step process:
- A fact-find to fully understand your present position,
- Research to discover if there are any viable planning opportunities, and
- The agreement of a course of action based on an appreciation of the investment required to provide the necessary advice and the likely tax outcome(s).
If your business or personal financial matters are complex, and you don’t invest in an annual tax planning review, we would be interested in talking with you to see if we could impact your tax footprint in a positive way. Please call, we can help.
As UK resident persons we are obliged to comply with the law, if we don’t, there are consequences. These range from financial penalties to imprisonment.
Tax compliance covers areas such as submitting returns to HMRC by the required dates and observing certain disclosure rules if our personal or financial circumstances change in a particular way. For most of us this means submitting an annual tax return and paying any calculated tax, NIC or VAT liabilities as they fall due.
For most taxpayers this s a chore that cannot be avoided, and it is tempting to see any investment in professional fees to complete these returns as a cost. As advisors we have sympathy with this point of view and yet there are compelling reasons to view this compliance service as beneficial, as an investment not a cost.
Firstly, if you don’t have to complete and fret over what does and what does not need to be returned, you will have more time to spend on activity that furthers your business interests or gives you more time to spend with your family. It will also, we hope, give you comfort that your affairs are being handled professionally – the sleep better at night outcome.
Secondly, an impartial review of your tax affairs – in order to deal with your compliance obligations – may reveal opportunities to change the way you organise your business or personal financial affairs in order to reduce the impact of taxation.
Timing is also an issue. There are compelling reasons to have advance notice of tax payments. For example, our self-assessment tax returns do not need to be submitted until 31 January following the end of a particular tax year. So, for the tax year 2018-19, the filing deadline is 31 January 2020. Why leave completing your return until the last minute if this means you have no time to figure how you are going to fund tax payments due?
Tax compliance, if managed correctly, is much more than a rubber-stamping activity, and hopefully, this post will convince you that your investment in the process has advantages that will justify your investment. Please call if you need help with your tax compliance obligations.