Mike Tombs's Blog

This blog provides information about tax, accounting and other issues affecting small owner-managed businesses in the UK. It is intended as a general source of information but you should not assume that everything applies to your specific circumstances. We are always happy to discuss providing tailor-made solutions to suit your individul needs. Visit www.tlaservices.co.uk to sign up for our free monthly Tax Tips and News newsletter.

Monthly Archives: June 2015

Non-Resident Capital Gains Tax

If you are involved with sales of UK residential property where the buyer or seller is tax-resident outside of the UK, you need to be aware of a new tax that came into effect on 6 April 2015: non-resident CGT (NR CGT).

The NR CGT charge is applied at different rates according to whether the seller is a non-resident closely-held company, fund, individual, personal representative or trustee. It applies to gains made in the period from 6 April 2015 to the disposal date of the property, so a small amount of tax likely to be payable on property sales made in 2015/16.

However, when such a sale is made a NR CGT return must be submitted to HMRC within 30 days of the conveyance of the property, and this must be done online. The return must be made whether there is any NR CGT to pay or not, where there is a loss on the disposal, and even where the taxpayer is due to report the disposal on their own personal or corporate self-assessment tax return.

Where the vendor is not registered for UK income tax, corporation tax or the annual tax on enveloped dwellings (ATED), the NRCGT charge must be paid within 30 days of the conveyance date. This payment can only be made once the NRCGT return has been submitted and HMRC have replied with a reference number to use when making the payment. There are penalties for failing to file the NR CGT return on time, and failing to pay the tax on time.

If the taxpayer is registered for UK tax they can opt to pay the NRCGT due at the same time as the tax due for their normal personal or corporate tax.

Conveyancing solicitors need to be aware of the very tight tax reporting and payment deadlines. Property developers need to warn non-resident customers that they will be liable to tax on any gain made when they sell the residential property and that gain includes any discount in the price achieved by buying “off-plan”.

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EIS Assurance

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) provides some very attractive tax incentives for investors who subscribe for shares in small companies. If you are thinking of attracting investors using the EIS you should first get an advance assurance from HMRC that your company will qualify.

However, HMRC has recently changed the conditions under which it will give that advanced assurance. It will no longer grant assurance for an EIS application if the company is:

  • over 7 years from its first sale and has not received funding under the EIS, or other tax advantaged venture capital scheme; or
  • has received more than £10 million in funding under those schemes.

There is an exception to the 7-year rule for companies that are seeking to raise over 50% of their average annual turnover under the EIS in one go, and this is the company’s first attempt at using one of those tax advantaged venture capital schemes.

There are also new conditions for the investor. He or she must hold no shares in the company at the time they make their first EIS investment, ignoring any subscriber shares issued when the company was founded, and shares already issued under SEIS or VCT.

Making the best of your allowances

As the sole owner/director of your company you face a dilemma over how to extract income from that company. If you pay yourself a salary of more than £8,060 per year you will have to pay class 1 NIC at the rate of 12% on the excess pay above that threshold up to £42,385 pa. However, income tax is not due until your salary tops £10,600 (the value of your personal allowance for 2015/16).

One solution is to take a salary of up to £8,060 and any further income as dividends of up to £30,892 pa (£34,325 gross including the 10% tax credit). This combination would mean a zero tax and NIC bill, but gives you an NI credit to qualify for the state pension. However, £2,540 of your personal allowance is “wasted” as the 10% dividend tax credit can’t be reclaimed when the personal allowance is set against a dividend.

If your spouse receives a salary that exceeds their personal allowance, but does not pay 40% tax another adjustment is possible. You can now transfer £1,060 of your personal allowance to your spouse. This will allow them to save tax of £212 (£1,060 @20%).

However, to avoid you slipping into the 40% tax bracket you must also reduce the level of dividends you take to a maximum of £29,938 (£33,265 gross) for 2015/16. The result is that the family as a whole has the same tax allowances, but the income tax paid has decreased by £212.

Clothing for employees

If you provide clothes for your staff to wear at work you need to be aware of the tax and VAT implications which may vary according to the items provided.

Where the items provided constitute a uniform or protective clothing which is needed to perform the job, the cost is tax deductible for the business and the VAT can be reclaimed. There is no taxable benefit in kind for the employee.

If the clothes are not considered to be a “uniform” and can’t qualify as protective clothing, the tax treatment depends on whether the employees are permitted to keep the items.

Where ownership of the items effectively passes to the employee you should generally treat the provision of the clothes as a sale at cost price, in which case you must account for VAT as if the clothing items had been sold at the cost to you. This can apply when sales staff in a clothing store are given clothes to wear from the store’s range, and are not required to return those clothes if they leave the company’s employment. The value of the clothes provided may also be a taxable benefit for the employee, which needs to be accounted for either on the annual form P11D or as part of a payroll settlement agreement (PSA).

Where the value of the items provided to any one employee is less than £50 in the tax year, the provision can be treated as a business gift by the employer. In this case the employer does not treat the value of the clothes as a sale. The taxman may also agree that the value of the clothes is a trivial benefit which is not taxable on the employee. However, it is best to establish this position with the tax office in advance. We can help you with that.

June 2015 Q&A

Q. I work as a self-employed air-conditioning engineer, which involves servicing and maintaining air-conditioning units and occasionally fitting new units. I would like to take advantage of the flat rate VAT scheme for small businesses, but I am confused as to what business category to choose. Do you have a suggestion?

A. It is crucial to choose the right business sector when registering for the flat rate scheme, as the sector can’t be changed retrospectively. The higher the flat rate percentage (which is determined by the business sector), the more VAT you have to pay over to HMRC each quarter.

If the majority of your income comes from other businesses it would be sensible to choose “business services not listed elsewhere” which carries a flat rate percentage of 12%. If the larger proportion of your income is from individuals then the business category “repairing personal or household goods” may be more appropriate, which carries a flat rate percentage of 10%. You must choose the business category which is appropriate to the largest slice of your income, and review that decision every year on the anniversary of entering into the flat rate scheme.

Q. Following the relaxation of the pension rules in April I took a cash lump sum from my pension scheme but the pension company deducted tax from the payment. I have no other income in this tax year so I shouldn’t have to pay any tax. How do I get that tax back?

A. You make a tax refund claim using one of the online forms on the GOV.UK website designed specifically for this situation (form P55, P50Z or P53Z). The form to use depends on whether you have other income or not and whether you have taken out your entire pension pot or not. We can advise you which tax reclaim form is right for your circumstances.

Q. My father employs a care-worker to provide personal care for his disabled wife in their home. The cost is significant, including NIC and PAYE. Is there anything he can do to reduce the cost?

A. People who employ care-workers in their own homes can claim the employment allowance for 2015/16 which is worth up to £2,000 to set against the employer’s national insurance contributions (NIC). The allowance wasn’t available for such employers in 2014/15 due to the general block on using it against class 1 NIC due on the pay of domestic workers, but the law changed in April 2015.

Your parents may also qualify for state support such as the Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance which are not taxable. If your mother is aged under 65 she may qualify for Personal Independent Payment (PIP).