Blog

Archiving international trade documents

There are important rules that all businesses must follow to keep business and accounting records accessible if requested by HMRC. The exact documentation that must be held and the time limits for doing so can vary significantly. For example, most company records must be held for at least 6 years from the end of the last company financial year they relate to and even longer in some circumstances. Significant penalties can be imposed for failing to keep records or if records are inadequate. These record keeping requirement include international...

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National Minimum and Living Wage increases 1 April 2021

The new National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) rates came into effect on 1 April 2021. The new rate for the NLW is £8.91 which is a 19p increase over last year. The NLW is the minimum hourly rate that must be paid to those aged 23 or over. The NLW used to apply only to those aged 25 and over but from 1 April 2021 has been extended to 23 and 24 year olds for the first time. The threshold is expected to further reduce to 21 by 2024. The increase represents an additional £345 per year for someone working full-time and earning...

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Companies can claim super-deduction from 1 April

The new super-deduction tax break, that will allow companies to deduct 130% of the cost of any qualifying investment from their taxable profits, is available on most new plant and machinery investments that ordinarily qualify for 18% main rate writing down allowances. This means that for every £1 a company invests they can reduce their Corporation Tax bill by up to 24.7p. The new temporary tax relief applies on qualifying capital asset investments from 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2023. The super-deduction is designed to help companies finance...

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Exempt beneficial loans

An employee can obtain a benefit when provided with an employment-related cheap or interest-free loan. The benefit is the difference between the interest the employee pays, if any, and the commercial rate the employee would have to pay on a loan obtained elsewhere. These types of loans are referred to as beneficial loans. There are a number of scenarios where beneficial loans are exempt and employers might not have to report anything to HMRC or pay tax and National Insurance. The most common exemption relates to small loans with a combined...

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Claims to reduce payments on account

Self-Assessment taxpayers are usually required to pay their Income Tax liabilities in three instalments each year. The first two payments are due on 31 January during the tax year and 31 July following the tax year. These payments on account are based on 50% each of the previous year’s net Income Tax liability. In addition, the third (or only) payment of tax will be due on 31 January following the end of the tax year. If you think that your income for the next tax year will be lower than the previous tax year, you can apply to have your...

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Annual party benefits

The cost of a staff party or other annual entertainment is generally allowed as a deduction for tax purposes. If you meet the various criteria outlined below then there is no requirement to report anything to HMRC or pay tax and National Insurance. There will also be no taxable benefit charged to employees. An annual function offered to staff generally is not taxable on those attending provided that the average cost per head of the function does not exceed £150. The event must be open to all employees. If a business has multiple locations,...

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5% late penalties apply from 1 April 2021

Self-Assessment taxpayers that failed to pay their outstanding tax liabilities or set up a payment plan by midnight on 1 April 2021 will be charged a 5% late payment penalty charge. Under the normal rules a 5% late payment penalty would have been charged if tax remained outstanding or a payment plan has not been set up before 3 March 2021. This extension was put in place due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and gave taxpayers an extra 4 weeks to sort out their affairs before the 5% late payment penalty was levied. Interest will also...

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New support for High Streets and sea-side towns

As lockdown measures begin to be eased, a new package of support measures to help high streets and coastal areas across England has been announced by the Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick. The support will be delivered via a new £56 million Welcome Back Fund. The new funding will help councils boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stall pop-ups - giving people more safer options to reunite with friends and relatives. The funding can also be used by councils to: Boost the look and...

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£1.5bn boost for rates relief

A new Business Rates relief fund will provide a £1.5 billion tranche of support to businesses outside the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors affected by COVID-19. Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses have not been paying rates during the pandemic as part of a 15 month-long relief which runs to the end of June this year. Many businesses that were banned from applying these reliefs have been appealing for discounts on their rates bills, arguing the pandemic represented a ‘material change of circumstance’ (MCC). The government has...

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OTS recommended changes to IHT

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury has written to the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) to confirm that HM Treasury strongly supports some key recommendations on changes to Inheritance Tax. The government announced on 23 March 2021 that it will: change reporting regulations so that from 1 January 2022 over 90 per cent of non-taxpaying estates each year will no longer have to complete Inheritance Tax forms for deaths when probate or confirmation is required; and make permanent the ability for those dealing with a trust or estate to...

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