Blog

New DBS basic disclosure service goes live

From 17 January 2018, individuals who need to obtain a basic disclosure check for a job in England and Wales should apply to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), not to Disclosure Scotland. The DBS now provides the service for England and Wales. Individuals who wish to apply for their own basic check can use the new online service provided by the DBS. Individuals who need a basic disclosure check for a job in Scotland should still apply to Disclosure Scotland. If anyone wants a check for personal reasons rather than work purposes,...

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Statutory payment rates for tax year 2018/19 confirmed

Following the written ministerial statement published in November 2017 announcing the proposed new rates for statutory maternity pay (SMP), statutory adoption pay (SAP), statutory paternity pay (SPP), statutory shared parental pay (ShPP) and statutory sick pay (SSP) for tax year 2018/19, the government has now published the draft Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2018 which confirms the figures. The standard weekly rates of SMP, SAP, SPP and ShPP will increase from £140.98 to £145.18 from 1 April 2018 and the weekly rate of SSP will...

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A reminder of ways you can pay tax due

Last week we confirmed that as from 13 January 2018, HMRC will not accept personal credit cards for payment of tax or penalties. We have listed below the payment options you still have available to you: Electronic payment. HMRC’s preferred method of payment is by electronic bank transfer using Faster Payments, CHAPS or BACS. In order to make a payment electronically you will need your 11-character payment reference when you pay. This reference is made up of your 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) followed by the letter 'K'. This should...

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Buying a rental property?

The removal of the 10% wear and tear allowance that allowed landlords to reduce the tax they paid on furnished property lets (after the end of the 2015-16 tax year) was a significant loss for many landlords. The 10% deduction was available to landlords regardless of whether furnishings in their property were replaced or not. The wear and tear allowance was replaced by the Replacement of Domestic Item Relief. The relief only allows landlords the ability to claim tax relief when they actually replace furniture, furnishings, appliances and...

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Projects that count as R & D for tax purposes

Research and Development (R&D) tax credits were introduced for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2000 and for large companies in 2002. R&D credits are a Corporation Tax relief to encourage innovation and enterprise within the UK economy. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) can claim SME R&D tax deductions totalling 230% of any qualifying R&D expenditure (from 1 April 2015). It is also possible to claim a tax credit if the company is loss making. It is important to be aware that the rules for claiming R&D...

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Salary sacrifice examples of tax consequences

The tax and NIC advantages of certain benefits provided as part of a salary sacrifice arrangement were removed from 6 April 2017. The new rules effectively remove the Income Tax and employer NIC advantages of certain benefits provided as part of salary sacrifice arrangements such as mobile phones and workplace parking. When the changes were introduced it was confirmed that all arrangements in place before April 2017 will be protected for up to a year. This means that current contracts that remain under the pre-2017 rules will fall under the...

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What to consider when employing family, young people and volunteers

When a new employee is added to the payroll it is the employers’ responsibility to ensure they meet the employees’ rights and deduct the correct amount of tax from their salary. This includes any employees who are family members. HMRC’s guidance is clear that if you hire family members you must: avoid special treatment in terms of pay, promotion and working conditions make sure tax and National Insurance contributions are still paid follow working time regulations for younger family members have employer’s liability insurance that...

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What is the herd basis?

There are special rules which can apply to farmers and market gardeners that prepare their accounts on an accruals basis. This includes special rules for farmers’ averaging relief, dealing with losses and the treatment of compensation for compulsory slaughter. The special rules also refer to the use of the herd basis. The herd basis is a special method of working out profits or losses which may be used by people who keep production livestock. Usually, farm animals are treated as trading stock. However, under the herd basis a herd or flock of...

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Holiday let property – reminder to check your occupancy stats

The Furnished Holiday Let (FHL) rules allow holiday lettings of properties that meet certain conditions to be treated as a trade and therefore qualify for additional tax benefits. In order to qualify as a FHL, the following criteria need to be met: The property must be let on a commercial basis with a view to the realisation of profits. Second homes or properties that are only let occasionally or to family and friends do not qualify. The property must be located in the UK, or in a country within the EEA. The property must be available...

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Who is entitled to claim statutory maternity pay?

Employees that are pregnant are eligible to take up to 26 weeks of maternity leave (known as ordinary maternity leave) plus an additional 26 weeks (known as additional maternity leave). This means that an employee can take up to a full year of maternity leave once they give their employers the correct notice. All women employees are entitled to both classes of maternity leave from day one of their employment. SMP is a weekly payment from your employer made over a 39-week period. The SMP is payable at: 90% of the employee’s average weekly...

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