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Tip of the day

New Energy Saving Technology for Enhanced Capital Allowances

£200,000 annual investment allowance not good enough for you? Well, if you do spend more than that in a year, then you will need to know about the enhanced capital allowances (100%) that are available for investment in certain energy saving or environmentally beneficial assets. HMRC have today released news of an addition to their […]

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HMRC Squeeze Rates on Tax Incentivised Cars

HMRC have just announced that from 1st April 2018 they are reducing the CO2 thresholds below which car purchases qualify for 100% first year allowances and for the main 18% allowance. At present, 100% fya is available on car purchases where CO2 emissions are no more than 75g/km, and the cut-off between 8% and 18% […]

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Exception from VAT Registration

A case has recently gone against the taxpayer at tribunal on his appeal against HMRC’s refusal to allow an exception from registration for VAT. The facility to obtain an exception from registration is not widely known.  The principle is that if you go over the registration threshold but you have reason to believe that the […]

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No Excuses for Mistakes, Even Though Everyone Makes Them

I am the last person to claim to be perfect.  Outside of the workplace, I make plenty of mistakes.  When it comes to the little things in life, getting things wrong can be the stuff of legend and many an amusing anecdote. When it comes to my work and my clients’ finances, I prepare so […]

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Another Doctor Loses Out on Travel Costs

There may not be many more doctors losing disputes at tribunal over travel cost tax deductions.  That’ll be because there will be no point in going to court. HMRC have won again in similar circumstances to their ground-breaking victory in the Samadian case. Doctors were self-employed.  They worked from home, and travelled to clinics or […]

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HMRC Take the Piss

Sometimes don’t know what to make of the taxman. Is he out of touch with the real world?  Think the answer’s “yes”. Can he be capable of having a bit of a laugh?  Not so sure. HMRC have just issued what they say are the ten worst excuses for being late with a tax return.  I […]

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Tribunal Fees

The government have just announced that they are bringing in fees for escalating disputes with HMRC to an independent tribunal. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use the facility when you think you are in the right. It does mean that you’ll have to stake some hard cash on your fight.

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A New ISA

From 6th April 2016 there will be a new financial product, the Innovative Finance ISA. This is the government’s adaptation of the ISA system to include interest and gains made from peer to peer lending. This good news needs to be considered alongside the new 0% band of savings income which stretches as far as […]

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Wear and Tear

HMRC have recently published detail of the final legislation that will enact the removal of the wear and tear allowance on furnished buy-to-lets and the ‘reintroduction’ of a ‘renewals’ basis of relief for capital items put into any dwelling by a landlord from 6th April 2016. Landlords of furnished property should reassess their tax position […]

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What You Should Know About the Personal Savings Allowance

HMRC have recently published detail on the new £1000 (£500 for higher rate taxpayers and £0 for additional raters) band of savings income taxable from 6th April 2016 at 0%. For those fortunate enough to have a large portfolio of investments that they can manipulate, the optimum yield is now going to be £5k dividends […]

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Organisation Can Defeat HMRC

A recent case before the First Tier Tribunal ended in favour of the taxpayer and defeated HMRC penalties. The judge was quick to side with the taxpayer as he was the party that presented the most compelling evidence.  He retained copies of all correspondence while HMRC offered only an excuse that they had not kept […]

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HMRC Improve System for Taxing Peer 2 Peer Loan Interest

HMRC have recently announced a concession for bad debt relief on loans made on crowdfunding or peer 2 peer platforms. This is yet more reason to take a look at how you can get a decent return, help UK sme’s and bash the banks all at the same time.

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HMRC Renew Guidance on Phishing Emails

Sometimes malice comes from HMRC.  Today, they are warning of others’ malice. Statistically, this is a hot time for scammers and phishers. We will all be familiar with emails saying they’re from HMRC when we know they are not. Just in case there are new and more convincing emails doing the rounds this tax return […]

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Protection for the Vulnerable from HMRC Helping Themselves to Your Money

HMRC have added a safety net for the vulnerable to their controversial system of taking money direct from bank accounts. They have just announced that they will not take direct from a bank where the taxpayer is disabled, unwell or suffering the effects of other personal issues such as a bereavement. If you are aware that HMRC are about […]

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Pensions Just Keep Getting More Flexible

HMRC have just announced that they are exempting from IHT any residual amounts left in drawdown funds. Income drawdown has always been an attractive facet of the pension system.  This is particularly so with the new pension freedoms that allow you to drawdown what you want when you want it (so long as you are […]

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Are You on the List?

HMRC have just published details of the latest to be publicly named and shamed as deliberate tax defaulters. What struck me (other than the presence of an accountant) about this list was that around half of those caught were limited companies.  That means that the other half are personally liable for their new-found tax debts. […]

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HMRC Can See Into Foreign Bank Accounts

HMRC have just issued fresh guidance on their exchange of bank account data with overseas tax authorities. Where agreement between the UK and another country exists, banks in those countries are obliged by law to provide HMRC with all the information they need to identify who has what savings income. Another sign of how the digital age […]

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Travel Rules Confirmed for Contractors

HMRC have now confirmed what the legislation will look like to deny tax relief on travel from home to work to contractors who work through an intermediary under the direction, supervision or control of another. This change to the law has been coming for quite some time now, and is no surprise.  There is, however, […]

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HMRC Open a New Front

You could be forgiven for thinking that HMRC are trying hard to impress their paymasters.  That’s the government, not the taxpayers in case you wondered. They are fighting wars on more fronts than your average Syrian rebel. The latest tax-saving target in their sights is the capital distribution from a company, primarily at winding up. They are consulting […]

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The Good News and the Bad Digital News

The tax return is on its way out.  Hurrah! We are now going to have to make at least 4 accounts / tax returns a year instead.  Booo!! This is on its way.  HMRC have just published a couple of papers on why they’re doing it (to save costs). They reveal that they are going to start […]

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When One Thief Accuses Another

HMRC (robbing bastards) have just published a statutory instrument which restricts the excesses that thieving banks might otherwise have gone to in levying charges when the taxman helps himself to funds in your bank account. £55 is to be the maximum charge. I guess it should act as an incentive to pay up rather than wait […]

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HMRC Shines Light on the Web

HMRC have just issued a policy document, outlining their new powers to compel electronic payment providers to provide them with data on individual account holders’ transactions. They have already had and used this power to get data from card processors so that they know how much physical retailers are taking through their card machines. Now, […]

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And Now for Something Completely Trivial

HMRC yesterday finally put to bed the long-running saga of whether they could really be bothered about chasing tax on low value benefits in kind. They have been promising this for some time, and have now announced that from 6th April 2016, any benefit provided to an employee with a value under £50 can be […]

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HMRC Lose a Case and Then Change the Law

Not for the first time, the government has written new legislation having failed in their attempt to get the Tribunal to agree with their interpretation of the old legislation. In this case it is the 4 year-rule for submitting a self assessment tax return. I would like to think there would not be many situations […]

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Found A Pulse

Been waiting a long time for any signed of cardiac life in the organisation, but today we have found a heart within HMRC. They are announcing measures to help those affected by the weekend’s floods, or not to kick them when they’re down – depending on how you see it. So, if you have been […]

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EIS Shares Need to Have Income Tax Relief Claim to Enable CGT Relief Claim

A recent case has brought into focus a little known criterion that must be satisfied before you can get relief from capital gains tax on the sale of shares acquired under the Enterprise Investment Scheme. In order to qualify for CGT relief, you must have had income tax relief on the original subscription. This was […]

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Directors and Auto Enrolment

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has just moved to clarify that it will not seek to argue that a company director might have an implied contract of employment. When auto-enrolment first came in, TPR simply indicated that if a company exists only of directors and no more than one of whom has a contract, then the […]

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Lesson in Keeping on Top of Stuff

A recent case has been through the Tribunal system and out the other side with defeat for the taxpayer who was trying to get a VAT deregistration backdated. HMRC say they can only deregister a business when they have received the application to deregister.  Despite reasonable clerical delays making the application late, the Tribunal have […]

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Hope For Reasonable Excuse Appeals When Relying on Third Party

The First Tier Tribunal have just upheld an appeal by a taxpayer against a VAT penalty for late payment. These penalties are always particularly harsh and we should always celebrate their defeat. This is a particularly pleasing victory for humanity because it appears to have widened the scope for appeals when the offence mas made […]

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Tougher Sanctions on National Minimum Wage

The Tories are the worker’s friend.  Haven’t you heard? To make sure the worker hears, the government has just announced stiffer penalties for non-compliance with minimum wage. Financial penalties are being doubled, prosecutions are being promised and directors can from now be disqualified for 15 years. We all need to take this more seriously and check our […]

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HMRC Investigative Tactics Revealed

A recent VAT case made the national press because of excessive assessments by HMRC.  They asked for £930,000 of unpaid VAT + penalties.  The Tribunal said it should have been £11,000! I am not writing because of that anomaly, but because the transcript reveals HMRC caught the offender by patrolling the streets, noting signs of construction […]

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More on HMRC Going Soft on Penalties

I have come across some media commentary on the story of HMRC allowing appeals against £100 penalties. The commentator astutely points out that it costs HMRC more than £100 to consider an appeal. It is this excess of cost over benefit that led to the internal memo that reasonable excuse appeals should be simply waved […]

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HMRC Speak On News of Going Soft on Penalties

HMRC have today issued a news release, cleverly worded to get them out of the hole created by the leaked memo that led to newspaper headlines about self assessment penalty amnesties. The media headlines were misleading and HMRC have confirmed that we should not be getting so excited. They rightly point out that the deadline […]

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Tax Credits Renewals Go Online

For the first time, you can renew your tax credits online. Previously, you had a choice of a paper return or a telephone call. If you can get someone to answer the phone, a call used to be the better route. It is quite likely that HMRC will be cutting their call centre numbers now […]

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New Address for R40s

If you are needing to claim back tax deducted from savings income, HMRC have just announced a new form R40, reflecting the change of address for paper submissions, Don’t send it to the wrong place!

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Solicitors in a Hurry and a Taxman Joke

HMRC have today announced a one-week countdown to the closure of the solicitors’ tax campaign.  The door shuts on 9th June on an opportunity for solicitors to come forward and declare previously undeclared income. HMRC hint that they will then be ‘knocking on doors’ with assessments and stiff penalties on what they already know.  By using […]

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Prompt Payment Code

Funded by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS), the Prompt Payment Code is a scheme that companies can sign up to in promotion of their fair supplier payment policy. It is open to anyone who wants to sign up.  It could help your reputation to do so. Arguably more useful is the knowledge […]

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Tax Deducted From Pensions

Now that over-55’s can take advantage of the new pension freedoms, there will be a lot of cash being withdrawn from retirement funds. Pension providers are obliged to deduct tax from 75% of the sum withdrawn. In most cases, they will not hold a tax code for the customer and there will be no P45 […]

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Still Not Calmed Down From Yesterday

In my rant of yesterday, I forgot to share an important tip that came from the case I covered. The reason the Tribunal kicked the appeal out was that it was brought by the wrong partner. In self assessment, one partner is nominated the point of contact. Only the nominated partner can appeal a late […]

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Who’s the Bastard in the Black (Bowler Hat)?

Answer: the taxman. Case before the Tribunal shows the very worst in human nature.  I guess we shouldn’t despair when the perpetrator of a crime against human decency happens to be employed by HMRC.  Doesn’t stop it from really upsetting me, though. The case was a late filing penalty for a tax return.  The return was 6 […]

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