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23-01-2020
New guidance on sexual harassment and harassment at work

New guidance on sexual harassment and harassment at work

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published new technical guidance on sexual harassment and harassment at work. It replaces previous guidance published in December 2017. The new guidance explains employers’ legal responsibilities and the practical steps they should take to prevent and respond to harassment and victimisation at work. It also provides advice for workers to help them understand the law and their employer’s obligations to prevent harassment and ... read more

22-01-2020
Don’t be taken in by this scam

Don’t be taken in by this scam

The Insolvency Service has warned that fraudsters have been contacting investors in insolvent schemes claiming to be from the Official Receiver’s office or to have been appointed by the Official Receiver to help recover funds for a fee. These contacts are fraudulent. The Insolvency Service provides services to those affected by financial distress or failure. Insolvency occurs when individuals or businesses do not have enough assets to cover their debts or are unable to pay their debts ... read more

22-01-2020
Disclosing VAT errors

Disclosing VAT errors

Where an error on a past VAT return is uncovered, you have a duty to correct the error as soon as possible. As a general rule, you can use your current VAT return to make any necessary adjustment. However, there are three important conditions that must be met: The error must be below the reporting threshold. The error must not be deliberate. The error can only relate to an accounting period that ended less than 4 years ago. Under the reporting threshold rule, you can make an adjustment on ... read more

22-01-2020
Ways that HMRC can collect overdue tax

Ways that HMRC can collect overdue tax

If you are unable to pay your tax bill or need time to pay then it is in your best interests to contact HMRC as soon as possible. For example, you can apply to HMRC to make a payment plan and seek to agree a way forward. This can be done through the Payment Support Service (PSS). If the payment of overdue tax is unresolved, HMRC can take enforcement action to secure the money they are owed. HMRC can also charge interest on outstanding amounts and you may also be required to pay penalties and ... read more

22-01-2020
HMRC publish strange late filing excuses?

HMRC publish strange late filing excuses?

A recent press release by HMRC has revealed some of the oddest excuses for submitting a late tax return, that have been made during the past 10 years. The excuses ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous and included: My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me. I was up a mountain in Wales and couldn’t find a post box or get an internet signal. My dog ate the post … again. I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on ... read more

22-01-2020
Relief for CGT losses

Relief for CGT losses

Usually, if you sell an asset for less than you paid for it you would make a capital loss. As a general rule, if the asset would have been liable to CGT if a gain had resulted when sold, then the loss should be an allowable deduction. The exact treatment of losses depends on whether they are: losses of the same year of assessment as the gains, losses of earlier years of assessment, losses of the tax year of death, or particular losses which may, exceptionally, be carried back from a ... read more

22-01-2020
When is a Will revoked?

When is a Will revoked?

We have previously covered the importance of making a Will and ensuring that assets are divided amongst beneficiaries in the way best suited to personal circumstances. One of the most important reasons for doing so is to ensure that individuals do not die intestate (without a Will). This avoids estates being distributed in accordance with fixed criteria instead of the deceased person's unscripted wishes. However, there are a number of ways in which a whole Will can be revoked: by ... read more

22-01-2020
Scottish 2020 Budget

Scottish 2020 Budget

Derek Mackay, Scotland’s finance secretary has announced that the Scottish Government’s Budget will be published for 2020-21 on 6 February 2020. The date has been selected in order to allow the Scottish Government time to prepare for the new tax year. This is the first time that Scotland has held a Budget before the rest of the UK. The delay in the UK Budget until 11 March had left the Scottish Government in a quandary and with no time to wait until after the UK Budget to deliver ... read more

22-01-2020
New taskforce to target waste criminals

New taskforce to target waste criminals

A new taskforce has been launched to tackle serious and organised waste crime, such as dumping hazardous materials on private land and falsely labelling waste so it can be exported abroad to unsuspecting countries. This will be the first time that law enforcement agencies, environmental regulators, HMRC and the National Crime Agency have worked together to help stamp out waste crime as part of the work of the new Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC). Serious and organised waste crime is estimated ... read more

16-01-2020
Statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental and sick pay to rise from April 2020

Statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental and sick pay to rise from April 2020

According to proposals set out in a government policy paper, the revised 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 2020/21 are to be as follows: the standard weekly rates of SMP, SAP, SPP and ShPP will increase from £148.68 to £151.20 (or 90% of the employee’s weekly earnings if that amount is lower than the statutory rate) – it is ... read more

15-01-2020
Tax allowances you can claim for business cars

Tax allowances you can claim for business cars

Capital Allowances allow your business to secure tax relief for certain capital expenditure. Qualifying expenditure on cars must usually be allocated to one of two general pools of expenditure. Which pool is appropriate depends on the car’s CO2 emissions. Expenditure on cars with CO2 emissions over 110g/km will be dealt with in the special rate pool and attract a writing down allowance (WDA) of 6% p.a. This capital allowances rate was reduced in April 2019 from 8%. Expenditure on cars ... read more

15-01-2020
On your bike – tax free cycling

On your bike – tax free cycling

There are special rules involving bicycles for work use, usually referred to as 'Cycle to Work' arrangements. The Cycle to Work scheme was introduced almost 20 years ago to help promote the use of healthy ways to commute to work using an environmentally friendly mode of transport. The scheme allows employers to provide bicycles and cyclists’ safety equipment to employees as a tax-free benefit. The scheme was recently extended to include the use of electronic bikes known as ... read more

15-01-2020
Public transport costs and tax

Public transport costs and tax

There are certain tax rules that it is important to consider if you pay for the public transport costs of your employees. The provision of public transport costs includes season tickets provided for employees, season ticket costs reimbursed to employees, loans made to employees to buy season tickets and contributions to subsidised or free public bus transport. If you are contributing to subsidised or free public bus transport there are no reporting requirements to HMRC, and you do not have to ... read more

15-01-2020
Money laundering and terrorist financing

Money laundering and terrorist financing

The money laundering rules are designed to protect the UK financial system and put in place certain controls to prevent businesses being used for money laundering by criminals and terrorists. The money laundering and terrorist financing (amendment) regulations 2019 (MLRs) came into force on 10 January 2020. This updates the existing regulations to incorporate international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and to comply with the EU’s 5th Money Laundering ... read more

15-01-2020
What qualifies for First Year Allowances?

What qualifies for First Year Allowances?

Businesses can claim a 100% first-year allowance (FYA) on the purchase of certain qualifying Plant and Machinery (P&M). The cash-flow benefit of accelerated tax relief is designed to encourage businesses to invest in capital items which help reduce their carbon footprint by being energy and water efficient. The list of qualifying items includes expenditure on new unused electric vehicles and other cars within the 50g/km threshold for low CO2 emissions. The list also includes: energy ... read more

15-01-2020
VAT - what is a limited cost trader?

VAT - what is a limited cost trader?

The VAT Flat Rate Scheme (FRS) has been designed to simplify the way a business accounts for VAT and in so doing reduce the administration costs of complying with the VAT legislation. The scheme is open to businesses that expect their annual taxable turnover in the next 12 months to be no more than £150,000. The limited cost trader test, introduced in April 2017, can increase the VAT flat rate percentage used by VAT registered businesses that use the Flat Rate scheme. Businesses that meet ... read more

15-01-2020
Close down a company by striking it off the register

Close down a company by striking it off the register

There are a limited range of circumstances when a company can request to be removed from the register (known as being struck off). For example, a voluntary strike-off can be requested by a dormant or non-trading company. A limited company can be closed down by using this striking-off process, but only if it: hasn't traded or sold off any stock in the last 3 months. For example, a company in business to sell apples could not continue selling apples during that 3 month period but it could ... read more

08-01-2020
Did you file your tax return on Christmas Day?

Did you file your tax return on Christmas Day?

A new press release by HMRC has highlighted the fact that 3,003 taxpayers took the time to file their tax return online on Christmas Day with a further 9,254 taxpayers completing their tax returns on Boxing Day. More than 11 million taxpayers are expected to complete a 2018-19 Self-Assessment tax return this year, on or before 31 January 2020. HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, Angela MacDonald, said: 'Whether you squeezed it in before tucking into a Christmas pudding, ... read more