Helping you grow your business
Helping you keep more of your income
We understand your needs
Adrian Mooy & Co
How can we help you?
We offer a traditional personal service and welcome new clients.
From start-up to exit and everything in-between - whether you’re struggling with company formation, bookkeeping, or annual accounts and taxation, you can count on us at every step of your business’s journey.
We also offer cloud-based accounting solutions. With the power of cloud accounting in your hands, you can access accurate real-time data on the go, accept instant payments and even automate repetitive tasks like invoicing. Fast, easy, touch-of-a-button accounting is the future.
If you are looking for a Derby accountant then please contact us.
Making tax digital (MTD) for VAT starts 1 April 2019
If you are starting your own business, running it as a sole trader is the quickest and easiest way to do it. However, you will have unlimited liability which means you are personally responsible for business debts.
Another important aspect is that you are taxed on all the profits with little opportunity for tax planning. This is why most businesses will incorporate as profits increase.
We can support you through business registration and provide advice on all aspects of tax including:
◦ Accounts for HMRC ◦ Self assessment ◦ VAT returns ◦
◦ Payroll services ◦ Tax planning ◦
Partnerships are similar to sole trades, except that they are used when more than one person owns the business.
Each profit share is determined by the partners and best practice is to record this in a partnership agreement.
With partnerships each partner has joint and several liability for the debts of the partnership, so that if one partner cannot pay their share of any business debts, the debt will fall on the other partners.
Setting up a partnership agreement from the outset is essential.
Corporate tax planning can result in significant improvements in your bottom line. Our services will help to minimise your corporate tax exposure.
We are a member firm of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
Self assessment tax returns are becoming increasingly complex and failing to submit your return on time, or correctly, can result in substantial penalties.
We use the latest tax software to ensure that tax returns are completed efficiently, accurately and on-time.
Self assessment: Taking
away the hassles of tax
We provide a comprehensive personal tax compliance service for individuals that includes:
Invoicing your contracting work through a limited company is tax efficient. We will advise you on how to structure your contract to minimise IR35 risk. We will ensure you claim all the expenses that you are entitled to and work out if you can save money by joining the VAT Flat Rate Scheme. We will complete your accounts and tax returns and provide you with clarity over your tax payments.
Included in the service • IRIS KashFlow + Snap • Annual accounts • Corporate tax return • Personal tax return • Payroll • Dividend administration • VAT returns • Contract reviews • Dealing with HMRC
VAT • is one of the most complex tax regimes imposed on business. We provide a cost effective service including assistance with registration & completing your returns.
Payroll • Administering your payroll can be time consuming. We provide a comprehensive payroll service.
Your Payroll Solution
Construction Industry Scheme • CIS returns & payments
Book-keeping • Maintenance of accounting records
Provision of management accounts
For more about these services please contact us.
Keeping the Books
If your business does not require a statutory audit then our Assurance Service will provide reassurance that your accounts stand up to close scrutiny from your bank or other finance providers.
Work is tailored to your specific requirements and the level of confidence that you are looking to achieve and will provide credibility to your accounts by the issuing of an assurance review report.
Adrian Mooy & Co is a registered auditor with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
We strive to provide an auditing service that adds more value than merely the statutory compliance requirement of an audit.
We tailor the audit to meet your circumstances and needs. Using the latest techniques and software we deliver a cost-effective audit that provides real value.
Before starting out you may need help with business planning, cash flow and profit & loss forecasts.
You may also want help identifying the best structure for your business. From sole trades and partnerships to limited companies and limited liability partnerships, we have the experience to advise on the best solution for you both operationally and from a tax point of view.
We also advise on accounting software selection, profit improvement, profit extraction & tax saving.
If you wish to know more about our Business Start-up service please contact us on 01332 202660.
Accountancy and taxation of property is a specialist area. We have the expertise and experience to work effectively with private landlords and property investors. We deal with self-assessment tax, accounts preparation & tax advice for all aspects of property portfolios.
Whether you are a first time buy to let landlord or a long established developer we will discuss and understand your situation in order to advise and recommend the most appropriate medium through which to carry out your property investments. We will guide you through the accounting and tax issues and help you to plan effectively.
We take the time to explain your accounts to you so that you understand what is going on in your business.
Up to date, relevant and quickly produced management information for better control.
As part of our accounts service we prepare your annual accounts and complete yearly personal and business tax returns.
As your year-end approaches we will agree a timetable with you for completion of the accounts that minimises disruption to your business and leaves no late surprises when it comes to your tax liabilities.
We can also prepare management accounts to help you run your business and make effective business decisions. Management accounts are also very useful when approaching lending institutions when no year end accounts are available. We offer:
For a meeting to discuss your requirements please call us on 01332 202660.
We understand the issues facing owner-managed businesses.
We provide advice on personal tax & planning opportunities.
Running a small business places many demands on your time. We can help lift the load with our complete payroll service.
Designed to ease your administrative burden, our service removes what is often a time consuming task, leaving you free to concentrate on managing your business.
We can also prepare your benefits and expenses forms and advise you of any filing requirements and national insurance due. Benefits and expenses can be a complicated area and knowing what to report can be tricky.
We can file all your in-year and year end returns with HMRC and provide you with P60s to distribute to your employees at the year end.
We also offer a solution to meet your auto-enrolment obligations.
Businesses dealing with the requirements of VAT legislation will agree that this is often a complex area.
Our compliance services offer support for all stages of completing your VAT returns, whether you need advice on the treatment of specific transactions or have produced your records and would like verification that they are correct.
We can also advise on the pros and cons of voluntary registration, extracting maximum benefit from the rules on de-registration and the Flat rate VAT scheme.
Our consultancy service guides you through the intricacies of the legislation, pinpointing areas where you may be able to relieve or partly relieve the cost of VAT for your business, for example when purchasing new equipment or undertaking new projects such as property development.
For a meeting to discuss VAT and obtain further advice please call us on 01332 202660.
We can conduct a full tax review of your business and determine the most efficient tax structure for you.
We give personal tax advice to a wide variety of individuals, including higher rate tax payers, company directors & sole traders.
We can assist with:
For a meeting to discuss your requirements please call us on 01332 202660.
Understand your needs
Firstly we listen and gain an understanding of your business and what you are aiming to achieve.
We seek your opinions on the service we provide and respond to feedback in order to upgrade and improve what we do.
Build a relationship
Success in business is based around relationships and trust. Our objective is to develop and build strong relationships with our clients, based on two way trust and respect.
Confirm your expectations
Our aim is to help you maximise your business potential and we tailor our service to meet your requirements and agree a timetable for delivering them.
Communication is important to the success of any commercial venture. It is therefore a vital part of our work with you, sharing the knowledge and ideas that help you to realise your ambitions.
Understand your needs
Confirm your expectations
Build a relationship
Straightforward and easy to deal with Adrian Mooy & Co provide an efficient, friendly and professional service - payroll, tax returns, annual accounts and VAT returns are always done on time. Eddie Morris
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
SDLT and first-time buyers
Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) is payable where you buy a property in England or Northern Ireland and the amount paid is more than a certain amount. SDLT does not apply in Scotland, where Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) applies instead, nor in Wales, where Land Transaction Tax (LTT) is payable.
As far as residential property is concerned, the rates depend on whether a person is a first-time buyer or not and whether the property is a second or subsequent property. The current residential threshold is £125,000. However, a 3% supplement applies to second and subsequent homes where the purchase price is more than £40,000. Relief is available for first time buyers.
First time buyer rates - Since 22 November 2017, first time buyers buying a residential property do not pay any SDLT if the purchase price is less than £300,000. Where the purchase price is between £300,000 and £500,000, first-time buyers pays SDLT at the rate of 5% on the excess over £300,000. First-time buyers buying a property for more than £500,000 do not get any relief – instead they pay the normal residential rates.
Case study 1 - Kieran buys his first flat for £200,000. As the consideration is less than £300,000 and he is a first-time buyer, no SDLT is payable.
Without the relief he would have paid SDLT of £1,500.
Case study 2 - Orla is a first-time buyer. She buys a two-bedroom cottage costing £420,000. She benefits from first-time buyer relief, paying SDLT at 5% on the excess over £300,000. She must therefore pay SDLT of £6,000 (5% (£420,000 - £300,000)).
Without the relief, she would pay SDLT of £11,000. She saves £5,000 as a result of the relief for first-time buyers.
Case study 3
Connor and Daniel are first time buyers. They buy a flat in London for £700,000.
As the purchase price is more than £500,000, they do not benefit from first-time buyer relief. Consequently, SDLT is calculated at the normal residential rates as follows:
On first £125,000 @ 0% £0
On next £125,000 @ 2% £2,500
On next £450,000 @ 5% £22,500
SDLT payable £25,000
Shared ownership schemes - Changes announced in the 2018 Budget with retrospective effect extended the availability of first-time buyer relief to first-time buyers buying a property through a qualifying shared ownership scheme. Relief is available to the first share purchased as long as the market value of the shared ownership property is less than £500,000. No SDLT is payable where the first-time buyer pays less than £300,000 for their share, with SDLT being payable at the rate of 5% on the excess over £300,000 where their share costs between £300,000 and £500,000.
First-time buyers who purchased a property through a shared ownership scheme between 22 November 2017 and 29 October 2018 who did not benefit from the relief can claim a refund. Where the transaction was completed before 29 October 2018, those affected have until 28 October 2019 to file an amended SDLT return.
Putting property in joint name – beware a potential SDLT charge
There are a number of scenarios in which a couple may decide to put a property which was previously in sole name into joint names. This may happen when the couple start to live together, get married or enter a civil partnership. Alternatively, it may occur if the couple take advantage of the capital gains tax no gain/no loss rule for spouses and civil partners to transfer ownership of an investment property into joint name prior to sale to reduce the capital gains tax bill.
While most people are aware that stamp duty land tax is payable when they purchase a property, they may be unaware of the potential charge that may arise if they put a property in joint names – it all depends on the value of the consideration, if any.
It should be noted that Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) applies to properties in Scotland Land Transaction Tax to properties in Wales.
What counts as consideration?
The problem is that the definition of ‘consideration’ extends to more than just money – it also includes taking over a debt, the release of a debt and the provision of goods, works and services. So, while there may be no transfer of money when a couple put a property in joint names, if they also put the mortgage in joint names, depending on the amount of the mortgage taken on, they may trigger an SDLT charge.
Case study 1
Following their marriage, Lily moves into Karl’s house. They decide to put the property in joint names as well as the mortgage of £200,000. There is no transfer of money, but Lily assumes responsibility for half the mortgage. Lily is a first-time buyer having previously rented.
The valuable consideration is the share of the mortgage taken on by Lily, i.e. £100,000. As this is less than the first-time buyer threshold of £300,000, there is no SDLT to pay.
Case study 2
Anna has several investment properties in her sole name. She is planning on selling a property and expects to realise a chargeable gain of £30,000. As her wife Petra has not used her annual exempt amount, she transfers 50% of the property into Petra’s name to make use of this. There is a £50,000 mortgage on the property, which remains in Anna’s sole name.
There is no valuable consideration and no SDLT to pay.
Case study 3
Following their marriage, Helen moves into her new husband Michael’s home. The property is worth £700,000 and has a mortgage of £400,000. Helen gives Michael £100,000 from the sale of her previous home, which he uses to reduce the mortgage. They then transfer the remaining mortgage of £300,000 into joint name,
Helen had assumed that there would be no SDLT to pay as the £100,000 she had given Michael is less than the SDLT threshold of £125,000. However, the consideration also includes the share of the mortgage taken on of £150,000, so the total consideration is £250,000. As a result, SDLT of £2,500 (on the slice from £125,000 to £250,000 at 2%) is payable.
The whole picture
It is important to look at the whole picture when putting property in joint names – sharing the mortgage may trigger an unexpected SDLT bill.
Practicalities of forming a partnership
Although a partnership can be a simple and flexible way for two or more people to own and run a business, unlike limited company status, partners do not have any protection if the partnership fails. If one of the partners resigns, dies, or goes bankrupt, the partnership has to be dissolved, even though the business itself may not need to cease.
Although there are no legal formalities involved in establishing a partnership, and a partnership may come into existence under an oral agreement, it is advisable that a formal partnership deed is drawn up. This is a legal document that sets out what each partner is responsible for and what they can expect from the business. Many partnerships ask a solicitor to help with the deed, but it is possible for the partners to drawn one up themselves. Note that although anyone can enter into a partnership, partners under the age of 18 cannot be legally bound by the terms of a partnership agreement.
With regards to tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs), each partner is self-employed and takes a share of the profits. Usually, the partners share the decision-making and management of the business, but each partner is personally responsible for any (and potentially all) debts that the partnership incurs, and each person pays income tax and NICs on his share of the partnership profits.
As well as an active partner (or partners), a partnership may include a sleeping partner. Broadly, the sleeping partner contributes money to the business but doesn’t get involved in running it. This partner usually receives a smaller annual share of the partnership profits.
A partnership must appoint one of the partners (referred to as the ‘nominated officer’) to complete a partnership tax return each year and submit it to HMRC. This return includes a Partnership Statement, which shows how profits or losses have been divided amongst the partners. The nominated partner is also obliged to provide each partner with a copy of the Partnership Statement to assist them with completing their own personal tax return correctly.
All partners will be responsible for submitting their own individual tax returns. However, the partnership must register with HMRC by 5 October in the business’s second tax year, or a penalty may be incurred. Registration should generally be done online although it can be done manually using form SA400 (for the partnership) and forms SA401(for the partners).
Where a sole trader takes in one or more partners there is a change in business entity for VAT purposes. If the sole trader is VAT registered, the change must be notified to HMRC within 30 days and the existing VAT registration will be cancelled. Alternatively, an application may be made (on form VAT 68) for the VAT registration to be transferred to the partnership. The partnership itself must register if the VAT taxable turnover is more than the VAT registration threshold (currently £85,000).
A limited liability partnership (LLP) structure may be an agreeable compromise in some circumstances – offering both the flexibility of a general partnership and the limited liability protection of a company. LLP partners share costs, risks, and responsibilities of the business. They also take a share of the profits and pay income tax and NICs on their share of the partnership profits. However, under an LLP agreement, debt will be limited to the amount of money each partner invested in the business and to any personal guarantees given to raise business finance. Since liability is generally restricted to the level of investment, members of LLPs will benefit from a certain level of protection if the business runs into difficulties.
Making Tax Digital for VAT – what records must be kept digitally
Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT starts from 1 April 2019. VAT-registered businesses whose turnover is above the VAT registration threshold of £85,000 will be required to comply with MTD for VAT from the start of their first VAT accounting period to begin on or after 1 April 2019.
Digital record-keeping obligations
Under MTD for VAT, businesses will be required to keep digital records and to file their VAT returns using functional compatible software. The following records must be kept digitally.
Designatory data - Business name - Address of the principal place of business - VAT registration number - A record of any VAT schemes used (such as the flat rate scheme)
Supplies made - for each supply made: - Date of supply - Value of the supply - Rate of VAT charged
Outputs value for the VAT period split between standard rate, reduced rate, zero rate and outside the scope supplies must also be recorded.
Multiple supplies made at the same time do not need to be recorded separately – record the total value of supplies on each invoice that has the same time of supply and rate of VAT charged.
Supplies received - for each supply received: - The date of supply - The value of the supply, including any VAT that cannot be reclaimed - The amount of input VAT to be reclaimed.
If there is more than one supply on the invoice, it is sufficient just to record the invoice totals.
Digital VAT account
The VAT account links the business records and the VAT return. The VAT account must be maintained digitally, and the following information should be recorded digitally:
In addition, to show the link between the input tax recorded in the business' records and that reclaimed on the VAT return, the following must be recorded digitally:
The information held in the Digital VAT account is used to complete the VAT return using `functional compatible software’. This is software, or a set of compatible software programmes, capable of:
Functional compatible software is used to maintain the mandatory digital records, calculate the return and submit it to HMRC via an API.
Getting ready - The clock is ticking and MTD for VAT is now less than a year away.
Entrepreneurs’ relief – what do the Budget changes mean?
Ahead of the 2018 Budget there was some speculation that entrepreneurs’ relief may be scrapped. In the event, this did not happen. However, the relief made an appearance with the announcement of changes to the personal company test, applying from Budget day, and of a doubling of the qualifying period throughout which the conditions must be met for two years from 6 April 2019.
Nature of the relief - Entrepreneurs’ relief reduces the rate of capital gains tax on disposals of qualifying assets to 10%. This is subject to a lifetime limit of £10 million. Spouses and civil partners have their own limit.
The relief is available where there is:
• a material disposal of business assets;
• a disposal associated with a material disposal; or
• a disposal of trust business assets.
Availability of entrepreneurs’ relief is contingent on the qualifying conditions being met. The qualifying conditions depend on the type of disposal.
The relief is complex, and a detailed discussion of the relief is beyond the scope of this article. However, guidance is available in HMRC’s Capital Gains Tax Manual at CG63950ff.
Shares in a personal company - Entrepreneurs’ relief is available for disposals of shares or securities in a personal company. To qualify, throughout the ‘qualifying period’ the company must be a personal company and either a trading company or the holding company of a trading group. The taxpayer must either be an officer or an employee of that company or of one or more members of the trading group.
The definition of a ‘personal company’ changed from 29 October 2018 (Budget day). Prior to that date, a personal company was one in which the individual held at least 5% of the ordinary share capital and that holding gave the holder at least 5% of the voting rights in the company.
From 29 October 2018 two further conditions must be met. The holding must also provide entitlement to at least 5% of the company’s distributable profits and 5% of the assets available for distribution to equity holders in a winding up.
Qualifying period - Entrepreneurs’ relief is only available if the conditions are met throughout the ‘qualifying period’. This is currently set at one year. However, it was announced in the Budget that the qualifying period will be doubled to two years from 6 April 2019 (except in relation to disposals where the business ceased prior to 29 October 2018).
Securing the relief - The timing of the disposal is important in securing the relief. If the disposal is one of shares in a personal company, and the new definition is not met, the qualifying period clock cannot start to run until the date when all conditions are met. To secure relief, the shares should not be disposed of until at least two years from the date on all of the conditions are first met.
Where the conditions have already been met for one year but will not have been met for two years by 6 April 2019, it may be preferable to dispose of the shares prior to 6 April 2019 to secure the relief. Alternatively, if the disposal is to take place after that date, it will make sense to wait until conditions have been met for two years in order to benefit from the relief.
Keeping records of rental income and expenses
Unless rental income is less than £1,000, landlords must declare it to HMRC and pay tax on any profit made by the property rental business.
The profit can be calculated by deducting allowable expenses from rental and other income of the property business. However, where it is beneficial to do so, the landlord can claim the property allowance of £1,000 and deduct this instead of actual expenses. This will work in the landlord’s favour where actual expenses are less than £1,000 (unless there is a loss to preserve).
To calculate profits (or losses) accurately, the landlord must keep records.
For all properties in the property rental business, a record should be kept of:
• the dates on which the property was let;
• rental income received;
• any income from services provided to tenants; and
• any other income.
The landlord should also keep supporting documentation, such as rent books, invoices and bank statements.
The landlord will also need to keep a record of expenses. Expenses can be claimed to the extent that they relate wholly and exclusively to the letting out of the property. Examples of expenses which typically may be incurred by a landlord include:
• agents’ fees
• advertising costs
• wages of staff
• repairs and maintenance
• replacing domestic items
• landlords’ insurance
The landlord should keep a record of all expenses incurred, and also supporting documentation, such as invoices, agents’ statements, bank statements, receipts, etc.
Where the property allowance is claimed instead, the landlord does not need to keep records of actual expenses. However, it is useful to do so in order to check whether claiming the allowance is beneficial, and also from a business perspective.
Method of keeping records - At the moment, the landlord can keep their records in the way that best suits them. They may prefer to use a software package designed for this purpose, a general accounting package or spreadsheets. Alternatively, they may prefer to keep manual records. What matters at this point is that adequate records are kept and will stand up to HMRC scrutiny if need be.
Looking ahead to Making Tax Digital - When Making Tax Digital for income tax purposes is rolled out to landlords, they will need to keep digital records and upload information up to HMRC quarterly via a digital account. The start date has yet to be announced, but at the time of the 2019 Spring Statement the Chancellor confirmed that it would not be introduced from 2020.
Minimising upheaval of an HMRC enquiry
Where a business receives an enquiry notification from HMRC, it does not always mean that something is wrong. Sometimes HMRC simply need some further information to ensure that a return is correct, for example, if the business recently received a lot of money, it would be reasonable for HMRC to ask where the funds came from. Returns are also selected at random for enquiry to make sure that the system is operating fairly.
Whatever the reason for the enquiry, being co-operative and open can make all the difference to the final outcome. In calculating the amount of any subsequent penalty, HMRC take taxpayer behaviour into account, including the extent to which information was freely and fully volunteered.
Good record-keeping is often a business’s only real defence in disputing HMRC claims. All businesses should, therefore, ensure that paperwork is kept in good order from the outset.
It is a good idea to set up a file to hold all correspondence between the business and HMRC relating to the enquiry, including copies of any documents sent. Records of telephone conversations, giving names, dates and contents covered, is also advisable.
In many cases the enquiry will be straight-forward. If an enquiry drags on excessively, the taxpayer can apply to the tribunal for a direction that HMRC give either a closure notice, or a partial closure notice, within a specified period. Whilst this course of action should be a ‘last resort option’, in some circumstances, reminding HMRC of its existence may be enough to help move things along.
ADR service - HMRC offer an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service, which aims to provide an alternative way of resolving tax disputes by using an independent facilitator, who mediates discussions between the business and the HMRC caseworker in an attempt to resolve the dispute.
ADR can be used before and after HMRC has issued a decision that can be appealed against, and at any stage of an enquiry, including:
• during a compliance check when the business has been unable to reach an agreement with HMRC, or where progress in the enquiry has stalled;
• at the end of a compliance check, when a decision has been made that can be appealed against.
ADR does not affect the taxpayer’s right to appeal, or to ask for a statutory review.
The ADR service may be particularly useful where the facts of a case need to be firmly established, but where communications have broken down between the business and HMRC.
Once an application has been submitted, HMRC will advise within 30 days whether the case can be included in the ADR process. HMRC will then contact the taxpayer, or their representatives, and introduce them to their facilitator who will explain their role in more detail. Customers and their representatives will also be asked to complete an ADR Process Agreement to confirm participation and commitment to ADR.
The facilitator will be an HMRC member of staff who has undergone training in facilitation and has had no prior involvement with the dispute.
ADR does not suit every taxpayer. However, given the possibility of resolving matters for a fraction of the cost and time of taking a case to tribunal, for some, it may be worth trying. According to HMRC’s Annual Report and Accounts 2017-18, some 82% of cases accepted for ADR were fully or partially resolved, and some 94% of taxpayers and their representatives were satisfied/very satisfied with the ADR process.
Main residence relief – beware when buying off-plan
Private residence relief exempts any gain arising on the sale of the only or main residence from capital gains tax. Where the property has been occupied as the main residence throughout the period of ownership, the whole gain is exempt; if the property has only been occupied as a main residence for part of the period of occupation, the gain eligible for relief is reduced accordingly.
A recent tribunal case highlighted the loss of relief that may potentially arise when a property is purchased off-plan.
The taxpayer, Mr Higgins paid a deposit to reserve an apartment in what was previously St Pancras station. Contracts were exchanged on 1 October 2006, but the purchase did not complete until 5 January 2010 as a result of delays in the construction of the apartment. Mr Higgins signed a contract to sell the flat on 15 December 2011; the sale completing on 5 January 2012. He lived in the property for two years, from 5 January 2010 until 5 January 2012. He claimed main residence relief in respect of the gain arising on sale.
HMRC sought to deny part of the relief relating to the period from which contracts were exchange – 1 October 2006 – to the date on which Mr Higgins occupied the property – 5 January 2010. For capital gains tax purposes, the period of ownership runs from the date of exchange of contracts, rather than from completion. However, main residence relief can only start from the date the property was first occupied. It did not matter that it was not physically possible to occupy the property in October 2006 as it did not exist at that point; and indeed Mr Higgins had no right to occupy the property until the sale had completed.
The Tribunal agreed with HMRC and accordingly the proportion of the gain relating to the 39 months from 1 October 2006 to 5 January 2010 was liable to capital gains tax as during that period the apartment was not occupied as a main residence.
Although extra-statutory concession D49 can provide relief where there is a delay of up to two years in taking up residence, the tribunal found the concession not to be relevant in this case.
Delay between exchange of contracts and completion
This decision is not only relevant where a property is purchased off plan. The start date for ownership for main residence relief purposes is the date contracts are exchanged, not the completion date (regardless of the fact the purchaser has no right to occupy the property until completion). Unless exchange of contracts and completion occur on the same day (which is not usually the case) there will be a window where, technically, main residence relief is not in point. In practice, where the delay is only a few weeks, HMRC usually ignore it and grant main residence relief.
The decision is this case is somewhat worrying – and something to be aware of when buying a new home. Extra-statutory concession D49 may help to bridge the gap where the delay in taking up occupation is beyond the taxpayer’s control.
Is the summer party tax-free?
An exemption exists, which allows employers to meet the cost of certain social events for staff without triggering tax or NICs, providing certain conditions are met.
The legislation refers to ‘an annual party or similar annual function’.
Conditions - A staff event will qualify as a tax-free benefit if the following conditions are satisfied:
• the total cost must not exceed £150 per head, per year
• the event must be primarily for entertaining staff
• the event must be open to employees generally, or to those at a particular location, if the employer has numerous branches or departments
The ‘cost per head’ of an event is the total cost (including VAT) of providing:
a) the event, and
b) any transport or accommodation incidentally provided for persons attending it (whether or not they are the employer's employees), divided by the number of those persons.
Provided the £150 limit is not exceeded, any number of parties or events may be held during the tax year, for example, there could be three parties held at various times, each costing £50 per head.
If the limit is exceeded by just £1, the whole amount must be reported to HMRC.
If there are two parties, for example, where the combined cost of each exceeds £150, the £150 limit is offset against the most expensive one, leaving the other one as a fully taxable benefit.
Example - ABC Ltd pays for an annual Christmas party costing £150 per head and a summer barbecue costing £75 per head. The Christmas party would be covered by the exemption, but employees would be taxed on summer barbecue costs, as a benefit-in-kind.
Tax treatment for employers - The cost of staff events is tax deductible for the business. The legislation provides a let-out clause, which means that entertaining staff is not treated for tax in the same way as customer entertaining. The expenses will be shown separately in the business accounts – usually as ‘staff welfare’ costs or similar.
There is no monetary limit on the amount that an employer can spend on an annual function. If a staff party costs more than £150 per head, the cost will still be an allowable deduction, but the employees will have a liability to pay tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) arising on the benefit-in-kind.
The employer may agree to settle any tax charge arising on behalf of the employees. This may be done using a HMRC PAYE Settlement Agreement (PSA), which means that the benefits do not need to be taxed under PAYE, or included on the employees’ forms P11D. The employer’s tax liability under the PSA must be paid to HMRC by 19 October following the end of the tax year to which the payment relates.
It should also be noted that whilst the £150 exemption is mirrored for Class 1 NIC purposes, (so that if the limit is not exceeded, no liability arises for the employees), Class 1B NICs at the current rate of 13.8%, will be payable by the employer on benefits-in-kind which are subject to a PSA.
The full cost of staff parties and/or events will be disallowed for tax if it is found that the entertainment of staff is in fact incidental to that of entertaining customers.
VAT-registered businesses can claim back input VAT on the costs, but this may be restricted where this includes entertaining customers.
Salary v dividend for 2019/20
A popular profits extraction strategy for personal and family companies is to extract a small salary, taking further profits as dividends. Where this strategy is pursued for 2019/20, what level should be the salary be set at to ensure the strategy remain tax efficient?
As well as being tax effective, taking a small salary is also advantageous in that it allows the individual to secure a qualifying year for State Pension and contributory benefits purposes.
Assuming the personal allowance has not been used elsewhere and is available to set against the salary, the optimal salary level for 2019/20 depends on whether the employment allowance is available and whether the employee is under the age of 21. The employment allowance is set at £3,000 for 2019/20 but is not available to companies where the sole employee is also a director (meaning that personal companies do not generally benefit).
In the absence of the employment allowance and where the individual is aged 21 or over, the optimal salary for 2019/20 is equal to the primary threshold, i.e. £8,632 a year (equivalent to £719 per month). At this level, no employee’s or employer’s National Insurance or tax is due. The salary is also deductible for corporation tax purposes. A bonus is that a salary at this level means that the year is a qualifying year for state pension and contributory benefits purposes – for zero contribution cost. Beyond this level, it is better to take dividends than pay a higher salary as the combined National Insurance hit (25.8%) is higher than the corporation tax deduction for salary payments.
Where the employment allowance is available, or the employee is under 21, it is tax-efficient to pay a higher salary equal to the personal allowance of £12,500. As long as the personal allowance is available, the salary will be tax free. It will also be free of employer’s National Insurance, either because the liability is offset by the employment allowance or, if the individual is under 21, because earnings are below the upper secondary threshold for under 21s (set at £50,000 for 2019/20). The salary paid in excess of the primary threshold (£3,868) will attract primary contributions of £464.16, but this is outweighed by the corporation tax saving on the additional salary of £734.92 – a net saving of £279.76. Once a salary equal to the personal allowance is reached, the benefit of the corporation tax deduction is lost as any further salary is taxable. It is tax efficient to extract further profits as dividends.
Dividends can only be paid if the company has sufficient retained profits available. Unlike salary payments, dividends are not tax-deductible and are paid out of profits on which corporation tax (at 19%) has already been paid.
However, dividends benefit from their own allowance – set at £2,000 for 2019/20 and payable to all individuals regardless of the rate at which they pay tax – and once the allowance has been used, dividends are taxed at lower rates than salary payments (7.5%, 32.5% and 38.1% rather than 20%, 40% and 45%).
Once the optimal salary has been paid, dividends should be paid to use up the dividend allowance. If further profits are to be extracted, there will be tax to pay, but the combined tax and National Insurance hit for dividends is less than for salary payments, making them the preferred option.
Getting ready for MTD for VAT
The start date for Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT is fast approaching – from the start of your first VAT accounting period beginning on or after 1 April 2019, if you are a VAT registered business with VATable turnover over the VAT registration threshold of £85,000, you will need to comply with MTD for VAT. This will mean maintaining digital records and filing the VAT return using MTD-compatible software. Businesses within MTD for VAT will no longer be able to use HMRC’s VAT Online service to file their VAT return. However, you can still use an agent to file your return on your behalf.
Businesses whose VATable turnover is below the registration threshold do not have to join MTD, but can choose to do so if they wish. However, once they are within MTD for VAT, they must remain in it as long as they are VAT registered – there is no going back.
If you have yet to start preparing for MTD for VAT, it is now time to do so.
What does MTD for VAT mean for you?
Under MTD for VAT you will need to keep your business records digitally if you do not already do so. If you are already using software to keep your business records, you will need to check that your software supplier plans to introduce MTD-compatible software, and upgrade as necessary.
If you do not currently keep your VAT records digitally or your current software supplier does not plan to introduce MTD-compatible software, you will need to choose software that will enable you to fulfil your MTD for VAT obligations.
MTD-compatible software (also referred to as ‘functional compatible software’) is a software product or set of software products which meet the obligations imposed by MTD for VAT and enable records to be kept digitally and data to be exchanged digitally with HMRC via the MTD service. Where more than one product is being used, the data flows between the applications must be digital – data cannot be entered manually. However, businesses will be allowed to cut and paste data from one application to another until 31 March 2020, after which all links must be digital.
If you currently use spreadsheets to summarise VAT transactions, calculate VAT or to arrive at the information needed to complete the VAT, once MTD starts, you will be able to continue to do so. However, you will no longer be able to key the relevant figures into the appropriate boxes on the VAT return. Instead you will need to use MTD-compatible software to enable you to send your VAT returns to HMRC and to receive information back from VAT. Bridging software may be used to make spreadsheets MTD-compatible.
However, to comply with MTD for VAT, the data must be transferred digitally – it cannot be rekeyed into another software package. But there will be a transition period and businesses can cut and paste until 31 March 2020, after which all links between products must be digital.
HMRC use the term ‘bridging software’ to mean a digital tool which is able to take information from another application, such as spreadsheets or an in-house system, and allow the user to send the data to HMRC in the correct format.
HMRC produce a list of software companies that are working with them to produce MTD-compatible software. Details can be found on the Gov.uk website
Partner note: VAT Notice 700/22: Making Tax Digital for VAT.
Employing family members
It is permissible for a business to claim a tax deduction for the cost of a reasonable wage paid to a family member who helps in the business. Their duties could, for example, include answering the phone, going to the bank, bookkeeping and other administrative tasks.
The tax legislation specifies that ‘in calculating the profits of a trade, no deduction is allowed for expenses not incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade’, which indicates that as long as the work is undertaken, the payments are realistic and actually made, there should not be a problem with claiming tax relief.
The benefits of spreading income around family members where possible include maximising the use of annual personal tax allowances (£12,500 per individual (children and adults) in 2019/20), and potentially taking advantage of nil and lower rate tax thresholds.
‘Family’ could include anyone who depends on the owners of the family business for their financial well-being (for example, elderly relatives and/or long-standing domestic staff members), but care must be taken not to fall foul of the ‘settlements’ legislation and other anti-avoidance measures in force at the time.
Keeping records - The tax deductibility of wages paid through a business has recently been examined by the Tax Tribunal. The business owner claimed that wages paid to his son had been paid partly through the ‘provision of goods’. He managed to substantiate some cash payments and a monthly direct debit (for insurance costs) by reference to his son’s bank statements. However, the bulk of the claim was based on buying food and drink to help support his son at university. Unfortunately, the tribunal concluded that the payments were made out of ‘natural parental love and affection’. There was a duality of purpose as the ‘wages’ had a major underlying ‘private and personal’ motive, and thus not for the purposes of the trade. The tribunal subsequently dismissed the appeal on the grounds that the business owner was doing nothing more than supporting his son at university.
The outcome of this case could have been very different if the business owner had used an alternative methodology for paying his son’s wages. In particular, the judge noted that had payment been made on a time recorded basis or using some other approach to calculate the amount payable, and had an accurate record been maintained of the hours worked and the amount paid, it is unlikely that the deduction would have been denied.
In particular, this case highlights the importance of maintaining proper records regarding the basis on which payments are to be made to children. A direct link between the business account and the recipient’s account would clearly be advisable. For example, if the business owner had paid the wages directly into his son’s bank account, leaving the son to purchase his own food and drink from the money he earned from his father, bank statements could subsequently have been used to provide evidence of what had been paid and this could be linked to the record of hours worked. Maintaining the link is the key issue here.
Rate of pay - It is also worth noting that HMRC examine whether a commercial rate is being paid to family members. The concept of ‘equal pay for equal value’ should help prevent a suggestion of dual purpose and thus, in turn, should also help refute allegations of excessive payments to family members as a means of extracting monies from the business.
Finally, wherever payments are made to family member, legal issues such as the national minimum wage should also be borne in mind.
Employees – claim a tax deduction for expenses
Employees often incur expenses in doing their job – this may be the cost of a train ticket or petrol to visit a supplier, or purchasing stationery or small tools which are used in their job. Employers will frequently reimburse the employee for any expenses that they incur, but where such a reimbursement is not forthcoming, the employee may be able to claim a tax relief.
Employment expenses are deductible only if they are incurred ‘wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the duties of the employment’. The test is a harsh test to meet; the ‘necessary’ condition means that ‘each and every’ jobholder would be required to incur the expense. Consequently, there is no relief if the expense is not ‘necessary’ and the employee chooses to incur it (even if the ‘wholly and exclusively’ parts of the test are met). The rules for travel expenses are different, but broadly operate to allow relief for ‘business travel’.
In the performance of the job v putting the employee in a position to do the job
A distinction is drawn between expenses that are incurred in actually performing the job and those which are incurred in putting the employee in the position to do the job. Expenses incurred in travelling from the office to a meeting with a supplier and back to the office are incurred in performing the job. By contrast, childcare costs or home to work travel are incurred to put the employee in a position to do the job. Relief is available only for expenses incurred as part of the job, and not for those which incurred, albeit arguably necessarily, to enable the employee to do the job.
Expenses for which relief may be claimed
A deduction can be claimed for any expense that meets the ‘wholly, exclusively and necessarily’ test. Examples include professional fees and subscriptions, travel and subsistence costs, additional costs of working from home, cost of repairing tools or specialist clothing, phone calls, etc.
Where the expense is reimbursed by the employer, a deduction cannot be claimed as well; however, the amount reimbursed is not taxable and is ignored for tax purposes.
Using your own car
Where an employee uses his or her own car for business travel, the employer can pay tax-free mileage payments up to the approved rates. For cars and vans, this is 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles in the tax year and 25p per mile for any subsequent miles.
If the employer does not pay mileage allowances or pay less than the approved amount, the employee can claim tax relief for the difference between the approved amount and the amount paid by the employer.
Flat rate expenses
Employers in certain industries are able to claim a flat rate deduction for certain expenses in line with rates published by HMRC (see www.gov.uk/guidance/job-expenses-for-uniforms-work-clothing-and-tools#claim-table). Although claiming the flat rate removes the need to keep records of actual costs, employees can claim a deduction based on actual costs where this is more beneficial.
How to claim
There are different ways to make a claim depending on your circumstances. Claims can be made online using HMRC’s online service, by post on form P87, by phone or, where a self-assessment return is completed, via the self-assessment return.
Abatement of the personal allowance
Not all taxpayers are able to benefit from the personal allowance – once income exceeds £100,000 the allowance is gradually reduced until it is eliminated in full. However, there are steps which can be taken to reduce income and preserve entitlement to the personal allowance.
The personal allowance is set at £11,850 for 2018/19, rising to £12,500 for 2019/20.
When is it abated? - Once an individual’s ‘adjusted net income’ exceeds £100,000, their personal allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 by which ‘adjusted net income’ exceeds £100,000.
The measure of income for these purposes is ‘adjusted net income’. This is an individual’s total taxable income before personal allowances and after deducting certain reliefs, such as:
• relief for trading losses;
• donations to charity through the Gift Aid scheme; and
• pension contributions (deduct the gross amount).
Polly has taxable income for 18/19 of £120,000. She makes pension contributions of £5,000.
Polly’s adjusted net income for £2018/19 is £115,000 (£1250,000 - £5,000).
As her income is more than £100,000, her personal allowance is reduced. The personal allowance for the year of £11,850 is reduced by £1 for every £2 by which her income exceeds £100,000.
The reduction in her personal allowance is therefore £7,500 (1/2(£115,000 - £100,000).
Her personal allowance for 2019/20 is therefore £4,350. Assuming her income remains the same for 2019/20 and she continues to make gross pension contributions of £5,000, she will receive a personal allowance of £5,000 for 2019/20.
When is the personal allowance lost? - With a personal allowance of £11,850 for 2018/19, individuals with income in excess of £123,700 do not receive a personal allowance for that year. For 2019/20, the personal allowance is £12,500, and is lost once income exceeds £125,000.
Beware 60% tax in the abatement zone - Where adjusted net income falls within the zone in which the personal allowance is reducing – from £100,000 to £100,000 plus twice the personal allowance – the marginal rate of tax is 60%. This is the combined effect of the application of the higher rate of tax and the reduction in the personal allowance.
Reduce the 60% band and preserve the allowance - To reduce the income falling in the abatement zone (taxed at a marginal rate of 60%) and to preserve as much as the personal allowance as possible, it is necessary to reduce adjusted net income.
There are various ways in which this can be achieved - The first point to consider is the timing of income – can income be deferred to the next tax year, or, if income for the current tax year is less than £100,000 but is expected to be above £100,000 in the following year, can income be brought forward to the current tax year. In a family company scenario, it may be possible to achieve this by adjusting the timing of dividends and bonuses.
Consideration could also be given to putting income earning assets into the name of a spouse or civil partner to reduce income and preserve the allowance.
Adjusted net income is income after pension contributions. Making pension contributions is tax effective, both in terms of benefitting from the relief available and reducing net income to preserve personal allowances.
Alternatively, a person can make charitable donations under gift aid to reduce their adjusted net income. Although they will lose the benefit of their income, the cost will be offset slightly by the preserved personal allowance.
Fuel and mileage payments for company car drivers
The car benefit tax charge does not cover fuel provided for a company vehicle. Where the company pays for all fuel, the fuel benefit will be charged, which is based on the cash equivalent of the benefit each tax year (£24,100 for 2019/20 multiplied by a percentage depending on the car’s CO2 emissions).
If the company pays for all fuel, but the employee reimburses the company for private use, as long as the amount paid back is equal to, or more than, the amount for personal fuel in the same tax year, the employer will not have to pay anything to HMRC or report on such transactions.
Where the employer does not directly meet the cost of fuel used for business in a company car, but pays the employee a business mileage allowance, no fuel benefit charge will arise if the mileage allowance does no more than meet the cost of fuel used for business travel. If the mileage allowance is excessive, but it’s only paid for genuine business travel, the ‘profit element’ will be chargeable to tax in the normal way. However, a car fuel benefit charge will arise where, for instance, the payments to the employee cover travel between home and work.
An employee using their own car for work can claim a mileage allowance from their employer, which is designed to cover the costs of fuel and wear and tear for business trips. The mileage allowance will be tax-free if it does not exceed HMRC’s Approved Mileage Allowance Payment rates.
The AMAP scheme does not apply for company cars. However, employees can still claim fuel expenses for all business mileage where they pay for the fuel. The rates are lower than the AMAP rates and are updated quarterly.
HMRC’s guidance on fuel-only mileage rates for company cars confirms that employers are not obliged to use advisory fuel rates. Where an employer wishes to use them, they only apply where the employer:
• reimburses employees for business travel in their company cars; or
• requires employees to repay the cost of fuel used for private travel in those company cars.
If the employer pays more than the relevant advisory fuels rates and the payments are not an actual reimbursement, the excess is taxed and subject to employees’ and employers’ National Insurance Contributions.
Advisory fuel rates do not apply to electric cars, so any mileage payments should be based on actual costs incurred.
Where an individual is provided with workplace facilities for charging a battery of a vehicle used by them (including as a passenger), no taxable benefit arises for costs relating to the provision of electricity at those facilities if the following conditions are met:
• the charging facilities must be provided at or near an employee’s workplace
• charging must be available to either all the employer’s employees generally, or all the employer’s employees generally at the employee’s workplace
• charging facilities must be for a battery of a vehicle in which the employee is either the driver or a passenger.
The benefit will remain taxable if it’s offered in conjunction with an optional remuneration arrangement.
MTD software – what do you need?
Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT went live on 1 April 2019. VAT registered businesses with VATable turnover above the VAT registration threshold of £85,000 are required to comply with the requirements of MTD for VAT from the start of their first VAT accounting period beginning on or after 1 April 2019. For certain businesses the start date is delayed until 1 October 2019. Where the business is VAT registered but VATable turnover is below £85,000, MTD for VAT is optional.
MTD for VAT imposes two digital requirements – digital record-keeping and digital VAT returns.
Digital record-keeping - Under MTD for VAT, records must be kept digitally within MTD-compatible software. Some software will record all VAT records and accounts. The type of package used may affect whether it is necessary to retain the original document.
Where a business receives an invoice and enters the information into the MTD-compatible software, the original invoice must be retained. However, if the invoice is scanned into the software, there is no need to retain it, unless it is required for another purpose. It should be noted that VAT law requires the originals of some documents to be retained.
Records that must be kept digitally include:
• business name, address, VAT registration number and VAT schemes used;
• supplies made – time of supply (tax point), value of supply and rate of VAT;
• supplies received – time of supply, value of supply, amount of input tax claimed;
• reverse charge transactions.
To support the VAT returns, summary data must also be maintained in the MTD software:
• total output tax owed
• total tax owed on acquisitions from other EU member states
• total tax that is required to be paid on behalf of a supplies under a reverse charge
• total input tax entitled to claim on business purchases
• input tax on allowable acquisitions from other EU member states
• total tax that need to be paid or reclaimed following the correction of an error
• any other adjustment allowed or required by the VAT rules
Where the flat rate scheme is used, there is no need to keep a digital record of purchases unless they are capital expenditure goods on which input tax is claimed. Nor is it necessary to keep a digital record of the goods used in the limited cost business calculation.
VAT returns - The second part of MTD for VAT is the requirement to file VAT returns digitally using compatible software. HMRC’s VAT Online service can't be used for MTD for VAT.
Compatible software - MTD-compatible software (functional compatible software) is a software program or set of software programs or applications that are capable of:
• recording and preserving digital records;
• providing information and returns to HMRC using the API platform; and
• receive information via the API platform.
Some software packages will perform all of the above, some will perform some but not all, so more than one product may be needed. Spreadsheets can be used to record data, but another piece of software will be needed to file the return.
The links between the different software packages used should be digital. However, while transferring data manually between programs is not acceptable under MTD for VAT – such as keying numbers from a spreadsheet into a package to send a return or ‘cutting and pasting’ HMRC are operating a ‘soft landing’ and will permit this for the first year.
Software suppliers - HMRC produce a list of software suppliers who produce software compatible with MTD for VAT. The list can be found on the Gov.uk website at www.gov.uk/guidance/find-software-thats-compatible-with-making-tax-digital-for-vat.
Tax aspects of using a work’s van
If an employee is able to use a work’s van for private use, which generally includes home-to-work travel, there will be a taxable benefit and a subsequent tax charge.
From 6 April 2019, the flat-rate van benefit charge has risen from £3,350 to £3,430, representing a small increase in real terms to a basic rate taxpayer of £16 a year.
If an employer also provides the employee with fuel for private use, then a tax charge on the provision of fuel will also arise based on an annual fixed rate. For 2019/20 the flat-rate van fuel benefit charge has been increased from £633 to £655, so there is an increase in real terms to a basic rate taxpayer of just £4.40.
What is a van? - to qualify as a van, a vehicle must be:
• a mechanically propelled road vehicle; and
• of a construction primarily suited for the conveyance of goods or burden of any description; and
• of a ‘design weight’ which does not exceed 3,500kg; but
• not a motorcycle. Broadly, this means that it must have at least four wheels.
The design weight of a vehicle, also known as the ‘manufacturer's plated weight’, is normally shown on a plate attached to the vehicle. What it means is the maximum weight which the vehicle is designed or adapted not to exceed when in normal use and travelling on the road laden.
Human beings are not ‘goods or burden of any description’ so a vehicle designed to carry people (such as a minibus) will not be a van for these purposes.
Private use - A charge to income tax will generally arise if a company van is made available, by reason of the employment, to an employee or to a member of his or her family or household for private non-business-related use. It must be made available without a transfer of ownership from the employer to the employee.
There are three types of journeys that are classed as non-taxable business use:
• business journeys - journeys carried out as part of employment
• ordinary commuting - travel to and from home to a place of work
• insignificant private use beyond ordinary commuting
Pool vans - Broadly, vans used as pool vans that meet the following criteria will not attract a charge:
• the van is used by more than one employee
• the van is not ordinarily used by one employee to the exclusion of others
• the van is not normally kept at or near employees' homes
• it is used only for business journeys (some incidental private use is allowed eg. commuting home with the van to allow an early start to a business journey the next morning)
HMRC apply these rules strictly.
Tax charge - The benefit charge may be proportionately reduced if the van is only available for part of a tax year, and/or by any payments made by the employee for private use.
For 2019/20, a basic rate taxpayer will pay £686 for the use of a work’s van (£3,430 x 20%). For a higher rate taxpayer, the cost will be £1,372.
If fuel is also provided for private use, for 2019/20, a basic rate taxpayer will additional tax of £131 (£655 x 20%), and a higher rate taxpayer will pay £262.
Tax is normally collected through the employee’s Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax code.
No Minimum Period of Occupation Needed for Main Residence
Main residence relief (private residence relief) protects homeowners from any gains arising on their only or main home. However, there are conditions to be met for the relief to be available. One of the major ones is that the property is at some time during the period of ownership occupied as the owner’s only or main home. Where this is the case, the period of occupation as a main home is sheltered from capital gains tax, as is the final 18 months of ownership, regardless of whether the property is occupied as a main home for that final period.
Living in a property for a period of time is worthwhile to secure main residence relief, not least because doing so has the added benefit of sheltering any gain that arises in the last 18 months of ownership.
But, how long does the property have to be occupied as a main residence to trigger the protective effects of the relief?
Quality not quantity
A recent decision by the First-tier tax tribunal confirmed that there is no minimum period of residence that is needed to secure main residence relief – what matters is that there has been a period of residence as the only or main home.
The case in question concerned a taxpayer who ran a property development company and who purchased a property in which he intended to live in as a main home. The property was initially purchased through the company, but the taxpayer intended to obtain a mortgage to buy it from the company. He lived in the property for a period of two and a half months whilst trying to sort out his finances. As a result of the financial crash, he was only able to secure a buy-to-let mortgage, the terms of which precluded him living in the property. The property was let to a friend, but the taxpayer moved in briefly following the friend’s death and undertook some decorating with a view to moving back in with his family. Due to health problems, this did not happen and the property was sold, realising a gain.
The Tribunal found that the taxpayer had lived in the property as a main home, albeit for a short period. It was the quality of occupation, not the quantity, that was important. Consequently, main residence relief was available.
Where a person owns a second home, living in it as a main residence, even if only for a short period, can be beneficial. This will protect not only the gain relating to the period of occupation from capital gains tax but also the last 18 months.
Partner note: TCGA 1992, s. 222; Stephen Bailey v HMRC TC06085.
Is tax payable on tips?
The question of whether tips and gratuities are taxable and subject to National Insurance Contributions (NICs) often results in a lively debate. Broadly, their treatment will depend on how they are paid to the recipient.
Cash tips handed to an employee, or say, left on the table at a restaurant and retained by the employee, are not subject to tax and NICs under PAYE, but the employee is obliged to declare the income to HMRC.
Where HMRC believe that employees in a particular employment are likely to have received tips which have not been declared, they will generally make an estimate of the tips earned on the basis of facts available to them. HMRC often make an adjustment to an employee’s PAYE tax code number to reflect the amount likely to be received during a tax year and the tax and Class 1 NICs due will be collected via the payroll.
By contrast, if an employer passes tips to employees that are either handed to them (or the employees) or left in a common box/plate by customers, the employer must operate PAYE on all payments made. Tips will also be subject to PAYE if they are included in cheque and debit/credit card payments to the employer, or if they pass service charges to employees.
The obligation to operate PAYE remains with the employer where the employer:
• delegates the task of passing the tips or service charges between employees, for example to a head waiter in a restaurant; or
• passes tips/service charges to a tronc (see below) but the tronc is not a tronc for PAYE purposes.
Examples - Marcia, a restaurant owner, passes on all tips paid by credit/debit card to her employees. She has made a payment to her staff and must operate PAYE on these payments as part of the normal payroll.
Franco, also a restaurant owner, allows all cash tips left on tables to be retained in full by his staff. However, to ensure the kitchen staff receive a share, he collects all the cash tips and shares them out to the staff at the end of each day. Franco is involved in the sharing out of the tips and he must therefore include the amounts received as part of the payroll and operate PAYE on them.
Troncs - Where tipping is a usual feature of a business, there is often an organised arrangement for sharing tips amongst employees by a person who is not the employer. Such an arrangement is commonly referred to as a ‘tronc’. The person who distributes money from a tronc is known as a ‘troncmaster’. Where a person accepts and understands the role of troncmaster, he or she may have to operate PAYE on payments made. Broadly, under such arrangements the employer must notify HMRC of the existence of a tronc created and provide HMRC with the troncmaster’s name.
There are no hard and fast rules regarding how a tronc should operate and HMRC will apply the PAYE and NIC rules to the particular circumstances of each tronc. Where payments made from a tronc attract NICs liability, responsibility for calculating the NICs due and making payment to HMRC rests with the employer. If a troncmaster is responsible for operating PAYE on monies passed to the tronc by the employer and has failed to fulfil his or her PAYE obligations, HMRC can direct the employer to operate PAYE on monies passed to the tronc from a specified date.
NICs - Legislation provides that any amount paid to an employee which is a payment 'of a gratuity' or is 'in respect of a gratuity' will be exempt from NICs if it meets either of the following two conditions:
• it is not paid, directly or indirectly, to the employee by the employer and does not comprise or represent monies previously paid to the employer, for example by customers; or
• it is not allocated, directly or indirectly, to the employee by the employer.
Review business records - It is worthwhile checking that businesses treat tips and gratuities correctly. From time to time HMRC carry out reviews of employers’ records to make sure things are in order for PAYE, NICs and separately for the National Minimum Wage (NMW). Any errors in tax and NICs treatment could prove costly.
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
Whether it is answering questions, making an appointment, or pointing you in the right direction, we look forward to hearing from you.
You can mail us
Adrian Mooy & Co Ltd - 61 Friar Gate Derby DE1 1DJ -
Adrian Mooy & Co is the trading name of Adrian Mooy & Co Ltd. Registered in England No. 05770414.
Registered to carry out audit work in the UK by The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
Details of audit registration can be viewed at www.auditregister.org.uk under number 8011438.
Registered office: 61 Friar Gate, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1 1DJ
© Copyright 2019 Adrian Mooy & Co Ltd. All rights reserved.