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HMRC may reverse penalties for late Tax Returns


Written by Ray Coman


HMRC workers held a one day strike on 31 January over the part-privatisation of some of their operations.


As a result HMRC has indicated that it may accept the inability to reach the helpline on 31 January 2012 as a 'reasonable excuse' for not filing on the deadline, provided the Tax Return is filed before midnight on 2 February.


Please contact us for if you have further queries relating to your tax affairs.

Tax Enquiries


Written by Ray Coman


Once they have received your Tax Return, HMRC may respond with queries. Typically, HMRC will request that you provide evidence and explanations to support the information on your Tax Return.


HMRC are permitted to enquire into your Tax Return anytime within one year of receiving it. The period can be slightly longer where you have filed the Tax Return late. You can amend your Tax Return within twelve months of the filing deadline. Similarly, HMRC can enquire into any such amendments within twelve months of receiving them.


HMRC do not need to give any reason for making an enquiry. Although the main purpose of an enquiry is to identify mistakes on your Tax Return, your Tax Return is not necessarily inaccurate just because an enquiry has been opened.


You must keep your records until HMRC can no longer raise an enquiry. If you have trading or rental income, you must keep your records for a further four years.


HMRC also have the power to make an assessment of your tax liability based on information they discover that was not made available through your Tax Return. The time limit for a discovery assessment is four years after the tax year end. The time limit is extended to 20 years for information deliberately concealed.


A tax investigation is unwelcome and we offer a specialised tax enquiry service to reduce the costs involved. Please contact us for a free, initial meeting to discuss your requirements.

Paying tax under self-assessment


Written by Ray Coman


Where possible, tax will be collected on your income before you receive it. This mainly applies to employment, pension and savings income. However this is not always possible, for instance where you have self-employment or rental profits. In this case, you will have to pay your tax to HMRC under self-assessment. This tax due is calculated on your Tax Return.


Paying tax under self-assessmentSelf-assessment tax and Class 4 national insurance is due by 31 January after the end of the tax year. However, payments towards the following year's tax liability can also be payable on 31 January in the tax year and 31 July after the end of the tax year. These are payments on account towards next year's tax liability. Payments on account are half of the previous year's liability. When your actual tax has been calculated, any balancing payment is due by the following 31 January, or a repayment is issued if the payments on account are more than the tax owed.


If 80% of your tax liability has been deducted at source, or the liability is less than £1,000, you will not need to make payments on account.


If you expect your current year income to be lower than that of the previous year you can request that your payments on account are reduced accordingly. If your profits are higher than the reduced amount then interest will be charged on the difference.


You will be also charged interest on any underpayments of tax. If the balancing payment is still overdue by 28 February following the tax year an extra 5% surcharge will be imposed, rising to 10% on any amount which is still outstanding on the following 31 July.


If you are taxed through PAYE you can arrange for additional tax to be deducted at source from your pay. Tax of up to £3,000 (or £2,000 for 2010/11 and earlier years) can be deducted in this way, provided you send your tax return online by 31 December following the end of the tax year.


The system of paying tax through self-assessment can be complex particularly where payments on account are involved. With our Tax Return service we aim to:


  • Minimise your tax
  • Clear up any queries you have regarding your payments
  • Remind you well in advance of deadlines the tax you have to pay, so reducing the chance of being charged by HMRC for late payment.


Please contact us and we would be pleased to help.

Tax Returns: An overview


Written by Ray Coman


Most people in the UK do not have to complete a Tax Return. There is often no need to file a Tax Return if your only income comes from employed earnings, state benefits or a pension.


Typically, a Tax Return is due if you are self-employed, receive rental profits, investment income or you earn over £100,000.


It is your legal obligation to let HMRC know that you have to complete a Tax Return for any tax year. The tax year runs from 6 April to the following 5 April.


Tax Returns: An overview The time limit for notifying HMRC of your chargeability to tax is 31 January after the end of the tax year. If HMRC have to prompt you to notify them to complete a tax return after the deadline, the penalty can be as high as 100% of the tax owed. On the other hand, there may be no penalty for notifying HMRC after the deadline if you do so voluntarily.


Although you may avoid a penalty for late notification, there will be a fixed penalty, of at least £100, for filing the Tax Return late.


The deadline for submitting your Tax Return online is 31 January following the end of the tax year.


There are a number of reasons that you may have to complete a Tax Return. In many cases, a Tax Return may no longer be necessary, even though it is still requested by HMRC. Seek professional advice from us. We offer a free, initial consultation and can help you determine the best way forward.

Tax relief on capital costs


Written by Ray Coman


Capital allowances are a tax relief for outlay on capital. Capital costs are those required for the business to run long term, such as vehicles and equipment. To reflect the length of time that capital is used in the business, only a proportion of the capital costs are deducted from profits each year. This proportion is called the capital allowance. By distinction, revenue costs are those required immediately in the business. Most revenue costs are deducted straight away against from profits.


Tax relief on capital costs In an attempt to relieve the cash flow implications of this system for small businesses and sole traders, the government has introduced an annual investment allowance (AIA.) The AIA provides 100% relief for expenditure on most capital used in the business up to a yearly maximum. As a result, capital costs up to the annual limit are effectively treated in the same way as revenue costs for tax purposes. If the business has invested more than annual investment allowance for the twelve month period, any balance is relieved at the writing down allowance rate.


However, the 100% annual allowance rarely applies to cars. The rate of allowance given to a car depends on its CO2 emission, so that the less a car emits the faster the business will benefit from tax relief.


It is possible to deduct certain costs on features which are integral to a building, such as lighting, heating and air conditioning systems. This can apply even to commercial premises which are not new builds. The annual investment allowance can apply to integral features and the balance could receive an allowance at the special rate. The tax reliefs can be significant and should be considered when planning the premises for your business.


If an asset is sold for more than the capital allowances left to deduct from profits, the surplus could be treated as extra profit for the year. It could be worthwhile considering the timing of disposals of assets which are likely to increase profits.


Where a company makes a loss as a result of investing in certain types of capital, such as green technology and research and development assets, a tax credit may be claimed. This could result in a government payment to the business. The payment is in the form of a tax credit rather than a tax refund.


There are incentives for certain types of investment that the government wishes to promote, such as for converting empty spaces above commercial premises into flats.


Various tax planning opportunities are available with capital allowances. It is possible to obtain allowances separately on assets which are expected to have a life of less than five years. This can accelerate tax relief. It is also possible to disclaim capital allowances, which can be an advantage where your tax free allowances would be wasted if the capital allowance was all used in the first year.


Discuss with us a budget for capital expenditure, which is aligned to business goals and optimised for tax.

Simple situations. Complex situations. If it goes on a Tax Return we deal with it. Contact us for a free, initial meeting.

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