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April 4. 2017

Look forward and see where you are heading!

Plan ahead! Look forward and see where you are heading! Plan for paying your taxes on time……

Your income tax and national insurance liabilities are payable by 31st January each year.

You may also be liable for payments on account towards the following year on 31st January and 31st July each year.

Be organised and choose one of the following options…….

  • Set up a savings account with your bank
  • Set up a payment plan with HMRC – 0300 200 3835

FBTC would advise you save between 15-20% of your gross income.

Always contact HMRC should you need to discuss your tax bill and please don't stick your head in the sand. Interest and penalties are charged on liabilities paid late.

If you’d like further advise on this or any accountancy matter, please contact FBTC on 0344 984 2515.

Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages!



March 21. 2017

Love is.....sharing your tax allowance

This was introduced in the 2015/16 tax year and allows, in certain circumstances, the transfer of 10% of unused personal allowances between spouses or civil partners.

For the 2015/16 tax year, you may be eligible to transfer £1,060 of your personal allowance between each other which represents a tax reduction of £212.00.

For the 2016/17 tax year, you may be eligible to transfer £1,100 of your personal allowance between each other which represents a tax reduction of £220.00.

For the 2017/18 tax year, you may be eligible to transfer £1,150 of your personal allowance between each other which represents a tax reduction of £230.00.  

How do I qualify?

To qualify one partner must have total income below the personal allowance which for 2016/17 was £11,000 (2017/18 £11,500) and the other must be a basic rate taxpayer. 

If you are surrendering your allowances to your partner and your gross income for 2016/17 is between £9,900 and £11,000 then the reduction in your allowances would then mean you would become a taxpayer so a claim would not be worthwhile.

If either partner is a higher rate tax payer then no claim can be made.

The allowance can only be used against Income Tax so a claim would not be applicable if your only liability for the year was Class 2 and/or Class 4 National Insurance Contributions. 

How do I apply?

A claim must be made by telephoning HMRC on 0300 200 3300 or online at www.gov.uk/marriageallowance. Your tax liability will not be reduced if an online or telephone claim has not been made.

Unfortunately, we cannot make the claim for you as HMRC will not allow agents to make the claim on their clients’ behalf.

Your tax return is not for the purposes of making a claim. Instead, upon receipt of your tax return, HMRC will make an amendment to your tax liability and advise you of the revised amounts payable.

The person who calls HMRC must be the person who is transferring the allowances (i.e. the person with income below £11,000 in 2016/17 or £11,500 in 2017/18).

When first making a claim HMRC will review earlier years, back to 2015/16, and back date the claim for any years where you have not made a claim but were eligible to do so.

For more information call FBTC, the tax experts!


March 15. 2017

Budget Update: Class 4 National Insurance Contributions

Due to substantial pressures from its own backbenchers the Government has announced that the increases from 2018 and 2019 will not now go ahead.

See below the full text of Chancellor Philip Hammond's letter to Conservative MPs explaining his decision to drop National Insurance increases announced in last week's Budget.

Dear Colleague

I am writing to clarify the Government's position with regard to the changes to National Insurance contributions (NICs) for the self-employed, announced in last week's Budget.

As I set out last Wednesday, the gap between benefits available to the self-employed and those in employment has closed significantly over the last few years - most notably by the introduction of the new State Pension in April 2016, worth an additional £1,800 to a self-employed person for each year of retirement.

It remains our judgment that the current differences in benefit entitlement no longer justify the scale of difference in the level of total NICs paid in respect of employees and the self-employed.

Colleagues will be aware that there has been a sharp increase in self-employment over the last few years. Most commentators believe that at least part of the increase is driven by differences in tax treatment.

HMRC estimates that the cost to the public finances of this trend is around £5bn this year alone and the parallel increase in incorporation will cost more than £6bn a year by the end of the Parliament. This represents a significant risk to the tax base and thus to the funding of our public services.

The measures I announced in the Budget sought to reflect more fairly the differences in entitlement in the contributions made by the self-employed and addresses the challenge of sustainability of the tax base.

The Government continues to believe that this is the right approach.

Since the Budget, however, there has been much comment on the question of commitments made in our 2015 manifesto. Ahead of Autumn Statement last year, the Prime Minister and I decided that, however difficult the fiscal challenges we face, the tax-lock and spending ring-fence commitments we have made for this Parliament should be honoured in full. I made this clear in the Autumn Statement speech.

As far as National Insurance contributions are concerned, the locks were legislated for in the National Insurance contributions (Rate Ceilings) Act 2015.

When that Bill was introduced, it was made clear that the lock would apply only to Class 1 contributions (employer and employee). The measures proposed in the Budget fall within the constraints set out by the tax-lock legislation and the spending ring-fences.

However, in light-of the debate over the last few days it is clear that compliance with the "legislative" test of the Manifesto commitment is not adequate.

It is very important both to me and to the Prime Minister that we are compliant not just with the letter, but also the spirit, of the commitments that were made.

In light of what has emerged as a clear view among colleagues and a significant section of the public, I have decided not to proceed with the Class 4 NIC measures set out in the Budget.

There will be no increases in NICs rates in this Parliament. We will continue with the abolition of Class 2 NICs from April 2018. The cost of the changes I am announcing today will be funded by measures to be announced in the Autumn Budget.

I undertook in the Budget speech to consult over the summer on options to address the principal outstanding difference in benefit entitlement between employed and self-employed: parental benefits. We now intend to widen this exercise to look at the other areas of difference in treatment, alongside the Government's consideration of the forthcoming report by Matthew Taylor, CEO of the RSA, on the implication of different ways of working for employment rights.

Once we have completed these pieces of work, the Government will set out how it intends to take forward, and fund, reforms in this area.

I plan to make a statement in the House later today.

Philip Hammond

#selfemployed #class4NIC #TAX

March 10. 2017

The FBTC Budget Highlights

The Spring Budget 2017 was presented by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 8th March 2017.

This will be the last Spring Budget. In future, the Budget will be held in autumn, commencing from autumn 2017. Many of the changes announced in the Budget commence the following 5th April, giving more time for planning and implementation.

With regards to proposals specifically affecting the driving instructor industry, the Chancellor has announced a 2% increase in Insurance Premium Tax from June 2017 which will, of course, impact Car Insurance premiums.

Significant changes are also coming in respect of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). From 6th April 2017, for cars registered after 1st April 2017, there will be a first-year rate of up to £2,000, depending on the vehicles’ CO2 emissions and then a standard rate of £140. The standard rate will be increased in the first five years by £310 if the vehicle list price is more than £40,000.

For vehicles registered between 1st March 2001 and 31st March 2017, VED will increase by Retail Price Index (RPI) from 6 April 2017. The average increase will be £5 per year. 

From an individual taxpayer’s point of view, the following points were the key announcements made: 

 Personal Tax rates and allowances


    • The personal allowance will increase from £11,000 to £11,500 from 6th April 2017.

    • This increase is part of the Governments’ continued commitment to increase the personal allowance to £12,500 by the end of the current parliament.

    • The threshold at which the personal allowance is reduced remains at £100,000. The personal allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 of income above £100,000. This means that anyone with income over £123,000 in 2017/18, does not qualify for personal allowances.

    • From 6th April 2017, the threshold at which individuals begin to pay tax at the higher rate of 40% will increase from £43,000 to £45,000.  This increase is part of the Government’s continued commitment to raise the threshold to £50,000 by the end of the current parliament.

    • The threshold at which individuals will be liable to pay tax at the rate of 45% remains at £150,000.

    • Married Couples allowance will continue to be available where one applicant was born before 6th April 1935 and from 6th April 2017 neither applicant earns more than £28,000 (£27,700 in 16/17).

    • From 6th April 2018, this will result in a minimum tax saving of £326 (£322 in 16/17) and the maximum tax saving of £844.50 (£835.50 in 16/17).

    • Those who don’t qualify for Married Couples allowance, may qualify for Marriage Allowance. To qualify for Marriage Allowance one applicant must not be a taxpayer and the other must not be a higher rate taxpayer. From 6th April 2018, this will result in a tax saving of £230 (£220 in 16/17).

Capital gains tax (CGT)


    • From 6th April 2017, the annual exemption for CGT will increase to £11,300 (£11,100 in 16/17).

    • The rates of CGT remain unchanged at 10% for basic rate taxpayers (18% for residential property) and 20% for higher rate taxpayers (28% for residential property).

Savings

Since 6th April 2016, all bank and building society interest has been paid gross.

    • If your non-savings income is below the tax free personal allowances detailed above, then the balance can be used against savings income.

    • In addition to any “spare” personal allowances, basic rate taxpayers can earn a further £6,000 of savings income tax free and higher rate taxpayers can earn £5,500.

    • The ISA allowance will rise from £15,240 to £20,000 from 6th April 2017.

    • The ISA allowance also includes, from 6th April 2017, a new Lifetime ISA allowance. This will allow those under 40 years old to invest up to £4,000 per year and receive a bonus of 25% up to a maximum of £1,000 each year. Deposits can be made every year up to the age of 50. The funds can then be withdrawn from the age of 60. Funds can be withdrawn earlier if they are going to be used for a first-time house purchase.  They can also be used if you are terminally ill or are moving to a different Lifetime ISA provider. If you withdraw for any other reason before the age of 60 then you will have to pay a charge of 25% of the amount withdrawn.

    • There is also a “Junior ISA” available for under 18’s. From 6th April 2017, up to a maximum of £4,128 (£4,080 in 16/17) can be invested.

    • From 6th April 2017, the tax-free lifetime allowance on contributions to pension pots remains at £1 million and the maximum annual allowance limit remains at £40,000. 

Dividend Income


      Savings income does not include dividend income.

    • From 6th April 2017, the first £5,000 of any dividend income will be taxed at 0%. Above this threshold, basic rate taxpayers will pay 7.5% dividend tax, higher rate taxpayers 32.5% and additional rate taxpayers 38.1%.
    • From 6th April 2018, the limit will be reduced to £2,000. 

National Insurance Contributions (NIC’s)


    • From 6th April 2017, Class 2 NIC’s will be due on profits in excess of £6,025 (£5,965 in 16/17). This equates to a weekly rate of £2.85 (£2.80 in 16/17).

    • From 6th April 2017 Class 4 NIC’s will be due on profits in excess of £8,164 (£8,060 in 16/17) at the rate of 9%, which is unchanged from 16/17. Profits above £45,000 (£43,000 in 16/17) will be liable at 2%.

    • Class 2 NIC’s will be abolished from 6th April 2018 and the self-employed will only pay Class 4 NIC’s.  The change will see an increase in Class 4 NIC’s to 10% from 6th April 2018 and to 11% from 6th April 2019.  However, due to public outcry from the ‘white van man’, the legislation for the proposal will not now likely to be introduced until autumn 2017.

Other notable points

    • The Corporation Tax rate for Limited companies will be cut to 19% from April 2017 and to 17% from April 2020.

    • The VAT threshold will increase from £83,000 to £85,000 from 1st April 2017.

    • Capital allowances for plant and machinery will remain at 100% for first £200,000 of first year additions (FYA). The main rate will remain unchanged at 18% and the special rate will remain at 8%.

Trading and property income allowances


    • The Government will create two new income tax allowances of £1,000 each, for trading and property income. The allowances can be deducted from income instead of actual expenses.

Making Tax Digital (MTD)

 

    • HMRC have confirmed that from 6th April 2018 the self-employed whose turnover or property income is over the VAT threshold (£85,000), will have to submit their business records quarterly with non VAT registered businesses joining MTD from 6th April 2019.

    • An exemption has been proposed for businesses with a turnover of below £10,000. However, HMRC are still considering this proposal.

If you would like to chat to us about how any of the above will affect you, then please contact us here.

February 22. 2017

FBTC Accountancy Services Awarded Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award 2017

February 2017, FBTC Accountancy Services has won a Feefo Gold Service award, an independent seal of excellence that recognises businesses for delivering exceptional experiences, rated by real customers. 

Created by Feefo, Trusted Service is awarded to businesses that use Feefo to collect genuine ratings and reviews. A badge of honour, this accreditation remains unique as all the awards are based purely on the interactions with verified customers.  

FBTC Accountancy Services, collected a significant number of reviews throughout 2016 and achieved an overall Feefo service rating of over 4.8 out of a possible maximum of 5.0. 

Andrew Briscoe, FBTC’s General Manager commented: “It’s a real honour to receive this award from Feefo. To be recognised for delivering exceptional experiences to our clients is a great achievement. We’ve been working hard to ensure our clients receive the best service possible, and being able to listen, understand and respond to their needs has enabled us to improve our offering in 2016. We’re looking forward to another successful year ahead.” 

“We would like to offer our congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Feefo Trusted Service award. We are so proud that so many businesses are putting customer service first.” said Andrew Mabbutt, CEO at Feefo. “We have been working closely with all our customers to build trust and transparency online, and ultimately helping shoppers buy with confidence and make better decisions.” 


A little about Feefo.....


Feefo is a global ratings and reviews platform which ensures that all feedback is authentic thereby avoiding the rising issue of fake reviews.


Feefo collects reliable customer feedback to deliver up to date insights so businesses and consumers can make better decisions. Feefo does this on behalf of 3,000 companies, providing reviews and customer analytics for more than 5,000 websites. Clients include Expedia, AXA, The White Company, Moss Bros, Notonthehighstreet.com & Tepilo.


For more information please visit: www.feefo.com




February 17. 2017

Making Tax Digital is coming!

We recently mentioned HMRC’s proposals for changing the way income will be submitted to them. The plan is to abolish the current annual tax return and replace it with quarterly reporting of your books and records. The changes are known as “Making Tax Digital”.

HMRC have been running a consultation on their proposals. They announced their conclusions on the consultation on 31st January 2017.

We are now working with our software providers to ensure we are fully prepared for these changes which are likely to start on 6th April 2018. 

We will be contacting all of our clients accordingly as and when necessary both directly and with further announcements here on our website and also Facebook / Twitter. Please keep checking these pages as the changes are important and significant.


Please also do not hesitate to contact one of our tax consultants if you have any queries - 0344 984 4445.


January 27. 2017

FBTC’s UK Driving Instructor Review: Hourly rate, earnings and job satisfaction

We’ve just completed this year’s survey which analyses Independent and Franchised Driving Instructor questionnaire feedback and examines some of the changes experienced by Instructors over the last 12 months.

Here’s 5 interesting snippets from the report:

1- The national average hourly lesson price (after deducting the cost of offers and discounts) now stands at £24.85 which represents a 7.9% increase on last year’s figure.

2- UK Driving Instructors are now achieving an average gross income of £730.59 per week which is £44.59 more than last year.

3- Through a combination of working  more hours and by increasing their hourly rate by more than £2.50 per hour, female Instructors have achieved an average gross income increase of £123.10 per week.

4- 93% of Driving Instructors are satisfied with their job and with such high levels of job satisfaction we’d expect this to translate into a very positive learning experience for their students.

5- The majority of the UK’s Driving Instructors see their earnings increasing further over the next 12 months – the future’s bright!

Read FBTC’s UK Driving Instructor Review in here.

January 24. 2017

Keeping the taxman at bay

Let’s talk about how and why HMRC Investigations happen, this week’s tip explains the best way to deal with an enquiry and keeping the taxman happy.

Once the Revenue has taken up an enquiry, it is in the taxpayer’s interest to settle the enquiry as speedily as possible by cooperating with HMRC and providing them with any information they request as they do have statutory powers that they can put in place if they don’t get the information that they require within specified periods of time. 

The length of an investigation can vary from months to sometimes years depending on what HMRC find and how they decide to progress.  During an enquiry, the Revenue may well look at your personal expenditure as well as your business records.  It is important that you can also account for entries on your personal bank, building society and credit card statements as well as your business statements.  The Revenue will often deem receipts that you cannot account for as undisclosed business income.

Clearly, the best way to avoid having an enquiry into your tax return, is to ensure that when your tax return is submitted it includes accurate and complete accounts information and that it also gives full details of all your non-business income such as any bank or building society interest, income from property, Capital Gains etc.  This may be stating the obvious but it can only be achieved by keeping full and accurate records:

-You should always record all sales and business receipts as you get them and retain the records;

-You should keep back-up records, for example, invoices, bank statements and paying-in slips to show where the income came from;

-You should record all purchases and other expenses as they arise and ensure, unless the amounts are very small, that you have, and retain, invoices for them.

It is important that each entry is recorded as and when it happens.  By doing this, it reduces the chance of you omitting or entering an incorrect amount if you have to record it on your records some weeks or months after the event. 

You will see from this how important it is for you to keep accurate records in both your personal and business dealings.  By doing this, the chances of you getting a letter from the Revenue will be considerably reduced.  However, if you are unlucky enough to still be selected for an enquiry, your hand is much stronger when you can produce accurate, well-kept and timely records.

The FBTC online cashbook is a great way to record your business income and expenditure. Have a read of the FBTC Online Cashbook "Simplicity at its best!"

If you have any questions about Revenue investigation or the online cashbook, please get in touch;

Call 0344 984 4445 Email  info@fbtc.co.uk


January 16. 2017

“I am writing to tell you that I intend to enquire into your Tax Return.”

The first line of the letter that tends to send a shiver down the spine of most self-employed individuals if they are unlucky enough to receive a letter from HM Revenue & Customs.

You may have submitted your Tax Return and thought ‘great, it has been accepted’. But confirmation of receipt doesn’t mean to say that HMRC have finished with it.

Under Self-Assessment, the Revenue’s method of dealing with Tax Returns is to “Process Now / Check Later.”  The Revenue then has a period of time to review the entries on the Return.  If some of the entries on the Return differ from information which they already hold or if these entries fall outside the normally accepted patterns for that particular business sector, then there is a possibility that the Return could be selected for an enquiry. 

There is a time limit within which the Revenue can take up an enquiry.  This is currently within 12 months of the normal filing date for the Return i.e. a 2015/16 Tax Return must be filed with the Revenue by 31st January 2017, therefore the window for opening an enquiry is up to 31st January 2018. 

However, it has been known for HMRC to open an enquiry outside of that time frame which is called a ‘Discovery’ enquiry.  Why can they do this you ask?  Because they can!  Such an enquiry can take place where based on the information (or lack of) shown on the tax return HMRC could not have known that the tax return was incorrect and issued an enquiry within the normal time limits.

In addition to the ‘normal’ lines of enquiry, HMRC are now carrying out random ‘Business Record’ checks in which they look into your record keeping.  If they have reason to believe that it is not up to scratch, they will arrange to make a visit.

Unfortunately, no one is immune from receiving a ‘Business Record’ check, however you can take steps to avoid a full-blown investigation.  How?  Stay tuned for our next tip – Keeping the Tax man at bay!

January 6. 2017

FBTC Online Cashbook "Simplicity at its best!"

Do you want an easy to use online cashbook system to record your business income and expenditure?

Fill your car with fuel then head to your next lesson. 5 minutes to spare before Justin Thyme arrives for his 3pm lesson, then login to your FBTC online cashbook and add the £50.00 fuel expense to your cashbook. It is as easy as that!

Record as you go then you can spend your own time reading Intelligent Instructor magazine. Prevent the end of year rush to record your income and expenditure.

Tracey Leck, FBTC Accounts Technician, advises the online cashbook is the way forward to streamline your accounts. It is the most efficient way of recording your income and expenditure.  

But don’t take our word for it, Deborah Hunter has been an FBTC client since 2011, see her thoughts on our cashbook system; “I use the online cashbook for ease. I can log at my leisure, come back to it when I please and it orders each entry in the date order. Simplicity at its best!”

Stephen Harlow is another client of ours that favours the online cashbook, “Having used the online cashbook since joining FBTC in February 2016, I can only recommend it to all, especially those currently using the paper format cashbook. Data entry is simple with nicely laid out and intuitive categories’’.

If you have any questions about our online cashbook get in touch. If you want to start using the online cashbook it is a straight forward transition and we can advise you accordingly.

Call us on 0344 984 2515 or email us at info@fbtc.co.uk  to take advantage of our FREE online cashbook.

October 5. 2016

Making Tax Digital - Are you ready?

After the March 2015 Budget, the press were quick to state that the end of the tax return had been announced. We were sceptical about this and have been waiting for further announcements to be made by HMRC to clarify the position.

HMRC has now confirmed that from 2018, most businesses, will have to submit their business records quarterly rather than annually. Further announcements will be made over the next few months by HMRC on exactly how this will work.

Be assured that FBTC are monitoring these announcements to ensure that our clients are fully prepared.

We will publish updates through emails, our website and our social media pages.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions - 0344 984 4445.

June 15. 2016

ADIs split and confused by EU debate

                                    


Intelligent Instructor magazine, the biggest and only independent magazine for the driver training industry, teamed up with FBTC Accountancy Services, and conducted a snap survey of ADIs to understand their views and intention in the forthcoming EU Referendum.

Over 24 hours between the 8th and 9th June, 200 ADIs took part.

Key Findings:

  • 92% intend to vote on the 23rd June 2016   

  • But nearly 1 in 5 (19%) are still undecided on whether to remain or leave

  • Only 31% of the sample intend to vote to remain

  • 50% intend to vote for leaving the EU at this point

  • Nearly half (45%) don’t feel they have sufficient information to make an informed decision to remain or leave

  • Only 1 in 5 (19.7%) see that leaving the EU would have a negative impact on them personally

(200 responses on 8th and 9th of June 2016)

Paul Caddick, Editor of Intelligent Instructor and Andrew Briscoe, General Manager of FBTC

Of course we (Intelligent Instructor and FBTC) are independent on this matter, but interested in facts and other interested party’s views and perspectives on what is probably the single biggest national decision for a lifetime.

It is clear from this snap poll that while it is so important, people are finding it very difficult to ascertain the real facts needed to properly formulate a decision. This is incredibly disappointing when the result will have huge consequences for us all in the UK and, Europe as a whole, for decades to come.

Driver trainers deal in the world of motoring and road safety. It is unlikely that there will be any direct implications for driver training and the driving test per se. However, it is perhaps worth bearing in mind that a huge amount of the positive road safety developments over the last thirty or forty years have come through a combined European effort.

  • The EU funds a significant amount of road safety research which benefits UK research establishments and UK road users in general.
  • The UK has many ‘harmonised’ driver and vehicle regulations and enforcement, from driving licences and professional driver’s hours, to insurance and manufacturing standards. Of course, if the UK leaves the EU it could adapt and adopt EU legislation.
  • EuroNCAP has probably been the single biggest improvement in road safety, forcing better, safer vehicles, and it is a test of standards that is now being adopted worldwide.
  • There are potential risks and complications of the UK not getting access to vehicle technical data (repair and maintenance information) currently being legislated by EU

Adrian Walsh, Director, Road Safe said:

"Europe is perhaps the largest and most sophisticated market in the world; this has provided an ideal environment for a rapid advance in the development of vehicle safety technology spurred on by the consumer-facing NCAP programme. As a result, we now have the safest cars in the world.

Furthermore, the harmonisation of traffic law and a focus on road safety research within the community has helped to reduce death and injury on European roads.

Britain has played a leading role in all these areas".

Iain Temperton, Director of Communications, Road Safety GB commented: 

“Our legislative framework is delivered via Department for Transport, some is home-grown and some originates from Europe. There are some advantages to harmonisation between states, such as standardisation of driving licences and co-operation of enforcement agencies, how much of that could continue outside of EU membership is an unknown. 

My feeling is that the result of the referendum will have no short-term effect on road safety and I suspect that long-term effects will be limited as well. We search for best practice wherever it can be found".

These are just a few examples of how the EU has benefited our motoring lives, careers and safety over the years. Leaving the EU is likely to create economic uncertainty in the short-term, and this could cause a rise in diesel and petrol prices, vehicle purchase costs and even insurance premiums. However, assessing the unknown requires a functioning crystal ball, and such a thing does not exist as far as I know.

This Referendum is about a lot more than motoring, driver training and road safety. It is about our relationship with the rest of Europe, our position in a global market place and also the best way to ensure stability, safety and brotherhood in an increasingly fractured, insecure and unstable world. So perhaps it is most important to remember that it was the European wars and economic instability that led to the desire to unite the powers and nations of Europe; to prevent war, find common purpose and economically benefit all. Therefore, we need to assess if the EU, and our membership of it, has succeeded or failed, and whether going back to the old state of affairs will be a step forward looking at the whole issue.

 See the full ADI survey results below:

For more information about Intelligent Instructor and to subscribe to the driver training industry’s biggest and only independent magazine, click here: www.intelligentinstructor.co.uk Check out their Facebook page here @IntelligentInstructor

Remember to follow the FBTC Facebook and Twitter



May 9. 2016

Marriage Allowance – are you missing out?

This was introduced in the 2015/16 tax year and allows, in certain circumstances, the transfer of 10% of unused personal allowances between spouses or civil partners.

For the 2015/16 tax year, you may be eligible to transfer £1,060 of your personal allowance between each other which represents a tax reduction of £212.00.

For the 2016/17, tax year you may be eligible to transfer £1,100 of your personal allowance between each other which represents a tax reduction of £220.00.

How do I qualify?

To qualify, one partner must have total income below the personal allowance (£10,600) and the other must be a basic rate taxpayer. 

How do I apply?

If you have not already submitted a claim then don’t worry, as it is not too late.

A claim must be made by telephoning HMRC on 0300 200 3300 or online at www.gov.uk/marriageallowance which can then be backdated to the 2015/16 tax year. Your tax liability will not be reduced if an online or telephone claim has not been made.

Your tax return is not for the purposes of making a claim, but for confirming to HMRC that an online/telephone claim has already been made.

The person who calls HMRC must be the person who is transferring the allowances (ie the person with income below £10,600 in 2015/16 or £11,000 in 2016/17).

Unfortunately, HMRC will not allow agents to make the claim on their clients’ behalf.

For more information call FBTC, the tax experts!


April 5. 2016

Happy new tax year

It is fast approaching the end of another tax year, it means only one thing – tax return time! 

Remember, you have nine months in which to file your 2015/16 tax return with HM Revenue and Customs.

However, if you are planning to claim tax credits or renew your tax credit claim, your tax return will have to be completed before 31st July 2016 so that you can give the tax credit people the required figures from your tax return. 

Another good reason for getting your tax return completed early is that you will know sooner rather than later how much tax you will be required to pay by 31st January 2017.  Remember, depending on your level of profit, your liability could include the addition of Class 4 National Insurance and Class 2 National Insurance.  Also, you may be liable to make payments on account towards the next tax year if your total liability is in excess of £1,000.  All told, you could be looking at a hefty tax bill, so knowing early how much you need to pay, could be beneficial to you.


The good news from the recent budget is that most of the tax thresholds have increased from last year and will increase again in the year just beginning so you are allowed to earn a little more before you start paying tax!

March 24. 2016

Easter Eggs are an allowable business expense aren't they???

Sadly Easter Eggs are not an allowable business expense.

This maybe a good time to mention some expenses that are not allowed. In other words, those expense that do not meet the HMRC test of ‘wholly and exclusively for business purposes.’
 
There are a whole raft of expenses that could be deemed allowable but in fact are not.  The most commonly asked about are:
 
-Personal insurance and sickness policies.  It probably makes sense to have such insurance but unfortunately the costs are not an allowable business expense. The fact that they are personal expenses is a bit of hint.

-Work clothes and shoes.  You may quite rightly claim to your accountant: ‘I have to look good whilst I teach’.  True, but so do most people who go to work in any professional capacity and they have to personally pay for their suits, shirts and ties. It is no different for a driving instructor or any other similar profession.  However, shirts and tops are allowed for tax purposes if they display a prominent logo promoting your business.  Shoes are a definite no: we all have to wear shoes.

-Spectacles and eye tests. This is an interesting one but at the end of the day we all have to take regular eye tests, wear glasses if required, and pay for them personally.  The same applies to sunglasses.

 
The list of non-allowable expenses is understandably endless. Some of the strangest requests that have made the non-allowable list include chewing gum, gym membership and solar panels.
 
Making a claim for an expense that is not allowed for tax purposes on your tax return could land you in hot water with HMRC if they investigate the detail of your return. Usually the cost to you of that investigation will be far in excess of the expense you were endeavouring to offset against tax.  Seek expert advice before deciding whether to include an item on your tax return, if you are not 100% sure about it. Call us 0344 984 2515!

What about a chocolate calculator then??   

Happy Easter....

March 22. 2016

Highlights from the Budget 2016

Fuel Duty Frozen

Business Rate Relief

      Taxable Allowances

                   Corporation Tax Cut


The above are some of the highlights from the Budget, announced by the Chancellor on the 16th March 2016.

 There are a lot of positive measures to take from the Budget, especially when considering small businesses and the self-employed. There is a feel for supporting local growth and the measures announced may prompt budding entrepreneurs to follow their business dreams.  

Commencing with the fuel duty freeze, this will definitely appease those who rely on fleet vehicles to run their business.  As a specialist accountancy service for driving instructors, we know this is good news for most of our clients!

For those who operate their business from a commercial property, another highlight to consider is the relief on business rates. From April 2017, small businesses that occupy property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less will pay no business rates. Currently, 100% relief is available if you're a business that occupies a property (e.g. a shop or office) with a value of £6,000 or less. There will be a tapered rate of relief on properties worth up to £15,000.

This will affect some 600,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) from April 2017. Could this be a vital step on the road to fundamental reform? Furthermore, April 2020 will see business rates been based on the consumer price index (CPI) instead of the Retail Price Index (RPI). The government is also planning to modernise the administration of business rates. This again is a measure to make it easier for businesses, they can then spend the critical resource we call time, actually doing business!

 The Budget brings long term planning with a focus on the next generation. This is encouraging. The increase in personal allowance from £10,600 to £11,000 from 6th April 2016 and to £11,500 from 6th April 2017, will allow people to earn a little more before they start paying tax. This is also a further opportunity for individuals to save with the introduction of the Tax Free Personal Savings Allowance.  Currently for every £100 interest earned, basic-rate taxpayers lose £20 in tax, higher rate £40. Yet from 6 April 2016, the new personal savings allowance means every basic-rate taxpayer can earn £1,000 interest without paying tax on it.

 The final area we would like to mention is the cut in corporation tax, to 17% by 2020 which will affect those who operate limited companies. This will be a positive move for the economy, surely making the supply chain between businesses more efficient, every little helps as they say.

March 14. 2016

Your Home is no Tax Haven!

We recently wrote about ‘employing’ someone to take care of your paperwork, answering your calls and basically all things office related. A common question relates to utility bills and what can and cannot be claimed as business expenses.  Your driving school business is predominantly run from your tuition vehicle but it still may be possible to gain tax relief against certain utility bills.               

Some of your business, such as preparing lesson plans and bookkeeping is carried out at home but this would probably account for less than 10% of your time. So what expenses are allowable for tax relief?  In most cases, it will be small proportion of your heating and lighting bills.  Unfortunately, rent, rates, council tax and water rates are not allowed for tax purposes. It may be possible to gain relief by making a claim for ‘home use as office’ but whether this is beneficial is heavily dependent upon your personal circumstances and you should certainly seek expert advice before proceeding down this route!

If you decide to ‘build’ an office in your home or add an extension in which to house an office you should ask yourself if it is justifiable and necessary for the running of your business.  However, it is possible to gain tax relief on items that you purchase to ‘kit out’ your ‘office’ such as filing cabinets and the like, but not the cost of construction or converting a room into an office.

Generally, for a small business, a table in the kitchen will suffice for your paperwork! 

What would your dream office look like???

If you’d like further advice on this or any accountancy matter please contact FBTC on 0344 984 2515.


March 2. 2016

Will someone please answer the phone?

Telephone calls and paperwork! And all you want to do is go out and do what you are good at – teaching people to drive. Why not ask a family member to manage your diary, take telephone calls and more importantly keep your accounting records up to date? There is nothing like having a free administration service on hand when you need it.

But is having your family member work for free the best way? Not necessarily and it can benefit you as a self-employed individual if you ‘pay’ someone to run your ‘office’ and keep your paperwork in order as the cost is tax deductible against your trading income. 

However, in the complex labyrinth of UK tax rules, regulations and do’s and don’ts, paying someone is not as straight forward as you would think:

-You must pay the person the average hourly ‘going rate’ for the type of work they carry out;

-You have to consider whether the person already receives any other form of taxable income.  If they do, the addition of your ‘pay’ may push their total income over the taxable limit and they could end up having to register for self-assessment and paying tax themselves on this new income;

-There has to be a paper trail of payment.  This is one of the areas HMRC will look into closely if you are ever unlucky enough to be picked for an investigation, specifically transactions between family members.

Paying a family member to help you out could open a can of worms and could prove quite costly if it not administered correctly but done properly is a good way to reduce your tax bill.

If in doubt, ask! 0344 984 4445

February 22. 2016

Ensure you make time!

How often do you keep your accounting records up to date?  Once a week?  Once a month? Do you play catch up at the end of the tax year when your records are requested from your accountant?

You should try and set some time aside each week to update your accounting records and get into the habit of doing it daily or weekly, whilst the week is still fresh in your memory.  The FBTC online cashbook is a great tool to do this! Click here to find out more about our online cashbook.

You will find it much easier to recollect what has happened in the last seven days, than trying to think back over fifty two weeks, if you are trying to complete your records after the tax year has ended.

The advantages of sticking to this regime are plentiful.  As well as being able to keep a track on how your business is performing, it will assist you in answering the questions from the dreaded ‘Business Record Check’ letter should you be unlucky enough to receive one from HMRC.  Based on a set of answers you give in relation to questions about your accounting records, HMRC will decide if they will need to pay you a visit to carry out further checks.  The more accurate information you can supply them with, the better your chances are for not getting a visit.

If you’d like further advice on this or any accountancy matter please contact FBTC on 0344 984 2515.

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February 3. 2016

PLANNING FOR YOUR TAXES

Plan ahead! Look forward and see where you are heading! Plan for your taxes……

Let's get organised! Start a saving account or maybe a payment scheme with HMRC, prepare yourself for your final liability.
 
Don’t forget as well as income tax,
Class 4 National Insurance also needs paying and you should be planning and accruing for this too.

Always contact HMRC should you need to discuss your tax bill, don't stick your head in the sand. They may agree a payment plan which is a much better option than accruing interest on what you owe.

If you’d like further advise on this or any accountancy matter please contact FBTC on 0344 984 2515.

Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages!

 
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