Archive for January, 2014

Small business rates relief

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

The following information is reproduced from the GOV.UK website where you can get more information on this topic if required.

You can get small business rate relief if:

What you get

Until 31 March 2015 you’ll get 100% relief (doubled from the usual rate of 50%) for properties with a rateable value of £6,000 or less. This means you won’t pay business rates on properties with a rateable value of £6,000 or less.

The rate of relief will gradually decrease from 100% to 0% for properties with a rateable value between £6,001 and £12,000.

You have more than one property

You could get small business rate relief if the rateable value of each of your other properties is less than £2,600.

The rateable values of the properties are added together and the relief applied to the main property.

Contact your local council to apply for small business rate relief.

You’re a small business but don’t qualify for relief

If your property has a rateable value below £18,000 (£25,500 in Greater London) you’re considered a small business.

Even if you don’t qualify for small business rate relief, your business rates will be calculated using the small business multiplier instead of the standard one. This is the case even if you have multiple properties.

The multiplier shows the percentage (pence in the pound) of the rateable value that you pay in business rates. A list of current multipliers is on the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) website.

Watch out for copycat sites

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

There has considerable press commentary during the last few weeks about a “copy-cat” website taxreturngateway.

 If you Google tax return gateway you will still be directed to, it’s the top listing.

The site purports to act as a channel that allows you to file your return online. When you have finished the process you will be advised that you need to pay a nominated amount, between £150 and £1000, and seems to infer that this is due to an underpayment of tax.

 DO NOT under any circumstances use this website. Any monies paid are actually a fee for using the site and will not reduce any tax owing.

 If you still need to file your 2013 tax return online go to HMRC’s official website

Follow the relevant link in the “Do it online” panel top left on the home page. There is no separate fee for using HMRC’s online filing service…

 Don’t forget that this is the last week you can file your 2013 return without penalty. The filing deadline is Friday 31 January 2014.

The demographics of late tax returns

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Readers will no doubt be aware that if you are required to file a self-assessment tax return for the tax year ending 5 April 2013, the filing deadline for electronic submission is 31 January 2014. At the time this blog posting was written that leaves you just 10 days to complete the formalities.

According to HMRC residents of inner London are they tardiest: 11% of those who were required to submit returns for the previous tax year had not done so by the filing deadlines. Taxpayers in outer London were slightly more punctual.

At the beginning of January almost 30% of all self-assessment tax returns were due to be filed. This represents approximately 3.5m returns. If the UK followed the London rates this would mean that over one million returns would not be filed before the 31 January cut-off date. One can’t help but speculate that HMRC may be ambivalent about this issue; after all for every return not filed by 31 January they receive at minimum a £100 fine from each defaulting tax payer.

If your return is still sitting in your top draw, gathering dust, this may be your last chance to complete the formalities – otherwise you will be contributing to George Osborne’s £100m windfall!

Bitcoins make waves

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

The internet currency Bitcoins is drawing the attention of US regulators. Recently New York prosecutors confiscated $28 million of the e-currency from the Silk Road marketplace. The Bitcoins were taken because they were received as payments for illegal activities.

In the UK Bitcoins may be about to get an unexpected boost from HM Revenue & Customs.

At present Bitcoins are considered to be “vouchers” and the sale of Bitcoins is therefore subject to a VAT charge at 20% – this makes the wider use of Bitcoins in the UK largely unworkable. After consultations with users HMRC is considering an about turn. They would re-classify Bitcoins as a private currency. This means that VAT will only be chargeable on commission charged by Bitcoins sellers.

It is also likely that holders of Bitcoins would be subject to capital gains tax, although HMRC have indicated that they may provide an exemption for those who hang onto their Bitcoins for more than one year.

If the UK goes ahead with these changes it will be stealing a march on the US who still have no consistent guidance on the likely taxation, or otherwise, of Bitcoin trading.

What can you dispose of and not pay capital gains tax?

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Believe it or not there are a number of assets that you can sell that do not trigger a capital gains tax (CGT) liability. The list, published on HMRC’s website is as follows:

  • Your car
  • Personal possessions worth up to £6,000 each, such as jewellery, paintings or antiques
  • Stocks and shares you hold in tax-free investment savings accounts, such as ISAs and PEPs
  • UK Government or 'gilt-edged' securities, for example, National Savings Certificates, Premium Bonds and loan stock issued by the Treasury
  • Betting, lottery or pools winnings
  • Personal injury compensation
  • Foreign currency you bought for your own or your family's personal use outside the UK

And, you can sell your private residence without capital gains tax complications as long as you have lived in the property for your entire period of ownership.

Certain gifts to certain registered charities may also be exempt.

If you would like an opinion about the CGT implications of a disposal you are about make, or have made, please call. 

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