View your annual tax summary

The Annual Tax Summary is a document provided by HMRC that shows details of the tax you pay and how this is used by government.

The Annual Tax Summary shows:

  • your taxable income from all sources that HMRC knew about at the time that it was prepared;
  • the rates used to calculate your Income Tax and National Insurance contributions; and
  • a breakdown of how the UK government spends your taxes – this makes government spending more transparent.

HMRC makes it clear that the tax summaries are for information purposes only and neither taxpayers nor agents should take any action based on the contents of the summary. The summaries are available online via the Government Gateway.

Taxpayers cannot access an Annual Tax Summary if they have paid no income tax or if information is outstanding. The Annual Tax Summary might also be different from other HMRC tax calculations because a taxpayer's circumstances have changed, or sources of income were not included.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 20-05-2024

Universal Credit changes

Universal Credit claimants working less than half of a full-time week will have to look to increase their hours but will be able to benefit from extra work coach support. These changes will see 400,000 Universal Credit claimants receive more help to progress in work.

The changes come as the PM announces once in a generation welfare reforms to help people find work, boost their earnings, and grow the economy.

Before 2022, someone could work only nine hours a week and remain on benefits without being expected to look for more work.

The latest rise in the Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET) means someone working less than 18 hours – half of a full-time week – will have to look for more work.

These Universal Credit claimants will move into the ‘Intensive Work Search group’, meeting with their work coaches more regularly to plan their job progression, boost their earnings and advance the journey off welfare altogether.

Combined with previous increases, 400,000 claimants are now subject to more intensive Jobcentre support – and with that the expectation that those who can work must engage with the support available or face losing their benefits.

The move comes as last month the Prime Minister announced a once in a generation package of welfare reforms to help thousands more people benefit from employment, building on the Government’s £2.5 billion Back to Work Plan providing extra help to over a million people to break down barriers to work.

Source:Other | 19-05-2024

Childcare funding for under 9-month-olds

In a recent press release the Department for Education confirmed that parents of children from 9 months old can now apply to access government-funded childcare from September 2024, as England’s largest ever childcare expansion continues.

From 12 May 2024, eligible working parents of children who will be 9 months old by 31 August can apply to access 15 hours of funded childcare a week – set to benefit hundreds of thousands of families across the country.

This is the second step in the government’s long-term plan to support hard-working parents to balance their family and career. As the successful launch of the offer in April demonstrates, this plan is working.

Since the launch of the offer, 211,027 two-year-olds are already benefitting from government-funded places, providing parents with financial support to return to work or increase their hours and kick-starting the government’s commitment to grow the economy through affordable access to quality childcare.

Working parents whose children will be aged between 9-months and 23-months old on 31 August 2024 can apply for their government-funded childcare code via the childcare service, which they then take to their chosen childcare provider to validate. 

In this next stage, the historic rollout will deliver direct government support with childcare costs from the term after their child turns 9 months old, until they start school. By September 2025, support will increase to 30 government-funded hours a week, saving families an average of £6,900 per year.

Source:Other | 19-05-2024

Act now to claim dormant funds

The Ministry of Justice has published an urgent warning for anyone with unclaimed dormant funds held by the Courts Funds Office (CFO). Recent changes in legislation have changed the rules for individuals or entities with dormant funds held by the CFO.

The new rules come into effect from 1 June 2024 and mean that any account that has been held dormant within the CFO for 30 years or more will be surrendered and any future right to claim the funds will be extinguished.

Funds are classified as dormant if they have been held by CFO for an extended period, with no activity on the account, and any efforts to trace the intended beneficiary have been unsuccessful.

There is now less than 1 month left to claims funds dating back 30 years or more. Going forward, any account that subsequently reaches 30 years of dormancy will be surrendered on the date that this milestone is passed.

There is a range of reasons why CFO hold funds including, but not limited to, the following:

  • damages that were awarded to children as a result of civil legal action in a county court in England, Wales, or the High Court of Justice;
  • assets belonging to people who lack capacity to manage their own financial affairs and where the Court of Protection has appointed someone else to do so; and
  • pending settlements of civil court action, or on behalf of dissenting shareholders, widows, and other clients.

If you think you may be affected there is an online database available at https://find-unclaimed-court-money.service.justice.gov.uk/ or you can contact the CFO directly.

Source:Ministry of Justice | 05-05-2024

Cyber protection laws introduced

New consumer protections against hacking and cyber-attacks came into force at the end of April 2024. All internet connected smart devices will be required by law to meet minimum-security standards. 

Manufacturers will be legally required to protect consumers from hackers and cyber criminals from accessing devices with internet or network connectivity – from smartphones to games consoles and connected fridges – as the UK becomes the first country in the world to introduce these laws.

Under the new regime, manufacturers will be banned from having weak, easily guessable default passwords like ‘admin’ or ‘12345’ and if there is a common password the user will be promoted to change it on start-up. This will help prevent threats like the damaging Mirai attack in 2016 which saw 300,000 smart products compromised due to weak security features and used to attack major internet platforms and services, leaving much of the US East Coast without internet. Since then, similar attacks have occurred on UK banks including Lloyds and RBS leading to disruption to customers. 

The move marks a significant step towards boosting the UK’s resilience towards cyber-crime, as recent figures show 99% of UK adults own at least one smart device and UK households own an average of nine connected devices. The new regime will also help give customers confidence in buying and using products, which will in turn help grow businesses and the economy.

An investigation conducted by Which? showed that a home filled with smart devices could be exposed to more than 12,000 hacking attacks from across the world in a single week, with a total of 2,684 attempts to guess weak default passwords on just five devices.

Source:Other | 06-05-2024

Post Office Offences Bill to be extended

The Government has tabled amendments to expand the territorial extent of the Post Office Offences Bill. Convictions resulting from the Post Office Horizon scandal in Northern Ireland will now be within scope.

This blanket exoneration will automatically quash convictions brought about by the scandal, including 26 in Northern Ireland, clearing the names of many people who have had their lives ruined.

As in England and Wales, convictions in Northern Ireland will need to meet a set of criteria before they are quashed, including:

  • Prosecutions brought about by the state prosecutor or the police.
  • Offences carried out in connection with Post Office business between 1996 and 2018.
  • Were for relevant offences such as theft, fraud and false accounting.
  • Were against sub-postmasters, their employees, officers, family members or direct employees of the Post Office working in a Post Office that used the Horizon system software.

Postal Affairs Minister Kevin Hollinrake said:

” We always carefully consider the territorial extent of each piece of legislation and are rigorous in our commitment to devolution. However, it has become apparent that the Northern Ireland Executive does not have the ability to rapidly address the 26 convictions known to be within its purview.

It has become clear that postmasters in Northern Ireland could have their convictions quashed significantly later than those who were convicted in England and Wales, which would be unacceptable.

This follows the decision to introduce landmark legislation – which is making its way through parliament – to quash the convictions of hundreds of innocent sub-postmasters wrongly convicted as a result of the Horizon scandal. This will speed up the financial redress process – where we are offering a £600,000 fixed sum which can be administered quickly for those who accept it.”

Source:Other | 29-04-2024

Do’s and don’ts for Standard Visitors to the UK

There is useful guidance published on GOV.UK that explains the do’s and don’ts for Standard Visitors to the UK. Visitors to the UK who are classed as a ‘Standard Visitor’ are allowed in the UK for tourism, business, study (courses up to 6 months) and other permitted activities.

Permitted activities include the following:

  • for tourism, for example on a holiday or vacation;
  • to see your family or friends;
  • to volunteer for up to 30 days with a registered charity;
  • to pass through the UK to another country (‘in transit’);
  • for certain business activities, for example attending a meeting or interview;
  • for certain paid engagements or events (a ‘permitted paid engagement’) as an expert in your profession, for example to give lectures or perform;
  • to take part in a school exchange programme;
  • to do a recreational course of up to 30 days, for example a dance course;
  • to study, undertake a placement or take an exam;
  • as an academic, senior doctor or dentist; or
  • for medical reasons.

The following activities are not permitted for a Standard Visitor:

  • undertake paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person, unless you are doing a permitted paid engagement or event;
  • claim public funds (benefits);
  • live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent or successive visits; or
  • marry or register a civil partnership or give notice of marriage or civil partnership – you will need to apply for a Marriage Visitor visa.
Source:HM Government | 21-04-2024

Tipping boost

The government’s Tipping Act is a step closer to coming into force, as the Code of Practice is published and laid before Parliament. The new Code of Practice will protect the tips of more than 2 million workers giving them a fair share of the tips received by a company.

Millions of UK workers are set to take home an estimated £200 million more of their hard-earned cash, as landmark legislation on tipping took a step towards coming into force.

The government introduced the Code of Practice on the fair and transparent distribution of tips that will have legal effect under the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023.

The updated Code of Practice will be statutory and have legal effect, meaning it can be introduced as evidence in an employment tribunal.

The Act and secondary legislation make it unlawful for businesses to hold back service charges from their employees, ensuring staff receive all of the tips they have earned.

The measures are expected to come into force on 1st October 2024, once they have been approved by Parliament.

Many hospitality workers rely on tips to top up their pay and are often left powerless if businesses do not pass on service charges from customers to their staff.

This overhaul of tipping practices is set to benefit more than 2 million UK workers across the hospitality, leisure and services sectors helping to ease cost of living pressures and give them peace of mind that they will keep their hard-earned money.

Source:Other | 23-04-2024

Smart energy

In a recent press release, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero confirmed that consumers are set to benefit from cheaper and more convenient energy deals as part of new measures to create a smart, flexible electricity system to help save money on bills. They said:

“New proposals set out in a recent consultation will introduce minimum requirements for cyber security and grid stability, and minimum product standards for energy smart appliances to give consumers confidence to accept smart devices and make it easier for them to benefit from cheaper bills. Electric heating appliances with the greatest flexibility potential – like heat pumps – could also be required to have smart functionality.

“Smart appliances enable consumers to manage their energy use to benefit from cheaper tariffs at times of low electricity demand, for example a smart charge point which waits for a period of low-demand overnight to charge the car. This will reduce the consumer’s bill while also ensuring that their car is ready to be used in the morning.

“By shifting some electricity use away from peak periods, this will ease pressure on the grid and reduce reliance on backup fossil fuel generation and the need for new infrastructure like pylons, helping to save up to £50 billion by 2050. The use of smart systems and flexibility could create 10,000 jobs and increase GDP by up to £1.3 billion by 2050. A further 14,000 jobs could be created by exporting the technology.”

Source:Other | 23-04-2024

View and prove your immigration status

A UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account can be used by eligible users to view and prove their immigration status online. This may be required to provide proof of your status to employers or higher education providers.

The service can also be used to update personal details or to check what rights you have in the UK, for example the right to work, rent or claim benefits.

You will have a UKVI if you have ever:

  • applied to the EU Settlement Scheme;
  • used the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to prove your identity when applying for a visa;
  • created one when applying for a visa (you will have received a UKVI account confirmation email); and
  • created one to get access to an eVisa (an online record of your immigration status) – you will have received an email about this.

If you are unable to access your account, then you will need to recover your UK Visas and Immigration Account by calling the UK Visas and Immigration phone line on 0300 790 6268.

Source:Home Office | 15-04-2024

Accessing the HMRC mobile APP

HMRC’s free tax app is available to download from the App Store for iOS and from the Google Play Store for Android. The latest version of the app includes updated functionality.

The app can be used to see:

  • your tax code and National Insurance number;
  • your income and benefits;
  • your income from work in the previous 5 years;
  • how much you will receive in tax credits and when they will be paid;
  • your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) self-assessment;
  • how much self-assessment tax you owe;
  • your Child Benefit; and
  • your State Pension.

The app can also be used to complete a number of tasks that usually require the user to be logged on to a computer. This includes:

  • get an estimate of the tax you need to pay;
  • make a self-assessment payment;
  • set a reminder to make a self-assessment payment;
  • report tax credits changes and complete your renewal;
  • access your Help to Save account;
  • using HMRC’s tax calculator to work out your take home pay after Income Tax and National Insurance deductions;
  • track forms and letters you have sent to HMRC;
  • claim a refund if you have paid too much tax;
  • ask HMRC’s digital assistant for help and information;
  • update your name and / or postal address;
  • save your National Insurance number to your digital wallet; and
  • choose to be contacted by HMRC electronically, instead of by letter.
Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 08-04-2024

HMRC continues to target till fraud

HMRC has, for many years, looked to target businesses that deliberately undertake electronic sales suppression (ESS). ESS happens where a business deliberately manipulates its electronic sales records in order to hide or reduce the value of individual transactions. 

This type of fraud is hard to spot as it tries to reduce the recorded turnover of the business and the corresponding tax liabilities while providing what appears to be a credible and compliant audit trail. This can be done by misusing built in till functions or installing software specifically designed to suppress sales.

HMRC officers are continuing to target businesses across the country that are suspected of being involved in making, supplying or promoting ESS systems. These businesses can face fines of up to £50,000 and criminal investigations. HMRC is also actively targeting users of these systems who will also face having to pay back tax evaded, financial penalties and possible criminal convictions. HMRC has confirmed that they will continue to contact and target till fraud throughout 2024.

HMRC is also urging affected businesses to voluntarily come forward and use the online portal to disclose their undeclared sales and stop using ESS software immediately. If businesses do not come forward, HMRC may issue an assessment and open an investigation, and harsher penalties will apply.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 08-04-2024

Measures to support household budgets from 1 April

In a recent press release the government confirmed the following policies to support household incomes from 1 April 2024.

  1. The National Living Wage has officially risen from £10.42 an hour to £11.44. This marks a £1,800 annual boost to full-time workers’ pay packets. This means nobody over 21 will earn less than two-thirds of the average hourly wage increase – putting more money in the pockets of around 3 million of UK’s lowest paid workers.
  2. Households will also save around £250 a year on average thanks to a drop in energy bills introduced by Ofgem. This marks a 12.3% fall from the previous quarter, which brings prices down to their lowest since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
  3. An increase to the Local Housing Allowance means some of the poorest families on either Universal Credit or Housing Benefit will gain around £800 a year on average. 
  4. Additionally, these changes run alongside the roll out of 15 hours of free childcare, which will save working parents an average of £3,450 a year – the first stage in the £8 billion childcare package that was announced by the Chancellor last year.

Clearly the recent increases in inflation have had a major impact on spending power and although the above measures are welcomed, the real increases in purchasing power are to some extent reduced by the continuing increase in prices.

However, since October 2022, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) has already more than halved from 11.1% to 3.4%. This is stabilising the financial situation for many families, and the government expects that by Quarter 4 2024 (October-December) CPI will have fallen to 1.4%.

Source:Other | 04-04-2024

HMRC helpline changes on hold

HMRC has been forced into an embarrassing climbdown on plans to close the Self-Assessment, VAT and PAYE helplines from early April until September this year. HMRC has now confirmed that these helpline changes have been abandoned following feedback from many concerned stakeholders, including MPs, accountants and members of the public. This means that the helplines will remain open as usual for the time being.

However, these moves indicate that a significant shift towards online self-service options will become the norm in the longer term. HMRC has also said that they will continue encouraging customers to self-serve where possible and access the information they need more quickly and easily by going online or to the HMRC app, which is available 24/7.

HMRC’s Chief Executive said:

‘Making best use of online services allows HMRC to help more taxpayers and get the most out of every pound of taxpayers’ money by boosting productivity.

Our helpline and webchat advisers will always be there for those taxpayers who need support because they are vulnerable, digitally excluded or have complex affairs.

However, the pace of this change needs to match the public appetite for managing their tax affairs online.

We’ve listened to the feedback and we’re halting the helpline changes as we recognise more needs to be done to ensure all taxpayers’ needs are met, whilst also encouraging them to transition to online services.’

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 25-03-2024

HMRC to accept service of legal proceedings by email

HMRC has issued an updated ‘news story’ to confirm that, where possible, new legal proceedings and pre-action letters can be served on the department using email instead of post. This measure was originally introduced in April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The update confirms that this is a permanent change and not just limited to COVID-19 arrangements.

New legal proceedings in England and Wales to be served on the Solicitor for HMRC should be emailed to: newproceedings@hmrc.gov.uk. If you use email instead of hard copy, you must send the relevant documents to the same email address – whether or not an HMRC lawyer, paralegal or litigator has already been assigned to the case. HMRC may challenge any attempt to serve new legal proceedings on the department using a different HMRC email address.

Correspondence required to be sent to the Solicitor for HMRC in compliance with any pre-action protocol to the Civil Procedure Rules, including the Pre-Action Protocol for Judicial Review, can be emailed to: preactionletters@hmrc.gov.uk.

There is a different email address (expertadviceservice@hmrc.gov.uk) for the service of employment law claims on HMRC.

These email addresses are for the service of new proceedings and pre-action letters only. There is separate guidance if you wish to request a review of a tax decision by HMRC or appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber). 

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 25-03-2024

Tech companies assist with fuel price transparency

Leaders from top comparison sites, RAC and The AA will be among those meeting the Energy Affordability Minister to help share new fuel price data and keep costs down for motorists. 

Price comparison sites and map apps will have access to this new data as part of the government’s PumpWatch initiative, which aims to drive down prices at the pumps. The scheme will look to make fuel prices, updated within 30 minutes of changes, available to the public by the end of this year. The move will further drive competition and place even more power back into hands of consumers and motorists to get the cheapest fuel available in their area.

The latest step follows the government’s plans and support for motorists in the Spring Budget 2024, as fuel duty is frozen for a further 12 months, extending the 5p fuel duty cut and cancelling any increase with inflation. This has saved the average car driver around £250 over the past 3 years and is worth £13 billion.

Working with The AA, Confused.com, Go.Compare, PetrolPrices.com and RAC, the government is making sure the freely available data will be simple and easy to understand. The data could be used by journey planning sites and in-car devices too, to help over 41 million drivers to help save money wherever they live in the UK. 

The government presses on with work to keep bringing down costs for hardworking families. The fuel duty cut extension, alongside maintaining fuel duty rates at their current levels for another year, will save families 7p a litre for petrol and diesel compared to previous plans.

Source:Other | 11-03-2024

Appeals against tax penalties

It is not unusual for taxpayers to find themselves in a position where they disagree with a tax decision issued by HMRC. There are a number of different options open to taxpayers seeking to use the review and appeals process.

Note, that there is a separate procedure to be followed by taxpayers that make a complaint about HMRC for issues such as unreasonable delays, mistakes and poor treatment by HMRC’s staff.

It may be possible to make an appeal against a tax decision. You can appeal to HMRC against a penalty, for example for:

  • an inaccurate return
  • sending in your tax return late
  • paying tax late
  • failing to keep adequate records

There is normally a 30-day deadline for making a claim, so time is of the essence. HMRC will then conduct a review, by using HMRC officers that were not involved in the original decision. A response to an appeal is usually made within 45 days but can take longer for complex issues.

If the taxpayers do not agree with HMRC’s review, there are further options available which include making an appeal to the tax tribunal or using the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process. The ADR uses independent HMRC facilitators to help resolve disputes between HMRC and the taxpayer.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 24-02-2024

Beware fake tax rebate offers

HMRC continues to warn of the ever-present problem of fraudulent phishing emails, suspicious phone calls and texts. These unwanted emails, phone calls and texts are being sent from around the world as HMRC and other agencies continue to combat the problem.

These messages aim to obtain taxpayers personal and or financial information such as passwords, credit card or bank account details. The phishing emails and texts often include a link to a bogus website encouraging the recipient to enter their personal details.

For example, taxpayers who completed their tax return for the 2022-23 tax year by the 31 January 2024 deadline might be taken in by an email, phone call or text message offering a tax rebate.

Recipients of phony messages should avoid clicking on any links. HMRC asks that phishing emails and bogus text messages are reported. The emails can be sent to HMRC by email phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk or by text message to 60599.

HMRC responded to 207,800 referrals from the public of suspicious contact in the past year to January – up 14% from the 181,873 reported for the previous 12 months. More than 79,000 of those referrals offered bogus tax rebates.

HMRC is clear that they do not email, text or phone a customer to tell them that they are due a refund or ask them to request a refund. Taxpayers receive repayments into their chosen bank account, and can see any transactions in their online HMRC account and in the HMRC app. 

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 18-02-2024

Are you self-employed?

Self-employed taxpayers should notify HMRC as soon as practicable when they begin working for themselves. HMRC must be officially notified by 5 October following the end of the tax year so that a self-assessment return can be issued on time and to avoid any unnecessary penalties.

HMRC’s guidance says that you are probably self-employed if you:

  • run your business for yourself and take responsibility for its success or failure;
  • have several customers at the same time;
  • can decide how, where and when you do your work;
  • can hire other people at your own expense to help you or to do the work for you;
  • provide the main items of equipment to do your work;
  • are responsible for finishing any unsatisfactory work in your own time;
  • charge an agreed fixed price for your work; or
  • sell goods or services to make a profit (including through websites or apps).

The newly self-employed should also register to pay National Insurance contributions (NICs) and monitor whether a VAT registration is required.

There is a £1,000 tax allowances for miscellaneous trading income that has been available to taxpayers since April 2017. This is known as the trading allowance.

The exemption from tax applies to taxpayers who have trading income of up to £1,000 from:

  • self-employment;
  • casual services, for example, babysitting or gardening; and
  • hiring personal equipment, for example, power tools.

Where this £1,000 allowance covers all the individual’s relevant income (before expenses) the income is tax-free and does not have to be declared to HMRC.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 18-02-2024

Autumn Finance Bill 2023 update

The government published the Autumn Finance Bill 2023 on 29 November 2023. The Bill is officially known as Finance Bill 2023-24. The Bill contains the legislation for many of the tax measures announced in the recent Autumn Statement.

The Bill has now completed its passage through the House of Commons and the 1st reading at the House of Lords. This stage signals the start of the Bill's journey through the Lords. The 2nd reading of the Bill in the House of Lords is scheduled to take place on 21 February 2024.

The Bill is known as a 'Money Bill' which means that the further stages of the bill namely, the committee stage, report stage and third reading at the House of Lords are usually formalities. Once these steps have been completed, the Bill will receive Royal Assent and become an Act of Parliament.

Some of the many measures included within the Bill are:

  • Making full expensing permanent for expenditure on plant & machinery.
  • Extending the sunset clause for the Enterprise Investment Scheme and the Venture Capital Trust scheme to 6 April 2035. 
  • Reforming the film, TV and video games tax reliefs to refundable expenditure credits.
  • Expanding the ‘cash basis’ – a simplified way for over four million smaller, growing traders to use a simpler method of calculating their profits and pay their income tax.
  • Legislating for more generous support for loss-making R&D intensive SMEs as announced in spring.
  • Setting the rates of excise duty and certain environmental taxes.

The Autumn Finance Bill will be followed by the Spring Finance Bill 2024 which will be published after the Spring Budget which is taking place on 6 March 2024. This will cover any remaining tax measures needed ahead of April 2024 and will become the second Finance Act of 2024.

Source:HM Government | 11-02-2024

The Valuation Office Agency tackles holiday lets

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is writing to some owners of self-catering holiday lets that are assessed for business rates. They are doing this because they need further information about the income and expenditure of these properties.

Last year, the VOA wrote to most self-catering holiday let owners in England and Wales to ask them to provide letting information about their property.

This information was used to determine if properties should be assessed for business rates or Council Tax.

If the VOA determined that your property should be assessed for business rates, you may receive another form which asks for additional information.

How The VOA will use your information

The information you provide will be used to calculate the rateable value of your property. Councils use rateable values to calculate business rates bills and determine if you are eligible for business rates reliefs.

The VOA are legally required to update the rateable values of all non-domestic properties, including self-catering holiday lets, every three years. This is called a revaluation.

They do this to make sure business rates bills are based on up-to-date information.

To value self-catering holiday lets, information is needed about your income and expenditure.

Provide the information within 56 days

Forms will be sent between February and August 2024.

If you receive a form from the VOA asking for information about your self-catering holiday let, it is important that you return it within 56 days of when it was issued.

If you do not, you may have to pay a penalty.

Check you have provided all the information the VOA have asked for before you return the form, even if you have previously shared information with the VOA. If you return the form and it is partially incomplete, you may still have to pay a penalty.

Source:Other | 13-02-2024
handling late filing penalties with hmrc; wimbledon accountant; london accountant

Handling late filing penalties from HMRC

How should you handle late filing penalties?

Are you one of the 3.8 million individuals who have yet to file their 2022-23 self-assessment return? With the 31 January 2024 deadline already passed, it’s essential to understand the consequences of missing this crucial date, especially if you’re in the UK.

Consequences of Missing the Filing Deadline

If you’ve missed the filing deadline, you’re subject to penalties imposed by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Here’s what you need to know:

  1. £100 Fixed Penalty:
    For returns up to 3 months late, HMRC imposes a fixed penalty of £100, regardless of whether you owe tax or not.

  2. Daily Penalties:
    After 3 months, daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900, are added to your outstanding balance.

  3. Further Penalties:
    If your return is still outstanding after 6 months, a penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300 (whichever is greater) is applied. The same penalty is levied after 12 months.

  4. Late Payment Penalties:
    In addition to filing penalties, there are penalties for paying outstanding tax late. These penalties accrue at 5% after 30 days, 6 months, and 12 months, respectively.

  5. Interest Charges:
    HMRC also applies interest charges on any tax paid late.

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What can you do?

If you’re facing penalties due to missed deadlines or late payments, it’s crucial to take action promptly. Here’s how CIGMA Accounting can help:

  1. Appeals Process:
    If you have a reasonable excuse for missing deadlines, you can appeal against HMRC penalties. CIGMA Accounting can assist you in preparing and submitting your appeal, ensuring it meets HMRC’s requirements.

  2. Payment Assistance:
    If you’re unable to pay your tax bill in full, CIGMA Accounting can help you negotiate a Time to Pay arrangement with HMRC, allowing you to repay the amount owed in manageable instalments.

  3. Proactive Approach:
    Rather than ignoring the issue, CIGMA Accounting advises clients to be proactive and contact HMRC as soon as possible if they’re unable to meet their tax obligations. Ignoring the problem can exacerbate the situation, leading to further penalties and interest charges.

Why Choose CIGMA Accounting?

At CIGMA Accounting, we understand the complexities of UK tax regulations and the importance of timely compliance. By partnering with us, you gain access to:

  • Expert Guidance:
    Our team of qualified accountants provides personalized advice tailored to your specific circumstances, ensuring you understand your tax obligations and rights.

  • Compliance Assurance:
    We keep abreast of changes in tax legislation and deadlines, ensuring you remain compliant and avoid unnecessary penalties.

  • Strategic Support:
    Beyond tax compliance, we offer strategic advice to help you optimize your financial position and achieve your long-term goals.

Take Action Today

Don’t let missed deadlines and tax penalties derail your financial health. Contact CIGMA Accounting today to discuss your situation and explore your options for resolving outstanding tax liabilities. With our expert guidance and proactive approach, you can regain control of your finances and avoid future penalties.


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EC1R 3DA

cigma accounting guide to carer's credit; london accountant; wimbledon accountant; farringdon accountant

A Guide to Carer’s Credit from CIGMA Accounting

Unlocking Financial Support: A Guide to Carer's Credit

Are you tirelessly caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week? If so, you might be eligible for Carer’s Credit, a National Insurance credit designed to bridge gaps in your National Insurance record. This credit not only supports your caregiving responsibilities but also plays a crucial role in enhancing your State Pension.

What is carer's credit?

Carer’s Credit is a valuable resource for those dedicating a substantial amount of time to care. It’s a National Insurance credit that aids in filling gaps in your National Insurance record, ensuring your State Pension is based on a comprehensive record.

Notably, eligibility is not impacted by your income, savings, or investments, making it a versatile financial support option.

If you qualify for Carer’s Credit, you receive credits that contribute to filling gaps in your National Insurance record. This means you can fulfill caregiving duties without compromising your eligibility for the State Pension.

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Eligibility Criteria for carer's credit

To be eligible for Carer’s Credit, you must:

  • Be aged 16 or over
  • Be under State Pension age
  • Care for one or more people for at least 20 hours a week

The person you’re caring for must receive one of the following benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment daily living part
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Child Disability Payment (CDP) care component at the middle or highest rate
  • Adult Disability Payment daily living component at the standard or enhanced rate

Even if the person you care for doesn’t receive these benefits, you may still be eligible. In such cases, a signed ‘Care Certificate’ from a health or social care professional can demonstrate the appropriateness of your caregiving level.

Carers not qualifying for Carer’s Allowance may still be eligible for Carer’s Credit.

Breaks in Caring and Eligibility

Carer’s Credit remains accessible even during breaks in caregiving, allowing for interruptions of up to 12 weeks. Whether it’s a short holiday, hospitalization of the cared-for person, or your own hospital stay, you’ll still receive Carer’s Credit during these periods.

If your break in caring extends beyond 12 weeks, it’s essential to inform the Carer’s Allowance Unit promptly.

 

You do not need to apply for Carer’s Credit if you:

  • Get Carer’s Allowance – credits are automatic
  • Receive Child Benefit for a child under 12 – credits are automatic
  • Are a foster carer – apply for National Insurance credits instead

Need Assistance from an Accountant?

CIGMA Accounting takes pride in offering holistic financial advice, so you can take of both your business and those close to you. Become a CIGMA partner today and find out how we secure your family’s financial future.

Reach out to us by completing this form and one of our staff members will get in touch within one business day. 


Wimbledon Accountant

165-167 The Broadway

Wimbledon

London

SW19 1NE

Farringdon Accountant

127 Farringdon Road

Farringdon

London

EC1R 3DA

financial strategies for 2024; london accountant; farringdon accountant; cigma accounting

Navigating Turbulent Times: Smart Financial Strategies for 2024

Navigating Turbulent Times: Smart Financial Strategies for 2024

As we step into a fresh new year, it’s the perfect time for business owners to engage in some essential business planning, particularly in the realm of protecting business capital. With the ongoing downturn in global trade – influenced by geopolitical tensions and economic challenges – it’s crucial to adopt a proactive approach in safeguarding your financial resources. CIGMA Accounting, a leading UK-based accounting firm, is here to guide you through these tumultuous times with expert advice and tailored solutions.

Understanding the Current Economic Climate

The business world is currently facing a myriad of challenges. The war in Ukraine, tensions in the Middle East, and disruptions in the Red Sea have significantly impacted global trade.

Additionally, the persistence of inflation, soaring interest rates, and escalating costs are creating a challenging environment for businesses. In such a scenario, it’s vital for business owners to implement strategies that protect their capital base, ensuring they’re well-positioned to re-engage with the market as consumer spending starts to rebound.

Require accounting services?

Get in touch with our expert accountants today! Contact us via WhatsApp for personalized financial solutions.

Strategic Steps to Protect Your Business Capital

1. Analyze and Adjust Fixed Costs:
Begin by listing all your fixed costs – the expenses that incur regardless of your income. Scrutinize these costs and identify which ones can be temporarily eliminated or reduced. While some costs might be tied to contracts, exploring options for flexibility is crucial.

2. Negotiate with Stakeholders:
Reach out to suppliers, landlords, and service providers to negotiate possible moratoriums on payments, reduced payment terms, or even contract cancellations. Open communication in these times can lead to mutually beneficial arrangements.

3. Revise Your Business Plan:
After addressing your immediate expenses, it’s time to rework your business plan. This should include strategies for navigating potential cash flow dips and a clear action plan for the upcoming year.

4. Prepare for a Market Rebound:
Anticipate and plan for the resurgence of consumer interest. How will your business adapt to meet the increased demand for your goods or services? This foresight is key to staying ahead in the game.

The CIGMA Accounting Advantage

At CIGMA Accounting, we understand the nuances of your business. Our expertise is not just in number crunching, but in comprehending the journey you’ve embarked on – the late nights, the hurdles you’ve overcome, and your aspirations for growth. Partnering with us means you’re not just getting accounting services; you’re gaining a strategic ally who’s invested in your success.

Why Choose CIGMA Accounting?

  • Personalized Advice: We know that each business is unique. Our tailored advice is designed to suit your specific needs and circumstances.
  • Expert Knowledge: Our team is equipped with the latest knowledge in finance and tax regulations, ensuring you’re always one step ahead.
  • Proactive Support: We don’t just react to problems; we help you anticipate and prepare for them.


Wimbledon Accountant

165-167 The Broadway

Wimbledon

London

SW19 1NE

Farringdon Accountant

127 Farringdon Road

Farringdon

London

EC1R 3DA

Cost of living payments

You may have been entitled to a Cost of Living Payments of £301 (paid April/May 2023) and should be about to receive £300 (payable early November 2023) and a further £299 due spring 2024. Payments are limited to persons claiming the following benefits.

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

The payments will be made separately from your benefit payments.

You will not get a payment if you are only receiving New Style ESA, contributory ESA, or New Style JSA.

If you have a joint claim on the qualifying dates, a single payment of £301, £300 and £299 will be sent using the same payment method used between these dates if you are eligible.

If you are getting both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit, you will receive a Cost of Living Payment for Child Tax Credit only, which will be paid by HMRC.

If you are getting tax credits from HMRC and a low income benefit from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), you cannot receive a Cost of Living Payment from both HMRC and DWP. You will usually be paid by DWP.

Your payment might come later, for example if you’re awarded a qualifying benefit at a later date or you change the account your benefit or tax credits are paid into. You will still be paid the Cost of Living Payment automatically.

If you have received a Cost of Living Payment, but later it is found that you were not eligible for it, you may have to pay it back.

Source:Other | 05-11-2023

Paying tax by direct debit

One of the many ways that payments can be made to HMRC is by using a direct debit. The direct debit can be set up online.

You can pay your tax bill using direct debit if you have an online account with HMRC for:

  • Self-assessment
  • Employers’ PAYE and National Insurance
  • Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) deductions
  • VAT
  • Corporation Tax
  • Machine Games Duty
  • Soft Drinks Industry Levy

You can also make miscellaneous payments (if your payment reference begins with ‘X’) if you have an online account with HMRC for one of these taxes.

In addition, you must be the authorised signatory on the account you want to make payments from, and it must be a UK bank account.

When making a payment for Self-Assessment you should use your 11-character payment reference. This is your 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) followed by the letter ‘K’.

It is also possible to pay HMRC by other methods including bank transfer, cheques, corporate credit cards, corporate debit cards and personal debit cards. The use of corporate cards is subject to a fee. Payment by personal debit cards is currently fee-free. There is also no charge for payment by direct debit, bank transfer or cheque. HMRC has not accepted personal credit cards since January 2018 when credit card surcharges on personal credit cards were banned.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 30-10-2023

Scottish council tax frozen

Humza Yousaf, Scotland's First Minister, has announced that council tax rates will be frozen in the next financial year to support people struggling with the effects of high inflation. 

First Minister Humza Yousaf said that the:

“Announcement will bring much needed financial relief to those households who are struggling in the face of rising prices. Council tax is already lower in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK, and some 2.5 million households will now benefit from this freeze.

Of course, the public sector across the UK is facing budget pressures as a result of UK Government austerity, and we know councils are facing financial challenges themselves. That’s why the Scottish Government will be fully funding this freeze to ensure they can continue providing the services on which we all rely. This is on top of the real-terms increase to local government revenue funding this financial year.

The Scottish Government remains wholly committed to the Verity House Agreement, and as part of that are continuing work with COSLA on a new fiscal framework for local authorities. We are also working on longer term reforms to the council tax system, which are being considered by the working group on local government funding that we are chairing jointly with COSLA.”

The council tax freeze will be fully funded by the Scottish government and will mean that council tax rates in Scotland will remain the same in the 2024-25 council tax year. This means that households will not see any increase in council tax rates until April 2025 at the earliest.

Source:The Scottish Government | 23-10-2023

Cost of Living payments 2023-24 support

The Cost of Living support package has been designed to help over 8 million households in receipt of means tested benefits. The details for Cost of Living Payments due in the 2023-24 tax year were published earlier this year and have recently been updated.

Eligible recipients will receive up to 3 Cost of Living Payments of £301, £300 and £299 during the course of the current tax-year. This includes those receiving pension credit, and these payments will be made separately from other benefit payments. The first payment of £301 was made between April-May 2023 and the second payment of £300 was paid during August-September 2023. The third payment of £299 is due to be paid in spring 2024.

An additional one-off payment of £150 or £300 will be paid to pensioners during winter 2023-24. The Winter Fuel Payment is provided by the government to help older people keep warm during winter. The amount a pensioner will receive depends on a number of factors including their age and the age of other people living with them. You can get a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2023-24 if you were born before 25 September 1957. HMRC is in the process of writing to eligible recipients telling them how much to expect.

Source:Department for Work & Pensions| 09-10-2023

Have you downloaded your HMRC app?

HMRC’s free tax app is available to download from the App Store for iOS and from the Google Play Store for Android. The latest version of the app includes updated functionality to check your Child Benefit and State Pension, set a reminder to make a Self-Assessment payment and the option to be contacted by HMRC electronically instead of by paper.

The APP can be used to see:

  • your tax code and National Insurance number;
  • your income and benefits;
  • your income from work in the previous 5 years;
  • how much you will receive in tax credits and when they will be paid;
  • your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) self-assessment;
  • how much Self-Assessment tax you owe;
  • your Child Benefit; and
  • your State Pension.

The app can also be used to complete a number of tasks that usually require the user to be logged on to a computer. This includes to:

  • get an estimate of the tax you need to pay;
  • make a Self-Assessment payment;
  • set a reminder to make a Self-Assessment payment;
  • report tax credits changes and complete your renewal;
  • access your Help to Save account;
  • use our tax calculator to work out your take home pay after Income Tax and National Insurance deductions;
  • track forms and letters you have sent to us;
  • claim a refund if you have paid too much tax;
  • update your postal address; and
  • choose to be contacted by HMRC electronically, instead of by letter.
Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 09-10-2023

Cost of Living payments 2023-24 support

The Cost of Living support package has been designed to help over 8 million households in receipt of means tested benefits. The details for Cost of Living Payments due in the 2023-24 tax year were published earlier this year and have recently been updated.

Eligible recipients will receive up to 3 Cost of Living Payments of £301, £300 and £299 during the course of the current tax-year. This includes those receiving pension credit, and these payments will be made separately from other benefit payments. The first payment of £301 was made between April-May 2023 and the second payment of £300 was paid during August-September 2023. The third payment of £299 is due to be paid in spring 2024.

An additional one-off payment of £150 or £300 will be paid to pensioners during winter 2023-24. The Winter Fuel Payment is provided by the government to help older people keep warm during winter. The amount a pensioner will receive depends on a number of factors including their age and the age of other people living with them. You can get a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2023-24 if you were born before 25 September 1957. HMRC is in the process of writing to eligible recipients telling them how much to expect.

Source:Department for Work & Pensions| 09-10-2023