Self-employed tax basis period reform

The self-employed tax basis period reform has changed the way trading income is allocated to tax years. Under the reforms, the tax basis period has changed from a ‘current year basis’ to a ‘tax year basis’.

This means that all sole trader and partnership businesses must now report their profits on a tax year basis, beginning with the self-assessment return due by 31 January 2025 (covering the tax year 2023-24) and future years.

Under the old rules there could be overlapping basis periods, which charged tax on profits twice and generated corresponding ‘overlap relief’ which was usually given on cessation of the business. The new method of using a ‘tax year basis’ has removed the basis period rules and prevents the creation of further overlap relief. 

The changes do not affect sole traders and partnership businesses who draw up annual accounts to a date between 31 March and 5 April. These businesses will continue to file as usual for the 2023-24 accounting year and beyond. 

The new rules will come into effect in the current 2024-25 tax year with the previous 2023-24 tax year known as the ‘transition year’. During the transitional year, all businesses’ basis periods will have been aligned to the tax year and all outstanding overlap relief used against profits for that tax year.

Any excess profit (after overlap relief) covering more than 12 months, is known as ‘transition profit’. The transitional profit will be spread by default over 5 tax years from 2023-24 until 2027-28.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 29-04-2024

Changes to Scottish Income Tax rates 2024-25

A reminder of the changes to Scottish Income Tax rates for the 2024-25 tax year. It was announced as part of the Scottish Budget measures that a new tax band called the advanced rate band will apply a 45% tax rate on annual income between £75,000 and £125,140 and would come into effect from 6 April 2024. 

In addition, 1p was added to the top rate of tax and the starter and basic rate bands were increased in line with inflation (6.7%, based on Consumer Price Index from September 2023). There were no changes to the Starter, Basic, Intermediate and Higher tax rates and the Higher rate threshold was maintained at £43,662. The measures are expected to raise an additional £1.5 billion in Income Tax revenue.

The Scottish rates and bands for 2024-25 are as follows:

Starter rate – 19% £12,571 – £14,876
Basic rate – 20% £14,877 – £26,561
Intermediate rate – 21% £26,562 – £43,662
Higher rate – 42% £43,663 – £75,000
Advanced rate – 45% £75,001 – £125,140
Top rate – 48% Above £125,140

The standard personal allowance for 2024-25 remains frozen at £12,570. 

Source:The Scottish Government | 15-04-2024

Claim tax relief if working from home

If you are an employee who is working from home, you may be able to claim tax relief for part of your household bills that are related to your work. If your expenses or allowances are not paid by your employer, you can claim tax relief directly from HMRC.

You can claim tax relief if you have to work from home, for example because:

  • your job requires you to live far away from your office; and/or
  • your employer does not have an office.

Tax relief is not usually available if you choose to work from home. This includes if your employment contract lets you work from home some or all of the time or if your employer's office is unable to accommodate you.

Employees can claim tax relief of £6 per week (or £26 a month for employees paid monthly) to cover additional costs if they have to work from home. Employees do not need to keep any specific records if they receive this fixed amount.

Employees will receive tax relief based on their highest tax rate. For example, if you pay the 20% basic rate of tax and claim tax relief on £6 a week, you will receive £1.20 per week in tax relief (20% of £6). Alternatively, employees can claim the exact amount of extra costs they have incurred but will need to provide evidence to HMRC. HMRC will accept backdated claims for up to 4 previous tax years.

Employees may also be able to claim tax relief for using their own vehicle, be it a car, van, motorcycle or bike. As a general rule, there is no tax relief for ordinary commuting to and from your regular place of work. The rules are different for temporary workplaces where the expense is usually allowable or if an employee uses their own vehicle to do other business-related mileage. Employees may also be able to claim tax relief on equipment they have bought, such as a laptop, chair or mobile phone.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 01-04-2024

Tax-free child care

HMRC is reminding parents that they may be eligible for Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) to help pay for school holiday childcare costs.

The TFC scheme can help parents of children aged up to 11 years old (17 for those with certain disabilities). The TFC scheme helps support working families with their childcare costs. There are many registered childcare providers including childminders, breakfast and after school clubs and approved play schemes signed up across the UK. Parents can pay into their account regularly and save up their TFC allowance to use during school holidays. 

The TFC scheme provides for a government top-up on parental contributions. For every £8 contributed by parents an additional £2 top up payment will be funded by Government up to a maximum total of £10,000 per child per year. This will give parents an annual savings of up to £2,000 per child (and up to £4,000 for disabled children until the age of 17) in childcare costs. 

The TFC scheme is open to all qualifying parents including the self-employed and those on a minimum wage. The scheme is also available to parents on paid sick leave as well as those on paid and unpaid statutory maternity, paternity and adoption leave. In order to be eligible to use the scheme parents will have to be in work at least 16 hours per week and earn at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage. If either parent earns more than £100,000, both parents are unable to use the scheme.

HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said:

‘Springtime is a good opportunity to take a fresh look at family finances. A quick check online and you can find out how Tax-Free Childcare can help cut the cost of your childcare bills. Every bit of financial support helps – I would urge families to ’hop to it’ and search ‘Tax-Free Childcare’ on GOV.UK to find out how you could be better off and open your account today.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 18-03-2024

Declare a beneficial interests in joint property

The usual tax position for couples who live together with their spouse or civil partners is that property income held in joint names is divided 50:50. This is regardless of the actual ownership structure. However, where there is unequal ownership and the couple want the income taxed on that basis a notification must be sent to HMRC together with proof that the beneficial interests in the property are unequal. This is done using Form 17 – Declare beneficial interests in joint property and income.

A Form 17 declaration can only be made by spouses or civil partners that are living together and own property in unequal shares with income being allocated in proportion to those shares. Couples that are separated or in some other type of union cannot make a Form 17 declaration. The declaration is only valid if both partners agree. If one spouse / partner does not agree then the income will continue to be treated on a 50:50 basis even if the ownership structure is different.

A Form 17 declaration stays in place until there is either a change in the status of the couple i.e., separation or divorce or a change in the ownership structure. If either of these occur the 50:50 income split will reapply.

There are a number of scenarios where a form 17 cannot be used, such as where a married couple or civil partners own property as beneficial joint tenants, for commercial letting of furnished holiday accommodation and for partnership income.

Where property is held in an unequal split, making a form 17 declaration can be beneficial under certain circumstances.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 18-03-2024

What a tax code means

The letters in your tax code signify your entitlement (or not) to the annual tax free personal allowance. The tax codes are updated periodically and help employer’s work out how much tax to deduct from an employee’s pay packet. 

The basic personal allowance for the current (and next) tax year is £12,570. The corresponding tax code for an employee entitled to the standard tax-free Personal Allowance 1257L. This is the most common tax code and is used for individuals with one job and no untaxed income, unpaid tax or taxable benefits (for example a company car).

There are other numbers and letters that can appear in your tax code. For example, there are letters that show where an employee is claiming the marriage allowance (M) or where their income or pension is taxed using the Scottish rates (S). If your tax code numbers are changed this usually, but not always, means your personal allowance has been reduced.

There are also emergency tax codes (W1 or M1) which can be used if a new employee does not have a P45. These codes mean that an employee’s tax calculation is based on what they are paid in the current pay period.

If your tax code has a 'K' at the beginning this means that deductions due for company benefits, state pension or tax owed from previous years are greater than your personal allowance. However, the tax deduction for each pay period can’t be more than half your pre-tax pay or pension.

It is important to check your tax code to ensure the correct information is being used. If you have any queries we can help, or you can check with your employer or HMRC.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 18-03-2024

Still time to register for the Marriage Allowance

There is still time to register for the marriage allowance before the current tax year ends on 5 April 2024. The marriage allowance applies to married couples and those in a civil partnership where a spouse or civil partner does not pay tax or does not pay tax above the basic rate threshold for Income Tax (i.e., one of the couples must currently earn less than the £12,570 personal allowance for 2023-24). HMRC has revealed that March is the most popular month for marriage allowance applications, with almost 70,000 couples applying in March last year.

The allowance works by permitting the lower earning partner to transfer up to £1,260 of their personal tax-free allowance to their spouse or civil partner. The marriage allowance can only be used when the recipient of the transfer (the higher earning partner) does not pay more than the basic 20% rate of income tax. This would usually mean that their income is between £12,571 and £50,270 during 2023-24.

For those living in Scotland this would usually mean income currently between £12,571 and £43,662.

Using the allowance, the lower earning partner can transfer up to £1,260 of their unused personal tax-free allowance to a spouse or civil partner. This could result in a saving of up to £252 for the recipient (20% of £1,260), or £21 a month for the current tax year.

If you meet the eligibility requirements and have not yet claimed the allowance, then you can backdate your claim as far back as 6 April 2019. This could result in a total tax break of up to £1,256 if you can claim for 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23 as well as the current 2023-24 tax year. If you claim now, you can backdate your claim for four years (if eligible) as well as for the current tax year.

HMRC’s online Marriage Allowance calculator can be used by couples to find out if they are eligible for the relief. An application can then be made online at GOV.UK.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 11-03-2024

Tax on savings interest

If you have taxable income of less than £17,570 in 2023-24 you will have no tax to pay on interest received. This figure is calculated by adding the £5,000 starting rate limit for savings (where 0% of the interest is taxable) to the current £12,570 personal allowance. In addition, there is also a Personal Savings Allowance (PSA). This allowance ensures that for basic-rate taxpayers the first £1,000 interest on savings income is tax-free (effectively allowing qualifying basic-rate taxpayers to receive up to £18,570 in tax-free interest per year). For higher-rate taxpayers the tax-free personal savings allowance is £500. Taxpayers paying the additional rate of tax on taxable income over £125,140 cannot benefit from the PSA.

It is important to note that if your total non-savings income exceeds £17,570 then the starting rate limit for savings is unavailable. There is a tapered relief available if your non-savings income is between £12,570 and £17,570 whereby every £1 of non-savings income above a taxpayer's personal allowance reduces their starting rate for savings by £1.

Interest from savings products such as ISA's and premium bond wins do not count towards the limit. Taxpayers with tax-free accounts and higher savings can still continue to benefit from the relevant PSA limits.

Banks and building societies no longer deduct tax from bank account interest as a matter of course. Taxpayers who need to pay tax on savings income are required to declare this as part of their annual self-assessment tax return.

Taxpayers that have overpaid tax on savings interest can submit a claim to have the tax repaid. Claims can be backdated for up to four years from the end of the current tax year. This means that claims can still be made for overpaid interest dating back as far as the 2019-20 tax year. The deadline for making claims for the 2019-20 tax year is 5 April 2024.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 11-03-2024

Eligibility for replacement of domestic items relief

The replacement of domestic items relief enables landlords to claim tax relief when they replace movable furniture, furnishings, household appliances and kitchenware in a rental property. The allowance is available based on the cost of domestic items such as free-standing wardrobes, curtains, carpets, televisions, fridges and crockery.

In order for relief to be given, four conditions must be met:

Condition A – the individual or company looking to claim the relief must carry on a property business that includes the letting of a dwelling-house(s).

Condition B – an old domestic item that has been provided for use in the dwelling-house is replaced with the purchase of a new domestic item. The new item must be provided for the exclusive use of the lessee in that dwelling-house and the old item must no longer be available for use by the lessee.

Condition C – The expenditure on the new item must not be prohibited by the wholly and exclusive rule but would otherwise be prohibited by the capital expenditure rule.

Condition D – Capital Allowances must not have been claimed in respect of the expenditure on the new domestic item.

If the 4 conditions are met, then a deduction for the expenditure on the new item can be claimed.

The amount of the deduction is based on:

  • the cost of the new replacement item, limited to the cost of an equivalent item if it represents an improvement on the old item (beyond the reasonable modern equivalent);
  • the incidental costs of disposing of the old item or acquiring the replacement; and less
  • any amounts received on disposal of the old item.

HMRC’s internal guidance provides an example highlighting that a brand new budget washing machine costing circa £200 is not an improvement if a replacement for a five year old washing machine that cost around £200 at the time of purchase (or slightly less, taking into account inflation).

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 11-03-2024

Spring Budget 2024 – High Income Child Benefit Charge

The High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) came into force January 2013 and has applied to taxpayers whose income exceeds £50,000 in a tax year and who are in receipt of child benefit. It was announced as part of the Spring Budget measures that the income threshold at which HICBC starts to be charged will be increased from £50,000 to £60,000 effective from April 2024.

The HICBC is charged at the rate of 1% of the full Child Benefit award for each £200 (2023-24: £100) of income between £60,000 and £80,000. (2023-24: between £50,000 and £60,000). For taxpayers with income above £80,000 (2023-24: £60,000) the amount of the charge will equal the amount of Child Benefit received. The HICBC therefore either reduces or removes the financial benefit of receiving child benefit. Increasing the HICBC threshold is expected to have a positive impact for approximately 485,000 families. 

The Chancellor had been subject to intense lobbying regarding the unfairness of this charge as it is levied on an individual basis. For instance, currently dual income families on £49,000 each (with a household income of £98,000) may not be liable to the HICBC, but a single parent earning over £50,000 would be. Going forward, the government intends to administer the HICBC on a household rather than individual basis, but this move is expected to take until at least April 2026.

For new Child Benefit claims made after 6 April 2024, any backdated payment will be treated for HICBC purposes as if the entitlement fell in the 2024-25 tax year if backdating would otherwise create a HICBC liability in the 2023-24 tax year.

If the HICBC applies to you or your partner it is usually worthwhile to claim Child Benefit for your child, as it can help to protect certain benefits and will make sure your child receives a National Insurance number. However, you still have the choice of continuing to receive child benefit and pay the tax charge or elect to stop receiving Child Benefit and not pay the charge.

Source:HM Treasury | 05-03-2024

Spring Budget 2024 – non-dom changes

In a move that may partly have been prompted by seeking to mirror a longstanding policy of the Labour party, the Chancellor has announced that the generous non-dom rules are to be axed.

From April 2025, the government plans to abolish the remittance basis of taxation for non-UK domiciled individuals and replace it with a simpler residence-based regime. Individuals who opt into the regime will not pay UK tax on foreign income and gains (FIG) for the first four years of tax residence. They will continue to pay tax on UK income and gains, as is currently the case for non-domiciled individuals. The Chancellor said that after four years, those who continue to live in the UK will pay the same tax as other UK residents.

Individuals who on 6 April 2025 have been tax resident in the UK for less than 4 years (after 10 years of non-UK tax residence) will be able to use this new regime for any tax year of UK residence in the remainder of those 4 years. 

Individuals who move from the remittance basis to the arising basis on 6 April 2025 and are not eligible for the new 4-year FIG regime will, for 2025-2026 only, pay tax on 50% of their foreign income. This reduction applies to foreign income only; it does not apply to foreign chargeable gains. For 2026-27 onwards, tax will be due on all worldwide income in the normal way.  

Overseas Workday Relief (OWR) will also be reformed from April 2025 with eligibility for the relief based on the new regime. OWR will continue to provide Income Tax relief for earnings from duties conducted overseas for the first three years of tax residence with restrictions on remitting these earnings removed.

The government has also announced an intention to move to a residence-based regime for Inheritance Tax from 6 April 2025. This will be subject to consultation.

Source:HM Treasury | 05-03-2024

Checking Furnished Holiday Let property occupancy

The furnished holiday let (FHL) rules allow holiday lettings of properties that meet certain conditions to be treated as a trade for tax purposes.

In order to qualify as a furnished holiday letting, the following criteria need to be met:

  • The property must be let on a commercial basis with a view to the realisation of profits. Second homes or properties that are only let occasionally or to family and friends do not qualify.
  • The property must be located in the UK, or in a country within the EEA.
  • The property must be furnished. This means that there must be sufficient furniture provided for normal occupation and your visitors must be entitled to use the furniture.

In addition, the property must pass the following 3 occupancy conditions.

  1. Pattern of occupation condition. The property must not be used for more than 155 days for longer term occupation (i.e., a continuous period of more than 31 days).
  2. The availability condition. The property must be available for commercial letting at commercial rates for at least 210 days per year.
  3. The letting condition. The property must be let for at least 105 days per year and homeowners should be able to demonstrate the income from these lettings. 

Where there are a number of furnished holiday lettings properties in a business, it is possible to average the days of lettings for the purposes of qualifying for the 105 days threshold. This is called an averaging election.

There is also a special period of grace election which allows homeowners to treat a year as a qualifying year for the purposes of the furnished holiday let rules where they genuinely intended to meet the occupancy threshold but were unable to do so subject to a number of qualifying conditions.

It was announced as part of the Spring Budget measures that the present favourable tax benefits of letting properties using the FHL rules are to be abolished from April 2025.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 11-02-2024

Marriage allowance entitlement

The marriage allowance applies to married couples and those in a civil partnership where a spouse or civil partner does not pay tax or pay tax above the basic rate threshold for Income Tax (i.e., one of the couples must currently earn less than the £12,570 personal allowance for 2023-24).

The allowance works by permitting the lower earning partner to transfer up to £1,260 of their personal tax-free allowance to their spouse or civil partner. The marriage allowance can only be used where the recipient of the transfer (the higher earning partner) does not pay more than the basic 20% rate of Income Tax. This would usually mean that their income is between £12,571 and £50,270 in 2023-24. For those living in Scotland this would usually mean income between £12,571 and £43,662.

Making a claim, could result in a saving of up to £252 for the recipient (20% of £1,260), or £21 a month for the current tax year. In fact, even if a spouse or civil partner has died since 5 April 2018, the surviving person can still claim the allowance (if they qualify) by contacting HMRC’s Income Tax helpline.

If you meet the eligibility requirements and have not yet claimed the allowance, you can backdate your claim to 6 April 2019. This could result in a total tax break of up to £1,256 if you can claim for 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23 as well as the current 2023-24 tax year. If you claim now, you can backdate your claim for four years (if eligible) as well as for the current tax year. Even if you are no longer eligible or would have been in all or any of the preceding years, then you can claim your entitlement.

HMRC’s online Marriage Allowance calculator can be used by couples to find out if they are eligible for the relief. An application can be made online at GOV.UK.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 13-11-2023

Time to Pay tax

If you are having trouble paying your tax on time you may be eligible to receive support from HMRC. An online payment plan for Self-Assessment tax bills can be used to set up instalment arrangements for paying tax liabilities of up to £30,000.

Taxpayers that want to use the online option must have filed their latest tax return within 60 days of the payment deadline and intend to pay their debt within the following 12 months or less. Taxpayers that qualify for a Time to Pay arrangement using the self-serve Time to Pay facility can do so without speaking to an HMRC adviser.

Taxpayers with Self-Assessment tax payments that do not meet the above requirements need to contact HMRC to formally request a Time To Pay arrangement. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

HMRC will only offer taxpayers the option of extra time to pay if they think they genuinely cannot pay in full but will be able to pay in the future. If HMRC do not think that more time will help, they can require immediate payment of a tax bill and start enforcement action if no payment is forthcoming.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 13-11-2023

Closing the door on tax planning

When the end of a tax year passes, the 5 April 2024 for the current year, or the end of an accounting year if a company, any opportunity to take advantage of tax planning strategies closes.

For example, if the purchase of plant or other qualifying equipment is made the day before the cut-off date, tax relief will be secured a year earlier than if the payment was made a month later.

For individuals and the self-employed there is still an opportunity to review personal tax issues before the tax year ends 5 April 2024.

Every person tends to have different circumstances and so it is important to review those circumstances on a case by case basis rather than adopt a more generic approach.

Currently, there are cases where 2022-23 self-assessment tax returns have still not been filed. And if you are in that grouping, and we act for you, could you please let us have your records as soon as possible. But when the deadline passes, 31 January 2024, we will have two months to take a look at tax planning options for 2023-24 and take appropriate action if there are opportunities to reduce your tax footprint for 2023-24.

There is nothing worse than looking back, after the tax year end or company accounting period end and reflecting that if certain actions had been taken before those cut-off dates, savings or cashflow could have been protected.

So please, if your business or personal tax affairs warrant a review, can you call to organise a meeting – or set up an online meeting – such that we can brainstorm your options before these planning deadlines close.

Source:Other | 13-11-2023

Countdown to Self-Assessment filing deadline

There are now less than 100 days to file your 2022-23 Self-Assessment tax return online. The deadline is 31 January 2024. The deadline for paper returns ended on 31 October 2023.

You should also be aware that payment of any tax due should also be made by this date, 31 January 2024. This includes the payment of any balance of Self-Assessment liability for the 2022-23 plus the first payment on account due for the current 2023-24 tax year.

If you miss the filing deadline you will usually be charged a £100 fixed penalty. If your return is up to 3 months late, regardless of whether you owed tax or not, and if you do not file and pay before 1 May 2024, then you will face further penalties unless you have arranged to pay with HMRC.

HMRC is encouraging taxpayers to complete their tax return as early as possible to avoid getting more stressed as the filing date looms. Those who submit their returns early still have until 31 January 2024 to pay any tax due.

If you are filing online for the first time you should ensure you register to use HMRC’s Self-Assessment online service as soon as possible. Once registered an activation code will be sent by mail. This process can take up to 10 working days. 

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 23-10-2023

Self-Assessment scam warning

Fraudsters are continuing to target taxpayers with scam emails in advance of the deadline for the submission of Self-Assessment returns for the 2022-23 tax year. In the 12 months to September 2023, HMRC received more than 130,000 reports of suspicious contact of which almost 58,000 related to bogus tax rebate referrals. 

A number of these scams purport to tell taxpayers they are due a rebate / refund of tax from HMRC and ask for bank or credit card details in order to send the fake tax refund. The fraudsters use various means to try and scam people including making contact by phone calls, texts or emails. Fraudsters have been known to threaten victims with arrest or imprisonment if a bogus tax bill is not paid immediately.

HMRC operates a dedicated Customer Protection team to identify and close down these scams but continues to advise taxpayers to identify fraud and avoid becoming victims themselves. For example, HMRC only make contact with taxpayers due a refund by post and never use emails, text messages or external companies for this activity. Genuine organisations like HMRC and banks will never contact customers asking for their PIN, password or bank details.

If you think you have received a suspicious email claiming to be from HMRC you are asked to forward the details to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk, Suspicious texts to 60599 and calls can be reported on GOV.UK. If you have suffered an actual financial loss, you should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use their online fraud reporting tool.

HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said:  

'HMRC is reminding customers to be wary of approaches by fraudsters in the run up to the Self-Assessment deadline. Criminals are great pretenders who try and dupe people by sending emails, phone calls and texts which mimic government messages to make them appear authentic.'

Source:HM Revenue & Customs | 23-10-2023

Loss of personal tax allowance

If you earn over £100,000 in any tax year your personal allowance is gradually reduced by £1 for every £2 of adjusted net income over £100,000 irrespective of age. This means that any taxable receipt that takes your income over £100,000 will result in a reduction in personal tax allowances and can result in your personal Income Tax allowance being reduced to zero if your adjusted net income is £125,140 or above.

Your adjusted net income is your total taxable income before any personal allowances, less certain tax reliefs such as trading losses, certain charitable donations and pension contributions.

For the current tax year if your adjusted net income is likely to fall between £100,000 and £125,140 you would pay an effective marginal rate of tax of 60% on your income above £100,000 as your £12,570 tax-free personal allowance is gradually withdrawn.

If your income sits within this band, you should consider what financial planning opportunities are available to avoid this personal allowance trap by reducing your income below the £100,000 threshold. This can include gifts to charity, increasing pension contributions and participating in certain investment schemes.

A higher rate or additional rate taxpayer who wanted to reduce their tax bill could make a gift to charity in the current tax year and elect to carry back the contribution to 2022-23. A request to carry back the donation must be made before or at the same time as the 2022-23 Self-Assessment return is completed i.e., by 31 January 2024.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 23-10-2023

How dividends are taxed

Dividends received are taxed as income but the rates of tax applied are different to the formal Income Tax rates. Also, individuals can receive dividends up to the annual dividend allowance tax free. The annual dividend allowance for 2023-24 is £1,000.

The current tax rates for dividends received (in excess of the dividend tax allowance) are as follows:

  • 8.75% if dividends form part of a taxpayer's basic rate band;
  • 33.75% if dividends form part of a taxpayer's higher rate band; or
  • 39.35% if dividends form part of a taxpayer's additional rate band.

Dividends that fall within (are covered by) your Personal Allowance do not count towards your dividend allowance. It is also possible that you may pay tax at more than one rate of tax.

If you receive up to £10,000 in dividends, you can ask HMRC to change your tax code and the tax due will be taken from your wages or pension. Alternatively, you can enter the dividends on your Self-Assessment tax return if you already file a return.

You do not need to notify HMRC if the dividends you receive are within your dividend allowance for the tax year.

If you have received over £10,000 in dividends, you will need to complete a Self-Assessment tax return. If you do not usually complete a tax return, you will need to register by 5 October following the tax year in which you had the relevant dividend income.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 16-10-2023

Deadlines 2022-23 Self-Assessment tax return

The 2022-23 tax return filing deadline for taxpayers who continue to submit paper Self-Assessment returns is 31 October 2023. Late submission of a Self-Assessment return will incur a £100 late filing penalty. The penalty usually applies even if there is no liability or if any tax due is paid in full by 31 January 2024.

We would recommend that anyone still submitting paper tax returns consider the benefits of submitting the returns electronically, and therefore benefit from an additional three months (until 31 January 2024) in which to submit a return.

Taxpayers with certain underpayments in the 2022-23 tax year can elect to have this amount collected via their tax code (in 2024-25) provided they are in employment or in receipt of a UK-based pension. The coding applies to certain debts and the amount of debt that can be coded out ranges from £3,000 to £17,000 based on a graduated scale. The maximum coding out allowance only applies to taxpayers with earnings exceeding £90,000.

Daily penalties of £10 per day will also take effect if the tax return is still outstanding three months after the filing date up to a maximum of £900. If the return still remains outstanding further higher penalties will be charged when a return is six months and twelve months late.

Taxpayers that received a letter informing them that they have to submit a paper return after 30 July 2023 have an extended deadline which runs for three months from the date they received the letter to submit a paper return.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 09-10-2023

Reporting self-employed profits 2023-24

The basis of assessment reforms will change the way trading income is allocated to tax years. The changes will affect sole traders and partnerships that use an accounting date between 6 April and 30 March. There is no change to the rule for companies.

The reforms will change the basis period from a ‘current year basis’ to a ‘tax year basis’.

Under the current rules there can be overlapping basis periods. When this occurs, tax may be charged on profits twice and generate ‘overlap relief’. This overlap relief can be used on the cessation of a business or when an accounting date is changed. The new method of using a ‘tax year basis’ will remove the basis period rules and prevents the creation of further overlap relief. 

The new rules will come into effect in the 2024-25 tax year and the current 2023-24 tax year is known as the ‘transition year’. During the transitional year, all businesses’ basis periods will be aligned to the tax year and all outstanding overlap relief can be used against profits for that tax year.

Affected businesses in 2023-24 will be assessed on the tax for profits for the:

  • 12 month accounting period they have previously been using; and
  • for the rest of the 2023-24 tax year.

Any excess profit covering more than 12 months, is known as ‘transition profit’. This can be reduced by overlap relief and the remaining profit will be spread over the next 5 tax years until 2027-28.

The changes do not affect sole traders and partnerships who draw up annual accounts to a date between 31 March and 5 April. These businesses will continue to file as usual for the 2023-24 accounting year. 

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 02-10-2023

When you can and cannot use the Rent-a-Room Scheme

The rent-a-room scheme is a set of special rules designed to help homeowners who rent-a-room in their home. If you are using this scheme, you should ensure that rents received from lodgers during the current tax year do not exceed £7,500. The tax exemption is automatic if you earn less than £7,500 ;there are no specific tax reporting requirements. If required, homeowners can opt out of the scheme and record property income and expenses as usual.

You can use the scheme if:

  • you let a furnished room to a lodger; or
  • your letting activity amounts to a trade, for example, if you run a guest house or bed and breakfast business, or provide services, such as meals and cleaning.

You cannot use the scheme if the accommodation is:

  • not part of your main home when you let it;
  • not furnished;
  • used as an office or for any business — you can use the scheme if your lodger works in your home in the evening or at weekends or is a student who is provided with study facilities; or
  • in your UK home and is let while you live abroad.

The relief also simplifies the tax and administrative burden for those with rent-a-room income up to £7,500. The limit is reduced by half if the income from letting accommodation in the same property is shared by a joint owner of the property.

The rent-a-room limit includes any amounts received for meals, goods and services provided, such as cleaning or laundry. If gross receipts are more than the limit taxpayers can choose between paying tax on the actual profit (gross rents minus actual expenses and capital allowances) or the gross receipts (and any balancing charges) minus the allowance – with no deduction for expenses or capital allowances.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 02-10-2023

Income Tax in Scotland if you have more than one home

There is an interesting anomaly that can affect taxpayers with homes in Scotland and other parts of the UK. Where this is the case, the question arises as to whether or not the taxpayer is liable to pay Income Tax in Scotland or elsewhere.

As a general rule, the Scottish rate of Income Tax (SRIT) is payable on the non-savings and non-dividend income of those defined as Scottish taxpayers. The definition of a Scottish taxpayer generally focusses on the question of whether the taxpayer has a 'close connection' with Scotland or elsewhere in the UK. The liability to SRIT is not based on nationalist identity, location of work or the source of a person’s income, e.g., receiving a salary from a Scottish business.

Where a taxpayer has a home in Scotland and also elsewhere in the UK, they need to ascertain which is their main home based on published guidance and the facts of the case.

HMRC’s guidance on the issue states the following:

Your main home is usually where you live and spend most of your time. It does not matter whether you own it, rent it or live in it for free. Your main home may be the home where you spend less time if that’s where:

  • most of your possessions are;
  • your family lives if you are married or in a civil partnership;
  • you are registered for matters such as your bank account, GP or car insurance; or
  • you are a member of clubs or societies.

It is also possible to change which home counts as your main home if there has been a material change in the underlying facts. Scottish taxpayer status applies for a whole tax year. It is not possible to be a Scottish taxpayer for part of a tax year.

Source:The Scottish Government| 02-10-2023

Do you need to register for Self-Assessment?

Taxpayers that need to complete a Self-Assessment return for the first time are required to notify HMRC. This is a final reminder that the latest date that HMRC should be notified, by new Self-Assessment taxpayers, for the 2022-23 tax year, is 5 October 2023. The deadline for filing the 2022-23 Self-Assessment tax return online and paying any tax due is 31 January 2024.

There are a number of reasons why you might need to complete a Self-Assessment return for the first time. This includes if you are self-employed, have an annual income over £100,000 and / or have income from savings, investment or property.

The £100,000 income threshold for Self-Assessment changed for taxpayers who are only taxed through PAYE. It increased from £100,000 to £150,000 with effect from 6 April 2023. However, the Self-Assessment threshold for 2022-23 returns remains at £100,000.  

HMRC has an online tool www.gov.uk/check-if-you-need-tax-return/ that can help you check if you are required to submit a Self-Assessment return.

The following list summarises some of the reasons when taxpayers are usually required to submit a Self-Assessment return:

  • The newly self-employed (earning more than £1,000);
  • Multiple sources of income;
  • Taxpayers that have received any untaxed income, for example earning money for creating online content;
  • Income over £100,000;
  • earn income from property that they own and rent out;
  • are a new partner in a business partnership;
  • Taxpayers whose income (or that of their partner’s) was over £50,000 and one of you claimed Child Benefit;
  • Receiving interest on savings or investment income of £10,000 or more before tax;
  • Taxpayers who made profits from selling things like shares, a second home or other chargeable assets and need to pay Capital Gains Tax; and
  • Taxpayers who are self-employed and earn less than £1,000 but wish to pay Class 2 NICs voluntarily to protect their entitlement to State Pension and certain benefits.
Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 25-09-2023

Who is a Scottish taxpayer?

The Scottish rate of income (SRIT) is payable on the non-savings and non-dividend income of those defined as Scottish taxpayers. This means that Scottish taxpayers who also have savings and dividend income need to consider the UK rates as well as the Scottish rates when calculating their Income Tax bill.

Scottish taxpayer status applies for a whole tax year. It is not possible to be a Scottish taxpayer for part of a tax year. The definition of a Scottish taxpayer is generally focused on the question of whether the taxpayer has a 'close connection' with Scotland or elsewhere in the UK. The idea of being treated as a Scottish taxpayer is not based on nationalist identity, location of work or the source of a person’s income, e.g., receiving a salary from a Scottish business.

For the vast majority of individuals, the question of whether or not they are defined as a Scottish taxpayer is a simple one – they either live in Scotland and are a Scottish taxpayer or live elsewhere in the UK and are not a Scottish taxpayer.

More specifically, an individual will generally be defined as a Scottish taxpayer if they satisfy any of the following tests:

  1. They are a Scottish Parliamentarian.
  2. They have a 'close connection' to Scotland, through either:
    i) having only a single 'place of residence', which is in Scotland; or
    ii) where they have more than one 'place of residence', having their 'main place of residence' in Scotland for at least as much of the tax year as it has been in any one other part of the UK.
  3. Where no 'close connection' to Scotland (or any other part of the UK) exists (either through it not being possible to identify any place of residence or a main residence) – then place of residence will be decided by day counting.

In most cases these tests will help identify a taxpayer's status. However, there is further technical guidance available where the answer is not clear.

Source:The Scottish Government| 11-09-2023
changes to self assessment threshold for 2023-24 in the UK; london accountants

Self-Assessment Threshold Change for 2023-24: Find out if you’re affected

Change to Self Assessment Threshold: Are you affected?

The world of tax is always evolving, and we understand how crucial it is for our clients to stay informed. Recent changes by HMRC regarding the Self-Assessment threshold could affect many taxpayers, and we’re here to break it down for you.

Increased Threshold for Self-Assessment from 2023-24

Starting from 6 April 2023, HMRC has announced a notable increase in the threshold for Self-Assessment for taxpayers who are taxed solely through PAYE. The previous limit was set at £100,000, but this has now risen to £150,000.

While on paper this does mean fewer individuals will need to submit Self Assessment returns, HMRC thresholds (including tax bands) drift upwards annually to match wage inflation.

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Impact on 2022-23 Tax Returns

It’s important to note that if you’re submitting a Self-Assessment tax return for the 2022-23 period, the earlier threshold of £100,000 still applies. However, taxpayers who have a reported income ranging between £100,000 and £150,000, and do not fit any other Self-Assessment criteria, can expect an “exit letter” from HMRC. Receiving this letter signifies that you won’t be required to file an annual Self-Assessment tax return, granted you meet the set qualifications.

Criteria for 2023-24 and Beyond

Despite the increased threshold for those taxed under PAYE, certain conditions will still necessitate a Self-Assessment tax return. You will have to file one if:

  1. You have received any untaxed income.
  2. You’re a partner in a business partnership.
  3. You’re liable to the High Income Child Benefit Charge.
  4. You’re a self-employed individual with a gross income surpassing £1,000.

Act Promptly!

If this is your first time completing a Self-Assessment return, it’s essential to notify HMRC swiftly. The deadline to inform them is by 5 October following the tax year’s conclusion. And if the 2022-23 tax year applies to you, remember to electronically file your tax return and settle any tax obligations by 31 January 2024.

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Higher rate tax relief on gifts to charities

The gift aid scheme, which was originally introduced in 1990, allows charities to reclaim from HMRC the basic rate of Income Tax deducted from qualifying donations by UK taxpayers. This means that where a basic rate taxpayer claims gift aid on a £100 donation, the charity can reclaim from HMRC the £25 of tax paid on that donation.

If you are a higher rate or additional rate Income Tax payer you can also claim additional tax relief on the difference between the basic rate and your highest rate of tax.

For example:

If you donated £5,000 to charity, the total value of the donation to the charity is £6,250. You can claim back additional tax back of:

  • £1,250 if you pay tax at the higher rate of 40% (£6,250 × 20%),
  • £1,562.50 if you pay tax at the additional rate of 45% (£6,250 × 25%).

Taxpayers also have the option to carry back their charitable donations to the previous tax year. A request to carry back the donation must be made before or at the same time as your previous year’s Self-Assessment return is completed.

This means that if you made a gift to charity in the current 2023-24 tax year that ends on 5 April 2024, you can accelerate repayment of any tax associated with your charitable giving by carrying back the donation to the previous tax year, 2022-23. This can be a useful strategy to maximise tax relief if you will not be paying higher rate tax in the current tax year but did so in the previous tax year. This should be done as part of the Self-Assessment tax return for 2022-23 which must be submitted by 31 January 2024.

You can only claim if your donations qualify for gift aid. This means that your donations from both tax years together must not be more than 4 times what you paid in tax in the previous year.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 28-08-2023

Reducing self-assessment payments on account

Self-assessment taxpayers are usually required to pay their income tax liabilities in three instalments each year. The first two payments are due on:

  • 31 January during the tax year e.g., for 2022-23 the first payment on account was due on 31 January 2023.
  • 31 July following the tax year e.g., for 2022-23 the second payment on account was due on 31 July 2023.

These payments on account are based on 50% of the previous year’s net income tax liability. In addition, the third (or only) payment of tax will be due on 31 January following the end of the tax year.

There is no requirement to make payments on account where your net Income Tax liability for the previous tax year is less than £1,000 or if more than 80% of that year’s tax liability has been collected at source.

The payments are based on 50% of your previous year’s net income tax liability. If you think that your income for the next tax year will be lower than the previous tax year, you can apply to have your payment on account reduced. This can be done using HMRC’s online service or by completing form SA303.

HMRC’s internal manuals are clear that a reason for requesting a reduction in the payments on account must be given. A request without a reason is not a valid claim.

There are no restrictions on the number of claims to adjust payments on account a taxpayer or agent can make. However, there is a time limit which means that the claim must be received before the 31 January following the tax year in question, for example by 31 January 2024 for the year 2022-23.

There is no requirement to notify HMRC if your taxable profits have increased year on year.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 28-08-2023

Self-Assessment threshold change

The £100,000 threshold for Self-Assessment change for taxpayers taxed through PAYE only, increased from £100,000 to £150,000 with effect from 6 April 2023. However, the Self-Assessment for 2022-23 tax returns remains at £100,000.  

Taxpayers who submit a Self-Assessment tax return for 2022-23 showing income between £100,000 and £150,000 taxed through PAYE and do not meet any of the other criteria for submitting a Self-Assessment return will be sent an exit letter by HMRC. This will remove the requirement for an annual Self-Assessment tax return to be submitted by qualifying taxpayers.

For the 2023-24 tax year onward, taxpayers will still need to submit a Self-Assessment tax return if their income taxed through PAYE is below £150,000 but they meet one of the other criteria for submitting a Self-Assessment return, for example:

  • receipt of any untaxed income;
  • partner in a business partnership;
  • liability to the High Income Child Benefit Charge; or
  • self-employed individual and with gross income of over £1,000.

Taxpayers that need to complete a Self-Assessment return for the first time should inform HMRC as soon as possible. The latest date that HMRC should be notified is by 5 October following the end of the tax year for which a Self-Assessment return needs to be filed. If you are required to submit a Self-Assessment return for 2022-23, you should ensure that you file your tax return electronically and pay any tax due by 31 January 2024.

HMRC has an online tool available at www.gov.uk/check-if-you-need-tax-return/ that can help taxpayers decide if they are required to submit a Self-Assessment return.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 28-08-2023

Do you need to submit a Self-Assessment tax return?

There are a number of reasons why you might need to complete a Self-Assessment return for the first time. This includes if you are self-employed, have an annual income over £100,000 and / or have income from savings, investment or property.

Taxpayers that need to complete a Self-Assessment return for the first time (for the 2022-23 tax year) should inform HMRC as soon as possible. The latest date that HMRC should be notified is by 5 October 2023.

HMRC has an online tool www.gov.uk/check-if-you-need-tax-return/ that can help you check if you are required to submit a Self-Assessment return.

The following list summarises some of the reasons when taxpayers are usually required to submit a Self-Assessment return:

  • newly self-employed (earning more than £1,000);
  • individuals with multiple sources of income;
  • taxpayers that have received any untaxed income, for example earning money for creating online content;
  • individuals with income over £100,000, and note, that from tax year 2023-24 the Self-Assessment threshold for individuals taxed through PAYE only, will change from £100,000 to £150,000;   
  • those who earn income from property that they own and rent out;
  • who are a new partner in a business partnership;
  • taxpayers whose income (or that of their partner’s) was over £50,000 and one of you claimed Child Benefit;
  • those receiving interest on savings or investment income of £10,000 or more before tax;
  • taxpayers who made profits from selling things like shares, a second home or other chargeable assets and need to pay Capital Gains Tax; and
  • taxpayers who are self-employed and earn less than £1,000 but wish to pay Class 2 NICs voluntarily to protect their entitlement to State Pension and certain benefits.
Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 21-08-2023