Tax Matters with James Milne – June 2024

Tax Matters with James Milne – June 2024

The June edition of TaxMatters with James Milne draws attention to some key deadlines and discusses whether employees should reimburse their employer for private fuel and whether directors/shareholders should take advantage of HMRC’s interest rate on beneficial loans. If you wish to discuss these issues or any other tax related matter, please contact the James Milne tax team.

REPORT EMPLOYEE BENEFITS ON FORM P11D BY 6 JULY


P11d forms for reporting expenses and benefits in kind provided to employees and directors in 2023/24 need to be submitted by 6 July 2024. Note that paper forms are no longer acceptable; the return must be made online using PAYE Online for employers or commercial software.

Remember that reimbursed expenses no longer need to be reported where they are incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the employee’s duties. Dispensations from reporting are no longer required, although HMRC would expect internal controls to be in place to ensure that the expenses qualify.

Note also that trivial benefits of no more than £50 provided to employees need not be reported. This typically covers non-cash gifts to employees at Christmas and on their birthdays and can include gifts of food and alcohol. Again, the employer needs to keep a record of the benefit provided and the justification. It should not be provided as a reward for past or future service.

2023/24 EMPLOYMENT-RELATED SECURITIES RETURNS DUE BY 6 JULY

The deadline for reporting shares and securities and share options issued to employees for 2023/24 is 6 July 2024. This is the same as the deadline for reporting expenses and benefits provided to employees on form P11d for 2023/24.

Employers must submit their employment related securities annual returns online and attach the appropriate spreadsheet template if they have something to report. HMRC provides templates on their website that may be downloaded in order that the information may be entered and uploaded. Note that there are different templates for each of the four tax-advantaged employee share schemes – Company Share Option Plan (CSOP), Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI), Save and You Earn (SAYE) share options and Share Incentive Plans (SIP). In addition, employers need to report any other employment-related securities (non tax-advantaged) issued to employees and directors.

SHOULD EMPLOYEES REIMBURSE THEIR EMPLOYER FOR PRIVATE FUEL?


Where a company car is provided for use by an employee or director there is a benefit in kind taxable on the employee based on the original list price of the vehicle multiplied by the CO2 emissions percentage for that vehicle. There is an additional benefit in kind where private fuel is paid for by the employer, which also needs to be reported on form P11d unless the employer has arranged with HMRC to deal with the tax on the benefits via monthly payroll.

Note that unless the employee fully reimburses the employer for private mileage, the additional benefit in kind is based on a notional list price of £27,800 multiplied by the CO2 emissions percentage for that vehicle. That could be as much as 37%, £10,286 for a car with high CO2 emissions. That would mean £4,114 income tax for a higher rate taxpayer. That would be an awful lot of fuel!

In addition, there would be £1,419 class 1A national insurance contributions payable by the employer.

The table at the end of this newsletter sets out the HMRC advisory fuel rates that apply from 1 June 2024. These are published quarterly these days due to the volatility in petrol and diesel prices in recent years.

Note that this is an all or nothing benefit and, unless there is full reimbursement, there is an additional taxable benefit. The deadline for reimbursing private fuel is 6 July 2024 for the 2023/24 tax year.

HMRC OFFICIAL RATE OF INTEREST REMAINS AT 2.25%


HMRC has announced that the official rate of interest will remain at 2.25% for 2024/25, despite the Bank of England Base Rate currently standing at 5.25%. The official rate of interest is used to calculate the income tax charge on the benefit of employment related loans and the taxable benefit of some employment related living accommodation. These rates used to fluctuate in line with base rate, and changed several times a year, but in recent years HMRC has fixed the rate for the whole tax year making the calculation of the taxable benefit easier to compute.

For those employers including beneficial loans on form P11d for 2023/24 the official rate to be used is 2.25%. The charge applies where the amount of the loan exceeds £10,000.

SHOULD DIRECTOR/SHAREHOLDERS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS LOWER RATE?

As mentioned above the HMRC rate of interest on beneficial loans looks very attractive compared to the Bank of England Base rate of 5.25%, and much higher rates charged by banks for unsecured loans.

Note that where loans are made to participators (broadly shareholders) of a close company there is potentially a special tax charge on the company on any loan still outstanding 9 months after the end of the accounting period. The charge is currently 33.75%, the same as the higher rate of tax on dividend income. This tax charge is only repaid to the company after the loan to the participator is repaid or written off.

For example, Fred, the managing director and controlling shareholder of Bloggs Ltd is loaned £100,000 interest free on 6 April 2023. No repayments are made in the year ended 31 March 2024.

The company would need to show a taxable benefit in kind on Fred’s 2023/24 P11d of £2,250 (2.25%)

If Fred repays the loan in full before 31 December 2024 there would be no special charge on the company although Fred would be assessed on the beneficial loan for the 9 months that the loan was in existence in 2024/25.

Note that there are anti- “bed and breakfast” rules to counteract the situation where the loan is readvanced by the company. The anti-avoidance would not apply where the loan is cleared by crediting a bonus or dividend to Fred’s loan account.

If however, only £60,000 was repaid by Fred before 31 December 2024 leaving £40,000 outstanding then there would be a tax charge on the company of £13,500 (assuming 33.75% dividend rate continues) which would be payable in addition to the company’s corporation tax liability for year ended 31 March 2024.

The company would show a taxable benefit in kind on Fred’s 2024/25 P11d based on the official rate of interest on beneficial loans for 2024/25.
If the company then decides to write off or waive the outstanding loan in year ended 31 March 2025 the £13,500 would be refunded. However, Fred would be assessed on the £40,000 as an income distribution (dividend) arising at the date of waiver in 2024/25.

ADVISORY FUEL RATE FOR COMPANY CARS

The table below sets out the HMRC advisory fuel rates from 1 June 2024. These are the suggested reimbursement rates for employees’ private mileage using their company car.

Where the employer does not pay for any fuel for the company car these are the amounts that can be reimbursed in respect of business journeys without the amount being taxable on the employee.

Engine Size Petrol Diesel LPG
1400cc or less 14p (13p) 11p (11p)
1600cc or less 13p (12p)
1401cc to 2000cc 16p (15p) 13p (13p)
1601 to 2000cc 15p (14p)
Over 2000cc 26p (24p) 20p (19p) 21p (21p)

Where there has been a change the previous rate is shown in brackets.

You can also continue to use the previous rates for up to 1 month from the date the new rates apply.

Note that for hybrid cars you must use the petrol or diesel rate.
For fully electric vehicles the rate is 8p (9p) per mile.

Employees using their own cars
For employees using their own cars for business purposes the Advisory Mileage Allowance Payment (AMAP) tax-free reimbursement rate continues to be 45 pence per mile (plus 5p per passenger) for the first 10,000 business miles, reducing to 25 pence a mile thereafter. Note that for National Insurance contribution purposes the employer can continue to reimburse at the 45p rate as the 10,000 threshold does not apply.

Input VAT
Within the 45p/25p payments the amounts in the above table represent the fuel element. The employer is able to reclaim 20/120 of the amount as input VAT provided the claim is supported by a VAT invoice from the filling station. For a 2500cc petrol-engine car, 4 pence per mile can be reclaimed as input VAT (24p x 1/6).

DIARY OF MAIN TAX EVENTS
JUNE/ JULY 2024

Date What’s Due
01/06 Corporation tax payment for year to 31/8/23 (unless quarterly instalments apply)
19/06 PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for month to 5/06/24 (due 22/06 if you pay electronically)
01/07 Corporation tax payment for year to 30/9/23 (unless quarterly instalments apply)
05/07 Last date for agreeing PAYE settlement agreements for 2023/24 employee benefits
05/07 Deadline for agents and tenants to submit returns of rent paid to non-resident landlords and tax deducted for 2023/24
06/07 Deadline for forms P11D and P11D(b) for 2023/24 tax year. Also, deadline for notifying HMRC of shares and options awarded to employees.
19/07 PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for month to 5/07/24 (due 22/07/24 if you pay electronically)
31/07 50% payment on account of 2024/25 tax liability due.

 

TaxMatters with James Milne – May 2024

TaxMatters with James Milne – May 2024

Welcome to our latest monthly tax newsletter. We hope you find these newsletters informative and if you have any questions on any of these tax matters please contact us for further advice. This month, we discuss HMRC’s update on work travel, and investing in an unquoted trading company.

HMRC PUBLISHES UPDATED GUIDANCE ON WORK TRAVEL


Travelling from home to an employee’s normal workplace does not qualify for tax relief. This is referred to as “ordinary commuting” and, furthermore, if the costs of the journey are reimbursed by the employer, those costs are taxable. There are exceptions to this rule; for instance, when the employer pays for the employee to travel home in a taxi safely late at night.

Travelling to a “temporary workplace” is a qualifying business journey and, where the costs are reimbursed by the employer, there is no taxable benefit. Note also that any associated subsistence costs such as overnight hotel accommodation costs are also a tax-free benefit. HMRC Booklet 490 provides detailed guidance on employee travel, together with comprehensive examples (this is an online document these days).

With more and more employees working from home these days, for at least one day a week, attention should be paid to the latest HMRC guidance on such arrangements.

Working from home

Whether or not an employee’s home is a workplace does not affect the availability of tax relief for travel expenses. Travel expenses from home to a permanent workplace will only qualify for tax relief if the journey qualifies as travel in the performance of the duties of the employment.

Even though it may have been accepted that the employee’s home is a workplace, it does not necessarily follow that they’ll be entitled to tax relief for the cost of travel between their home and a permanent workplace.

This is because the place where an employee lives will ordinarily be down to their personal choice. The expense of travelling from their home to any other place is a consequence of that personal choice, not an objective requirement of the job.

  1. HMRC guidance states that where an employee performs substantive duties of their employment at home as an objective requirement of the job, they may accept their home as a workplace for the purposes of the ‘travelling in the performance of the duties’ rule. Where this is the case, the employee will be entitled to tax relief for the expenses of travelling from home to other workplaces, as their travel is in the performance of their duties.
  2. HMRC will usually only accept that working at home is an objective requirement of the job if the employee needs certain facilities to perform those duties, and those facilities are only practically available to the employee at their home.
  3. HMRC states that they will not accept that working at home is an objective requirement of the job if the employer provides appropriate facilities in another location that could be practically used by the employee, or the employee works from home as a matter of choice.

Even where the employee works at home as an objective requirement of their employment, tax relief for the cost of travel between their home and their permanent workplace will only be due for travel made on days where the employee’s home is a workplace. Only on those days is the employee travelling between two workplaces. On other days the employee is travelling between their home and a permanent workplace, which is ordinary commuting.

Late night taxis paid by employers

Payments by the employer for taxis to take employees home late or at night are exempt from tax if:

  • the failure of car sharing arrangements conditions are satisfied (see below), or
  • all 4 late night working conditions are satisfied; and
  • the number of such journeys for which a taxi has been provided for that employee in the tax year is no more than 60.

There are 4 late working conditions, all of which must be satisfied.

  1. The employee is required to work later than usual and until at least 9pm
  2. This occurs irregularly
  3. By the time the employee ceases work, either public transport has ceased, or it would not be reasonable to expect the employee to use public transport
  4. The transport is by taxi or similar road transport – this condition is not contentious and is not referred to again in this guidance.

The 60 journeys are a single limit that applies to late night journeys and failure of car sharing arrangements together. This means that journeys under both headings must be added together when working out whether the 60 journeys limit has been reached.

OFFICIAL RATE OF INTEREST FOR 2024/25 REMAINS AT 2.25%

HMRC has confirmed that the official rate of interest for employee and directors’ beneficial loans remains at 2.25% for 2024/25, despite a Bank of England base interest rate of 5.25%.

This means that where the employer lends an employee more than £10,000, the taxable benefit would be the difference between 2.25% and the amount paid on the outstanding loan.

INVESTING IN AN UNQUOTED TRADING COMPANY


If you are considering lending money to, or subscribing for shares in, an unquoted trading company, then, like many investments, there is always a risk that you may lose your money.

However, there is potentially tax relief for the lender if the loan meets certain conditions, in particular the money lent is used by the borrower wholly for the purposes of its trade, and the trade does not consist of or include the lending of money.

The tax relief is by way of a capital loss that can be set against gains in the same or future tax years. In order to make a claim for capital loss relief, any outstanding amount of the principal of the loan must have become irrecoverable, the claimant must not have assigned their right to recover that amount, and the claimant and the borrower were not each other’s spouses or civil partners, or companies in the same group, when the loan was made or at any subsequent time.

Capital loss on shares in an unquoted trading company

Where an individual subscribes for a new issue of shares in an unquoted trading company, there is an even more generous form of loss relief where those shares are disposed of at a loss, including the situation where the shares have become worthless. In that situation, it is possible to make a negligible value claim which creates a deemed disposal and reacquisition of the shares at that low value, thereby creating a capital loss. A further claim can then be made to set that capital loss against the subscriber’s income in the year of the loss and/or the previous year. The attraction is the income tax relief could save tax at 40% for higher rate taxpayers and 45% for additional rate taxpayers, as opposed to a capital gains tax saving at a maximum 24% (on residential property gains).

Converting loans into shares

As mentioned above, where a loss is made on a loan to an unquoted trading company, relief for that loss may claimed against capital gains, whereas the loss on subscriber shares can be set against income, saving tax at higher rates. It is possible for the lender to be issued with shares in the company in satisfaction of the loan, which potentially would allow the investor to claim relief for any subsequent loss against their income. Note that where the company is already insolvent at the time that the shares are issued, no capital loss will arise and HMRC is likely to challenge the loss claim, as they have done successfully in two recent tax cases.

Tax relief under the enterprise investment scheme

Where the company qualifies under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) or Seed EIS, subscribers potentially qualify for even more generous tax reliefs. Where the investor is not connected with the company, they are entitled to tax relief based on 30% of the amount invested (EIS) or 50% in the case of Seed EIS. This relief is deducted from the investor’s income tax liability for the year, or the previous year in the case of EIS investment. The shares need to be held for at least 3 years to retain the income tax relief and the shares would also be exempt from CGT when disposed of.

Should the EIS or Seed EIS shares be disposed of at a loss, then the capital loss arising (net of income tax relief given) can be set against the investor’s income as set out above.

DIARY OF MAIN TAX EVENTS – MAY/JUNE 2024

Date What’s Due
01/05 Corporation tax payment for year to 31/7/23 (unless quarterly instalments apply)
19/05 PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for month to 5/05/24 (due 22/05 if you pay electronically)
01/06 Corporation tax payment for year to 31/8/23 (unless quarterly instalments apply)
19/06 PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for month to 5/06/24 (due 22/06 if you pay electronically)

 

The content included on this page is accurate as of 26.04.24

TaxMatters with James Milne – April 2024

TaxMatters with James Milne – April 2024

There’s a lot going on in the world of tax and we’ve compiled a useful summary to give you an insight into what’s making the news. Scan the headings below and if something catches your attention that you need advice on, we’re here to discuss these issues.

HAPPY NEW TAX YEAR

In this April issue we highlight some of the key tax changes that will take effect from the start of the new tax year. Unfortunately, most of the income tax and national insurance thresholds continue to be frozen, resulting in an increasing number of higher rate taxpayers. The major exception is the welcome increase in the threshold for the High-Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC). The further reduction in the rates of national insurance contributions for employees and the self-employed will take effect from 6 April and is a move towards a possible future abolition.

The self-employed will see important changes to how they compute their profits from 2024/25 with “cash accounting” being the default method unless they opt for the accruals basis. The mechanism for assessing those profits also changes from 6 April 2024 when the business results arising between 6 April and the following 5 April will be taxed, which will mean apportioning results where the business year end does not correspond with the tax year.

As far as limited companies are concerned, there is no change in the rates of corporation tax from April 2024. There are however further changes to R&D tax relief which will apply to accounting periods commencing on or after 1 April 2024.

Remember also that the capital gains tax annual exemption reduces to just £3,000 for each taxpayer for gains made in 2024/25, but the higher rate on residential property gains reduces from 28% to 24% as announced in the Spring Budget.

MANY COUPLES MAY NEED TO RESTART CHILD BENEFIT CLAIMS


The changes to the High-Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) announced in the Spring Budget have now been incorporated into the latest Finance Bill and are scheduled to take effect from 6 April 2024. The increase in the threshold for the tax charge was good news, although many were lobbying for the charge to be removed completely. HICBC is intended to claw back child benefit where the higher earner in a relationship has adjusted income in excess of £60,000 (£50,000 up to 2023/24). The claw back rate will then be 1% for every £200 of net income in excess of £60,000 with full recovery of child benefit where net income is £80,000 or more.

Rather than pay the tax charge, many couples have chosen not to claim child benefit in recent years. It is estimated that some 180,000 couples eligible for child benefit will no longer be caught by the HICBC and should restart their claims from 6 April 2024. This can be done by using an online claim form.

Example

Fred and Wilma have 2 children for whom they are eligible for child benefit. Fred is the higher earner, and his income was £68,000 in 2023/24, which is scheduled to increase to £70,000 in 2024/25. In 2023/24 the HICBC would have been 100% of the child benefit received. Their child benefit for 2024/25 is £25.60 for the first child, then £16.95 for each additional child = £42.55 x 52 = £2,212.60 p.a.

Based on Fred’s £70,000 net income there would be a 50% HICBC for 2024/25 of £1,106.30.

Planning

An individual’s pension contributions and payments to charity under Gift Aid have the effect of reducing net income for the purposes of HICBC. Salary sacrifice arrangements agreed with the employer can also be effective in reducing net income for HICBC purposes.

SHOULD YOU USE CASH ACCOUNTING?

Cash accounting was introduced as a measure to make it simpler for small businesses to prepare their accounts for tax purposes. It previously only applied to businesses with turnover up to £300,000 but, from 2024, will be the default method for sole traders and partnerships. It will not apply to partnerships with corporate members or limited liability partnerships.

Businesses affected will be able to opt out of cash accounting and prepare their accounts in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (GAAP), which means making adjustments for accruals, prepayments and other differences. It will also be possible to subsequently opt back into cash accounting. There are transitional rules to ensure that income and expenses are not included twice or omitted.

Please contact us to discuss the impact that this change may have on your taxable profits.

CHANGES TO THE BASIS OF ASSESSMENT


The method of taxing the profits of unincorporated businesses changed significantly in 2023/24 and will also change from 2024/25 onwards. This was originally intended to align with the introduction of Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self-Assessment (MTDITSA), which will now start to be phased in from 2026/27.

Under the old basis of taxing profits, a sole trader or member of a partnership was taxed on their share of profits of the business’s accounting period ending in the tax year. For 2022/23, the last tax year when that basis applied, profits of year ended 31 December 2022 would have been taxed that tax year. Unless that business changes its accounting date, the profits assessed in 2024/25 would be the profits arising between 6 April 2024 and 5 April 2025 i.e. 9 months of the profits from year ended 31 December 2024 plus 3 months of the profits for year ended 31 December 2025. As the 2024/25 self-assessment tax return needs to be filed by 31 January 2026, it is highly likely that the profits for the later period would need to be estimated and subsequently revised. As a result of this complication, many businesses decided to change their accounting year end to 31 March or 5 April so that it corresponds with the tax year.

The Transitional Year 2023/24

A further complication with the change in the basis of assessment is the calculation of profits in 2023/24, the “transitional year”, which seeks to transition from the old ‘current year’ basis to the new tax year basis. The rules in 2023/24, where the business has a year-end that doesn’t correspond with the tax year, seek to tax the profits from the day after the end of the period taxed in 2022/23 until 5 April 2024. A business preparing accounts to 31 December each year would have a 15-month period from 1 January 2023 to 5 April 2024 potentially taxable in 2023/24. However, the 3 months’ profits in the period 1 January 2024 to 5 April 2024, less any overlap relief, is not all taxed in 2023/24 but spread over 5 years, unless the taxpayer elects to be taxed on a higher amount.

If, in the above example, the sole trader makes profits of £120,000 in year ended 31 December 2024 then £30,000 less any overlap relief (typically from the early years when some profits were taxed twice) would be spread over 5 years. Assuming no overlap relief, an extra £6,000 profits would be added to the profits assessable from 2023/24 to 2027/28 unless the individual elects to be assessed on a higher amount, in which case, the balance of the £30,000 would then be spread over the remaining years to 2027/28. This is not straightforward, and we can work with you to calculate the transitional profits and advise you of your tax liabilities going forward.

HMRC PUBLISHES MORE DETAILS ON MTD FOR INCOME TAX REPORTS

Making Tax Digital for income tax self-assessment is scheduled to commence in 2026/27 for sole traders and property landlords with gross income of £50,000 or more, and the threshold then reduces to £30,000 from 2027/28.

The government has confirmed that the four quarterly returns that need to be submitted will report cumulative income and expenses and that there will no longer be an end of period statement. HMRC has published the detailed income and expenditure headings that need to be reported and has also confirmed those businesses with turnover below the VAT registration threshold will be able to submit three-line accounts, i.e. total sales, total expenses and profit or loss for the period.

Several issues remain to be resolved before the new reporting obligation commences, and we will work with you to ensure that your accounting system is compliant.

CHANGES TO FURNISHED HOLIDAY LETTINGS FROM 6 APRIL 2025

As announced in the Spring Budget, the beneficial tax treatment of furnished holiday lettings (FHLs) will be abolished from 6 April 2025, when businesses will start being taxed in the same way as other residential property businesses.

Owners of properties that currently qualify as FHL might wish to consider increasing their expenditure on equipment such as furniture and televisions whilst the 100% annual investment allowance (AIA) continues to be available. The current capital gains tax reliefs, particularly business asset disposal relief (BADR) will also cease from 6 April 2025, so owners might consider selling their holiday letting property whilst the 10% CGT rate continues to apply to the disposal.

Note that where several FHL properties are owned, they would all need to be disposed of before 6 April 2025 for BADR to apply. BADR would generally not apply where a single asset is disposed of out of a larger business.

CAMPING PODS MAY QUALIFY FOR CAPITAL ALLOWANCES


A recent case before the First Tier Tribunal will be of interest to businesses operating campsites and farmers who have diversified into “glamping” by installing camping pods on their land. The capital allowances legislation states that caravans provided mainly for holiday lettings and buildings intended to be moved for the purposes of the qualifying activity, such as building site portacabins, qualify as plant and machinery.

In the recent case, the Tribunal determined that certain camping pods which were not connected to mains drainage qualified as plant as they were potentially moveable buildings. This means that where a limited company incurs expenditure on new pods, the 100% AIA and “full expensing” relief would be available, and 100% AIA would be available in the case of an unincorporated business.

HMRC may be appealing the decision of the Tribunal, but in the meantime, it would be beneficial to make a claim for tax relief. We can review your circumstances to see if they are similar to this recent case.

GET READY FOR MORE R&D CHANGES

On top of the major changes to research and development (R&D) tax relief that took effect from 1 April 2023 there are further changes that take effect from 1 April 2024.

For accounting periods commencing on or after 1 April 2024, companies carrying out qualifying R&D will be entitled to a 20% expenditure credit. The 20% is calculated on the amount of qualifying expenditure. Qualifying expenditure is extended to include subsidised expenditure from 1 April 2024, although R&D carried out overseas will no longer qualify unless the work cannot be undertaken in the UK.

“R&D intensive” companies that make trading losses will continue to be entitled to a tax refund instead of the expenditure credit. The definition of “R&D intensive” is reduced from 40% to 30% from 1 April 2024 which means a company that spends at least 30% of total expenditure on qualifying R&D will now be entitled to the more generous tax refund.

R&D tax relief continues to be a complex area and we can work with you to help you prepare a valid claim as HMRC is now scrutinising and rejecting an increasing number of claims.

DIARY OF MAIN TAX EVENTS

APRIL/ MAY 2024

Date What’s Due
1/04 Corporation tax payment for year to 30/6/23 (unless quarterly instalments apply)
5/04

End of 2023/24 tax year.

2024/25 tax year starts on 6 April

19/04 PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for month to 5/04/24 (due 22/04 if you pay electronically)

 

1/05

Corporation tax payment for year to 31/7/23 (unless quarterly instalments apply)

 

19/05

PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for month to 5/05/24 (due 22/05 if you pay electronically)

 

TaxMatters with James Milne – February 2024

TaxMatters with James Milne – February 2024

Welcome to our latest monthly tax newswire. We hope you enjoy reading this newsletter and find it useful. Contact us if you wish to discuss any issues further.

YEAR END TAX PLANNING

It’s not too late to undertake some end of year tax planning. If you have some spare cash, an obvious tax planning point would be to maximise your ISA allowances for the 2023/24 tax year (currently £20,000 each). You might also want to consider increasing your pension savings before 5 April 2024.

USE A LIFETIME ISA (LISA) TO SAVE FOR YOUR FIRST HOME


Those aged between 18 and 40 can set up a Lifetime ISA (Individual Savings Account) to buy their first home or save for later life. You can put in up to £4,000 each year until you’re 50. The government will add a 25% bonus to your savings, up to a maximum of £1,000 per year.  Note that the Lifetime ISA limit of £4,000 counts towards your £20,000 annual ISA limit.

You can withdraw money from your ISA if you’re:

  • buying your first home,
  • aged 60 or over, or
  • terminally ill, with less than 12 months to live.

However, you’ll pay a withdrawal charge of 25% if you withdraw cash or assets for any other reason (an unauthorised withdrawal). This recovers the government bonus you received on your original savings.

PENSION PLANNING


Under the current rules, the government adds to your pension contributions at the 20% basic rate. For instance, if you save £4,000 in a personal pension, the government tops this up to £5,000. If you are a higher rate taxpayer there is a further £1,000 tax relief when your tax liability is calculated, reducing the net cost to £3,000.

Additional pension contributions can be even more effective if your income is between £100,000 and £125,140 as the gross pension contribution reduces net income for the purposes of the reduction in the personal allowance. Note that for every £2 of income in excess of £100,000, the £12,570 personal allowance is reduced by £1, with a reduction to nil where net income is £125,140 or more. This is effectively a 60% tax saving.

CAPITAL GAINS TAX PLANNING

You might wish to consider bringing forward capital gains to before 6 April 2024 where you haven’t used your £6,000 CGT annual exemption. This exempt amount reduces to just £3,000 for gains made in 2024/25.

CAPITAL EXPENDITURE PLANNING


Unless the business year end is 31 March or 5 April, the end of the tax year is not a significant date as far as capital allowances are concerned. In order for new equipment to attract capital allowances, the expenditure must be incurred on or before the end of the accounting period. Limited companies buying new (not second hand) equipment are entitled to fully expense the cost of most acquisitions against business profits. There is no financial limit on expenditure qualifying for this “full expensing” relief.

Unincorporated businesses are entitled to 100% write off for the first £1 million spent on new and used equipment in a 12-month period. This “annual investment allowance” (AIA) is also available to limited companies buying secondhand equipment. The AIA does not apply to motor cars but there is a special 100% tax relief if you buy a new zero-emissions motor car.

Where equipment is bought under a hire purchase contract, the capital allowances outlined above are available on the full cost of the asset provided it has been brought into use by the end of the accounting period. This is despite the fact that the payments may be spread over a number of months.

GET READY FOR MORE R&D CHANGES

On top of the major changes to research and development (R&D) tax relief that took effect from 1 April 2023, there are yet more changes that take effect from 1 April 2024.

The main change from 1 April 2024 is that most companies carrying out qualifying R&D will be entitled to a 20% expenditure credit. The 20% is calculated on the amount of qualifying expenditure. Qualifying expenditure is extended to include subsidised expenditure from 1 April 2024, although R&D carried out overseas will no longer qualify unless the work cannot be undertaken in the UK.

“R&D intensive” companies that make trading losses will continue to be entitled to a tax refund instead of the expenditure credit. The definition of “R&D intensive” is reduced from 40% to 30% from 1 April 2024, which means a company that spends at least 30% of total expenditure on qualifying R&D.

R&D tax relief continues to be a complex area and we can work with you to help you prepare a valid claim.

ADVISORY FUEL RATE FOR COMPANY CARS


The table below sets out the HMRC advisory fuel rates from 1 March 2024. These are the suggested reimbursement rates for employees’ private mileage using their company car.

Where the employer does not pay for any fuel for the company car, these are the amounts that can be reimbursed in respect of business journeys without the amount being taxable on the employee.

 

Engine Size Petrol Diesel LPG
1400cc or less

14p

(14p)

10p

(10p)

1600cc or less

13p

(13p)

1401cc to 2000cc

16p

(16p)

12p

(12p)

1601 to 2000cc

15p

(15p)

Over 2000cc

26p

(26p)

20p

(20p)

18p

(18p)

 

Where there has been a change the previous rate is shown in brackets.

You can also continue to use the previous rates for up to 1 month from the date the new rates apply.

Note that for hybrid cars you must use the petrol or diesel rate.

For fully electric vehicles the rate is 9p per mile.

DON’T BE LATE IN PAYING YOUR PERSONAL TAX BILL

2022/23 income tax, CGT, class 2 and 4 NIC liabilities should have been paid by 31 January 2024 unless you have agreed a payment plan with HMRC. Note that if the balance is still unpaid at the end of February 2024, a 5% surcharge penalty is added in addition to the normal interest charge unless a payment plan has been agreed.

DIARY OF MAIN TAX EVENTS

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2024

Date What’s Due
1 February Corporation tax for year to 30/4/2023 unless quarterly instalments apply.
19 February PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for month to 5/2/24 (due 22/2 if you pay electronically).
29 February 5% penalty imposed on 2022/23 income tax, CGT, class 2 and 4 NIC still unpaid at this date unless a payment plan has been agreed with HMRC
1 March Corporation tax payment for year to 31/5/23 (unless quarterly instalments apply)
19 March PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for month to 5/03/24 (due 22/03 if you pay electronically)

 

TaxMatters with James Milne – December

TaxMatters with James Milne – December

Welcome to the December edition of TaxMatters. We hope that you find this informative. Please contact us if you wish to discuss any matters in more detail.

IT’S IMPORTANT TO HAVE UP TO DATE PROFIT FORECASTS FOR TAX

In order that we can help predict your taxable profits and tax liabilities we need up to date profit figures and projections. One of the advantages of keeping your business accounts in a computerised form, ideally on the Cloud, is that we can review your latest financial position and help you prepare more reliable profit forecasts to estimate your tax bills.

Unincorporated Businesses
Reliable profit forecasts are particularly important at the moment, with the changes to the taxation of sole traders and partnerships from 2024/25, and the complicated transitional rules that apply in 2023/24. The transitional rules may result in higher tax bills if your business does not have a 31 March or 5 April year end. If we have reliable profit forecasts for your business we can determine whether or not changing your business year end would be beneficial, and also determine the timing of that change.

Limited Companies
From 1 April 2023 the rate of corporation tax that a company pays depends on the level of the company’s profits and the number of “associated companies”. “Associated companies” are those under common control, which may include companies controlled by close relatives under certain circumstances.

Assuming a company has no “associated companies” then the 19% corporation tax rate continues to apply where profits are no more than £50,000 and the 25% corporation tax rate applies where profits exceed £250,000 a year. The £50,000 and £250,000 limits are divided by the number of “associated companies”.

In between the limits there is marginal relief to achieve the transition between 19% and 25%. The marginal tax rate between £50,000 and £250,000 is 26.5% and thus tax planning can be particularly effective.

For example buying new equipment or paying additional pension contributions on behalf of the directors would potentially save 26.5% corporation tax. Timing of expenditure is critical here, as the expenses would need to be incurred before the year end. We would recommend a review at least 2 months before the company’s year-end, with reliable profit forecasts available to allow time for pre-year-end planning.

WHEN ARE COMPANIES ASSOCIATED?


“Associated companies” for corporation tax purposes are those under common control. The most obvious situation is where one of the companies has control of the other, or both of the companies are under the control of the same person or persons. In determining control, the rights and powers of an individual’s associates, broadly close relatives, may be taken into consideration, but only where there is substantial commercial interdependence between the two companies. This could be financial, economic, or organisational interdependence and will depend on the facts of each case. An example would be where a brother and sister each have their own limited companies and there is a large loan or significant trading between them, such that one is dependent upon the other.

This is not a straightforward matter and we can of course advise you on whether or not it impacts your company.

LARGER COMPANIES ARE REQUIRED TO PAY TAX QUARTERLY


Although not a new measure, where a company has profits in excess of £1,500,000 a year it is required to estimate and pay corporation tax quarterly during the year, rather than 9 months after the end of its accounting period. What has changed since 1 April 2023 is that the £1,500,000 threshold is divided by the number of “associated companies” in the accounting period, as defined above. Thus, if a company has two associated companies, if any of them has profits in excess of £500,000, quarterly instalments of corporation tax will be required. If that company has a 31 March 2024 year end, it needs to pay its estimated corporation tax liability according to the following schedule:

  • 25% of its estimated liability by 14 October 2023
  • 50% of its estimated liability by 14 January 2024
  • 75% of its estimated liability by 14 April 2024
  • 100% of its corporation tax liability by 14 July 2024.

As mentioned above, accurate profit forecasts are required in order to compute the quarterly payments.

Note that this is a significant acceleration of tax payments compared to the normal 9-month payment interval. Consequently, there is a one year “grace period” that applies for the first year the threshold is breached. You might also wish to consider minimizing the number of associated companies to avoid this cash flow disadvantage.

ARE YOU DUE A NATIONAL INSURANCE REFUND ON CAR ALLOWANCES?


Recent tribunal decisions in favour of employing companies and against HMRC has caused many organisations in similar circumstance to make protective claims for the recovery of National Insurance Contributions (NIC) in respect of car allowances paid to employees using their own cars or vans for business journeys.

Many employers have a policy of only reimbursing the fuel costs associated with those business journeys (for example at 15p per mile) rather than paying the maximum HMRC Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (‘AMAP’) rates (currently 45p/25p per mile) on a tax and NIC free basis. The employee can then make a claim for the difference between the 45p allowance and the amount received from the employer as a deduction from their employment income.

The recent Upper Tribunal decisions (which HMRC have confirmed they will not appeal) have held that the amounts paid by the employer in respect of business mileage are exempt from NIC and consequently employers should consider making a claim for repayment from HMRC.

Please contact us if you think you may be entitled to make such a repayment claim.

DIARY OF MAIN TAX EVENTS – DECEMBER 2023 / JANUARY 2024

 

Date What’s Due
1/12/23 Corporation tax payment for the year to 28/2/23 (unless quarterly instalments apply)
19/12/23 Employer PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for the month to 5/12/23 (due 22/12/23 if you pay electronically)
30/12/23 Submission of 2023/24 self-assessment return (if the taxpayer wants HMRC to collect the tax owed through their wages or pension)
1/1/24 Corporation tax payment for the year to 31/3/23 (unless quarterly instalments apply)
19/1/24 Employer PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for the month to 5/1/24 (due 22/1/24 if you pay electronically)
TaxMatters with James Milne

TaxMatters with James Milne

Welcome to the Monthly Tax Newsletter for November 2023. We hope that you find this informative. Please contact us if you wish to discuss any matters in more detail.

SALARY OR DIVIDEND BEST IN 2023/24?

In recent years many accountants have advised their director/shareholder clients that the most tax efficient method of extracting profit from their family company was to pay themselves a low salary, at or around the £12,570 personal allowance, with the balance in dividends.

This strategy may need to be revisited with the introduction of higher corporation tax rates from 1 April 2023 as company profits in excess of £50,000 are taxed at an effective 26.5% rate. Where company profits exceed £50,000 it may be more tax efficient to increase the salary or put a bonus through the company accounts.

Other things to consider would be for the company to pay more into your pension or provide you with an electric company car, both of which can be tax efficient.

There are lots of factors to take into account, including the level of profit and how much you need to draw out of the company to live on. We would suggest that we set up a meeting with you a couple of months before the company year end so that we can give you the best advice.

YEAR END TAX PLANNING IDEAS FOR YOUR BUSINESS


As mentioned above it is always a good idea to set up a planning meeting with us a couple of months before your business year end so that we can advise you on the best actions to take to reduce your taxable profits. In addition to considering paying yourself a bonus from your company you might consider:

  • Bringing forward expenditure on equipment to take advantage of the 100% annual investment allowance (AIA) – up to £1 million a year on new and used equipment;
  • For limited companies, most new equipment qualifies for unlimited “full expensing” relief;
  • Where equipment is bought on hire purchase, make sure that it is brought into use by the year end to get tax relief on the full purchase price; and
  • Making additional pension contributions, taking advantage of the new £60,000 annual input allowance.

CHARGING ELECTRIC CARS AT HOME


HMRC has recently clarified their view of the tax treatment of the reimbursement of electricity costs where employees charge their electric company cars at home. HMRC now accepts that reimbursing part of a domestic energy bill, which is used to charge a company car or van, is exempt from income tax. Their previous view was that such reimbursements were taxable.

Note that the exemption will only apply provided it can be demonstrated that the electricity was used to charge the company car or van, which may be difficult to determine in practice. Employers will need to make sure that any reimbursement made towards the cost of electricity relates solely to the charging of their company car or van.

It should be remembered that where the employee uses workplace charging facilities there is no taxable benefit.

It should be noted that HMRC has still not revised their view on reclaiming VAT in respect of business miles driven by an employee who has changed their car at home. Regardless of whether the vehicle is a company car or the employee’s own, the employer cannot reclaim the VAT because the supply of electricity is made to the employee, not the employer.

RECLAIMING INPUT VAT ON THE SALE OF SHARES


The sale of shares is an exempt supply for VAT purposes, which means that input VAT on professional fees in connection with the transaction cannot be claimed. However, a recent tax tribunal decision has determined that, under certain circumstances, the input VAT may be claimed. The case concerned the sale of a subsidiary company in order to provide additional funds to complete the building of a new hotel within a hotel group. The taxpayer successfully argued that the costs had been incurred as part of raising funds for the group’s downstream activities generating taxable supplies.

HMRC may be appealing the decision, but in the meantime, companies in a similar position may seek to make protective claims to recover the input tax on professional fees.

DIARY OF MAIN TAX EVENTS – NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2023

 

Date What’s Due
1 November Corporation tax for year to 31/01/2023, unless quarterly instalments apply
19 November PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for month to 5/11/23 (due 22/11 if you pay electronically)
22 November Autumn Statement
1 December Corporation tax for year to 28/02/2023, unless quarterly instalments apply
19 December PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for month to 5/12/23 (due 22/12 if you pay electronically)
30 December Deadline for filing 2022/23 tax return online in order to request that HMRC collect outstanding tax via the 2024/25 PAYE code