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PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions for February, 2019.

Don’t forget to keep to the deadline of 5th February if you’re an employer who has made PAYE deductions from the salaries of your employees. It’s also relevant if you are a contractor who has paid subcontractors under the CIS.

For employers it is necessary to pay the appropriate amount of income tax, national insurance and student loan deductions to the HMRC. The HMRC should also receive from contractors the correct tax deductions from subcontractors under the CIS.

The deadline for regular payments is 5th February, but a deadline of 22nd February applies for funds to be cleared if the payment is made electronically. Any late payments will be subject to interest and penalties may also apply.

Protecting Pension Pots

Individuals have been urged by the Insolvency Service to protect their pension pots and avoid having them emptied by criminals and negligent trustees.

The service has discovered that a range of tactics are used by criminals to persuade those saving for their pensions to give up their savings by investing in unregulated schemes.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has stated that an average of £91,000 was lost to criminal activity in 2018. Cold calls and offers of pension advice are used by criminals to gain trust and persuade victims to give up their money.

Savers are urged to be suspicious of unsolicited calls and are asked to see a professional for financial advice before making any changes to their pension, or making any investments. Do not be pressured into making any rash decisions.

Consumer Minister Kelly Tolhurst has said:

“If you are approached to make an investment from your pension, always do your homework and seek independent advice, if necessary, to help you make an informed decision.

“The government continues to work closely with the Insolvency Service who are working to clamp down on rogue companies targeting vulnerable people.”

The “Unbelievable Excuses” to File Tax Returns Late

HMRC has published some of the excuses used by taxpayers to explain their late filings. Here are a few to give you a chuckle:

● Being too short to reach the post box.
● A broken boiler meaning a taxpayer’s fingers were too cold to type.
● Junior member of staff forgetting to wear glasses and accidentally registered a taxpayer for self assessment.
● A witch’s curse preventing a taxpaxer from filing a tax return.

Some of the more outlandish claims made include:

● £40 for “extra woolly underwear”
● £756 for pet insurance
● Meanwhile, a carpenter attempted to claim £900 for a 55” TV and sound bar, which he claimed would “help him price his jobs”.

HMRC Director General of Customer Services, Angela MacDonald, said:

“Help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time, but it's unfair to the majority of honest taxpayers when others make bogus claims.”

Spring Statement: 13th March 2019

The forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) will be addressed by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, in the Spring Statement on Wednesday 13th March, 2019.

He might also use the Spring Statement to reveal any tax changes and consultations.

Making Tax Digital For VAT Pilot Rolled Out For All Relevant Businesses

The pilot scheme Making Tax Digital for VAT is mandated for VAT return periods beginning on or after 1st April 2019, but more complex businesses have had theirs deferred until 1st October 2019. This applies to

● Trusts
● Non-profits
● Public sector entities
● Local authorities
● Public corporations
● Traders based overseas

Clare Sheehan, Deputy Director for MTD for Business, has said:

“The MTD pilot is now available to all businesses who will need to use the service from April. This marks a significant milestone towards our delivery of a modern tax administration.

“We encourage all eligible businesses to join and try out the service before they are mandated to use it.”

Separately, Jim Harra, Deputy Chief Executive of HMRC, has confirmed that Brexit will not impact MTDfV. He has written:

“Our system is already live and by the end of February we'll have written to every affected business, encouraging them to join the thousands of others who have registered.”

Post-Brexit Customs Declarations

VAT-registered UK businesses are being urged by HMRC to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. 145,000 letters have been sent out to relevant businesses, that trade exclusively with the EU, explaining Customs, Excise and VAT procedure changes that may occur if the UK leaves the EU without a Brexit deal in place.

According to the HMRC there are three steps to take ahead of the deadline date of 29th March 2019:

1. Register for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.
2. Decide how export declarations will be made: customs agent, or via software.
3. Find out whether the organisation transporting the goods will need additional information for safety and security declarations.

At the moment roughly 55 million customs declarations are made by UK businesses each year, but this may rise to 255 million after Brexit.

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