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Monday 15th February 2021

Issue 1 2021

The first issue of 2021 provides details of the deferred VAT payments and Corporation tax to go digital

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Monday 2nd November 2020

Autumn 2020

This edition of the newsletter provides a round up of the current Covid-19 financial support.

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Thursday 27th August 2020

August 2020

This edition of the newsletter provides an update on some tax changes as a result of Covid-19

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Thursday 7th November 2019

Autumn 2019

This edition includes articles on the new rules for capital gains tax on property and the shake-up to IR35 rules.

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Tuesday 30th July 2019

Summer 2019

The Summer edition leads on changes to VAT for the construction sector and an article on the potential advantages of deferring your state pension.

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Tuesday 14th May 2019

May 2019 Newsletter

The May edition details the changes to Entrepreneurs' Relief and the potential pitfalls when claiming Capital Allowances on some assets.

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Wednesday 27th February 2019

Spring 2019 Newsletter

The Spring edition of the newsletter highlights changes to IR35 and capital allowances

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Thursday 4th February 2021

HMRC has published the names of 139 named companies that failed to pay minimum wages amounting to £6.7 million to over 95,000 workers.

HMRC has published the names of 139 named companies that failed to pay minimum wages amounting to £6.7 million to over 95,000 workers.

HMRC has named 139 companies, including major household names, that have underpaid their employees and have been fined. The offending companies failed to pay £6.7 million to their workers, in a breach of employment law.

This is the first time the government has named and shamed companies for failing to pay National Minimum Wage since 2018, following reforms to the process to ensure only the worst offenders are targeted.

Business Minister Paul Scully said:

'Paying the minimum wage is not optional, it is the law. It is never acceptable for any employer to short-change their workers, but it is especially disappointing to see huge household names who absolutely should know better on this list.

'This should serve as a wake-up call to named employers and a reminder to everyone of the importance of paying workers what they are legally entitled to.

'Make no mistake, those who fail to follow minimum wage rules will be caught out and made to pay up.'

Internet link: GOV.UK news

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Thursday 4th February 2021

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes delivered the 2021/22 Scottish Draft Budget on Thursday 28 January 2021, setting out the Scottish Government's financial and tax plans.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes delivered the 2021/22 Scottish Draft Budget on Thursday 28 January 2021, setting out the Scottish Government's financial and tax plans.

The Government has devolved powers to set the rates and bands of income tax (other than those for savings and dividend income) which apply to Scottish resident taxpayers.

The Scottish Budget announced the following income tax rates and bands for 2021/22. These will be considered by the Scottish Parliament, and an agreed Scottish Rate Resolution will set the final Scottish income tax rates and bands for 2021/22.

The current rates and bands for 2020/21 and the proposed rates and bands for 2021/22 on non-savings and non-dividend income are as follows:

2020/21 (£) 2021/22 (£) Band name Scottish Rates (%)
12,501* - 14,585 12,570* - 14,667 Starter 19
14,586 - 25,158 14,668 - 25,296 Scottish Basic 20
25,159 - 43,430 25,297 - 43,662 Intermediate 21
43,431 - 150,000** 43,663 - 150,000** Higher 41
Above 150,000** Above 150,000** Top 46

* Assumes individuals are in receipt of the Standard UK Personal Allowance.

** the personal allowance will be reduced if an individual's adjusted net income is above £100,000. The allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 of income over £100,000.

In the UK Spending Review in November 2020, the UK Government announced that the UK wide Personal Allowance and the UK higher rate threshold would be uprated by CPI inflation of 0.5% for the tax year 2021/22 (to £12,570 and £50,270 respectively). All other policy decisions about UK rates and bands will be announced at the UK Budget on 3 March 2021.

The Personal Allowance is £12,500 for 2020/21. Across the rest of the UK the basic rate of income tax is 20%. In 2020/21 the band of income taxable at this rate is £37,500 so the threshold at which the 40% band applies is £50,000 for those entitled to the full personal allowance. UK taxpayers pay 45% tax on their income over £150,000.

Internet link: GOV.SCOT publications

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Thursday 4th February 2021

As part of the Scottish Budget, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes also announced changes to Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) which apply from 1 April 2021.

As part of the Scottish Budget, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes also announced changes to Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) which apply from 1 April 2021.

The Scottish Government's stated policy priority for residential LBTT remains to help first-time buyers and to assist people as they progress through the property market. The current rates and bands which apply until 31 March 2021 are as follows:

Residential property (£) Rate (%)
0 - 250,000 0
250,001 - 325,000 5
325,001 - 750,000 10
750,001 and over 12

For transactions with an effective date on or after 1 April 2021 the rate bands will return to:

Residential property (£) Rate (%)
0 - 145,000 0
145,001 - 250,000 2
250,001 - 325,000 5
325,001 - 750,000 10
750,001 and over 12

The rates apply to the portion of the total value which falls within each band.

First-time buyer relief

The relief for first-time buyers of properties up to £175,000 will resume its effect by increasing the residential zero tax threshold for first-time buyers from £145,000 to £175,000. First-time buyers purchasing a property above £175,000 also benefit from the relief on the portion of the price below the threshold. According to the Government, those buying a property for more than £175,000 will receive relief on the portion of the price below the threshold and benefit from savings of up to £600.

Higher rates for additional residential properties

Higher rates of LBTT are charged on purchases of additional residential properties, such as buy to let properties and second homes. Although these are the main targets of the higher rates, some other purchasers may have to pay the higher rates.

The Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) potentially applies if, at the end of the day of the purchase transaction, the individual owns two or more residential properties. Care is needed if an individual already owns, or partly owns, a property and transacts to purchase another property without having disposed of the first property. An 18-month rule helps to remove some transactions from the additional rates (or allows a refund). The ADS is charged at 4%.

Internet link: GOV.SCOT publications

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Thursday 4th February 2021

The government has announced that employers can now apply for a £1,000 bonus, a cash boost, to help them take on new trainees.

The government has announced that employers can now apply for a £1,000 bonus, a cash boost, to help them take on new trainees.

The new scheme will support young people to gain the skills and experience they need from the start, helping them to get a job, an apprenticeship, or to pursue further study.

The cash boost, which is available until 31 July 2021, will help businesses with the cost of providing a high-quality work placement for a trainee. This includes providing facilities, uniforms or helping with travel costs.

Businesses offering new traineeship opportunities will receive the £1,000 bonus for every trainee they take on, up to a maximum of ten trainees.

Employers can claim the cash incentive for all work placements that have been completed since 1 September.

Gillian Keegan, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, said:

'We're pulling out all the stops to help young people get the skills and confidence they need to progress. This cash boost will help employers of all sizes provide more traineeship opportunities to invest in their workforce so they can rebuild and grow, giving young people a vital route to start their apprenticeship journey, get their first job or go on to further study.

'I strongly encourage as many employers as possible to apply now and take advantage of this fantastic offer so more young people can gain the skills they need to progress in their careers as we build back better from the pandemic.'

Internet link: GOV.UK news

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Thursday 4th February 2021

The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) has urged the government to raise the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) threshold to avoid it affecting basic-rate taxpayers for the first time in April 2021.

The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) has urged the government to raise the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) threshold to avoid it affecting basic-rate taxpayers for the first time in April 2021.

The LITRG stated that this goes against the original policy intent, and is 'likely to cause the government additional difficulties in raising awareness about the charge among those who do not consider themselves on a high income'.

Tom Henderson, Technical Officer at the LITRG, said:

'When the HICBC was announced in 2010, the government's policy intent was that it would only affect higher-rate taxpayers from January 2013. For the 2012/13 tax year, the higher-rate threshold – the point at which an individual is liable to the higher rate of tax – was £42,475. Since then, the higher-rate threshold has risen broadly in line with inflation but the £50,000 threshold for the HICBC has remained static.

'The government has so far resisted calls to up-rate the £50,000 threshold, but this is no longer tenable now the higher-rate threshold will overtake it from 6 April 2021.'

In its Budget submission, the LITRG calls for the point at which child benefit is fully clawed back to increase from £60,000 to £75,000.

The government will present the 2021 Budget on Wednesday 3 March.

Internet link: LITRG news

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Thursday 4th February 2021

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has urged the government to provide more financial assistance to businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ahead of the Budget on 3 March 2021.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has urged the government to provide more financial assistance to businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ahead of the Budget on 3 March 2021.

The business group has outlined support measures required to help protect UK businesses through the spring. It has called for:

  • an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) beyond April to the end of June
  • a lengthening of repayment periods for existing VAT deferrals until June 2021; and
  • an extension of the business rates holiday for at least another three months.

The CBI has also called for an announcement of details of the successor of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

Tony Danker, Director General of the CBI, said:

'The Budget comes at a crucial time for the UK. The Government's support from the very start of this crisis has protected many jobs and livelihoods, and progress on the vaccine rollout brings real cause for optimism.

'But almost a year of disrupted demand and extensive restrictions to company operations is taking its toll. Staff morale has taken a hit. And business resilience has hit a sobering new low.

'The Government must once again stand shoulder-to-shoulder with businesses to underwrite support for the duration, helping viable enterprises to last the course.

'Many tough decisions for business owners on jobs, or even whether to carry on, will be made in the next few weeks. If the Government plans to continue its support then I urge them to take action before the Budget which is still more than six weeks away.

'The Government has done so much to support UK business through this crisis, we don't want to let slip all the hard work from 2020 with hope on the horizon.

'The rule of thumb must be that business support remains in parallel to restrictions and that those measures do not come to a sudden stop, but tail off over time. Just as the lifting of restrictions will be gradual, so must changes to the Government's sterling support to businesses.' 

Internet link: CBI article

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Thursday 4th February 2021

The UK's Supreme Court has found in favour of small firms receiving payments from COVID-19 business interruption insurance policies.

The UK's Supreme Court has found in favour of small firms receiving payments from COVID-19 business interruption insurance policies.

The test case was brought against insurers by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The ruling means that thousands of small businesses are now set to receive insurance payouts covering losses from the first national lockdown.

Commenting on the ruling, Flora Hamilton, Financial Services Director at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said:

'At such an uncertain time, this court case provides much-needed clarity to companies across the UK, and relief for smaller firms struggling with cashflow.

'This is significant news for insurers, and regulators will need to work closely with the industry as policies, products and processes are updated to reflect this ruling.'

Internet links: CBI article  FCA news

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Friday 29th January 2021

On 28 January, Finance Secretary for Scotland, Kate Forbes, outlined plans for Scottish spending and taxation in the 2021/2022 Scottish Budget.

On 28 January, Finance Secretary for Scotland, Kate Forbes, outlined plans for Scottish spending and taxation in the 2021/2022 Scottish Budget.

In the Budget, Ms Forbes announced plans to continue first-time homebuyer relief, which raises the nil-rate band for Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) to £175,000. The Budget also highlighted plans to return the ceiling of the nil-rate band for residential LBTT to £145,000 from 1 April, as planned.

The starter band, basic band and higher rate thresholds of Scottish income tax will rise by inflation, whilst the top rate threshold of income tax will be frozen in cash terms at £150,000.

The Budget confirmed that the introduction of Air Departure Tax (ADT) will be deferred until a solution to the Highlands and Islands exemption has been found.

In regard to spending, the Scottish government will release £500 million to support businesses, public services and health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Ms Forbes said that this money is being allocated from what is expected to come to Scotland from the UK's £21 billion COVID-19 reserve.

The Finance Secretary said: 'This Budget is focused on delivering tax policies that will support economic recovery and maintain our commitment to creating a fairer and more progressive tax system. It is about striking the right balance between raising the revenue required to fund our public services and supporting the economic recovery through targeted interventions.'

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Wednesday 6th January 2021

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new £4.6 billion package of grants to support businesses through the latest national lockdown.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new £4.6 billion package of grants to support businesses through the latest national lockdown.

UK businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to be given one-off grants worth up to £9,000.

The payments are expected to support 600,000 business properties across the UK. A further £594 million will be made available to councils and devolved nations to support businesses not covered by the new grants.

The Chancellor said:

'The new strain of the virus presents us all with a huge challenge, and whilst the vaccine is being rolled out, we have needed to tighten restrictions further.'

'Throughout the pandemic we've taken swift action to protect lives and livelihoods and . . . we're announcing a further cash injection to support businesses and jobs until the spring.'

'This will help businesses to get through the months ahead – and crucially it will help sustain jobs so workers can be ready to return when they are able to reopen.'

Internet link: GOV.UK news

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Wednesday 6th January 2021

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) until the end of April 2021.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) until the end of April 2021.

Businesses adversely affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) can make use of the CJRS until the end of April, with the government continuing to pay 80% of employees' salaries for hours not worked. Employers will only be required to pay wages, national insurance contributions (NICs) and pensions for hours worked, and NICs and pensions for hours not worked.

Additionally, Mr Sunak stated that he is extending COVID-19 business loan schemes until the end of March 2021. Businesses will be given until the end of March to access the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS). These schemes had been due to close at the end of January.

The Chancellor also confirmed that the 2021 Budget will be delivered on 3 March 2021 and will outline the next phase of the government's plan to combat COVID-19 and protect jobs.

The Chancellor said:

'Our package of support for businesses and workers continues to be one of the most generous and effective in the world – helping our economy recover and protecting livelihoods across the country.

'We know the premium businesses place on certainty, so it is right that we enable them to plan ahead regardless of the path the virus takes, which is why we're providing certainty and clarity by extending this support.'

Internet link: GOV.UK news

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