What are approved mileage payments

Mileage Allowance Payments (MAPs) are the rates used by employers to reimburse employees when they use their own transport for business purposes. The current rates are well-known. They are:

Cars and vans – 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles and 25p thereafter.
Motorcycles – 24p per mile
Bikes – 20p per mile
As long as employers pay at these rates, and no more, any expenses paid are tax free in the hands of the employee.

If the employer is registered for VAT, they can also claim back as input tax the deemed VAT included in the mileage rate. To do this, employers should use the advisory fuel rates. These are published on the gov.uk website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/advisory-fuel-rates/advisory-fuel-rates-from-1-march-2016

If employers pay at rates higher than MAPs, any excess will be treated as remuneration, added to employees’ salary, and taxed accordingly.

If employers pay their employees at less than the MAP rates, employees can make a claim to HMRC to compensate them for any shortfall. In effect, the difference in the MAP rate paid times the business mileage for the tax year can be claimed as an allowable expense.

Tax Diary May/June 2017

1 May 2017 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 July 2016.

19 May 2017 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 May 2017. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 May 2017)

19 May 2017 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 May 2017.

19 May 2017 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 May 2017 is payable by today.

31 May 2017 – Ensure all employees have been given their P60s for the 2016-17 tax year.

1 June 2017 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 August 2016.

19 June 2017 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 June 2017. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 June 2017)

19 June 2017 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 June 2017.

19 June 2017 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 June 2017 is payable by today.

Finance Bill reduced

In order to ensure that the Finance Bill 2017, introduced March 2017, is passed before the impending general election, huge chunks of the original, published bill have been removed. In the national press this has been referred to as a “wash-up”.

Significant legislation has been side-lined in the process. For example, the following charging provisions have been removed:

  1. Rules to introduce the further digitisation of tax payer records by requiring that certain sectors of the self-employed will need to upload quarterly data to HMRC from April 2018, all unincorporated businesses by April 2019. The so-called, Making Tax Digital processes.
  2. The reduction of the tax-free dividend allowance from £5,000 to £2,000 from April 2018.
  3. Many of the anti-avoidance, counter legislation changes.
  4. The reduction in the pensions money purchase allowance.

The national press is keen to speculate that some or all of these removed clauses will not be reintroduced after the election. Much will depend on who wins the election, but if Mrs May re-enters Downing Street, a second Finance Bill for 2017, to represent the missing clauses, seems likely.

Like so much in politics these days, we will have to wait until the ink has dried on the voting slips, and the count completed, before the re-introduced legislation or new tax changes are considered.

Business owners are to some extent in limbo as the Making Tax changes, although heavily promoted by HMRC, are now without charging provisions in the Taxes Acts. Many businesses, and their advisors, are presently trialling the electronic upload of data to HMRC, so it is difficult to see that this entire raft of legislation will be permanently withdrawn. We will have to wait and see.

Tax
Planning

It’s vital to be prepared well in advance of meeting your tax obligations and we do everything we can to keep our clients ahead of the game. Our approach to pre-year-end tax planning is second to none: legal, efficient, and effective.

Start-Up
Service

Our Start-Up Service is the perfect package for new entrepreneurs. Come to us as soon as your begin planning your enterprise’s finances and we will guide you all the way from your choice of company structure to finding the most tax-efficient accounting solution. We explain what expenditure is tax deductible, i.e. wholly and exclusively for business.

Management
Accounting

To succeed, you need to be up to speed with the current state of your enterprise’s finances. Every business has key performance indicators. We can help you identify yours and help you to monitor them. We arrange pre-year-end finance meetings. When you know where you are right now, you can plan your next steps forward.

The new Criminal Finances Bill

New legislation to increase the powers of law enforcement received Royal Assent 27 April 2017.

The Criminal Finances Act 2017 will give law enforcement agencies and partners, further capabilities and powers to recover the proceeds of crime, tackle money laundering, tax evasion and corruption, and combat the financing of terrorism.

The act:

  • creates unexplained wealth orders which can require those suspected of serious crime or corruption to explain the sources of their wealth
  • creates new criminal offences for corporations who fail to prevent their staff from facilitating tax evasion
  • enables the seizure and forfeiture of proceeds of crime and terrorist money stored in bank accounts and certain personal or moveable items
  • provides legal protections for the sharing of information between regulated companies and extends the time period granted to law enforcement agencies to investigate suspicious transactions
  • extends disclosure orders to cover money laundering and terrorist finance investigations
  • extends the existing civil recovery regime in the Proceeds of Crime Act to allow for the recovery of the proceeds of gross human rights abuses or violations overseas

These changes are the biggest extension of asset confiscation and the money laundering legislation since the Proceeds of Crime Act was passed in 2002.

 

The legislation will need to be considered, and with some care, as this new act has extended liability in sensitive areas, not least new criminal offences for corporations who fail to prevent their staff from facilitating tax evasion.

Change in accounts filing for small companies

Small companies are required to file a copy of their end of year accounts with Companies House. In the past, it has been possible to file abbreviated accounts – basically, a few notes and a Balance Sheet with very little data regarding profitability – for smaller companies this has restricted the amount of financial information available in the public domain, and thus, their exposure to competitors.

 

For accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2016, the format of accounts that will need to be filed has changed. An announcement posted to the gov.uk website is reproduced below:

If you’re a small company, you have 4 options for filing your accounts:

Micro-entity accounts

You must meet at least 2 of the following:

  • turnover is no more than £632,000
  • balance sheet total is no more than £316,000
  • average number of employees is no more than 10

Abridged accounts

You must meet at least 2 of the following:

  • turnover is no more than £10.2 million
  • balance sheet total is no more than £5.1 million
  • average number of employees is no more than 50

Full accounts with us and HMRC

These joint accounts are suitable for small companies who are audit exempt and need to file full accounts to us and HMRC. You can also file your tax return with HMRC at the same time.

Dormant company accounts

These accounts are suitable for companies limited by shares or by guarantee that have never traded and can be filed using our WebFiling Service.

We will be considering these options in the coming months and making recommendations to clients based on their available options.

Under 4 year olds now eligible for tax-free childcare

The government have issued the following press release regarding the roll-out of the new tax-free childcare scheme:

From 21 April 2017, working parents can start applying for two new government childcare schemes launching this year – Tax-Free Childcare which begins immediately and 30 hours free childcare which starts in September.

This means that working parents of children, who will be aged under 4 on 31 August 2017, can now apply through the new digital childcare service for Tax-Free Childcare and receive a government top-up of £2 for every £8 that they pay into their Tax-Free Childcare account. All parents of disabled children (under 17 years old) will also be able to apply for Tax-Free Childcare from today.

In addition, parents of 2-3 year olds, who will be eligible for a 30 hours free childcare place in September, can apply through the childcare service and start arranging a place with their childcare provider.

The Childcare Choices website provides information on the government’s childcare schemes and explains how parents can pre-register or apply. It also includes a childcare calculator to show eligible families how much they could receive.

For parents across the UK, Tax-Free Childcare will cut childcare costs by up to £2,000 per year for each child under 12 years old, or £4,000 per year for disabled children under 17 years old. The programme will be rolled out through the year, with all eligible parents able to receive it by the end of 2017.

From September, working parents of three and four-year-olds living in England will also be entitled to the new 30 hours free childcare offer, worth around £5,000 per child. Parents will only need to make a single application for both schemes when their children become eligible.

Beneficial loans to employees

In many cases, making loans to your employees or their relatives can create an obligation to report a beneficial loan to HMRC. The deemed benefit would be a taxable benefit in kind for the relevant employee, and would increase the employer’s Class 1A NIC bill at the end of the tax year.

However, certain loans are exempt from this reporting obligation. These may include loans employers provide:

  • in the normal course of a domestic or family relationship as an individual (not as a company you control, even if you are the sole owner and employee),
  • with a combined outstanding value to an employee of less than £10,000 throughout the whole tax year,
  • to an employee for a fixed and never changing period, and at a fixed and constant rate that was equal to or higher than HMRC’s official interest rate when the loan was taken out – the official rate for 2016-17 was 3%,
  • under identical terms and conditions to the general public as well (this mostly applies to commercial lenders),
  • that are ‘qualifying loans’, meaning all of the interest qualifies for tax relief,
  • using a director’s loan account as long as it’s not overdrawn at any time during the tax year.

Loans written off also create a National Insurance Class 1 charge. They must be reported on a P11D and the employer has an obligation to deduct and pay Class 1 NIC on the deemed value of the benefit.

Calculating the taxable benefits for chargeable loans can be somewhat complex and readers are advised to take advice if they are unsure of their tax and NIC responsibilities.