DMS Posts, Tax

MTD for ITSA: Your questions answered

by Rebecca Cave

These answers are based on the guidance produced so far by the professional bodies and HMRC, the draft legislation and consultation documents. The final regulations for MTD for income tax (MTD ITSA) will be published in the Autumn (probably in October), so we can’t be confident of how the rules will work exactly until we see those regs.  

When must a business join MTD?

It is now apparent that there will be a big bang joining date for MTD ITSA on 6 April 2023 for all unincorporated businesses, whatever their current accounting period end.

Changing to a tax year basis from 2023/24 will mean that all businesses will have to report income and expenses that fall exactly into the tax year. Also, the draft legislation to bring about this change deems an accounting period ending on 31 March to be treated as ending on 5 April for tax purposes.

This combination of basis period and deeming provision means that unincorporated businesses will need to enter the MTD ITSA regime from the next accounting period starting on or after 1 April 2023. Thus businesses which draw up accounts to 31 March 2023 will join MTD ISA from 1 April 2023 not 1 April 2024.

It is possible that Treasury Ministers will be persuaded that having all unincorporated businesses joining MTD ITSA at exactly the same time, and reporting to the same quarterly deadlines, will put an impossible strain on HMRC’s systems and resources. We will have to wait and see what the final MTD regulations say when they are released.   

Will the turnover threshold change?

We do not expect the turnover threshold to change in the final MTD ITSA regulations. HMRC has made it clear that all unincorporated businesses with an annual turnover exceeding £10,000 will be required to report income and expenses under MTD ITSA.

This turnover threshold takes into account income from all businesses, trades and property. A person with £6,000 of trading income and £6,000 of rental income will be required to report under MTD ITSA as their total turnover exceeds £10,000.

Will there be any deferral of start date?

Partnerships which only have individuals as partners will have to join MTD ITSA from April 2023.

However, there will be a deferral (for an undefined period) for MTD ITSA mandation for the following categories of partnership:

  • Partnerships containing a corporate partner
  • LLPs
  • Limited partnerships

Will there be any exemptions?

The latest MTD ITSA policy update indicates that the following taxpayers will have full exemption from MTD ITSA:

  • Trusts (including trusts with property income)
  • Estates of deceased persons
  • Trustees of registered pension schemes
  • Non-resident companies 

In addition, some individuals may be able to claim exemption from MTD ITSA on the basis that they are digitally excluded.

We do not have the HMRC guidance for MTD ITSA at this point yet, but VAT Notice 700/22 indicates that if the taxpayer can get any internet access at their home, business or to another location they will not be exempt on the basis of digital exclusion. This takes no account of the speed or reliability of the internet access.    

Any easement?

HMRC has confirmed that there will be no easement for taxpayers attempting to comply with the MTD ITSA regulations in the first year, but a late filing penalty will not apply until four quarterly submissions have been filed late.

There is no information yet on whether penalties will apply for inaccurate quarterly submissions under MTD ITSA. 

The whole system of penalties for late filing and late payment of income tax and VAT is to be revised as set out in FA 2021 ss116-118, schs 24, 25, 26. The changes impose a complex system of points that build up to a financial penalty. It is expected that this new system will be brought in alongside MTD ITSA.

What are the filing deadlines?

HMRC has confirmed that the quarterly filing deadlines for all unincorporated businesses filing under MTD ITSA will be: 5 August, 5 November, 5 February, and 5 May. Those businesses with accounting dates of 31 March or 1, 2, 3, 4 April, will also file by these deadlines, so a business with a 31 March accounting date will have 5 extra days to file.   

The first mandated MTD submission for the first quarter to 5 July 2023 will have to reach HMRC by 5 August 2023, which is a Saturday in the Summer Bank Holiday weekend in Scotland. 

What exactly will be submitted?

The quarterly MTD ITSA submission will consist of total sales income in the period and totals of expenses in defined categories. It is expected that those categories will be aligned with expense totals currently required for the self-employed section of the self-assessment tax return. Quarterly balance sheet statements will not be required.

Any accounting adjustments, for say capital allowances or losses, will be made on the final submission for the year – known as the end of period statement (EOPS).

How will the tax position be finalised?

The EOPS will have to be submitted by 31 January following the end of the tax year. HMRC hope that tax software providers will incorporate the EOPS into the tax software which also compiles and submits the finalisation statement.

It is the finalisation statement, that calculates the tax liability for the year, which effectively replaces the SA tax return. Any sources of income which have not been reported on the quarterly MTD submissions or EOPS is included in the finalisation statement.

Taxpayers who are not within MTD ITSA, but are currently required to submit an SA return (eg to report gains or taxable interest) will continue to submit a SA tax return.

DMS Posts, PAYE, Tax

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from July 2021

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021 and the level of grant available to employers under the scheme will stay the same until 30 June 2021.

1. Changes to the level of grant from 1 July 2021

From 1 July 2021, the level of grant will be reduced and you will be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages. To be eligible for the grant you must continue to pay your furloughed employees 80% of their wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month for the time they spend on furlough.

The table below shows the level of government contribution available in the coming months, the required employer contribution and the amount that the employee receives per month where the employee is furloughed 100% of the time.

Wage caps are proportional to the hours not worked.

MayJuneJulyAugustSeptember
Government contribution: wages for hours not worked80% up to £2,50080% up to £2,50070% up to £2,187.5060% up to £1,87560% up to £1,875
Employer contribution: employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributionsYesYesYesYesYes
Employer contribution wages for hours not workedNoNo10% up to £312.5020% up to £62520% up to £625
For hours not worked employee receives80% up to £2,500 per month80% up to £2,500 per month80% up to £2,500 per month80% up to £2,500 per month80% up to £2,500 per month

You can continue to choose to top up your employees’ wages above the 80% total and £2,500 cap for the hours not worked at your own expense.

DMS Posts, Tax

SEISS 4

Almost five months after the last round of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), HMRC is now sending emails, letters or messages within its online service advising those whose tax returns show they may be entitled to claim the fourth SEISS grant when their April when their personal claims window opens.

The window will open in “late April” according to HMRC and will close for all SEISS 4 claims on 1 June 2021.

SEISS has evolved

Coronavirus isn’t alone in having spawned variants. The newest SEISS variant, SEISS 4, covers the period from 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021 and brings 2019/20 tax returns into account, both for eligibility and in calculation of the amount of the grant. This will open the scheme to some new applicants who started up in 2019/20; it excludes not only those who are no longer trading but also some who had little or no profit relative to other income in 2019/20.

Eligibility is determined by HMRC and only applies to those whose 2019/20 tax returns were submitted before 3 March 2021.

HMRC will test eligibility for 2019/20 in isolation to see if profits are under £50,000 and at least half the relevant income. For those who don’t qualify based on 2019/20 alone, HMRC will then evaluate the four tax years 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20 combined to test if average profits across the four years are under £50,000 and at least half of relevant income.

If trading hasn’t continued through all four tax years, only the most recent continuous two or three tax years with trading income are used in determining both eligibility and amount.

Amount is also determined by HMRC, and SEISS 4 will again be 80% of three months’ average profits, but it is likely to be different to SEISS 3. The amount of SEISS 4 could be higher or lower than SEISS 3 because 2019/20 profits will be included for the first time in working out average profits.

There is no mechanism to claim a smaller amount – the only option would be to make the claim and voluntarily repay part of it.

Entitlement

Just because HMRC’s historical records may show eligibility does not mean that someone is necessarily entitled to claim. There are two important declarations required:

  1. Traded as self-employed in 2020/2021 and intending to continue to trade in 2021/2022
  2. Must have reasonable belief there will be a significant reduction in trading profits due to reduced self-employed income (not just increased costs) because of reduced business activity, capacity, demand or inability to trade due to coronavirus. There are several key terms in this declaration which will be discussed in more detail in a follow-on article next week.

Having a new child affected the 2019/20 tax year?

It may be possible in some limited circumstances for someone to make a claim even if having a new child means they do not meet the eligibility tests based on their 2019/20 tax return. They must have submitted a 2018/19 tax return and meet all other eligibility and entitlement criteria. HMRC advises: “Before making a claim, you must contact us to verify that having a new child has affected your eligibility.”

For these purposes “having a new child” includes being pregnant, giving birth (including a stillbirth after more than 24 weeks of pregnancy) and relates to the six months after giving birth, and caring for a child within 12 months of birth or adoption placement for a claimant who has parental responsibility.

Tax on SEISS payments

All SEISS variants are taxable and class 4 NICable and for SEISS 4 this will be in 2021/22, the year in which the grant is made, even though most of the qualifying three months are not in 2021/22.

SEISS grants received must be declared on self-assessment returns separately from normal business turnover.

Be prepared for HMRC checks

HMRC has repeatedly said all SEISS claims will be checked. The focus of checks will principally be the entitlement declarations claimants make, since HMRC itself is determining eligibility and amount. HMRC can be expected to automate checks to some extent by comparing SEISS claims with turnover and profits on self-assessment tax returns for 2020/21 and eventually with 2021/22 tax returns.

DMS Posts, PAYE, Tax

Tax and National Insurance rates and bands

Here are the changes that will come into effect in April 2021:

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage

Changes will come into effect on 1st April. Note the different age bands for rates in 2021/22.

2021/222020/21
Employees aged under 18: NMW£4.62£4.55
Employees aged 18-20: NMW£6.56£6.45
Employees aged 23 and over: NLW£8.91N/A
Employees aged 25 and over: NLWN/A£8.72
Employees aged 21-24: NMWN/A£8.20
Employees aged 21-22: NMW£8.36N/A

England, Northern Ireland and Wales

Changes will come into effect on 6th April 2021.

2021/222020/21
Personal allowance£12,570£12,500
Employee’s NI becomes due at£9,568£9,500
Employer’s NI becomes due at£8,840£8,788
Higher rate tax becomes due at£50,270£50,000
Class 2 NI becomes due when profits exceed£6,515£6,475
Class 2 NI per week£3.05£3.05
Class 4 NI becomes due when profits exceed£9,568£9,500

Scottish tax rates and bands

Changes will come into effect on 6th April 2021.

2021/222020/21
Personal allowance£0 – £12,570£0 – £12,500
Starter rate 19%£12,571 – £14,667£12,501 – £14,585
Basic rate 20%£14,668 – £25,296£14,586 – £25,158
Intermediate rate 21%£25,297 – £43,662£25,159 – £43,430
Higher rate 41%£43,663 – £150,000£43,431 – £150,000
Top rate 46%Over £150,000Over £150,000

Student Loan repayment thresholds and new Scottish student loan plan

Changes will come into effect on 6th April 2021.

2021/222020/21
Undergraduate loan: plan 1£19,895£19,390
Undergraduate loan: plan 2£27,295£26,575
Scottish student loan: plan 4£25,000N/A
Postgraduate loan£21,000£21,000
DMS Posts, Tax

What is IR35?

Definition of IR35

IR35 is a piece of legislation that allows HMRC to collect additional payment where a contractor is an employee in all but name.

If a contractor is operating through an intermediary, such as a limited company, and, but for that intermediary, they would be an employee of their client, IR35 kicks in.

If the contractor’s contract is in the public sector, it’s up to the engager (the contractor’s client) to determine whether IR35 applies. If it does, the engager will place the contractor onto their payroll and will deduct income tax and National Insurance before paying the contractor.

If the contractor’s contract is in the private sector, IR35 requires the intermediary to make an extra payment to compensate for the additional tax and NI that HMRC would have received on an equivalent employee’s wages.

From April 2021, the rules are due to change for contractors working with medium to large sized clients in the private sector. Like the public sector, these clients will have to determine whether the contractor falls inside or outside IR35.

When IR35 legislation applies, a contract may be described as ‘within IR35’ or ‘caught by IR35’.

Determining IR35

Whether a contractor is an employee in all but name may vary from client to client and from project to project. When determining this HMRC will look at the whole picture, but key factors are:

  • Does the contractor have to carry out the work personally, rather than being able to send a substitute?
  • Does the client have to provide the contractor with work, and/or does the contractor have to carry out any work that the client requests?
  • Does the client have control over how, when and where the contractor carries out the work?

Answers of yes to these questions will indicate a quasi-employment relationship. You can also use CEST, which is HMRC’s online tool to help determine IR35.

Note that HMRC will look at what actually happens (or would happen) in practice, rather than the terms of the contract. HMRC will also look at other factors, such as whether the contractor has an office at the client’s site, an email address and/or job title indicating that they are part of the client’s business, and so forth.