DMS Posts

MTD ITSA delayed to 2024

by Rebecca Cave

Delayed

The government has delayed the start of MTD ITSA to 6 April 2024, with MTD for general partnerships postponed to 2025. The change to the tax year basis has also been delayed until at least April 2024.

In a written statement to the House of Commons on 23 September 2021, it was announced that MTD for income tax self assessment (MTD ITSA) would be postponed yet again to April 2024. 

“We recognise that, as we emerge from the pandemic, it’s critical that everyone has enough time to prepare for the change, which is why we’re giving people an extra year to do so. We remain firmly committed to Making Tax Digital and building a tax system fit for the 21st Century” announced the new financial secretary Lucy Frazer. 

Long time coming

This is the latest in a series of delays and deferrals in the MTD programme, which was proposed by Chancellor George Osborne in late 2015. The MTD start date for small businesses was first planned to be in April 2018, then the focus switched to MTD for VAT. The MTD for income tax programme was to be delayed until lessons had been learnt from the VAT roll-out.

MTD for VAT commenced on time for most VAT registered businesses for VAT periods starting on and after 1 April 2019 but a number of “complex” entities had a deferred start date to 1 October 2019. A similar deferral is now in place for general partnerships (ie not LLPs, mixed or corporate partnerships), with those “ordinary partnerships” due to enter MTD ITSA from April 2025.

There is no indication of when other more complex partnerships will have to join MTD, and we don’t know if the MTD for corporation tax project will start as planned in 2026 or not.

What is the base year?

The turnover for mandation into the MTD ITSA regime remains at only £10,000 per year, much to disappointment of many who were lobbying for a much higher entry threshold.

As the turnover threshold must take into account the taxpayer’s income from all of their sole-trader businesses, plus their rental income, HMRC needs to pull together several figures from the taxpayer’s self assessment tax returns. Only when the tax return totals reach the £10,000 threshold will HMRC issue a notice to file under the MTD regulations.

If MTD ITSA was mandated from 6 April 2023, the turnover test would need to apply to the figures reported in the 2021/22 tax return, submitted by 31 January 2023, and possibly turnover reported in the 2021/22. Both of those years were affected by the pandemic which reduced turnover and rental income for many businesses and landlords.

Local authority grants for businesses liable for business rates would also increase business turnover for those periods. The SEISS grants should not have been included in business turnover, but some taxpayers have reported them as such, leading to HMRC having to make many corrections taxpayers’ self-assessments for 2020/21, and possibly also for 2021/22. 

As MTD ITSA will now start in April 2024 the base year for testing the MTD turnover threshold will be the tax year 2022/23. The turnover figures for that year should not be distorted by Covid-related grants, and hopefully will reflect normal trading beyond the pandemic for most businesses. 

Tax year basis

When the consultation on changing to the tax year basis of assessment was released in July 2021, doubts were raised on whether there was sufficient time to introduce such a fundamental change to tax law before the mandation of MTD ITSA.

It was apparent that HMRC wanted all unincorporated businesses to switch to the tax year basis before the introduction of MTD ITSA in 2023, but this would make 2022/23 the difficult transitional year.

For businesses with an accounting year end that doesn’t approximate to the tax year, more than 12 months of profits would be assessed in 2022/23. This would have a knock-on effect for a wide range of allowances and charges, including NIC, student loan repayments and capital allowances, to name a few. There was just not enough time to write amendments to regulations in all the areas affected before April 2022.    

What’s more using the tax year basis would bring forward the start of MTD ITSA for businesses with a 31 March year end, from 1 April 2024 to 6 April 2023 – which came as a big shock for many accountants and businesses.

The written statement from the new financial secretary to the Treasury, confirmed the change to the tax year basis will not come into effect before April 2024, with a transition year no earlier than 2023. The government will respond to the consultation on reforming basis periods “in due course” but the wording of this statement makes the change to the tax year basis look uncertain.

DMS Posts

MTD ITSA: Your questions answered – part 2

by Rebecca Cave

What are the basic requirements for MTD ITSA?

There are four requirements for MTD ITSA (draft reg 3):

  1. record business transactions in a digital manner
  2. preserve those records for the defined period
  3. provide a quarterly update to HMRC
  4. provide an end of period statement (EOPS) to HMRC 

The records in 1) and 2) comprise data needed to populate the reports required for points 3) and 4), which in turn must be submitted using MTD-compatible software.

The digital means for recording the data does not have to be the same software that submits the data. However, there should be a digital link between the recording software and the submission software. 

What exactly must be recorded?

Each transaction must have these data points recorded digitally:

  • the date of the transaction – the exact time is not required
  • for expenses – the category out of the specified list of expenses (see below)  
  • for income – the trade or property business the income relates to   
  • the amount or value. 

Retail businesses will be able to elect to record daily gross takings rather than every single transaction (draft reg 17), but only if it would be unreasonable for the business to keep digital records of every individual sale. 

In addition, the business will have to record the following permanent information as part of its digital records:  

∙ the business name 

∙ the address of the principal place of business 

∙ whether it uses cash accounting or accruals accounting

Can the client give their accountant paper records to enter into software? 

The taxpayer does not have to record the business data digitally themselves. They can pass this task over to a bookkeeper or to their accountant to make the entries into accounting software, or a spreadsheet.

Although the aim of MTD is to encourage businesses to record their business transactions in real-time, as they occur, there is nothing in the draft regulations that stipulates exactly when the data must be committed into the digital record. As long as the data for the quarter is recorded before the quarterly submission is compiled and sent to HMRC, there is nothing to prevent a bulk recording of transactions every few weeks or months.

However, the longer the delay between the transaction and being recorded digitally, the greater the risk of loss or corruption of data – which is the whole point of MTD (as HMRC would argue).    

Can a spreadsheet be the first entry for digital records?

A spreadsheet can be the entry point for transactional data into the accounting system. However, once that data has been recorded, the MTD regulations stipulate that there should be “digital links” that move the data around the accounting system. This means the data should not be retyped or copied by human hand once it has entered the system. 

Think about where the accounting system starts. That is the point the transaction (sale or purchase) is recorded. It may be convenient to capture transactions using optical character readers, or bank feeds, but that doesn’t have to be the entry point of all the data.  

A business can still issue paper invoices if the information from that invoice is digitally recorded in the accounting system.  

What information is required to be submitted quarterly?

The quarterly submissions will be the totals for the quarter of:

  • sales income for each trade
  • purchases/expenses for each category 

The categories of expenses are expected to be the same as those currently required in the self-employment section (form SA105) and property section (form SA103F) of the self-assessment tax return. More detail will be set out in the final MTD ITSA regulations.

In essence, the quarterly submission is a rough profit and loss account, no balance sheet figures are required. The data for individual transactions are not required.

Can the accountant make changes in the final submission?

This quarterly data dump does not have to be accurate, any misallocation between expense categories can be adjusted at the end of the period statement (EOPS).

It is in the EOPS that the accountant can make any adjustments for capital allowances, losses, reliefs, disallowable expenses, transactions that have been missed or double-counted.  

One EOPS will be required of each trade or property business by 31 January following the end of the tax year. 

Can the taxpayer submit estimated figures on the quarterly submissions?

Yes, if the taxpayer wishes to submit estimated expense figures, or even only the income amounts, in the quarterly submissions, that would be acceptable within the current draft MTD regulations. 

To avoid the risk of a penalty for late filing some form of data needs to be submitted each quarter.   

The quarterly submissions do not contain an accuracy statement. The taxpayer (or accountant) is not required to declare that the quarterly submission is a complete or correct reflection of the net or gross income of the business. 

The taxpayer must make a declaration of accuracy on the EOPS, once all the adjustments for the four quarters have been made.

What will HMRC do with the quarterly data?

The quarterly submission will be used by HMRC to calculate an estimate of the business’s tax liability throughout the year, and that figure will be reflected back to the taxpayer. This is likely to confuse rather than assist the taxpayer as the current timing of tax payments will not be changed (for now).

Will tax payments change to quarterly?

Earlier this year there was a Call for evidence: timely payment, which asked for ideas on how the payment of income tax under self assessment, and corporation tax for small companies, could move to more frequent payment dates based on in-year calculations.

DMS Posts

Spring Statement 2019

Personal Tax

The UK personal allowance, tax rates and bands for 2019/20 were announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn budget in October 2018.

The personal allowance

The personal allowance is £11,850 for 2018/19 and increases to £12,500 for 2019/20. There is a reduction in the personal allowance for those with ‘adjusted net income’ over £100,000. The reduction is £1 for every £2 of income above £100,000. So for 2018/19 there is no personal allowance where adjusted net income exceeds £123,700. For 2019/20 there is no personal allowance available where adjusted net income exceeds £125,000.

The marriage allowance

The marriage allowance permits certain couples, where neither pays tax at more than the basic rate, to transfer 10% of their personal allowance to their spouse or civil partner.

Comment

The marriage allowance reduces the recipient’s tax bill by up to £238 a year in 2018/19. The marriage allowance was first introduced for 2015/16 and there are many couples who are entitled to claim but have not yet done so. It is possible to claim for all years back to 2015/16 where the entitlement conditions are met. A recent change to the law allows backdated claims to be made by personal representatives of a deceased transferor spouse or civil partner.

Tax bands and rates

The basic rate of tax is 20%. In 2018/19 the band of income taxable at this rate is £34,500 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies is £46,350 for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance. In 2019/20 the basic rate band increases to £37,500 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies is £50,000 for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance.

Individuals pay tax at 45% on their income over £150,000.

Scottish residents

The tax on income (other than savings and dividend income) is different for taxpayers who are resident in Scotland to taxpayers resident elsewhere in the UK. The Scottish income tax rates and bands apply to income such as employment income, self-employed trade profits and property income.

In 2018/19 and 2019/20 there are five income tax rates which range between 19% and 46%. Scottish taxpayers are entitled to the same personal allowance as individuals in the rest of the UK. The two higher rates are 41% and 46% rather than the 40% and 45% rates that apply to such income for other UK residents. For both 2018/19 and 2019/20, the threshold at which the 41% band applies is £43,430 for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance.

Welsh residents

From April 2019, the Welsh Government has the right to vary the rates of income tax payable by Welsh taxpayers. The UK government has reduced each of the three rates of income tax paid by Welsh taxpayers by 10 pence. The Welsh Government has set the Welsh rate of income tax at 10 pence which will be added to the reduced rates. This means the tax payable by Welsh taxpayers continues to be the same as that payable by English and Northern Irish taxpayers.

Tax on savings income

Savings income is income such as bank and building society interest.

The Savings Allowance, which was first introduced for the 2016/17 tax year, applies to savings income and the available allowance in a tax year depends on the individual’s marginal rate of income tax. Broadly, individuals taxed at up to the basic rate of tax have an allowance of £1,000. For higher rate taxpayers the allowance is £500. No allowance is due to additional rate taxpayers.

Some individuals qualify for a 0% starting rate of tax on savings income up to £5,000. However, the rate is not available if taxable non-savings income (broadly earnings, pensions, trading profits and property income less allocated allowances and reliefs) exceeds £5,000.

Tax on dividends

The first £2,000 of dividends are chargeable to tax at 0% (the Dividend Allowance). Dividends received above the allowance are taxed at the following rates:

  • 7.5% for basic rate taxpayers
  • 32.5% for higher rate taxpayers
  • 38.1% for additional rate taxpayers.

Dividends within the allowance still count towards an individual’s basic or higher rate band and so may affect the rate of tax paid on dividends above the Dividend Allowance.

To determine which tax band dividends fall into, dividends are treated as the last type of income to be taxed.

Gift Aid – donor benefits

The donor benefits rules that apply to charities who claim Gift Aid tax relief on donations are simplified from 6 April 2019. The benefit threshold for the first £100 of the donation remains at 25% of that amount. For gifts exceeding £100, charities can offer benefits up to the sum of £25 and 5% of the amount of the donation that exceeds £100. The total value of the benefit that a donor can receive remains at £2,500.

Comment

The new limits replace the current mix of monetary and percentage thresholds that charities have to consider when determining the value of benefit they can give to their donors without losing the entitlement to claim Gift Aid tax relief on the donations given to them.

Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme

The Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) applies to small charitable donations where it is impractical to obtain a Gift Aid declaration. GASDS currently applies to donations of £20 or less made by individuals in cash or contactless payment. The limit increases to £30 from 6 April 2019.

Business Tax

Making Tax Digital for Business: VAT

HMRC is phasing in its landmark Making Tax Digital (MTD) regime, which will ultimately require taxpayers to move to a fully digital tax system. Under the new rules, businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold(currently £85,000)must keep digital records for VAT purposes and provide their VAT return information to HMRC using MTD functional compatible software.

The new rules have effect from 1 April 2019 where a taxpayer has a ‘prescribed accounting period’ which begins on that date, or otherwise from the first day of a taxpayer’s first prescribed accounting period beginning after 1 April 2019. For some VAT-registered businesses with more complex requirements the rules will not have effect until 1 October 2019. Included in the deferred start date category are VAT divisions, VAT groups and businesses using the annual accounting scheme.

The government has now confirmed that a light touch approach to penalties will be taken in the first year of implementation. Where businesses are doing their best to comply, no filing or record keeping penalties will be issued.

The focus will be on supporting businesses to transition and the government will not be mandating MTD for any new taxes or businesses in 2020.

Comment

Keeping digital records will not mean businesses are mandated to use digital invoices and receipts but the actual recording of supplies made and received must be digital. It is likely that third party commercial software will be required. Software is not available from HMRC. The use of spreadsheets will be allowed, but they will have to be combined with add-on software to meet HMRC’s requirements.

In the long run, HMRC is still looking to a scenario where income tax updates are made quarterly and digitally, and this is really what the VAT provisions anticipate.

Corporation tax rates

Corporation tax rates have already been enacted for periods up to 31 March 2021.

The main rate of corporation tax is 19%. The rate will fall to 17% for the Financial Year beginning on 1 April 2020.

Capital allowances

Plant and machinery

In the Autumn Budget, the government announced an increase in the Annual Investment Allowance for two years from £200,000 to £1 million in relation to qualifying expenditure incurred from 1 January 2019. Special rules apply to accounting periods which straddle this date.

Other changes made to plant and machinery capital allowances include:

  • a reduction in the rate of writing down allowance on the special rate pool from 8% to 6% from April 2019. This includes long-life assets, thermal insulation, integral features and expenditure on cars with CO2 emissions of more than 110g/km. Special rules apply to accounting periods which straddle this date
  • the end of the 100% first year allowance and first year tax credits for products on the Energy Technology List and Water Technology List from April 2020.

Structures and buildings

A new capital allowance, the Structures and Buildings Allowance, gives relief for expenditure on certain structures and buildings. The allowance is available for new structures and buildings intended for commercial use, and the improvement of existing structures and buildings, including the cost of converting or renovating existing premises to qualifying use. Relief is limited to the original cost of construction or renovation and given across a fixed 50-year period, at an annual flat rate of 2% regardless of changes in ownership.

Only certain expenditure will qualify. The structures or buildings must be brought into use for qualifying activities. These include trades, professions or vocations and certain UK or overseas property businesses – essentially commercial property lettings.

Relief will be given on eligible construction costs incurred on or after 29 October 2018. Where a contract for the physical construction work is entered into before this date, relief is not available.

Comment

Since the ending of Industrial and Agricultural Buildings Allowances, no relief has been available for most structures and buildings. The new allowance addresses the gap and is intended to encourage investment in construction for commercial activity.

Draft legislation has been published for comment.

Intangible fixed assets

The Intangible Fixed Assets regime, which was introduced from 1 April 2002, fundamentally changed the way the UK corporation tax system treats intangible fixed assets (such as copyrights, patents and goodwill). Generally, the regime taxes gains and losses on such assets as income and gives relief for the cost of acquiring such assets as and when the expenditure is written off in the company’s accounts.

However, since 8 July 2015, the amortisation of goodwill has not been eligible for relief. After a review of the rules, the government has now decided to introduce targeted relief for the cost of goodwill but only in relation to the acquisition of businesses with eligible intellectual property. Companies that acquire goodwill on or after 1 April 2019 will receive relief for goodwill up to a limit of six times the value of any qualifying intellectual property assets in the business being acquired. The categories of qualifying assets include: patents, registered designs, copyright and design rights and plant breeders’ rights. Relief will be given at a fixed rate of 6.5% in all cases.

The restriction on relief will continue to apply in relation to internally-generated goodwill acquired in a related party incorporation. Goodwill acquired prior to 1 April 2019 will continue to be subject to the tax treatment prevailing at the time it was acquired.

Preventing abuse of the R&D tax relief for SMEs

Budget 2018 announced that, from 1 April 2020, the amount of payable R&D tax credit that a qualifying loss-making company can receive in any tax year will be restricted to three times the company’s total PAYE and NICs liability for that year. This is to help prevent abuse of the payable credit system The government has now announced that a consultation will be published and will focus on how the measure will be applied, to minimise any impact on genuine businesses.

VAT Partial Exemption and Capital Goods Scheme

The government will publish a call for evidence on potential simplification and improvement of the VAT Partial Exemption regime and the Capital Goods Scheme – ensuring they are as simple and efficient for taxpayers as possible.

VAT fraud in labour provision in the construction sector

The government will pursue legislation to shift responsibility for paying VAT along the supply chain with the introduction of a domestic VAT reverse charge for supplies of construction services with effect from 1 October 2019. Draft legislation and guidance has been issued.

The domestic reverse charge will affect supplies of ‘specified services’ at the standard or reduced rates where payments are required to be reported through the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS). Therefore supplies between sub-contractors and contractors, as defined by CIS, will be subject to the reverse charge unless they are supplied to a contractor who is an end user. End users will usually be recipients who use the building or construction services for themselves, rather than those who sell the services on as part of their business of providing building or construction services.

There will be exclusion from the reverse charge for certain supplies such as the manufacture of building or engineering equipment. But the reverse charge will apply to goods, where those goods are supplied with the specified services.

Comment

A domestic reverse charge means that a contractor receiving the supply of specified construction services must account for the output VAT due rather than the sub-contractor who supplied the services. The contractor also deducts the VAT due on the supply as input VAT, meaning no net tax is payable to HMRC. This removes the scope to evade any VAT owing to HMRC.

Employment Taxes

Off-payroll working in the private sector

The changes to the off-payroll working rules (commonly known as IR35) that came into effect in April 2017 for the public sector will be extended to the private sector from April 2020. A consultation paper has now been issued on the proposed operation of the rules.

The off-payroll working rules apply where an individual (the worker) provides their services through an intermediary (typically a personal service company) to another person or entity (the client). The 2020 changes will use the off-payroll working rules in the public sector as a starting point. This means a client will be required to make a determination of a worker’s status and communicate that determination. In addition, the fee-payer (usually the organisation paying the worker’s personal service company) will need to make deductions for income tax and NICs and pay any employer NICs.

Only medium and large businesses will be subject to the 2020 rules, so small businesses will not need to determine the status of the off-payroll workers they engage. The government intends to use the Companies Act 2006 definition of a small company which means meeting any two of these criteria: a turnover of £10.2 million or less, having £5.1 million on the balance sheet or less, or having 50 or fewer employees.

Comment

The latest consultation is not intended to consider alternative approaches to tackling non-compliance with the off-payroll working rules. The consultation is intended to provide businesses and off-payroll workers with greater certainty around how the off-payroll working rules will operate and help businesses make the correct determination of a worker’s status.

Employer provided cars

The scale of charges for working out the taxable benefit for an employee who has use of an employer provided car are normally announced well in advance. Most cars are taxed by reference to bands of CO2emissions multiplied by the original list price of the vehicle. The maximum charge is capped at 37% of the list price of the car.

For 2018/19 there was generally a 2% increase in the percentage applied by each band. For 2019/20 the rates will increase by a further 3%.

Exemption for travel expenses

New legislation has been introduced which removes the requirement for employers to check receipts when making payments to employees for subsistence using benchmark scale rates. This will apply to standard meal allowances paid in respect of qualifying travel and overseas scale rates. Employers will only be asked to ensure that employees are undertaking qualifying travel. This will have effect from April 2019.

The legislation also allows HMRC to put the existing concessionary accommodation and subsistence overseas scale rates on a statutory basis from 6 April 2019. Like benchmark rates, employers will only be asked to ensure that employees are undertaking qualifying travel.

Apprenticeship Levy

The Apprenticeship Levy generally applies to employers if their annual ‘paybill’ is over £3 million.  A pay bill means the total earnings upon which Class 1 employer NICs are calculated.

Employers that pay the Levy are able to use the funds towards qualifying apprenticeship training costs with a 10% government top up. For other employers, a system of co-investment means that government funding currently meets 90% of the training costs and the employer 10%.

At Budget 2018 the government announced that the co-investment rate would be halved from 10% to 5%, and the amount employers who pay the Levy can transfer to certain other employers would increase from 10% to 25%. The Chancellor has announced that these changes will now take effect from April 2019.

Comment

Apprenticeships are a devolved policy. This means that authorities in each of the UK nations manage their own apprenticeship programmes, including how funding is spent on apprenticeship training. These funding rules apply in England.

Capital Taxes

Capital gains tax (CGT) rates

The current rates of CGT are 10%, to the extent that any income tax basic rate band is available, and 20% thereafter. Higher rates of 18% and 28% apply for certain gains; mainly chargeable gains on residential properties with the exception of any element that qualifies for private residence relief.

There are two specific types of disposal which potentially qualify for a 10% rate, both of which have a lifetime limit of £10 million for each individual:1. Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER).This is targeted at working directors and employees of companies who own at least 5% of the ordinary share capital in the company and the owners of unincorporated businesses2. Investors’ Relief.The main beneficiaries of this relief are external investors in unquoted trading companies who have newly-subscribed shares.

CGT annual exemption

The CGT annual exemption is £11,700 for 2018/19 and £12,000 for 2019/20.

Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER)

Minimum qualifying period

The minimum period throughout which certain conditions must be met to qualify for ER is being increased from one year to two years. This has effect for disposals on or after 6 April 2019 except where a business ceased before 29 October 2018. Where the claimant’s business ceased, or their personal company ceased to be a trading company (or the holding company of a trading group) before 29 October 2018, the existing one year qualifying period continues to apply.

New 5% rules for company shareholders

To qualify for ER, the company needs to be an individual’s ‘personal company’. This means that an individual must throughout the relevant qualifying period:

  • be a company employee or office holder
  • hold at least 5% of the company’s ordinary share capital and
  • be able to exercise at least 5% of the voting rights.

For disposals on or after 29 October 2018, an individual must also satisfy either of the following:

  • distribution tests which require the individual, by virtue of that holding, to be entitled to at least 5% of the company’s profits available for distribution to ‘equity holders’ and 5% of the assets available for distribution to ‘equity holders’ in a winding up
  • a proceeds test which requires the individual, in the event of a disposal of the whole of the ordinary share capital of the company, to be beneficially entitled to at least 5% of the proceeds.

Comment

In the distribution tests the term ‘equity holders’ is a wider definition than ordinary share capital. As a consequence, the tax profession raised concerns about the wide ranging impact of these tests and, as a result, the government introduced the alternative proceeds test.

In the proceeds test, the 5% threshold is computed by reference to the market value of the company at the end of the qualifying period. That may mean, in situations where the new distribution tests are not met, it may not be known until the disposal of shares whether ER will be available.

Gains for non-residents on UK property

Legislation, broadly having effect for disposals from 6 April 2019, charges all non-UK resident persons on gains on disposals of interests in any type of UK land, whether residential or non-residential. As a consequence, the CGT charge relating to the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings is abolished.

All non-UK resident persons will also be taxable on indirect disposals of UK land. The indirect disposal rules will apply where a person makes a disposal of an entity that derives 75% or more of its gross asset value from UK land. There will be an exemption for investors in such entities who hold a less than 25% interest.

All non-UK resident companies will be charged to corporation tax rather than CGT on their gains.

There are options to calculate the gain or loss on a disposal using the original acquisition cost of the asset or using the value of the asset at commencement of the rules in April 2019.

Comment

The main effect of the new legislation will be to extend the scope of UK taxation of gains to include gains on disposals of interests in non-residential UK property.

Previous legislation has focused on bringing gains made by non-residents on residential properties within the UK tax regime.

Inheritance tax (IHT) nil rate bands

The nil rate band has remained at £325,000 since April 2009 and is set to remain frozen at this amount until April 2021.

IHT residence nil rate band

From 6 April 2017 a new nil rate band, called the ‘residence nil rate band’ (RNRB), has been introduced, meaning that the family home can be passed more easily to direct descendants on death.

The RNRB is being phased in. For deaths in 2018/19 it is £125,000, rising to £150,000 in 2019/20 and £175,000 in 2020/21. Thereafter it will rise in line with the Consumer Price Index.

There are a number of conditions that must be met in order to obtain the RNRB, which may involve redrafting an existing will.

Downsizing

The RNRB may also be available when a person downsizes or ceases to own a home on or after 8 July 2015 where assets of an equivalent value, up to the value of the RNRB, are passed on death to direct descendants.

Changes to IHT RNRB

Amendments have been introduced to the RNRB relating to downsizing provisions and the definition of ‘inherited’ for RNRB purposes. These amendments clarify the downsizing rules and provide certainty over when a person is treated as ‘inheriting’ property. The changes have effect for deaths on or after 29 October 2018.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

Consultation on SDLT charge for non-residents

The government has recently published a consultation on the introduction of a SDLT surcharge for non-UK residents. The surcharge will apply to purchases of residential property made by non-UK resident individuals and certain non-natural persons. The surcharge will apply to freehold and leasehold purchases of residential property and will be at a rate of 1% on top of existing SDLT rates, including the rates applicable to the rental element of leasehold property.

No date has been set for the introduction of the surcharge.

Other Matters

Extension of offshore time limits

The assessment time limits have been increased for offshore income and gains to 12 years. Similarly the time limits for proceedings for the recovery of inheritance tax are increased to 12 years where the lost tax involves an ‘offshore matter’. Where an assessment involves a loss of tax brought about deliberately the assessment time limit is 20 years after the end of the year of assessment and this time limit will not change.

The legislation does not apply to corporation tax or where HMRC has received information from another tax authority under automatic exchange of information.

The potential extension of time limits apply from the 2013/14 tax year where the loss of tax is brought about by careless behaviour and from the 2015/16 tax year in other cases.

Comment

Assessment time limits are ordinarily four years (six years in the case of carelessness by the taxpayer). The justification for the extension of time limits is the longer time it can take HMRC to establish the facts about offshore transactions, particularly if they involve complex offshore structures.

The legislation cannot be used to go back earlier than 2013/14. If there has been careless behaviour HMRC can make an assessment for up to 12 years from 2013/14 in respect of offshore matters but HMRC could not raise an assessment for 2012/13 or earlier (unless there is deliberate behaviour by the taxpayer).

Review of other time limits

A report will be issued in March comparing the time limits for the recovery of lost tax involving an offshore matter with other time limits.

Insurance Premium Tax

A call for evidence will be issued on where improvements can be made to ensure that Insurance Premium Tax operates fairly and efficiently.

Aggregates Levy

A discussion paper has been issued launching a review of the Aggregates Levy including the Terms of Reference and information on timing and scope of the review.

Tackling tax avoidance, evasion and other forms of non-compliance

A policy paper has been issued which:

  • outlines HMRC’s strategy and approach to compliance for different taxpayer types
  • details the government’s record in addressing areas where risks of non-compliance have been identified
  • provides a summary of the government’s investment in HMRC and its commitment to further action.

Comment

The policy paper lists details of over 100 measures the government has introduced since 2010 covering avoidance, evasion and non-compliance.

Late payments made to small businesses

In his speech, the Chancellor announced that further action will be taken to tackle the issue of late payments by large businesses to small businesses. A full response to a call for evidence issued in 2018 will be published shortly. As a first step the government will require Audit Committees to review payment practices and report on them in their Annual Accounts.

DMS Posts, Tax

Autumn Budget 2018 – Business Tax

Making Tax Digital for Business: VAT

HMRC is phasing in its landmark Making Tax Digital (MTD) regime, which will ultimately require taxpayers to move to a fully digital tax system. Regulations have now been issued which set out the requirements for MTD for VAT. Under the new rules, businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) must keep digital records for VAT purposes and provide their VAT return information to HMRC using MTD functional compatible software.

The new rules have effect from 1 April 2019 where a taxpayer has a ‘prescribed accounting period’ which begins on that date, or otherwise from the first day of a taxpayer’s first prescribed accounting period beginning after 1 April 2019. HMRC has recently announced that the rules will have effect for some VAT-registered businesses with more complex requirements from 1 October 2019. Included in the deferred start date category are VAT divisions, VAT groups and businesses using the annual accounting scheme.

HMRC has recently opened a pilot service for businesses with straightforward affairs and the pilot scheme will be gradually extended for other businesses in the next few months.

Keeping digital records and making quarterly updates will not be mandatory for taxes other than VAT before April 2020.

Keeping digital records will not mean businesses are mandated to use digital invoices and receipts but the actual recording of supplies made and received must be digital. It is likely that third party commercial software will be required. Software will not be available from HMRC. The use of spreadsheets will be allowed, but they will have to be combined with add-on software to meet HMRC’s requirements.

In the long run, HMRC is still looking to a scenario where income tax updates are made quarterly and digitally, and this is really what the VAT provisions anticipate.

Corporation tax rates

Corporation tax rates have already been enacted for periods up to 31 March 2021.

The main rate of corporation tax is currently 19% and will remain at this rate for next year. The rate will fall to 17% for the Financial Year beginning on 1 April 2020.

Class 2 and 4 National Insurance contributions (NICs)

The government has recently announced that Class 2 NICs will not be abolished for the duration of this Parliament. The Chancellor confirmed in March 2017 that there will be no increases to Class 4 NICs rates in this Parliament.

UK property income of non-UK resident companies

Changes are made for non-UK resident companies that carry on a UK property business either directly or indirectly, for example through a partnership or a transparent collective investment vehicle.

Following consultation, from 6 April 2020, non-UK resident companies that carry on a UK property business, or have other UK property income, will be charged to corporation tax, rather than being charged to income tax as at present.

Capital allowances

Annual Investment Allowance

The government has announced an increase in the Annual Investment Allowance for two years to £1 million in relation to qualifying expenditure incurred from 1 January 2019. Complex calculations may apply to accounting periods which straddle this date.

Other changes

A number of changes are made to other rules relating to capital allowances:

  • a reduction in the rate of writing down allowance on the special rate pool of plant and machinery, including long-life assets, thermal insulation, integral features and expenditure on cars with CO2emissions of more than 110g/km, from 8% to 6% from April 2019. Complex calculations may apply to accounting periods which straddle this date
  • clarification as to precisely which costs of altering land for the purposes of installing qualifying plant or machinery qualify for capital allowances, for claims on or after 29 October 2018
  • the end of the 100% first year allowance and first year tax credits for products on the Energy Technology List and Water Technology List from April 2020
  • an extension of the current 100% first year allowance for expenditure incurred on electric charge-point equipment until 2023.

In addition, a new capital allowances regime will be introduced for structures and buildings. It will be known as the Structures and Buildings Allowance and will apply to new non-residential structures and buildings. Relief will be provided on eligible construction costs incurred on or after 29 October 2018, at an annual rate of 2% on a straight-line basis.

Change to the definition of permanent establishment

A non-resident company is liable to corporation tax only if it has a permanent establishment in the UK. Certain preparatory or auxiliary activities, such as storing the company’s own products, purchasing goods or collecting information for the non-resident company, are classed as not creating a permanent establishment.

From 1 January 2019, the exemption will be denied to these activities if they are part of a ‘fragmented business operation’.

Preventing abuse of the R&D tax relief for SMEs

To help prevent abuse of the Research and Development (R&D) SME tax relief by artificial corporate structures, the amount that a loss-making company can receive in R&D tax credits will be capped at three times its total PAYE and NICs liability from April 2020.

Protecting taxes in insolvency

From April 2020, HMRC will have greater priority to recover taxes paid by employees and customers.

The changes appear to be mainly targeted at the distribution of funds to financial institutions as creditors. The rules will remain unchanged for taxes owed by the business and HMRC will remain below other preferential creditors such as the Redundancy Payment Service.

Other measures

  • Changes to the tax treatment of corporate capital losses from 1 April 2020 to restrict the proportion of annual capital gains that can be relieved by brought-forward capital losses to 50%.
  • Changes to the Diverted Profits Tax from 29 October 2018.
  • An increase in the small trading tax exemption limits for charities from April 2019 from £5,000 per annum or, if the turnover is greater than £5,000, 25% of the charity’s total incoming resources, subject to an overall upper limit of £50,000, to £8,000 and £80,000 respectively.
  • The introduction of an income tax charge to amounts received in a low tax jurisdiction in respect of intangible property, to the extent that those amounts are referable to the sale of goods or services in the UK, from 6 April 2019, with targeted anti-avoidance rules for arrangements entered into on or after 29 October 2018.

Digital Services Tax

The government remains committed to reform of the international corporate tax framework for digital businesses. However, pending global reform, interim action is needed to ensure the corporate tax system is sustainable and fair across different types of businesses.

Therefore, the government has announced that it will introduce a Digital Services Tax (DST) which will raise £1.5 billion over four years from April 2020. The DST will apply a 2% tax on the revenues of search engines, social media platforms and online marketplaces where their revenues are linked to the participation of UK users.

Businesses will need to generate revenues of at least £500 million globally to become taxable under the DST. The first £25 million of relevant UK revenues are also not taxable.

Intangible fixed assets

The Intangible Fixed Assets regime, which was introduced from 1 April 2002, fundamentally changed the way the UK corporation tax system treats intangible fixed assets (such as copyrights, patents and goodwill). As the regime is now more than 15 years old, the government would like to examine whether there is scope for reforms that would simplify it and make it more effective in supporting economic growth.

Following a short consultation, the government will seek to introduce targeted relief for the cost of goodwill in the acquisition of businesses with eligible intellectual property from April 2019.

With effect from 7 November 2018, the government will also reform the de-grouping charge rules, which apply when a group sells a company that owns intangibles, so that they more closely align with the equivalent rules elsewhere in the tax code.

VAT registration limits

The government had previously announced that the VAT registration and deregistration thresholds would be frozen at £85,000 and £83,000 respectively until April 2020.

The government has now announced that this freeze will continue for a further two years from 1 April 2020.

VAT fraud in labour provision in the construction sector

The government will pursue legislation to shift responsibility for paying VAT along the supply chain with the introduction of a domestic VAT reverse charge for supplies of construction services with effect from 1 October 2019. The long lead-in time reflects the government’s commitment to give businesses adequate time to prepare for the changes.

VAT treatment of vouchers

Draft legislation has been issued to insert a new tax code for the VAT treatment of vouchers, such as gift cards, for which a payment has been made and which will be used to buy something. The legislation separates vouchers with a single purpose (eg a traditional book token) from the more complex gift vouchers and sets out how and when VAT should be accounted for in each case. The new legislation is not concerned with the scope of VAT and whether VAT is due, but with the question of when VAT is due and, in the case of multi-purpose vouchers, the consideration upon which any VAT is payable.

VAT collection – split payment

The government wants to combat online VAT fraud by harnessing new technology and is consulting on VAT split payment. This will utilise payments industry technology to collect VAT on online sales and transfer it directly to HMRC. In the government’s view this would significantly reduce the challenge of enforcing online seller compliance and offer a simplification for business.

 

DMS Posts

Making Tax Digital: how VAT businesses and other VAT entities can get ready

Introduction

If you run a VAT-registered business with a taxable turnover above the VAT registration threshold (currently £85,000) you are required to keep digital VAT business records and send returns using Making Tax Digital (MTD)-compatible software for VAT periods starting on or after 1 April 2019. Businesses with a taxable turnover below the VATthreshold can also sign up for MTD for VAT voluntarily. This also applies to other VATentities, such as charities, government bodies and limited companies.

The MTD for VAT pilot started in April 2018 and is currently in a private stage, available only to invited volunteer VAT businesses and their agents. This is so we can work with software providers, testing our systems and their products on a small scale before opening MTD to a wider audience. At the moment we are limiting the number and types of business we invite into the pilot. We’ll provide more guidance about how to sign up to MTD for VAT on GOV.UK later in the year, but you can email us if you are interested in becoming involved in the private VAT pilot earlier.

If you have an agent, you should speak to them to find out when it may be best for you to join the pilot.

When MTD for VAT will be mandatory for your business

If you are registered for VAT and your taxable turnover is above the VAT registration threshold (currently £85,000), for accounting periods starting on or after 1 April 2019, you must keep digital business records and send your VAT returns to HMRC using MTD-compatible software.

If your taxable turnover drops below the VAT registration threshold at any point after 1 April 2019 you are still required to continue to keep digital records and send HMRCyour VAT returns using MTD-compatible software. This obligation doesn’t apply if you de-register from VAT or if you are exempt from MTD for VAT.

What happens if your taxable VAT turnover is below the VAT MTD threshold

If your business has a taxable turnover below the VAT threshold you can still sign up for MTD voluntarily. HMRC is encouraging businesses with a taxable turnover below the VAT threshold to sign up so they can also benefit from MTD. Businesses can also sign up for MTD for Income Tax. This means, subject to your business type, you can further streamline your business processes. You can read more about MTD for Income Tax further down.

Software will help you stay on top of business record keeping, allowing you (and your agent, if you have one) to better understand how your business is performing.

What your business needs to do to be ready to sign up for MTD

You will need to keep your business records digitally from the start of your accounting period. If you already use software to keep your business records, check your software provider’s plans to introduce MTD-compatible software.

If you don’t currently use software, or your software won’t be MTD-compatible, you’ll need to consider what software is suitable for your requirements.

We’ll publish details of the VAT software available later in the year, when we open the VAT pilot to more businesses. Read about software providers currently supporting MTDfor VAT.

Using spreadsheets for your business records

A spreadsheet can be used to calculate or summarise VAT transactions to arrive at the return information you need to send HMRC.

If you use spreadsheets to keep business records, you’ll need MTD-compatible software so that you can send HMRC your VAT returns and receive information back from HMRC. Bridging software may be required to make spreadsheets MTD-compatible. You can read what we mean by ‘bridging software’ below.

The information must not be physically re-typed into another software package.

Records that you need to keep digitally for MTD for VAT

MTD does not require you to keep additional records for VAT, but to record them digitally.

Your digital records should include, for each supply, the time of supply (tax point), the value of the supply (net excluding VAT) and the rate of VAT charged. They should also include information about your business, including business name and principle business address, as well as your VAT registration number and details of any VATaccounting schemes you use.

MTD-compatible software

Compatible software is a software product or set of software products that between them support the MTD obligations of keeping digital records and exchanging data digitally with HMRC through the MTD service. If more than one application is being used, data that flows between those applications must also be exchanged digitally.

Digital records can be kept in a range of compatible digital formats. They do not all have to be held in the same place or on one piece of software. For example, a spreadsheet can be a component of digital record keeping provided the product that consolidates records, or summary records from the spreadsheet, can exchange data digitally with HMRC.

HMRC will give businesses until 31 March 2020 to make sure there are digital links between software products. Before that date, cut and paste will be an acceptable way to transfer information.

The exception to this is where return information is to be transferred to a software product enabled for an Application Programming Interface (an API provides a secure link between software and HMRC) and designed to submit the 9-box VAT return (such as bridging software). In those circumstances the transfer of information must only be digital.

If in doubt, businesses should discuss with their agent or software provider.

Bridging software

‘Bridging software’ is HMRC’s description of the digital tool that can take information from other applications, for example, a spreadsheet or an in-house record keeping system, and lets the user send the required information digitally to HMRC in the correct format.

 

Making Tax Digital: how VAT businesses and other VAT entities can get ready