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Newsletter July 2024

This month our news includes details of a new pension checking service launched by HMRC. It’s useful to see what you might retire with and identify any NICs gaps you might have, especially as there is additional time to make up any shortfalls until next April. We’ve also included some details of allowable expenses for the self-employed. In particular it is worth noting the different kinds of training that are considered acceptable for tax relief, especially if it’s for unrelated business activities. We have information on how and when to submit corrections to past VAT returns. Filing your tax return early is a useful topic - we can help you plan ahead and understand your future liabilities, going through a few financial considerations. Contact us if that’s something you’d like to do. We conclude, as always, with some financial deadlines that take us up to mid-August.

Check your State Pension forecast

The enhanced Check Your State Pension forecast service is now available online. The service can be found on GOV.UK at the following webpage https://www.gov.uk/check-state-pension.

The new digital service is a joint service by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It has been enhanced to include a fully end-to-end digital solution.

The service allows most people under State Pension age to view their pension forecast and identify any gaps in their National Insurance Contributions (NICs) record. This will be helpful for taxpayers looking to make voluntary NIC contributions to increase their entitlement to benefits, including the State or New State Pension.

Usually, HMRC allow you to pay voluntary contributions for the past 6 tax years. The deadline is 5 April each year. However, there is currently an opportunity for people to make up gaps in their NICs for the tax years from April 2006 to April 2017 as part of transitional measures to the new State Pension. The deadline has been extended a number of times and has been most recently extended until 5 April 2025.

The launch of HMRC’s online service will help speed up this process. HMRC’s helplines have been struggling to meet the demands for information and processing claims to pay additional NIC contributions.

HMRC has also confirmed that all relevant voluntary NIC payments will be accepted at the rates applicable in 2022-23 until 5 April 2025.

It is worthwhile checking your State Pension position on a regular basis, this will help to optimise your entitlement. You should also consider what other savings or pensions might be required for a long and comfortable retirement.

Tax relief for training costs

If you are self-employed it is important to know if an expense is tax allowable. Any allowable costs can be used to reduce your taxable profit.

As a general rule you can claim for items that you would normally use for less than 2 years as allowable expenses such as stationery and other office sundries as well as rent, rates, power and insurance costs.

HMRC lists the following office expenses as being allowable:

  • office costs, for example stationery or phone bills
  • travel costs, for example fuel, parking, train or bus fares
  • clothing expenses, for example uniforms
  • staff costs, for example salaries or subcontractor costs
  • things you buy to sell on, for example stock or raw materials
  • financial costs, for example insurance or bank charges
  • costs of your business premises, for example heating, lighting, business rates
  • advertising or marketing, for example website costs
  • training courses related to your business, for example refresher courses

Regarding training costs, you can claim training costs that help you:

  • improve skills and knowledge you currently use for your business;
  • keep up-to-date with technology used in your industry; 
  • develop new skills and knowledge related to changes in your industry; or
  • develop new skills and knowledge to support your business - this includes administrative skills.

You cannot claim for training courses that help you:

  • start a new business; or
  • expand into new areas of business that are not related to your current business activities.

Correcting errors in VAT returns

Where an error on a past VAT return is uncovered businesses have a duty to correct the error as soon as possible. As a general rule, any necessary adjustment can be made on a current VAT return. To do this, the errors must be below the reporting threshold.

Under the reporting threshold rule, businesses can make an adjustment on their next VAT return if the net value of the errors is £10,000 or less. The threshold is further increased if the net value of errors found on previous returns is between £10,000 and £50,000 but does not exceed 1% of the total declare sales value for the return period in which the errors are discovered.

HMRC must be separately notified of errors that exceed either of the limits set out above or if the error was deliberate. VAT errors of a net value that exceed the limits for correction on a current return or that were deliberate should be notified to HMRC by making the correction online or submitting form VAT 652 (or providing the same information in letter format) to HMRC's VAT Error Correction team.

HMRC can also charge penalties of up to 100% of any tax under-stated or over-claimed if you file an inaccurate return.

Filing your tax return early

The 2023-24 tax year ended on 5 April 2024 and the new 2024-25 tax year started on 6 April 2024. Most taxpayers will be happy to leave dealing with their 2023-24 tax returns until later this year or even until January 2025.

The 31 January 2025 is not just the final date for submission of the 2023-24 self-assessment tax return but also an important date for payment of tax due. This is the final payment deadline for any remaining tax due for the 2023-24 tax year. In addition, the 31 January 2025 is also the usual payment date for any Capital Gains Tax due in relation to the 2023-24 tax year, and please note, any CGT due on the sale of a residential property needs to be paid within 60 days from the completion of the disposal. The 31 January 2025 is also the first payment on account deadline for 2024-25.

We recommend that you consider acting early and calculating what payments you will need to make by 31 January 2025. By preparing your tax return early in the tax year you have not accelerated the payment date, but you will know what your tax bill will be well before the payment deadline of 31 January 2025. Your accountant will also appreciate the extra time to prepare your tax return and you will avoid the eleventh-hour rush. If you are due a tax refund, this will also be processed more quickly.

Remember that calculating how much tax you may owe is different from filing the return. This strategy should also give you time to set aside enough money to pay any tax due by 31 January 2025 and avoid any last-minute surprises. Of course, if you are due a repayment of tax then it is a useful strategy to file your tax return as soon as possible.

Tax Diary July/August 2024

1 July 2024 - Due date for corporation tax due for the year ended 30 September 2023.

6 July 2024 - Complete and submit forms P11D return of benefits and expenses and P11D(b) return of Class 1A NICs.

19 July 2024 - Pay Class 1A NICs (by the 22 July 2024 if paid electronically).

19 July 2024 - PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 July 2024. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 July 2024).

19 July 2024 - Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 July 2024. 

19 July 2024 - CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 July 2024 is payable by today.

1 August 2024 - Due date for corporation tax due for the year ended 31 October 2023.

19 August 2024 - PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 August 2024. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 August 2024)

19 August 2024 - Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 August 2024. 

19 August 2024 - CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 August 2024 is payable by today.




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