Newsletter October 2019
Our newsletter this month highlights: the rescheduling of changes to VAT for CIS contractors, tax changes we know about from April 2020, why your Christmas party can be a tax-free perk and an update on the loan-charge review.
About face by HMRC
Last month we reported the changes that CIS, VAT registered contractors and sub-contractors were about to face with the introduction of the “reverse charge” process from 1 October 2019.
Shortly after our newsletter was published, HMRC conceded that it was aware that the industry was struggling to adapt to the new rules and, as Brexit is also looming large this month, HMRC has agreed to defer the change until 1 October 2020.
This is a triumph for the construction industry lobby groups who have pushed hard to have this VAT change delayed.
Just in case you missed our alert on this topic last month the nuts and bolts of the reverse charge process for VAT registered businesses who are subject to HMRC’s Construction Industry Scheme, are:
From the 1 October 2020, you may need to change the way you account for VAT on supplies between sub-contractors and their contractor customers.
At present, sub-contractors registered for VAT are required to charge VAT on their supplies of building services to contractors. From 1 October 2020, this approach is changing.
From this date, sub-contractors will not add VAT to their supplies to most building customers, instead, contractors will be obliged to pay the deemed output VAT on behalf of their registered sub-contractor suppliers.
This does not mean that contractors, in most cases, are paying their sub-contractors’ VAT as an additional cost.
When contractors pay their sub-contractors’ VAT to HMRC, they can claim back an equivalent amount as VAT input tax; subject to the usual VAT rules. Accordingly, the two amounts off-set each other.
The change is described as the Domestic Reverse Charge for the construction industry. It has been introduced as an increasing number of sub-contractors have been registering for VAT, collecting the VAT from their customers, and then disappearing without paying the VAT collected to HMRC.
Affected contractors now have a year to make the appropriate changes.
Property tax changes from April 2020
Although the Brexit process continues to throw a spanner into the normal workings of government, there are a few certainties from a tax point of view that will be effective from April 2020. A few property related changes are noted in this article:
- Presently, the last 18 months of ownership of a residential property are ignored if a home has been let at any time. From April 2020, this will be reduced to 9 months.
- If your home has been let at any time, or is let when you sell it, there is a letting relief you can claim that can make a significant impact on any Capital Gains Tax payable. From April 2020, you can only take advantage of this lettings relief if you are in shared occupancy with your tenant.
- From April 2020, all finance costs, incurred by UK residents that let residential property, will be disallowed as an expense of their property business. Instead, tax relief on the disallowed finance charges will be restricted to a basic rate (20%) tax credit. This process started on a phased basis on 6 April 2017 and will complete on 5 April 2020.
- UK residents that sell land or property in the UK, after 5 April 2020, will need to prepare a formal CGT computation and return this to HMRC within 30 days of the relevant sale. They will also need to pay any tax due in the same period.
Enjoy a tax-free Christmas bash
Follow the outline below to ensure that the cost of your annual staff party will not create tax issues for you or your staff.
- The event must be open to all employees at a specific location.
- An annual Christmas party, or other annual event offered to staff, generally is not taxable on those attending, provided that the average cost per head of the functions does not exceed £150 p.a. (including VAT). The guests of staff attending are included in the head count when computing the cost per head attending.
- All costs must be considered, including the costs of transport to and from the event, accommodation provided, and VAT. The total cost of the event is divided by the number attending to find the average cost. If the limit is exceeded then individual members of staff will be taxable on their average cost, plus the cost for any guests they were permitted to bring.
- VAT input tax can be recovered on staff entertaining expenditure. If the guests of staff are also invited to the event, the input tax should be apportioned, as the VAT applicable to non-staff is not recoverable. However, if non-staff attendees pay a reasonable contribution to the event, all the VAT can be reclaimed and of course output tax should be accounted for on the amount of the contribution.
The "loan charge" controversy continues
The following press release was published by HMRC last month. Extracts are reproduced below:
Sir Amyas Morse, the former Comptroller and Auditor General and Chief Executive of the National Audit Office (NAO), will lead an independent review of the Loan Charge...
The review will consider whether the policy is an appropriate way of dealing with disguised remuneration loan schemes used by individuals who entered directly into these schemes to avoid paying tax.
The disguised remuneration Loan Charge was introduced to tackle contrived schemes where a person’s income is paid as a loan which does not have to be repaid.
Disguised remuneration loan schemes were used by tens of thousands of people, and concerns have been raised about the use of the Loan Charge as a way of drawing a line under these schemes. The government is clear that disguised remuneration schemes do not work and that their use is unfair to the 99.8 per cent of taxpayers who do not use them.
The Treasury has asked Sir Amyas Morse to report back by mid-November, giving taxpayers certainty ahead of the January Self-Assessment deadline.
Tax Diary October/November 2019
1 October 2019 - Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 December 2018.
19 October 2019 - PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 October 2019. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 October 2019.)
19 October 2019 - Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 October 2019.
19 October 2019 - CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 October 2019 is payable by today.
31 October 2019 - Latest date you can file a paper version of your 2018-19 self-assessment tax return.
1 November 2019 - Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 January 2019.
19 November 2019 - PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 November 2019. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 November 2019.)
19 November 2019 - Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 November 2019.
19 November 2019 - CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 November 2019 is payable by today.