Tax Diary March/April 2021

1 April 2021 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 30 June 2020.

19 April 2021 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 April 2021. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 April 2021)

19 April 2021 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 April 2021. 

19 April 2021 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 April 2021 is payable by today.

30 April 2021 – 2019-20 tax returns filed after this date will be subject to an additional £10 per day late filing penalty.

1 May 2021 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 30 July 2020.

19 May 2021 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 May 2021. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 May 2021).

19 May 2021 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 May 2021. 

19 May 2021 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 May 2021 is payable by today.

31 May 2021 – Ensure all employees have been given their P60s for the 2020-21 tax year.

Flat Rate Scheme limited cost trader check

The VAT Flat Rate Scheme has been designed to simplify the way a business accounts for VAT and in so doing reduce the administration costs of complying with the VAT legislation. The scheme is open to businesses that expect their annual taxable turnover in the next 12 months to be no more than £150,000.

A limited cost trader check was introduced in April 2017 and can increase the VAT flat rate percentage used by VAT registered businesses that use the Flat Rate scheme. Businesses that meet the definition of a 'limited cost trader' are required to use a fixed rate of 16.5%. The highest 'regular' rate is 14.5%.

A limited cost trader is defined as one whose VAT inclusive expenditure on goods is either:

  • less than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover in a prescribed accounting period;
  • greater than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover but less than £1,000 per annum if the prescribed accounting period is one year (if it is not one year, the figure is the relevant proportion of £1,000).

For some businesses – for example, those who purchase no goods, or who make significant purchases of goods – the outcome of the test will be self-evident. Other businesses need to complete a simple test, using information they already hold, to work out whether they need to use the higher 16.5% rate. If required to use the 16.5% rate, continuing use of the flat rate scheme will probably not be beneficial.

Incorporation relief

When a taxpayer owns a business as a sole trader or in partnership, a capital gain will be deemed to arise if the business is converted into a company by reference to the market value of the business assets including goodwill. This could give rise to a chargeable gain based broadly on the difference between the market value of the assets and their original cost.

However, in most cases the incorporation of the business will be completed in such a way so as to satisfy the conditions necessary to secure incorporation relief. One such condition is that the entire business with the whole of its assets (or the whole of its assets other than cash) must be transferred as a going concern wholly or partly in exchange for shares in the new company.

It is important to note that where the necessary conditions are met, incorporation relief is given automatically and there is no need to make a claim. The relief works by reducing the base cost of the new assets by a proportion of the gain arising from the disposal of the old assets.

Although the relief is automatic it is possible to make an election in writing for incorporation relief not to apply. An election must be made before the second anniversary of 31 January next following the tax year in which the transfer took place e.g., an election in respect of a transfer made in the 2020-21 tax year must be made by 31 January 2024. The election deadline is reduced by one year if the shares are disposed of in the year following that in which the business was incorporated.

Calculating Minimum Wage if paid annual salary

New National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates will come into effect on 1 April 2021. These changes will see the National Living Wage increase by 19p to an hourly rate of £8.91 and the National Minimum Wage will increase to £8.36 (a rise of 16p). There are also increases in the other minimum wage thresholds. 

There are special rules to check that salaried workers who receive an annual salary are being paid at least the equivalent of the minimum wage. 

HMRC’s guidance states that someone is undertaking salaried hours work if all of the following apply:

  • their contract states how many hours they must work in return for their salary (their basic hours)
  • they’re paid in equal, regular instalments through the year, for example monthly or every 4 weeks
  • there is no more than a month between each payment
  • they do not get paid more than once a week

Once you know how many basic hours are relevant you can calculate if the employees are being paid at least the minimum wage to which they are entitled. 

There are penalties for employers that are found to have underpaid their workers and, in some cases, there may be criminal prosecutions.

Consider signing up to PROOF scheme

One of the services offered by Companies House helps combat fraud and protect your company from unauthorised changes to records. The free service is known as the protected online filing (PROOF) scheme and means that any forms covered by PROOF can only be filed online. Companies House will reject any paper versions of the forms and send them back to the registered office address.

The use of the PROOF scheme prevents the filing of certain paper forms, including:

  • changes to your registered office address
  • changes to your officers (appointments, resignations or personal details)
  • your annual return

This can help combat fraudsters who try to hijack a company by changing the names of company directors and the registered address of the company. Once this has been done, the company becomes vulnerable to further fraud such as banks accounts being opened in the name of the ‘new’ directors. Companies House deals with around 50 to 100 cases of corporate identity theft every month.

An application to join the PROOF scheme should be made online using the Companies House online filing service.

Have you claimed too much from furlough scheme?

HMRC’s guidance makes it clear that any business that makes an error in making a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) claim must pay back any amount overclaimed. Any claims based on inaccurate information can be recovered by HMRC.

If you’ve overclaimed a grant and have not repaid it, you must notify HMRC by the latest of

  • 90 days after the date you received the grant you were not entitled to
  • 90 days after the date you received the grant that you were no longer entitled to keep because your circumstances changed

It is important to note that there may be interest and penalties if overclaimed grants are not repaid within the stated timeline. 

The CJRS claim form allows businesses to advise HMRC if they have identified previous errors and over-claimed. If you use this form to confirm that your business has been overpaid, the new claim amount will be reduced to reflect this overpayment.  

If you have made an error in a CJRS claim and do not plan to submit further claims, then you should request a payment reference number and pay HMRC through their card payment service or by bank transfer.

The same options can also be used by employers who would like to make a voluntary repayment because they do not want or need the CJRS grant.

Having to repay HMRC is unlikely to be a cost that employers will have thought about, so it is important to ensure that all claims made for furloughed employees are accurate. Employers are required to keep full records relating to any CJRS claims (including adjustments) for a period of six years. HMRC as said that they will not be actively looking for innocent errors in their compliance approach.

Disposing of garden or grounds

In general, there is no Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on a property which has been used as a main family residence. This relief from CGT is commonly known as private residence relief.

However, there are some grey areas which might result in CGT being due on the sale of a private residence. One of these areas to consider is when disposing of garden or grounds belonging to the property.

The entitlement to private residence relief is usually only available if the garden or grounds, including the site of the house, is no greater than 5,000 square metres (a little over an acre). Larger gardens and grounds may qualify but only if they are appropriate to the size and character of the property and are required for the reasonable enjoyment of it.

Taxpayers are still entitled to relief if they dispose of land that they occupy as their garden or grounds, up to the permitted area, at the time of disposal. The garden or grounds includes the buildings standing on that land. HMRC’s guidance is clear that a building that is not part of a dwelling house can still qualify for relief if it’s within the permitted area of garden or grounds.

No relief is allowed for land let or used for a business or for land that has been fenced or divided off from your garden for development.

What would a business vaccine aim to prevent?

Now we are getting used to the idea that the various vaccines will provide some defence against COVID outbreaks, what would a vaccine for our businesses attempt to prevent?

We have listed below a few strategies that you might like to consider that would help you survive any more periods of lockdown that governments may be forced to consider.

Retain profits

If you are fortunate and can reopen your business as lockdown restrictions are eased, and you manage to re-establish profitability, try and hang on to some of those profits.

Retained profits (after tax is paid) are the fat on the bone of your business. If retained profits are growing this must mean that your business assets are increasing. Should a further period of lockdown or similar reductions in trade be experienced, these retained profits may provide you with the resources to weather any downturn in trade.

Retain cash

Don’t take this advice literally. What we mean is try and save some of your hard-won profits in your bank.

During periods of low activity these cash reserves will help to maintain liquidity, and during times of rapid increases in turnover, they will insulate you from the down-side of overtrading – when money due from customers does not come in fast enough to meet payments to suppliers and settle other overheads.

These two simple tactics are worth considering as the regional UK governments take steps to ease current lockdown restrictions. And while they are unlikely to immunise your business against all aspects of COVID disruption, they may offer you the resources to fight-off the worst effects.

Reminder of eight-step export routine

Following the end of the Brexit transition period, the process for exporting goods to the EU mirrors the process for all other international destinations.

Businesses, especially those that only trade with EU should by now be aware of the rules and be working accordingly. Businesses can make customs declarations themselves or hire a third party such as a courier, freight forwarder or customs agent to do the paperwork.

HMRC lists the following eight-steps that should be considered when exporting goods:

  1. Check if you need to follow this process. The process listed below should be if you're moving goods permanently from: England, Wales or Scotland (Great Britain) to a country outside the UK or from Northern Ireland to a country outside the UK and the EU. There are different rules for goods that move between Great Britain and Northern Ireland or between Northern Ireland and the EU.
  2. Check the rules for exporting your goods.
  3. Get your business ready to export. This includes ensuring you have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.
  4. Decide who will make export declarations and transport the goods
  5. Classify your goods.
  6. Prepare the invoice and other documentation for your goods.
  7. Get your goods through customs.
  8. Keep invoices and records.

Changing accounting date

There are special rules in place which limit the ability to change a company’s year end date. A company’s year-end date is also known as its ‘accounting reference date’ and is historically set by reference to the date the company was incorporated. Under certain circumstances it is possible to make a change to the year end.

As a rule, you can only change the year end for the current financial year or the one immediately before it. Making a change to a year-end date will also change the deadline for filing accounts (except if during a new company’s first financial year).

There is no limit to the number of times you can shorten a year-end date, but you can only extend the period to a maximum of 18 months once in every five years. The financial year can be extended more often under limited circumstances, for example, if the company has been placed in administration.

A request for a change to an accounting reference date can be made online using the Companies House online service or by using a postal version of the Change your company accounting reference date (AA01) form. No change can be made to a period for which accounts are overdue.

There is no overriding reason for using one date over another but there are several factors to consider. The most common year-end dates are 31 December (to coincide with the end of the calendar year) or 31 March (to coincide with the end of the tax year).