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Fraudulent communications from ‘HMRC’

20 Oct, 2016

HMRC is warning of a number of new email phishing scams. Phishing emails are used by fraudsters to access recipients’ valuable personal details, such as usernames and passwords. Whilst these messages may appear to be genuine they are very dangerous and clicking on a link from within the email can result in personal information being compromised and the possibility of computer viruses affecting your computer or smartphone.

Paper self-assessment return deadline

05 Oct, 2016

The 2015-16 tax return deadline for taxpayers who continue to submit paper self-assessment returns is 31 October 2016. Late submission of a self-assessment return will become liable to a £100 late filing penalty. The penalty will apply even if there is no liability or if any tax due is paid in full by 31 January 2017.

Personal Savings Allowance

05 Oct, 2016

The Personal Savings Allowance (PSA) was launched on 6 April 2016. For basic-rate taxpayers the first £1,000 interest on savings income will be tax-free. For higher-rate taxpayers the tax-free personal savings allowance will be £500. Anyone earning over £150,000 will not benefit from the PSA.

Interest from savings products such as ISAs and ‘premium bond wins’ do not count towards the new limit. A basic-rate taxpayer with ISA interest and premium bond wins can still benefit in full from the relevant PSA limits.

Pensions annual and lifetime allowances updates

05 Oct, 2016

The income and gains which arise as part of a pension scheme are generally exempt from Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax. Over recent years, both the annual and lifetime allowances have been gradually reduced removing some of the tax relief available to high earners.

The lifetime allowance is the maximum amount of pension and/or lump sum that benefits from tax relief. The lifetime allowance was reduced to £1m from £1.25m with effect from 6 April 2016.

Employment intermediaries reporting deadline reminder

05 Oct, 2016

New rules introduced in April 2015 require employment intermediaries, which supply two or more workers to a client, to send HMRC details of workers where they don’t operate PAYE on the workers’ payments. HMRC has put these new rules to help combat issues of false self-employment and the abuse of offshore working by some intermediaries.

Pension tax changes

05 Oct, 2016

As part of the Budget 2016 measures, the government announced a number of small changes to the pension tax rules to ensure that they operate as intended following the introduction of pension flexibility in April 2015.

The changes included removing the requirement that a serious ill-health lump sum can only be paid from an arrangement that has never been accessed and replacing the 45% tax charge on serious ill-health lump sums paid to individuals who have reached age 75 with tax at the individual’s marginal rate.

Other measures included:

New National Minimum Wage rates

29 Sep, 2016

The new National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates come into effect on 1 October 2016. The hourly rate of the NMW will increase to £6.95 (a rise of 25p) for adults 21-24 year olds. This is a rise of 3.7% over the current rate.

The rates for 18-20 year olds increase to £5.55 (a rise of 25p) and the rate for workers above the school leaving age but under 18 will increase to £4.00 (a rise of 13p). The NMW rate for apprentices increases by 3% to £3.40 (a rise of 10p).

More taxpayers sign up to use Personal Tax Accounts

29 Sep, 2016

Over 5 million taxpayers have signed up to use HMRC’s Personal Tax Account (PTA) since the service was launched in December 2015. The PTA will eventually allow taxpayers to manage their tax affairs online and allow taxpayers to review all their details in real time. The launch of the PTA is part of HMRC’s strategy to move to a fully digital tax service.

New consultation on the definition of financial advice

29 Sep, 2016

HM Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have been working together since August 2015 examining various options to improve access to financial advice for individuals especially those who have significant wealth or income. This research took place under the umbrella of the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR) which looked at ways to provide people with timely financial advice that is free and impartial.

Business Premises Renovation Allowance (BPRA)

29 Sep, 2016

The Business Premises Renovation Allowance (BPRA) is a special capital allowances scheme to encourage the conversion and renovation of empty business properties in specified assisted areas (i.e. deprived areas in the UK).

The use of the BPRA provides for a 100% tax deduction on the capital costs a business incurs in converting, renovating or repairing empty business premises that have been vacant for at least a year, in order to bring them back into business use. The relief is available to individuals and partnerships as well as companies.

EU Payments Account Directive

22 Sep, 2016

The EU Payments Account Directive more commonly known as PAD sets a European wide standard on the services provided to EU residents by banks. The directive is meant to ensure that services, including an account switching service, the right of access to a basic bank account for those who are legally resident in the EU and clear and transparent information on fees and charges, are available across EU banks.

The marriage allowance

22 Sep, 2016

The marriage allowance came into force on 6 April 2015 and allows lower earning couples to share part of their personal tax-free allowance. The marriage allowance is available to married couples and those in a civil partnership where a spouse or civil partner doesn’t pay tax or doesn’t pay tax above the basic rate threshold for income tax (i.e. one of the couple earns less than £11,000 in 2016-17). There is a different marriage allowance for those born before 6 April 1935.