HMRC Pilot New Scheme to Assist Deaf Customers

HM Revenue & Customs are currently testing new services to assist those customers with hearing difficulties. In working with the Royal Association for Deaf People (RAD), HMRC are able to provide never before seen levels of access to information and support.

The innovative service has been piloted using a small number of people, with the response showing how beneficial it is already proving to be. It means that deaf customers who handle their own tax affairs, but were unable to speak directly with HMRC, can now do so.  Using a video relay a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter will be able to talk directly with an HMRC adviser on the phone, thereby creating a three way ‘real time’ conversation.

However, as there may be more complex issues, customers can use the Advocacy and Advice service provided by RAD. Advisers will use BSL to communicate with the customer using a video link and provide advice. But if the matter needs HMRC help to support the customer, then they will contact an HMRC adviser on the customer’s behalf.

Customers wanting to use either the video relay or Advocacy and Advice services can find out more and book an appointment through the joint HMRC/RAD Tax Help Centre, or by clicking here.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

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Changes to Annual Investment Allowance from January

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Having concluded that a reduction to £25,000 would not be “remotely acceptable”, from 1 January 2016 the chancellor has set the Annual Investment Allowance at £200,000 – “it’s highest permanent level.”

For those businesses whose financial year is not in line with the calendar year transitional rules will apply and the Annual Investment Allowance will be apportioned according to the financial year end.

For example, a business with a 31 March 2016 year end will have an AIA of £425,000; nine twelfths of £500,000 totalling £375,000 plus three twelfths of £200,000 giving £50,000.

However, expenditure incurred from 1 January 2016 up to the accounting year end cannot exceed the proportion of AIA calculated for that period (£50,000). Therefore it you are spending more than £50,000 it may be worthwhile doing so before 1 January 2016, if you want to get relief for the full cost in the year of purchase.

For further information please contact Green & Co.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

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To be (In Self Assessment) or not to be (In Self Assessment) – That Is The Question!

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In the March budget HMRC announced that the tax return as we know (and love?) it is to be abolished. As we eagerly await the release of the “roadmap” in late 2015, which outlines the plan, let us remind you who should currently be submitting tax returns. This list is taken from the Gov website and is correct as at July 2015. It is not exhaustive.

You should be in self-assessment if:

  • you’re self-employed
  • you have £2,500 or more in untaxed income, e.g. from renting out a property or savings and investments
  • your savings or investment income is £10,000 or more before tax
  • you’ve made profits from selling things like shares, a second home or other chargeable assets and need to pay Capital Gains Tax
  • you’re a company director – unless it’s a non-profit organisation (e.g. a charity) and you don’t get any pay or benefits
  • your income (or your partner’s) is over £50,000 and one of you claims Child Benefit
  • you have income from abroad that you need to pay tax on
  • you live abroad and have UK income
  • you receive dividends from shares and you’re a higher or additional rate taxpayer
  • your income is over £100,000
  • you’re a trustee of a trust or registered pension scheme
  • Certain other people may need to send a return (e.g. religious ministers or Lloyd’s underwriters)

For further information please contact Green & Co

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

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Scam Emails On The Rise On Run-in To Tax Credit Deadline

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HMRC are asking tax credit claimants to be wary of scam emails, fake websites and text messages in the run up to the 31 July renewals deadline.

Recently published statistics show that, between April and July last year, 51,000 phishing emails were reported to them which was double the amount for the same period in the previous year.

Claiming to be from the Tax Credit Office and usually offering a refund of several hundred pounds, many of these scam messages include a link to what looks a legitimate version of the GOV.UK website, asking people to provide their bank details for the full refund. Fraudsters then try to take money from the account, or sell their identities on to criminals.

Last year, nearly 9,000 scam websites were shut down through HMRC’s work with various other agencies, a massive increase of 500% from the 2013 year. The message still remains – to be vigilant.

Nick Lodge, the Director General of Benefits and Credits has said:  “HMRC will never ask people to disclose personal information by email. We have cracked down on phishing emails and scam websites, but the fraudsters’ methods are constantly changing, so people must remain vigilant. The only way to renew tax credits and report changes online is on GOV.UK.”

For advice on recognising these scams and how to report them, go to GOV.UK.

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Employment Agencies Crackdown Countdown

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As a reminder, employment agencies have until 5th August 2015 to ensure that they are complying with new rules from HM Revenue & Customs.

Announced in April, the new legislation requires any employment agency who supply two or more workers without operating a PAYE scheme, to report details of the payments made, on a quarterly basis. This means that on 5th August, the information for the first quarter of 6th April to 5th July, needs to be submitted using HMRC’s online services.

More detailed guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website, to see if it applies to you and whether you need to send a quarterly return.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

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You Are Being Watched

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Did you know HM Revenue & Customs is keeping a watchful eye on your financial life?

Using a software application called “Connect”, the taxman is able to liaise with other sources of information to keep a check on your money, where it comes from and what you do with it.  These sources of data include banks (both here and in the EU), Land Registry, Companies House and social media.  DVLA is also a partner and can pass over details of the vehicles you own, so that HMRC can make a judgement on whether your lifestyle is compatible with your wealth – or lack of it!  Even an overview of photos and comments published on social media sites can give the Inspector cause for concern if he suspects you are not living within your declared means.

The scheme is designed to identify potential tax dodgers and recoup some of the estimated £100 billion lost by the Treasury every year due to fraud and non-compliant behaviour by both individuals and businesses.  It is estimated that over £4billion has been collected since 2010 as a result of criminal investigations initiated by HMRC under the scheme.

In the majority of cases the taxman will write to the taxpayer, suggesting that the information on their self-assessment return is wrong with an invitation to correct the data – and a quick resolution can then be achieved – sometimes without penalty.  Likewise voluntary disclosures made before any formal proceedings are instigated are considered sympathetically when it comes to issuing penalties.

If however, the taxpayer is not co-operative, a full enquiry will be launched and, particularly if the tax loss is likely to be considerable, a criminal investigation will ensue.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net

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Summer Budget 2015

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Our review of the Summer Budget 2015 is now available: Green & Co – Summer Budget 2015

There were several big changes announced in this weeks Chancellor’s Budget, including changes to Corporation Tax, Inheritance Tax, Dividend Tax Credits and Landlords Tax Relief among many others.

We have compiled everything you need to know about the budget, all nicely wrapped up in one handy download.

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