Massey Accounting Company

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Pension contribution rates increase from April 2018

If you employ staff and run a pension scheme the minimum contributions rates are increasing from April 2018 as set-out in the table below. This has long been the intention of The Pension Regulator (TPR) and is known as phasing.

 

 

Date Employer minimum contribution Staff contribution Total minimum contribution
Until 5 April 2018 1% 1% 2%
6 April 2018 to 5 April 2019 2% 3% 5%
6 April 2019 onwards 3% 5% 8%

If we provide your payroll services then we will of course implement the increased rates on your behalf but because this represents an increased cost for both employer and employee we highly recommend that you let your staff know in advance of this change. To do so you may like to use this TPR letter template.

Source info: http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/employers/phasing-increase-of-automatic-enrolment-contribution

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Autumn Budget 2017 – Small Business Guide & Tax Rates

2017.03 Hammond Budget

An uneventful budget, thank you Phillip!
Here’s a brief round-up of the main points for you as a small business owner:

Personal tax free allowance – to increase to £11,850 for 2018/19 (from £11,500)

Marriage Allowance – increase to £1,185 worth a possible tax saving of £237 (from £230)

VAT Threshold – has been frozen at £85,000 for two years (there’s a hint that this could be lowered in line with other EU countries after April 2020)

Tax free dividend allowance – will be reduced to £2,000 (from £5,000) as we already knew from April 2018.

Corporation tax – to remain at the current rate of 19%.

Making Tax Digital – VAT registered businesses will be required to maintain digital records from April 2019 – meaning that most such business will need to consider using cloud accounting apps.

IR35 – Unsurprisingly, it was announced that HMRC will consult on reforms to IR35 for the private sector (public sector having already undergone reforms).

Self-Employed NI – Will delay the abolition of Class 2 NICs by a year until 6 April 2019. Class 4 will remain at 9%.

National Minimum Wage – increase to £7.83 starting April 2018 (from £7.50)

We have two downloads available for our clients:

Our Complete Guide to the Autumn Budget 2017, and our most recent Tax Rates Sheet covering 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19

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Spring Budget 2017 – A Business Owners Guide

2017.03 Hammond BudgetSmall business owners will probably find that yesterday’s budget was not as bad as some of the headlines are making out. Yes national insurance will increase for the self-employed and company shareholders will again see an increase in their personal tax bills but a quick look at the numbers shows that, for now, these increases are likely to be modest.

Mr Hammond suggested that the self-employed earning below £16,250 will actually end up paying less National Insurance – and this seems about right. In fact even if profits were around the £25,000 mark then the increase (which will start from April 2018) will be only around £140.

As for small company owners that pay themselves using a mix of salary and dividends (for the best 2017/18 salary and dividend mix see here) the announcement means a basic rate taxpayer who receives £5,000 in dividends will have to pay an extra £225 tax from April 2018. A higher rate tax payer will pay an extra £975.

On The Bright Side

Very welcome was the postponement to Making Tax Digital for the self-employed which for those under the VAT threshold means that quarterly reporting will not now become mandatory until April 2018 (starting April 2020 for limited companies).

And any firm coming out of Small Business Rate Relief will receive an additional cap next year on increases of no more than £50 a month.

Download our more detailed guide to the budget (including current and newly announced tax rates and thresholds) here.

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Optimal Directors’ Salary and Dividend Mix for 2017-18

Probably the most important post of the year for limited company directors!

Question: What’s the most tax efficient salary and dividend mix for the 2017/18 tax year?

An owner managed limited company will usually pay their directors / shareholders with a mix of salary and dividends.

The level of the director’s salary is usually set in order to avoid any income tax and national insurance. On this basis the recommended remuneration package for 2017/18 is:

Upper limits for 2017/18

Salary – per annum: £8,164 (last year £8,060)
Salary – per month: £680 (last year £671)

Dividend – per annum: £36,836 (last year £34,940)
Dividend – per month: £3,069 (last year £2,911)

It should be noted that since the introduction of the dividend ordinary tax rate of 7.5% on dividends over £5,000 there will be a personal tax bill of £2,138 (last year £2,025) if dividends are paid all the way up to the basic rate limit of £45,000 (last year £43,000).

For those companies that also have non-director employees on the payroll then they will continue to benefit from the Employment Allowance which reduces the company’s Class 1 National Insurance contributions (Employer’s N.I.) by up to £3,000.

In such cases there may be an opportunity for directors to eke out a little more tax savings by paying themselves a salary of £11,500 and dividends up to a maximum of £33,500 (the overall tax saving between the director and the company being around £234).

This second option will not be the best fit for everyone. More that ever, personal circumstances must be carefully considered to give the best results.

Each client of Massey Accounting Company will be receiving a personalised recommendation shortly.


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Are gifts to customers allowable against tax?

As a general rule gifts to customers are not allowable against your taxable profits.

However, follow this guidance and you can afford to be a little more generous with your customers this year:

Small gifts which carry a conspicuous advertisement for the trader are an allowable expense. Common examples include: branded diaries, pens and mouse mats. The advertisement must be on the gift, not just the wrapping.

Unfortunately the expenditure of the following kind is specifically excluded (even if it incorporates your advertisement): Food, drink, tobacco, gift vouchers and gifts exceeding £50 per recipient (even if it carries your business logo).

Source material: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/bimmanual/BIM45070.htm

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A tax free gift, is it true?!

A tax free gift, is it true?!

In general, an employer will report gifts made to employees on their annual Benefit-in-Kind Return form P11D meaning that both the employer and employee will pay income tax and national insurance on the value of the gift.

However since 6th April 2016 employers are now, sensibly, able to give tax free gifts to employees up to the value of £50 without the cost or complication of reporting a Benefit-in-Kind.

Such gifts now have a statutory exemption under the Trivial Benefits-in-Kind rule, which must meet each of the following four conditions to qualify for the exemption:

  • the cost of providing the benefit does not exceed £50 (or the average cost per employee if a benefit is provided to a group of employees and it is impracticable to work out the exact cost per person)
  • the benefit is not cash or a cash voucher
  • the employee is not entitled to the benefit as part of any contractual obligation (including under salary sacrifice arrangements)
  • the benefit is not provided in recognition of particular services performed by the employee as part of their employment duties (or in anticipation of such services)

Practical points

  • This is a useful statutory exemption allowing employers to provide most gifts without needless complication.
  • To be treated as a trivial benefit in kind the gift must cost under £50. If your gift costs £51 then the whole amount will be taxed on the employer and employee as a benefit in kind.
  • The gift must be freely given and not as a reward for employee performance (examples include birthday gifts, Christmas presents, a gift on the birth of a new baby, the cost of a summer garden party).
  • Whilst cash or cash vouchers cannot be given, store / gift vouchers may be given.
  • There is no change to the amount of tax relief the business will receive on the cost of the gift. For example a garden party may still count as entertaining which is not allowed for corporation tax.

Source info: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tax-exemption-for-trivial-benefits-in-kind-draft-guidance/tax-exemption-for-trivial-benefits-in-kind-draft-guidance

Related topics

Entertaining and Meals Out – What is the correct tax treatment?

Are gifts to customers allowable against tax?

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Can the Cycle to Work Scheme Work for You?

Can the Cycle to Work Scheme Work for You?

What a great summer its turning our to be for cycling fans! As a business owner perhaps you’re wondering if the Cycle to Work Scheme could be of some benefit?

In my opinion, probably not, BUT…
The government have done it again – generally small owner managed businesses have found that the costs and hassle of operating the scheme outweigh the benefits.

For example – you could use a third party provider to set-up the scheme (usually a larger bike shop) but even then there’s salary sacrifice arrangements, benefits in kind, VAT claimed (then paid later!) and terms of employment to be updated. Forget it!

REAL WORLD SCENARIO
If you’re planning to use your bike for mostly business (including your commute) then your company can buy you a bike + safety equipment. The limited company will attract 20% corporation tax relief and be able to reclaim the VAT. Simples! A greater saving with much less trouble.

Source info: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycle-to-work-scheme-implementation-guidance http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/1/section/244?view=plain

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