e8ae59ff 0beb 4d4e 995c 7cc3727d821c 800x380 - Could the Trader Support Service help your business?

Could the Trader Support Service help your business?

The new Trader Support Service has been designed to help businesses moving goods under the Northern Ireland Protocol from 1 January 2021, after the Brexit transition period comes to an end. There will be changes in moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland whether or not a Free Trade Deal is reached.

If your business is moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland or bringing goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK then you need to be prepared. It is vitally important that you consider how you will move goods in and out of Northern Ireland after 1 January 2021. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, all Northern Ireland businesses will continue to have unfettered access to the whole UK market. 

Since the Trader Support Service, backed by up to £200 million of UK government funding, was launched more than 7,000 businesses have signed up. A new contact centre has also been opened to support businesses with the registration process. 

The Trader Support Service:

  • will complete digital processes on behalf of all businesses moving goods into Northern Ireland under the Northern Ireland Protocol;
  • remove the need to purchase specialist software;
  • saves traders significant time in completing declarations;
  • reduces traders’ declaration costs as the service is free-to-use.

Businesses who sign up for the service will receive full guidance and support on the next steps to take as the 1 January 2021 approaches. This includes online training sessions and webinars to help give businesses the skills and expertise they need to ensure their Great Britain / Northern Ireland trade continues to operate smoothly.

Source: HM Revenue & Customs Wed, 09 Dec 2020 00:00:00 +0100
4de97e66 a147 4c96 a745 d5b34ba0c88e 800x380 - Registration of partnerships with HMRC

Registration of partnerships with HMRC

A Partnership is a relatively simple way for two or more persons (or legal entities) to set up and run a business together with a view to profit. Partnerships can take many forms. Legal persons other than individuals can also be partners in a partnership.

There are two main types of partnership, a conventional one with two or more partners in the business. There is also a limited liability partnership or LLP, this more complex structure provides partners with the protection of limited liability, as afforded by a limited company.

In order to register a partnership with HMRC, the following forms need to be completed (where applicable):

  • Form SA400 – Registering a partnership for Self-Assessment
  • Form SA401 – Registering a partner for Self-Assessment and Class 2 NICs
  • Form SA402 – Registering a limited company, trust or another partnership as a partner

The registration forms should be filed with HMRC within six months of the end of the tax year the partnership commenced.

LLP’s are automatically registered with HMRC upon registering with Companies House, which is mandatory for these types of partnership. This means that there is no need to need to submit Form SA400. However, it is important that details of the partners are filed with HMRC using Forms SA401 and/or SA402.

HMRC should also be notified when new partners join an existing partnership, using forms SA401 or SA402. 

Source: HM Revenue & Customs Wed, 04 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0100
8e8f1d2c 9dc4 41c3 bdc4 0cda2808ef2e 800x380 - Brexit countdown importers

Brexit countdown importers

As we have reported previously, the UK government has confirmed that it will neither accept nor seek any extension to the Brexit transition period which expires on 31 December 2020. The EU has formally accepted this position. This means that the process for importing goods from the EU will change from 1 January 2021.

HMRC has published guidance to help those importing goods to prepare.

Some important points to bear in mind from 1 January 2021 are as follows:

  • You will need to make customs declarations when you import goods from the EU. These rules currently apply to importing goods from the rest of the world, including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
  • You will need to make customs declarations when you import goods from the EU.
  • The rules for importing some types of goods will change.
  • You will need an EORI number that starts with GB to import goods.
  • You will need to pay customs duties and VAT on all imports.
  • You will need to make customs declarations when you import goods from the EU. Under certain circumstances, it will be possible to delay making a declaration for up to 6 months after you imported the goods.

Note, this guidance applies to England, Wales and Scotland. Separate guidance on moving goods into, out of and through Northern Ireland is expected to be published shortly.

Source: HM Revenue & Customs Wed, 21 Oct 2020 00:00:00 +0100
cbd836ed c919 41e6 8227 8463d2d37c0d 800x380 - Brexit countdown exporters

Brexit countdown exporters

The Brexit transition period is due to end on 31 December 2020 and this means that the process for exporting goods to the EU will change from 1 January 2021.

Current guidance published by HMRC states that from 1 January 2021, businesses will need to make customs declarations when exporting goods to the EU. This is what you currently have to do if exporting goods to any country outside of the EU, including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Businesses, especially those that currently only trade with EU should be making the necessary preparations for how they will trade with the EU next year. 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 has published guidance to help those exporting goods to prepare.

Some important points to bear in mind from 1 January 2021 are as follows:

  • Make sure you have an EORI number that starts with GB. You will need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number starting with GB to import/export goods from 1 January 2021.
  • Check the rules for your type of goods. For example, check what import/export licences or certificates you need, check the labelling and marketing standards for food, plant seeds and manufactured goods and check the rules for importing/exporting alcohol, tobacco and certain oils.
  • Find out if you can charge VAT at 0% on goods exported to the EU.
  • Check if the EU business you're exporting to is ready. The EU business importing your goods will also need to prepare for 1 January 2021 changes.

Note, this guidance applies to England, Wales and Scotland. Separate guidance on moving goods into, out of and through Northern Ireland is expected to be published shortly.

Source: HM Revenue & Customs Wed, 21 Oct 2020 00:00:00 +0100
f9fc6fff f1fc 41b1 b86f 3477a3ff5258 800x380 - Distributions in anticipation of striking off rules

Distributions in anticipation of striking off rules

The Extra Statutory Concession (ESC) – C16 was a well-used extra-statutory concession that allowed company directors to treat final distributions as a capital disposal and close down their business in an efficient manner. ESC C16 was withdrawn in March 2012 and replaced by s1030A Corporation Tax Act 2010 (CTA 2010) provisions.

This move meant that from 1 March 2012, the concessionary treatment provided by ESC C16 were replaced by more restrictive statutory rules which included the introduction of a new £25,000 threshold.

Under the legislation, distributions made in anticipation of dissolution under the striking off process will not be taxed as ‘income’ distributions provided:

  • at the time of the distribution, the company has secured, or intends to secure, payment of debts due to it, and similarly has satisfied, or intends to satisfy, debts due from it, and
  • the amount of the distribution, or total amount of distributions if more than one, does not exceed £25,000.

Directors with more than £25,000 of reserves will not be able to treat the final distributions as a capital disposal but rather as ‘income’ distributions.

Source: HM Revenue & Customs Wed, 21 Oct 2020 00:00:00 +0100
4e48e9c6 b55a 4f00 90d6 228c490f6be3 800x380 - New Freeports to cope with Brexit

New Freeports to cope with Brexit

The government is moving ahead with plans to build free trade zones – known as Freeports – across Britain after Brexit. Freeports are a special kind of port where normal tax and customs rules do not apply. In their place, simplified customs procedures and duty suspensions on goods applies. 

The initiative would allow firms to import components and other pre-manufactured goods into a Freeport without paying taxes. The goods would then be processed into a finished product to be built in the UK. In these new Freeport areas, no duties would be charged on goods or materials until they leave the zone as a finished product for the UK domestic market. There should be no UK tariffs payable when the finished product is re-exported directly from the Freeport.

The Freeport bidding process in England is expected to open before the end of the year and the first Freeports on track to be open by the end of 2021. In this opening series of applications, sea, air and rail ports in England will be invited to bid for Freeport status.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “Our new freeports will create national hubs for trade, innovation and commerce, regenerating communities across the UK and supporting jobs.

The government is also working with the devolved administrations to establish at least one Freeport in each nation of the UK and will introduce a package of tax reliefs for business investment in the Freeports. This will include speeding up the planning process to accelerate development. We are also told there will be new initiatives to encourage innovators to generate new ideas to create additional economic growth and jobs. 

Source: HM Revenue & Customs Wed, 14 Oct 2020 00:00:00 +0100
444e01f7 612c 4c86 8623 706a922bc509 800x380 - Property not let at commercial rates

Property not let at commercial rates

There are special rules that apply when a property is let at less than a commercial rate or is not let on commercial terms. These rules also apply if a property is occupied rent free or at less than a commercial rate, for example, a property is occupied by a family member at a reduced or nil rent.

In these circumstances, HMRC can take the view that unless the landlord charges a full market rent for a property and imposes normal market lease conditions, it is unlikely that the expenses of the property are incurred ‘wholly and exclusively’ for business purposes.  Problems may also arise when considering the deduction of expenses during periods when the property is lived in by ‘house sitters’ who do not make any payment whilst staying at the property.

HMRC generally accepts that if a property is let at below the market rate (as opposed to providing it rent-free), the landlord can deduct the expenses of that property up to the rent they receive from letting the property. This means that the affected property produces neither a profit nor a loss. Any excess expenses cannot be carried forward to be used in a later year.

If the landlord is actively seeking a tenant and a relative house sits while it is empty, relief will not be restricted as long as the property remains genuinely available for letting. Relief for capital expenditure on uncommercial lettings may also be restricted.

Source: HM Revenue & Customs Wed, 26 Aug 2020 05:00:00 +0100
229511e1 7e07 405c 814d f8efe42a8e30 800x380 - Implementation of the loan charge

Implementation of the loan charge

HMRC has published further guidance on the implementation of the loan charge and has made clear there will be no special settlement terms.

This follows an independent review earlier this year into whether the loan charge was an appropriate way of dealing with loans schemes (also known as disguised remuneration tax avoidance schemes) that have been used by some employers and individuals in order to try and avoid paying Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs).

The government agreed a series of changes to the loan charge following the review. The amendments went before Parliament in July 2020 and became law following Royal Assent. One of the main changes following the review was confirmation that the loan charge would not apply to users of disguised remuneration avoidance schemes between 6 April 1999 and 5 April 2016 who settled the tax due with HMRC on or after 16 March 2016 and before 11 March 2020.

Most people who have used disguised remuneration schemes will fall into one of 5 main groups, depending on their circumstances.

This will determine what they need to do next, although taxpayers with more complex affairs may fall into several different categories. These groups are:

  1. Taxpayers who have settled with HMRC and are not due a refund
  2. Taxpayers still settling with HMRC
  3. Taxpayers who have not settled and will pay the loan charge
  4. Taxpayers who have settled and are due a refund or waiver following the independent review
  5. Taxpayers who no longer have to pay some, or all, of the loan charge but have not settled all of their use of DR schemes

Taxpayers that have outstanding disguised remuneration loans that are subject to the loan charge need to file their 2018-19 Self Assessment tax return by 30 September 2020, including a report of any loan balances subject to the loan charge, and put in place any arrangements they need to pay the charge due on that date. Taxpayers can now elect to spread the loan balance over 3 tax years.

Source: HM Revenue & Customs Wed, 19 Aug 2020 05:00:00 +0100
5dec6f25 cfb6 48a6 8dfc dd9776847286 800x380 - New measures to tackle promotion of tax avoidance

New measures to tackle promotion of tax avoidance

HMRC has published a series of a consultations together with details of proposed legislative changes to existing anti-avoidance regimes to strengthen HMRC’s ability to further clamp down on the market for tax avoidance.

The proposals include:

  • ensuring HMRC can effectively issue stop notices to promoters, under the Promoters of Tax Avoidance Scheme (POTAS) rules, to make it harder to promote schemes that do not work
  • preventing promoters from abusing corporate entity structures to avoid their obligations under the POTAS rules
  • ensuring HMRC can obtain information about the enabling of abusive schemes (for the purposes of the Enablers Penalty Regime) as soon as they are identified and ensuring enabler penalties are felt without delay when a scheme has been defeated at tribunal
  • ensuring that HMRC can act quickly and decisively where promoters fail to provide information on their avoidance schemes under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS).
  • making further technical amendments to the POTAS regime so that it continues to operate effectively and to ensure that the General Anti Abuse Rule (GAAR) can be used to counteract partnerships as intended.

The consultation is open for comment until 15 September 2020. The new measures are expected to be included in the Finance Bill 2020-21.

Source: HM Revenue & Customs Tue, 28 Jul 2020 05:00:00 +0100
12a4467c 26dc 4c19 8b3f 40bf856f2ada 800x380 - HMRC to gain new civil information powers

HMRC to gain new civil information powers

A new measure that will provide HMRC with additional civil information powers is expected to take effect when the Finance Bill 2020-21 receives Royal Assent. The new measure known as a Financial Institution Notice (FIN) will be used to require financial institutions to provide information to HMRC, when requested, about a specific taxpayer and without the need for approval from the independent tribunal that considers tax matters.

Currently it takes HMRC on average 12 months to respond to requests for third party financial information from other tax authorities when an information notice is needed, whereas the target under international standards is six months. The introduction of the new FIN will remove the current requirement for HMRC to obtain approval from the tax tribunal before obtaining information from financial institutions and therefore bring the UK into line with international standards on tax transparency and on the quality and speed of exchange of tax information.

The FIN will be balanced by a number of taxpayer safeguards, including:

  • the information sought will have to be reasonably required for the purpose of checking a known taxpayer’s tax position. For international requests, the information in the FIN will need to be relevant to the administration or collection of tax and the jurisdiction requesting the information would need to have exhausted all reasonable domestic ways to get the information;
  • documents subject to legal professional privilege cannot be requested;
  • HMRC will be required to tell the taxpayer why the information is needed, unless a tax tribunal rules this condition should not apply;
  • an authorised officer of HMRC (someone with the relevant experience and training) will need to approve the decision to issue a FIN;
  • if a Financial Institution does not comply with a FIN, and as a result HMRC charges penalties, the Financial Institution will be able to appeal against the penalties

In addition, HMRC is required to report to Parliament annually on the use of the FIN.

Source: HM Revenue & Customs Tue, 28 Jul 2020 05:00:00 +0100