HMRC campaigns – Let Property Campaign

HMRC’s Let Property Campaign is still giving individual landlords who are letting out residential property in the UK or abroad, the opportunity to bring their tax affairs up to date.

Landlords need to notify HMRC of their intention to take part and then have 3 months to make their disclosure and pay what they owe. Participating in the campaign allows landlords to get the best terms available and increases their chances of avoiding higher penalties.

Help and support for landlords is available via HMRC’s Online Learning.

HMRC e-learning course for landlords

 

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Capital Gains Tax

Capital Gains Tax for non-UK residents: sales and disposals of UK
residential property…
From 6 April 2015 if you are not resident in the UK and sell or dispose of a UK residential property you need to let HMRC know within 30 days of conveyance, using HMRC’s return.

Since the extension to Capital Gains Tax (CGT) was introduced HMRC have listened to their ‘customers’ and have updated our guidance and tax return in line with feedback received.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/capital-gains-tax-for-non-residents-uk-residential-property

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/capital-gains-tax-for-non-residents-calculating-taxable-gain-or-loss

 

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Alcohol Duty

Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS)

All businesses wholesaling alcoholic drinks must register for AWRS between 1 January and 31 March 2016, or be at risk of trading illegally. Businesses who cannot demonstrate their business is sufficiently protected from the illicit trade, or where there is evidence of fraud, may have their right to trade in alcohol removed. HMRC has also produced a webinar which explains the scheme and how to register.

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5287369269734947074

 

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Property tax changes. Is incorporation the way forward?

In the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement he announced a further two measures affecting property ownership:

 

  1. Stamp Duty Land Tax – the introduction of an additional 3% rate of SDLT on the purchase of second properties, such as holidays homes and buy to lets, worth more than £40,000 from April 2016.
  2. Capital Gains Tax – CGT payable on the disposal of second homes required to be paid within 30 days of disposal from April 2019.

 

Alongside the restriction of tax relief on interest mortgage payments introduced in the previous budget, we are starting to see more and more clients consider incorporation.

 

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Email Etiquette

These days, everyone is under pressure. We respond to email from computers, tablets and smartphones. We are all working harder and sometimes we can fall into bad habits when it comes to our email etiquette. Here are a few tips to help counter this:

Open emails quickly and respond

It is very frustrating to send emails and not get a single response. The sender will begin to wonder if the emails even went through or whether they have been delayed. You can respond to communicate that you have received the message and you will read it in greater detail at a later time. It gives the sender peace of mind.

Communicate clearly

Long-winded emails never get the attention of the reader. Get to the point quicker to ensure people read and understand your message. However, avoid slang and shorthand in your email, as that will come across as unprofessional. Your subject should match what you have typed in the message body and attachment. Double check for any typos before you send and don’t trust spell checker as it doesn’t pick up every mistake.

Address people properly

One of the dangers of communicating via email is that it is quite casual. However if you are addressing someone in a formal email, do so properly. For example, use “Dear Mr Smith” if you are responding to a customer complaint email.

Be careful with forwarding messages

Assess the benefit or usefulness and validity of an email before forwarding to others. Always take the time to type a personal comment to accompany the forwarded email so that the person receiving knows you have read it and what you want them to do.

Manage attachments

If you are sending an attachment with an email message, try to keep the number of attachments to a minimum. It you send 10 attachments there is always the danger that one of them could be missed. In addition, people tend to use smartphones a lot for email. They may not wait to download large attachments if they are rushing around. As such, make sure that your attachments have fairly small file sizes.

Formatting

Email formatting and accuracy are important, especially in a business context. Email has essentially replaced the handwritten letter in modern society. As such, format your text so that it looks tidy. With email, it is attention to detail that makes all the difference when it comes to conveying a professional image.

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Google ChromeBook

What is it?

A Chromebook is a laptop running Google Chrome OS as its operating system. The devices are designed to be used primarily while connected to the internet, with most applications and data residing in the cloud. They are not designed to be full featured laptops like Windows or Apple machines.

Are they any good for business users?

Chromebooks are an interesting option for businesses because they are cheaper to buy and service than typical laptops running Windows. In addition, they are set up to use cloud computing which works well for businesses wanting staff to keep their files on a server rather than on their laptop. Chromebooks also offer the prospect of radically reducing the amount of time IT staff spend ‘keeping the lights on’ for devices, and they offer high uptime, low service costs, and scalable deployment of new web-based applications and content. There are other advantages – quick start-up times (they use flash-based storage rather than traditional hard disks), excellent battery life and optional 3G/4G connectivity for go-anywhere mobile working. Crucially, Chromebooks require (almost) zero maintenance. There are no lengthy patch / update cycles, upgrades, antivirus or anti-malware installs.

They are very secure

These days, security is paramount. On a Chromebook, files are safely stored in the cloud and the file system on a Chromebook is locked down with encryption.

There are some disadvantages

Working with a Chromebook requires a mindset shift away from localised storage and applications. If your staff are not prepared to embrace corporate Gmail and Google Apps, then one of the biggest arguments against using a Chromebook is its reliance on an internet connection to do anything useful. In addition, they are not as powerful as Windows or Apple machines for intensive tasks like graphic design.

Which one should you buy?

Most of the major laptop manufacturers such as Acer, Toshiba, Dell, Asus, Lenovo and Samsung make Chromebooks. You can buy them with Core i5 or even Core i7 processors and plenty of storage too. You can have a screen size from 10.1 inches right up to 15 inches and can even have a touchscreen.

Prices start from about £160 for a basic model and go right up to about £1,000 for a top of the range Chromebook such as the Google Chromebook Pixel. For businesses that want to equip a few team members with cost-effective laptops which encourage staff to save files to a central server, the Chromebook is a viable option. For businesses, a model priced at around £250 should have a good enough specification to do the job. However, you need to ask is the Chromebook right for your firm; do you need more traditional based machines?

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BUYING A BUSINESS? WHAT ABOUT CAPITAL ALLOWANCES?

Another important consideration when buying a business is tax relief for the plant and machinery of the target company. Where the shares of the target company are acquired, the new owners will inherit the tax written down value in the target company’s capital allowances pool which will normally be a lot lower than the market value of the machinery.

This is another reason why a trade and asset purchase would be preferable for the buyer, as they would acquire the plant and machinery at the agreed market value. Where fixtures and fittings within buildings are acquired it is even possible, by agreement with the vendors, to acquire those items at the original purchase price. Remember that the current Annual Investment Allowance that gives 100% relief on plant and machinery reduces to just £200,000 from 1 January 2016.

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