Posts tagged ‘Income Tax’

May 1960 Pay SlipNew powers to tackle PAYE debtors

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will have new powers to tackle companies which fail to pay their employees’ income tax and national insurance contributions.

Upfront demands

From April, HMRC will be able to demand an upfront security from firms it deems to pose a serious risk of not paying.  In particular, HMRC will be targeting companies which deduct money from their employees’ pay packets but have no intention of paying it to the tax office.

The new measures are an extension of existing powers which HMRC has in respect of VAT, insurance premium tax and  environmental taxes.

It is hard to believe that this a “new” power as without it compliant taxpayers are not being treated fairly.

PenaltyPossible penalties

Businesses failing to provide a security will face a fine of up to £5,000 which will be enforceable by the courts.

HMRC have said that employers facing genuine payment difficulties will not be affected by the change.

Source: Total Investor website.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

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If you do not currently offer your employees a company pension scheme then you need to take heed of a new scheme announced by the coalition Government.


All employers

From October 2012, all employers, no matter how small, will have to enrol staff in the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), unless they already offer a comparable pension scheme to their employees.

NEST

NEST is a scheme designed to give people more access to good quality pension savings, especially for those on low to middle incomes. The Government hopes that this will prompt people to start saving for their retirement, particularly with people now living longer with little or no savings.


Phased implementation

Each employer will be given a date from when the changes must be in place. The reform will be phased in over a four-year period to 2016, starting with larger firms and then working down through medium and then small and micro-employers. The size of an employer will be based on PAYE data.

A minimum contribution level will also be phased in gradually, with employers eventually contributing at least 3% of qualifying earnings by October 2017.

Eligibility

To be eligible for enrolment, staff must work in the UK, be at least 22 and under state pension age and not already be in a suitable pension scheme. They will have to earn at least £7,475 a year, which will be the threshold for paying income tax from April 2011.

Transferable and may be used by multiple-employers

Friendly, approachable, reliable professionals

The advantage of NEST is that it can travel with a person from job to job, with more than one employer being able to contribute to a member’s retirement savings pot at the same time.


If you are an employer or considering employing someone, then George Hay can advise on a wide range of pension and tax issues to help ensure you are fully prepared for the changes.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.


It is a discussion I have had with many of my clients when appraising their progress and looking at how the business is going to grow in the upcoming months.

Once outsourcing has been considered, utilised or perhaps discounted, finding someone to support you and help develop growth has to be the next step, but it is a daunting one. 

 So I have commissioned this post from my good friend, and professional contact Katherine Connolly  of Keeping HR Simple  to help alleviate concerns.


You know you’re too busy….

You know you have a great sales pipeline and you also know that another pair of hands would free up your time.  You want to work on your business as well as in it.  So what’s stopping you from making the leap from business owner to employer?

It doesn’t have to be complicated

Taking on your first employee doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you prepare for it in advance.  Regardless of the fact that you have a small business, as soon as someone agrees to work for you and you agree to pay them for the work they do, you take on certain responsibilities for them.  That may sound a bit scary but it doesn’t have to be. 

Your obligations

You need to be aware of your obligations, most of which are common sense, and have a plan to meet them. 

 They are as follows:

(i) To pay wages

Sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it, but what would happen if you had a particularly tough month or if a couple of customers don’t pay their bills on time?  You need to have a contingency plan and informing your employee that you can’t pay their wages that month is not enough!  Do you have enough money in the bank to cover at least 3 months salary for them?  It’s really important to communicate with your employee at all times, especially since they will be relying on their salary to make ends meet.

(ii) Not to make unauthorised deductions

You can’t deduct money from an employee’s wages unfairly or without getting their approval in advance (another reason why it’s essential to have an employment contract!)

You can only make deductions from wages in certain circumstances:

  • if there is legal authority to do so, e.g. by Act of Parliament – income tax, National Insurance Contributions etc;
  • by contract of employment which might provide for deductions to be made in certain specific circumstances, e.g. fines for disciplinary offences;
  • or by individual agreement where an employee might agree for the deduction for union subscriptions or to reimburse their employer for overpayment of wages. 

Remember that you will be paying employer’s national insurance on top of the employee’s salary so you will have to include it in your calculations. 

(iv) To take reasonable care of your employee

This is a wide-ranging duty and covers both physical care and psychiatric care (i.e. not to expose employees to psychiatric harm).  As your business grows, this will encompass policies like a zero tolerance approach to discrimination and bullying but that doesn’t mean you should ignore such things until you reach a certain threshold.  The same goes for health and safety – just because you need 5 employees before the law says you need a written health and safety policy doesn’t mean you should ignore your obligations to provide a safe working environment. 

As an example, have you considered where your new employee will work? You may be quite happy working in your spare room or in a garage conversion on the side of your house but you need to put yourself in their position.  If there isn’t room for them to work comfortably and safely, you need to consider other options.

(v) Not to breach mutual trust and confidence

This obligation refers to your working relationship with your employee.  There are three fundamentals that should govern your behaviour as an employer:

  1. Be fair
  2. Be consistent
  3. Be nice


If you practice these without fail, you will find that you’re in the best position to preempt difficult situations and deal with the majority of problems that may arise. 

Don’t be scared to take on your first employee.  Just be prepared! 


Guest author:   Katherine and her partner Jason are successful growing their professional HR consultancy business, by sticking to their core values and Keeping HR Simple

If you have any questions regarding this post, please leave a comment below or contact Katherine and Jason on 0800 458 6582.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

HM Revenue and Customs have gradually been trying to standardise the tax system across all the different taxes. From the 1st April 2010 further changes have come in to place in a bid to make the tax system more consistent.

Cross Compliance Inspections

Last year as part of the standardisation process HMRC introduced cross compliance checks enabling them to obtain information regarding various different taxes all at the same time. This meant that HMRC now have one set of powers giving them the ability to inspect records and consider the affect any information obtained has on various taxes such as Corporation Tax, VAT and PAYE, so if an error is found affecting one tax it could now have consequences across other taxes too.

From 1st April 2010 the list of taxes which can be inspected at the same time has been extended to cover almost all taxes imaginable. The major taxes of Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax, PAYE, VAT and CIS where all covered last year but this year majority of the remaining taxes have been added to the list, it now also includes Inheritance Tax, Stamp Duty Land Tax, and many more.

Time frames aligned

The standardisation process also covered the alignment of the amount of time a taxpayer has to make a claim and the amount of time HMRC have to make an assessment.  It now means that for Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Corporation Tax where the time limit for how far HMRC could previously go back was six years this has reduced to four years. However for VAT time limits have increased from three to four years.

 The changes to time limits largely took effect from 1 April 2010 so it could be well worth considering if a previously out of time claim could now be made or if a deadline is now nearing. Anyone needing to make an Income Tax repayment claim for earlier years should check the new deadlines to ensure they do not miss out.

Consistent and fair?

The new process is supposed to make the tax system more consistent and clearer for everyone to administer, but that remains to be seen.


Disclaimer: This article is for general guidance only.  All taxation planning should only be undertaken after appropriate professional advice.  George Hay Chartered Accountants are registered to carry on audit work and regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.