Pension scam advice from The Pensions Regulator and The Financial Conduct Authority

Some useful advice from The Pensions Regulator;

New research shows that millions of savers could be at risk of pension scams.

Scams can happen to anyone. That’s why we’re running a joint ScamSmart campaign with the Financial Conduct Authority to warn savers of the risk of scams.

You are the professional. Scammers are not. Get to know your responsibilities as a professional adviser and help protect them.

Pension scams are devastating. Figures show that last year those who fell victim lost on average £82,000.

Common warning signs include:

  • pension cold calls

  • free pension reviews

  • claims of guaranteed high returns

  • unusual investments – like overseas hotels or storage units

  • early access to your pension under the age of 55

  • pressure of time limited offer”

There is also a helpful scams prevention guide and online quiz to help you spot potential scams.

Evans & Co are here to help if you have any questions with the administration of auto-enrolment pension schemes

How to spot if HMRC correspondence is real or not

We get a number of questions from clients who have had a call or email purporting to be from HMRC and asking for money. These scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated but helps is at hand.

HMRC have updated guidance about genuine HMRC contact and recognising phishing emails and texts.View the updated guidance at Genuine HMRC contact and recognising phishing emails and texts.

Speak to your accountant if you are ever unsure if a piece of correspondence is legitimate.

Payslips mandatory for all workers from 6 April

From 6 April, payslips will now have to include the number of hours worked – making it easier for workers to check they are being paid the correct amount.

 It means payslips now have to include the number of hours worked, making it simpler for workers to make sure they are being paid in full, and at the correct rate.

 A failure to provide an itemised payslip to those with a “worker” status could result in a tribunal claim, especially given the attention surrounding workers’ rights.

‘Those who fail to receive their payslip on time, or receive the payslip without the necessary information, may make a claim to the employment tribunal that their right has been breached. If the tribunal agrees that this is the case, they will make a declaration and, in some cases, award the employee an amount equal to any deductions which have been made in the previous 13-week period.’

A significant change to the new payslip rules means that the total number of hours worked must be included on payslips for all workers whose pay varies depending on the amount of time worked.

‘The rules on this can be tricky; all hourly paid workers will be within the scope of this new requirement, as well as salaried hours staff who are paid the same each month for their basic hours but also work overtime and receive extra money for this,’ Parkinson said. ‘In the latter scenario, the payslip will only need to show the hours relating to the overtime, and not the salaried work, because it is the overtime that has made pay vary.

‘Where the number of hours is to be included, the hours must be clearly listed as either one total of all the hours which vary pay, or separate hourly figures for each variation of pay.’

If you have any queries or concerns regarding payroll, please feel free to contact us.

Source: Accountancy Daily 08/04/19

Taxpayers targeted by scammers

20th March 2019

Fraudsters in India are targeting UK taxpayers by claiming to be HMRC officials, a Daily Mail investigation has uncovered. Victims are told they must make payments related to tax they owe or face arrest and imprisonment, with some losing up to £20,000. It was found that the criminals trick some taxpayers into making multiple bank payments, saying the original transfer did not go through. It is noted that the fraudsters buy British phone numbers and take payments into British bank accounts to make the scam appear genuine.

The report shows that Indian call centres are involved in more than one in ten reported frauds in the UK. HMRC said phone scams using the threat of HMRC action escalated during 2018, with a significant increase to over 4,000 reports a month from July 2018. In the 12 months to February 2019 it received 73,382 reports of suspicious phone calls.

Please contact us if you are in any doubt about a call, email or letter received regarding tax.

Source: Daily Mail (18/03/2019)

Busting myths around Making Tax Digital

15th March 2019

HMRC have published a factsheet debunking certain “myths” around MTD and how it will work. Find out more below.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/785733/Making-Tax-Digital-Mythbusters-_V03_.pdf

They have also updated their list of MTD compatible software which you can find below.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/find-software-thats-compatible-with-making-tax-digital-for-vat

CGT administration for UK residents with UK residential property gains

13th March 2019

If you dispose of a second home or rental property after 5 April 2020 you may be caught by new legislation requiring you to report the transaction on a “residential property return” and to pay any resulting Capital Gains Tax within 30 days of the transaction.

 You should contact us when planning to dispose of a property which may be caught so a provisional calculation can be carried out to estimate the gain and tax liability and to ensure that all the relevant information is available to enable the completion of the return within the 30 day deadline.

HMRC launches new online service to get an EORI number

13th March 2019

HMRC have announced that the online service for obtaining an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number is now available.

What you need to know about EORI numbers:

  • any business that already trades with non-EU countries and has a UK EORI number will continue to be able to use this for UK-EU trade and does not need to apply again

  • UK EORI numbers are eight digit numbers and begin with the prefix 'GB', such as GB00000000

  • any business that already trades with non-EU countries and has an EU EORI number will be able to use this for UK-EU trade for a temporary period; HMRC will provide further information about moving to a UK EORI number shortly and these businesses do not need to apply for a UK EORI number at this time

  • EU EORI numbers will be begin with different country prefix, such as 'IE' or 'FR'.

Get a UK EORI number to trade within the EU explains that UK businesses trading with the EU will need a UK EORI number to continue trading if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, UK businesses will need to apply the same processes to EU trade that apply when trading with the rest of the world. The guidance has been updated to reflect that the new online service to get an EORI number is now available.

View the updated guidance Get a UK EORI number to trade within the EU.

Businesses not ready for Making Tax Digital VAT deadline

19th February 2019

Nearly two thirds of businesses (64%) say that Making Tax Digital is a good idea but that they need more support with their plans ahead of the deadline of 1 April for mandatory digital VAT reporting, and only 12% are confident of their approach, according to research from KPMG

The firm’s poll of 1,000 businesses asked which statement best described their attitude to Making Tax Digital and the 2019 deadline to comply with the new VAT legislation requiring all businesses registered to pay VAT over the threshold of £85,000 to digitally report transactional quarterly reports.

While nearly two thirds (64%) of respondents thought it was a good idea but wanted more support, one in five (19%) could see no advantages of changing the current VAT reporting system, while 5% said it would be damaging to their business.

Just 12% were supportive and ready for the 1 April deadline, literally days after Brexit day on 29 March.

Please contact us if you would like to know how we can help you with Making Tax DIgital

Making Tax Digital is coming

24th January 2019

From the 1st of April 2019, HMRC are making major changes to the VAT filing process. For the vast majority of business, if your turnover exceeds £85,000 and you are registered for VAT, returns will need to be filed using HMRC approved software for Making Tax Digital (MTD). It is your responsibility to keep digital records of your sales and costs and upload your VAT return to HMRC. The old portal will no longer be available. The Government's aim is for all taxes to be reported using MTD by 2020.

 You need to act now as this doesn't leave much time to comply.

 Evans & Co are working closely with HMRC and our software providers to ensure that all of our clients are prepared for this deadline. We offer a full MTD compliant bookkeeping service, saving you time and money on administration and software.

 If you are currently below the threshold and/or not VAT registered, it is important to be aware of these changes and contact us if you believe this situation may change.

 Please contact Richard@evansaccountants.co.uk or call 0115 9427867 if you would like to discuss how Evans & Co can help with this transition and the additional services we can provide.

The childcare voucher scheme is ending, act now

23rd August 2018

Employers regularly offer the childcare voucher scheme as a way of supporting parents within their organisation. The tax-free scheme has long been popular with working parents, allowing eligible individuals to earn up to £55 per month in childcare vouchers by way of salary sacrifice.  However, given the forthcoming changes, there are some things you should consider.

You may continue offering the current scheme to eligible staff, however, it will only be available to those who sign up before October 4th, 2018. From this date onwards, any new applicants will only be eligible for the government led programme which requires no involvement on your behalf. This new scheme instead asks individuals to deposit funds into an account on the HMRC website, and the government will also contribute up to £2,000 per child per year.

Alternatively, you may take this opportunity to cease your involvement in the employer-led voucher scheme altogether, as this is totally voluntary, in an effort to make things more equal for all staff. However, you should consider how this will be received by those who currently benefit from it, particularly if this forms part of an attractive benefits package.

Whichever way you decide to proceed, it is important that you inform your employees appropriately, using a combination of emails, promotional posters, and informal meetings. If you plan to continue offering the scheme you should encourage interested staff to apply as soon as possible, as they must have received the first set of vouchers prior to the cut-off date if they are to be able to use the scheme.

We offer a full range of payroll services, please feel free to get in touch if you would like more information.

Are you ready for Making Tax Digital?

27th July 2018

HMRC’s Making Tax Digital initiative will be the most significant change to the tax system for taxpayers and their advisors since the introduction of self-assessment. With 8 months to go, people's awareness of this huge change is still very limited.

By April 2019, all VAT registered businesses with a turnover above the £85,000 VAT threshold will need to provide quarterly information electronically to HMRC. This goes beyond online VAT filing - the exact details are still to be confirmed by HMRC pending the results of their MTD pilot this year.

It is hoped that by 2020 or shortly after, all other forms of tax will be mandatory for MTD, so anyone who completes a tax return will be affected.

We at Evans are working closely with partners to deliver an effective MTD solution to all our clients. Please give us a call or email if you would like to know more.

Undisclosed offshore income and gains - Act now!

20th July 2018

The 30th of September 2018 is a vitally important date for all those who have previously undisclosed offshore income and gains. This is the date by which you have to disclose income and gains and settled any tax liabilities arising. 

So, why is this so important? – Because a number of new laws become effective from that date, not least of all the potential for penalties to double from 100 to 200% of the potential lost revenue where HMRC subsequently discover undisclosed income and gains, plus a potential further 10% of the value of the overseas assets held.

How will HMRC know about previously undisclosed assets? - Using the Common Reporting Standard between the UK and 90 other countries. This is a financial information exchange mechanism so the chances are HMRC may already know about some assets.

Please get in touch if you feel you may be affected by this.

 

Budget 2017

Key points for small businesses from the Autumn budget which will come into effect from the 6th of April 2018;

  • The VAT Threshold will be frozen for two years at £85,000. Although it hasn't dropped as expected, more people will cross the threshold due to inflation.
  • The Personal Allowance is increasing from £11,500 to £11,850 for the 2018-19 tax year.
  • Basic rate income tax band will be increased from £33,500 to £34,500.
  • The marriage allowance - the amount of unused personal tax allowance which can be transferred between spouses, will increase to £1,185 a year.
  • The amount of tax free dividend income will drop from £5,000 a year to £2,000 a year.
  • Research & Development tax credits will increase from 11% to 12% to encourage investment in R&D.
  • The indexation allowance on corporate capital gains for disposals will be frozen, effectively removing relief for inflation on disposals of assets after 1st of January 2018.

National Living and National Minimum wage levels from April 2018

  • £3.70 for apprentices in their first year or under 19
  • £4.20 for those under 18
  • £5.90 aged 18-20
  • £7.38 aged 21-24
  • £7.83 aged 25 and over

For details on these points and much more, contact us on 0115 9427867 or email info@evansaccountants.co.uk