Author Archives: Peggy Nightingale

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We send our warmest congratulations to our Tax Manager, Fran Brooks and her fiancé Stuart, who are getting married tomorrow Thursday 22nd July, having already had to postpone their wedding for obvious reasons. We are sure you will want to join us in sending them both warmest wishes.

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We are pleased to announce that our Sri Sivalingam has passed his Audit paper in the final stages of his Chartered Association of Certified Accountants Qualifications. Sri now has only one paper to go before he is fully qualified.

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Advance Warning! Quarterly Tax Returns!

Although it is two years away, we thought we should let you know that taxpayers with self-employed business income, partnerships or letting income, greater than £10,000, will have to submit electronic quarterly tax return from 6 April 2023.

This new way of reporting is being referred to by HMRC as Making Tax Digital for Income Tax and is part of the Government’s drive to make the UK’s tax system the best in the world.

This future introduction will change the way you will required to keep records and accounts for tax. Although reporting frequency will change to quarterly, payments on account and balancing payments will remain payable on 31 January and 31 July each year as before.

Although these changes will be fully supported by us to help you make sure that you remain compliant, we appreciate that these developments are unlikely to be very welcome for most taxpayers!  We will keep you updated as HMRC releases information on the implementation of the new system.

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What now for employers with Covid restrictions being eased?

Legal restrictions in place in respect of Covid-19 will start to end on Monday 19th July in England, Wales and Scotland.  Each country is taking a slightly different approach to timings and some of the detail around what is required, but in all countries, there is the start of an easing.

This is a significant move away from the restrictions and obligations that we have been living with for over a year.  We are being encouraged to take personal responsibility. 

This makes it less clear to employers exactly how and what they need to do. 

Employers now need to ensure they meet their legal obligations whilst also deciding on their stance to those unclear areas, such as whether they will want people to wear masks and if so when and where, their approach to requiring staff to undertake testing, whether to maintain social distancing and screens and how to manage where and when employees work etc.

There will not be a ‘one size fits all’ approach and each business should take a measured approach, remembering that from a legal perspective they must meet their core obligations.

Some considerations include:

  • Taking all reasonably practical steps to reduce risks to the health and safety of employees, visitors, and the public.
  • Consider and clearly communicate your arrangements for employees in terms of their place of work – remember that the employee has the basic right to stay away from the workplace if they reasonably believe it poses a serious and imminent health and safety risk to them.
  • Employee wellbeing needs to be central to your planning.  Employees may be anxious and uncertain around returning to the workplace, about commuting on public transport. 

Whilst it is a welcome return to something more ‘normal’ for us all with the easing of restrictions for all businesses to open properly after many months of restrictions, some of the changes and implications of such will need careful handling by employers.

Most importantly employers need to meet their core legal obligations – starting with following the principles set out in the revised ‘Working Safely’ guidance. 

Beyond that, employers need to handle employees sensitively, especially considering people will still have anxiety.  How and in what circumstances an employer may wish employees to return to the workplace needs careful thought.  Communication with employees is vital.

If you would like advice or further information about your obligations as an employer, please do get in touch.

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We congratulate our Dan White who yesterday sat his Level 3 AAT Management Accounting Costing exam and passed with flying colours with 89%.

Our congratulations to Dan who now only has one exam left to complete Level 3 AAT.

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The VAT Deferral Scheme

The Government’s VAT Deferral Scheme which has enabled businesses with VAT liabilities incurred between 20th  March and 30th June 2020 to make these payments later, is about to close.

If you still have outstanding VAT liabilities from the first period of lockdown last year, and wish to pay over a  period of time, you must join the scheme by 21June otherwise, you will have to pay in full by 30 June or face a 5% penalty.

If you have not already done so, our advice is for you to sign up to the scheme and make the first instalment payment.

If for whatever reason, you have been unable to sign up to the online service for deferring a VAT payment, you should ring the HMRC coronavirus helpline on 0800 0241222 to join the scheme by telephone.

If after making arrangements, you are still unable to pay these liabilities then please contact HMRC on 0300 200 3835.

We appreciate that there are issues in relation to contacting HMRC at the present time. In our own case, when trying to sign up online, we have been told that we are not eligible as we do not owe any deferred VAT. We know that we do as we have other communications confirming this.

We have put in an appeal to HMRC but are not confident that they have the means of responding before the deadline later this month.

Therefore, if you have any issues relating to deferred VAT, please act now.

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SEISS Grant 5

A fifth (and as far as we know final) SEISS grant covering the period May 2021 to September 2021 will be available from late July for those sole traders or members of partnerships whose businesses continue to be impacted by coronavirus.

This grant will differ to the previous four claims as the amount will be determined by how much your turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021.

If your turnover has fallen by at least 30%, you will receive 80% of your average trading profits for 3 months, capped at £7,500.  For those whose turnover has fallen by less than 30%, you will receive 30% of your average trading profits for 3 months, capped at £2,850.

More information on the claim will be provided at the end of June by HMRC but we would recommend that if you believe that you are eligible for this claim, that you should start compiling details relating to your turnover for the year ended 5 April 2021 now.

Please remember to be eligible to the 5th SEISS grant you will need to meet all of the following criteria:

  • carried on a trade in 2019-20;
  • submitted your tax return for 2019-20 on or before 2 March 2021;
  • carried on a trade in 2020-21;
  • currently trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus; or
  • have been trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus; and
  • you are not excluded from the SEISS. An individual is excluded from the SEISS where their trading profits for 2019-20 exceeded £50,000 or were less than their non-trading income. However, where the person is excluded on the basis of 2019-20, HMRC will consider their returns for earlier years (going back to 2016-17 where relevant).

If you are in any doubt as to what is required then please do not hesitate to contact us but please note that we will not be able to advise until HRMC announce the exact details later this month.

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Martlet Goes Gold!

We are pleased to advise that we have now been upgraded from Silver status to Gold status by our software provider Xero, the main accounting software we recommend to our clients.

We would like to thank all our clients who have subscribed to Xero for helping to achieve this status which gives us a premium advisor directory listing on Xero’s website.

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Further info on HMRC performance

Further to our bulletin last week to provide some further points about the poor performance levels of HMRC and how it affects us in trying to deal with your affairs.

In March, there was a mass data breach where thousands of accountants received Late Filing Penalty Notices intended for clients of other accountants.

Our priority access line as tax agents was withdrawn by HMRC which means that we have to wait up to 40 minutes to an hour when we need HMRC’s assistance but very often the calls are cut completely before they are answered.

There are some significant issues with VAT at the moment as well. In the past year, we have ourselves received a late filing penalty for not paying VAT when we were allowed to defer the payment. HMRC eventually apologised.

We are now trying to arrange paying for deferred VAT by Direct Debit and have separate communications from VAT showing how much we owe and another saying we owe nothing at all. Amounts we have paid are not correctly recorded on HMRC’s own ledger.

It begs the question as to the state of the public finances if even basic transactions are not recorded properly and different information about the same transaction is recorded in different places.

The moral of the tale is, if you receive information from HMRC, please do not necessarily regard it as being accurate. Please contact us and we will do our best, within the constraints outlined above, to solve the problem.

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Good news – Corporation tax loss relief improved

As a result of the pandemic, companies incurring losses for tax purposes for accounting periods ending between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2022 can now carry back these losses for up to three years rather than one year.

HMRC have advised that claims below £200,000 may be made outside of a corporation tax return via letter. Claims greater than £200,000 need to be made via the appropriate corporation tax return.

For all those clients that have losses, we will be making sure that your position is optimised and welcome this extension to the loss relief carry back period.

Contact Us

The Martlet Partnership LLP
Martlet House
E1 Yeoman Gate
Yeoman Way
West Sussex
BN13 3QZ

Tel.: +44 (0) 1903 600555
Fax.: +44 (0) 1903 600828