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What is Overlap Profit?

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Overlap Profit affects Sole Traders and Partnerships, here are a couple of examples from BIM81080

Example 1 – one overlap period

A business commences on 1 October 2010. The first accounts are made up for the 12 months to 30 September 2011 and show a profit of £45,000.

The basis periods for the first three tax years are:

2010-2011 Year 1 1 October 2010 to 5 April 2011
2011-2012 Year 2 12 months to 30 September 2011
2012-2013 Year 3 12 months to 30 September 2012

 

The period from 1 October 2010 to 5 April 2011 (187 days) is an `overlap period’.

Example 2 – more than one overlap period

The business in Example 1 continues. In 2015-2016 the accounting date is changed from 30 September to 30 April. The accounts for the 12 months to 30 September 2014 show a profit of £75,000. The relevant conditions for a change of basis period are met (see BIM81045).

The basis periods are:

2014-2015 Year 5 12 months to 30 September 2014
2015-2016 Year 6 12 months to 30 April 2015
2016-2017 Year 7 12 months to 30 April 2016

 

The period from 1 May 2014 to 30 September 2014 (153 days) is an `overlap period’.

If the taxable profit for 2015-2016 is computed using days, it includes the profits for the `overlap period’ of 153 days (£75,000 x 153/365 = £31,438).

Adding together the overlap profits for the first overlap period of 187 days in Example 1 (£23,054) and the second overlap period of 153 days (£31,438), gives total overlap profits of £54,492 over 340 days.

Tax Cafe point out in their guide ‘Small Business Tax Saving Tactics

Why Hasn’t Everyone ‘Cashed In’ Their Overlap Relief Already?

There are two ways to gain access to your overlap relief: cease trading or change your accounting date.

Ceasing to trade is a drastic step: generally not something you are likely to do purely for tax planning purposes. However, it is worth noting that transferring your business to a company is also classed as ‘ceasing to trade’ for these purposes.

Changing your accounting date to access your overlap relief is less drastic, but the downside is that the relief only arises where you are being taxed on more than twelve months’ worth of profit. Despite this, however, there is still generally an overall saving to be made where current profits are at a lower level than the profits arising when the ‘overlap’ first arose. So, with the economy in the state it’s in, now could be a good time to ‘cash in’!

There is also some useful advice in Helpsheet HS222

steve@bicknells.net


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