HMRC have released an update this month to their notice on Keeping VAT records. One of these changes relates to VAT simplified invoices which were introduced earlier this year as part of the simplification and harmonisation of VAT rules in the EU. Previously only retailers were exempt from providing full VAT invoices to unregistered businesses.
However the changes mean that any business issuing VAT invoices for £250 or less (including VAT) can issue simplified invoices.
What to include in a simplified invoice:
Your name, address and VAT registration number
The time of supply (date)
A description which identifies the goods or services supplied
The each VAT rate charged, the amount of VAT charged.
How does a simplified invoice differ from a full VAT invoice:
In addition, a full VAT invoice must include:
A sequential number based on one or more series which uniquely identify the document
The date of issue (if different from the time of supply)
The name and address of the person to whom the goods or services are supplied
For each description, the quantity of the goods or the extent of the services, and the rate of VAT and the amount payable, excluding VAT, expressed in any currency
The gross total amount payable, excluding VAT, expressed in any currency
The rate of any cash discount offered
The total amount of VAT chargeable, expressed in sterling
The unit price
The reason for any zero rate of exemption.
VAT invoices over £250
If issuing VAT invoices over £250, a full invoice must still be issued or a modified VAT invoice showing VAT inclusive rather VAT exclusive values.
Rebecca Taylor ACMA
The High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) is a tax charge which repays part of the child benefit received by high earners earning over £50,000 to a 100% repayment for those earning over £60.000. It applies to child benefit received from 7th January 2013.
You may need to pay a tax charge if:
- you have an individual income over £50,000
- and either you or your partner receive Child Benefit or someone else gets Child Benefit for a child living with you and they contribute at least an equal amount towards the child’s upkeep.
It doesn’t matter if the child living with you is not your child.
What do you need to do?
If you are affected by the tax charge, you can:
- Stop receiving the Child Benefit (only recommended if you’re adjusted net income is over £60k). Follow this link for how to do this.
- Carry on receiving the benefit and pay any tax charge at the end of the tax year.
How to calculate adjusted net income?
It is important to realise that the income used to calculate the tax charge is your adjusted net income. You can use the calculator on Gov.uk to work out your adjusted income.
How to pay the tax charge
If the tax charge does apply to you, you will need to submit a self-assessment return to HMRC by 31st January following the end of the relevant tax year. Do not rely on HMRC writing to tell you that you need to submit a return as they may not realise you need to. Normal self-assessment penalties apply if returns are late or incorrect.
How much do you need to pay?
The charge is 1% of child benefit received for every £100 of income over £50,000 of adjusted net income. The charge will never be higher than the amount of child benefit received and if the income is over £60,000 the amount paid back to HMRC will be equal to the benefit received.
Rebecca Taylor ACMA
Fake email alerts from Companies House and HMRC have become increasingly sophisticated. There was a time when it was relatively easy to spot a fake email alert but even accountants have been caught out by recent fake email alerts. And it isn’t just Companies House and HMRC. Be careful of emails from banks, other institutions, postal services, voicemail services and even Skype. Previously harmful emails have tried to direct you to a fake website to steal your personal details but these recent emails have attachments which could harm your computer.
What to look for
These fake email alertss have an attachment which appears to support details in the email message. For example, it could claim to be a customer complaint from Companies House, a missed delivery or a bank transaction. The email address could give you a clue that it is a fake email alert but many now look like they have come from a genuine email address. Some fake emails have footers which have been obviously copied from another email. If you are not expecting an email from the sender, think twice before opening any attachments, particularly .zip files.
These emails are all trying to get you to do one thing: open the attachment. The attachment invariably contains malware or a virus and will either damage your computer, steal your details or even demand a ransom (see an article from the National Crime Agency on Cryptolocker).
The National Crime Agency provides this advice:
This is a case where prevention is better than cure.
- The public should be aware not to click on any such attachment.
- Antivirus software should be updated, as should operating systems.
- User created files should be backed up routinely and preserved off the network.
- Where a computer becomes infected it should be disconnected from the network, and professional assistance should be sought to clean the computer.
- Various antivirus companies offer remedial software solutions (though they will not restore encrypted files).
Example of fake emails
Follow the links for some examples of fake emails:
When you are operating a business as a sole trader, you will need to complete a self-assessment return for your income. Self-employed income is taxable after deducting allowable expenses. Previously I talked about the expenses that a sole trader can claim but now I am going to tell you about the expenses that you cannot claim.
Non allowable expenses for sole traders include:
Your own wages and drawings, national insurance contributions and pension contributions.
Childcare costs. These can only currently be claimed through a limited company scheme.
Subsistence. You can only claim for hotel and meal costs if you have an overnight business trip. You cannot claim for other meals including lunches, snacks and coffee.
Any business entertaining including entertaining clients and suppliers and hospitality at events.
The purchase cost of business premises and any costs relating to a non-business part of your premises. Also the cost of improving and altering premises and large equipment.
Motoring costs like fines, purchase cost and travel between home and work.
Repayment of loans, overdrafts and other finance solutions.
Some professional fees like the legal costs of purchasing property and large assets. Also the cost of settling tax disputes and fines.
Payments to clubs, charities, political parties.
Cost of ordinary clothing even if you only wear it for work.
Personal use including goods bought for personal use, the personal proportion of your home costs if you work from home, personal phone calls on your mobile phone etc.
When you are operating a business as a sole trader, you will need to complete a self-assessment return for your income. Self-employed income is taxable after deducting allowable expenses. None of us want to pay more money than necessary to HMRC so use this guide as a starting point to ensure that you are claiming all you can.
There are two main types of expenditure:
Capital expenditure is money spent on items (assets) that will have a useful life to the business of more than one year, for example premises, furniture, machinery, vehicles, tools, IT equipment.
These costs cannot be included when working out taxable profits. However you can claim Capital Allowances which give tax relief for the reduction in value of the assets.
Revenue expenditure is the allowable expenditure which is incurred in the general day to day running of a business. This can include:
Cost of goods bought for resale and cost of producing goods that you are going to sell or use in providing your goods or services to sell.
Employee costs including wages, employers’ National Insurance, benefits for employees, agency fees, subcontractors and training.
Business premise costs including rent, rates, utilities, maintenance and cleaning.
A proportion of your home costs if you work from home, including a proportion of the costs for rent, rates, utilities, mortgage interest, maintenance and cleaning. The costs should be apportioned based on how much of the home is used for business and for how much time if not exclusively. Or you can claim a fixed rate of £4 per week (from 2013-14).
Office running costs like phones, mobiles, broadband, email hosting, postage, stationery, printing, software and small office equipment.
Vehicles including the running costs (petrol, car tax, insurance, repairs, MOT and servicing). If the vehicle is also used privately, you can only claim for a proportion of the cost in relation to how much the vehicle is used for business mileage. Business mileage includes trips to the bank, post office, business meetings and networking events.
Mileage can be claimed instead of a proportion of the running costs of a vehicle if your turnover is below the VAT threshold when you acquired your vehicle. Mileage rates are 45p a mile for the first 10,000 business miles a year, then 25p a mile.
Travel, meals and accommodation including hotels when an overnight stay is required for business.
Business insurance including public liability, professional indemnity and employer liability.
Marketing and advertising including PR, free samples, networking, website maintenance costs, printed ads and brochures.
Magazine subscriptions if they are relevant to your business or are for client reading in a reception area.
Professional fees are usually allowable. Legal fees for drawing up contracts and terms and conditions are allowable as are your accountant’s fees for completing the year end accounts. Architect and surveyors fees are also allowable.
Bank, credit card and other finance charges including overdraft charges, hire purchase interest and lease payments.
If the expense relates to business and personal cost, only the business cost is deductible but also if the expense is dual purpose then no deduction is allowed. Always remember to keep detailed records of your transactions and keep copies of receipts and invoices as back up (these can be the originals or scanned copies on your computer).