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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
If you are self employed and your business makes losses you have the following options to use the losses:
- You can reduce your current year tax bill
- You can offset it against earlier years (up to 3 years)
- You can carry your loss forward
You can’t claim:
- if you use cash basis
- where you don’t run your business commercially for profit
- for part of a loss (you must claim the loss in full) – so it could wipe out your personal allowance
- if you are part of a limited liability partnership
- where your losses are tax-generated
If you transfer your business in exchange for shares to another company, you can use any unused losses against your income from the new company.
Further details in HS227
What this might mean is that as a sole trader you waste your personal allowance because your profits are offset to zero by losses, however, if you had a company that paid you £10,600 you would keep your personal tax free allowance and be able to use the losses against the remaining profit.
The rules for company losses are noted below.
Trading losses that you’ve not used in any other way will be offset against profits from the same trade in future accounting periods. You don’t have to make any claim for this to happen. It’s done automatically if you fill in your Company Tax Return.
Corporation Tax Act 2010, Section 45
Carry forward of trade loss against subsequent trade profits
(1)This section applies if, in an accounting period, a company carrying on a trade makes a loss in the trade.
(2)Relief for the loss is given to the company under this section.
(3)The relief is given for that part of the loss for which no relief is given under section 37 or 42 (“the unrelieved loss”).
(4)For this purpose—
(a)the unrelieved loss is carried forward to subsequent accounting periods (so long as the company continues to carry on the trade), and
(b)the profits of the trade of any such period are reduced by the unrelieved loss so far as that loss cannot be used under this paragraph to reduce the profits of an earlier period.
(5)In this section and section 46 references to profits of the trade are references to profits of the trade chargeable to corporation tax.
(6)Relief under this section is subject to restriction or modification in accordance with provisions of the Corporation Tax Acts.
It is not necessary to claim the maximum capital allowances available or even claim them at all, crazy as it might sound there are situations when not claiming capital allowances can reduce your tax bill!
Sole Trader Example
The personal tax allowance is currently £10,600 (2015/16)
Lets assume profits are £15,000 and Capital Allowances available are £5,000, so that would reduce taxable profits to £10,000 which would waste £600 of the personal tax allowance.
It would therefore be better to only claim £4,400 in capital allowances and claim the remaining £600 in the following year.
Companies within a Group can only offset losses in corresponding tax periods, so if the the capital allowances increase the loss in one part of the group beyond the profits of the rest of the group then there would be no benefit to claiming them in that period.
Companies can claim capital allowances in any of the following 3 tax years.
There is an excellent example of this in the following blog http://taxnotes.co.uk/a-basic-introduction-to-capital-allowances/
How to maximise your VAT reclaim
Plan ahead and reclaim everything
If you are setting up a business and can ahead, you can register for VAT from the date your business will start. For most traders there is not any restriction on the date the business can start, but for some professional services eg barristers and advocates, no trade exists until they qualify. To maximise the VAT to be reclaimed, the sole trader can register for VAT in advance of date of commencement, effective the date they are due to qualify. This means that the VAT registration will be in place from the 1st day of trading and all sales invoices can be issued as VAT invoices.
There are specific rules allowing pre-registration VAT to be reclaimed, but any claims to recover pre-registration VAT must relate to the same trade and made by the same person. A sole trader who incorporates the business is not the same legal person as the new company. Any VAT suffered by the (unregistered) sole trader can’t be claimed as pre-registration VAT by the new company.
Get help with registering
Your accountant will be able to register you for VAT and recommend the best scheme for you. It can take a few weeks for HMRC to process applications, but accountants who are registered as agents with HMRC are likely to have a quicker turnaround time. For advice on registering for VAT and setting up your invoices, please visit the Alterledger website.
Since 6th April 2008 and until 3rd December 2014 Sole Traders and Parternships were able to claim Entrepreneurs Tax Relief on Goodwill when becoming a Limited Company.
Until the 3rd December 2014 they would claim there Capital Gains Allowance
|5 April 2013 to 6 April 2014||£10,900|
|5 April 2014 to 6 April 2015||£11,000|
Then claim ER which reduced the rate of tax to 10% on the gain.
But from the 3rd December they will now pay Capital Gains at the normal rates of CGT which are 18% or 28% (for Higher Rate Income Tax Payers).
This doesn’t change the potential ability of the company to offset goodwill against their Corporation Tax Return.
There are still other benefits related to goodwill as explained in this blog
The UK has seen the fastest growth in self-employment in Western Europe over the past year, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).
The number of self-employed workers rose by 8%, faster than any other Western European economy, and outpaced by only a handful of countries in Southern and Eastern Europe.
The IPPR’s analysis shows that the UK – which had low levels of self-employment for many years – has caught up with the EU average. If current growth continues, it says, the UK will look more like Southern and Eastern European countries which tend to have much larger shares of self-employed workers.
According to Tax Research UK…
Something like 80% of all the new jobs created since 2010 are, in fact, self-employments, and there are a number of things that very significantly differentiate self-employments from jobs.
The first is security: there is none.
The second is durability: vast numbers of new small businesses fail, which is one reason why I doubt the official statistics. I am sure they record the supposed start-ups correctly but seriously doubt if they have properly counted the failures.
Then there is the issue of pay. The evidence is overwhelming that in recent years earnings from self-employment have, on average, declined significantly.
A worker’s employment status, that is whether they are employed or self-employed, is not a matter of choice. Whether someone is employed or self-employed depends upon the terms and conditions of the relevant engagement.
Many workers want to be self-employed because they will pay less tax, this calculator gives you a quick comparison between being employed, self employed or taking dividends in a limited company.
HMRC have a an employment status tool to help you determine whether a worker can be self-employed or should be an employee http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/calcs/esi.htm
In summary, why is it attractive to use Self Employed Freelancers?
- Skill is more important than location in many business sectors – we live in world where internet can allow you to work with anyone at anytime, you can now track down the best person to work with even if they live thousands of miles away
- Lower fixed costs – Using Freelancers will lower your fixed costs (in similar way to Zero Hours Contracts), you employ them for a specific project and only pay for what you need so there isn’t any surplus capacity
- Tax advantages – Freelancers run their own business and that means they pay less tax than employees. Employers save tax too, such as Employers NI.
- Competitive Advantage – You can put together a team for a contract rather than finding contracts that fit your workforce, this means you can hire the best.
- 110% Commitment – A Freelancers success and future work depends on them performing to the highest level on every contract, failure is not an option for a successful contractor.
So do you think self employment is good for the UK?
Basically when you are self employed you spend money on 3 types of expense:
1. Capital Expenditure – Equipment & Vehicles
2. Business Expenditure – stock, wages, premises
3. Private Expenditure – day to day living expenses – mostly not allowed but some types of cost may still count as business expenses
In general its types 1 and 3 where sole traders and partnerships miss out on tax allowances.
For example, you could claim capital allowances on your car, if you use your car partly for private and partly for business you simply disallow a % for private use.
On other assets there is an Annual Investment Allowance which is currently £250,000 per year from January 2013.
For most business that will cover all their capital expenditure, but there are further allowances available too.
With regard to private expenditure, there are tax reliefs available for working from home
If you have to spend money on tools or specialist clothing for your job you may be entitled to either:
- tax relief for the actual amounts you spend
- a ‘flat rate deduction’