HMRC waives self assessment penalties for one month to ease COVID-19 pressures


HMRC is waiving late filing and late payment penalties for self assessment taxpayers for one month.

The measure will give those taxpayers affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) extra time, if they need it, to complete their 2020/21 tax return and pay any tax due.

HMRC is still encouraging taxpayers to file and pay on time if they can. The tax authority also revealed of the 12.2 million taxpayers who need to submit their tax return by 31 January 2022, almost 6.5 million have already done so.

The deadline to file and pay remains 31 January 2022. The penalty waivers will mean that:

  • anyone who cannot file their return by the 31 January deadline will not receive a late filing penalty if they file online by 28 February; and
  • anyone who cannot pay their self assessment tax by the 31 January deadline will not receive a late payment penalty if they pay their tax in full, or set up a Time to Pay arrangement, by 1 April.

However, interest will be payable from 1 February.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s Deputy Chief Executive and Second Permanent Secretary, said: ‘We know the pressures individuals and businesses are again facing this year, due to the impacts of COVID-19. Our decision to waive penalties for one month for self assessment taxpayers will give them extra time to meet their obligations without worrying about receiving a penalty.’

Internet link: HMRC press release

Scottish Budget 2022


Finance Secretary Kate Forbes delivered the 2022/23 Scottish Budget on 9 December 2021, setting out the Scottish Government’s financial and tax plans.

The Budget outlined the government’s spending plans, income tax and Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.

Announced in the Budget was almost £2 billion of low-carbon capital investment in infrastructure. This includes the first £20m of the 10-year Just Transition Fund to help the northeast and Moray transition from carbon-based industries.

The Scottish Budget announced the phased return of non-domestic rate liabilities, which had been subject to 100% relief due to the pandemic. Non-domestic rates will be 49.8p in the pound, however, rate relief for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will continue at 50% for the first three months of 2022/23, capped at £27,500 per ratepayer.

Small businesses with a rateable value of less than £15,000 on Scottish high streets will continue to pay no rates for all of next year, irrespective of which sector they are in, through the Small Business Bonus Scheme. Additionally, new builds will pay no rates for the first 12 months after occupation through the Business Growth Accelerator.

The Scottish Budget also announced that the Starter and Basic Rate bands of income tax (other than those for savings and dividend income) which apply to Scottish resident taxpayers will increase by inflation. The Higher and Top Rate thresholds will remain frozen. 

Ms Forbes said:

‘The Scottish Budget will provide taxpayers with stability and support, set out clearly how we will accelerate our Covid recovery, and crucially, how our spending plans will set Scotland on a new ambitious path.’

Internet links: GOV.SCOT Budget statement GOV.UK news release

Allowable Expenses


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What can I claim?

The first thing that every business owner needs to know. In this handy guide, we at McGinty Demack accountants have answered just that. Below is a simple, straight to the point guide which all of you operating as sole traders and partnerships can use, to ensure that you are doing everything that you can to keep your tax bills low.

Are you getting it right. Are you claiming for everything ?

Costs you can claim as allowable expenses

These include:

Costs ‘weighing on businesses’ sustainability intentions’, FSB finds


A report published by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has revealed that the costs associated with going green have impacted small firms’ plans for becoming more sustainable.

The FSB’s report found that the majority of UK small firms are concerned about climate change but just one in three has plans in place to combat it.

67% of firms polled stated that they have started to address their energy usage, and 18% said they have invested in microgeneration.

However, 24% of businesses said that uncertainty around return on investment has prevented them from taking action, and 22% cited a lack of sufficient capital to invest in assets as a barrier.

The business group is urging the government to launch a ‘Help to Green’ initiative and roll out a nationwide scrappage scheme.

National Chair of the FSB, Mike Cherry, said:

‘If we are to successfully transition to net zero, it’ll be through grassroots action, enabled by smart and supportive policies.

‘Whilst the Chancellor rightly embraced some of our proposed changes in this area at the Budget, it was disappointing to see that the government’s recent net zero strategy contained only four specific mentions of small business.’

Internet links: FSB website

New law introduced to help protect pension savers from scammers


New rules to help protect pension savers from scammers have become law.

Under the regulations, pension trustees and scheme managers will be given the power to stop suspicious transfers before cash gets into the hands of fraudsters.

Fraudsters frequently offer ‘too good to be true’ incentives to pension savers, such as free pension reviews, early access to pension cash and other time-limited offers. Lured in by these bogus offers, individuals are then tricked into transferring their savings into a scam scheme and defrauded out of their money.

Between January and May 2021, pension scam losses totalling over £2.2 million were reported to Action Fraud.

The new regulations will take force on 30 November. From this date, trustees and scheme managers will be able to prevent transfer requests if suspicious activity is suspected by giving it a ‘red flag’. If a red flag is present, the transfer cannot go ahead.

Where fraud is suspected, trustees and scheme managers will be able to pause transfer requests by giving it an ‘amber flag’. In this scenario, the pension saver will need to prove they have taken scam specific guidance from the free Money and Pensions Service before the transfer can go ahead. This is the only way a transfer can then proceed.

Nicola Parish, The Pension Regulator’s (TPR) Executive Director of Frontline Regulation, said:

‘We welcome these new regulations which further empower trustees to act as the first line of defence against scammers.

‘We are pleased these new rules enshrine in legislation two of the key parts of the pledge to combat pension scams – around due diligence measures and issuing members warnings of high-risk transfers.

‘We urge all trustees and pension providers to take note of these new rules and continue to play their part in stopping scams.’

Internet links: TPR website

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