Welsh taxpayers income tax code mix-up


From April 2019, Welsh taxpayers were assigned new income tax codes beginning with the letter ‘C’. However, HMRC recently revealed that some Welsh taxpayers were mistakenly given Scottish income tax codes by their employers. As a consequence, Welsh taxpayers have been charged income tax using the Scottish income tax rates and bands.

For 2019/20 the Welsh rate of income tax is set at 10% and this is added to the UK rates, which are each reduced by 10%. Therefore, the overall tax payable by Welsh taxpayers continues to be the same as English and Northern Irish taxpayers.

The income tax rates and bands that apply to employment income, self-employed trade profits and property income are different for taxpayers who are resident in Scotland, with tax rates and bands ranging from 19% to 46% rather than the 20% to 45% which apply across the rest of the UK. Tax codes for Scottish taxpayers begin with the letter ‘S’.

HMRC stated that it does not know the full extent of the error or how many Welsh taxpayers have been affected but they will carry out a review of the operation of Welsh tax codes in June 2019.

Llyr Gruffydd, Chair of the National Assembly for Wales’ Finance Committee, said:

‘We raised concerns about the flagging process for identifying Welsh taxpayers during our enquiries into fiscal devolution and the Welsh government’s draft budget.

‘On each occasion, we were told the matter was in hand, and the lessons from the devolution of income tax powers to Scotland, where there were similar issues, had been soundly learned and would be put into effect. We are seeking an immediate explanation of how this has happened and will be asking representatives from HMRC to appear before this Committee in the near future.’

If you have any concerns about tax codes, please get in touch.

Internet links: HMRC letter Welsh Assembly news

Forms P11D – reporting employee benefits


The forms P11D which report details of benefits and some expenses provided to employees and directors for the year ended 5 April 2019, are due for submission to HMRC by 6 July 2019. The process of gathering the necessary information and completing the forms can take some time, so it is important that this process is not left to the last minute.

Employees pay tax on benefits provided as shown on the P11D, generally via a PAYE coding notice adjustment or through the self assessment system. Some employers ‘payroll’ benefits and in this case the benefits do not need to be reported on forms P11D but employers should advise employees of the amount of benefits payrolled.

In addition, regardless of whether the benefits are being reported via P11D or payrolled the employer has to pay Class 1A National Insurance Contributions at 13.8% on the provision of most benefits. The calculation of this liability is detailed on the P11D(b) form. The deadline for payment of the Class 1A NIC is 19th July 2019 (or 22nd for cleared electronic payment).

HMRC has produced an expenses and benefits toolkit. The toolkit consists of a checklist which may be used by advisers or employers to check they are completing the forms correctly.

If you would like any help with the completion of the forms or the calculation of the associated Class 1A NIC please get in touch.

Internet links: HMRC guidance Toolkit

HMRC taskforce tackles dishonest dog breeders


A taskforce has recovered more than £5 million by tackling dishonest dog breeders selling pups on the black market. HMRC set up the taskforce in October 2015 after discussions with animal welfare groups that were concerned that tens of thousands of puppies were being reared in unregulated conditions and sold illicitly every year.

The taskforce uncovered fraudsters selling puppies on a mass scale, for a huge profit and due to the underground nature of the activity, failing to declare their sales.

Using civil and criminal enforcement powers, HMRC has recovered £5,393,035 in lost taxes from 257 separate cases since the formation of the taskforce in October 2015.

The breeders and traders targeted include:

  • two unconnected puppy breeders in the west of Scotland who were handed tax bills of £425,000 and £337,000
  • a puppy breeder in the Midlands who was a former Crufts judge, given a £185,000 bill
  • a dealer in Northern Ireland told to pay £185,000 in tax
  • a Somerset puppy breeder was given a £114,000 bill
  • a puppy dealer in the east of Scotland was handed a tax bill in excess of £400,000
  • a Swansea puppy breeder was given a £110,000 tax bill.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride MP, said:

‘It is utterly appalling that anyone would want to treat puppies in such an inhumane way and on such a scale. It’s also deeply unfair to all of the legitimate businesses who do pay the right tax, and the total recovered by the taskforce is equivalent to the annual salaries for more than 200 newly qualified teachers.’

‘We continue to work hard with other government agencies and our partners to tackle these traders. We urge anyone with information about tax evasion to report it to HMRC online or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.’

Internet link: GOV.UK news

OTS calls for simplifying everyday tax for smaller businesses


A report by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) calls on the government to prioritise action to ‘address long-standing concerns about the experience of smaller businesses’. The report considers the business lifecycle, especially those starting up and provides recommendations in five areas:

  • providing simple step-by-step guidance about the key things a business needs to do in its early days to help things run smoothly
  • improving the operation of the PAYE system
  • implementation of HMRC’s Agents Strategy
  • improving the mechanics of the Corporation Tax return process
  • ensuring that tax changes are built on an understanding of business processes.

If you would like any help with your taxes at any stage of your business life cycle, please do get in touch.

Internet link: GOV.UK simplifying tax

MTD for VAT is now live


Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTD for VAT) is now live. Here, we answer some key questions.

Q: Do all VAT-registered businesses start at once?

A: Each business has its own start date, dependent on its VAT quarters. If your taxable turnover is above £85,000, MTD for VAT rules are compulsory for your first VAT return period starting on or after 1 April 2019

Quarterly filing dates Start of first return period subject to MTD First quarter end within MTDfV First MTD VAT return deadline (month plus 7 days)
March / June / Sept / Dec 1 April 2019 30 June 2019 7 August 2019
Jan / April / July / Oct 1 May 2019 31 July 2019 7 September 2019
Feb / May / Aug / Nov 1 June 2019 31 August 2019 7 October 2019

For monthly returns, the first MTDfV submission will be as follows:

First monthly filing date Start of first return period subject to MTD First month end within MTDfV First MTD VAT return deadline (month plus 7 days)
April 1 April 2019 30 April 2019 7 June 2019

The only exceptions are for businesses in the deferrals category. These adopt MTD for VAT rules for their first VAT return period starting on or after 1 October 2019.

Q: Which businesses are subject to the deferral?

A: These are businesses that are: part of a VAT group or VAT division; based overseas; trusts; not-for-profit organisations not set up as a company; local authorities; public corporations; those making payments on account; annual accounting scheme users; and those using the VAT GIANT service. These businesses should have received written notification of their deferral status from HMRC.

Q: What if my business voluntarily registered for VAT?

A: If your turnover is below the VAT registration limit, you don’t have to enter MTD for VAT, and you can carry on filing as you do at present. But if you prefer, you can join MTD for VAT voluntarily

Q: Does my business have to do anything to get into MTD for VAT?

A: Yes. A business actually has to sign up to MTD for VAT. To do this, you need your Government Gateway user ID and password and VAT registration number. HMRC should confirm, by email, that your sign-up has been successful. Alternatively, we can sign up for you.

Q: Are there other deadlines to watch?

A: When you have signed up for MTD for VAT, HMRC will expect all future VAT returns to be submitted via MTD software. It is therefore very important that you have submitted any outstanding returns and are ready to file all future returns with MTD software when you sign up.

If you usually pay VAT by direct debit, you cannot sign up in the 15 working days before or five working days after sending in a VAT return.

Q: Are there penalties for getting MTD for VAT wrong?

A: MTD for VAT is backed up by a system of penalties. For the first year, however, HMRC intends to take a slightly more lenient approach on penalties for the issue of digital links between software products. Businesses are given until 31 March 2020 to have digital links in place between software products.

HMRC refers to this as a ‘soft landing’ penalty period. During this period, cut-and-paste will continue to be an acceptable way to transfer information to HMRC. For businesses in the deferral group, the soft landing penalty timetable is adapted to give them 12 months to become fully compliant in putting digital links into place.

However, there is an important exception to this. Where VAT return information is transferred out of the accounting records into a separate program for submission to HMRC via the Application Programming Interface (API), transfer must be digital. This would apply, for example, where figures for the VAT return are collated in a spreadsheet and then transferred into bridging software for final submission. The transfer from spreadsheet to bridging software must use a digital link.

These penalties are specific to MTD, and are in addition to HMRC’s other penalty powers.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further advice.