In previous years, charities were unable to claim a tax refund on small cash donations. New rules will see this change.
The HMRC have announced that charities can now reclaim the basic rate tax of 20% deducted from a cash donation of no more than £20. This type of donation, usually from street collections etc, will now be considered a gift.
These new rules will allow charities to claim back up to £1,250 of the £5,000 per year limit on small donations.
Those who pay tax above the basic rate will not be subject to a higher rate tax relief on these small cash donations. The original Gift Aid scheme provides this kind of relief if that is what you are looking for.
The UK’s late payment culture is getting worse, with the amount owed to small and medium-sized enterprises reaching record levels, a new report has revealed.
The latest research, from payment organisation Bacs, shows that late payments have now reached an all-time high of £33.6 billion.
The average amount owed to each firm is also at its highest ever level of £39,000 and firms are also having to wait longer to receive their payments.
Half of all UK SMEs are affected by the problem of late payment, and are waiting on average 28 days longer than their original payment terms to have their invoices settled.
Large companies account for nearly half of all late payments, with many blaming their internal systems for the delay.
Commenting on the research, Mike Hutchinson from Bacs said, ‘The issue of late payment is continuing to get worse for SMEs in the UK at a time when they need to be able to plan ahead for growth and ensure a strong cash flow’.
Small businesses are advised to make sure that they agree payment terms upfront, and to work to promote a culture of prompt payment throughout their business.
We can help with your cash flow planning needs – please contact us for further assistance.
The Chancellor George Osborne will make his Autumn Statement on 29 November, the Treasury has announced.
The Statement will follow the latest economic forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
It is seen as a replacement for the Pre-Budget Report, which was first introduced by Gordon Brown to outline the Government’s tax plans.
Osborne will instead use his Statement to provide an update on the UK economy and respond to the updated growth figures from the OBR.
Speaking at a dinner earlier this week, the Chancellor conceded that his short-term hopes for the economy have been revised down, but he insisted that the Government would continue with its deficit reduction plan.
We are delighted to announce that PM+M has been awarded the coveted Investors in People (IIP) Silver Status Award. We received a Certification of Recognition confirming PM+M’s Silver Status in July.
PM+M has been a proud IIP accredited firm for many years but our new Silver Status is a further mark of excellence and follows an intensive reassessment process involving interviews with our staff.
IIP Silver Status is awarded to organisations that demonstrate a forward-thinking and progressive approach to business improvement through people.
Receiving IIP Silver Status positions PM+M in the top 2% of IIP accredited companies in the UK. Just 80 organisations in the North West have received this accolade, only 11 of which are in Lancashire. We look forward to building on this success.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has said that up to 4.7 million taxpayers will be sent letters later this year telling them they paid either too much or too little income tax in 2010/11.
Every year HMRC conducts a reconciliation exercise to check that people have paid the right tax via the PAYE system. Last September, HMRC faced severe criticism when it emerged that 5.7 million people had not paid the correct tax via PAYE for the years 2008/09 and 2009/10, which led to about 1.4 million people having to pay an extra £1,428 each on average, while about 900,000 taxpayers had their debts of up to £300 written off. The explanation given by the Revenue was that a new, more effective computer system had revealed previous calculation errors.
This year the reconciliation exercise for 2010/11 will take place in late July, and HMRC estimates that between 1.7 and 3.5 million people will be repaid an average of £340 each, while 1.2 million will owe £500-£600 each.
Cheques for people previously overtaxed are due to be sent out in August and September, and calculations for underpayments will be sent in batches after that, with the last going out in December.
Those presented with a bill will have time to challenge the calculations if they think they are wrong. If the challenge is unsuccessful then the money will be taken from their earnings each month via a change to their PAYE tax code for 2012/13.
Up to £3,000 per individual will be collected this time via PAYE, more than the previous limit of £2,000.
“We expect that hardly anyone will be faced with a bill larger than £3,000, but if they want to pay us in one go by cheque they can,” said an HMRC spokesman.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is to launch a series of new campaigns to tackle tax avoidance, it has announced.
One of the campaigns will target those who use e-marketplace sites such as e-Bay and Amazon to buy and sell goods as a trade or business.
While occasional sellers are unlikely to be liable to tax, people earning a living as self-employed traders may need to pay income tax, national insurance and VAT.
Meanwhile, private tutors and coaches who are able to earn either a main or secondary income from their expertise will be the subject of a separate campaign to recoup unpaid tax.
HMRC said it will also build on its plumbers’ campaign and ‘give an opportunity to another group of tradespeople to come forward and declare unpaid tax’.
It confirmed that it would be using ‘cutting-edge tools’ including a ‘web robot’ to search the internet and find targeted information about specified people and companies.
“By being open about our areas of interest for the coming year we hope to maximise that exchange of information and ensure we reduce the tax gap and help customers pay what they owe,” commented Mike Wells, HMRC’s Director of Risk and Intelligence.
Meanwhile Gary Ashford, of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), said: “The news last week that HMRC have launched 16 criminal investigations off the back of earlier campaigns shows that the taxman is taking a very tough line against suspected tax evaders.
“It will be important for HMRC to explain to e-traders the borderline between an individual selling one’s own surplus belongings and moving into trading,” he added.
The Business Secretary Vince Cable has warned that Government plans to reduce red tape for businesses may be compromised amid growing concern from the public.
Speaking in Westminster last week, Cable claimed that members of the public and consumer groups were using the new Red Tape Challenge website to lobby for existing regulations to be maintained or increased.
Launched in April, the site gives firms and the public a chance to have their say on regulations affecting their business or lives.
The campaign forms part of the Government’s wider strategy to tackle excessive regulation and thus give businesses the freedom to innovate and grow.
However, the Prime Minister David Cameron may be forced to review his pledge to cut red tape if there is a lack of support for the deregulation plans.
“One of our top priorities is to reduce that amount of regulation that small companies and start-ups face, but please don’t pretend this is easy,” said Cable.
Pointing to the Red Tape Challenge website, he added: “Very perversely we are being bombarded by messages from the public saying please increase regulation.”
Last month the Chancellor George Osborne told the Institute of Directors’ annual conference: “There are lots of people who will oppose this, lots of pressure groups. We really need the people who make the arguments – that we need growth, we need expansion, we need new businesses, we need new business premises – to make sure they are heard. Otherwise it is Government alone defending itself against those pressure groups.”
Once online debate has closed, ministers will have three months to explain why a regulation was still required or it will be scrapped.
Lending under the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme (EFG) has fallen to a new low, latest figures reveal.
According to a new study by specialist bank Aldermore, the value of loans offered under the Government’s flagship initiative dropped by 11% in the first three months of 2011.
It found that £92 million of loans were offered under the EFG during this period – down from £103 million in the final quarter of 2010.
The bank said this meant lending under the EFG scheme has plunged by 36% in two years.
Launched in 2009, the EFG facilitates additional bank lending to viable SMEs which are unable to secure a normal commercial loan.
Under the scheme, which is set to continue until 2014/15, the Government guarantees part of the loan, reducing the risk of losses for the lender.
Commenting on the findings, Aldermore Chief Executive, Phillip Monks, said: “Lending through the EFG is now less than half of what it was at the peak.
“If small and medium-sized businesses cannot get funding the UK’s economic recovery is not going to be sustainable.”
Under Project Merlin the five biggest UK banks – Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, HSBC and Santander – pledged to lend £190bn in 2011. But the figures suggest that banks are £2bn behind on small business lending in the first quarter of 2011.
Of the £190bn for 2011, £76bn of credit should be made available to small and medium-sized businesses this year. However, lending in the first three months is expected to collectively total £16.8bn compared with a de facto target of £19bn: a shortfall of about 12%.
Last week, Business Secretary Vince Cable warned that the banks could be punished with higher taxes if they failed to meet the Merlin targets.
But the British Bankers’ Association has claimed that its members are ‘doing all they can’ to increase lending, and it is unlikely that the banks will face any penalties at this stage, since they still have the rest of the year to make up the shortfall in lending.
In a letter to the OTS, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, has asked the organisation to examine small firms’ experience of tax administration and ‘their contact with HMRC at key stages of their annual cycle.’
“The first OTS reports have provided the basis for some genuine moves towards a simpler tax system,” wrote Gauke. “To build on this excellent start, the Chancellor and I would like the OTS to look at ways to improve the tax administration for small business.”
The review will also consider the issues involved in starting and growing a new business.
“It’s clear that many small businesses are struggling under the administrative burdens imposed by the UK tax system,” said John Whiting, interim tax director at the OTS.
“We plan to set up surveys and more road shows to really home in on what steps cause the most difficulties – and how the system can be improved, making it easier for businesses to get things right with the minimum of fuss.”
The OTS was set up last year to analyse tax reliefs, allowances and exemptions, and to conduct a review of business taxation with a view to reducing complexity.
Publishing its findings ahead of this year’s Budget, the OTS identified 47 reliefs which it said should be abolished and 17 which need to be simplified, including Entrepreneurs’ Relief and the Enterprise Investment Scheme.
The OTS will report its latest findings on small business tax administration ahead of the 2012 Budget.