National Insurance

Changes to Self Assessment this year

by Madaline Dunn

The Self Assessment deadline is just around the corner, and by 31st January self-employed individuals must file and submit their Self Assessment tax return and pay any tax owed to HMRC.

While there’s still time to submit, it’s always best to complete your tax return as soon as possible, so you don’t risk making any silly mistakes and avoid getting hit with late penalties. Also, this year, there are some changes to Self Assessment to look out for.

At The Salary Calculator, we’ll walk you through:

  • How to report Capital Gains Tax
  • How to report Covid support measures
  • How to access Self-serve Time to Pay
  • What to watch out for

Capital Gains Tax reporting

Capital Gains Tax applies to those who have sold or ‘disposed of’ an asset, for example, a house that’s increased in value. From 6 April 2020 to 26 October 2021, this had to be reported and paid for within 30 days of completion. However, there is an update here, and for property disposals made on or after 27 October 2021, the “report and pay” deadline has been extended to 60 days.

If you’re registered for Self Assessment, it’s important to remember that you must report this on your tax return in the capital gains pages. That said, there are exemptions. If your only disposal is of your home and private residence relief applies, you don’t have to report this on the capital gains pages.

Reporting any Covid support measures

HMRC recently issued a warning to self-employed individuals that they must declare any COVID-19 grants they received on their tax return for the year 2020-2021. According to HMRC, over 2.7 million people claimed at least one Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) payment up to 5 April 2021, and if you did indeed receive SEISS, this must be recorded.

Likewise, other Covid support measures that must be included in one’s Self Assessment are:

That said, it’s also important to note that if you received a £500 one-off payment as a working household receiving Tax Credits, this does not need to be reported in your Self Assessment.

Self-serve Time to Pay

For many, the last couple of years has been a struggle financially. In 2020, according to a study by LSE, over a third (34%) of self-employed workers struggled to pay for basic expenses such as rent and mortgage payments. So, if you’re feeling the pinch this year, you’re not alone. That said, for those feeling anxious and overwhelmed at their tax bill this year, there is help out there if you’re worried you can’t pay your tax bill in full. You can now spread your tax bill over a period of time online via HMRC’s self serve Time to Pay system.

The Time to Pay system is available to eligible to Self Assessment taxpayers who:

  • Don’t have other outstanding tax returns or any other tax debts
  • Have debts between £32 and £30,000
  • The plan made must be set up no later than 60 days after the tax payment’s due date (30 March 2021)

When setting up your payment plan online, you’ll need to be equipped with:

  • Your unique Tax Reference number
  • Your VAT registration number, if applicable
  • Your Bank account details
  • Details relating to any previous payments you’ve missed

When arranging your payment plan, HMRC will ask you some questions about your financial circumstances to gauge what will be affordable for you. Questions may include how much you’re earning, what an affordable payment scheme would look like for you, what your outgoings are, whether you have any savings or investments.

What to watch out for

HMRC has issued a warning around ​​copycat websites and phishing scams ahead of the Self Assessment deadline. As the deadline approaches, scammers are more likely to target taxpayers who are in a rush to submit their tax returns and have their guard down. According to HMRC, 800,000 tax-related scams have been reported in the last 12 months alone.

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, has subsequently published advice on what to look out for if you think you might be being approached by a potential fraudster. Lloyd says to be wary of anyone who contacts you claiming to be from HMRC and rushes you. Likewise, anyone “threatening arrest” will not be calling from HMRC. Lloyd outlined: “If you are in any doubt whether the email, phone call or text is genuine, you can check the ‘HMRC scams’ advice on GOV.UK and find out how to report them to us.”

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Monday, December 20th, 2021 Income Tax, National Insurance No Comments

None of the content on this website, including blog posts, comments, or responses to user comments, is offered as financial advice. Figures used are for illustrative purposes only.

All you need to know about UTR numbers

by Madaline Dunn

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Self Assessment: It’s coming around to that time of year again. While some may have already completed and sent off their annual tax return, there are also many who have not! In 2020, 700,000 taxpayers waited until the last day to file their return, and a staggering 26,562 taxpayers left it to the last hour.

So, if you haven’t filed your tax return yet, and perhaps are doing so for the first time, you may have a few questions, including; what on earth is a UTR number?

Don’t worry; there’s still plenty of time to file your tax return before 31st January and make sure you’re not faced with late payment fines. At The Salary Calculator, in this article, we’ll get you to speed and explain:

  • What a UTR number is
  • When you need a UTR number
  • How to register for a UTR number if you don’t have one
  • What will happen after registering for a UTR number
  • Where you can find your UTR number

What is a UTR number?

UTR stands for Unique Taxpayer Reference, and this is a 10-digit number that is unique for each person or business. Just as with a National Insurance (NI) number, once you have one, you have it for life. So, even if you’ve been out of business for a while, you’ll never lose your UTR number, your number will just become dormant.

A UTR number is issued by HMRC and sometimes includes the letter K at the end of it.

When do you need to provide a UTR number?

A UTR number is required if you:

  • Need to create an online account with HMRC
  • Are self-employed or have a limited company
  • Owe tax on savings, capital gains, and dividends
  • Must register individual taxes
  • Work within the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)

How do you register for a UTR number?

If you don’t already have a UTR number and need one, the most simple and fastest way to get one is to apply online on HMRC’s website.

Of course, not everyone’s preferred method involves a computer or laptop, so rest assured, you can also apply to get your UTR number via letter too. That said, this way is, unfortunately, much slower and will involve postage fees as well.

When it comes to registering for a UTR number, this must be done within the first three months of opening your business, regardless of your occupation.

In order to register, you must also submit a few different pieces of information. This information includes:

  • Your name, DOB and address
  • Your contact information (preferred number and email address)
  • Your NI number
  • When you commenced self-employment
  • The type of business you have
  • Basic business information (address, number, name)

What happens after registering for a UTR number?

Once you’ve applied for your UTR number, there are a few things to bear in mind. First of all, it can take up to ten days for your UTR number to arrive, sometimes longer.

In addition to this, once you’ve heard back from HMRC and received your activation code, don’t wait around too long before using it, as it expires at 28 days.

Where can you find your UTR number?

Your UTR number can be found in a number of places, including:

  • Statements of accounts
  • Your Self Assessment Tax Return
  • HMRC payment reminders
  • HMRC Self Assessment notices

If you think you’ve either misplaced or lost your UTR number, don’t panic. Contacting HMRC is your best bet. When reaching out to HMRC, you should have your NI number to hand, as you will be asked for it when you call.

HMRC can be contacted via:

  • 0300 200 3310 (UK)
  • +44 161 931 9070 (Outside UK)
  • 0300 200 3319 (Textphone)

Final thoughts

Navigating the world of tax returns can be anxiety-inducing for some; that said, there are several sites out there that can lend a helping hand. HMRC are always available if you need guidance on your tax return and can answer any burning questions.

Go Simple Tax also helps to make things simple and straightforward. The software provides guidance, as well as hints and tips on how to save money.

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Thursday, December 2nd, 2021 Economy, Income Tax, National Insurance No Comments

Should you register as a sole trader or form a limited company?

by Admin

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A key decision when starting a business is which legal structure do you choose when registering. The three most common options are sole trader, limited company and ordinary business partnership, although most people become a sole trader. Sole traders make up about 59% (3.5m) of the total UK business population of 5.9m, and they include many freelancers, contractors and agency workers.

Ordinary business partnership members make up about 7% (405,000) and basically these are sole traders who go into business together. The UK also has about 2m (34%) active private limited companies. So, why do so many people in the UK who work for themselves operate as sole traders?

What is a sole trader?

Being a sole trader is the same as being self-employed. In law, you and your business are the same thing, which makes you personally responsible for your sole trader business debts. If you don’t build up large debts and your business is successful, this won’t be an issue, of course.

To become a sole trader, you must register for Self Assessment (SA), the system (UK tax authority) HMRC uses to collect tax from sole traders. You’ll then pay Income Tax on your profits during the tax year (20%, 40% or 45% depending on your income/earnings). You work out your profits by deducting your expenses and any allowances from your income/earnings/sales.

Sole trader NICs

Most self-employed people pay their National Insurance contributions (NICs) via SA:

  • Class 2 if your profits are £6,515 or more a year (£3.05 a week) and
  • Class 4 if your profits are £9,569 or more a year (9% on profits between £9,569 and £50,270 and 2% on profits over £50,270 – all figures quoted are for the 2021/22 tax year).

Declaring sole trader earnings and VAT

Sole traders aren’t required to submit annual accounts to HMRC, but they must maintain accurate financial records (which can be checked) and submit details of their income and business costs in their annual SA100 tax return, which must be filed each year.

If your VAT-taxable earnings/turnover goes over £85,000 a year (the current VAT threshold) or you know they will, you must register for VAT. You’ll then have to charge VAT, collect it and pay it to HMRC. This also applies to limited companies.

The advantages of being a sole trader

It’s very easy to register online for Self Assessment so you can start your sole trader business. There are no costs and the process is very quick (minutes not hours or days). The tax admin is much easier when compared to a limited company, which means it can be done quicker. This saves cost, whether you do it yourself or pay an accountant to do it for you.

The paperwork and financial record-keeping requirements when you’re a sole trader are minimal; completing your SA tax return is more straightforward and any losses you make can be offset against other income.

Many customers won’t care whether you’re a sole trader or not, as long as your prices, products and/or services meet their expectations. In any case, you can easily change to a limited company structure later if you wish. And sole traders can employ others and their businesses can grow and prosper.

Being a sole trader can give you much more flexibility and control over your business, because you’re not answerable to shareholders – and you won’t have to share your profits with them either. You will enjoy more privacy, too, because the annual accounts of limited companies must be published on the Companies House website, which means anyone can view them. Sole traders do not have to publish their annual accounts.

Sole trader v limited company: which is more tax-efficient?

Example 1

Sole trader profit = £50,000 Net income = £38,717

Ltd co profit = £50,000 Net income = £40,109

Difference = £1,392

 

Example 2

Sole trader profit = £100,000 Net income = £67,752

Ltd co profit = £100,000 Net income = £69,469

Difference = £1,717

 

Example 3

Sole trader profit = £150,000 Net income = £91,723

Ltd co profit = £150,000 Net income = £92,057

Difference = £334

 

These examples assume that all profits are extracted from the business, salary up to Secondary National Insurance threshold (£8,840) is taken and the remainder paid as dividends (2021/22 rates).

Conclusion

As the above examples show, operating as a limited company can reduce your tax bill. However, if you need to pay an accountant each month to look after your tax admin and complete your annual accounts and Corporation Tax returns, in reality, any financial advantage as the director of a limited company can be minimal or non-existent.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who decide to work for themselves register as a sole trader and many go on to establish and grow highly successful small businesses. In many ways, being a sole trader is the easier and cheaper choice and it need not hamper your business or your ambitions.

About GoSimpleTax

Income, expenses and tax submission all in one. GoSimpleTax will provide you with tips that could save you money on allowances and expenses you might have missed.

The software submits directly to HMRC and is the solution for the self-employed, sole traders and anyone with income outside of PAYE to file their self-assessment giving hints and tips on savings along the way. GoSimpleTax does all the calculations for you so there is no need for an accountant. Available on desktop or mobile application.

Try for free – Add up to five income and expense transactions per month and see your tax liability in real time – at no cost to you. Pay only when you are ready to submit or use other key features such as receipt uploading and HMRC direct submission.

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Thursday, September 9th, 2021 Income Tax, Jobs, National Insurance No Comments

Social care tax proposed from April 2022

by Admin

The government announced yesterday plans to introduce new social care tax, intended to help reduce the costs incurred when a person goes into care. If the bill passes parliament, this will mean be an increase in National Insurance contributions of 1.25 percentage points from April 2022, to be replaced by a separate tax of the same amount from April 2023. The benefit of this additional tax, in England at least, is that care costs will be capped at £86,000 (less if you don’t have that much in savings / assets). Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set their own social care policies, but will receive additional revenue from the tax generated.

The plan has drawn criticism from many who see it is a tax paid by low- and middle-income employees to subsidise wealthy retirees. It also appears to be a break of a manifesto pledge not to raise income tax, National Insurance or VAT – the justification for which, put forward by the government, has been that the pandemic has changed things.

This BBC article has a clear summary of the changes in more detail, as well as a chart showing how much extra tax you’ll pay depending on how much you earn. The bill still needs to pass parliament, but when this and other changes from April 2022 are confirmed, The Salary Calculator will be updated with the latest rates so that you can see what a difference it will make to your take-home pay.

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Wednesday, September 8th, 2021 Income Tax, National Insurance, Savings No Comments

Our guide to unpacking tax jargon

by Madaline Dunn

When it comes to tax, many people often feel intimidated and confused by the jargon used to explain certain terms and concepts. Of course, people must understand the ins and outs of tax jargon themselves because their personal finances can be affected by tax changes.

At The Salary Calculator, we’re here to make sure that you’re all clued up on the meanings behind complex tax jargon.

This article will go through some of the most common words and phrases used when discussing personal tax. So, don’t sweat it; you’ll know the score in no time at all.

Tax terms explained

Agent: This term refers to, usually, an accountant or advisor, who an individual appoints to take care of issues and processes related to HMRC on their behalf.

Annuity: This is a type of retirement income product that pays an individual a fixed payment stream.

Capital Gains Tax: This is a type of tax that is applied to the profits an individual earns in the sale of an asset. It is charged at a flat rate of 18%.

Defined Benefit Pension: Otherwise known as a “final salary” pension, this is the traditional pension plan that pays out a retirement income, calculated based on one’s salary and the number of years they’ve worked.

Defined Contribution Pension: Also referred to as a “money purchase” pension, this is a pension savings product that allows employers and employees to contribute and invest funds to build the pension money pot. 

Earned Income: This refers to the income that an individual receives from employment, self-employment or directorships. This includes wages, salary, tips, bonuses, and commissions.

Foreign Income: This is the income an individual receives from work or services performed outside of the UK. Income received from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man is also classified as foreign income.

Individuals must pay income tax on foreign income if it comes from:

  • Wages earned abroad
  • Foreign investment
  • Overseas properties
  • Overseas pensions

HMRC: This is an abbreviation that stands for HM Revenue & Customs and is a non-ministerial department responsible for dealing with tax and financial obligations.

Income Tax: This refers to the tax that the government levies on an individual’s personal income. Once income exceeds the personal allowance, an individual will pay tax. The amount of tax they pay will vary depending on earnings. 

Inflation: This is an economic term that refers to the rate at which goods and services rise.

Inheritance Tax: This is the tax an individual pays when they have inherited money or property from someone who has died. The standard inheritance tax rate is 40%. However, this is only charged once an individual’s estate exceeds £325000.

IR35: This is a piece of UK tax legislation that exists to identify contractors and businesses that avoid tax by working as “disguised” employees.

Minimum Wage: The National Minimum Wage is the minimum amount of money an employer must pay an employee per hour. These rates vary depending on age and role. The current rates are:

  • National living wage for employees aged 23 and over: £8.91
  • Age 21-22: £8.36
  • Age 18-20: £6.56
  • Under 16-17: £4.62
  • Apprentices: £4.30

National Insurance (NI) Contributions: Employees and self-employed workers must make National Insurance (NI) contributions if they are over 16-years-old. The amount of NI contributions you make impact your entitlement to state benefits. Individuals must complete at least 35 years of NI contributions to get the full new state pension.

There are a few different types of NI contributions, this includes:

  • Class 1 contributions are made by employees who earn £183 a week, who are below the State Pension age
  • Class 2 contributions are made by self-employed workers who earn £6,515 or more per year
  • Class 3 contributions are voluntary contributions made by individuals to fill in contribution gaps
  • Class 4 contributions are made by self-employed workers who earn £9,569 or more per year

PAYE – “Pay As You Earn”: This was introduced way back in 1944 refers to the system through which employers deduct income tax and National Insurance contributions from employees’ salary and send it to HMRC. It’s calculated based on earnings and eligibility for personal allowance.

Personal Allowance: This is the amount of money an individual can earn before they are taxed. The personal allowance amount for 2021/22 is £12,570. It will be frozen at this amount until 5 April 2026.

P45: When an individual stops working for their employer, their employer must give them a P45. This outlines the amount of tax an individual paid on their earnings in the tax year and their tax code.

A P45 is made up of 4 different sections:

  • Part 1, an employer must send to HMRC
  • Part 1A is given to the former employee for their records
  • Part 2 and 3 are for the individuals’ new employer

P60: This is the form that a worker receives each year, outlining the amount of money earned in a year. It also states the amount of National Insurance contributions made and the amount of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income tax. 

Self Assessment: This is the system used by HMRC to calculate and collect income tax and National Insurance (NI) contributions. Self-employed and freelance workers must submit a self-assessment form for each tax year.

Starter checklist (formerly the P46 form): This is the form that replaces the P45 form in cases where their former employer did not give an individual one.

Take-home Pay: Take-home pay, otherwise known as net pay, is the amount of money an individual receives per month after tax and any other deductions have been made.

Tax Code: In the UK, everyone paid via the PAYE scheme is allotted a tax code from HMRC, which indicates how much tax must be deducted. The most common tax code appears as a set of numbers followed by a suffix. 

Tax Credits: This is a type of government benefit payout given to individuals who receive lower incomes. This benefit comes in two forms, working tax credits and child tax credits.

Tax Rebate: This is a refund of tax given to an individual when they have overpaid tax.

Tax Year: This is the time period covered by a tax return. It begins on 6 April and ends the following 5 April.

Unique Taxpayer Reference: This is a 10-digit number issued to every taxpayer in the UK.

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