self employed

Making Tax Digital for Income Tax – Should you start to prepare now?

by Admin

[Sponsored post by GoSimpleTax]

All VAT-registered businesses in the UK must now meet new reporting requirements introduced as a consequence of Making Tax Digital. If you don’t run a VAT-registered business, Making Tax Digital won’t have affected you so far. You may not have even heard of Making Tax Digital.

However, if you report income and pay tax via Self Assessment, come April 2024, Making Tax Digital is likely to impact you. And the changes that Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment (MTD for ITSA) will bring are significant, so finding out more about MTD for ITSA now is recommended, so you’re better prepared and avoid having to pay a non-compliance penalty.

In this guide you can:

  • Find out what Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment is.
  • Discover whether you’ll be affected by MTD for ITSA.
  • Learn how MTD for ITSA will change the reporting of taxable income.

What is Making Tax Digital?

Making Tax Digital is an important government digital initiative that is already transforming the UK tax system. Its introduction got underway in 2019 and it will continue in stages until complete. The VAT reporting system has already been digitised and Income Tax Self Assessment is next, before Corporation Tax gets the MTD treatment. Full introduction of MTD across the entire UK tax system remains some years off.

Why is Making Tax Digital being introduced? The government says it wants to make it easier for people and businesses to more easily and efficiently manage their tax responsibilities, while it hopes MTD will prevent basic tax reporting errors that cost the UK many billions a year in lost tax revenue.

Introduction of MTD for ITSA was to start on 6 April 2023, but it’s been delayed for a year until 6 April 2024 in response to COVID-19 and stakeholder groups asking for more time so that businesses and individual taxpayers could better prepare themselves for MTD for ITSA.

Put in very basic terms, Making Tax Digital for Income Tax is simply a new way of using digital solutions to report income and expenses to HMRC every quarter rather than once a year.

Who will be affected by Making Tax Digital for ITSA?

  • If you’re a self-employed sole trader or landlord who is registered for Income Tax Self Assessment and you have a gross income of more than £10,000, you’ll need to comply with Making Tax Digital for Income Tax requirements from 6 April 2024.
  • Members of ordinary business partnerships who earn more than £10,000 a year must sign up for MTD for ITSA by 6 April 2025.
  • You can apply for a MTD for ITSA exemption if it’s not practical for you to use software to keep digital records or submit them to HMRC digitally, for example, because of your age, disability, location (ie poor broadband connection) or another justifiable reason. MTD exemption can also be granted on religious grounds. You’ll need to explain your reasons to HMRC and an alternative solution will be sought.

How will reporting change under MTD for ITSA?

Sole traders, landlords and other Self Assessment taxpayers with taxable income won’t need to submit a Self Assessment tax return each year (unless they choose to report other income from shares, interest, etc, via Self Assessment, although HMRC would prefer you to report all taxable income via MTD for ITSA).

MTD for ITSA requires you to maintain digital records of your taxable income and expenses/costs, update them regularly and send summary figures to HMRC digitally within a month of the end of every quarter.

If you’ll need to report via MTD for ITSA you must use:

  • MTD for ITSA-compatible third-party software or
  • “bridging software” that allows you to send the necessary information digitally in the right format to HMRC from non-MTD-compatible software, spreadsheets, etc.

At the end of the tax year (5 April), you must submit your “end of period statement” (EOPS) and a final declaration (MTD version of the current self assessment tax return), confirming the accuracy of the figures you’ve submitted, with any accounting adjustments made and any additional earnings reported. HMRC will then send you your tax bill, which you must pay before 31 January in the following tax year. Unjustifiable late submissions or payments will continue to result in penalties.

Should you sign up for MTD for ITSA now?

For some time, some businesses, landlords and accountants have been taking part in a live Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment pilot scheme. 

You don’t have to sign up for MTD for ITSA. However, you can sign up voluntarily now for MTD for ITSA and start using the service if you’re:

  • a UK resident
  • registered for Self Assessment and your returns and payments are up to date a sole trader with income from one business or a landlord who rents out UK property.
  • You can’t currently sign up if you also need to report income from other sources (eg share dividends).

Need to know! At this stage, it’s probably best to delay signing up for MTD for ITSA, until at least April 2023.The new system is very much in its infancy, with HMRC taking steps to refine it to iron out any issues and provide a better user experience.

Conclusion

Preparation is key, starting to use digital software now to record income and expenses on a regular basis will get you into the routine before MTD for ITSA comes into effect.

As April 2023 approaches you will then be in a better place to decide what software or bridging software will be best for your circumstance/business.

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 saving you ££’s on accountancy fees. Available on desktop or mobile application.

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Thursday, May 26th, 2022 Income Tax 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.

The great resignation: What is it and what does it mean for you?

by Madaline Dunn

The great resignation is the hot topic on everyone’s lips, with millions either leaving behind their old roles, or looking to in the near future. Much like the pandemic, it was unprecedented but bound to happen eventually.

This movement of people leaving their jobs en masse includes individuals from every demographic, too, reflecting a widespread frustration with traditional work and labour models.

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

  • What the great resignation is
  • What’s driving the great resignation
  • The pros and cons of the great resignation
  • How it will affect you and your work

What is the great resignation?

The great resignation, a term coined by business and management professor Dr Anthony Klotz in May 2021, refers to the current mass exodus from the workforce.

A study by recruitment firm Randstad UK recently conducted a survey of 6,000 workers and found that 24% of those polled were planning a job change within the next three to six months, 69% of which felt confident about their decision. Meanwhile, 16% felt anxious or concerned about finding a new role.

Employment Hero found that young people aged between 25 and 34 are those most looking towards a change, with a whopping 77% actively looking to leave their jobs within the next year. 74% of those aged 18-24 expressed similar sentiments. These were also the demographics that reported the most’ burn-out.’ Moreover, data published in i, showed one-third of millennials will seek out new employment if forced to return to the office full-time after the pandemic.

That said, those in more senior positions have also joined the great resignation. Executive outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, found that in December, 106 CEOs said goodbye to their senior roles, and in the final quarter of 2021, this was up 16% on a year-over-year basis

It comes as no surprise then, that in the UK in July, job vacancies were at an all-time high, crossing the threshold of one million for the first time.

What’s driving the great resignation?

The great resignation has a number of different causes. One aspect is that following nationwide government-sanctioned lockdowns; remote working became the norm for many people. This life readjustment gave people time for reflection, and when compared with office work, many found they were able to spend less time commuting and more time with their family.

Remote working is also a good move for the wallet, with fewer expenses such as travel and eating out. Likewise, many are also quitting in search of better work opportunities and higher pay. There has also been a rise in the number of people deciding to be their own boss, and go self-employed.

It’s also important to note that certain industries are seeing more workers leave than others. Specifically, leisure and hospitality, retail and healthcare are the industries that have seen the biggest departures.

Should you join the great resignation?

Of course, when mulling over whether or not to leave your job, there are many factors to consider, and as with anything, there will be pros and cons.

Leaving your job and seeking out new employment or a different kind of employment can help you access greater flexibility, secure a more healthy work-life balance, and enjoy the benefits of a bigger salary. Likewise, those looking to leave their job may have come to the realisation that their work is no longer fulfilling or aligning with their values. As such, finding a company that shares similar guiding principles can mean much more job satisfaction.

That said, quitting one’s job is not necessarily an option for everyone. When thinking about quitting, it’s important to assess key questions such as:

  • Am I in a financial situation to do so?
  • Do I know what you want to do next?
  • Do I require further training or education?
  • Am I looking to join a new field?
  • What are my family obligations?

How will the great resignation affect you?

The great resignation is very much a workers revolution, and many are arguing that employees are now in the driver’s seat. That said, it’s important to note that it’s still competitive out there, and in order to succeed, you need to be able to sell yourself, negotiate and network. Keeping your Linkedin fresh, making sure your resume is updated and conducting deep job searches will help you make the most of this opportunity.

However, not everyone is quite ready to jump ship just yet. For those who are comfortable in their position, you may have questions about how the great resignation will affect you at work. Well, a study recently conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management in the US found that out of those employees who decided to stay on when their co-workers left, 52% had taken on more responsibilities, and 30% found themselves struggling to get “necessary” work done. As a result, 55% are now questioning their salary, and whether it’s enough.

So, it’s fair to say that workers are feeling the knock-on effect of their co-workers joining the revolution. However, it’s not all doom and gloom for those who wish to stay in their current job, it’s important to be assertive if you’re struggling.

Speaking to The Guardian, Rahaf Harfoush, a digital anthropologist and the author of Hustle and Float, says in the aftermath of coworkers leaving, you should: “Look at your original role,” and assess how much you’ve taken on, then spell it out: “Here’s what I was hired to do; here’s how my time is allocated now. So either we need to reprioritise or we need to reallocate.”

Moreover, during this time, negotiating power is in the hands of employees, so it could be the right time to ask for a pay rise or a loyalty bonus.

 

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Thursday, February 3rd, 2022 Jobs No Comments

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

All you need to know about UTR numbers

by Madaline Dunn

[Sponsored Post]

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

[Sponsored post]

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

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