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Monday, 31 October 2011

31st October - Not Just Hallow'een but HMRC Tax Return deadline day!

Samhain, Halloween, All Hallows Eve - what ever you want to call it, it's a time to be scared if you haven't filed your paper tax return!

The tax return has to be on HMRC's desk by today and due to new penalties for this year, there will be a £100 fine for those filing late, even if there is no tax due to be paid or the tax you do owe is paid on time. The longer you delay, the more you’ll have to pay, as there are further late-filing penalties after three, six and twelve months.

The following is an extract from HMRC's website:

What happens if you miss the tax return deadline?

If you miss the deadline for sending in your paper tax return, you should send it online instead. If you don't, you will have to pay a penalty. You must send your return online by midnight on 31 January 2012.
If you do still send a paper tax return and it reaches HMRC after the 31 October deadline, you'll have to pay a penalty. The penalty is £100. You'll still have to pay this even if:

• your return is just a day late
• you have no tax to pay
• you pay all the tax you owe before 31 January 2012 

The longer you delay, the more you'll have to pay. If your tax return is three months late, you'll have to pay a penalty for each additional day it is late. If it is six months late, you'll have to pay a further penalty and another final penalty if it is 12 months late. Together these could add up to a penalty of £1,600 or more.
So make sure you get your tax return in on time. Remember, if you've missed the paper tax return deadline, don’t send a paper tax return, send it online. If you don't, you will have to pay a penalty.

Bettertax are registered HMRC tax agents and file our clients' tax returns online, and on time! Many of our clients had been too worried or not aware that tax returns should have been completed and had therefore not been claiming the tax refunds due to them.

It's a daunting prospect dealing with HMRC when you are in a tax mess but we can look at past years tax claims for you and liaise with HMRC on your behalf to get you up to date.

If you are at all worried about your tax situation, if you know you are behind with your tax returns or you just need some advice, we're happy to help.

Bettertax - Tradesman's Tax Refund Specialists

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Self Assessment is NOT Self Employment

If you're one of our clients, you will have been set up for self assessment.

You will receive a letter from HMRC stating this.

DON'T PANIC! Because you’re incurring expenses in excess of £2500 a year, this is what we do fo you, and how it has to be set up.

Nothing changes for you, you remain exactly as you are. Millions of people up & down the country have been registered and completing self assessments for years without ever working a day self employed in their life.

Signing with Bettertax simply gives you the opportunity to claim back tax overpaid on expenses incurred as part of your job.

You need to take no action... we do everything for you. If you have any questions or simply want to put your mind at rest, please pick up the phone and call us. 01280 821020 We’re happy to help.

Your tax code may have changed so please, if you haven't already, read this post too.

The Bettertax Higher Vision Competition

We’ve received alot of interest in our stylish hi-vis vests – well, we would! So, we’ve decided to broaden our hi-vis horizons with a photo competition.

What we want is pictures of you and/or the Bettertax vest in significant places of interest around the country or indeed the world. Perhaps you’ll be on a rig, atop The Shard, the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty, next to the Sphinx, the Taj Mahal or even reclining with the Buddha.

Don’t worry if like us, you don’t get out much, creativity and imagination will carry as much weight as simply being somewhere exotic (no, not erotic – this isn’t Readers’ Wives goes Hi Vis) so don’t be put off sending pics of you and your pals doing a hi-vis human pyramid at your local. 

 Not quite a pyramid, but you get the idea! Thanks to early entrant Chris Lee.
Remember we want to be able to publish your pix of the vest, so don’t send anything that would make your Nan drop her shopping and of course we want to be sending prizes out, not flowers to funerals, so please ensure that all other PPE and necessary safety equipment is applied before trying anything stupid, ha-ha.

We will judge all pictures we receive, via Facebook, Scaffs forum, ElectricalForum, Twitter & email. Our decisions will be final. The prizes will of course be generous & pleasing. Our one criteria is that the Bettertax logo is visible in the picture and you are in construction.

Competitions will run from October to December 2011, from January to March 2012, from April to June 2012 and from July to September 2012. Given that a lot of people go abroad during the Summer July to September months, we’ve decided that we’ll announce two winners for this period.  

We would love this competition to be an ongoing event, so your participation and enthusiasm is essential. Obviously having a vest in the winning shot is the objective, so if you don’t already have one, get in touch and we’ll send one out!

Bettertax are Tradesmen's Tax Refund Specialists, CIS or PAYE.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Have they changed your Tax Code?

Many of our clients have been calling, confused by these letters. Whether you've had a letter or not, we recommend you read the following as it could affect you later.

If you are at all concerned, call us.

Many tradesmen (to our knowledge predominantly scaffolders although no doubt other tradesmen will be affected) have received letters from HMRC informing them that their tax code has changed to reflect the expenses they incur. Clearly this sounds great initially as your pay packet will suddenly increase , however it is fraught with problems further down the road (explained in more detail below) – it can be stopped and if done quickly enough it will not end up in a debt situation for you (and most interestingly if the debt is £300 or less, the guidance for HMRC internally is that they write it off), please read the following in order to understand why this new move from HMRC is not good for you.

This change in PAYE tax code is supposed to reflect the fact that expenses have and are continuosly being incurred in your profession.
However the massive oversight is that HMRC have decided that this level of expense will remain a constant, and yet you all know that it will not.
Now I’m not casting aspersions, I’d like to think that HMRC may well have done this for all the right reasons and had not at all envisaged that it will create major problems and probably much hardship for you and your family further down the road, however their debt collection, fines and interest charging regime is quite draconian and un-bending, and call me cynical but it looks like a way to punish those working men that had the audacity to claim their rightful expenses and whose future potential problems (due to this measure) will act as a deterrent to any others thinking that they had at least equal rights as men to the expense loving MP’s, the heavily pensioned Public Servants and the expense claiming, lavish lifestyle representatives we have working for “us” in Europe all paid for and expensed by our tax pounds.

Here are the constants
and effectively why this new change can never be accurate let alone work in your favour: -
The classic record of a scaffolder over a 3 year period is that
• he will work for at least two employers and as many as six,
• he will be based at a minimum of two sites and as many as 15
• the expenses he will incur can and almost always will differ greatly
• He will sometimes be able to take advantage of a company vehicle or the wagon and yet other times may/will be required to use his own vehicle
• the distances involved will vary dramatically and ultimately again the expenses associated will also differ greatly from year to year.

Ultimately this means that It is highly likely that there will be the wrong amount of tax paid come year end!

With this policy that HMRC are adopting (mainly down to a new piece of software they have acquired) the odds will now favour that there will be an underpayment by you... this means that HMRC will either adjust your tax code again to reflect the underpaid tax (thereby clawing it back in lumps every month and obviously reducing your pay packet ) or if it is over £2000, their own rules will dictate that they demand the debt to be paid straightaway.
It is worth noting that if it is not paid then under the HMRC system you will be marked down as a ‘Wont Pay’ and automatic fines will be charged, to add insult to injury HMRC will then charge interest on the total. They then hand the debt into the hands of the HMRC appointed debt collectors who have the power to turn up between “sunrise & sunset” demand immediate payment or they can distrain any and all your possessions (including your vehicle) the only thing they cannot seize are the tools of your trade.

If you are a client of ours, we can stop HMRC doing this if you want us to, but we need instruction from you i.e. a phone call 01280 821020, email or a PM.

At the end of the year we will help you calculate your correct expenses and claim your overpaid tax for you, thereby ensuring that you are not trundling unknowingly towards a debt that is wholly the making of HMRC and it’s ‘cute’ practice.