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Should Office Parties Get A Tax Break | Business Tax Advice | Tax Savings for Business
Should office parties get a tax break? 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Should office parties get a tax break?

As the festive season is fast approaching many companies have finalised their plans for a little fun and laughter choosing to bring back the traditional office party. The key question many are asking is, can they get a tax break?

It appears that the simple reason for asking is that companies want to further encourage staff members to return to the office and funding a Christmas party is seen as a positive step towards that. It will also further boost the hospitality sector, who have been one of the most heavily impacted industries by COVID-19.

Requests are being made of the Government to aid in this by relaxing some of the rules around Christmas parties (or similar events). It is also believed that there is a growing interest for the Government to increase the “tax-free” allowance per employee from £150 per person to £300 per person.

Key reasons for proposing the increase are:

  1. Companies can use this increase to offer thanks to their employees without having to worry about tax implications through the benefit-in-kind restrictions.
  2. Rather than a bonus scheme, a business can thank all its employees as a united team, rewarding everybody in the same way.
  3. As previously mentioned, it boosts the desire to encourage more people to start working back in the office which also results in more activity in town centres and urban areas.
  4. Finally, it gives confidence to people who might previously have been reluctant to get back to working in an office.

As a reminder, and as it currently stands, the tax-free allowance applies to any event in a calendar tax year. It is possible to hold more than 1 event but the total cost cannot be any more than £150 per head (with the hope of this increasing to £300 per head).

If you have any questions around tax and benefit-in-kind, please call us on 01173 700 079 or email hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk.

A Simplified Tax Reporting for Small Businesses | Making Tax Digital (MTD) | Simplifying Tax
A simplified tax reporting for small businesses 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

A simplified tax reporting for small businesses

As part of the Government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) plans to simplify the tax system and to speed up the time it takes for self-employed professionals and small business owners to complete their tax returns, the Government are proposing changes to the existing tax reporting rules.

The changes, planned by 2023, would mean that any business not incorporated would be taxed on profits arising in the tax year as opposed to profits on accounts ending in the tax year.

In short, the changes will see all businesses having to align their basis period with the 5/6th April tax year. Whilst the majority of businesses already do this, there are about 7% of sole traders who choose not to as it fits better with their business model.

For example, a business who runs their accounts to the 30th of June each year, their income tax for 2023/24 would currently be based on profits for the year ending 30th June 2023. Under the new rules the income tax for 2023/24 would be based on 3/12 of the income for the year ending 30th June 2023 in addition to 9/12 of the income for the year ending 30th June 2024.

The Government estimates that around 3% of sole traders and 15% of partners will face an increase in costs as a result of these proposed changes but believes that they will reduce errors and overpayments and bring tax returns in line with other assessments such as property income.

Whilst the changes are broadly welcomed and the consensus is that it will simplify life for business owners, the consultation period is due to conclude on 31st August. Some claim that this is too quick and businesses need more time to prepare and propose a delay of 12 months in order for business to provide proper feedback and ensure that the scheme works for everyone.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further please feel free to call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk.

An Update on MTD | Making Tax Digital | Advice on Making Tax Digital | Accountancy Support with MTD | What is MTD
An Update on Making Tax Digital (MTD) 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

An Update on Making Tax Digital (MTD)

Making Tax Digital (MTD) was first introduced during the Spring Budget of 2015, its aim was to completely negate the need for an annual tax return. Instead, taxpayers would have all their information loaded directly onto a digital tax account. Alongside this, businesses would only have to worry about paying one simple business tax. The other key benefit announced was the simplification of tax for self-employed people along with the complete removal of the class 2 national insurance contribution.

Despite lots of discussion and various communications from HMRC, including a number of consultation papers that addressed various aspects of the MTD project, none of these objectives have been met. Indeed, back in July 2017 there was an announcement that the scheme would be delayed with MTD for income tax being introduced in 2020 and MTD for VAT being introduced in 2019.

As planned the MTD for VAT did commence in April 2019 but with the exclusion of specific businesses (classed as complex), who were delayed until October 2019. It was also decided that specific public sector bodies would also not be joining the scheme until sometime in 2022. The final implementation of the scheme will see a compulsory digital transfer on all VAT data to happen by April 2021 and the mandating of all VAT registered businesses to comply with MTD by April 2022.

If we look at income tax, this digitalisation involved a far more complex structure. The result is that a taxpayer will have to adopt four quarterly reports and a final report that in most cases will replace the annual self-assessment return. A pilot scheme for this was initiated in April 2018 however, there are currently only a small number of taxpayers and agents participating in this pilot and also only 6 of the major software companies (compliant with MTD) that have provision for recording this.

Although planned for 2017, the MTD for corporation tax and complex businesses (defined as large partnerships with income of over £20m or mixed partnerships that include companies, LLP’s and individuals) has yet been introduced. The HMRC issued a specific consultation documentation in November 2020 (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/making-tax-digital-for-corporation-tax), however this consultation will run until 5th March 2021, so in reality it is likely that developments within this field will not be seen until later this year.

The final item to note on MTD is that the reporting of corporation tax will be very similar to that of income tax rather than VAT. There will be a quarterly reporting structure for both income and costs. Companies will still need to assign all their accounting totals for iXBRL when submitting annual accounts to HMRC. Therefore, companies within MTD will have to submit 5 reports to HMRC for their annual accounts, along with the standard 4 quarterly VAT returns and relevant PAYE returns

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