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Here are just some of the strategies our tax experts are sharing with you this month:
  • Do Spousal Dividends Still Work?

    Under the pre-6 April 2016 dividend regime, owner managers were able to pay ‘tax-free’ dividends to their spouses (or civil partners) of around £33,000/£35,000 (assuming they had no other taxable income). If the spouse did not work in the company, it was not possible to justify any salary. However, since 2016/17, this has all changed. Peter Rayney considers how spousal dividend planning is affected by the new dividend rules...
  • Bonus or Dividend – That Is The Question?

    For a number of years, owner-managers have typically extracted most of ‘their’ company’s profits through dividends. In many cases, the owner manager would take a ‘reasonable’ salary, leaving the balance of their ‘drawings’ to be taken as a dividend payment. Peter Rayney takes a look at the ‘bonus v dividend’ decision in the light of the recent dividend tax increases...
  • Tips And Traps Of Claiming VAT Bad Debt Relief

    The basics of claiming bad debt relief (BDR) is that when an invoice has remained unpaid, or partly unpaid, for six months after the due date for payment, it is possible to claim BDR on the outstanding amount from HMRC on the VAT return covering the period when the BDR becomes claimable. Andrew Needham looks at claiming VAT Bad Debt Relief (BDR) and points to look out for...
  • IHT - Whose Money Is It?

    If a bank or building society account is jointly held by family members (e.g. father and adult daughter) it can cause some difficulties for inheritance tax (IHT) purposes. Mark McLaughlin highlights a potential inheritance tax pitfall of jointly held money accounts in banks and building societies, etc...
  • Capital Allowances For Cars

    The tax system plays a role in encouraging certain types of behaviour that are regarded as desirable and discouraging others that are not. This policy approach can be seen in the taxation of company cars, where drivers of lower emission vehicles are rewarded with lower tax bills. Sarah Bradford examines what capital allowances are available for cars and the advantages of choosing low-emission models...
  • Letting Out Your Spare Room

    Although Budget 2017 announced that the Government intends to review the rent-a-room scheme, it currently remains a tax-efficient way of letting out a spare room. Sarah Laing highlights a useful possible tax break for those individuals with a spare room in their home....
  • Business Agreements For Shareholders - Or Is Your Will Sufficient?

    The owner of a business interest (either company shares or a share in a partnership) may be a party to a shareholders’ or partnership agreement. Tony Granger examines the position whether a business agreement is better than a will for the passing of shares on death, and what the consequences are...
  • Setting Up A Lifetime Settlement: The Tax Basics

    There are three key parties to the creation of a lifetime settlement, namely, the settlor, the trustees, and the beneficiaries. The settlor is the individual who sets up the trust (i.e. who transfers assets such as shares, cash etc. to the trustees); the trustees are the individuals to whom the settlor transfers the title to the assets and who then hold those assets for the beneficiaries; and the beneficiaries are the individuals who benefit from the trusts. Malcolm Finney outlines some key tax issues on the lifetime creation of a settlement...
  • Subsidising An Employee’s Or Director's Mortgage?

    Tony Granger examines the benefit of an employer subsidised mortgage. The world of employee benefits is changing. For example, it has recently been shaken by the curbs on using ‘salary sacrifice’ (from 6 April 2017) to fund employee benefits such as company cars. Under salary sacrifice, the employee funded the employee benefit through a reduced salary with some National Insurance contributions (NICs) and tax savings...
  • Penalties For Tax Return Errors – All Is Not Lost!

    Mark McLaughlin warns that penalties can be charged for tax return errors involving losses, but highlights a useful let-out in certain circumstances. The penalty rules for errors in tax returns, etc., potentially apply if a tax return contains an inaccuracy that results in a tax liability being understated. In addition, a penalty can apply if an error gives rise to false or inflated loss (FA 2007, 24, para 1)...
  • Cash Accounting For Small Businesses: What’s New?

    Sarah Laing looks at the recent increase in the cash basis eligibility threshold and proposed reforms for capital expenditure. Since 2013/14, certain unincorporated small businesses have been able to choose to use the ‘cash basis’ when calculating taxable income, under which participants are taxed on the basis of the cash that passes through their books, rather than being asked to undertake complex and time-consuming calculations designed for big businesses...
  • Watch Out! Building Refurbishment And The Capital Goods Scheme

    Andrew Needham looks at the effects of the capital goods scheme for VAT purposes on a commercial property refurbishment. The capital goods scheme (CGS) is designed to adjust the input tax recovered by partially exempt businesses on specified assets above a certain level over either a five or ten-year period depending on the asset. The adjustments have to be carried out annually...
  • The Residence Nil Rate Band And ‘Downsizing’

    Daniel Stevens muses over practical aspects of the downsizing provisions for inheritance tax residence nil-rate band purposes. In April 2017, an extension to the inheritance tax (IHT) nil rate band was introduced. The idea is to remove the family home from the burden of IHT, or at least reduce the burden; however, it can also apply when the family home has been sold. What do you need to know?...
  • What Exactly Is A Deed And When Would I Need One?

    Malcolm Finney looks at the use of deeds in relation to gifts of assets etc. A transfer of property (real or personal) may involve a sale/purchase or a simple gift. A gift involves no consideration being provided by the recipient (donee) of the gift. It might be thought that making a gift of property is simple and straightforward. What can be complicated about making a gift?...
  • How To Claim The Residence Nil Rate Band

    Sarah Bradford outlines when the inheritance tax residence nil rate band is available and how it can be claimed. The residence nil rate band (RNRB) is an additional nil rate band for inheritance tax (IHT) purposes, which increases the amount that a taxpayer can leave tax-free on death where his or her estate includes a residence that is left to one or more direct descendants...
  • Car And Fuel Benefits In 2017/18 Explained

    Despite year-on-year tax hikes, company cars remain a popular benefit. But what does the 2017/18 company car tax landscape look like, and what should company car drivers bear in mind when seeking to minimise their tax bill while continuing to enjoy the convenience of a company car available for private use? Sarah Bradford takes a look at the 2017/18 company car tax landscape...
  • Understanding The Formalities Of Purchasing A Residential Property 

    Purchasing a residential property, as anyone who has done it will know, is both a stressful and an expensive business not helped by the jargon used by solicitors when corresponding with their clients. Unfortunately, for various reasons, land transactions (compared to other types of property transactions relating to, for example, a car; a painting, etc.) have always been regulated by different and complex legal rules. Malcolm Finney explains a common transaction that is often not properly understood...
  • Tax-Free Childcare Registration Opens

    Tax-free childcare is the government’s new initiative to help working parents and guardians with childcare costs. It will be rolled out nationally during 2017, and is due to replace the existing childcare voucher scheme in April 2018. Sarah Laing looks at the new registration process for tax-free childcare, which is currently being rolled out to eligible parents and guardians...
  • Entrepreneurs’ Relief – A Few Quirks

    For a short bit of legislation, capital gains tax entrepreneurs’ relief (ER) has more than its fair share of quirks, as highlighted by two recent cases. Ken Moody looks some potential capital gains tax entrepreneurs’ relief pitfalls for company shareholders seeking to claim the relief on disposal of their shares...
  • Claiming Back VAT On A Business Trip 

    The rules for recovering VAT on business and travel expenses incurred on a business trip can be something of a minefield. Apart from not knowing whether or not the VAT is recoverable, another common problem is in determining whether the costs have VAT on them to begin with. Andrew Needham looks at VAT recovery on business trips...
  • Pay Your Tax – Before You Know How Much To Pay!

    For individuals, the normal self-assessment time limits for filing tax returns with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and making the final payment of any tax liability for a tax year are generally the same, i.e. 31 January following the end of that tax year. Mark McLaughlin highlights a case in which the tax payment date preceded the tax return filing deadline and a late payment penalty arose...
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