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HMRC Reminder to Fix Protection for High-Value Pension Funds by 5 April Print E-mail
Personal Taxes
Written by Lee Sharpe   
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00

HMRC is reminding taxpayers and agents that claims to "Fix the Protection" for pension funds with values in excess of the reduced Lifetime Allowance (soon to be reduced from £1.5 million to £1.25 million) must be submitted by 5 April 2014.

There is an online application form in order to submit a claim; there are of course significant restrictions on any further pension savings which can be made if Fixed Protection is granted.

Further information can be found at Reminder to Submit Fixed Protection 2014 Applications by 5 April 2014.

EU Plans to Put Trust Details on Public Record? Print E-mail
Capital Taxes
Written by Lee Sharpe   
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 00:00

The Telegraph has reported (EU to Force Britons to Publish Details of Wills and Property) that the scope of an EU anti-money-laundering bill has widened to include Trusts, which may require the formal registration of Trust assets, for potential scrutiny by any member of the public.

The bill is apparently due to be voted on tomorrow.

Trusts are, of course, a largely Anglo-Saxon device, and widespread in the UK (and America) but very much less so in the wider EU. Common examples are jointly-held property, and life insurance policies written into trust. There is concern that the proposed new laws will generate significant additional work and compliance costs for Trustees, for marginal real benefit, and will greatly intrude on people’s private affairs. While there has been high-level representation by David Cameron, it is uncertain whether or not European legislators appreciate, or are concerned with, the implications for the UK.

HMRC Unveils New Timetable for RTI Penalties Print E-mail
Written by HM Revenue & Customs   
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 00:00

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has today announced that there will be a staggered start to the introduction of Real Time Information (RTI) penalties. [Many readers will be aware that there are already measures in place for smaller businesses – see also RTI: Package of Help for Micro Businesses Operating PAYE in Real Time ]

The new automatic in-year PAYE penalties for late filing and late payment and in-year interest (charged on tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICS) that are paid late during the year), were due to start from 6 April 2014. 

RTI is a big change and HMRC and some employers are continuing to learn. Having listened to customer feedback, HMRC has decided to stagger the start of the new in-year late filing and payment penalties to give employers more time to adapt to reporting in real time. The new timetable will be:

  • April 2014 - in-year interest on any in-year payments not made by the due date
  • October 2014 - automatic in-year late filing penalties. Introducing in-year late filing penalties from 6 October means that employers who bring all their submissions for the period 6 April - 5 October 2014 up to date by 5 October will not face any in-year late filing penalties.
  • April 2015 - automatic in-year late payment penalties

At the same time, HMRC is continuing to improve its systems and guidance.

HMRC has worked closely with the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that RTI will support the operation of Universal Credit, which brings together means-tested in and out-of-work benefits.

HMRC’s Director General for Personal Tax, Ruth Owen, said:

“The introduction of RTI is going extremely well for the majority of employers but there are still some who need a bit of time to adapt fully to the changes. This additional time will give us the opportunity to ensure that improvements to our internal systems are working, to learn from them and to provide better customer support to employers who need more time to adapt.”  

Forthcoming changes to HMRC systems include:

  1. From April 2014 HMRC will introduce a new RTI ‘Late Reporting Reason’ data item. This will allow employers to tell HMRC why they are submitting data late – for example, if they are correcting an earlier submission.
  2. Enhancing HMRC’s internal systems to include additional safeguards, for example, to automatically correct some types of common employer errors.
  3. HMRC will also suspend the issue of electronic generic notification alerts for late payment and non filing until April 2014.

HMRC will still issue late payment penalties manually for 2014-15, as it has done in previous years.

Employers will be able to see the amount of interest accruing in their online tax account, but HMRC won’t seek payment until the debt is settled.

HMRC may still charge a late filing penalty for 2013-14.  Employers can find more information about this at

Tax Helpline Launched to Support People Affected by Flooding Print E-mail
Written by HM Revenue & Customs   
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 00:00

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has today launched a new telephone helpline – 0800 904 7900– for anyone affected by the recent floods.

The helpline will enable anyone affected to get fast, practical help and advice on a wide range of tax problems they may be facing.

 HMRC will also:                                       

  • agree instalment arrangements where taxpayers are unable to pay as a result of the floods;
  • agree a practical approach when individuals and businesses have lost vital records to the floods;
  • suspend debt collection proceedings for those affected by the floods;
  • cancel penalties when the taxpayer has missed statutory deadlines.  

The helpline is in addition to other HMRC telephone contact numbers. Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 8.00 am to 8.00 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 8.00 am to 4.00 pm, excluding bank holidays.

HMRC Analyses Late Tax Returns by Region Print E-mail
Personal Taxes
Written by HM Revenue & Customs   
Monday, 20 January 2014 00:00

HM Revenue & Customs has broken down Self Assessment taxpayer by region, and finds that it's Londoners who have the poorest record when it comes to late filing.

Londoners are more likely to miss the tax return deadline than taxpayers in any other part of the UK, figures released today by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) reveal.

Around one in nine (11 per cent) of the 560,000 people in Inner London who had to send in a tax return last year didn’t do so by the relevant deadline – 31 October for paper returns and 31 January for online submissions.

The one million taxpayers in Outer London were more punctual, with one in 11 (9 per cent) failing to meet the deadline, but they were still the second worst offenders. The tardiest taxpayers outside of London were in the North West of England, with 8 per cent of their 890,000 returns failing to meet the deadline.

Taxpayers in the rest of the English regions fared better. The most punctual were in the South West, with only 6 per cent of their one million tax returns arriving late. The other English regions, as well as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, all registered 7 per cent of late tax returns, which was the UK national average.

The UK Self Assessment filing populations on which the figures are based are as follows:

  • Inner London – 560,000;
  • Outer London – 990,000;
  • North West – 890,000;
  • East Midlands – 640,000;
  • West Midlands – 750,000;
  • East of England – 1,040,000;
  • South East– 1,710,000;
  • South West – 1,000,000;
  • Yorkshire & The Humber – 680,000;
  • North East – 270,000;
  • Northern Ireland – 240,000;
  • Scotland – 660,000; and
  • Wales – 400,000.
  • HMRC Director General of Personal Tax, Ruth Owen, said:

    “Whether you’re from London, Livingston, Lisburn or Llandudno, the consequences of missing the tax return deadline are the same – an automatic £100 late-filing penalty.

    The longer you delay, the more you have to pay. So if you still have to send us your tax return, take action now.”

    Around 10.9 million people are expected send a tax return for the 2012-13 tax year. Anyone with an outstanding 2012-13 tax return must send it online, and pay any tax they owe, by 31 January. Visit HMRC’s website at to register for Self Assessment and file your online tax return for free. Using a search engine to find HMRC’s online filing service can produce results which include third party websites that charge to file on your behalf.

    Therefore, if you want to file for free, type the HMRC website address directly into your internet browser’s web address bar.

    For general help and advice on completing a return, visit or call the Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310 (open 8.00am to 8.00pm, Monday to Friday, and from 8.00am to 4.00pm on Saturdays).

    The penalties for late Self Assessment returns are:

    • an initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time;
    • after 3 months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900;
    • after 6 months, a further penalty of 5 per cent of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater; and
    • after 12 months, another 5 per cent or £300 charge, whichever is greater.

    There are also additional penalties for paying late of 5 per cent of the tax unpaid at: 30 days; 6 months; and 12 months.

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