Author Archives: Mike Couzens

Stamp duty land tax change for second home buyers

Individuals, who are considering the purchase of a second home, or a buy-to-let property, would be advised to complete their purchase before 1 April 2016. From this date new rates of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) will apply.   In his autumn statement, George Osborne announced the following change:   “Higher rates of Stamp Duty […]

Reduction in bank deposit protection

From January 2016 the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is changing. Savers have one month left to adjust their bank deposits to the new limits. Here’s the updated information posted to the FSCS website posted 5 July 2015:  “Savers are getting a new deposit guarantee limit from the New Year. The current £85,000 level of […]

Autumn Statement 25 November 2015

Announcements for businesses Support for smaller businesses The Chancellor reported that the UK’s small and medium sized enterprises now employ 15.6 million people, up from 13.7 million in 2010. Over the last two years the number of small businesses employing someone other than the owner has grown by 100,000. The government understands that small businesses […]

Business tax changes confirmed

The Summer Budget changes formally completed their progress through the legislative process and received royal assent on 18 November 2015. We have summarised in this posting the main changes to business tax that are now enacted: Corporation tax rates will be reduced to 19% from 1 April 2017 and 18% from 1 April 2020. A […]

New tax free child care scheme

 A reminder that delays created by legal action to block this new scheme mean that it will not be rolled out until early 2017, a year later than planned. A top ten summary of the benefits of the new scheme are reproduced below: 1. You’ll be able to open an online account You’ll be able […]

Rent hikes likely as landlords come to grips with tax changes

Over the next few years changes announced by George Osborne in the Summer Budget 2015 may have profound effects on the level of rents and the availability of rental accommodation in the UK.  From April 2017, landlords will see an increase in their annual tax bills. The increase may be significant in some cases.  Why […]

Dividend Tax changes April 2016

 It was bound to happen some time… At present there are considerable savings in National Insurance contributions to be made if a minimal amount is paid as salary and any balance of a remuneration package is paid as dividends (particularly for shareholder directors of private limited companies). From April 2016, the NIC status of dividends […]

Emails from the tax office

Generally speaking, HMRC will communicate with you by sending a letter or calling you. It will never ask for personal details by email. Accordingly, you can disregard any emails you receive from HMRC that do ask for personal information, particularly bank details, as they will likely be scams… However, HMRC is starting to send out […]

Appeal against HMRC penalties

 You can appeal to HMRC against a penalty for: Late filing of a return Paying tax after the due date Failing to pay all the tax you owe Unable to demonstrate that you have kept adequate records to underpin your tax returns Filing an incorrect return Your penalty will be cancelled or amended if you […]

R & D boost for smaller businesses

In a major boost for pioneering small businesses, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, recently launched a new plan outlining how government will make it easier for small businesses investing in research and development to claim tax relief. The two-year plan, which is a response to an HMRC consultation, aims to increase take-up […]