fbpx Skip to main content Skip to search

Vehicles eligible for a plug-in grant

The low-emission vehicles plug-in grant can help you save up to £2,500 on the purchase price of new low-emission vehicles. The scheme was first launched in 2011 and is available across the UK with dealers using the grant towards the price of eligible new cars. The paperwork for the grant application is handled by the dealer you purchase your car from. The scheme is open to qualifying purchases by private individuals and businesses.

HMRC publishes a list of qualifying cars and only cars listed are eligible for the grant. There are also grants available for specified motorcycles, mopeds, small vans, large vans, taxis and trucks.

The grant is available for cars with CO2 emissions lower than 50g/km and a ‘zero-emission’ range of at least 112km. To qualify for the grant, the cars must have an ‘on the road’ price cap of less than £35,000. This means that many popular environmentally friendly electric cars are not available under the scheme as they sell for more than the price cap.

There are separate criteria for the other vehicle classes. For example, for motorcycles that have no CO2 emissions and can travel at least 50km (31 miles) between charges.

Read more

Autumn Budget 2021 – Minimum Wage increases

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, confirmed that the government has accepted in full the proposals of the Low Pay Commission for increasing minimum wage rates from 1 April 2022. This puts the government back on track to reach its minimum wage target of two-thirds of median earnings by 2024.

The new National Living Wage (NLW) rate of £9.50 will come into effect on 1 April 2022, representing an increase of 59p or 6.6%. The NLW is the minimum hourly rate that must be paid to those aged 23 or over. The threshold is expected to be further reduced to 21 by 2024. The increase represents a pay rise of over £1,000 for someone working full-time and earning the NLW.

The hourly rate of the NMW (for 21-22-year-olds) will increase to £9.18 (a rise of 82p or 9.8%). This increase narrows the gap with the NLW and leaves this age group on course to receive the full NLW by 2024.

The rates for 18-20-year-olds will increase to £6.83 (a rise of 27p), and the rate for workers above the school leaving age but under 18 will increase to £4.81 (a rise of 19p). The NMW rate for apprentices will increase by 51p to £4.81.

Read more

Getting prepared to use Freeport customs sites

In the Spring Budget earlier this year, the chancellor announced that eight Freeport locations would be created in England. The Freeports will be in the East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe and Harwich, the Humber region, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, the Solent, the Thames, and Teesside.

Freeports are a special kind of port where normal tax and customs rules do not apply rather there are simplified customs procedures and duty suspensions on goods. This will allow firms to import components and other pre-manufactured goods into a Freeport without paying taxes. The goods would then be processed into a finished product to be built in the UK.

In these new Freeport areas, no duties will be charged on goods or materials until they leave the zone as a finished product for the UK domestic market. There should be no UK tariffs payable when the finished product is re-exported directly from the Freeport.

HMRC has published new guidance to help businesses get ready to use a Freeport site. You cannot currently use the Freeport customs special procedure to import or export excise goods. HMRC’s guidance will be updated with details when this becomes possible.

Read more

Government announces winter COVID plan

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has set out the government’s autumn and winter plan for managing Covid.

The government is aiming to sustain the progress made and prepare the country for future challenges while ensuring the National Health Service (NHS) does not come under unsustainable pressure.

The government plans to achieve this by:

  • Building our defences through pharmaceutical interventions: vaccines, antivirals and disease-modifying therapeutics.
  • Identifying and isolating positive cases to limit transmission: Test, Trace and Isolate.
  • Supporting the NHS and social care: managing pressures and recovering services.
  • Advising people on how to protect themselves and others: clear guidance and communications.
  • Pursuing an international approach: helping to vaccinate the world and managing risks at the border.
    This is known as Plan A. There are of course a number of variables that could change the expected outlook including the outbreak of new variants and other seasonal respiratory diseases such as the flu.

    If the data suggests the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure, the government has prepared a Plan B for England. It is hoped that this plan will not be required but the plan contains certain measures which can help control transmission of the virus while seeking to minimise economic and social impacts.

    This includes:
  • Communicating clearly and urgently to the public that the level of risk has increased and with it the need to behave more cautiously.
  • Introducing mandatory vaccine-only COVID-status certification in certain settings.
  • Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings.
Read more

Budget date announced

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has confirmed that the next UK Budget will take place on Wednesday, 27 October 2021. This will be the Chancellor’s third Budget and the first one to revert back to the Autumn Budget schedule interrupted by Brexit-related issues and then by the coronavirus pandemic. It means that this year, 2021, will see 2 Budget’s the first that took place in March and the second that has been scheduled for October.
Details of all the Budget announcements will be made in a special section of the GOV.UK website, which will update following the completion of the Chancellor’s speech in October.
The Budget will be published alongside the latest forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). The OBR has executive responsibility for producing the official UK economic and fiscal forecasts, evaluating the government’s performance against its fiscal targets, assessing the sustainability of and risks to the public finances and scrutinising government tax and welfare spending.
The Chancellor also confirmed that 27 October 2021 will see the government spending plans set out under the Spending Review 2021. The three-year review will set UK government departments’ resource and capital budgets for 2022-23 to 2024-25 and the devolved administrations’ block grants for the same period.

Read more

Construction services and reverse charge

New VAT rules for building contractors and sub-contractors came into effect on 1 March 2021. The new rules make the supply of most construction services between construction or building businesses subject to the domestic reverse charge. However, the reverse charge only applies to supplies of specified construction services to other businesses in the construction sector.

HMRC’s guidance states that you must use the reverse charge for the following services:

– constructing, altering, repairing, extending, demolishing or dismantling buildings or structures (whether permanent or not), including offshore installation services
– constructing, altering, repairing, extending, demolishing of any works forming, or planned to form, part of the land, including (in particular) walls, roadworks, power lines, electronic communications equipment, aircraft runways, railways, inland waterways, docks and harbours, pipelines, reservoirs, water mains, wells, sewers, industrial plant and installations for purposes of land drainage, coast protection or defence
– installing heating, lighting, air-conditioning, ventilation, power supply, drainage, sanitation, water supply or fire protection systems in any building or structure
– internal cleaning of buildings and structures, so far as carried out in the course of their construction, alteration, repair, extension or restoration
– painting or decorating the inside or the external surfaces of any building or structure
– services which form an integral part of, or are part of the preparation or completion of the services described above – including site clearance, earth-moving, excavation, tunnelling and boring, laying of foundations, erection of scaffolding, – site restoration, landscaping and the provision of roadways and other access works
This means that for these specified supplies, sub-contractors no longer add VAT to their supplies to most building customers; instead, the contractors are obliged to pay the deemed output VAT on behalf of their registered sub-contractor suppliers. This is known as the Domestic Reverse Charge. On the same VAT return, contractors can claim back the deemed input tax on the supply subject to the usual rules.

Read more

Relief for self-employed trading losses

There are a number of tax reliefs available for self-employed taxpayers that make a loss carrying on their trade, profession or vocation (collectively referred to as a ‘trade’) and for their share of trading loss for any partnerships they are involved with.

For the 2020-21 tax year, trade losses can be relieved in a number of ways. This includes the following:

* By using the loss to reduce income for the year ended 5 April 2020 and / or 5 April 2019. If there are still trade losses remaining (after your income has been reduced to nil) then you may be able to set-off some or all of the remaining loss against chargeable gains.
* A claim can also be made for losses made in the first 4 years of trade known as early trade losses relief. Taxpayers need to look at the earliest year first (i.e. 2016-17) and use any remaining loss in 2017-18 and then in 2018-19. The time limit for making claims for 2019 to 2020 losses is 31 January 2022.
* Taxpayers can carry forward any loss against future profits of the same trade or income from the company (where you transfer your trade to a company in exchange for shares in that company), or post cessation receipts
* Terminal loss relief is available for businesses that suffer a loss in the last 12 months of trade of a business. Terminal loss relief allows for the carry back of any trading losses that occur in the final 12 months of trading to be set off against profits made during the final tax year or any or all of the previous three tax years.
* Self-employed taxpayers who were previously employed can offset trading losses against employment earnings or other earned income in the current or preceding tax year.


There is also an overall cap on certain Income Tax reliefs. The cap is set at 25% of income or £50,000, whichever is the greater.

Read more

Carry Corporation Tax losses back

Corporation Tax relief may be available where your company or organisation makes a trading loss. The loss may be used to claim relief from Corporation Tax by offsetting the loss against other gains or profits of the business in the same accounting period.

Where the amount of a trading loss exceeds the profits of the same accounting period, the company may claim to carry back the excess against the profits of preceding accounting periods. The preceding accounting periods are those falling wholly or partly within the preceding period.

Losses may only be carried back against profits of a preceding accounting period if the company was carrying on the trade (in which the loss was incurred) at some time in that accounting period.

Any claim for trading losses forms part of the Company Tax Return. The trading profit or loss for Corporation Tax purposes is worked out by making the usual tax adjustments to the figure of profit or loss shown in the company’s or organisation’s financial accounts.

If a company ceases to carry on a trade, the preceding period is three years preceding the accounting period in which the loss is incurred. Accounting periods must be taken in order, most recent first.

Read more

Lost your tax reference number ?

Your unique taxpayer reference (UTR) is the primary identifier for tax purposes. The number is also sometimes known as your taxpayer number or tax reference number and should be used whenever you contact HMRC or when you file your tax returns. The UTR is a unique 10 digit code. You automatically receive a UTR when you set yourself up to file Self-Assessment tax returns or form a limited company.

If you have mislaid your UTR you should be able to find the number on previous tax returns and other documents from HMRC, such as notices to file a return and payment reminders. You can also find your UTR in your HMRC online account.

If you are unable to locate your UTR you can call the Self-Assessment helpline to request your UTR on 0300 200 3310. The lines are usually open from Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm, Saturday: 8am to 4pm and Sunday: 9am to 5pm. However, the hours are currently shortened due to impact of coronavirus and the lines are open Monday to Friday only from 8am to 4pm.

If you have mislaid your Corporation Tax UTR this can be requested online and HMRC will send a copy of the number by post to the company’s registered address as shown on Companies House.


Read more

Which video conferencing software?

The process of choosing a video conference solution for your practice can be a little hit and miss due to the variety of solutions on offer. Practitioners have adopted the use of web conferencing to:

Deal with staff matters
Organise client meetings
Organise partners’ meetings
In fact, much of the activity previously undertaken face to face is now accommodated by an old-fashioned telephone call – sometimes with a video link – or video conferencing software.

The problem is, there is a bewildering array of software to choose from.

Practitioners still looking for a solution could take a look at a recent report issued by Software Reviews that ranks alternatives based on specific criteria. Google “SoftwareReviews web conferencing”.

Or you could ask clients or IT contacts what they recommend.

Truthfully, the differences that seem to separate the leading brands are not that great and as long as the software you choose does the job, why change.

What is clear is that video conferencing is here to stay. It is doubtful that the present restrictions on face to face contact will be eased significantly any time soon.

Read more