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By Cheaper Accountant, Nov 26 2018 06:26AM

We previously blogged about the Rent a Room scheme that allows an individual to receive up to £7,500 a year completely tax free by letting out a furnished room within your home. Your home can be rented or owned with this tax free scheme applying to both scenarios.

How does this work?

You will receive automatic tax relief when the rental income you receive remains below the threshold of £7,500 during the tax year (6 April to 5 April the following year).

Where more than one individual receives income from letting a furnished room the threshold is reduced by 50% meaning that each separate person can receive up to £3,750 tax free.

If you receive rental income from letting a furnished room that is over and above the threshold of £7,500 (or applicable reduced threshold if income is received by more than one person) then you will pay tax on the excess amount only.

What if I make a loss?

Utilising the Rent a Room scheme may not always be the best option for all taxpayers. You will benefit more from not using the scheme if your expenses are greater than the rent received and you make a loss. Being able to carry forward any loss will reduce the tax due on future rental profits.

What are the New Changes?

To ensure that the tax relief gained from using the scheme is aligned to the aim of increasing the supply of affordable residential accommodation, rather than the benefit simply going to users of websites such as Airbnb, a new shared occupancy test will be introduced.

Shared occupancy test

Under this new test, the individual receiving the rental income must have a ‘shared occupancy’ for all or part of the letting period.

This indicates that the physical use of the property in question by the tenant must overlap with the use of the residence as sleeping accommodation by the landlord or a member of his or her household.

A second tenant cannot be used to satisfy the test. As things currently stand a period of overlap of only one night would satisfy the test but this could change when further guidance is issued by the Government during the coming months.

So a tax on Airbnb landlords I hear you say!!! ….. you could be right.

By Cheaper Accountant, Aug 20 2018 05:55AM

We sometimes receive client questions about paying voluntary national insurance contributions and is this an option and what are the benefits of doing so. This blog article will highlight what can be done with regards to making additional national insurance payments (or contributions) and what this means for you and your state pension.

Voluntary National Insurance Contributions

It is an option to make payments for voluntary national insurance contributions to plug any gaps in your contributions record.

A full 35 qualifying years of national insurance contributions are needed to receive the full single-tier state pension. This state pension is paid to individuals who reach the state pension age.

Where an individual does not meet the 35 qualifying years requirement they will receive a reduced state pension. A minimum of 10 qualifying years is needed. Anyone with less than the 10 years will not receive a single-tier state pension.

Where an individual does not have the full 35 years they can choose to pay voluntary contributions to boost their pension entitlement.

Check your National Insurance Record

You should check your national insurance record before making any voluntary contributions. This can be done online here:

You will then be able to identify any gaps in your contributions and decide if you want to make any voluntary contributions to ensure that the full 35 years is reached.

If you are in any doubt about future strategies for paying NI contributions feel free to contact one of our cheap accountants who can provide you with the accounting advice and guidance you need.

By Cheaper Accountant, Aug 5 2018 08:37AM

This week the Bank of England increased interest rates for only the second time in the last ten years and signalled that further rises could be expected in the not too distant future.

The bank increased the rate from 0.5% to 0.75% and the rate is now at it's highest level since March 2009.

The bank was expected to increase the rate back in March of this year but decided to wait a llittle longer until they were happy with the current economic conditions within the UK and the expected growth in the economy.

This rate increase will impact mortgage holders and will be immediately felt by anyone who is on a variable rate mortgage.

For a variable rate mortgage of £150,000 the rate increase will mean roughly an additional £220 will be needed each month towards the mortgage repayments.

It looks as though there may be a couple more increases of 0.25% during the next year or two. The impacts of Brexit on the UK economy may well factor in on this and it all depends on how the UK fares following the exit from the EU.

By Cheaper Accountant, Aug 2 2018 05:08AM

You may have heard the form P11D being referred to a number of times when working with your accountant or when seeking quotes from an accountant. This blog will highlight what the P11D actually is and who may be impacted by this. Not everyone will need to complete a P11D and in reality we have very few clients who are required to do so.

In summary

A P11D is a form that is submitted to HMRC to provide information about specific benefits received from an employer (your limited company, for example) other than the salary received.

You can see form the above description that the P11D form is all about benefits received. Examples of such benefits could be company assets received, payments made on behalf of the employee, living accommodation provided to the employee or cars and fuel provided to the employee.

The above requirements apply to both company director’s and other company employees.

Due dates

The P11D must be filed with HMRC by 06 July each year, proceeding the end of the tax year (05 April). The form requires details to be added for the relevant tax year just ended.


The main purpose of the P11D is to inform HMRC of how much employer National Insurance is due on the benefits provided to employees, if any. This is referred to as Class 1A National Insurance contributions.

It is not a requirement to report reimbursed expenses on the P11D. So, if this is the only income you have received from your limited company on top of salary and dividends the you are unlikely to need to complete a detailed P11D.

No P11D due

You may be required to notify HMRC that no P11D is due. This is a fairly simple task for an accountant to complete and it is certainly something that our cheap accountants are happy to complete for you as and when needed. We don’t even charge you for this!

If you have any questions about your P11D feel free to email us at

By Cheaper Accountant, Jul 5 2018 06:24AM

A PSC is an abbreviation for the term ‘Person with Significant Control’. This term or concept was introduced when the Annual Return morphed into the Confirmation Statement. We won’t go into detail about the Confirmation Statement here as we have already blogged about this in the past. What we will clarify is what criteria is used to establish if a person is classed as a PSC.

Key Principles

When considering who is a PSC the underlying principle is that a PSC is a person who the right to exert significant influence or control over the operations and management of a company. This could be a limited company or a limited liability partnership.

What about the criteria?

To establish if a person should be listed as a PSC the following needs to be considered:

1. The person holds more than 25% of shares in the company.

2. The person holds more than 25% of voting rights in the company.

3. The person has a right to appoint and/or dismiss company director’s.

4. The person has a right to exercise, or does exercise, significant influence and control over the company.

5. The person is a trustee of trust and exercises significant influence and control over the trust.

Why is this important?

There is a requirement to list all company PSC’s on the public record and to confirm the accuracy of individuals listed when completing and submitting the Confirmation Statement on an annual basis.

This isn’t optional and all limited companies, for example, need to ensure that they comply with these requirements.

If you need any support or guidance with your company PSC declarations or the Confirmation Statement then feel free to email us at

By Cheaper Accountant, May 29 2018 05:52AM

We are often asked by clients what expenses can be charged to a company and quite often this is very clear whether or not an expense is a genuine cost of business and is therefore tax deductible or not. When it comes to food expenses this distinction is not always immediately clear. This blog article has been written to inform our readers on what food expenses are tax deductible and the circumstances under which food is not a tax deductible expense.

For those who might not be clear on the accounting jargon: a tax deductible expense is any expense that leads to a reduction in taxable company profits. This in turn, reduces the amount of corporation tax due.

Entertainment of clients

A lot of business owners wrongly assume that entertaining clients through the purchasing of food is an allowable tax deduction. It is easy to see the appeal of charging such expenditure to the company.

HMRC do not accept this as tax deductible regardless of the purpose of the meeting. From the point of view of the tax man, food is not a requirement for a meeting to be held. You can simply conduct the meeting and have the same conversations without food. HMRC determine here that food is not a necessary expense.

Food for employee entertainment – Christmas party

Client entertainment is ruled out as explained above so you may naturally think that employee entertainment is also out of the question. That’s not the case!

Employee entertainment can be claimed as a tax deductible expense of up to £150 per employee. Events such as a Christmas party are considered reasonable expenses by HMRC. This could be as simple as a Christmas meal at a restaurant for all employees.

We have previously written about the tax advantages of holding a company Christmas party, where you can read more about this in more detail.

Personal or employee subsistence

You may need to purchase food when you travel for work purposes and when away from the business premises you are entitled to claim food costs in the same way as you would for transport and accommodation.

HMRC allow this type of food (or subsistence) as an allowable expense.

If you are ever in any doubt about what to claim from your company when it comes to food costs or any other business related expenditure it is always worth consulting an accountant. The accountants at Cheaper Accountant are always on hand to provide you with the advice and guidance you need.

By Cheaper Accountant, Apr 1 2018 10:45AM

A new tax year starts on 6 April 2018 and this article has been written as a timely reminder of what to note or to plan for during the 2018/19 tax year. We have published a number of blogs during the last tewlve months which were aimed at updating our readers on tax changes that they are likely to impacted by. This post will draw on some of that information whilst providing a useful list of what to consider during the new tax year.

Dividend Tax

Further charges to the dividend tax regime will come into effect as of 6 April 2018 and impact the 2018/19 tax year as the year of introduction. We previously blogged about the changes to the dividend tax that are about to come into play. The key takeaway here is that the dividend tax free allowance will be reduced down to £2,000 (2018/19 tax year) from the current £5,000 (2017/18 tax year).

We are expecting this to result in a tax increase of around £225 per annum for most of our clients.

Corporation Tax

This isn't new per se but we felt it was worth reminding our readers that the corporation tax rate was reduced down to 19% from a previous level of 20% during the 2017/18 tax year. This reduced corporation tax rate of 19% will continue to be applied to company profits during the up and coming 2018/19 tax year. This may well help to ease the burden of the dividend tax increase mentioned above.

Director Salary

One of our most recent blogs was an update on the most tax effcient or lowest tax method of receiving payments from a limited company. This article was aimed at directors who are also shareholders of their own limited company. The main thing to remember here is that you should increase your monthly salary payment to £702 a month during the 2018/19 tax year. This reults in annual director's salary of £8,424. You should then pay yourself dividends on top of this.

We do hope that you found the above summary useful. Feel free to email us at if you need any help from an affordable, qualified, UK accountant.

By Cheaper Accountant, Feb 28 2018 10:14AM

We are about to see further changes to the dividend tax allowance in the not so distant future, the strategy of paying yourself a low salary topped up with dividends from your limited company remains the lowest tax method of extracting income from a limited company. So the strategy to pay yourself remains the same but this blog article will explain how much you can pay yourself without incurring any income tax and national insurance charges.

With a new tax year quickly approaching (6 April 2018 to 5 April 2019) it is timely to update the readers of our blog on how much to pay yourself in salary from your limited company during the 2018-19 tax year.

The good news is that the monthly sum that we recommend you pay yourself has increased to £702 a month (up from £680 a month during 2017-18) which results in an annual director’s salary of £8,424. You should then pay yourself dividends on top of this low level of salary.

At this level of salary you won’t have to pay employer or employee national insurance contributions and no income tax will be due to be paid to HMRC on the wage you receive. The dividends you receive will be subject to dividend tax but a tax-free dividend allowance of £2,000 will apply during 2018-19.

The total director salary of £8,424 is less than the personal allowance (£11,850) for the 2018-19 tax year but don’t be tempted to pay yourself up to the personal allowance as you will then end up paying more tax.

If you pay up to the personal allowance you will be liable to pay national insurance contributions that can be avoided at the £8,424 salary level.

The lowest tax option is to simply pay yourself dividends instead to use up the remainder of your personal allowance and then use the dividend tax free allowance. This means that you can receive a total of £13,850 tax free.

By Cheaper Accountant, Jan 9 2018 06:07AM

A VAT registered business is entitled to claim VAT paid for goods and services purchased. There are also situations where a business is able to reclaim VAT paid before registration. However, certain conditions have to be met.

These conditions are listed as follows:

• The goods and services purchased before registration, must have been incurred to enable the business to produce products or provide services on which VAT is now being charged. A clear link is important here.

• Input tax can be reclaimed if the purchase of goods was incurred during the four years prior to registration.

• Input tax can be reclaimed if the purchase of services was made during the six months prior to registration.

• Reclaiming VAT paid before registration on goods or services is possible if the goods or services have not been fully consumed before the business is registered for VAT.

Example- Goods

PrintMe Ltd, an advertising and printing company, started to trade in March 2017 and registered for VAT in December 2017.

After registration, the owner makes a list of all the assets and stock on hand, including furniture, IT equipment, stock, etc. at the date of registration and reclaims VAT on its first VAT return on everything purchased between March and December.

PrintMe Ltd can only reclaim VAT on stock on hand and is unable to do so on stock items purchased and sold before registration.

Example –Services

PrintMe Ltd also paid VAT on services purchased between March and December 2017 and is able to reclaim VAT on services that have not been fully consumed. These services included:

• Rent of premises

• Telephone and Internet bills

• Equipment leasing charges

As mentioned before, reclaiming VAT on services is possible when the purchase was made within 6 months prior to its registration, meaning that PrintMe Ltd can only reclaim on services purchased from July to December 2017.

Has the service been consumed?

When reclaiming VAT on services it is not always clear if they have been fully consumed at the date of registration. A common example would be the rent of premises. It is often the case and it stands to reason that once the rental period ends (for the month or quarter) the service would have been fully consumed.

However, there are circumstances where past rental payments may well contribute to post-registration sales of good and services. Printme Ltd operated a stockroom from the rented premises where stock was held and stored until it was sold post-registration.

This changes the situation somewhat and opens the door to a likely claim for VAT incurred on the rental costs as there is a clearly identifiable link between these pre-registration costs and the post-registration sales.

The same thinking could potentially be applied to telephone or internet bills and any other services.

Meeting the conditions to reclaim VAT on services purchased prior to registration can be unclear and might require some thought and analysis. You should always consider if the service was fully consumed against goods and services supplied prior to registration. If not, then you may well have grounds to make a claim.

By Cheaper Accountant, Dec 31 2017 12:03AM

This blog post is the second of a series of articles that we will publish on HMRC’s “Making Tax Digital” or MTD. A brief introduction to Making Tax Digital was given in the first blog post published during October of this year.

The Government has pledged to a digital revolution to improve the way the tax system operates. The aim of MTD is to simplify the tax system for tax payers and improve the user experience. A fully digital tax system by 2020 is expected to address the following three objectives:

1. Removal of form filling and a closer connection to real-time information

2. Removal of time delays as the tax system operates on a closer to “real-time” basis

3. Increased access to digital accounts underpinned by the seamless upload of information

Recent Announcements – Qualifying Threshold

After the review of the original Making Tax Digital proposals, the Government announced during July 2017, that businesses with turnover exceeding a specified threshold will need to comply with the Making Tax Digital regime from April 2019 but for VAT only. This threshold is in effect linked to the VAT threshold and means that the MTD requirements apply to businesses with turnover above the VAT registration threshold (currently £85,000). Companies with turnover below the VAT threshold are not obliged to comply with MTD, all such businesses do have the option of complying with MTD if they wish to do so.

The scope of Making Tax Digital will not go beyond the initial scope and threshold mentioned above until the system has been evaluated by the Government at least a year after implementation (April 2020). This means that small businesses and landlords will have ample time to make the necessary steps to keep digital records. This could still lead to all companies being drawn into this regime at some point in the future. We’ll certainly keep you updated on this.

What does this mean for me?

From April 2019, VAT registered businesses with turnover above VAT registration threshold (currently £85,000) will have to comply with the following:

1. Records will be kept digitally for VAT purposes only

2. Use compatible software (or an app) to submit their VAT return information to HMRC

Why is the Government introducing this?

According to the latest tax gap figures published by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), many businesses have complained about the complexity of getting their tax right. Mistakes and errors are found in every sector and they account for over £9 billion lost annually in tax.

Making Tax Digital aims to reduce errors and mistakes by introducing a modern digital service platform that promises to, not only reduce the tax gap, but also reduce businesses’ costs and the need for HMRC to intervene and make corrections. Time will tell how much this impacts businesses and what the extra burdens, if any, will be.

The idea behind migrating the accounting records to a digital platform, will allow businesses (including self-employed and landlords) to keep track of their income and expenditure digitally. This promises to make the quarterly reports to HMRC an easy task by using specifically designed software (or an app), which will be available to use from April 2018.

This modern digital revolution aims to improve the tax payer user experience by helping the tax payer to get their tax right first time. HMRC is expecting that many businesses that are not obliged to comply with this reform by April 2019 will still choose to do so. The government anticipates that companies will see the benefit of keeping their records digitally, especially when making quarterly updates, which will prevent errors and mistakes commonly made with manual calculations. The compatible software will include nudges and prompts that will help reduce common mistakes in order to get the calculation right first time and avoid HMRC’s costly and unpleasant interventions.

The key benefits of Making Tax Digital, as stated by the Government, are as follows:

• Businesses will always know their current position when it comes to tax (closer to “real-time” picture)

• Tax information will be accessible in a single place

• Businesses and agents/accountants will be able to work more collaboratively

The recent announcements highlighted above mean that a large number of clients will remain unaffected by Making Tax Digital as it moves into the first phase of implementation. We suspect that the Government will seek to expand the remit of MTD in future years but only time will tell.

We remain committed to assisting all clients affected by the introduction of MTD and we will strive to provide cost effective accounting solutions that allow all clients to meet their ongoing legal accounting requirements.