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Kevin McDaid, Chartered Tax Adviser (ATT, CTA) Ex HMRC, 30 years + experience

52 Albert St, Thornton, Bradford, BD13 3ER

kevmcd@cta.org.uk, Tel 01274 214979, Mob 07939 222437


The difference between us and other accountancy practices is:   
  • You speak with us, not a secretary.  
  • The work will be completed by us, not a trainee.
  • You pay us for our expertise, not for a fancy office.
  • No delays and no excuses.

Did you know that in 2009 it was reported that the UK tax code had exceeded that of India and, at 11,520 pages was the longest in the world?*. There have been a few more pages added since then!

The volume of tax legislation that has been passed over the last 13 years has been quite astounding. What used to be contained in 2 volumes of legislation, now requires 5, and the changes show no sign of slowing down.

As a volunteer for TaxHelp for Older People (http://www.taxvol.org.uk/retired.htm) for the past 12 years I regularly attend tax clinics at the Age UK premises in Bradford. I am painfully aware how frustrating and frightening the tax system is for many elderly individuals. However, it is not just individuals but small businesses that can get caught out by the shortcomings and constant changes in the tax and benefits systems. I acknowledge that larger businesses too can be caught out but I work on the assumption that they can afford to pay their advisers to ensure that their affairs are as tax efficient as possible.  

Unfortunately, government departments are not linked up in the way that many people think they are. Consequently, when you first start receiving a state pension, it is coming from the Government, but it is being administered by the DWP, not HMRC. Consequently, even though DWP should inform HMRC of the pension it may not do so at all or several months after the event. This may have all sorts of implications on your tax and benefits position. And of course, it will be your fault because you, personally, are responsible for keeping HMRC/DWP fully informed of anything and everything that may impact on your tax/benefits position. This is what the HMRC officer will tell you when you try to find out why your tax underpayment has arisen! 

You will be expected to repay any tax that you should have paid had your records been updated at the appropriate time. 

However, through years of experience and continuing professional development I know how the system works and what HMRC's obligations are in the administration of the legislation. I can and will challenge HMRC (as I have done for many clients over the years) to ensure that each member in the 'triangle of responsibility', as I call it, (you, 'the taxpayer', HMRC and your employer/pension payer) has fulfilled their obligations rather than it always being pushed back on to you, the taxpayer. 

For businesses too there are so many changes and new rules that have to be adhered to. Some of them are good such as employers NIC being reduced by up to £2,000 from April 2014 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21857641), increased to £3,000 from April 2016 but with new restrictions. Others, such as the introduction of Real Time Information (RTI) - see: (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/payerti/index.htm) from April 2013, seem only to offer advantages to HMRC in return for extra administration for employers.

There have been many significant tax changes since I first started this tax practice in 2010. The rate of change shows no sign of abating:
  • In 2010 income tax personal allowances were £6,475; by 2020 they are anticipated to be £12,500.
  • 2020 also marks the date when annual Self-Assessment tax returns are expected to become history for many self-employed taxpayers and landlords. Instead, you will be required to report your figures every quarter. This is part of the 'Make Tax Digital' process that will be at the heart of Treasury/HMRC planning over the coming years. Other government departments are also being digitalised with the aim that the government should be able, almost immediately, to determine any taxpayer's tax & NIC position, their entitlement to state benefits and tax credits. 
  • Of course, saving the government money is at the heart of this policy so the vast majority of tax offices will be done away with (not that you have been able to access them since 2014) and many staff will lose their jobs or will be redeployed from routine tasks into tax investigations. The goal will be that the vast majority of tax information will be automatically processed by HMRC's super computer and any staff remaining at HMRC will fill their time looking for anomalies.
  • Staying with anomalies, the Automatic Information Exchange between tax authorities will give HMRC staff lots to get their teeth into over the next few years. See https://www.gov.uk/guidance/automatic-exchange-of-information-introduction for details. The aim is to allow tax authorities to share information about bank accounts across borders, i.e. if someone from Germany has a bank account in Switzerland, the German tax authorities will be automatically informed, vastly reducing the potential for people to hide their money. The system of Automatic Information Exchange is being developed by the OECD, a group of more developed economies, but any country can participate. At the time of this update (November 2016) I certainly have noticed banks wanting all sorts of details about the ownership and purpose of accounts. 
  • 2020 will be significant in relation to property tax in that interest relief restrictions applying to non corporate landlords will be fully implemented as, too, will the nil rate residential band for IHT purposes. One bad (case studies showing it is not just 40% taxpayers being hit by the restiction) & one good for taxpayers (nil IHT to pay on up to £0.5m if passed on to family members).
  • With the proposed drop in the Corporation Tax rate to 17% by 2020, I predict that a good proportion of landlords will be operating via a limited company by this time (as I would expect the differential between BTL mortgages for individuals and landlords to have narrowed considerably by then). 
  • A thorough analysis of property tax issues can be viewed at our sister site: http://www.propertytaxadvisers.co.uk/home/4591680655   
The changes happening in the world of tax are so fast paced these days that it is vital that you engage an experienced tax professional with access to a significant library of resources. I will seek to ensure that whatever tax breaks that are out there are taken advantage of. Can you be sure that your current accountant will do that? Through many years of working in tax and through my membership of the Chartered Institute Of Tax Advisers and the Association of Taxation T
echnicians, my goal remains that you: - 'Never pay a penny more in tax than you need to ever again'!
*(http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/blogs/gina-dyer/team-blog/uk-tax-code-longest-world)
The material contained in this site is provided for information purposes only and is of a general nature. It does not constitute legal or other professional advice. You are recommended to consult with a suitably qualified tax professional before you take or refrain from any action.  Kevin McDaid/Crown Tax Affairs accepts no responsibility for any loss which may arise from or reliance on information contained in this site or other sites which may be linked from time to time to the site. Your attention is drawn to our legal notices section for further details.