A summary of tax changes from April 2018

Changes to tax and NIC from April 2018


From the beginning of April 2018 the personal tax allowance will increase to £11,850 per year.   Tax rates will be:

England and Wales
Basic rate 20% On the next £34,500 above the personal tax allowance
Higher rate 40% On £34,501 to £150,000 (the personal allowance reduces once earnings reach £100,000)
Additional rate On earnings above £150,000


Scottish rates and bands

On the 20 February 2018 the Scottish Parliament set the following income tax rates and bands for 2018/19.

Bands Band name Rates (%)
Over £11,850*-£13,850 Starter Rate 19
Over £13,850-£24,000 Basic Rate 20
Over £24,000-£43,430 Intermediate Rate 21
Over £43,430-£150,000** Higher Rate 41
Above £150,000** Top Rate 46
Tax on Dividends

The dividend allowance of £5,000 at 0% personal income tax, will reduce to £2,000 per year from April 2018.  Shareholders will be worse off by £225, £975 or £1,143 a year depending on whether they pay tax at the basic rate, higher rate or the additional rate.   Dividend tax rates have not changed, and the rate of tax on dividends remains at 7.5% for basic rate taxpayers, 32.5% above the higher rate threshold and 38.1% for those in the additional rate band (ie. Earning over £150,000).    For many owner-directors, the dividend/salary split will still be the most tax efficient method of remuneration, but it may not suit all.

Corporation tax remains at 19%

National Insurance

Self-employed people will continue to pay Class 4 and Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NIC).  The abolition of Class 2 NIC was scheduled for this April, but it has been delayed until April 2019.  Class 4 NIC will be 9% on profits over £8,424. Class 2 NIC will be £2.95 per week, to be added to your 2018/19 tax bill as one total for the tax year.

Other changes

The national living and minimum wage rates increase from 1st April 2018 to:

Category of worker Hourly rate
Aged 25 and above (national living wage rate) £7.83
Aged 21 to 24 inclusive £7.38
Aged 18 to 20 inclusive £5.90
Aged under 18 (but above compulsory school leaving age) £4.20
Apprentices aged under 19 £3.70
Apprentices aged 19 and over, but in the first year of their apprenticeship £3.70
Pension Contributions

Minimum auto-enrolment (workplace pension) contributions have been 1% from both the employee and employer.  From 1st April this changes to 3% contributions paid by the employee, and 2% paid by the employer.  This will change again in April 2019.


Something not directly related to tax and accountancy, but that will affect all businesses will be the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  This is a fairly significant upgrade from the Data Protection Act 1998, which just wasn’t sufficient for the online environment that we use now.  The GDPR comes into effect from 25th May 2018.  There is no exemption for small business, and fines for non-compliance will be from 4% of turnover.

Businesses complying with the DPA 1998 shouldn’t have too much trouble preparing for 25th May, but assessing the data you hold, documenting what you do with it, rewriting policies and communicating with data subjects (customers, suppliers, employees) can be time consuming.   The ICO website is a good place to start, if you’ve not already looked at this.

Making tax Digital (MTD)

Making tax digital (aka quarterly accounting), has been delayed for a couple of years.  It will start for VAT only from April 2019.  The new rules will encompass VAT registered businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000)  From 1st April 2019 records will need to be kept using ‘functional, compatible’ software. Compatible meaning it must be able to upload information direct to HMRC each quarter.

MTD for income tax, corporation tax etc. will follow after 2019.  It will mean 5 updates to HMRC being made each year, instead of the one annual tax return.  There will be an obligation to keep records electronically.  You’ll upload sales, expenses and profit figures each quarter, then a 5th report (if necessary) will be used to claim allowances and reliefs that are not included in normal day-to-day bookkeeping.

The well-known software companies are developing solutions, as well as some of the lesser known software houses. HMRC has said it will not be providing free software, as it currently does for both VAT and personal self-assessment tax returns.

This is a very brief summary, and there could be many other factors to consider in your own business. If you’d like any help with your tax, bookkeeping or accountancy, please get in touch.

Tax update – Autumn Statement 2015


The Chancellor, George Osborne, delivered his Spending review and Autumn Statement Speech on 25 November 2015. This article outlines the changes relevant to small-business owners.  The few ‘headlines’ were

  • an extra 3% stamp duty land tax charge on the purchase of additional residential properties from 1 April 2016
  • a requirement to make a payment on account in respect of capital gains tax within 30 days of the disposal of residential properties from April 2019
  • the changes announced to tax credits in Summer Budget 2015 have been abandoned.

More information on the tax proposals scheduled for inclusion in Finance Bill 2016 will be published in the Government’s ‘Overview of Legislation in Draft’ on 9 December.

Making tax digital

As announced at Summer Budget 2015, the government wants to digitise the tax process. The aim is to modernise the tax system and provide a more real-time working basis of individual and business tax affairs, which one would expect, will lead to the advance of tax payments in many cases in due course. Key details so far are:

  • digital tax accounts are to be introduced for all small businesses and individuals by 2016/17
  • by 2020 most businesses, landlords and the self-employed will be required to update HMRC quarterly regarding their tax affairs. The details of how this will work in practice have not yet been decided
  • the intention to consult on ways to simplify tax payments with suggestions of tax payable as profits arise (as announced for capital gains tax arising on the disposal of residential property with payment due 30 days after completion from April 2019).

Employees and pensioners will not be required to update their digital tax accounts quarterly unless they have secondary incomes of more than £10,000 per year.

Simple assessment

The Government is to simplify the tax payment process for taxpayers within the Self-Assessment system where HMRC already holds all the data it needs to calculate the tax liability. Rather than requiring the taxpayer to file a return, instead HMRC will send a legally enforceable payment demand, which the taxpayer can challenge or appeal. This is expected to be introduced from 2016/17.

Residential property

An additional 3% on top of current SDLT rates from 1 April 2016 will be charged on the purchase of additional residential property (e.g. buy to lets and second properties over £40,000), though exclusions to certain corporates and funds are expected.

Dividends for company owners

There was no further commentary with respect to the Summer Budget 2015 announcement regarding the increase in dividend tax rates and the dividend allowance due to apply from April 2016, so the expectation is that these will be introduced in the Finance Bill 2016 as previously announced


Further to the announcement at Summer Budget 2015, the Government has now consulted on fundamental changes to pension tax relief. One of the options is that instead of receiving tax relief on the contribution, the savings would work more like an ISA, with a Government top-up and tax-free extraction on retirement.

The Government will provide an update on this at Budget 2016.

Self-Assessment time limits

Draft legislation is to be published ahead of Finance Bill 2016 to clarify that the time allowed for making a self-assessment is four years from the end of the tax year. No further information is included in Autumn Statement documentation but it is possible that this has been prompted by a recent case on tax administration.


There wasn’t a great deal in the Autumn Statement that we didn’t know about, or expect. This article is not a comprehensive review, but concentrated on the issues relevant to small-business owners. If you’d like to know more you can read the government’s documents here.  If you’re concerned that any of the changes mentioned may affect you please get in touch.

Summer Budget 2015 – Small business essentials

The Summer Budget 2015 will have an impact on all UK businesses, and many individuals.  Changes are being introduced from April 2016.  What follows is a summary, with extracts, from the Summer Budget 2015 Policy Paper, published 8th July 2015.

Income Tax and Individual Taxpayers

The personal allowance will increase to £11,000 in 2016-17 (it is currently £10,600). The higher rate threshold will increase from £42,385 to £43,000.

The effective inheritance tax threshold will be £1 million, where a main residence is passed to descendants. This will be paid for by the introduction of a taper to the annual allowance for pensions tax relief for people whose total income is above £150,000 per annum.

Insurance premium tax will increase from 6% to 9.5%


Corporation tax will be cut from the current 20% to 19% in 2017, and 18% in 2020.

The Annual Investment Allowance will be £200,000 from January 2016. This allowance means businesses can claim capital allowances on tangible fixed assets of up to £200,000 in the year of purchase, rather than spreading the tax relief over several years.

From April 2016, companies where the director is the sole employee will no longer be able to claim the Employment Allowance (the £2,000 reduction in employer’s national insurance contributions).

In the March Budget 2015, the government announced it would transform tax administration for individuals and small businesses over this Parliament, leading to the end of the tax return. Small businesses will be able to manage their tax through a digital account linked to business software. HMRC will begin discussions with businesses and software providers about how best to integrate tax reporting and payment with everyday business activity, to inform a roadmap the government will publish by the end of 2015 setting out the policy and administrative changes needed.

Sunday trading – The government will consult on devolving powers on Sunday trading to city mayors and Local Authorities. This will look at allowing mayors or councils to extend Sunday trading for additional hours within parameters that they would determine.

Enterprise Zones – The government will hold a bidding round for a new programme of Enterprise Zones for this Parliament.

Tax lock – The government will legislate to set a ceiling for the main rates of income tax, the standard and reduced rates of VAT, and employer and employee (Class 1) NICs rates, ensuring that they cannot rise above their current (2015-16) levels. The tax lock will also ensure that the NICs Upper Earnings Limit cannot rise above the income tax higher rate threshold; and will prevent the relevant statutory provisions being used to remove any items from the zero rate of VAT and reduced rate of VAT for the duration of this Parliament. (Summer Finance Bill 2015)

Business tax roadmap – The government will publish a Business tax roadmap by April 2016, setting out its plans for business taxes over the rest of the Parliament.

Self-employed National Insurance contributions – The government will consult in autumn 2015 on abolishing Class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs) and reforming Class 4 NICs for the self-employed

Simplified expenses: legislative amendments – The government will amend the simplified expenses regime introduced in Finance Act 2013 to ensure that partnerships can fully access the provisions in respect of the use of a home and where business premises are also a home. (Finance Bill 2016)

Business skills, infrastructure and regional development

To support innovation throughout the country, the government will invest £23m in 6 Next Generation Digital Economy Centres over 6 sites (London, Swansea, Newcastle, Nottingham, York and Bath), leveraging £22 million of additional funding, and partnering with LEPs, regional councils, and local SMEs. These centres will exploit opportunities across sectors of the digital economy including the creative industries, finance, healthcare and education.

The so-called Northern Powerhouse seems to fail to recognise that the UK doesn’t end at Leeds. Although there is mention of upgrading the final stretch of the M1/A1 route between Newcastle and London to motorway. The government will look into the case for renaming the A1(M) north of Leeds as the M1. The A1 will be dualled north of Newcastle as far as Ellingham,


The Employment Allowance will rise from £2,000 per year to £3,000 from April 2016. This reduces the cost of Employer’s National Insurance contributions. Most small businesses will be eligible, but as mentioned above, the allowance will no longer be available to companies where the sole director is the only employee.

A National Living Wage is being introduced for workers aged 25 and over. National Living Wage – The government will introduce a new premium for those aged 25 and over starting at 50 pence leading to a new National Living Wage (NLW) of £7.20 in April 2016. The target is £9.00 per hour by 2020.

National Minimum Wage – The combined 50 pence premium with the 20 pence minimum wage increase on the current rate will benefit 1.7 million workers and means that a current NMW worker working 35 hours a week will see their annual salary increase by over £1,200 from April 2016.

Taxation of employee benefits and expenses – As announced at Autumn Statement 2014, from April 2016 the government will simplify the tax system by introducing a statutory exemption for trivial benefits in kind costing less than £50. (Finance Bill 2016)

Apprenticeships levy – The government will introduce a levy on large UK employers to increase the number of apprenticeship starts. In England, employers will be able to access this funding for apprenticeship training. Details including rates and implementation will be set out in the Spending Review.


Dividend tax credits will be replaced with a tax-free Dividend Tax Allowance of £5,000, and new dividend tax rates. The tax rates will be 7.5% for basic rate taxpayers, 32.5% for higher rate taxpayers, and 38.1% for additional rate taxpayers.


Tax relief on mortgage interest for individual landlords will be restricted to the basic rate of income tax.

Individuals renting out a room in their main residence will benefit from an increase in Rent-a-room tax relief to £7,500 from April 2016 (currently £4,250).

Reform of the Wear and Tear Allowance – From April 2016, the government will replace the Wear and Tear Allowance with a new relief that allows all residential landlords to deduct the actual costs of replacing furnishings. Capital allowances will continue to apply for landlords of furnished holiday lets. The government will publish a technical consultation before the summer. (Finance Bill 2016)

Further information

The full Summer Budget can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/summer-budget-2015/summer-budget-2015

If you are concerned about how any of these changes could affect you please contact us.


Payroll changes 2014-15

Payroll changes 2014-15Payroll changes 2014-15 are the usual updates to tax codes, tax rates and NIC rates.  Good news includes a delay in the implementation of late filing penalties under the RTI system, and a £2,000 reduction to employer’s NIC.  On the downside, employers will no longer be able to reclaim SSP paid to employees.



The penalties for late filing of the FPS files which were due to commence April 2014 have been postponed until October 2014.

The FPS files are the Real Time Information (RTI) reports sent each pay period and are due on or before the pay date. The fines are per late FPS and depend upon the number of staff you have:

Staff Monthly Penalty

  • 1 to 9 employees  £100
  • 10 to 49 employees £200
  • 50 to 249 employees £300
  • 250 or more employees £400

The penalty notices will only be sent out quarterly ,so the bill could be quite high when you receive it.  Payment is due within 30 days of the notice.

Where an FPS is late for more than 3 months and the information is not included on a later submission a further charge is made – 5% of the Tax/NICs which should have been on the submission.


From April 2014 the reclaim of SSP will be abolished. You still need to keep a record of SSP paid in the normal way but there will be no reclaims at all. Reclaims for SMP, SPP and SAP remain the same.

TAX RATES 2014-15

The new standard tax code is 1000L

Tax Bands:

  • 20% £1 to £31,865
  • 40% £31,866 to £150,000
  • 45% £150,001 and above

NIC Thresholds 2014-15:

Payments start from the primary threshold: weekly pay of  £153, monthly £663, annual £7,956

Employees deductions are 12% on amounts above the primary threshold, up to £805 weekly/ £3,489 monthly then 2% on all other earnings

Employers liability: 13.8% on all earnings above the secondary threshold (values are the same as the primary threshold mentioned above).

The threshold for statutory payments is £111 per week.

SSP rate £87.55 per week

SMP/SPP/SAP standard rate £138.18

Student loans are recovered at 9% on earnings above: weekly £325.19 , monthly £1,409.16 or annual £16,910.00.


HMRC are introducing a £2,000 Employers Allowance to be offset against your Employer’s NIC. Most employers are eligible for this and we will be taking it into account on your monthly PAYE Summaries.

There are a small number of employers who are not eligible and you can check your entitlement by logging on to the following website:


Budget 2013

The Budget 2013 introduced a new National Insurance for employers. The increase in personal allowance to £10,000 has been brought forward a year, to 2014. There will be very few changes to tax rates.

Employer’s NI (National Insurance) Contributions 

A completely new measure introduced in this budget is the employment allowance.  This will be a deduction in employer’s NIC of £2,000 per year for all businesses and charities from April 2014. It is intended that this will be easy to administer, and the Government will be consulting with stakeholders on the practical aspects. It should be easy to administer, and be done through the normal payroll and RTI (Real Time Information) reporting process.

Currently employer’s NI contributions reduce profit and business tax liability.  If all else is equal, employers will pay £400 more tax (at a rate of 20%). So the true saving for many employers will be £1,600.

Income Tax

The increase in the personal allowance to £10,000 is being introduced a year earlier than anticipated and will come in from April next year. When there is a rise in the personal allowance this usually means the Chancellor lowers the threshold for the higher rate of tax, so that it only benefits people on lower incomes. There have been no changes to income tax rates.

The basic personal allowance is available to people born on or after 6 April 1948. In the current year, 2012/13, it is £8,105; in 2013/14 (as previously announced) it will be £9,440. Once the personal allowance has reached £10,000 in 2014/15, it will then increase in line with inflation based on the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) in future years, starting from 2015/16.


The annual turnover threshold for VAT registration will go up from £77,000 to £79,000 from April 2013. The deregistration turnover limit will go up from £75,000 to £77,000.

Corporation Tax

The main rate of corporation tax is already scheduled to decrease to 23% from 1 April 2013. From April 2014 it will go down to 21%, and from April 2015 to 20%. There is no change to the rate for small companies, which remains at 20%.

Capital gains tax

The annual exempt amount in 2013/14 will be £10,900, increased from £10,600 in 2012/13. The exemption for most trustees will be £5,450.  There are no changes to capital gains tax (CGT) rates.

Small Company Shareholder/Directors’ Loans

The Government will close three loopholes to counter attempts to avoid the tax charge on loans from close companies to individuals with a share or interest in the company. The measures will have effect from 20 March 2013 and are expected to bring in just under £70m annually in the four years beginning 2014/15.

Later this year the Government will consult on the structure and operation of the tax charge on loans from close companies to their participators (shareholders). If legislation is needed it will be in the Finance Bill 2014.

The full Budget can be accessed at hm-treasury.gov.uk

If you would like any help with budget 2013 changes please contact us.

Budget 2012 Summary

Budget 2012

This is a brief overview of the Budget 2012, concentrating on the points that affect small business owners.

Corporation Tax

The published reduction in corporation tax will not affect companies with profits below £300,000 per year. The rate for small companies will not change from 20%.

From April 2013 there will be a favourable 10% rate of corporation tax on profits earned from patents and other intellectual property.  Companies will need to keep clear records of relevant costs and income, separate from any other trading or income streams.

Research and Development Tax Relief

Changes will be made in the Finance Bill 2012, expected to receive royal assent in July 2012.  Changes will apply from 1st April 2012, and are:

  • the rate of relief will increase from 100% to 125%,
  • a reduction in the rate of tax credit payable, from 12.5% to 11%, to keep the cash payment on claims the same in relation to the expenditure,
  • the cap on payable tax credits at the amount of PAYE/NIC paid will be abolished,
  • the requirement for a minimum spend of £10,000 will also be abolished.

Tax simplification

There are proposals to simplify accounting requirements for small unincorporated businesses, and to simplify expenses for all small businesses.  The changes have not yet been confirmed, as they are still in consultation, but they will apply to businesses below the VAT threshold.

Business Rate Relief

The current small business rate relief holiday will be extended for 6 months from 1st October 2012.  The government will also give businesses the opportunity to defer 60 per cent of the increase in their 2012-13 business rate bills as a result of the RPI uprating, to be repaid equally across the following two years.

Personal Tax

Changes to personal tax allowances were announced, as well as the phasing out of the age related allowance.





Personal   allowance




Age   related allowance 65-74




Age   related allowance 75 +




Income   limit for personal allowance




Income   limit for age-related allowances




Basic   rate band (20%)




Higher   rate band (40%)




Additional   rate




Dividend   additional rate





National Insurance

The following rates and limits for class 1 NIC will apply from 6th April 2012

Weekly rates



Lower earnings limit



Primary threshold (employee)



Secondary threshold (employer)



Upper earnings limit



Primary main rate



Primary residual rate



Secondary rate



Class 1A rate on employment benefits




For self-employed people the rates of NIC are increasing slightly

2011/2012 2012/2013
Class 2 weekly rate £2.50 £2.65
Class 2 small earnings exception £5,315 £5,595
Class 4 lower profits limit £7,225 £7,605
Class 4 upper profits limit £42,475 £42,475
Class 4 rate between lower and upper profits limits 9% 9%
Class 4 rate above upper profits limit 2% 2%


Class 2 NIC is payable either monthly by direct debit, or twice yearly in July and January.

Class 4 NIC is calculated on taxable profits, and paid with your income tax.


With effect from 1st April 2012 the VAT registration threshold will be £77,000.  The deregistration limit will be £75,000.

Further Information

More information can be found at www.hmrc.gov.uk, and on the Treasury website at www.hm-treasury.gov.uk.  If you would like advice on how the changes may affect you please contact us.

New Tax Year & Budget 2011

Income Tax and National Insurance (NIC) 2011/12

The personal tax allowance for the 2011/2012 tax year will be £7,475. This is an increase of £1,000, meaning that basic rate taxpayers will pay £200 less tax. Higher rate taxpayers will not feel this benefit, because they will start to pay 40% tax on earnings above £35,000 (previously £37,400).

Employers’ and employees’ national insurance (NI) contributions are increasing by 1%. However the level at which you start to pay NI (primary rate threshold) is increasing as well. This means that an employed taxpayer on £20,000 per year will be £38 better off, while a higher rate taxpayer on £45,000 will pay £71.44 more, and someone on £60,000 will pay £221 more.

Self-employed individuals

Self-employed people will pay £2.50 per week in Class 2 NIC, an increase of 50p per week. The level at which the self-employed start to pay Class 4 NICs will rise from £5,715 to £7,225, but the rate also increases from 8% to 9%.

A self-employed person earning £20,000 will pay £12 per year more in NICs, earning £45,000 will pay £164 more, and earning £60,000 will pay £314 more.

Owner/Directors of small limited companies

If your limited company is your only source of income, continuing to pay a personal allowance salary and dividends appears to be good for the immediate future, although I always worry how long this will last. In fact with the rise in the personal allowance to £7,475 and the rise in the primary NI threshold to £139 per week ( £7,225 pa), there is room for paying up to £7,225 in salary (that’s give or take £600 per month) without incurring income tax or NICs but still preserving your basic state pension rights!


This is a very brief summary of key announcements in the Budget on 23rd March 2011, concentrating on aspects relevant to owners of small businesses.

The full budget can be found at: www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/2011budget_document.htm.

Income Tax

The personal allowance for those under 65 will be £8,105 in 2012/13. Higher rate tax (40%) will be payable on income over £34,370. No changes to rates of income tax and class 1 national insurance have been announced.

Mileage Rates

Mileage allowance for the first 10,000 miles per year will increase from 40p to 45p per mile from 6th April 2011.

Capital Gains Tax

The annual exempt amount for capital gains tax will be £10,600 from 6th April 2011.

Business Rates

The small business rate relief scheme was due to end on 30th September 2011, but has been extended for another year.


As promised in 2010, the small companies corporation tax rate will be 20% from 1st April 2011. The widely reported 2% decrease applies only to corporation tax payable by large companies (those with a taxable profit of £1.5 million).

Over the next three years there will be no new UK regulations for companies with fewer than 10 employees, micro-businesses and start-ups.

There will be an increase in R&D tax credit to 200% from April 2011, and 225% from April 2012.


The VAT registration threshold increases from £70,000 to £73,000 from 1st April 2011.

HMRC Compliance Checks

Compliance Checks

HM Revenue and Customs Compliance Checks are now underway. In the last few years it has been unlikely that you would be selected for a tax investigation, and people have tended to assume it won’t happen to them. As long as your records are complete and accurate, and all income has been declared you should have nothing to worry about.

However, HM Revenue and Customs now has an additional £900 million to fund tax investigations, checks and inquiries. The government aims to raise £70 billion in the next 4—5 years, and has identified sole traders and small limited companies (including those with only one director), as a main group to target.

Tax investigations are now more likely than ever before, so please;

  • Fully declare all of your taxable income and outgoing ;
  • Keep accurate and complete books, and receipts for everything you buy, even items purchased in cash and online:
  • Make sure tax returns, VAT returns, payroll returns and other required documents are filed on time;
  • Pay all taxes on time;
  • Remember that HMRC has access to bank accounts, property accounts and other information, so don’t assume that you’ll go unnoticed.

If you receive any communication from HM Revenue and Customs, especially if the words ‘Compliance Check’ are used, inform your accountant or tax advisor immediately for advice on your rights.

Tax Investigation Insurance

There is insurance cover available to protect against accountant’s fees charged for dealing with tax investigations (compliance checks). There can be significant work and costs involved in a tax investigation, which could put unnecessary strain on your finances.

Pleaseget in touch if you would like to find out more.

But before considering tax investigation insurance check if you’re already covered. It may be included in your business insurance policy, or as a benefit of membership of the Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, or your trade organisation etc.