Personal Savings Allowance

From 6th April 2016 onwards it is estimated that around 95% of savers will no longer pay tax on their savings income. A Personal Savings Allowance (PSA) has been introduced which allows basic rate taxpayers to recieve up to £1,000 tax free savings income each year, the allowance is slightly reduced for higher rate tax payers to £500 per annum and additional rate tax payers are not entitled to the allowance.

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INHERITANCE TAX PLANNING USING THE NEW LIFETIME ISA

Budget 2016 announced a new “Lifetime ISA” that will be available to those aged between 18 and 40 from 6 April 2017. The Government will add 25% to the amount saved subject to a maximum of £4,000 a year (plus £1,000 from the Government). It seems there will be no requirement that the savings come from the person named on the account so parents, grandparents, or other relatives could make payments into the account.

 

Where you have excess income and have concerns about inheritance tax (IHT), what about taking advantage of the exemption for normal expenditure out of income by committing to regular payments into the account. £4,000 a year would save you £1,600 IHT, so £2,400 net turns into £5,000 gross, per recipient!

PAYING INTEREST ON DIRECTORS LOANS IS BETTER THAN DIVIDENDS NOW?

The new 32.5% rate on dividends received by higher rate taxpayers means paying interest on directors’ loan account credit balances is now more tax efficient than paying dividends, once the new £5,000 dividend allowance has been used. This will also avoid the accounting issue mentioned above if a market rate of interest is paid. Unlike bank interest the company is still required to deduct 20% basic rate income tax and pay this over to HMRC quarterly with form CT61. Remember that higher rate taxpayers can receive £500 interest income tax free from 6 April 2016.

INTEREST FREE LOANS AND THE NEW

One of the areas where there may be a change in your company’s accounts is where you have received or made a loan that is interest free or at less than market rates. Unless the loan is repayable on demand the new accounting rules require the loan to be recorded in the accounts on an amortised cost basis. For example this means that a £20,000 interest free loan repayable in two years time would be valued at £18,141 if the market rate of interest is 5%.

This method recognises that £20,000 today is worth more than £20,000 in two years time. If your company is borrowing the £20,000 then there would be finance expenses of £907 in year 1 and £952 in year 2 reflecting the initial £1,859 discount. These finance expenses would be deductible for corporation tax provided the lender is also charged to UK corporation tax on the interest. But if the interest free loan was from an individual such as a director there would be no tax deduction, a point clarified in the latest Finance Bill.

TAX IMPLICATIONS OF NEW ACCOUNTING RULES

The calculation of profits for tax purposes is based on the profits of the business computed in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. The introduction of a new accounting standard (FRS 102) means that some of the figures in your accounts may need to be restated and these changes may have tax implications. We will discuss these changes with you and seek to minimise the tax impact where possible.

EMPLOYMENT ALLOWANCE IS NOW £3,000 BUT NOT SINGLE DIRECTOR COMPANIES

For the last two years there has been a £2,000 allowance available to employers to set against their employers National Insurance liability for the year. This increased to £3,000 from 6 April 2016 and no action is required if you claimed the allowance for 2015/16. However, from 6 April 2016, limited companies where the director is the only employee paid earnings above the Secondary Threshold for Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (£156 a week) will no longer be entitled to claim the Allowance.

 

HMRC guidance states that if more than one employee or director earns above the Secondary Threshold, the company will continue to be eligible for Employment Allowance for the whole tax year. This other employee could be the director’s spouse or partner. The HMRC guidance is not consistent with the legislation however and we hope to clarify the matter so that you don’t miss out.