Since April 2018 company directors and other eligible people such as company secretaries, people with significant control (PSC) and LLP members can apply to remove their personal addresses from the UK’s official company register on Companies House.
Prior to the introduction of this law it was only possible for a director to ask for their personal address to be hidden from personal view if they could demonstrate that they were at a serious personal risk of violence or intimidation.
Company directors and others are still required to provide an alternative correspondence address if they are appointed to a live company. If they are no longer appointed to a company, then an alternative address is not required and only the first half of their postcode will be made available to the public.
There is a charge of £55 per document where a director wants to suppress their home address. The option to remove your home address from the public register is not available if the home address is the same as the company’s registered office address.
The definition of a finance lease can be difficult to pin down. In legal form a finance lease is just another lease – the legal ownership of the asset lies with the lessor and the lessee only has the right to use the asset.
However, in commercial terms a finance lease is often considered to be an alternative form of ‘purchase’ with a loan of money and with the asset as security. In substance the finance lessee buys the asset with a loan from the finance lessor.
It is important to be able to distinguish what type of lease is in place, i.e. whether the lease is actually an operating lease (usually a type of rental agreement) or whether it is a type of purchase agreement, usually known as a finance lease. There can be important differences between the accounting and tax treatment of different types of leases.
HMRC’s internal manual defines a finance lease as follows:
To put it another way, a finance lease may be viewed as an arrangement under which one person (the lessor) provides the money to buy an asset which is used by another (the lessee) in return for an interest charge. The lessor has security because they own the asset. The terms of the leasing arrangements aim to give the lessor a banker’s interest turn and no more or less – however good or bad the asset proves to be for the end user.
In a letter being sent to businesses across the country, HMRC has published the following information on the effect a no-deal Brexit would have on changes to VAT IT systems.
We have reproduced below a summary from the letter of the main announcements made by HMRC on this issue.
Changes to VAT IT systems
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal you will no longer be able to use certain EU VAT IT systems. If you currently use any of these systems, you should be aware of the following:
EU VAT Refund Electronic System
To make EU VAT refund claims for 2018 using EU VAT Refund Electronic System, you should submit these before 29 March 2019, instead of the normal deadline of 30 September 2019. After we leave the EU, UK businesses will be able to reclaim VAT from EU countries, by using the existing processes for non-EU businesses.
EU’s VAT number validation service (VIES)
If you use VIES to check a customer or supplier’s VAT number, UK VAT numbers will no longer be part of this service after 29 March. A UK-only online VAT number checker will be available on GOV.UK from 29 March. You will still be able to use VIES to check the validity of EU VAT numbers.
UK VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS)
If you currently use MOSS to declare and pay VAT on sales of digital services to EU consumers, you should submit your return for supplies made between 1 January 2019 and 29 March 2019 via the UK portal by the normal deadline of 20 April 2019. If you want to continue to use MOSS for sales you make after the UK leaves the EU, you will need to register for MOSS in an EU Member State. You should do this by 10 April 2019.
If you are affected by any of the above, you would be advised to take action ASAP.
The list of company benefits that can be provided tax-free to employees is quite short. However, some of the benefits that can be provided include the following:
There is no requirement to pay tax on benefits and expenses covered by concessions or exemptions and they do not need to be included on a tax return.
As the Brexit date fast approaches, it seems the only thing we can say with any certainty is that uncertainty continues to plague the issue of our leaving the EU. The negotiations on the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU are unresolved and there are three possible outcomes: a delayed Brexit by extending Article 50, a no-deal Brexit or a modified Brexit.
HMRC has published a letter to help businesses prepare for a no-deal Brexit. The letter includes a reminder to ‘Make sure you find out about our EU Exit news as it happens’.
HMRC advises businesses to:
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, then UK businesses will be responsible for making customs declarations. Businesses that trade with the EU should ensure they register for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number as soon as possible. In the event of a no deal Brexit, this identification number will be required even if the business appoints a customs agent to assist in making customs declarations.
If you are self-employed as a sole trader or as a partner in a business partnership, then you must keep suitable business records as well as separate personal records of your income.
For tax purposes, the business records must be held for at least 5 years after the 31 January submission deadline for the relevant tax year. For example, for the 2017-18 tax year, when online filing was due by 31 January 2019, you must keep your records until at least the end of January 2024. In certain situations, such as when a return is submitted late, the records must be held for longer.
If you are self-employed you should keep a record of:
You don't need to keep the vast majority of your records in their original form. If you prefer, you can keep a copy of most of them in an alternative format, as long as they can be recovered in a readable and uncorrupted format. For example, a scanned PDF document.
If records are no longer available for any reason you must try and recreate them letting HMRC know if the figures are estimated or provisional. There are penalties for failing to keep proper records or for keeping inaccurate records.
The cash basis scheme helps many sole traders and other unincorporated businesses benefit from a simpler way of managing their financial affairs. The scheme is not open to limited companies and limited liability partnerships. The scheme allows qualifying businesses to use the cash basis when recording income and expenditure.
You must have a turnover of £150,000 or less to join the scheme and you can continue using the scheme until your turnover reaches £300,000. However, some small businesses are more suited to using the case basis than others.
If you are using the cash basis scheme, then capital expenditure is usually treated as an allowable business expense with the following exceptions:
In addition, if you buy a car you can claim the purchase as a Capital Allowance (but only if you’re not using simplified expenses to work out your business expenses for that vehicle).
In the Spring Statement 2019, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that the apprenticeship reforms set out in the Autumn Budget 2018 will now be introduced a year early. From 1 April 2019, the co-investment rate for non-levy employers will be cut by a half from 10% to 5%. In addition, from the same date, levy-paying employers will be able to share a greater portion of their levy funds across their supply chains, with the maximum amount rising from 10% to 25%.
The Chancellor also confirmed that the government has commissioned a review of the latest international evidence on the impact of minimum wages, to inform future national living wage policy after 2020.
The government has laid a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules implementing the full opening of the EU Settlement Scheme from 30 March 2019. The scheme will apply regardless of whether there is a Brexit deal or not.
The scheme will allow EEA/Swiss citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020 (or by 29 March 2019 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal) and their family members to apply for settled status once they have been continuously resident in the UK for five years. In the interim, they can apply for pre-settled status to cover the period until they have accumulated five years. Applications will need to be made by 30 June 2021 (or by 31 December 2020 if there is no deal).
The Statement of Changes confirms that: