Expanding into the UK – all you need to know when starting a business in the UK

The UK has been ranked the best location for international businesses looking to expand internationally. Starting a business in the UK as a foreigner can be challenging, but with right set of tools and knowledge, it’s a good place to go for when looking for overseas business opportunities. The global environment, ease of doing business and strong market potential are of interest for overseas companies.

When an international company sets up in the UK, there are a number of registration requirements, regulations and obligations that need to be taken into account. This article highlights the most important things to consider when expanding your business into the UK.

Legal structures for market entry

When setting up in the UK, there are several legal structures to choose from. Depending on your type of business, where you are based and whether you have people on board or not, you may choose amongst many options available. The most common ones are listed below.

  • Limited liability company
  • Branch office
  • Limited liability partnership
  • Sole trader
  • Partnership

Limited liability companies (LTD) are the most common form of business entity in the UK. An LTD is a separate legal entity, owned by shareholders and managed by directors. The profits of a limited company are liable for corporation tax and they are distinct from any tax on the income of the persons who own or run the company. Setting up an LTD company in the UK is a well-recognised structure that is quick and cost-effective to complete. However, a UK law places a number of legal obligations and reporting requirements, which can be time-consuming and complicated.

Another usual method for foreign company is to establish a branch office. As opposed to an LTD, a branch office is not a legal entity from the head office company. However, setting up a UK branch requires Companies House registration and registration with HMRC for direct tax, VAT (Value Added Tax), PAYE (Pay-As-You-Earn) / NIC (National Insurance Contributions) as appropriate. Full responsibility for the operations, debts and liabilities of the UK branch lie on the overseas parent company.

Limited liability partnerships (LLPs) are increasingly used as a tax efficient vehicle for international companies setting up in the UK. An LLP can be formed by two or more people and need to be a lawful, commercial venture that is operating for profit. An LLP is flexible solution particularly when distributing capital and profits, and correctly structured won’t be subject to UK tax. However, a public disclosure is required and the profit can’t be retained in the same way as in LTDs.

Sole trader business is most commonly used when setting up a small business in the UK. It’s the simplest way for a person to trade alone as a self-employed individual without forming a company. Sole trader is easy to set-up and doesn’t require filing information publicly. However, the individual is personally liable for any debts the business might have.

In a partnership, you and your partner(s) personally share responsibility for the business.  Partners share the business’ profits and each partner pays tax on their share. A partner can be any ‘legal person’, such as a Limited Company. Partnerships are generally easy to form, manage and run, and partners are able to share the liabilities of the business. However, the financial risk might be high (even if the responsibility is shared) and disagreements between partners are possible. Also, partners must pay tax in the same way as sole traders by submitting a Self Assessment tax return each year.

Get in touch with Goodwille’s Legal Department to get more information on the most suitable legal structure for your business.

Set-up and registration

A newly incorporated company can be typically registered with the Companies House in 48 hours once all documents are completed. A UK company must register for corporation tax with HMRC, within three months of starting to trade. The paperwork for registration is not too extensive, however, certain statutory documents are required.

Bank account

In order to make any transactions, you’ll need to open a UK bank account for your business. Opening a bank account is a time-consuming process as banks need to go through complicated money laundering requirements to ensure your company is credible for a corporate bank account. Therefore, prepare to have time and patience for this stage, it can easily take up to three months or more to complete.

Check if your bank in the company’s home country has any operations in the UK. In some cases, this might speed up the process, as it may prove some creditworthiness for the business.

If the bank account opening process proves to be longer than excepted, Goodwille can provide a client account which can be used temporarily to make transactions while you wait for your bank account to be opened. Get in touch with our Finance Department to get more information.

Regulations

Starting a business in the UK as a foreigner is a journey full of new opportunities as well as responsibilities. The regulatory system in the UK is very open and transparent, making it easy to do business. In general, the UK aims to minimise bureaucracy and deregulate marketplaces in order to allow companies to develop and expand. However, there are very strict regulations in place that a company needs to be aware of (e.g. with regards to employment, industrial emissions, pollution monitoring and control, and waste disposal). Make sure you are aware of the regulations that directly or indirectly affect your business!

All businesses operating in the UK are subject to the UK law, and every company registered in the UK must have a registered address in the UK. For limited companies, financial transparency is required and annual audited reports must be submitted to the Registry of Britain (Companies House).

In order to keep the business legally running, a UK company must file annual financial statements with Companies House within nine months of the end of an accounting period. Also, an Annual Return must be filed with Companies House every 12 months (within 28 days of the anniversary of incorporation).

To get all the details in order and prepare for the regulatory areas, you should look for specialist advice. Contact Goodwille’s Corporate Legal Department today if you have any questions regarding regulations or your business’ obligations in the UK.

Tax

Foreign businesses looking at overseas business opportunities in the UK will find a competitive and business-friendly tax regime. Companies need to consider their exposure to UK taxation, including corporate income tax, value-added tax (VAT) and employment taxes. Companies that are incorporated in the UK, or foreign companies with central management and control in the UK, are subject to a tax prevailing rates on their worldwide income including ordinary income and capital gains.

Companies may become subject to UK taxation in a number of ways, such as

  • Establishing a formal taxable presence in the UK (via a subsidiary company or permanent establishment).
  • Registering a company for VAT in the UK. Companies must be registered for VAT if their taxable turnover for any 12 months period is £85,000 or over. The current standard VAT rate in the UK is 20%, which is the rate used by most of the businesses.
  • Suffering UK withholding tax at 20% on interest or a royalty income received from a UK resident company.

It’s important to remember that a foreign business operating in the UK doesn’t necessarily create a taxable presence in the UK. In order to be subject to the UK corporation income taxation, an overseas business needs to be trading in the UK through a permanent establishment.

Employment

When employing people in the UK, you need to be aware of several regulations within UK employment law. To start with, make sure your employees have the right to work in the UK (that they hold a valid UK/EU passport or work permit/visa) and see if they have a NIN (National Insurance Number) for the deduction of taxes. Also, remember to follow the guidelines for UK employment contracts and provide these within 8 weeks of starting the employment.

In addition, you need to register you employees into PAYE (Pay-As-You-Earn: social costs of employment including income tax and National Insurance that you as employer needs to pay to HMRC), and organise with company insurances as appropriate. Every employer in the UK must also enrol their employees into the workplace’s pension scheme within three months after the start of the employment.

In terms of the compensation, you must ensure the employees are paid at least according to the National Minimum Wage in the UK. As the recruitment market in the UK is highly competitive, also make sure your remuneration package is attractive enough and fits into the scope of the role.

If you are recruiting in the UK, you may want to turn to specialists who can help you with all the employer regulations and responsibilities you need to consider in the UK. Goodwille’s Human Resource Department deals with these issues daily and are happy to help if you have any questions along your recruitment process. When you are a small business setting up in the UK and not having the same resources than your larger competitors, you may want to invest in professional advice to make the people management processes more effective.

To conclude

UK’s highly potential market provides great opportunities for growing your business, however starting up a business in the UK is a challenging process full of regulations and liabilities. In order to get the set-up processes and ongoing compliance right, it’s good to turn to professionals who are able to provide you with advice  and all the necessary help you need to get your business operations up and running according to UK regulations.

If you are a foreign-owned business looking to expand into the UK, Goodwille can help you to get the inside track. We have been helping Nordic businesses to expand in the UK for 20 years, and are experienced in legal, finance, HR and payroll services in the UK. With a track record of supporting almost 2,000 businesses in the UK, we have extensive experience to help you grow your business. Get in touch with us today, if you are planning to expand to the UK or have any questions regarding the UK market.


Useful contacts for your business

When expanding your business to the UK, there are many organisations you may find useful.

Networking-wise, it’s good to get know your local chamber of commerce and see if their network is worth accessing. For example, Finnish-British Chamber of Commerce and Swedish Chamber of Commerce provide good opportunities for professional networking.

Also, when developing your strategy for the new market, Department of International Trade (DIT) provides free advisory and supports companies with their UK strategy and planning.

We’re recruiting – Financial Assistant

THIS VACANCY IS NOW FILLED. CHECK OUT OUR CURRENT VACANCIES HERE.

Goodwille is a forward-thinking, ambitious company dedicated to providing foreign businesses with the kind of professional services required to establish themselves and flourish in the UK. These include Corporate Legal, Finance, People Management, Payroll & Virtual Offices.

We are currently looking for a Financial Assistant to join our Finance team in London. As Financial Assistant, you will work along the Financial Controllers to support our large client base of international clients, mainly from the Nordics and central Europe, with their day-to-day UK Finances, as well as ensuring efficient and effective processes within the Finance team.

You will be responsible for
• posting purchase invoices onto systems (various software)
• checking supplier statements and request copy invoices.
• reconcile accounts payable to the creditors control account in general ledger and the accounts receivable to the debtors control account
• updating accounts payable with new suppliers
• raising & posting sales invoices
• updating sales ledger with new customers
• various reconciliations of general ledger accounts
• checking expenses, credit card and petty cash and ensuring correct authorisation
• reconciling payroll and pension accounts
• supporting Payroll Manager with processing of client payrolls
• working with and updating Goodwille’s Standard Operating Procedures
• setting up payments within agreed routines and across various banks

To excel in this role, you should be a team player with great attention to detail. Being organised, motivated by working towards deadlines and proactive in reaching out to clients with an excellent client service manner is essential. We are a small but strong and diverse team, so being sociable, engaging and communicative is important as we put a lot of emphasis on team and company culture.

The ideal candidate should have at least 6 months experience from a similar role, but we are happy to train anyone with the right attitude and aspirations. We believe that you are interested in pursuing a career in finance, and will support training for an AAT qualification. International or cross-border experience would be an advantage, as many of our clients are based outside the UK.

In joining us, you will become part of a modern, forward-thinking and inclusive organisation, capable of offering a stimulating environment in which to accelerate your career in finance and accounting.

This is your chance to join #TeamGoodwille – check us out on Instagram. When you join Goodwille you get access to a whole range of employee benefits, all designed to ensure an enjoyable work/life balance. Some benefits for all employees include:

• Office fruit every week
• Employee perks, rewards & benefits including discounts on supermarkets (Sainsbury’s, Tesco etc.) high street stores (Topshop, John Lewis etc.) & gyms.
• Complimentary phone insurance, as we know how important it is to stay connected
• Access to the well-being & lifestyle platform, including eating advice, exercise routines and yoga videos
• Generous social budget, for team lunches, parties and for you to hang out with colleagues.

Job type: Permanent, full time
Location: Kensington, West London
Salary: Depending on experience/skill set

If you like the sound of this vacancy and all the features and benefits you get by being part of a team like Goodwille, then please contact kevin.rutter@goodwille.com.
www.goodwille.com

4 important steps for setting up a business in the UK

The UK is an exciting location for foreign businesses looking to expand internationally, as it is full of opportunities and business potential. It is however important to be aware of the many rules, obligations and regulations that come with setting up a business in a new marketplace. This article will provide you with an overview of four things to consider when setting up a new business in the UK.

Step 1 – Type of trading entity
One of the first things you must decide when starting a business in the UK is which legal business structure to choose. Below are the main routes into the UK market, and depending on the type of business and your intentions for UK market, different setups will be suitable. In finding the best route to market for your business, it is a good idea to look at the legal differences between the structures as well as any tax or other implications. You may wish to seek specialist advice on the differences between these types of entities, the up and down sides of them, and which entity that suits your business and you intentions of the UK market.

  • Limited company (private or public)
  • Branch office
  • Partnership
  • Sole trader
  • Distributor or agent

You can register your company online, but it is important to make sure you get all the bits and pieces right, and that you are aware of any reporting and filing requirements for the business. If you are unfamiliar with UK business, Companies House and statutory filings, we strongly recommend you seek professional advice and help. Goodwille’s Corporate Legal Department deal with these issues daily, and can advice and support you when setting up the business.

Step 2 – Bank account

In order to make any transactions, you will need to open a UK bank account for your business. Opening a bank account is a lengthy process as banks are required to go through long money laundering requirements to open a corporate bank account, so ensure that you allow time and patience for this. If you have a bank account for your business in your home country, check with your bank to see if they have operations in the UK which in some cases can speed up the process, as it proves some degree of creditworthiness for the business.

If the bank account opening process proves to be longer than anticipated and you need to urgently make transactions, Goodwille can provide a client account that you can temporarily use for transactions while you wait for your account to be opened. Get in touch with our Finance Department for more information.

Step 3 – VAT or not
You may also look to register your company for value-added tax, VAT in the UK. Companies must be registered for VAT if their taxable turnover for any 12 months period is £85,000 or over. The £85,000 threshold has been agreed to remain for at least two years from 1 April 2018.

The current standard VAT rate in the UK is 20%, which is the rate most businesses will charge. Some goods and services are reduced to a 5% rate and some are exempt from VAT so make sure you know which rates that applies to your business!

Step 4 – Employment
Now that the company, bank account and VAT is sorted, you need to employ people to get the money rolling and the business moving forward. When employing people in the UK for the first time, there are several things you need to bear in mind – whether you are bringing employees from your foreign company or employing in the UK.

  • One basic thing that people may take for granted but that shouldn’t be neglected is that you need to make sure that people you employ are eligible to work in the UK. Make sure they have a UK or EU passport, or that they have a work permit/visa!
  • All workers are covered by the law of the jurisdiction in which they work, meaning that your UK employees will be subject to UK employment law. This means it’s important to make sure that your employment contracts are based on and compliant with UK employment law. The contracts should cover and set out the employee’s duties, responsibilities, rights and employment conditions.
  • You need to register your employees for PAYE (Pay-As-You-Earn, social costs of employment including income tax and National Insurance that you as an employer needs to pay to HMRC) and organise with necessary company insurances.
  • Make sure you offer your employees a pay that is at least National Minimum Wage, and that you offer sufficient benefits to their responsibilities and scope of work. There are benchmarks for salary levels and benefits depending on industry, experience etc. that can be good to use as guidelines to make sure your remuneration package is attractive and reasonable and that you don’t offer “too much” or “too little”.
  • There is a requirement to enrol your employees on a workplace pension scheme. This is called auto-enrolment and as an employer, you must automatically enrol all your employees on a pension scheme three (3) months after the start of their employment. Employees must actively opt-out of the pension scheme if they don’t wish to receive a workplace pension.

We offer HR and People Management support, and can help you sort everything employee-related – from employment contracts to benefits, pension and payroll. Get in touch with our People Management Department if you have any questions.

In summary

All these things might seem straight forward when outlined here, but the truth is – it’s not always as easy as it seems. There are rules, laws and regulations you need to be aware of and make sure you follow to avoid a hefty fine, or even worse – being taken to court.

Goodwille have 20 years of experience helping foreign businesses in the UK, and can support you with everything you need to get your business started. With a track record of helping nearly 2,000 businesses in the UK, we have all the experience and resources you need to succeed with your expansion.

Get in touch with us today if you have any questions about doing business in the UK or if you want more information on the support we can provide to your business.

We’re recruiting – Financial Controller

THIS VACANCY IS NOW FILLED. CHECK OUT OUR CURRENT VACANCIES HERE.

Goodwille is a forward-thinking, ambitious company dedicated to providing foreign businesses with the kind of professional services required to establish themselves and flourish in the UK. These include Corporate Legal, Finance, People Management, Payroll & Virtual Offices.

We are currently looking for an aspiring finance professional, preferably fluent in Swedish, to join our talented Finance team as a Financial Controller.

You will be responsible for
• your own portfolio of international clients
• day-to-day financial control support to your clients
• producing a number of weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly reports on behalf of your clients
• control over cash flow, preparation of accounts for audits, assist accountants with year-end work, and compile VAT returns and EC Sales Lists
• some task supervision but this is a hands on role with you being responsible for maintaining quality standards

Reporting to the Senior Financial Controller and primarily working with your colleagues in the Finance team, you will also find yourself liaising with all other departments, such as HR, Payroll and Company Secretarial departments on a regular basis, attending frequent team, company and client meetings.

Having, or working towards, an accountancy qualification is a prerequisite, as well as the kind of excellent communication and customer focus skills that will allow you to explain financial information to the team and, more importantly, your clients at all levels. An excellent working knowledge of accounting software and Microsoft office (particularly excel) are essential. International or cross border experience would be an advantage.

In joining us, you will become part of a modern, forward-thinking and inclusive organisation, capable of offering a stimulating environment in which to accelerate your career in finance and accounting.

This is your chance to join #TeamGoodwille – check us out on Instagram. When you join Goodwille you get access to a whole range of employee benefits, all designed to ensure an enjoyable work/life balance. Some benefits for all employees include:

  • Office fruit every week
  • Employee perks, rewards & benefits including discounts on supermarkets (Sainsbury’s, Tesco etc.) high street stores (Topshop, John Lewis etc.) & gyms
  • Complimentary phone insurance, as we know how important it is to stay connected
  • Access to the well-being & lifestyle platform, including eating advice, exercise routines and yoga videos
  • Generous social budget for team lunches, parties and for you to hang out with colleagues.

Job type: Permanent, full time
Location: Kensington, West London
Salary: Depending on experience/skill set

If you like the sound of this vacancy and all the features and benefits you get by being part of a team like Goodwille, then please contact kevin.rutter@goodwille.com.
www.goodwille.com

Setting up a UK company: How many shares should the company issue?

Setting up a private company limited by shares is one of the most common ways to start a business or expand a business into the UK. However, the law relating to shares in the UK and share capital can be complicated, so it is important to understand your options when it comes to initial share issue. The right number of shares initially issued to shareholders will depend on your specific circumstances, and this post looks at some of the main things you may wish to consider when deciding how many shares are right for your circumstances.

What is the purpose of initial share issue? 

The purpose of issuing shares at the beginning of the company, is to raise capital. For example, if three people wish to start a company, investing £10,000 each at the outset, the simplest way for this to be represented is for the company to issue £30,000 shares at £1 each. However, this is not the only method of raising money for the company.

Alternatively, the company may issue only 3 shares at £1 each, and the company founders can lend the £10,000 each to the company. Under each of these circumstances, each shareholder owns one third of the company, and they will have the same voting rights and powers within the company. For many businesses, both methods are suitable. But, there are certain legal, practical and taxation issues which may make one method preferable over the other.

When the £30,000 is locked into the company as share capital, it is more difficult to get this money back out of the company in comparison to when the company is given a loan. Where a company is loaned the money from the shareholders, the money may be repaid at any time. Furthermore, if the company becomes insolvent, the shareholders may claim the money lent as creditors in any insolvency proceedings. However, share capital is important when the company is seeking finance from lenders, investors and other business contacts. In particular, banks wish to see that share capital is ‘locked in’ to the company, and that it has substance.

There are many things to consider in relation to share issue when setting up a UK company. To get it right and make sure you do the best for the specific circumstances of your company, get in touch with our experts today for advice.

Your tax obligations when hiring UK employees

The UK tax system works very differently from some other countries. Most UK workers have very little direct interaction with the tax system, instead their employer deducts their taxes from their wages before they even arrive in their bank account. This shifts a great amount of responsibility onto the employer and if you’re not familiar with the regulations it can be easy to slip up. Here are a few of the major things that you should keep in mind when you’re hiring UK employees on pay as you earn (PAYE) tax arrangements.

Income tax and National Insurance

Despite the different names, National Insurance broadly functions as a second form of income tax. It is deducted from all employees who earn over £113 a week (known as the lower earnings limit). These limits are generally raised slightly every year to keep up with growing wages.

Income tax works in a similar way, although there are multiple bands of tax. Very high earners will end up paying 45% tax on all of their income over £150,000. They will also lose the personal allowance that reduces the amount of tax paid by low and medium earners. The system is generally complex and it’s important to get advice from a qualified professional before you start up. HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) is not known for being forgiving in situations where people have made mistakes.

Other deductions

The other main deduction that you will have to take into account is student loans. If your employees have taken on student finance, then you’re obliged to pay 9% of their salary over a certain threshold to the Student Loans Company. Again, this is a legal obligation and a mistake could cause serious problems for you and your employee.

You’re also required to pay a certain amount of your employee’s wages into a pension scheme and also make your own employer’s contribution. The amount that both you and your employee have to contribute is scheduled to go up over the coming years.

It’s well worth making sure that you’re across your obligations before starting up in the UK. A little time taken can save enormous problems at a later date. Goodwille are experts on the legal and financial obligations when setting up in the UK, and we are here to help your through the maze. Contact one of our team members for advice.

We’re recruiting – Financial Controller

THIS VACANCY IS NOW FILLED. CHECK OUT OUR CURRENT VACANCIES HERE.

Location: London  (Kensington)
Goodwille is a forward-thinking, ambitious company dedicated to providing foreign businesses with the kind of professional services required to establish themselves and flourish in the UK. These include Corporate Legal, Finance, People Management, Payroll & Virtual Offices.

We are currently looking for an aspiring finance professional, preferably fluent in Swedish, to join our talented Finance team as a Financial Controller.

You will be responsible for
• your own portfolio of international clients
• day-to-day financial controller support to your clients
• producing a number of weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly reports on behalf of your clients
• control over cash flow, preparation of accounts for audits, assist accountants with year-end work, and compile VAT returns and EC Sales Lists
• some task supervision but this is a hands on role with you being responsible for maintaining quality standards

Reporting to the Senior Financial Controller and primarily working with your colleagues in the Finance team, you will also find yourself liaising with all other departments, such as HR, Payroll and Company Secretarial departments on a regular basis, attending frequent team, company and client meetings.

Having, or working towards, an accountancy qualification is a prerequisite, as well as the kind of excellent communication and customer focus skills that will allow you to explain financial information to the team and, more importantly, your clients at all levels.
An excellent working knowledge of accounting software and Microsoft office (particularly excel) are essential. International or cross border experience would be an advantage.

In joining us, you will become part of a modern, forward-thinking and inclusive organisation, capable of offering a stimulating environment in which to accelerate your career in finance and accounting.

This is your chance to join #teamgoodwille – check us out on Instagram. When you join Goodwille you get access to a whole range of employee benefits, all designed to ensure an enjoyable work/life balance. Some benefits for all employees include:

• Office fruit every week
• Employee perks, rewards & benefits including discounts on supermarkets (Sainsburys, Tesco etc) high street stores (Topshop, John Lewis etc) & gyms.
• Complimentary phone insurance, as we know how important it is to stay connected
• Access to the well-being & lifestyle platform, including eating advice, exercise routines and yoga videos
• Generous social budget, for team lunches, parties or for you to hang out with colleagues.
• Yoga (London only by colleague)

If you like the sound of this vacancy and all the features and benefits you get by being part of a team like Goodwille, then please contact kevin.rutter@goodwille.com.
www.goodwille.com

Why London is the city to establish your Fintech company

The UK has seen its influence within the Fintech community grow and grow in the last decade. It was bolstered in 2015 when David Cameron laid out a manifesto to increase the number of UK workers in Fintech to 235,000 people, marking a 100,000 increase in 5 years. Naturally, London would represent the beating heart of this industry and it has garnered the attention of some of the world’s hottest Fintechs around, including Atom Bank, TransferWise, Revolut and Clear Bank to name but a few. In February 2017 alone, Atom Bank raised a venture capital round that reportedly closed at close to £100m. But what is it that means the UK is attracting so many of these highly valued enterprises?

All in one place
London is without a doubt where the vast amount of major policy decisions and technological innovations in the UK are made. That means that Fintechs have access to a wealth of the UK’s hottest talent as well as industry leaders and policy setters who are there to guide and advise. In the US, for example, you can’t find all of these in one place and would have to seek out Washington, Silicon Valley and New York to bring all of this expertise together.

Government support and tax breaks
In 2015, George Osborne announced the construction of three multidisciplinary research centres which would make vast improvements to the UK Digital Economy’s knowledge and skills. At the same time, it has been agreed that by 2020, UK corporation tax will drop from 20% to 17%, making profitability easier to achieve.

A strong desire to invest
Following the natural uncertainty that has arisen regarding Brexit, investment in 2016 fell by a third but still amounted to a whopping £630m worth of funding into Fintech firms.

FCA support
In February 2016, the FCA Director of Strategy and Competition, Christopher Woolard, made clear the layout of what is deemed “the sandbox”. This gives Fintech companies the ability to test out and develop their ideas without the fear of the normal reprisals that can incur for established firms. This reduces the fear of starting out in the UK financial sector and encourages innovation.

In the coming years, any uncertainty over Brexit should settle and the UK can see where it stands globally in the service sector. With such strong measures in place to promote UK Fintech, it is hoped that we are in as strong a position as previous and it is expected we may have grown even further.

There are naturally many fears when starting up a financial organisation in any country and amongst them are fears of legal issues, dealing with UK market entryHRfinancial administration and payroll. That is why Goodwille exists. With a strong proven track record, we hope to help support and develop UK innovation through working with technology start-ups. So if you are a company looking to possibly open a office in the UKand need advice and support on any of the aforementioned points, then please do get in touch.

How FinTech start-ups are shaking up the financial industry and what the rest of the world can learn

The UK has long been a suitable place to incorporate a technology start-up. Given that it’s also one of the financial capitals of the world, it was only a matter of time before tech merged with the banking world, and the rapid expansion of numerous FinTech companies is positive proof that Britain’s financial district is slowly but surely being changed by keen young upstarts with their eyes firmly on the prize.

How the United Kingdom helps companies to flourish
The British Government has long had a commitment to helping new tech businesses flourish – help is always forthcoming, regardless of whether the company in question is a start-up or an established international player looking to open a UK office to gain a foothold in emerging industries.

The Financial Conduct Authority is a governing body which works closely with new businesses to help them to understand regulation, and it’s recent scheme – dubbed “Project Innovate” – allows firms to test new models and products in a protected environment.

User friendly financial services
While the governments of other countries could follow the UK’s lead to provide the help needed to get start-ups off the ground, so too could budding entrepreneurs take note of the innovative ways UK FinTech start-ups work with their customers.

Perhaps the largest reason why UK FinTech brands have been so successful is because they’ve understood that their customers require flexibility and mobility. Ultimately, it’s the understanding that a completely digital bank needs to provide a truly flawless user experience in order to succeed.

Instilling consumer confidence
The UK – and London in particular – has long held a reputation for financial services. However, the brand reputation built up by financial institutions over hundreds of years can be yours without having to have a “brick and mortar” base in the country. It’s possible to set up a UK company with a virtual office in the UK and enjoy all the benefits and rewards associated with the capital.

For further information on how opening your business within the UK could transform the fortunes of your start-up, simply contact the friendly, experienced and professional team at Goodwille.

Budget 2017

Budget 2017

The Chancellor Philip Hammond presented the last Spring Budget on Wednesday 8 March 2017

In his speech the Chancellor was keen to point out that he wanted the tax system to be fair, particularly in relation to the distinction between employed and self-employed individuals.

‘But a fair system will also ensure fairness between individuals, so that people doing similar work for similar wages and enjoying similar state benefits pay similar levels of tax.’

In the Budget speech the Chancellor announced that he has requested a report to be delivered in the summer on the wider implications of different employment practices. Also the Budget included changes to NICs and the Dividend Allowance.

In December and January the government issued a number of the clauses, in draft, of Finance Bill 2017 together with updates on consultations.

The Budget updates some of these previous announcements and also proposes further measures. Some of these changes apply from April 2017 and some take effect at a later date.

Our summary focuses on the issues likely to affect you, your family and your business. To help you decipher what was said we have included our own comments. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us for advice.

Main Budget tax proposals

Our summary concentrates on the tax measures which include:

  • increases to the Class 4 National Insurance rates
  • a reduction in the Dividend Allowance
  • changes to the timing of Making Tax Digital for smaller businesses.

Previously announced measures include:

  • increases to the personal allowance and basic rate band (a decreased band for Scottish residents)
  • the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy
  • changes to corporation tax loss relief
  • the introduction of an additional inheritance tax residence nil rate band
  • changes for non-UK domiciled individuals.

The Budget proposals may be subject to amendment in a Finance Act. You should contact us before taking any action as a result of the contents of this summary.

Personal Tax

The personal allowance

The personal allowance is currently £11,000. Legislation has already been enacted to increase the allowance to £11,500 for 2017/18.

Comment

A reminder that not everyone has the benefit of the full personal allowance. There is a reduction in the personal allowance for those with ‘adjusted net income’ over £100,000, which is £1 for every £2 of income above £100,000. So for 2016/17 there is no personal allowance where adjusted net income exceeds £122,000. For 2017/18 there will be no personal allowance available where adjusted net income exceeds £123,000.

Tax bands and rates

The basic rate of tax is currently 20%. The band of income taxable at this rate is £32,000 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies is £43,000 for those who are entitled to the full personal allowance.

In 2017/18 the band of income taxable at the basic rate will be different for taxpayers who are resident in Scotland to residents elsewhere in the UK. The Scottish government has decided to reduce the band of income taxable at the basic rate to £31,500 so that the threshold at which the 40% band applies remains at £43,000.

In the rest of the UK, legislation has already been enacted to increase the basic rate band to £33,500 for 2017/18. The higher rate threshold will therefore rise to £45,000 in 2017/18.

The additional rate of tax of 45% remains payable on taxable income above £150,000 for all UK residents.

Tax bands and rates – dividends

Dividends received by an individual are subject to special tax rates. The first £5,000 of dividends are charged to tax at 0% (the Dividend Allowance). Dividends received above the allowance are taxed at the following rates:

  • 5% for basic rate taxpayers
  • 5% for higher rate taxpayers
  • 1% for additional rate taxpayers.

Dividends within the allowance still count towards an individual’s basic or higher rate band and so may affect the rate of tax paid on dividends above the £5,000 allowance.

To determine which tax band dividends fall into, dividends are treated as the last type of income to be taxed.

Reduction in the Dividend Allowance

The Dividend Allowance will be reduced from £5,000 to £2,000 from April 2018.

Comment

The government expect that even with the reduction in the Dividend Allowance to £2,000, 80% of ‘general investors’ will pay no tax on their dividend income. However, the reduction in the allowance will affect family company shareholders who take dividends in excess of the £2,000 limit. The cost of the restriction in the allowance for basic rate taxpayers will be £225 increasing to £975 for higher rate taxpayers and £1,143 for additional rate taxpayers.

Tax on savings income

Savings income is income such as bank and building society interest.

The Savings Allowance (SA) was first introduced for the 2016/17 tax year and applies to savings income. The available SA in a tax year depends on the individual’s marginal rate of income tax. Broadly, individuals taxed at up to the basic rate of tax have an SA of £1,000. For higher rate taxpayers, the SA is £500 whilst no SA is due to additional rate taxpayers.

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs)

The overall ISA savings limit is £15,240 for 2016/17 but will jump to £20,000 in 2017/18.

Lifetime ISA

A new Lifetime ISA will be available from April 2017 for adults under the age of 40. Individuals will be able to contribute up to £4,000 per year, between ages 18 and 50, and receive a 25% bonus from the government. Funds, including the government bonus, can be used to buy a first home at any time from 12 months after opening the account, and can be withdrawn from age 60 completely tax free.

Comment

The increase in the overall ISA limit to £20,000 for 2017/18 is partly due to the introduction of the Lifetime ISA. There will therefore be four types of ISAs for many adults from April 2017 – cash ISAs, stocks and shares ISAs, Innovative Finance ISAs (allowing investment into peer to peer loans) and the Lifetime ISA. Money can be placed into one of each kind of ISA each tax year.There is a fifth type of ISA – a Help to Buy ISA. Help to Buy ISAs are a type of cash ISA and potentially provide a bonus to savers if the funds are used to help to buy a first home.

Money Purchase Annual Allowance

The Money Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA) will be reduced from £10,000 to £4,000 from 6 April 2017.

The MPAA counters an individual using the flexibilities around accessing a money purchase pension arrangement as a means to avoid tax on their current earnings, by diverting their salary into their pension scheme, gaining tax relief, and then effectively withdrawing 25% tax free. It also restricts the extent to which individuals can gain a second round of tax relief by withdrawing savings and reinvesting them into their pension. The MPAA is currently £10,000 and applies to individuals who have flexibly accessed their money purchase pension savings.

Comment

The ‘annual allowance’ sets the maximum amount of tax efficient pension contributions. The normal annual allowance is £40,000. The Money Purchase Annual Allowance was introduced in 2015, to restrict the annual allowance to £10,000 when an individual has taken income from a pension scheme.

Phased roll out of Tax-Free Childcare

The Chancellor has confirmed that Tax-Free Childcare will be rolled out from April 2017. Tax-Free Childcare will be gradually rolled out for children under 12.

Under the scheme the relief will be 20% of the costs of childcare up to a total of £10,000 per child per year. The scheme will therefore be worth a maximum of £2,000 per child (£4,000 for a disabled child). It is expected that all parents in the household will have to meet the following conditions:

  • meet a minimum income level based on the equivalent of working 16 hours a week at National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage rates
  • each earn less than £100,000 a year and
  • not already be receiving support through tax credits or Universal Credit.

The existing scheme, Employer-Supported Childcare, will remain open to new entrants until April 2018 to support the transition between the schemes.

Comment

The government has also confirmed that from September 2017, the free childcare offer will double from 15 to 30 hours a week for working families with three and four year olds in England. In total this is worth up to £5,000 for each child.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a state benefit designed to support those on low income or out of work.

An individual’s entitlement to the benefit is made up of a number of elements to reflect their personal circumstances. Their entitlement is tapered at a rate of 65% where claimants earn above the work allowances. The current taper rate for those who claim Universal Credit means their credit will be withdrawn at a rate of 65 pence for every extra £1 earned.

From April 2017, the taper rate that applies to Universal Credit will be reduced from 65% to 63%.

Property and trading income allowances

From April 2017, the government will introduce new £1,000 allowances for property and trading income. Individuals with property or trading income below £1,000 will no longer need to declare or pay tax on that income. Those with income above the allowance will be able to calculate their taxable profit either by deducting their expenses in the normal way or by simply deducting the relevant allowance. The trading allowance will also apply to certain miscellaneous income from providing assets or services. Any income which attracts rent-a-room relief will not be eligible for either of the allowances.

Business Tax

Making Tax Digital for Business (MTDfB)

Extensive changes to how taxpayers record and report income to HMRC are being introduced under a project entitled Making Tax Digital for Business.

The government has decided how the general principles of MTDfB will operate. Draft legislation has been issued on some aspects and more will be published in Finance Bill 2017.

Under MTDfB, businesses, self-employed people and landlords will be required to:

  • maintain their records digitally, through software or apps
  • report summary information to HMRC quarterly through their ‘digital tax accounts’ (DTAs)
  • make an ‘End of Year’ declaration through their DTAs.

DTAs are like online bank accounts – secure areas where a business can see all of its tax details in one place and interact with HMRC digitally.

Comment

The End of Year declaration will be similar to the online submission of a self assessment tax return but may be required to be submitted earlier than a tax return. Businesses will have 10 months from the end of their period of account (or 31 January following the tax year – the due date for a self assessment tax return – if sooner).

Exemptions

Businesses, self-employed people and landlords with turnovers under £10,000 are exempt from these requirements.

Changes announced in the Budget

The government has now announced a one year deferral from the mandating of MTDfB for unincorporated businesses and unincorporated landlords with turnovers below the VAT threshold. For those that have turnovers in excess of the VAT threshold the commencement date will be from the start of accounting periods which begin after 5 April 2018.

Cash basis for unincorporated landlords

As part of the wider proposals for Making Tax Digital, the government has decided that, from April 2017, many unincorporated property businesses will compute taxable profits for the purposes of income tax on a cash basis rather than the usual accruals basis.

The cash basis means a business will account for income and expenses when the income is received and expenses are paid. The accruals basis means accounting for income over the period to which it relates and accounting for expenses in the period for which the liability is incurred.

For affected property businesses, the cash basis will first apply for the 2017/18 tax year which means that a tax return for 2017/18, which has to be submitted by 31 January 2019, will be the first one submitted on the new basis.

Not all property businesses will move to the cash basis:

  • property businesses will remain on the accruals basis if their cash basis receipts are more than £150,000
  • there is an option to elect out of cash basis accounting and to use accruals basis instead
  • the cash basis does not apply to property businesses carried out by a company, an LLP, a corporate firm (ie a partner in the firm is not an individual), the trustees of a trust or the personal representatives of a person.

Cash basis for unincorporated businesses

The government is also extending the cash basis option for the self-employed and trading partnerships. The cash receipts threshold for being able to move to the cash basis will increase from the current £83,000 to £150,000 and the threshold for having to move back to the accruals basis will increase to £300,000 from April 2017.

Currently, the rules for the calculation of profits under cash basis accounting do not allow a deduction for expenditure of a capital nature, unless that expenditure qualifies for plant and machinery capital allowances under ordinary tax rules. This results in taxpayers needing to consider whether items are capital in nature, and whether they qualify for capital allowances. New rules will be introduced that list types of expenditure which will or will not be allowed as a tax deduction.

It is proposed these changes will come into effect from the 2017/18 tax year.

Comment

There is no requirement for traders to switch to the cash basis. There are potential problems in adopting the cash basis including restrictions on interest relief on business finance and special calculations which need to be performed on moving to the cash basis. We can, of course, advise you of the issues involved.

Corporation tax rates

Corporation tax rates have already been enacted for periods up to 31 March 2021.

The main rate of corporation tax is currently 20%. The rate will then be reduced as follows:

  • 19% for the Financial Years beginning on 1 April 2017, 1 April 2018 and 1 April 2019
  • 17% for the Financial Year beginning on 1 April 2020.

Corporate tax loss relief

Currently, a company is restricted in the type of profit which can be relieved by a loss if the loss is brought forward from an earlier accounting period. For example, a trading loss carried forward can only relieve future profits from the same trade. Changes are proposed which will mean that losses arising on or after 1 April 2017, when carried forward, will be useable against profits from other income streams or other companies within a group. This will apply to most types of losses but not to capital losses.

However, from 1 April 2017, large companies will only be able to use losses carried forward against up to 50% of their profits above £5 million. For groups, the £5 million allowance will apply to the group.

Class 4 National Insurance contributions (NICs)

It had already been announced in the 2016 Budget that Class 2 NICs will be abolished from April 2018. The government will now also legislate to increase the main rate of Class 4 NICs from 9% to 10% with effect from 6 April 2018 and from 10% to 11% with effect from 6 April 2019.

Comment

Both employed and self-employed earners who reached state pension age from 6 April 2016 have access to the same flat rate state pension. This means that the self-employed have gained £1,800 a year more than under the previous system. The government therefore think it is fair that the NIC differential between them is reduced as employees are paying 12%.

Research and development (R&D)

There are two types of tax reliefs for eligible R&D expenditure. Under one of these, qualifying companies can claim a taxable credit of 11% in relation to eligible R&D expenditure. This is known as the Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC). To further support investment, the government will make administrative changes to the RDEC to increase the certainty and simplicity around claims and will take action to improve awareness of R&D tax credits among small and medium-sized enterprises.

Appropriations to trading stock

From 8 March 2017, the government will remove the ability for businesses to convert capital losses into trading losses when appropriating a capital asset to trading stock.

Disposals of land in the UK

The government will amend legislation to ensure that all profits realised by offshore property developers developing land in the UK, including those on pre-existing contracts, are subject to tax, with effect from 8 March 2017. This extends legislation introduced in Finance Act 2016.

Substantial shareholding exemption (SSE) reform

Changes are proposed to some of the qualifying conditions for the SSE. The good news is that the changes remove some of the obstacles of qualifying for SSE.

  • The condition that the investing company is required to be a trading company or part of a trading group is being removed.
  • The condition that the investment must have been held for a continuous period, at a minimum of 12 months in the two years preceding the sale is being extended to a continuous period of 12 months in the six years preceding the sale.
  • The condition that the company in which the shares are sold continues to be a qualifying company immediately after the sale, is withdrawn, unless the sale is to a connected party.
  • For a class of investors defined as Qualifying Institutional Investors, the condition that the company in which the shares were sold is a trading company has also been removed. The draft legislation contains a list of Qualifying Institutional Investors.

The changes have effect for disposals on or after 1 April 2017.

Restrictions on residential property interest

Legislation has already been enacted to restrict interest relief for landlords.

From 6 April 2017, landlords will no longer be able to deduct all of their finance costs from their property income. They will instead receive a basic rate reduction from their income tax liability for these finance costs. Finance costs include mortgage interest, interest on loans to buy furnishings and fees incurred when taking out or repaying loans or mortgages.

The restriction will be phased in with 75% of finance costs being allowed in 2017/18, 50% in 2018/19, 25% in 2019/20 and be fully in place for 2020/21. The remaining finance costs for each year will be given as a basic rate tax reduction but cannot create a tax refund.

These restrictions apply to:

  • UK resident individuals that let residential properties in the UK or overseas
  • non-UK resident individuals that let residential properties in the UK
  • individuals who let such properties in partnership
  • trustees or beneficiaries of trusts liable for income tax on the property profits.

UK and non-UK resident companies are not affected nor landlords of ‘Furnished Holiday Lettings’.

Enlarging Social Investment Tax Relief

Significant amendments to the Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) will be legislated for in Finance Bill 2017 to:

  • increase the amount of investment a social enterprise may receive over its lifetime to £1.5 million, for social enterprises that receive their initial risk finance investment no later than seven years after their first commercial sale. The current limit will continue to apply to older social enterprises
  • reduce the limit on full-time equivalent employees to below 250 employees
  • exclude certain activities, including asset leasing and on-lending. Investment in nursing homes and residential care homes will be excluded initially. However the government intends to introduce an accreditation system to allow such investment to qualify for SITR in future
  • exclude the use of money raised under the SITR to pay off existing loans
  • clarify that individuals will be eligible to claim relief under the SITR only if they are independent from the social enterprise
  • introduce a provision to exclude investments where arrangements are put in place with the main purpose of delivering a benefit to an individual or party connected to the social enterprise.

The changes will take effect for investments made on or after 6 April 2017.

Employment Taxes

Off-payroll working in the public sector

As previously announced, from 6 April 2017, new tax rules potentially affect individuals who provide their personal services via their own companies (PSCs) to an organisation which has been classified as a ‘public authority’.

The effect of these rules, if they apply, will mean:

  • the public authority (or an agency paying the PSC) will calculate a ‘deemed payment’ based on the fees the PSC has charged for the services of the individual
  • the entity that pays the PSC for the services must first deduct PAYE and employee National Insurance contributions (NICs) as if the deemed payment is a salary payment to an employee
  • the paying entity will have to pay to HMRC not only the PAYE and NICs deducted from the deemed payment but also employer NICs on the deemed payment
  • the net amount received by the PSC can be passed onto the individual without paying any further PAYE and NICs.

Public sector organisations include government departments and their executive agencies, many companies owned or controlled by the public sector, universities, local authorities, parish councils and the National Health Service.

The new rules operate in respect of payments made on or after 6 April 2017. This means that they are relevant to contracts entered into before 6 April 2017 but where the payment for the work is made after 6 April 2017.

Comment

Where individuals are working through their PSC for private sector clients, the new rules will not apply to income from such work.It is for the public authority to decide if the deemed payment rules apply. To help all parties determine whether these rules apply, HMRC have provided an online employment status tool. There is no formal right of appeal to HMRC or the Tax Tribunals by the individual or the PSC. If a new contract is entered into after 6 April 2017, the expectation would be that the PSC would agree the treatment within the initial contract. If it is an existing contract a discussion will need to take place with the public authority as to the reasons for its decision.

Apprenticeship levy and apprenticeship funding

Larger employers (or connected employers treated as large) will be liable to pay the apprenticeship levy from April 2017. The levy is set at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s pay bill, which is broadly total employee earnings excluding benefits in kind, and will be paid along with other PAYE deductions. Each employer receives an annual allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment. This means that the levy will only be paid on any pay bill in excess of £3 million in a year.

Employers only need to report on the levy where they have a pay bill of £3 million in the current tax year or consider that the pay bill will be over £3 million during the 2017/18 tax year.

The levy will be used to provide funding for apprenticeships and there will be changes to the funding for apprenticeship training for all employers as a consequence. Each country in the UK has its own apprenticeship authority and each is making changes to its scheme.

Different forms of remuneration

The government is consulting on the following:

Taxation of benefits in kind

The government will publish a call for evidence on exemptions and valuation methodology for the income tax and employer NICs treatment of benefits in kind, in order to better understand whether their use in the tax system can be made fairer and more consistent.

Accommodation benefits

The government will publish a consultation with proposals to bring the tax treatment of employer-provided accommodation and board and lodgings up to date. This will include proposals for when accommodation should be exempt from tax and to support taxpayers during any transition.

Employee expenses

The government will publish a call for evidence to better understand the use of the income tax relief for employees’ expenses, including those that are not reimbursed by their employer.

Comment

Employers can choose to remunerate their employees in a range of different ways but, in the view of the government, the tax system may treat these forms of remuneration inconsistently. The government is therefore considering how the tax system ‘could be made fairer and more coherent’.

Salary sacrifice

Legislation will limit the income tax and employer NICs advantages where:

  • benefits in kind are offered through salary sacrifice or
  • the employee can choose between cash allowances and benefits in kind.

The taxable value of benefits in kind where cash has been forgone will be fixed at the higher of the current taxable value or the value of the cash forgone.

The new rules will not affect employer-provided pension saving, employer-provided pensions advice, childcare vouchers, workplace nurseries, or Cycle to Work. Following consultation, the government has also decided to exempt Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles, with emissions under 75 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

This change will take effect from 6 April 2017. Those already in salary sacrifice contracts at that date will become subject to the new rules in respect of those contracts at the earlier of:

  • an end, change, modification or renewal of the contract
  • 6 April 2018, except for cars, accommodation and school fees, when the last date is 6 April 2021.

Comment

Employers and employees may wish to review their flexible remuneration packages prior to 6 April 2017.

Changes to termination payments

Changes from 6 April 2018 will align the rules for tax and employer NICs by making an employer liable to pay NICs on any part of a termination payment that exceeds the £30,000 threshold. It is anticipated that this will be collected in ‘real-time’.

In addition, all payments in lieu of notice (PILONs) will be both taxable and subject to Class 1 NICs. This will be done by requiring the employer to identify the amount of basic pay that the employee would have received if they had worked their notice period, even if the employee leaves the employment part way through their notice period. This amount will be treated as earnings and will not be subject to the £30,000 exemption.

Finally, the exemption known as foreign service relief will be removed and a clarification made to ensure that the exemption for injury does not apply in cases of injured feelings.

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage increases

The Chancellor confirmed that the National Living Wage (NLW) rate will be increased from 1 April 2017. Increases are also being made to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates. The NLW applies to workers aged 25 and over. The NMW applies to other workers provided they are at least school leaving age.

Rate from: 1 October 2016 1 April 2017
NLW for workers aged 25 and over £7.20* £7.50
NMW main rate for workers aged 21-24 £6.95 £7.05
NMW 18-20 rate £5.55 £5.60
NMW 16-17 rate £4.00 £4.05
NMW apprentice rate** £3.40 £3.50

* introduced and applies from 1 April 2016
**the apprentice rate applies to apprentices under 19 or 19 and over and in the first year of their apprenticeship.

Capital Taxes

Capital gains tax (CGT) rates

The current rates of CGT are 10%, to the extent that any income tax basic rate band is available, and 20% thereafter. Higher rates of 18% and 28% apply for certain gains; mainly chargeable gains on residential properties that do not qualify for private residence relief.

The rate for disposals qualifying for Entrepreneurs’ Relief is 10% with a lifetime limit of £10 million for each individual. Entrepreneurs’ Relief is targeted at working directors and employees of companies who own at least 5% of the ordinary share capital in the company and the owners of unincorporated businesses. In 2016/17 a new relief, Investors’ Relief, was introduced which also provides a 10% rate with a lifetime limit of £10 million for each individual. The main beneficiaries of this relief are external investors in unquoted trading companies.

CGT annual exemption

The CGT annual exemption is £11,100 for 2016/17 and will be increased to £11,300 for 2017/18.

Inheritance tax (IHT) nil rate band

The nil rate band has remained at £325,000 since April 2009 and is set to remain frozen at this amount until April 2021.

IHT residence nil rate band

Legislation has already been enacted to introduce an additional nil rate band for deaths on or after 6 April 2017, where an interest in a main residence passes to direct descendants. The amount of relief is being phased in over four years; starting at £100,000 in the first year and rising to £175,000 for 2020/21. For many married couples and civil partners the relief is effectively doubled as each individual has a main nil rate band and each will potentially benefit from the residence nil rate band.

The additional band can only be used in respect of one residential property, which does not have to be the main family home, but must at some point have been a residence of the deceased. Restrictions apply where estates are in excess of £2 million.

Where a person dies before 6 April 2017, their estate will not qualify for the relief. A surviving spouse may be entitled to an increase in the residence nil rate band if the spouse who died earlier has not used, or was not entitled to use, their full residence nil rate band. The calculations involved are potentially complex but the increase will often result in a doubling of the residence nil rate band for the surviving spouse.

Downsizing

The residence nil rate band may also be available when a person downsizes or ceases to own a home on or after 8 July 2015 where assets of an equivalent value, up to the value of the residence nil rate band, are passed on death to direct descendants.

Comment

From April 2017 we have three nil rate bands to consider. The standard nil rate band has been a part of the legislation from the start of IHT in 1986. In 2007 the ability to utilise the unused nil rate band of a deceased spouse was introduced enabling many surviving spouses to have a nil rate band of up to £650,000. By 6 April 2020 some surviving spouses will be able to add £350,000 in respect of the residence nil rate band to arrive at a total nil rate band of £1 million.Individuals will need to revisit their wills to ensure that the relief will be available and efficiently utilised.

Non-UK domiciles

A number of changes are to be made from 6 April 2017:

  • for individuals who are non-UK domiciled but who have been resident for 15 of the previous 20 tax years or
  • where an individual was born in the UK with a UK domicile of origin and resumes UK residence having obtained a domicile of choice elsewhere.

Such individuals will be classed as ‘deemed’ UK domiciles for income tax, CGT and IHT purposes. For income tax and CGT, a deemed UK domicile will be assessable on worldwide arising income and gains. They will not be able to access the remittance basis. For IHT, a deemed UK domicile is chargeable on worldwide assets rather than only on UK assets.

Legislation will allow a non-UK domiciled individual who has been taxed on the remittance basis to transfer amounts between overseas mixed fund bank accounts without being subject to the offshore transfer rules. This will allow the different elements within the accounts to be separated, thereby allowing clean capital to be remitted to the UK in priority to income and gains.

The draft legislation also provides that the market value of an asset at 5 April 2017 will be able to be used as the acquisition cost for CGT purposes when computing the gain or loss on its disposal where the asset was situated outside the UK between 16 March 2016 and 5 April 2017. This will apply to any individual who becomes a deemed UK domicile in April 2017, other than one who is born in the UK with a UK domicile of origin.

Non-UK domiciles who set up an overseas resident trust before becoming a deemed UK domicile will generally not be taxed on any income and gains retained in that trust and the trust remains non chargeable property for IHT purposes. However, there are a number of changes which modify the tax treatment on the occurrence of certain events for settlor interested overseas asset trusts.

UK residential property

Changes are also proposed for UK residential property. Currently all residential property in the UK is within the charge to IHT if owned by a UK or non-UK domiciled individual. It is proposed that all residential properties in the UK will be within the charge to IHT where they are held within an overseas structure. This charge will apply whether the overseas structure is held by an individual or trust.

Business Investment Relief

The government will change the rules for the Business Investment Relief scheme from April 2017 to make it easier for non-UK domiciled individuals, who are taxed on the remittance basis, to bring offshore money into the UK for the purpose of investing in UK businesses. The government will continue to consider further improvements to the rules for the scheme to attract more capital investment in UK businesses by non-UK domiciled individuals.

Other Matters

Business rates

Business rates have been devolved to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The business rates revaluation takes effect in England from April 2017 and will result in significant changes to the amount of rates that businesses will pay. The government announced £3.6 billion of transitional relief in November 2016. The Chancellor has now announced £435 million of further support for businesses. This includes:

  • support for small businesses losing Small Business Rate Relief to limit increases in their bills to the greater of £600 or the real terms transitional relief cap for small businesses each year
  • providing English local authorities with funding to support £300 million of discretionary relief, to allow them to provide support to individual cases in their local area.

The government will also introduce a £1,000 business rate discount for public houses with a rateable value of up to £100,000, for one year from 1 April 2017. This is subject to state aid limits for businesses with multiple properties.

Tax avoidance and evasion measures

In addition to measures specifically referred to earlier in this summary, other measures announced include:

Qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes (QROPS)

The government will introduce a 25% charge on transfers to QROPS. This charge is targeted at those seeking to reduce the tax payable by moving their pension wealth to another jurisdiction. Exceptions will apply to the charge allowing transfers to be made tax free where people have a genuine need to transfer their pension, including when the individual and the pension are both located within the European Economic Area.

VAT: fraud in the provision of labour in the construction sector

The government will consult on options to combat missing trader VAT fraud in the provision of labour in the construction sector, in particular, applying the reverse charge mechanism so the recipient accounts for VAT.

Employment Allowance

HMRC are actively monitoring National Insurance Employment Allowance compliance following reports of some businesses using avoidance schemes to avoid paying the correct amount of NICs. The government will consider taking further action in the event that this avoidance continues.