Sign in to Childcare Account

HMRC’s Childcare account can be used to claim 30 hours free childcare or to pay for your Tax-Free Childcare. HMRC’s sign in page for the account states that in order ‘…to keep getting your 30 hours free childcare or Tax-Free Childcare, you must sign in every 3 months and confirm your details are up to date’. There are various eligibility rules that must be met to claim the 30 hours free childcare through the Childcare Account. As a starting point you must be the parents of a child three to four years old and living in England. There are different schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

The Childcare Account can also be used to claim under the Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) scheme. The TFC scheme can help parents of children aged up to 11 years old (17 for those with certain disabilities). The TFC scheme helps support working families with their childcare costs. There are many registered childcare providers including childminders, breakfast and after school clubs and approved play schemes signed up across the UK. Parents can pay into their account regularly and save up their TFC allowance to use during school holidays. 

The TFC scheme provides for a government top-up on parental contributions. For every £8 contributed by parents an additional £2 top up payment will be funded by Government up to a maximum total of £10,000 per child per year. This will give parents an annual savings of up to £2,000 per child (and up to £4,000 for disabled children until the age of 17) in childcare costs. 

The TFC scheme is open to all qualifying parents including the self-employed and those on a minimum wage. The scheme is also available to parents on paid sick leave as well as those on paid and unpaid statutory maternity, paternity and adoption leave. In order to be eligible to use the scheme parents will have to be in work at least 16 hours per week and earn at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage. If either parent earns more than £100,000, both parents are unable to use the scheme.

Arranging to pay tax bill by instalments

Businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs by applying to HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. Agreements reached with HMRC allow businesses and individuals to pay off their debt by instalments over a period of time.

HMRC will usually offer taxpayers the option of extra time to pay if they think they genuinely cannot pay in full but will be able to pay in the future. If HMRC do not think that more time will help, then they can require immediate payment and start enforcement action if payment is not forthcoming.

An online payment plan for Self-Assessment tax bills can be used to set up instalment arrangements for paying tax liabilities up to £30,000. Taxpayers that qualify for a Time to Pay arrangement using the self-serve Time to Pay facility online, can do so without speaking to an HMRC adviser.

Taxpayers that want to use the online option must also have filed their latest tax return, be within 60 days of the payment deadline and intend to pay their debt off within the next 12 months or less.

Taxpayers with Self-Assessment tax payments that do not meet the above requirements and businesses need to contact HMRC to request a Time To Pay arrangement. 

HMRC wins disguised remuneration case

HMRC has welcomed a recent Court of Appeal decision concerning a disguised remuneration case. These types of schemes provide employees with the bulk of their earnings in the form of loans that are used to try and avoid paying Income Tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs).

In the case in question, an IT contractor used a disguised remuneration tax avoidance scheme, entering into an arrangement whereby he worked through an umbrella company based outside the UK to provide his services to UK-based financial service companies.

He received most of his earnings in the form of loans, organised by the umbrella company, which were initially claimed not to be taxable. The taxpayer eventually accepted that he had received taxable income, but he claimed he should not have to pay anything because he was entitled to a notional PAYE credit.  

The Court of Appeal’s agreed with HMRC’s assertion that the taxpayer was not entitled to a PAYE credit. The taxpayers appeal (and cross-appeals) was rejected and HMRC’s right to collect unpaid Income Tax was allowed, without any setoff for a notional PAYE credit. 

HMRC is reminding other taxpayers with similar arrangements that they can still make a settlement under the Disguised remuneration settlement terms 2020. This includes individuals who received loans before 9 December 2010, where HMRC still has open enquiries or assessments.

Dividend tax increase from 6 April 2022

A reminder that the 1.25% increase in NIC contributions that came into effect on 6 April 2022 are reflected in a similar increase in the tax charge on dividends. 

This means that the dividend tax rates for 2022-23 are as follows (all rates having increased by 1.25% over the 2021-22 rates):

  • Basic rate taxpayers will pay tax on dividends at 8.75%.
  • Higher rate taxpayers will pay tax on dividends at 33.75%.
  • Additional rate taxpayers will pay tax on dividends at 39.35%.

This change applies UK-wide. The dividend tax allowance was first introduced in 2016 and replaced the old dividend tax credit with an annual £5,000 dividend allowance with tax payable on dividends received over this amount. The tax-free dividend allowance was reduced to £2,000 with effect from 6 April 2018 and has remain fixed at that level ever since.

The dividend tax is charged on taxable dividend income an individual receives that falls outside of the personal allowance and that exceeds the dividend allowance. Taxable dividend income excludes, for example, dividends on assets held in ISAs.

According to government figures, around 59% of individuals with taxable dividend income are not expected to pay any dividend tax in 2022-23. The average loss of those affected is around £335 although there will be additional and higher-rate taxpayers who will owe significantly more tax.

Planning for Basis Period reform

The basis period reforms will change the way trading income is allocated to tax years. The reforms will change the basis period from a ‘current year basis’ to a ‘tax year basis’. Under the current rules there can be overlapping basis periods, which charge tax on profits twice and generate corresponding ‘overlap relief’ which is usually given on cessation of the business. The new method of using a ‘tax year basis’ will remove the basis period rules and prevent the creation of further overlap relief. 

The new rules are set to come into effect in the 2024-25 tax year with 2023-24 being a transitional year. During the transitional year, all businesses’ basis periods will be aligned to the tax year and all outstanding overlap relief given.

The changes will affect businesses which draw up annual accounts to a date different to 31 March or 5 April (mainly seasonal businesses and large partnerships), and businesses that commence from 6 April 2024. Affected businesses should ensure they are prepared for the changes as there may be implications on cashflow by accelerating profits into an earlier tax year as well as increased compliance costs.

Check your Income Tax for current year

HMRC offers taxpayers the ability to check their Income Tax for the current tax year. The online portal has been updated for the new 2022-23 tax year from 6 April 2022 to 5 April 2023. The service is not available to taxpayers who only pay Income Tax using Self-Assessment.

The service can be used to:

  • check your tax code and Personal Allowance
  • see if your tax code has changed
  • tell HMRC about changes that affect your tax code
  • update your employer or pension provider details
  • see an estimate of how much tax you will pay over the whole tax year
  • check and change the estimates of how much income you will get from your jobs, pensions or bank and building society savings interest

In order to use this service, taxpayers must prove their identity using a Government Gateway user ID. If you have not used this service before, you can register online.

The portal used to be available for those using the GOV.UK Verify service. However, this alternative sign-in method for a limited number of HMRC online services was removed from 1 April 2022.

Will you need to repay child benefits?

The High Income Child Benefit charge applies to taxpayers whose income exceeds £50,000 in a tax year and who are in receipt of child benefit. The charge claws back the financial benefit of receiving child benefit either by reducing or removing the benefit entirely.

If you or your partner have exceeded the £50,000 threshold for the first time during the last tax year (2021-22) then you must act. Where both partners have an income that exceeds £50,000, the charge applies to the partner with the highest income.

Taxpayers who continue to receive child benefit (and earn over the relevant limits) must pay any tax owed for 2021-22 on or before 31 January 2023. The child benefit charge is charged at the rate of 1% of the full child benefit award for each £100 of income between £50,000 and £60,000. For taxpayers with income above £60,000, the amount of the charge will equal the amount of child benefit received.

If the High Income Child Benefit charge applies to you or your partner it is usually worthwhile to claim Child Benefit for your child, as it can help to protect your State Pension and will make sure your child receives a National Insurance number. However, you still have the choice of whether to keep receiving child benefit and pay the tax charge or you can elect to stop receiving child benefit and not pay the charge.

Do you need to submit a Self-Assessment return for 2021-22?

There are a number of reasons why you might need to complete a Self-Assessment return. This includes if you are self-employed, a company director, have an annual income over £100,000 and / or have income from savings, investment or property.

Taxpayers that need to complete a Self-Assessment return for the first time should inform HMRC as soon as possible. The latest date that HMRC should be notified is by 5 October following the end of the tax year for which a Self-Assessment return needs to be filed. If you required to submit a Self-Assessment return for 2021-22, you should ensure that you file your tax return electronically and pay any tax due by 31 January 2023.

HMRC has an online tool www.gov.uk/check-if-you-need-tax-return/ that can help you check if you are required to submit a Self-Assessment return.

The list of taxpayers that are usually required to submit a Self-Assessment return includes:

  • The self-employed (earning more than £1,000);
  • Taxpayers who had £2,500 or more in untaxed income;
  • Those with savings or investment income of £10,000 or more before tax;
  • Taxpayers who made profits from selling things like shares, a second home or other chargeable assets and need to pay Capital Gains Tax;
  • Company directors – unless it was for a non-profit organisation (such as a charity) and you did not get any pay or benefits, like a company car;
  • Taxpayers whose income (or that of their partner’s) was over £50,000 and one of you claimed Child Benefit;
  • Taxpayers who had income from abroad that they needed to pay tax on;
  • Taxpayers who lived abroad and had a UK income;
  • Income over £100,000.

Limits to loss relief claims against income or capital gains

There are a number of tax reliefs available for self-employed taxpayers that make a trading loss. This includes a partners' share of partnership trading losses.

There may also be restrictions if the claimant:

  • worked for less than 10 hours a week on average on commercial activities of the trade
  • is a limited partner or a member of a limited liability partnership
  • has a trade which is carried on wholly overseas
  • has claimed certain capital allowances,
  • has income from oil extraction activities or oil rights

There is also an overall cap on certain income tax reliefs. The cap is set at 25% of income or £50,000, whichever is the greater. There is a separate type of loss relief available for those operating under the cash basis. No loss relief is available if the trade is not run commercially and for profit, for example if a trade is run as a hobby.

Claiming for business use of own car or van

If you are an employee, you may be able to claim tax relief for using your own vehicle, be it a car, van, motorcycle or bike. There is generally no tax relief for travel to and from your place of work. The rules are different for temporary workplaces where the expense is usually allowable and if you use your own vehicle to undertake other business-related mileage.

Employers usually make payments based on a set rate per mile depending on the mode of transport used. There are approved mileage rates published by HMRC. The approved mileage allowance payment rates are available where you use your own car on a business trip. Where the approved mileage rates are used, the payments to you are not regarded as a taxable benefit.

Where an employer pays less than the published rates, the employee can make a claim for the shortfall using mileage allowance relief. For all cars and vans the approved mileage allowance payment for the first 10,000 business miles is 45p per mile and 25p per mile for every additional business mile. The approved mileage rates are 20p per mile for bicycle travel and 24p per mile for motorcycle travel.

There is an additional passenger payment you can receive of 5p per passenger per business mile from your employer. This is available if you carry fellow employees in your car or van on journeys which are also work journeys for your colleagues.