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Selling shares?

As a general rule, if you sell shares for more than you paid for them, any profit you make will be chargeable to Capital Gains Tax (CGT).

Shares and investments you may need to pay tax on include:

  • shares that are not in an ISA or PEP
  • units in a unit trust
  • certain bonds (not including Premium Bonds and Qualifying Corporate Bonds).

CGT will not usually be payable if you give shares as a gift to your husband, wife, civil partner or a charity.

You also do not pay Capital Gains Tax when you dispose of:

  • shares you’ve put into an ISA or PEP
  • shares in employer Share Incentive Plans (SIPs)
  • UK government gilts (including Premium Bonds)
  • Qualifying Corporate Bonds
  • employee shareholder shares - depending on when you got them

The amount of CGT payable will depend on your other earnings in the tax year. You may also be able to claim other reliefs if you are selling shares in a business that you control.

Finally, we are all entitled to make tax-free capital gains each tax year. For 2019-20, the CGT annual exemption is £12,000.

Gifts and Inheritance Tax (IHT)

When you make a gift to third parties you are potentially transferring part of your estate and a life-time charge to IHT may be applied.

However, in most cases you will not need to open your cheque book as there are a number of exemptions that may cover your intended gifts. 

The current gift exemptions are reproduced below.

You can give away £3,000 worth of gifts each tax year (6 April to 5 April) without them being added to the value of your estate. This is known as your ‘annual exemption’. 

You can carry any unused annual exemption forward to the next year - but only for one year.

Each tax year, you can also give away:

  • wedding or civil ceremony gifts of up to £1,000 per person (£2,500 for a grandchild or great-grandchild, £5,000 for a child)
  • normal gifts out of your income, for example Christmas or birthday presents - you must be able to maintain your standard of living after making the gift
  • payments to help with another person’s living costs, such as an elderly relative or a child under 18
  • gifts to charities and political parties

You can use more than one of these exemptions on the same person - for example, you could give your grandchild gifts for her birthday and wedding in the same tax year.

You can give as many gifts of up to £250 per person as you want during the tax year as long as you have not used another exemption on the same person.

Even if your gift is not excluded by these exemptions any tax payable can be deferred under the “potentially exempt transfer” or PETs. Essentially, as long as the person making the gift lives seven years after making the gift, no IHT is payable. A sliding scale applies if the donor dies during this seven year period. 

Working after State Pension age

It is fine to keep working past your State Retirement Age unless your employment is subject to retirement at a compulsory retirement age. If your employer does this, they must give a good reason, for example: the job requires certain physical abilities (e.g. in the construction industry) or the job has an age limit set by law (e.g. the fire service).

To be clear, a forced retirement age of 65 no longer exists.

You can also ask your employer if you can work more flexibly or work part-time. They have the right to reject your request.

You can claim your State pension while you are working, as long as you’ve reached the State Pension age. You can also work if you are claiming a personal or workplace pension. However, check with your pension provider or employer if you have a workplace pension as reducing your working hours could affect how much pension you will receive. You should also check to see what happens to your workplace pension if you continue working beyond the age when you can take it.

If you delay (defer) taking your State Pension, you will get larger weekly payments when you do start taking your pension.

You don’t pay National Insurance if you work past State Pension age.

Tax Diary October/November 2019

1 October 2019 - Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 December 2018.

19 October 2019 - PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 October 2019. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 October 2019.)

19 October 2019 - Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 October 2019. 

19 October 2019 - CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 October 2019 is payable by today.

31 October 2019 – Latest date you can file a paper version of your 2018-19 self-assessment tax return.

1 November 2019 - Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 January 2019.

19 November 2019 - PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 November 2019. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 November 2019.)

19 November 2019 - Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 November 2019. 

19 November 2019 - CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 November 2019 is payable by today.

Property tax changes from April 2020

Although the Brexit process continues to throw a spanner into the normal workings of government, there are a few certainties from a tax point of view that will be effective from April 2020. A few property related changes are noted in this article:

  • Presently, the last 18 months of ownership of a residential property are ignored if a home has been let at any time. From April 2020, this will be reduced to 9 months.
  • If your home has been let at any time, or is let when you sell it, there is a letting relief you can claim that can make a significant impact on any Capital Gains Tax payable. From April 2020, you can only take advantage of this lettings relief if you are in shared occupancy with your tenant.
  • From April 2020, all finance costs, incurred by UK residents that let residential property, will be disallowed as an expense of their property business. Instead, tax relief on the disallowed finance charges will be restricted to a basic rate (20%) tax credit. This process started on a phased basis on 6 April 2017 and will complete on 5 April 2020. 

UK residents that sell land or property in the UK, after 5 April 2020, will need to prepare a formal CGT computation and return this to HMRC within 30 days of the relevant sale. They will also need to pay any tax due in the same period.

About face by HMRC

Last month we reported the changes that CIS, VAT registered contractors and sub-contractors were about to face with the introduction of the “reverse charge” process from 1 October 2019.

Shortly after our newsletter was published, HMRC conceded that it was aware that the industry was struggling to adapt to the new rules and, as Brexit is also looming large this month, HMRC has agreed to defer the change until 1 October 2020.

This is a triumph for the construction industry lobby groups who have pushed hard to have this VAT change delayed.

Just in case you missed our alert on this topic last month the nuts and bolts of the reverse charge process for VAT registered businesses who are subject to HMRC’s Construction Industry Scheme, are:

From the 1 October 2020, you may need to change the way you account for VAT on supplies between sub-contractors and their contractor customers.

At present, sub-contractors registered for VAT are required to charge VAT on their supplies of building services to contractors. From 1 October 2020, this approach is changing.

From this date, sub-contractors will not add VAT to their supplies to most building customers, instead, contractors will be obliged to pay the deemed output VAT on behalf of their registered sub-contractor suppliers.

This does not mean that contractors, in most cases, are paying their sub-contractors’ VAT as an additional cost.

When contractors pay their sub-contractors’ VAT to HMRC, they can claim back an equivalent amount as VAT input tax; subject to the usual VAT rules. Accordingly, the two amounts off-set each other.

The change is described as the Domestic Reverse Charge for the construction industry. It has been introduced as an increasing number of sub-contractors have been registering for VAT, collecting the VAT from their customers, and then disappearing without paying the VAT collected to HMRC.

Affected contractors now have a year to make the appropriate changes.

If by chance you have already made changes to your account’s software and invoicing processes, you will need to reverse the process and moth-ball the changes for twelve months

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