HMRC have issued their Agent Update for February 2016: we have summarised the key content for you with links to our detailed guidance on the topics covered.
HMRC topical issue reminders
The Agent update includes reminders and links to HMRC guidance on the following issues:
- Dividend Taxation:
- From 6 April 2016 the Dividend Tax Credit will be replaced by a new Dividend Allowance in the form of a 0% tax rate on the first £5,000 dividend income per year. See Dividend tax index.
- Personal savings allowance:
- From 6 April 2016 basic rate payers will be able to earn up to £1,000 in savings income tax free. Higher rate payers can earn up to £500. See Savings income: tax on interest.
- Capital gains tax:
- Entrepreneurs’ relief is no longer available on goodwill on incorporation in certain circumstances after 3 December 2014. See Entrepreneurs Relief.
- The lifetime allowance will reduce from £1.25 million to £1 million from April 2016. See Pensions: tax planning guides.
- Research & Development:
- Don't overlook tax relief for SME’s and large companies. See Research & Development relief.
- Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS):
- All businesses wholesaling alcoholic drinks must apply for registration by 31 March. See Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme.
HMRC PAYE and payroll reminders
The update includes reminders and links to HMRC guidance on the following issues:
- Payrolling Benefits:
- Employers wanting to include employee benefits in the payroll for 2016/17 must register with HMRC before 5 April 2016.
- Micro employers: the two year on-or-before reporting relaxation for employers with fewer than 10 employees comes to an end on 5 April 2016.
- Full Payment Summary (FPS) for 2015/16 submissions: the final checklist on the FPS or EPS is not mandatory.
- How to Report PAYE on time:
- The update refers back to the top tips in the December 2015 Employer Bulletin.
- Employer Annual Return election (P350):
- Use online service or postal form if an employer needs to make more than one Employer Annual Return.
- Employment Intermediaries:
- From April 2016 there are changes to prevent certain temporary workers, employed through an employment intermediary from claiming tax relief on home to work travel. See Employment Intermediaries and tax relief for travel and subsistence.
For information about payroll changes and real time filing, see
HMRC service reminders
The Agent Update includes reminders of the following:
- Where’s my reply? This service provides an estimated date that HMRC will respond to queries.
- Agent Account Managers. This team will liaise with HMRC and agents regarding client issues when normal channels break down.
- Agent Online Self Serve (AOSS). HMRC are looking for feedback from agents on the prototype screens for the new agent landing page. Advisers who are not testing the new service can still provide feedback on these screens.
- Future online downtime. HMRC provide information about planned downtime which will affect the availability of online services.
- Withdrawal of Employment Income Valuation (ITEPA) Post Transaction Valuation Checks (PTVCs) and PAYE Health Checks from 31 March 2016.
National Living Wage
The government is asking businesses to prepare early for the introduction of the NLW for those aged 25 and over, by
- Knowing the correct rate of pay
- Identifying which staff are eligible for the new rate
- Updating the payroll in time
- Communicating changes to staff
The National Minimum Wage continues to apply for those aged under 25.
See National minimum wage for details of applicable rates.
Apprentices under 25
From April 2016 employers no longer have to make employers’ national insurance contributions in respect of apprentices under 25, up to an earnings threshold of £43,000.
See Employer’s NIC allowance (subscriber version) for more details.
Self-assessment returns for 2015/16
- HMRC will issue paper returns to taxpayers by the end of April 2016.
- HMRC will issues notices to complete a return (SA316) to taxpayers who file online by the end of May 2016.
HMRC Standard for Agents
HMRC recognises the value agents add by helping taxpayers comply with their tax obligations, and expects all those who represent or advise taxpayers to maintain high standards to promote tax compliance, including:
- Integrity: HMRC expects agents to be straightforward and honest with HMRC, and to disclose all relevant information.
- Professional competence and due care: HMRC expects that agents will maintain correct and up-to-date knowledge of the areas of tax on which they work. Where errors are discovered in a client’s tax affairs, HMRC expects the agent to advise the client to take appropriate steps to set the matter right.
- Professional behaviour: HMRC expects that agents will comply fully with tax law and regulations, ensure their own tax affairs are correct and up to date, deal courteously and professionally with HMRC staff, and consider the reputational risks to the tax agent community of any arrangements on which an agent may advise.
Change to HMRC Banking Services
During February 2016 HMRC will move its bank accounts to Barclays.
- Customers paying bills electronically should not need to take any action as their payments will automatically switch over.
- Customers making payments from overseas will need to use a new International Bank Account Number (IBAN) which will be published on www.gov.uk prior to the move.
- HMRC recommend that customers paying using Bank Giro or Transcash payslips consider alternative ways to pay, such as electronic payments.
Let property campaign is still open!
HMRC’s let property campaign encourages landlords of UK or overseas residential property to disclose any undeclared income and make good any underpaid tax. It opened in Autumn 2013 and it was originally planned to last just 18 months.
- Landlords who make use of this disclosure opportunity will benefit from reduced penalty rates.
- Taxpayers should notify HMRC of their intention to make a disclosure under the campaign and then have three months to make that disclosure.
Making Tax Digital
The Update includes a reminder of HMRC's proposals to bring about an end to the annual tax return and introduce digital tax accounts.
For more information, see
In addition to the above, the update contains its usual mix of briefing notices, toolkits, consultations and responses, and an update on Working Together
A link to the published Update can be found here or accessed via HMRC's website www.gov.uk.