It's beginning to feel a bit more like Christmas... We have been making our new Advent Calendar. It is designed to bring a little sparkle to your desks while the current political crisis drags on and before we reach the finale of the Self Assessment season. 

On Self Assessment, this time we feature yet another case on late filing penalties. This one covers the now familiar topic of miscalculated penalties and 'nil' tax returns. Tax penalty geeks will note that we have seen a lot of these in the context of Non-Resident CGT return penalty cases: these regularly feature nil returns. The rules in Schedule 55 FA 2009 prevent you from incurring both a 6-month and a 12-month fixed penalty if you have no tax liability. As the judge in this latest case noted, this means that if you are late filing it is best to file more than 12 months late. HMRC tried to argue otherwise, however the explanatory note to FA 2009 clearly says 'Paragraph 17(3) states that tax-geared penalties under this schedule may not exceed 100 per cent of the relevant liability to tax.' and so there is not too much more to say. This issue, similar cases and much more is covered in our incredibly popular "Grounds for Appeal: HMRC error guide".

As the clock ticks on there are a lot of deadlines this December: Requirement to Correct by the 29th, Self Assessment to code out PAYE by the 30th, Companies House filing deadline for March company year ends by the 31st and then don't forget to pay your corporation tax on 1st January too.

Looking further ahead it seems that some people are just realising the full horror of the disguised remuneration loan charge: if you have not settled you have to pay a tax charge on 31 March 2019. MPs and Lords have been complaining and it looks like the Grinch has got into our Advent Calendar with this topic too. 

On a different tack, I was looking at HMRC's Check Employment Status Tool 'CEST', reviewing and updating our Employment Status note (where is the outcome of HMRC's Employment Status condoc?) and also considering comments made by the BBC in the National Audit Office's report on how the BBC was coping with its new responsibilities for assessment of Offpayroll Working. The Beeb seems to think that its business is so unique that the CEST does not fully work for all its workers. I am not sure I can see why not, however, maybe the solution is to narrow down the tests. How about just one: can you make a profit or loss? That is probably cutting it a bit fine. I may be in a minority but the more I look at the issues the more persuaded I become that a statutory employment status test is a really sensible idea. Just think how much time that would save. I could simply Ask Alexa.

Finally, VAT. The EU is now allowing member states to reduce VAT rates for electronic publications. That would be good, as hopefully this massive tax database of guides and know-how qualifies as a publication. Of course, possibly more to that than meets the eye and then only if the UK decides to follow the new directive...

If you have any tax queries please do try out our Virtual Tax Partner support portal at www.VtaxP.co.uk.

Enjoy the guides and updates and the news is below. 

Back soon

Nichola Ross Martin FCA CTA (Fellow) Tax Director


Your Virtual Tax Partner®: online PRACTICAL support for accountants & tax advisers BY accountants & tax advisers

Quick news (freeview)

Requirement to Correct: final deadline is 29 December 2018
In July HMRC extended the Requirement to correct (RTC) deadline by 90 days where certain circumstances applied; the extended deadline of 29 December 2018 is almost upon us.

MPs and Lords question the loan charge
A group of just over 100 MPs have signed an early day motion calling on the government to significantly revise the legislation for the Disguised remuneration loan charge. The proposed charge it has been the subject of both a recent debate in parliament and a House of Lords review of HMRC powers.

Making Tax Digital (freeview)

Making VAT Digital
Visit our MVD zone to see when to join and how to sign up for the pilot

Editor's Choice (subscribers) 

Employment Status
UPDATE: with the prospect of the introduction of offpayroll working to the private sector and the introduction of a statutory employment status test we look at what's new in this constantly evolving topic.

Disguised Remuneration Zone
UPDATE: all about what to do with and how to settle Disguised remuneration, contractor loans, EBT loans. 

It's Christmas!

Advent Calendar
NEW: our incredibly low-tech Advent Calendar is designed to add sparkle to December. We look at Christmas for tax and accounting and this year we have added a few not necessarily pleasant surprise topics, as we open a 'door' in our calendar to count down the working days until the Christmas holiday in the UK.

Tax Guides and Updates (subscribers) 

2017/18 Self-Assessment Tax Return toolkit
The deadline for self-assessment may be 31 January but for income tax underpayments to be "coded out" the deadline is 30 December 2018; returns filed after that date will require all tax to be paid by 31 January 2019.

Entrepreneurs' Relief
UPDATE: We have added more details on the recent budget changes to the 5% rule.

Non-domicile status, deemed domicile & tax
UPDATE: further updates to this guide about changing your domicile and potential issues for non-resident trusts under the new deemed domicile rules.

Termination, redundancy and leaving payments (from April 2018)
UPDATE: The introduction of employers NIC on termination payments over £30,000 has been delayed from April 2019 to April 2020.

Case Update (freeview)

Late filing penalties: miscalculated again
In Scott Anthony Jagger [2018] v HMRC TC6774 the FTT determined that HMRC had miscalculated the 6 month and 12 month late filing penalty.

Discovery: HMRC tries to hide specialist advice
In Janet Addo v HMRC [2018] TC06700 the FTT allowed a taxpayer’s application to gain access to HMRC’s specialist team documents. They had been relied on by HMRC’s relevant officer in making a Discovery Assessment.

VAT (freeview)

Books & Printed Matter
NEW: EU allows member states to reduce VAT rates on ebooks and other electronic publications.

VAT (subscribers) 

Management charges
NEW: When are intercompany charges subject to VAT? What rate of VAT applies to an intercompany charge? Is an intercompany charge a supply for VAT? Is there VAT on an intercompany payment for group relief?

CPD & Webinars

Budget 2018: subscriber guide & CPD
UPDATE: key announcements at a glance

See CPD for Lunch

Missed last time's Web-update?

Nichola's SME tax W-update to 30 November 2018


  • Do you need to register for CIS or corporation tax?
  • Pension contributions: personal v company?
  • Structures and buildings allowance (SBE)
  • HMRC delay makes discovery stale
  • First report by OTS on inheritance tax
  • Tax Treaties: Court of Appeal on deeming provisions
  • Budget 2018 subscriber guide and CPD
  • Correcting VAT errors
  • and much more..

Come and join our Cloud

Subscribe (and UNLOCK the whole site) A single user annual subscription is £365 (+ VAT). 

What do you get?

  • We keep YOU up to date in SME tax.
  • FULL access to www.rossmartin.co.uk: your firm's personal TAX INTRANET containing over 3,500 actively maintained tax guides, briefings, toolkits and checklists.
  • Want to know more? Commission your own articles and checklists.
  • Structured CPD: our detailed SME tax updates "for Advisers Only" provide topical summaries and planning notes & our NEW webcasts provide you with structured CPD at your desk.
  • Regular client tax briefings: these cover the latest business and employment tax issues and are designed to assist you plan meetings and improve your client services.