HMRC forced to remove “incorrect” pension calculator from website

In recent days, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has been forced to remove a popular online calculator from its website, after it emerged that the software was giving users “incorrect” information about how much money they can save into their pensions. Continue reading HMRC forced to remove “incorrect” pension calculator from website

OTS calls for “detailed review” of business tax

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has called for a “detailed review” of the ways in which the UK’s tax system affects businesses, amid concerns that urgent simplification is required in order to stimulate growth.

In recent days, the Government body has published a report assessing the nature of existing tax reliefs and charges, their effectiveness and how they interact with one another, the FT Adviser reports.

Upon assessing how the UK’s tax framework affects firms throughout all key stages of the business life cycle, the OTS has concluded that an urgent overhaul is needed in order to reduce complexity and improve access to tax reliefs and incentives for businesses.

In particular, the OTS is seeking views on Capital Gains Tax (CGT), Inheritance Tax (IHT) and Entrepreneur’s Relief (ER).

However, it is also interested in gaining opinions on how the operation of the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and Venture Capital Trust (VCT) schemes might be simplified or improved.

Angela Knight, Chair of the OTS, said: “This is a time when the need to encourage innovation, support growing businesses, the economy and employment in the UK, is a priority.

“It has never been so important that the business tax system is fit for this purpose and supports these aims.”

Paul Morton, Tax Director at the OTS, added: “This paper takes a significant first step towards meeting the pressing need to undertake a detailed review of the tax system as it operates across the business life cycle.

“It is aimed at helping the businesses that are the lifeblood of the UK economy to maximise their opportunities and to make the system clear and simple to understand and use.”

Millions of people have not checked their online tax accounts for errors

Millions of people from across the UK could be paying more tax than they need to, it has emerged, after figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) showed that more than 15 million individuals have not checked their Personal Tax Accounts.

The figure means that less than half of taxpayers have accessed their accounts, risking errors in the amount they pay.

Personal Tax Accounts were introduced by the Revenue in 2015 and include details of income, state pension records and National Insurance contributions.

They were intended to make taxpayers responsible for ensuring they are on the correct tax code.

Personal Tax Accounts can be accessed at gov.uk/personal-tax-account. Registration requires your name, an email address and a password. This will generate a 12-digit Government Gateway ID which will be needed in future when you log in.

You will also need to enter a phone number to generate a separate access code, which will be sent by text or automated call.

To access your account, you will be asked to enter information from a passport, payslip or P60 as well as to answer some security questions.

Under the income section, you will find information on your tax code, including deductions made by HMRC.

It is worth checking your Personal Tax Account as soon as possible. Figures show that 6.7 million people paid the wrong amount of tax last year because their tax code was wrong.

Link: Is your online tax account fiddled with mistakes?

Late payments in the spotlight after Carillion collapse

Small businesses in the UK have long been scourged by late payments, but the problem was brought into sharp focus earlier this year following the collapse of construction giant, Carillion, emphasising the importance of careful credit control.

According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), some suppliers were waiting as long as 120 days to receive payment from Carillion.

FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, said: “It is vital that Carillion’s small business suppliers are paid what they are owed, or some of those firms could themselves be put in jeopardy, putting even more jobs at risk besides those of Carillion’s own employees.

“These unpaid bills may well go back several months. I wrote to Carillion back in July last year to express concern after hearing from FSB members that the company was making small suppliers wait 120 days to be paid.

“Sadly these kinds of poor payment practices are all too common among some big corporates. Perhaps if they weren’t it would be easier to spot the warning signs of a huge company in financial trouble.”

With similar practices at other large corporates continuing to create problems for SME suppliers, the Chancellor announced a consultation into the problem as part of his Spring Statement.

FSB research has found that 30 per cent of payments to small businesses are late, with late payments costing the UK economy £2.5 billion annually.

Link: UK Government to consult of late payments to SMEs