Welcome to the January 2021 Newsletter from Certax Accounting

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) has warned of a 'dramatic rise' in self-assessment filing this year, as businesses weather the lockdown restrictions in place as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Meanwhile, HMRC has started to crack down on the marketing of tax avoidance schemes. Its 'Tax Avoidance: Don't Get Caught Out' campaign aims to educate contractors on how to identify if they are being offered a tax avoidance scheme.


AAT warns of 'dramatic rise' in self-assessment filing

Lockdown restrictions and mounting pressure on businesses could combine to cause a 'dramatic rise' in self-assessment filing this tax year, according to the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).

Almost a million self-assessment tax returns were filed late in the last financial year, but the situation has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The chances of late filing increased dramatically once a second national lockdown was announced, the AAT said.

In responding to the concerns of its members, the AAT identified three potential solutions and brought them to the attention of the senior leadership team at HMRC. These include a two-month deferral on filing and payments; the waiving of penalties for late filing; and increased use of HMRC's Time to Pay.

Phil Hall, Head of Public Affairs and Public Policy at the AAT, said: 'There has been a raft of government assistance to mitigate the worst of the economic problems caused by coronavirus, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to ask what could be done to reduce the chances of millions of people being landed with at least a £100 late filing penalty, and in many cases much more, to add to the growing financial problems many are currently enduring.

'For now, it's important that we all do everything we can to be ready to meet the 31 January 2021 deadline, whilst recognising that's very much easier said than done.'

Please contact us if you require any assistance with self-assessment.


HMRC cracks down on marketing of tax avoidance schemes

HMRC has teamed up with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to act against misleading marketing by promoters of tax avoidance schemes.

A joint enforcement notice aims to disrupt the activity of promoters and protect people from being presented with misleading adverts which may tempt them into tax avoidance.

It requires promoters to be clear about the potential consequences of tax avoidance in any online advertisements. Immediate sanctions include having their paid advertising removed from search engines and follow-up compliance action, which can include a referral to Trading Standards.

It was published as HMRC launched its 'Tax Avoidance: Don't Get Caught Out' awareness campaign, which educates contractors on how to identify if they are being offered a tax avoidance scheme and highlights the pitfalls of using these schemes.

Commenting on the action, Jim Harra, Chief Executive and First Permanent Secretary of HMRC, said: 'We're doing our part to close down these schemes and make it difficult for promoters, but we need the public to play their part too.

'You really don't need to be a tax expert to spot an avoidance scheme – anything that sounds too good to be true almost certainly is, and anything which claims you can take home, say, 90% of your pay, or asks you to sign up to loans from an offshore trust just so you can be paid, is something to steer clear of.'


ESSENTIAL TAX DATES FOR JANUARY

1 January Due date for payment of corporation tax for period ended 31 March 2020.

14 January Due date for income tax for the CT61 quarter to 31 December 2020.

19 January PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions are due for the month to 5 January 2021. PAYE quarterly payments are due for small employers for the pay periods 6 October 2020 to 5 January 2021.

31 January Deadline for submitting your 2019/20 self assessment return (£100 automatic penalty if your return is late) and the balance of your 2019/20 liability together with the first payment on account for 2020/21 are also due. Capital gains tax payment for 2019/20. Balancing payment – 2019/20 income tax and Class 4 NICs. Class 2 NICs also due.


QUOTE OF THE MONTH

'Ramping up CGT will pour cold water over Britain's entrepreneurialism just when we need it most.'

Tej Parikh, Chief Economist at the Institute of Directors (IoD), commenting on speculation that the Treasury could hike capital gains tax (CGT) in an effort to help put the UK's public finances back on a stable footing following the COVID-19 pandemic

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