News round up from Gibbons Mannington Phipps
26th November 2018
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It's been a busy few months in the tax world. Here's a round up of all the latest updates from Chartered Accountants Gibbons Mannington Phipps in Hastings.

Making Tax Digital 

The government has already announced that the "making tax digital" (MTD) initiative is due to come into effect from 1 April 2019. It will apply to businesses with a turnover greater than the VAT registration threshold of £85,000. The changes mean that those businesses must ensure that some records are kept digitally and that their VAT returns must be submitted via an Application Programming Interface (API). 

In early November it was announced that the process would be rolled out in stages. Letters would initially be sent by HMRC to 200,000 eligible businesses encouraging them to join the current MTD for VAT pilot at the beginning of November, with all remaining relevant businesses receiving letters by the end of the month.

However, according to the Economic Affairs Committee, there have been concerns raised that HMRC has failed to adequately support businesses in the lead up to 1 April 2019, which means that a number of businesses 'will not be ready'. The committee also remains to be convinced that the HMRC's claims that the new digital system will 'narrow the tax gap' are realistic.

Changes to late payment penalty scheme delayed

Part of the MTD initiative was to reform of the late payment penalty regime, the timing of which was due to be April 2020. 

The new penalty scheme would see a two-tier system that will take effect 15 days after a late payment.

Delays mean that it will now need to be included as part of a future finance bill, which experts suggest won't be any earlier than April 2021.

Changes to Probate

Owners of high value properties could find themselves facing higher probate fees in changes announced by the government.

Plans have been unveiled to introduce a banded system for estates with a value above £50,000 for probate fees from 1 April 2019. There is currently no probate fee for estates under the value of £5,000. This change in the theshold means that around 25,000 UK estates 'will be lifted out of fees altogether'.

However those with much higher value estates - over £1 million - will see a significant rise in probate fees. This will affect around 280,000 estates.

Brexit Continues to Rumble On

It's the topic that features daily in the news, and as Theresa May begins her campaign to get support for her Brexit deal, the business world has reacted to the proposal. 

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says that there's still a long way to go but it's time to start making decisions.

Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB, said that at the very least the proposal is a 'welcome step back' from the 'no deal cliff edge'.

And Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, believes that 'clarity and precision' on the terms of trade is still needed.

Ending with the Positive News!

It's been a good year for wages. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the three months to September saw wages rise at the fastest pace in nearly 10 years.

Excluding bonuses, wages grew by 3.2% compared to the same period last year. This represented the biggest increase since 2008.  

And first time buyers have 'saved £426 million' as a result of changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). This is since the changes were introduced in November 2017 making first time buyers paying £300,000 or less for a residential property exempt from SDLT. More than 180,500 first time buyers have benefitted from this initiative.

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