Employers please note that the National Minimum Wage rates are increasing from 1 October 2013. They will be:
To simplify accounting and tax reporting for the smallest businesses, from 6 April 2013 small businesses can choose to calculate profits/losses on the basis of the cash received and expenses paid out. This is known as the cash basis, and it ignores debts owed by the business and amounts owing to the business, until those amounts are paid. The normal accounting method is known as the accruals basis.
The cash basis will only be available to businesses which operate as sole-traders or partnerships, and whose turnover is under the VAT registration threshold (£79,000 from 1 April 2013). Some other businesses will be barred from using the cash basis and these include:
- All companies and LLPs;
- Farmers using the herd basis;
- Any business using profit averaging over several tax years;
- Businesses in a mineral extraction trade; and
- Lloyd’s underwriters.
Once a business is using the cash basis it can carry on doing so until its annual turnover is twice the VAT registration threshold (£158,000 from April 2013).
Although apparently simple, the cash basis will have some disadvantages:
- The deduction for loan interest paid will be limited to £500 per year; and
- Losses can only be carried forward to set against future profits, whereas under the accruals basis losses can be carried back in the first four years of the trade and set off against the trader’s other income.
In addition any unincorporated business, whether or not they are using the cash basis, will be able to use flat rate expenses to replace the calculation of actual costs incurred in these categories of expenses from 6 April 2013:
- Motoring costs (mileage at 45p per mile);
- Use of home for business purposes (based on number of hours used per month); and
- Private use of part of commercial premises, such as a public house (based on number of occupants who are business owners or their immediate family)
As these flat rates are completely optional, and will vary in effect in each business, we need to discuss if the flat rates will be suitable.
It is common for unmarried couples to jointly own a property. Cohabiting couples with assets in excess of £650,000 may be subject to inheritance tax at 40% in the event of one of them passing away. This is as a result of each individual may have up to £325,000 worth of assets that can be transferred free of inheritance tax on their death to non-spouses - this is called the nil rate band.
The above is not the case for married couples, as assets left to a spouse is exempt from inheritance tax and in addition the unused element of the nil rate band of £325,000 is transferred to the surviving spouse meaning the amount of £650,000 worth of the surviving partner’s death estate may not be liable to inheritance tax.
Capital Gains Tax
A key point is that married couples can transfer assets between each other without being subject to capital gains tax. As a result of this, married couples can transfer assets to each other freely to ensure that the capital gains annual exemption of £10,900 is fully utilised on the subsequent sale, for example on a rental property that is owned by one of the married couple prior to a sale of this property, half of the ownership can be transferred to the their spouse meaning upon sale of the property the married couple can fully utilise the capital gains exemption of £21,800.
Other areas to consider
Married couples allowance applies when one of the married couple was 65 before 6 April 2000 when the universal married couples allowance was withdrawn.
Licenced Accountant in Brighton