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Contractors/Locums

Majority of those who wish to start contract work want to do so for the perceived tax benefits. Whilst tax savings can be significant given the right advice, those looking to move to self employment need to be wary of the many pitfalls – IR35and status issues, income shifting etc to name but a few.

At Shipleys we will help you make the transition from employment to self-employment as painless as possible. We will deal with all the tax and accounts issues that need resolving and we promise to do it swiftly. We will explain honestly and carefully the pros and cons of self employment/sole tradership v. trading through a company and help you decide the best way for you.

If you are a locum, or thinking about becoming one in the near future, talk to us for clear concise advice – we deal with hundreds of locums/ IT contractors each year.

  • Free contractor/locum start-up advice
  • Paying too much tax? If you haven’t done any planning then you probably are paying over the odds to the Chancellor. Call us for a free tax health-check.
  • Sole trader v. company structure – the pros and cons
  • IR35 – this affects all locums/contractors trading via a company. Is your business contract IR35 proof? How can you minimise the risk? HMRC is continually attacking Personal Service Companies, how can you stay one step ahead?
  • Expenses – are you claiming everything you possibly can?
  • Buying a car – which is the best way, personally or through a company?
  • Fixed fee accounts, tax returns, VAT (if applicable) and Payroll
  • Preferential payment terms can be agreed for start-ups

Latest news & blogs…

Bounce Back Loans: avoid the 32.5% tax trap

Contractors/Locums Shipleys Tax Advisors

The Bounce Back loan scheme is fast, attractive and gives small businesses easy access to money. But many unsuspecting SME companies are unaware of a potential 32.5% tax charge if used incorrectly. We look at how this arises and what you can do.

The government introduced Bounce Back Loan scheme on 4 May 2020 to help small businesses get access to a injection of cash up to £50K. As loans, the Bounce Back terms are very attractive: no interest or repayments for the first year, a low interest rate afterwards, and no penalties if you pay them back before the six years are up.

What is the loan used for?

The problem arises when the money is taken out as cash withdrawals to fund private expenses even though the Bounce Back Scheme terms specifically states that it is not for personal purposes.

In these circumstances, as a company, you essentially have two basic options: treat the withdrawal as dividends or treat the withdrawal as a loan owed to the company by the shareholder/director.

In a Coronavirus riddled world, many small companies will not be in a profitable place and hence may not be able to legally declare dividends. In such scenario, to avoid the prospect of “illegal” dividends, the second option kicks in and you are faced with treating the monies withdrawn as a “loan”. Specifically, they become what is known as directors’ loans which is a loan from the company to the director/shareholder. The upshot of this is that you must repay the loan balance to back the company at some point in the future.

Corporation tax charge on loans: 32.5%

And this is where the problems kick in.  The Bounce Back loan has very attractive repayment terms, so it is tempting to leave it outstanding beyond the first 12 months. However, loans to directors can be subject to a corporation tax charge at 32.5% if not repaid within a certain time period. This 32.5% tax charge becomes due if you do not repay the director’s loan back to the company within 9 months of the company’s year-end passing. For those withdrawing the full £50,000, the tax charge can amount to an eye watering £16,250! This tax is payable by the company and will no doubt severely impact cashflow.

Can you avoid the 32.5% tax charge?

If you’re planning on taking a loan and repaying it within 9 months of your company accounting year-end (the date in which you actually applied for the BBL loan does not matter here for tax), no corporation tax charge will arise.  But, if you end up having to pay the 32.5% tax charge, there is some relief as you can reclaim the tax back from HMRC at a later point when the loan is cleared and under certain circumstances.

Personal tax issue

Also, as if paying 32.5% corporation tax wasn’t enough, there is a potentially a further additional tax on the loan when borrowing money from your company. This occurs when a director’s loan exceeds £10,000 at any point during the year; HMRC treat this as receiving a “benefit in kind”. This can have personal tax implications, including a National Insurance charge for your company. However, to avoid this, the company can charge you interest on the loan at HMRC’s official rate for the duration of the “loan”.

Paying a salary instead

The more straightforward option is to pay yourself a salary. But by doing so you will be essentially taxing the loan via PAYE. This may or may not be cheaper than paying the £16,250 above depending how it is structured.

But remember, Bounce Back Loans are not for personal purposes, and insolvency practitioners (who would presumably act on behalf of banks should you fail to repay the loan) have warned that increasing salary payments after receiving Bounce Back Loans may be treated as a being for personal purposes, although we feel this interpretation may be open to challenge.

If you are considering taking out a Bounce Back Loan and need help with the issues above, please call us on 0114 272 4984 or email info@shipleystax.com.

Deferring VAT during the COVID-19 pandemic

Contractors/Locums Shipleys Tax Advisors

If your business pays VAT, you can defer it until 31 March 2021. To defer, you do not need to tell HMRC – but make sure you remember to cancel your direct debit.

To help businesses struggling with their cashflow during the COVID-19 pandemic, VAT registered businesses can opt to defer the payment of VAT that becomes due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. This will cover returns for the quarter to 28 February 2020 (due by 7 April 2020), quarter to 31 March 2020 (due by 7 May 2020) and the quarter to 30 April 2020 (due by 7 June 2020).

Businesses do not have to take advantage of the option to defer – they can instead choose to pay their VAT as normal. Where they have sufficient income and have received payment from their customers, this may be a preferable option to prevent running into debt later. The VAT will still be due – the payment date is simply delayed.

HMRC will not charge interest where VAT is paid later as a result of this measure.

Businesses that wish to take advantage of the option to defer paying their VAT do not need to tell HMRC – they simply delay paying the VAT over to HMRC.

Cancel direct debits

Where a business has set up a direct debit to pay their VAT, they will need to cancel the direct debit if they wish to take advantage of the deferral option. If they forget to do this, the VAT payment will be taken automatically.

Paying deferred VAT

Any VAT that is deferred must be paid over to HMRC by 31 March 2021.

File returns on time

Deciding to defer payment of VAT does not affect the obligation to file a VAT return. VAT returns that fall due within the deferral window should be filed as normal and on time.

VAT repayments

Where a VAT returns shows that a repayment is due, HMRC will make the repayment as normal.

After the deferral period

When the VAT deferral window comes to an end, VAT for periods outside the window must be paid as usual.

If you need help with VAT deferral or any COVID-19 financial or tax issue please call us on 0114 272 4984 or email info@shipleystax.com – we are ready to help.

UK furlough scheme extended until end of October

Contractors/Locums Shipleys Tax Advisors

The Chancellor. Rishi Sunak, has confirmed the UK furlough scheme will be extended until the end of October. But there will be a gradual cut to taxpayer contribution to the scheme meaning the employers would need to share in footing the bill.

Some key points from the announcement today:

  • The scheme would continue in its present form until the end of July but would be amended between August and the end of October to “provide greater flexibility to support the transition back to work”.
  • Between August and October he would for the first time allow payments to furloughed staff working part-time.
  • He also mentioned that from August he would ask employers to share the cost with the taxpayer of the job retention scheme, although employees would continue to receive the same 80 per cent of their salary.

More details would be announced by the end of the month but his allies confirmed that the taxpayer would continue to pay the “bulk” of the costs of the scheme.

If you need help with furloughing staff please call 0114 272 4984 or email info@shipleystax.com.

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