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Latest news round-up

Newsletter issue - November 2021

Autumn Budget

The 2021 Autumn Budget was relatively quiet in terms of tax-related announcements, and the Finance Bill 2021/22 published on 4 November was similarly thin on new changes, consisting to some extent of measures that had already been announced, e.g. the abolition of basis periods.

Part 2 of the Bill introduces the draft legislation for the new Residential Property Developer Tax (RPDT). Businesses falling within the remit of the new tax will pay 4% on relevant profits, subject to an allowance of £25 million (or a pro-rated amount where the accounting period is less than 12 months long. The tax will commence for accounting periods ending on or after 1 April 2022, with periods straddling that date being apportioned.

RPDT will only apply to companies. The legislation is perhaps most useful for the key definitions, and exceptions and it is worth reviewing the explanatory notes accompanying the Bill.

Self-Employment Support Scheme (SEISS) and cryptocurrency

HMRC are writing to some businesses that claimed the first three rounds of the SEISS grants in 2020/21, requiring urgent action to be taken. The affected businesses are those that have received payments under the scheme, but have:

  • not filed a return for 2019/20; or
  • filed a return with no self-employment or partnership pages included.

Being self-employed during the previous tax year was a prerequisite for claiming under SEISS. HMRC are requesting that the missing information is filed within 30 days of the letter, or the amounts will need to be repaid, with penalties applicable.

A "nudge" letter is also being sent to individuals that own cryptoassets, such as Bitcoin. The letter advises such individuals that such assets may trigger CGT liability if disposed of, and directs the recipient to further online guidance to help review the position.

Other news

HMRC's accounts audit for 2020/21 yielded a qualified opinion from the National Audit Office and revealed that tax revenues for the year fell by 4.4%, or £27.9 billion. The fall was partly attributed to lower business revenues having a knock-on effect on the tax take - however, it's also clear that the easing of enforcement action during the pandemic also contributed.

The Department for Work and Pensions has launched a new online service for applying for an NI number. However, demand is currently high, with current wait times estimated at almost four months. Employees with the right to work in the UK can be set up on a payroll system in the interim with their name and two lines of their home address.

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