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Freeport tax sites designated

The first tax sites in the Freeports announced at the Spring Budget have been designated, meaning that businesses operating within them can now access some of the reliefs.

The tax sites are located in three of the eight Freeport sites; Humber, Thames and Teesside as follows:

  • Teesside - Teesworks East and West, and Wilton International
  • Humber - Hull East and AMEP
  • Thames - Dagenham, Tilbury, and London Gateway

As a reminder, the tax breaks that are now available will include 100% first year allowances for plant and machinery, as well as an enhanced 10% allowance for buildings and structures, business rates relief and SDLT relief. From April 2022, a 0% rate of secondary Class 1 NI will also apply to certain qualifying workers. For further information, please view the Statement on the designation of Freeport tax sites on the government website.

MTD – progress?

The Autumn Budget gave no further information on the next phase of Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV). This means that, unless there is an 11th hour delay, the extension of the rules to businesses that are voluntarily registered (around 750,000) will go ahead from April 2022. 

MTDfV will become a requirement from the first VAT period beginning on or after 1 April 2022. VAT Notice 700/22 details the requirements of Making Tax Digital for VAT. Some businesses may look to deregister ahead of being mandated in but they will need to carefully weigh up the potential compliance savings with the additional cost of not being able to recover input tax. This isas well as possibly needing to account for VAT on stock and assets. A limited number of businesses may qualify for a digital exclusion exemption and can now apply for this.

Self-assessment registration backlog

The recent concerns regarding the backlog of self-assessment registrations being processed appear to have been addressed, with HMRC making a statement saying that those outstanding would be cleared by the end of December. This means that all taxpayers should have a UTR number with which to make an electronic payment by the 31 January 2022 deadline. In the unlikely event that this does not happen, it is possible to make a cheque payment by generating a payment slip using the NI number and posting it to HMRC.

Tax credits no longer payable via the Post Office

HMRC will no longer pay tax credits, child benefit or guardian allowance into accounts with the Post Office. If claimants did not provide new banking details by 30 November, payments will cease until they do so.

Beware the phishers!

The tax return filing season is always busy so taxpayers may be more susceptible to scam or phishing emails claiming to be from HMRC, i.e. where they have recently submitted a return. HMRC's warning includes the following sound advice:

"Never let yourself be rushed. If someone contacts you saying they're from HMRC, wanting you to urgently transfer money or give personal information, be on your guard.

HMRC will also never ring up threatening arrest. Only criminals do that.

Scams come in many forms. Some threaten immediate arrest for tax evasion, others offer a tax rebate. Contacts like these should set alarm bells ringing, so if you are in any doubt whether the email, phone call or text is genuine, you can check the HMRC scams advice on GOV.UK and find out how to report them."

Suspicious emails can be forwarded to and texts to 60599.

File your 2020 tax return by 30 December

Taxpayers who have not yet filed their returns for 2020/21 will need to do so by 30 December if they want to have any liability included in their tax code. If this date is missed, the liability will need to be paid in full by 31 January 2022, or a payment plan agreed with HMRC by that date.

About the Author

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Martin Johnson

With expertise in advising family-owned companies on a range of tax, accountancy and business issues, Martin also has an in-depth knowledge of the automotive and property sectors. In addition, he provides advice on inheritance tax planning and financial management to owner-managed businesses.  Martin leads the firm in developing its expertise in the buy-to-let sector, advising both residential and commercial property owners on relevant tax and legislation issues. A further element to Martin’s role is to build Torgersens’ relationships with banks, financial advisors and specialists in commercial and employment law to ensure that the firm’s clients have access to market-leading guidance.  

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