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The Association of Taxation Technicians has warned the UK tax agency that taxpayers may unwittingly fall foul of UK tax rules after the introduction of a new concession for taxpayers with a business with very low turnover.
The UK Government recently published draft legislation in the 2017 Finance Bill for an allowance that businesses with trading or property business income that does not exceed GBP1,000 (USD1,260) will not be subject to tax on the profits from that business. The ATT said the legislation had provided clarity on what types of businesses would benefit from the allowance.
The ATT noted "the Budget announcement in March 2016 had linked the new allowance to the 'sharing economy,' creating uncertainty as to which types of business would qualify. [The draft legislation makes] it clear that the new allowances will apply to all types of property and trading income of an individual but not to partnership income."
According to the ATT, the new rules, applicable from the 2017/18 tax year, mean that where such annual income does exceed GBP1,000, the individual will have the option in calculating their taxable profits of either deducting all their actual business expenses (in the usual way) or of deducting the fixed allowance of GBP1,000 (regardless of their level of actual business expenditure). A separate GBP1,000 allowance will work in the same way for an individual's property business income, it said.
Under the draft legislation, individuals with income of less than GBP1,000 will not have to notify HMRC that they are making use of the allowance. The ATT fears that this could result in individuals unintentionally failing to notify HMRC if their annual income subsequently exceeds the allowance. The ATT has recommended that there could possibly be a simple notification process in order for an individual to qualify for the allowance.
"We think that it would be sensible to consider making entitlement to the allowance conditional on notification to HMRC that an individual wishes to use it," said Michael Steed, Co-chair of ATT's Technical Steering Group. "In that way, the individual would be far less likely to receive an enquiry from HMRC about their income from an apparently undeclared source of income and HMRC could safely disregard information about low levels of income received by someone who had notified their use of the allowance."
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