Is your occupation on HMRC’s Self Assessment “watchlist”?

If you’re a dentist, doctor, landlord or private tutor submitting your Self Assessment online this month, you may be under more scrutiny than other professions.

In recent years, the Government has developed a super-computer that collates data from key sources. The data helps pinpoint discrepancies in an individual’s Self Assessment tax return and, as a result,  identifies the occupational groups most likely to file late or inaccurate returns.

Doctors and dentists are high on the “watchlist”.  Already HMRC has collected at least £10m in unpaid tax from these professionals by, for instance, using data collected from drug companies, locum agencies and other organisations to spot errors in individual returns.

Landlords also receive this kind of special treatment. HMRC is actively examining people who rent out properties abroad or who own three or more properties in the UK. Landlords we’re told often “accidentally” include traditional mortgage capital repayment as an expense.

Elsewhere, tutors teaching subjects as disparate as horse-riding and music are also coming under HMRC’s close scrutiny.

Give yourself more time to get your Self Assessment right this time

If you’re in one of the professional groups prone to filing your return late and inaccurately there’s one new first step you can take to make a better start in 2017.

The future is now with GOV.UK Verify

The new, simple and straightforward way to access Self Assessment online is to use SecureIdentity and GOV.UK Verify. It takes only 10 to 15 minutes to create an account and you can begin filling in your Self Assessment tax return immediately. You’ll need to download the SecureIdentity Simple Sign-in App from the Apple store or Google Play. Have your  identity documents to hand (ie: your passport, driving licence and bank statements) and choose SecureIdentity when you’re asked to select a certified company to verify your identity at GOV.UK Verify.

Help your friends or family with their tax affairs

Tax returns and other Government services have gone digital, which can be daunting for some people, especially the elderly, disabled, infirm or vulnerable who may be reluctant to go online themselves.

You can help friends and family access the Government services they need online by becoming a “trusted helper”.

A trusted helper can:

  • confirm that their friend or family member’s Income Tax assessment is correct
  • update or check their friend or family member’s personal tax account
  • claim their friend or family member’s tax refund
  • check their friend or family member’s company car tax

You can be a trusted helper for up to 5 people using SecureIdentity and GOV.UK.

Here’s how it works

If you already have a SecureIdentity just use your Simple Sign-in app to login. If you don’t already have a SecureIdentity you can create one in 10 to 15 minutes. Just choose SecureIdentity when you’re asked to select a certified company to verify your identity at GOV.UK Verify).

After verifying your identity, you’ll need the following details for each individual that you will be helping:

  • first name and surname
  • date of birth
  • National Insurance number

The person that you are helping will need to verify their identity on GOV.UK Verify. They will have to sign in to their account and accept you as a ‘trusted helper’.

Remember that even if you are helping someone with their tax, they are still responsible for their own taxes.

More about becoming a trusted helper

What is Universal Credit? We explain all

Universal Credit is the new benefit which is being introduced nationwide. It’s part of the Government’s overhaul of the welfare system.

The six credits that Universal Credit is replacing are:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

How much?

The benefits calculator on the GOV.UK website estimates what benefit contributions you are entitled to.

And here’s our summary of how Universal Credit will affect claimants:

Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

The first payment is made after seven days. A Claimant Commitment will detail the tasks you will need to complete to remain eligible for payments. And you will have to attend regular appointments at the Jobcentre.

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

With Universal Credit, claimants no longer have a cap on the number of hours you can work.

Universal Credit payments will be reduced in relation to the level of your income increase. Universal Credits are reduced gradually and if you are not earning enough you are entitled to top-up contributions.

New rules for young adults aged 18 to 21

From April 2017 Universal Credit claimants in this category will have to attend a Youth Obligation programme for six months. Following this they will be expected to apply for apprenticeships, traineeships or work placements.

Income Support

Universal Credit will eventually replace this benefit.

Working Tax Credits

If you become unemployed and begin claiming Universal Credit your working tax credits will stop. Also, if you begin living with a partner who receives Universal Credit your tax credits will stop as you become joint claimants.

Child Tax Credits

Universal Credits will replace Child Tax Credits, Tax Credits contributing towards childcare plus any additional payments. The additional payments cover contributions you receive towards childcare if you’re working, these can be up to 70% of registered childcare costs.

Housing Benefit

If you rent, your Universal Credit will be paid into your bank account. It will then be your responsibility to pay your landlord. If you receive contributions towards your mortgage repayments the money will paid directly to your mortgage lender.

Also note that once you or your partner starts earning, mortgage contributions will not be included in your Universal Credit.

Information for the self-employed

Universal Credit is not available to the self-employed. But if you are on Universal Credit and then choose to become self-employed you will be supported until your business grows.

The other benefits combined & how it’s worked out

The amount of money you get is calculated through a comparison of your basic financial needs to what you need to live on with your financial resources. These resources include the support you receive towards housing, children, childcare, if you have a disability, or if you are a carer.

Also note that cohabiting partners who are both eligible for Universal Credit will receive one joint, monthly payment.

How to apply

To be eligible you must be a resident in Great Britain, aged 18 years or over and no longer in education. But in exceptional cases you can claim Universal Credit if you are 16 or 17 years old with no parental support.

Claimants must be below Pension Credit age. But if in a couple and one of you is over Pension Credit age, you’ll both need to claim Universal Credit as a couple until you both reach Pension Credit age.

Find a local adviser to receive support and advice from.

When
Here’s a map of when and where Universal Credit is being rolled out.

Where
And here’s a link to create a secure digital identity to claim Universal Credit (limited service).