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Update on the VAT reverse charge for building contractors

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Our newsletter this month highlights: the VAT reverse charge for CIS traders; an extension to the cycle-to-work scheme; a reminder to get your Brexit risk assessment completed and news from HMRC that phone “spoofing” has been countered.

Update on the VAT reverse charge for building contractors

VAT reverse charge for building contractors

From 1 October 2019, contractors who employ subcontractors, will need to assume responsibility for declaring and paying the VAT that was previously settled by their VAT registered subcontractors.

From this date, registered subcontractors will no longer add VAT to their invoices and main contractors will pay this net of VAT amount.

Now the challenging part.

The main contractor will then add the appropriate subcontractor VAT to their VAT return and add the same amount to their input tax. These two amounts will contra so apart from the hassle of organising the accounting entries both parties, the subcontractor and the main contractor will be in the same position as before.

So why, you may ask, were the changes made?

Unfortunately, in the past many subcontractors have registered for VAT, invoiced for their services and collected the VAT inclusive amount from their contractor customers, and then disappeared without paying over the VAT they had collected.

The new system, implementing the so-called “reverse charge” process outlined above, simply shifts the responsibility for settling the VAT from the subcontractor to the main contractor.

All that is required from the contractor’s viewpoint is a tedious change to the way you code and enter subcontractor invoices in your accounting software. We can help you make these changes.

As highlighted above, the cash effects of the changes are neutral. Main contractors pay the net amount to subcontractors, add the deemed VAT that should have been charged to their VAT return, and then deduct the same amount as input VAT.

Which supplies will be affected?

HMRC have said that the domestic reverse charge will only affect supplies at the standard or reduced rates where payments are required to be reported through the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).

Therefore, supplies between sub-contractors and contractors, as defined by CIS, will be subject to the reverse charge unless they are supplied to a contractor who is an end user.

End users will usually be recipients who use the building or construction services for themselves, rather than sell the services on as part of their business of providing building or construction services.

The legislation also allows for those connected to end users, including landlords or tenants, to also be treated as end users. Therefore, intra-group and leasing re-charges of building and construction services connected to the end user are also excluded from the reverse charge.

Get ready for the changes

If you are likely to be affected, please call and we will organise any changes to your accounts software ? most systems accommodate the reverse charge process ? and show you how to process transactions affected after 1 October 2019.

You would also be wise to ensure that VAT registered subcontractors know what they need to do from 1 October 2019.

Reconsider cycle to work scheme

The government have recently announced that they are to extend the criteria for an approved, and therefore tax-effective, cycle-to-work scheme as part of their drive to reduce pollution and CO2 emissions in urban environments.

E-bikes have an integrated motor that helps a cyclist pedal, allowing them to reach speeds of up to 15.5 mph in the UK. They are seen as a game changer for their potential to make it easier for older or less fit people to make cycling a part of their commute.

The refreshed guidance will make it easier for employers to provide bicycles and equipment including e-bikes worth over £1,000, by making it clear that FCA authorised third party providers are able to run the scheme on their behalf.

According to their press release, the government is also working to drive down emissions across all modes of transport, committing to end the sale of new conventional diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040, investing in hybrid trains, doubling investment in cycling and walking since 2010, and launching the £2.5 billion Transforming Cities Fund which will develop innovative public transport schemes in some of England’s biggest cities.

Employers who draw their workforce from the local community might like to take a fresh look at adopting a formal scheme for their business.

Brexit risk assessment

It looks increasingly likely that we are heading for a no-deal Brexit. Taken literally, this means that our present relaxed trading relationship with customers and suppliers in the EU will cease at the end of October this year.

Whilst there will be attempts to ease customs congestion and the effects of new tariffs, now is not a good time to sit back and see what might happen.

Many companies have already started a formal risk assessment to clarify how their supply lines and costs would be affected, and this is a process that we would recommend that all businesses consider, and as soon as possible.

Even if your business has no direct trade with the EU, many of your customers and suppliers will, and this indirect linkage will have ramifications for your sales and costs post Brexit.

Trying to double guess the antics in parliament is a seemingly fruitless endeavour. If we are going to survive the disengagement with the EU it would be wise to join the ranks of those businesses that are planning for all eventualities.

If you are still unsure how to proceed with a formal review of your Brexit planning, please call, we can help you consider your options.

HMRC prevents phone fraudsters

New defensive controls recently deployed by HMRC have put an end to fraudsters spoofing the tax authority’s most recognisable helpline numbers.

Fraudsters have increasingly mimicked legitimate HMRC helpline numbers (often beginning with 0300) to dupe taxpayers and steal money. Last year alone, HMRC received over 100,000 phone scam reports.

The ‘spoofing’ scam worked as taxpayers would receive calls and, on checking the numbers online, would find they appeared to belong to HMRC. This often led people to believe fake calls were real and enabled fraud.

The new controls, created in partnership with the telecommunications industry and Ofcom, will prevent spoofing of HMRC’s most used inbound helpline numbers and are the first to be used by a government department in the UK.

Criminals may still try and use less credible numbers to deploy their scams ? but that means they will be easier to spot.

Tax Diary July/August 2019

1 July 2019 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 30 September 2018.

6 July 2019 – Complete and submit forms P11D return of benefits and expenses and P11D(b) return of Class 1A NICs.

19 July 2019 – Pay Class 1A NICs (by the 22 July 2019 if paid electronically).

19 July 2019 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 July 2019. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 July 2019)

19 July 2019 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 July 2019.

19 July 2019 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 July 2019 is payable by today.

1 August 2019 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 October 2018.

19 August 2019 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 August 2019. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 August 2019)

19 August 2019 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 August 2019.

19 August 2019 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 August 2019 is payable by today.

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