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September Question and Answer Section

Newsletter issue - September 2010.

Q. The Taxman has told me I owe him £3,300, and I must pay at least £200 per month or a distraint order will be served. I can only manage to pay £150 per month, so what happens now?

A. A distraint order means tax officers, or bailiffs acting on behalf of the Tax Office, will come to your home or business and ask for full payment. If you don't pay immediately, they will make a list of your possessions to take away and sell at a later date. They can't take anything that is not owned by you, or is jointly owned, but you may need to provide proof of ownership such as receipts. The bailiff should also not take any essential tools of your trade, but your vehicle may not be regarded as essential. Your best option is to try to negotiate a schedule of payments you can afford with the Tax Office as soon as possible, or you may lose your possessions and possibly be made bankrupt.

Q. I own a very successful company in the UK, which is now largely run by the management people in the UK. This allows me to live in Spain for much of the year. I charge fees to my UK company through a Spanish company which is wholly owned by my wife. Does this set-up have any implications for UK tax?

A. Your UK company and your wife's Spanish company are considered to be associated companies by the UK Taxman, because the people controlling the two companies are married to each other. It makes no difference that the companies are registered in different countries. The profit thresholds that determine the rate of corporation tax paid by your UK company must be divided by the number of associated companies plus one. For example the higher rate of corporation tax (currently 28%) is due when profits exceed £1.5 million, but where there is one associated company this higher tax rate starts when profits exceed £750,000.

Q. The technology company I jointly own has suffered in the recession, so the directors' fees due for 2009 have not been paid, although the fees are shown as owing in the company accounts. Should I make any adjustment to the accounting loss for the unpaid fees, before I send the loss claim to the Tax Office?

A. If the directors' fees are not paid within nine months of the year end they must be excluded from the loss for corporation tax purposes. However, you should check whether the contracts with the directors include a firm promise to pay the fees by a particular date. Such a promise could create a tax point for PAYE purposes, so PAYE would be due even though the fees had not actually been paid.

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