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February Question and Answer Section

Newsletter issue - February 2014

Q. I work through my own personal service company. When I go abroad on business my customer normally pays for the cost of hotels and meals. Can I still claim the personal incidental expenses (PIE) from my own company?

A. Yes you can still claim the PIE, which is £10 per night for overseas trips, when you are abroad on business. The PIE is supposed to cover incidental expenses such as phone calls, newspapers and laundry, not the cost of hotel or meals.

Q. My investment property was let as furnished holiday accommodation until 31 August 2013. As I was not getting enough income as holiday lets I have let it on rolling six month tenancies from September onwards. How do I report the income? Should I split the year at 31 August, with the first five months treated as holiday lettings and the remaining period as normal property let?

A. For the property to qualify for the special tax reliefs due for furnished holiday lettings (FHL), it must qualify as FHL for the full 12 months. One of the conditions is that it must be available for holiday lettings for 210 days in the year. Your property was only available for holiday letting for 149 days, so it does not qualify for FHL for 2013/14. You should treat all of the income from the property as ordinary let property income in 2013/14. Assuming the property qualified as FHL in 2012/13, your FHL business is treated as ceasing on 5 April 2013. You may need to calculate closing balances for capital allowances at April 2013. We can help you with that.

Q. I've heard that I won't be able to reclaim the sick pay I pay to my employees from April. Is this true?

A. Unfortunately yes. Employers can currently recover statutory sick pay (SSP) as an off-set against PAYE due, if the SSP exceeds 13% of the class 1 NICs the employer pays over for the tax month. The excess SSP above the 13% threshold is the off-set amount.

For SSP paid on and after 6 April 2014 no off-sets will be given. The SSP will be an absolute cost to the employer,although it is a legal requirement to pay SSP to eligible employees. In return the Government is going to provide more help to employees who have been off sick for 4 weeks or more, in the form of a "back to work plan".

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