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July Questions and Answers

Newsletter issue - July 2014

Q. Our company's board has decided it needs some expert input to help with the next stage of expansion. We have approached an individual to act as a non-executive director. He wants to invoice us from his personal service company for that work, but I would rather pay him via our company's payroll. Which is the correct approach?

A. The work that individual performs through his personal service as an officer holder (i.e. director or non-executive director) is now subject to IR35, which means his company must apply PAYE and NIC to that income earned as a non-exec. The tax and NI the individual ultimately bears will be the same; whether his company invoices your company, or if your company pays him via its payroll. There is no "correct" approach.

Q. I am thinking of selling a flat that has been let since I acquired it in 2012. I do not own another property. My tenant is moving out soon, after which I will either stay in it myself or sell it. Will I get lettings relief to reduce the capital gains tax (CGT) payable?

A. Lettings relief only applies if you have lived in the property as your main home for some period. So if your tenant moves out and you sell the property immediately you will not get lettings relief, or any relief from CGT, other than the annual exemption.

However, if you move into the property and make it your own home, the gain relating to your period of occupation will be free of CGT. The last 18 months of ownership will also be free of CGT even if you are not living in the property during that period. The total gain on sale can also be reduced by lettings relief, which is limited to the lowest of these three amounts:

  • the part of the gain which is exempt because the property was your main home;
  • the gain attributed to the period it was let; and
  • £40,000.

There are thus large tax savings to be made by occupying the property as your main home, but you must show that you intended the property to be a permanent residence, not a temporary occupation while the property was on the market. It is the quality of occupation not the length of time that demonstrates the property was your main home.

Q. I do some educational consultancy work in Africa for a business based in Ireland. My UK-based company will issue the invoice for that work, but it's in the flat rate scheme for VAT. Should that invoice be included in the turnover I apply the flat rate to?

A. The invoice your UK Company sends to Ireland for your work in Africa is outside the scope of VAT. You should not add VAT to that invoice, and you should exclude that invoice from the turnover used to calculate your flat rate payment of VAT for the quarter.

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