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September Questions and Answers

Newsletter issue - September 2014

Q. Private school fees are so expensive, can I get my company to pay the fees directly and save myself a bit of tax?

A. If the company pays a bill, such as the school fees, which you are personally liable to pay, the payment is treated for national insurance (NI) purposes, as if the company had paid it to you so the company must pay employers NI on top of the amount of the fee. However, it is a benefit in kind so it must be reported on the form P11D and the income tax you are due to pay will be included in your PAYE code for the next year. In the long run you don't save any tax or NI.

If your company contracts directly with the school to be the person responsible for paying the school fees, the tax position is slightly different. The payment must be treated as a benefit in kind and reported on your form P11D, and the company must pay class 1A NICs on the amount paid. You pay tax on the payment to the school, but not NICs.

Q. I was travelling abroad on business last month when I got terrible tooth ache. I sought emergency treatment at a local dentist and paid the bill using my company's debit card. Will I be taxed on the dentist's fee as a benefit in kind?

A. If the dental cost had been incurred while you were in the UK, it would have been a taxable benefit for you. But as you were working outside the UK at the time, your company can pick up the bill with no tax cost to you. The dental bill is also a valid deduction for the company as it forms part of the cost of sending you to work abroad for a short period.

Q. I own several properties which I let out unfurnished, but they do contain carpets, curtains and white goods. I've been told I can no longer claim the cost of replacing those items against my rental income. Is that true?

A. For periods before 6 April 2013 HMRC permitted a deduction for the cost of renewing carpets, curtains and white goods in all let residential properties on a concessionary basis. That concession was withdrawn with effect from 6 April 2013. The new rules now state that a wear and tear allowance (10% of the net rents) that covers furnishings and similar items, can only be claimed for fully furnished properties.

Your properties don't count as fully furnished, even though they contain some white goods and carpets. HMRC will not accept claims for the cost of free-standing white goods in unfurnished residential properties. It will allow a deduction for the cost of replacing fixtures such as baths, toilets, integrated fitted ovens and hobs, as those costs can be classified as repairs. If you replace part of the fitted carpet you could claim that as a repair, but not the cost of putting new carpet down in the entire property.

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