Welcome to the December 2009 Newsletter from Connolly Accountants Ltd

Business owners are being urged to take account of the forthcoming changes to the rules on filing VAT returns. From 1 April 2010, businesses with an annual turnover of more than £100,000, and those newly registered for VAT, will need to file returns online.

Meanwhile, reports have revealed that the increase in the basic state pension, announced in the recent 2009 Pre-Budget Report, will not apply to all areas of the state pension system.

Finally, a reminder that from 1 January 2010 the standard rate of VAT will revert to 17.5%. At the same time the stamp duty 'holiday' will come to an end, meaning that the threshold of £125,000 will once again apply to residential properties. And don't forget that 31 January is the last date for filing the 2009 Tax Return online.

We would like to wish all of our customers Season's Greetings and best wishes for the New Year.


Businesses reminded of VAT filing changes

VAT-registered businesses are being urged to take note of the forthcoming changes to the rules on filing returns.

From 1 April 2010, businesses with an annual turnover of more than £100,000 (excluding VAT) will need to have their VAT returns filed online and payments made electronically, for accounting periods beginning on or after that date.

Meanwhile, businesses with an effective VAT registration date on or after 1 April 2010 will need to have returns filed and payments made online, regardless of their turnover.

The remaining VAT registered businesses may continue to file paper returns for the time being, but the situation is set to be reviewed by 2012.

HM Revenue & Customs has confirmed it will be mailing formal letters in February to all existing companies affected by the changes.

Penalties for failing to make an electronic return will be applied to periods ending on or after 31 March 2011.

We can help with all your tax planning needs, including dealing with your tax returns on your behalf - please contact us for information and assistance.


State pension increase 'will not apply to additional benefits'

An increase in the state pension, announced in the 2009 Pre-Budget Report, will not apply to all areas of the pension system, it has been revealed.

Chancellor Alistair Darling announced that the basic state pension would increase by 2.5% in April, bringing the full basic rate to £97.65 a week.

However, a number of additional pension-related benefits are set to be frozen, including the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (Serps).

Meanwhile, recent reports have suggested that graduated pension schemes could also remain frozen, together with the extra pension paid to men with wives under the age of 60, and the additional pension paid to over 60s who have delayed their retirement.

Pensions minister Angela Eagle has said that the decision to freeze additional benefits was made in order to ensure a 'level playing field' between the public and private sectors.

The decision is expected to save the Treasury around £350m.


ESSENTIAL TAX DATES AND DEADLINES

1 January: Due date for payment of corporation tax for period ended 31 March 2009.

14 January: Due date for income tax for the CT61 quarter to 31 December 2009.

19/22 January: Quarter 3 2009/10 PAYE remittance due.

31 January: First self assessment payment on account for 2009/10.

Capital gains tax payment for 2008/09.

Balancing payment – 2008/09 income tax/Class 4 NICs.

Last day to renew 2009/10 tax credits.

Deadline for amending 2007/08 Tax Return.

Last day to file the 2009 Tax Return online.

For more information on key tax dates and deadlines, visit our 2009/10 Tax Calendar.


QUOTE OF THE MONTH

'Of course, lots of people have reservations about the idea of ending cheque payment. It's a familiar and centuries-old system which is still used by countless small businesses for 'arm's length' payments.'

Matthew Goodman of the Forum of Private Business, speaking ahead of the Payments Council decision on phasing out cheques.


WEBSITE OF THE MONTH

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

Information on the Government's Cycle to Work initiative, which offers tax breaks on bicycles and cyclists' safety equipment loaned to employees.


ON OUR WEBSITE

Essential business planning advice

For tips and advice on all aspects of business planning, visit the Your Business section.

The latest tax information

Visit our 2009 Pre-Budget Report summary here.

Cheques set to be phased out
Cheques are set to become a thing of the past, following a recent decision by the Payments Council.
Click here for the full story

Petrol prices fuel rise in inflation
UK inflation rose at a faster than expected rate in November, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics have revealed.
Click here for the full story

Parental leave set to be extended
Working parents with young or disabled children are set to enjoy new parental leave rights, with the introduction of a new European directive.
Click here for the full story

Revenue extends offshore tax amnesty
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has extended its offshore tax amnesty in an effort to encourage more people to use the scheme.
Click here for the full story

HMRC publishes new advisory fuel rates
HM Revenue & Customs has published new advisory fuel rates, which apply to all relevant journeys made on or after 1 December 2009.
Click here for the full story