12 June 2018

Here at Nwes, we pride ourselves on sharing the important news with our audience to keep you all up to date with the latest in the business world.

Scammers posing as HMRC

Her Majesties Revenue and Customs  (HMRC) has issued a warning to taxpayers regarding the latest tax refund scams. These scams are targeting individuals via email and text messages.

The department is currently processing genuine tax refunds for the 2017/18 tax year and the fraudsters are sending scam messages which claim that taxpayers are entitled to a rebate. These messages go on to request that they provide their personal and account details to make their claim.

The correct process HMRC will only ever inform individuals of a tax refund by post or through their employer, and never via email, text messaging or voicemail. HMRC is advising taxpayers not to click on any links, download any attachments or provide any personal information, and to forward any suspect messages to HMRC.

Company car fuel rate changes

New company car advisory fuel rates have been published which take effect from 1 June 2018. The rates only apply to employees using a company car. The  HMRC guidance states that the rates only apply when you either reimburse employees for business travel in their company cars or require employees to repay the cost of fuel used for private travel.

Universal credit for the self-employed

The government has published a report, Universal Credit: supporting self-employment which tackles the issues faced by self-employed claimants and the impact of the Monthly Income Floor (MIF) earnings requirement.

To be eligible for Universal Credit (UC) claimants must earn the MIF. However, the MIF assumes self-employed claimants earn a regular income at least equal to the National Minimum Wage and makes no provision for those with income and expenditure that vary from month to month. The report states that the MIF has been designed with monthly paid employed individuals in mind rather than the self-employed who may have more volatile earnings.

It also considers the current system which allows self-employed individuals to be exempt from meeting the MIF for the first 12 months of self-employment and whether this is sufficient. The report urges the Government to extend the exemption period.

The National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage rates, which change every April are Apprentice: £3.70, Under 18: £4.20, 18-20: £5.90, 21-24: £7.38 and over 25: £7.83

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage underpayments.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and HMRC are urging underpaid workers to complain about National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) underpayments. Recent figures show that the number of workers receiving the money they are owed has doubled.

During 2017/18, HMRC investigators identified £15.6 million in wages are owed to more than 200,000 of the UK’s lowest paid workers. This is an increase on the previous year’s figures of £10.9 million for more than 98,000 workers.

HMRC launched its online complaints service in January 2017 and believes this has contributed to the 132% increase in the number of complaints received over the last year and the amount of money HMRC has been able to recoup for those unfairly underpaid.

The figures are published as the government launches its annual advertising campaign which encourages workers to act if they are not receiving the NMW or NLW. The online campaign urges underpaid workers to proactively complain by completing an HMRC online form.

HMRC state that the types of business receiving most complaints include restaurants, bars, hotels and hairdressing. If you are unsure that you are not meeting the legislation, contact your Accountant for support and advice.

Fuel increases

Petrol prices rose by 6p a litre in May – the biggest monthly increase since the RAC began tracking prices 18 years ago with higher crude oil prices and a weaker pound was to blame for the increases. Average petrol prices hit 129.4p a litre, while average diesel prices also rose by 6p to 132.3p a litre.

To find out more about starting or running for your business, call 0845 609 9991 or visit www.nwes.org.uk

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