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  1. This financial year sees the start of the new marriage allowance. More than four million couples are eligible for a tax allowance of up to £212, but you have to formally claim it. Referred to by the Government as the Marriage Allowance, it is estimated that more than four million married couples and 15,000 civil partnerships are eligible for the tax break. To be eligible for the Marriage Allowance, the individual making the claim must earn less than £10,600 and their higher earning spouse or civil partner earn between £10,601 and £42,385. This does exclude those with earnings outside of these amounts and unmarried couples. The new Marriage Allowance has been designed to help couples not considered as high earners to keep more of the money they earn by allowing the transfer of 10 per cent of the personal tax allowance to their spouse or civil partner. This equates to £1,060 for the 2015/16 tax year, which could save up to £212 on this year's tax bill. Registration is very straight forward. From April 6, HMRC has been contacting those already registered and if eligible, issue new PAYE tax codes. But don't worry if you haven't applied straight away as registration can take place at any time during the tax year and still receive the full allowance. https://www.gov.uk/marriage-allowance
  2. The excuses were all used in unsuccessful appeals against HMRC penalties for late filing and payment. Here’s the full list: My pet dog ate my tax return…and all the reminders. I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a postbox or get an internet signal. I fell in with the wrong crowd. I’ve been travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency. Barack Obama is in charge of my finances. I’ve been busy looking after a flock of escaped parrots and some fox cubs. A work colleague borrowed my tax return, to photocopy it, and didn’t give it back. I live in a camper van in a supermarket car park. My girlfriend’s pregnant. I was in Australia. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/taxman-reveals-top-10-terrible-tax-excuses
  3. http://www.tax-news.com/news/HMRC_Hails_Victory_In_Stamp_Duty_Avoidance_Case____57427.html
  4. HM Revenue and Customs has received a bloody nose from a ruling which shows the courts will side with taxpayers and order HMRC to repay fines with interest where it can be shown to have acted unreasonably. Judge Geraint Jones QC ruled against the taxman and in favour of Kathleen Loma who was first told she had to complete a tax return in January last year, when HMRC sent her a paper form, which she returned before the January 31 deadline. However, HMRC then fined her £100 because paper returns had to be filed by the previous October 31. HMRC had not told the taxpayer she should file electronically or that January 31 is the deadline for online returns only. Judge Jones said: “The fact that HMRC did not return the paper tax return and insist that the appellant must file online leads me inexorably to the conclusion that it did, by its conduct, waive the requirement for the paper return to be filed by October 31, 2010, or for the appellant to file online by January 31. “She lost the opportunity to file online within time and thus avoid any penalty. It is not for HMRC to act in such an unconscionable manner. It should, as a matter of good conscience and proper administration, it being a public body that should abide by the highest standards of good administration and fairness, have promptly informed the appellant. It did not do so. “HMRC argues that the appellant failed to submit her paper tax return by the due date and that penalties are imposed to promote the efficient operation of the tax system, with the responsibility to submit being placed squarely on the shoulders of the taxpayer. That proposition might be acceptable in circumstances where, by its conduct HMRC has not misled the taxpayer or lulled her into believing that she has fulfilled the obligations. "To ignore the latter aspect of this case would be manifestly unjust. Appeal allowed. The appellant having paid the penalty of £100 already, same must be returned to her, with interest.” Richard Mannion, a director at Smith & Williamson, accountants, commented: “Some judges in the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) have made great efforts to defend the taxpayer from examples of poor customer service and HMRC’s incorrect interpretations of the law. The decisions made by Mr Jones and other judges have forced HMRC to rethink its processes and internal guidance. “The cases where the judges have found against HMRC indicate that taxpayers should not be afraid to consider taking a case to the FTT. Taxpayers who feel aggrieved about a penalty decision and who are considering going to appeal should certainly ask HMRC to carry out an ‘independent review’ of the original decision.” George Bull of Baker Tilly added: “This judge has become scourge of HMRC with good cause. This particular piece of conduct by HMRC seems to date back to a time when they gave every impression of doing whatever they could to maximise penalties charged on taxpayers. “They have made loud and strenuous efforts to improve their conduct since then. I hope we won’t be seeing many more tax cases like this. We need to remember that the whole purpose of electronic filing is to reduce the administrative burden on HMRC. “Having accepted the paper return but then tried to pursue a £100 penalty through the courts, the additional administrative burden for HMRC must have been colossal. Somewhere along the way, HMRC lost all sense of proportion.” However, the case should not raise false hopes for 630,000 people who were due to file tax returns for the fiscal year that ended on April 6, 2011, but have still failed to do so since the deadline on January 31, this year. They have already been subject to automatic £100 penalties, plus penalties of £10 per day – subject to a maximum of £900 – since May 1. Under the new tougher regime for tardy taxpayers, returns which remain outstanding after the end of this month, July 31, will be subject to additional penalties equal to £300 or 5pc of the tax due, whichever is greater. Link: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ianmcowie/100018627/taxman-gets-a-bloody-nose-in-court-but-630000-people-face-deadline-this-month/
  5. The areas of focus will include: A taskforce to tackle tax evasion among buy-to-let landlords will focus on East Anglia, London, Leeds, York, Leicester, Nottingham, Lincoln, Durham and Sunderland and is expected to recover £17million; A crackdown on taxi firms in Nottingham, Yorkshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire, expected to recover more than £2million; Targeting London’s indoor and outdoor market traders to recover £1.85million; A focus on restaurants in the Midlands to recover £2.5m. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/news/article-2152701/Taxman-target-buy-let-landlords-taxi-firms-Del-Boy-London-market-traders.html
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