I think what the majority of respondents are saying (and certainly that goes for me) is that we are not opposed to PTAs, per se. Indeed, I have one myself and so I am entirely unsurprised that 80% of ATT delegates have one, too.
A PTA can be of (limited) use where the taxpayer is NOT within the SA system. But where they are, the PTA really adds nothing to the sum of human knowledge, certainly as far as the tax agent is concerned.
Worse still, a PTA is entirely unintelligible to the lay person. In fact, as I stated in my first posting, they are unintelligible to me and I spent over 20 years as a senior Revenue Inspector and even longer than that as a specialist tax consultant.
I remain of the view that if a client is prepared to go to the expense of hiring an accountant/tax agent they are, by inclination, not going to want to spend time trying to decipher their PTA. You don't get a dog and bark yourself! But, even if they did, they could either misunderstand the info or ask the agent to clarify it, which defeats the object and increases their fees (or the agent's write-off time).
This is basically why we have an agent-only SA portal. By all means open up the PTA to agent view but encouraging clients to use it is, frankly, wrong-headed at best and downright dangerous at worst.
To Nodrogbir (RIB Gordon??)
I had a similar situation to the one you've described with a one-off withdrawal on my own SIPP in April. I looked at my PTA and, frankly it was unintelligible. There's stuff on there about estimated income and tax liability for the year, RTI info held, estimated CY underpayment and the tax code itself, but no actual P2 breakdown!! I had to get that from my own SA record.
I didn't even bother to send the online form - I just phoned the general helpline and put up with the dire recorded so-called music (which hasn't changed in a decade) until a real person answered. My code was quickly put right with a rather wearied attitude, as in "Lord Help Me, another one of those!"
I have 50 years experience of tax both inside and outside the Revenue and if I find the PTA confusing my clients have got absolutely no chance. In fact I positively discourage them from using the system as the potential for a "DIY" disaster is enormous. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!
"The directors are discharging the liabilities of the company through their loan accounts - so they are in fact paying for the vehicles themselves."
Sorry, you are making the classic mistake of letting logic overrule the legislative language. The legislation states that a benefit arises where a car is provided by the employer by reason of the employment. If the company takes out a lease on the car that is sufficient to satisfy that condition. For the car scale charge there is no direct equivalent to "making good", like there is with general BIKs. The scale charge can only be reduced if there is a required payment for private use (and ONLY the private use) of the car; as Judge Thomas observed, simply debiting the DLA does not satisfy this condition. Alternatively, the list price may be reduced by up to £5k if there is a required capital contribution.
The only other possible "get out clause" would be that private use of the vehicle is not only prohibited but does not/cannot occur. Not as easy as you may think, as the benefit is based on "availability", not only to the director/employee but also to members of their close family. So even a driving ban does not, of itself, prevent a scale charge from arising. (A SORN might.)
I think you'll find HMRC have all the angles covered on this one!
Although, I cannot argue with the general sentiment of G Webber's post, on a point of order, Mr Chairman, this wasn't a prosecution, it was (as I understand it, anyway) an appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal against the lower Tribunal's decision in favour of the Revenue. As such they were not in any position but to argue their case, as flawed as their arguments may be.
True, they do act like rottweilers when it comes to NMW but the LSS prosecution strategy never came into play here: it was merely a case of disputed liability.
Fair point but surely the answer is glaringly obvious? The company is paying non-allowable travel costs tax and NI-free which should have been subjected to PAYE/NI. So the company is liable - one might even say culpably liable - to pay the underpaid sums to HMRC. They can hardly argue that they have taken reasonable care etc if the poster him or herself has picked up on it!
Beware the sleight of hand! Simultaneously, the NI upper threshold is being increased to £50,024. This means that all those "tax savings" charts in today's Newspapers are incorrect. These tables (copied from Treasury press releases) are showing £860 pa tax savings for those on £50k pa, i.e assuming a 20% saving on the raised threshold slice. But the actual net savings will be just 12% max, and even that's before taking into account any increased pension contributions which might be payable under auto-enrolment. Let's halve those savings, shall we?
The Chancellor giveth and the Chancellor taketh away!!
"Private sector wont roll over to have their tummy's tickled like the public sector has."
I really wish I could share your confidence in this but I very much fear that the private sector will turn out to be just as risk averse (and possibly even more so) than the public sector. Certainly for SMEs, where there would be a potentially serious impact on the bottom line if HMRC were to challenge a sub-contractor's employment status.
Hitherto, the cross to the Revenue's vampire has always been "make sure they work for you via a psc". If the private sector has to follow in the public sector footsteps this won't Count (sic!) for anything. One would also need to expose the said vampire to full sunshine!
"In fact the reduced allowance is now only £4,000 so shouldn't the penultimate paragraph use that number?"
I may be wrong but I think the £4,000 figure is the current cap on "recycled contributions", i.e where someone has entered into flexi-access drawdown and still wants to make pension contributions. This figure was of course £10k until the last tax year.
The £10k cap was and still is the limit for relief on contributions made by those not in flexi-access drawdown but are well into the top tax rate of 45%. It was only "co-incidentally" the same as the re-cycled contributions cap.
This is nothing whatsoever to do with the length of time these things take. It is quite simply just a further signal to "offshore tax avoiders/evaders" that HMRC are going to treat them as a special class of offender. It's entirely on all fours with the introduction of a maximum 200% penalty for tax due where there has been pretty well any offshore element. To keep the analogy going: "Bad dog! Very bad dog!!"
How is all this going to work under the PAYE system? There must be hundreds of thousands of Scottish-resident taxpayers who work for a non-Scottish HQ'd employer. (I have a couple.) Does this mean that all UK payroll software has to be configured to incorporate the various different Scottish rates and bands in addition to all the UK rates and bands? Ye Gods!