Every self assessment season, AccountingWEB members get an exclusive look into the online Q&A Surgery run by Rebecca Benneyworth for Sage Taxation customers.
The self assessment clinic is a free service Sage provides to supplement its normal product support, so tax advisers who bump into technical rather than technological snags have an expert they can turn for quick answers. If you have a software issue with Sage, then ring the product support line, but for anything to do with completing or filing tax returns for your clients, Rebecca will be available during office hours to provide a little extra support.
She will be on duty during between from 9am-5pm between 20 and 31 January, but won’t be glued to the screen at all times. Don’t expect instant answers, but all serious queries will be dealt with when she can get back to her computer.
One issue that has been quiet so far has been dealing with returns for people who have had to register for self assessment because they claim child benefit and fall into the new higher income child benefit charge (HICBC).
“I didn’t hear much about this before Christmas, so I’m curious to know if it’s causing problems - for example for advisers who may not be working for both partners and need to get details on the spouse’s income,” Benneworth said.
“Then most important thing for agents is to be able to advise clients if they need to stake a claim. For example if a client has opted out and their income drops below £60,000 they can opt back in retrospectively for up to two years. The timing is a bit awkward, so you may have to tell clients about that after January - and there are still some discussions about the practical implications, especially for people on incomes between £50,000-£60,000.”
Another trap for the unwary is where clients have received awards for PPI mis-selling claims, for which tax will be due on any extra interest received. Before the Finance Act 2013, there were different rules in place about whether basic tax was deducted at source, depending on whether the award came from an insurer or bank.
“It’s so easily missed because it’s non-standard, or clients may not realise that it needs to be declared. That’s one to watch for, because HMRC is likely to have the information on it,” she said.
Those wishing to enlist Rebecca’s help should register here to take part and put their questions to her.
However, even if you’re not a Sage customer, you can still log on and see how the conversation unfolds at the bottom of this page. We will endeavour to put queries posted here to Rebecca too, but they will have to wait until Rebecca has dealt with Sage user queries.
While next year could be a little more challenging with new child benefit and capital allowances regimes to cope with, AccountingWEB’s resident tax expert is expecting a quiet tax season on the technical front, but is anticipating the return of “old chestnuts” such as dealing with clients without UTRs, or people who have only just come forward with several years’ tax returns and penalties to unravel.
The chat transcript will start when the Surgery opens at 9am on Monday 20 January and will appear below. If you can't see the chat box email [email protected] and let us know.
For more self assessment support videos, technical tips and ‘how to’ guides, visit www.sage-exchange.com/taxation.