Featured post

Self-assessment taxpayers given more time

Late filing and late payment penalty waived for one month.

On 6 January, HMRC issued a press release stating that, for the second year in a row, it is waiving the late filing and late payment penalties for those who complete self-assessment tax returns, by one month. This is to give, those who file, extra time to complete their 2020/21 tax return and pay any tax due.

HMRC recognises the pressure faced due to the pandemic for taxpayers and their agents, however, is encouraging taxpayers to file and pay on time if they can. Figures show that, of the 12.2 million taxpayers who need to submit their tax return by 31 January 2022, almost 6.5 million have already done so.

The deadline to file and pay remains 31 January 2022. However, the penalty waivers mean that:

  • anyone who cannot file their return by the 31 January deadline will not receive a late filing penalty if they file online by 28 February;
  • anyone who cannot pay the tax owed by the 31 January deadline will not receive a late payment penalty if they pay their tax in full, or set up a Time to Pay arrangement, by 1 April.

Interestingly, that Christmas was a popular time to file with over 31,000 filing over the festive period, but New year proved to be even more popular, with 33,467 tax returns filed on New Year’s Eve and 14,231 tax returns filed on New Year’s Day.

The following is a useful summary of the self-assessment timeline:

  • 31 January – self-assessment deadline (filing and payment);
  • 1 February – interest accrues on any outstanding tax bills;
  • 28 February – last date to file any late online tax returns to avoid a late filing penalty;
  • 1 April – last date to pay any outstanding tax or make a Time to Pay arrangement, to avoid a late payment penalty;
  • 1 April – last date to set up a self-serve Time to Pay arrangement online.
Featured post

Sarah Walker, Financial Planning Week Tip: Putting protection at the forefront of financial planning

The foundation of all financial advice is built on protection. There is little sense in building a great wealth portfolio on shaky ground. The fuel that powers our ability to build up our investments is often reliant on our ability to generate an income. If the fuel runs out, the vehicle stops moving. Therefore, it is logical to ensure (or should that be insure?) that our client’s income continues to flow, even in the event of them being unable to continue working due to ill health, or as the result of an accident.

How well we cement our client’s ‘foundations’ is dependent on what protection is available to them. Appropriate advice obviously relies upon needs and risks being identified and discussed. However, it is also vital that an in-depth conversation about a client’s health is conducted at an early stage. There is no point in discussing a solution with a client, if the product in question would ultimately be unavailable to them, due to their medical history, or even that of their family.

Conducting detailed research before making a recommendation to a client is extremely important. It ensures that expectations are managed, and this can come in many forms:

  • The premium – will a loading be applied, and, if so, what will the final premium look like?
  • Exclusions – will any be applied to the final underwritten offer issued by the insurer? If so, they need to be discussed with the client before an application is made, to avoid any unwelcome surprises once the underwriting has been completed.
  • Declined applications – can lead to awkward conversations with a client. Adverse and unwelcome decisions can often be avoided if the fact finding and research process is thorough at the outset. In other words, by not applying for cover that was always going to be declined.

Protection isn’t complicated, but sometimes it can be. There are a lot of moving parts to stay on top of. Insurance providers regularly update their policies, particularly critical illness and income protection cover.

They also regularly update their underwriting policies – just because a particular insurer previously accepted someone with an above average BMI on standard terms, it doesn’t mean they are going to offer the same terms again.

Unless you advise and arrange protection on a very regular basis, it is easy for knowledge to slip. In our experience, many clients in the ‘wealth management space’ tend to be in their 50’s and 60’s where it’s unusual to find a client with a clean bill of health. We also find that due to their age and the sum assured required, medicals and GP reports are frequently requested. Helping a client navigate safely and efficiently through this process can also take a considerable amount of time and effort.

Broadly, we find that clients are all too ready to insure their lives and maybe even protect themselves against critical illness, but income protection often lags behind as it isn’t deemed to be a priority.

In a year when Swiss Re reported a 10% reduction in income protection policies sold, we all know that the risk of becoming too ill to work is greater than the risk of suffering a critical illness or even dying.

Yet so much is reliant upon income, such as our:

  • Lifestyle
  • Mortgage
  • Bills
  • Mental wellbeing.
  • Pension contributions.
  • Education
  • Bank of Mum and Dad.
  • Payment for health/household insurances.

Often the person who stays at home to raise the family can be completely overlooked. If that person had an accident or was too ill to be able to run the house, raise the children, cook the meals, taxi drive the children, then who would do it? And how would that be financed?

Why liquidate hard-earned savings and assets, or be forced to downsize, when they can all be protected by arranging a suitable policy whilst paying an affordable monthly premium?

What matters is your duty of care to your client and that protection is considered at the forefront of financial planning.  

Featured post

Chris Jones, Financial Planning Week tip: Making the most of pensions tax relief ahead of another Budget

As we approach another Budget there will no doubt be the usual speculation that pensions tax relief may come under attack. And with the latest HMRC statistics showing the estimated gross tax cost of pensions tax relief at £41.3bn in 2019/20, this may be too tempting for the Treasury to ignore.

Whilst wholesale changes to pension tax relief are unlikely in the short term, there may be some tinkering with allowances and reliefs. Any further changes are unlikely to make to make pension contributions more favourable. Therefore, where clients have the available funds and allowances, it may be better to make contributions sooner rather than later.

It’s worth a reminder of the limits and mechanics of the tax relief available on pension contributions to ensure clients can maximise the benefits of making any contributions.

Annual allowance

The annual allowance limits the tax benefits on the total contributions paid in a tax year. This will include contributions made by the individual, their employer, or a third party on behalf of the individual. The standard annual allowance is £40,000. High earners may have a lower tapered annual allowance, which can be as low as £4,000 and will depend on their level of earnings. Those who have accessed their pension benefits flexibly may be subject to the £4,000 money purchase annual allowance.

Where an individual exceeds their annual allowance in any tax year they are be able to carry forward any unused allowances from any of the three previous tax years.  

If, after allowing for any carry forward, the contributions exceed the individual’s annual allowance in any tax year, the individual will be subject to an annual allowance charge. The annual allowance charge aims to reclaim the tax relief received on the contribution. The excess over the annual allowance is added to the individual’s other taxable income and charged at their marginal rates of income tax. 

For example, if a higher rate taxpayer exceeds the annual allowance by £10,000 the annual allowance charge would be £4,000 assuming they remained within the higher rate band after adding the £10,000 to their other income.

Tax relief on personal contributions

Tax relievable personal contributions are limited to 100% of the individual’s relevant earnings in the tax year they are paid, which is broadly earnings from their employment or self-employment. Other types of income such as dividends or buy-to-let rental income do not count as relevant earnings. 

It is not possible to carry forward unused earnings from a previous year. If, for example, an individual has unused allowances of £90,000 and earnings of £30,000 the maximum tax relievable personal contribution is limited to £30,000.

Where an individual’s earnings are less than £3,600 they can pay and receive tax relief on contributions of up to £3,600 in any tax year. It is not possible to carry forward this allowance.

Tax relief is available on personal contributions at the individual’s highest marginal rates of tax. How the relief is applied depends on what type of scheme the contributions are paid into, either a “relief at source” scheme or “net pay scheme”. Aside from non-taxpayers (please see below), the tax relief available is the same whichever method is used.

Relief at source

Personal pensions and group personal pensions will operate as relief at source schemes. With these, the contributions are paid net of basic rate tax and the provider adds the tax relief. The provider then reclaims this directly from HMRC. Basic rate relief is added regardless of the tax rate the individual pays, even if they are non-taxpayer. Any higher rate or additional rate tax is reclaimed direct from HMRC by the individual. The relief is claimed by increasing the individual’s basic rate tax band by the gross value of the individual’s contribution.

Example

Paul earns £70,000 a year and wants to make a gross contribution of £10,000 to a relief at source scheme. He pays a contribution of £8,000 to the pension provider who add the 20% tax relief.

Paul’s basic rate tax band is then extended by £10,000. This means that £10,000 more of his income is taxable at 20% rather than 40% and so he benefits from a further £2,000 of tax relief.

Net pay schemes

Most occupational schemes operate on a “net pay” basis. With this type of scheme, the individual’s pension contributions are deducted from their pay before it is subject to tax. This means the full amount of tax relief is applied immediately by reducing the taxable pay. Note though that National Insurance contributions are still applied to the full pay before the deduction of the pension contribution.

Example

Fiona earns £80,000 a year. She pays personal contributions of £5,000 to her occupational pension scheme. The £5,000 is paid gross to the pension provider and her taxable income reduces to £75,000. The net cost to her of the £5,000 pension contribution is £3,000 so she has received 40% tax relief.

Note that because contributions simply reduce the level of taxable earnings, any non-taxpayer in a net pay scheme will not receive tax relief. This is an anomaly in the tax system and one the Government has been consulting on to resolve.

Salary sacrifice

With salary sacrifice, the employee reduces their salary in exchange for a pension contribution. Therefore, technically, the pension contribution is an employer contribution. For tax purposes it works in a similar way to a net pay scheme. However, the advantage of salary sacrifice is that it reduces the salary for all purposes, meaning that both the employer and employee also save the National Insurance on the amount sacrificed.

Tax relief on employer contributions

Employer contributions are always paid gross. As long as they are within the individual’s annual allowance there is no tax consequences on the employee. The employer can claim relief against corporation tax on the contributions as long as they meet what are known as the “wholly and exclusively” rules. Essentially this means that in order to benefit from tax relief, any contributions must be a genuine expense in the running of the business. In a normal employer/employee relationship this is unlikely to be an issue as there would usually be a genuine commercial reason for paying employer pension contributions as part of the employee’s reward structure.  

For small owner managed limited companies it can also be an extremely tax efficient way of extracting funds from the company. Again, meeting the “wholly and exclusively” condition in this type of situation is rarely a problem where the owner/director is taking on the business risks (e.g. as a shareholding director) of the company. However, issues can arise where contributions do not represent the fair market reward for a role – if, for example, a large contribution is made for the spouse of a director who has minimal duties (and that spouse is not is taking on the business risks of the company) and a pension contribution of that size would not normally be made for other employees who have similarly minimal duties.

Unlike personal contributions, employer contributions are not limited to the level of the individual’s earnings. So, for example, a director earning £10,000 could also receive an employer pension contribution of £40,000. The company will receive corporation tax relief on the contribution as long as it meets the “wholly and exclusively” rules.

Lifetime allowance

In addition to the limits on pension contributions, the lifetime allowance (LTA) sets a limit on the overall benefits that an individual can receive from all of their pension plans without suffering an additional tax charge. The LTA is currently £1,073,100 and is frozen at this level until 2025/26. Where an individual takes benefits in excess of this, or dies or reaches age 75 without taking their benefits, an LTA charge applies on the excess. The LTA charge is 55% if benefits are taken as a lump sum or 25% if the funds are used to provide an income. Any income is also subject to income tax at the point it is taken.

Where uncrystallised funds or funds in drawdown are subject to an LTA test at age 75 the tax charge on any excess is always at 25%.

With the LTA currently frozen, more and more clients are likely to be impacted by the limit and charges. This limit also needs to be considered for clients considering making further contributions.

Earlier in the year there were rumours that this limit may be reduced further, and this is one to watch out for in the Budget. The only positive news is that whenever the LTA has been reduced in the past, protection has been available to allow clients to protect the LTA at the current levels.

When to consider a Transitional Tax-Free Amount Certificate

The lifetime allowance was abolished on 5 April 2024. However, there are instead new rules limiting the tax-free lump sum payments from pensions both in lifetime and on death.

As part of the changes HMRC provided the option to apply for a Transitional Tax-Free Amount Certificate to have lump sums previously taken assessed under the new rules, as a monetary amount, rather than under the Lifetime Allowance standard transitional calculations. The standard transitional calculation based the deemed amount used on 25% of the Lifetime allowance used at previous crystallisations.

Who can apply?

The legislation and HMRC guidance states that anyone can apply provided they have an LTA % used. This will be everyone who experienced a BCE from 6th April 2006 to 5th April 2024.

This rules-out those who only took benefits before 6th April 2006 because those benefits won’t have been tested against the Lifetime Allowance.

It also rules out those who haven’t crystallised any benefits too, but there is nothing to test so there could be no benefit anyway.

Even if the member has used 100% of their LTA then they can apply if it is beneficial for them.

Who can you rule out quickly?

  1. Anyone who has no uncrystallised funds on 6th April 2024 and does not plan to make any further contributions.
  2. Anyone that only took benefits from when the LTA was £1,073,100 ie from 6 April 2020 onwards (or after the date of their protection certificate) and took their full entitlement to tax free cash from those crystallisations each time. This is because the standard calculations will mirror what has happened and as such no benefit will be gained from applying for a certificate. (if 100% of LTA see next section)
  3. Anyone that took benefits when the LTA was higher than £1,073,100 ie between 6 April 2006 and 5 April 2016 and took their full entitlement to tax free cash from those crystallisations each time. Again, the standard calculation will mirror this.
  4. Anyone where their current LSA and LSDBA give plenty of headroom against the availability of future benefits. This could mean that their total benefits are such that they will never be able to use the full remaining LSA or LSDBA based on the standard transitional calculations. This is of course a judgement call based on their age, fund value and plans in the future.

Exceptions to the rule

The one exception to all of these rules is that if the client has used 100% of the LTA then they won’t be entitled to any LSA or LSDBA without a certificate.

So even if there is no benefit for them to apply with regards to tax free cash, it will reinstate some of their LSDBA for the purposes of paying tax free lump sums on death or in serious ill health.  However, as above, if they have no remaining uncrystallised funds at 6/4/2024 and don’t plan to make further contributions, there is still no benefit in the TTFAC.

Who may benefit from applying for a TTFAC?

The key potential beneficiaries are those who have or are likely to have funds with a total value in excess of £1,073,100 or their own protected higher lifetime allowance and any of the following.

  • Took benefits between 6 April 2006 and 5 April 2024 without their full tax-free cash entitlement.
  • Took benefits during tax years 2016/17 – 2019/20, ie when the lifetime allowance was less than £1,073,100, without any lifetime allowance protection.
  • Reached age 75 before 6 April 2024 with uncrystallised funds and have not since taken their tax-free cash entitlement
  • Transferred funds to QROPS
  • Took benefits that contained a disqualifying pension credit
  • Took benefits that contained a GMP which restricted their cash to less than 25%

This is an example of one of the recent news bulletins that was posted on our Techlink website.  Signing up to Techlink will give you access to original articles, like this, on a daily basis.  Techlink also provides you with a comprehensive (and searchable) library of information, daily bulletins on developments of relevance to the industry, multimedia learning and professional development tools. Techlink can also be your ‘gateway’ for accessing consultancy through our ‘ASK’ service which enables you to receive responses to your technical questions from our highly trained technical consultants.

You can sign up for a free 30 day trial of Techlink at anytime.  For more information go to www.techlink.co.uk.

Tax allowance cuts and freezes, and tax returns

Despite its widespread administrative difficulties, the arrival of the new tax year has seen HMRC promptly issue reminders to its ‘customers’ about the need to complete a tax return. But what about those who were dragged into tax in 2023/24 or will be in the current tax year by the cuts to the dividend allowance and/or the capital gains tax annual exempt amount and/or our old friend, fiscal drag?

Dividend allowance

The dividend allowance was £1,000 in 2023/24 and has reduced to £500 for 2024/25. At the time the cuts were announced, in the 2022 Autumn Statement, an HMRC policy paper said ‘It is estimated that this will affect 3,235,000 individuals in the year 2023/24 and 4,405,000 individuals in the year 2024/25. Around 46% of those with taxable dividend income will be unaffected by this measure in the year 2023/24, falling to 27% in the year 2024/25.’

About 65% of taxpayers are outside the self-assessment regime and some of them will have tax to pay on their 2023/24 dividends for the first time. If such a taxpayer runs through the HMRC ‘Check if you need to send a Self Assessment tax return’ webtool, they will probably reach a page which says ‘Based on your answers, you do not need to send a return for 2023 to 2024.’ It then goes on to say:

Why the page still refers to £2,000 of dividend income is unclear – it looks suspiciously like a lack of updating from 2022/23. The ‘check your Income Tax” option needs the individual to sign in to their personal tax account using their Government Gateway user ID and password. Many outside self-assessment will, therefore, need to create a personal tax account first, before going any further. In theory the taxpayer also has the option of filing a self-assessment return – something that might be quicker than calling HMRC. However, online self-assessment also requires a personal tax account as paper returns cannot be downloaded from the internet. They can be requested from HMRC, but, in theory, HMRC will want a reason why the individual cannot file online.

Capital gains tax

The annual exempt amount was £6,000 in 2023/24 and has reduced to £3,000 for 2024/25. In the 2022 Autumn Statement, HMRC’s policy paper said ‘it is estimated that for the year 2023/24 around 500,000 individuals and trusts per year could be affected, increasing on a cumulative basis to 570,000 in 2024/25. Of this group, by 2024/25, it is estimated that 260,000 individuals and trusts will be brought into the scope of CGT for the first-time.’

The HMRC self-assessment webtool  asks ‘Do you need to pay any Capital Gains Tax?’ Unhelpfully, it also says ‘You usually have to pay Capital Gains Tax when you sell or give away most personal possessions worth £6,000 or more (apart from your car) or any other assets, such as shares or a holiday home’ without mentioning the annual exemption or anchoring the instruction to the gain that you make rather than the amount you receive or are deemed to receive. Answer ‘yes’ to the question and the result is:

The contrast between ‘may need to’ and ‘must’ register is an odd one, as is the fact that there is different treatment of capital gains in the webtool and self-assessment:

  • In the webtool, the question is about whether there is capital gains tax to pay.
  • In self-assessment, the requirement to complete the capital gains tax pages (SA108) is triggered if:
    • disposals exceed £50,000; or
    • gains before losses exceed the annual exemption.

In practice, the safety-first approach would be to follow the SA108 trigger, even if net gains are below the annual exemption. It is better to give HMRC too much information rather than rely on a defence of ‘I was following the webtool’ when HMRC start asking questions.  

Fiscal drag

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has calculated that, in 2023/24, there were 36.2 million taxpayers, 1.9 million more than if the personal allowance had been indexed. For 2024/25, the corresponding figures are 37.2 million and 3.2 million. Many of those will be dragged into tax because of:

  • Rises in State or other pensions, or
  • Interest income exceeding their personal savings allowance (and any available starting rate for savings band) because of rising interest rates since the end of 2021.

As far as State Pensions are concerned, the DWP supplies HMRC with details of payments (including in advance, so that tax codes can be determined). Where there is a tax liability arising as the result of a State Pension and tax cannot be collected via a PAYE code from other (non-State) pensions or earnings, then HMRC will issue a Simple Assessment with a demand to pay. This will be happening more frequently now, even though both the old State Pension (£8,814 in 2024/25) and new State Pension (£11,502 in 2024/25) are below the personal allowance. Extra State Pension entitlements, mostly from the pre-2016 additional pension, are the reason for total benefits exceeding the £12,570 of the personal allowance.

New tax liabilities on non-State pensions are normally automatically dealt with via the PAYE code. If the tax liability arises because of investment income, then the process is the same as outlined above for dividends – the taxpayer needs to inform HMRC.   

Comment

The Government has loaded more tax collection work onto HMRC and has done little to reduce it beyond raising the automatic threshold for self-assessment from £100,000 to £150,000 for 2023/24 onwards. That move has itself been criticised because of the importance of the £100,000 threshold in terms of the personal allowance and tax-free childcare.

Trust Registration Service changes announced in new anti-money laundering consultation

HM Treasury is consulting on changes to the MLRs as part of a wider programme of work aimed at reducing money laundering, which was set out in the Economic Crime Plan 2023-26. This consultation principally covers issues with the MLRs already identified by HM Treasury, for example in the 2022 Review of the UK’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulatory and supervisory regime. This review found that, while the core requirements of the regulations were mostly fit for purpose, there were potentially a number of technical changes that could be made to increase effectiveness and ensure proportionality for both regulated firms and customers. The consultation also includes issues put forward by key stakeholders, such as the anti-money laundering/counter terrorist financing supervisors, the regulated industries and their representative bodies, which could reduce burdens and make the regulations more effective at tackling economic crime.

The consultation covers four core themes:

  1. Making customer due diligence more proportionate and effective;
  2. Strengthening system coordination;
  3. Providing clarity on scope of the MLRs; and
  4. Reforming registration requirements for the Trust Registration Service (TRS).

The Treasury says that it is keen to hear from a wide range of stakeholders in response to the consultation, including regulated businesses and their customers, supervisory bodies, law enforcement agencies, civil society organisations and members of the public. The consultation document sets out a number of ways to respond to the consultation. This includes answering the questions via the online ‘Improving the Effectiveness of the Money Laundering Regulations’ form.

What TRS changes are being consulted on?

The TRS was introduced in 2017 to increase the transparency of trust ownership by providing a central register of the beneficial ownership of taxable trusts. Changes to the MLRs since then mean that the TRS now is a register of most types of UK express trusts and some non-UK express trusts. Please see our Trust Registration Service area on Techlink and HMRC’s guidance Register a trust as a trustee.

The purpose of the TRS is to document information about trusts and to make it available to law enforcement agencies to assist with their investigations. Since 1 September 2022, individuals and organisations can also access TRS information in certain limited circumstances. All individuals and organisations can access trust data where a trust has a controlling interest in an ‘offshore company’. Access to all other trust data requires the requester to have a “legitimate interest” in that trust information. A legitimate interest is demonstrated through evidence including an individual or organisation being involved in an investigation into money laundering and terrorist financing.

HMRC has overall responsibility for the TRS. Trustees have a responsibility to register their trusts, if they fall within the registration rules, and to keep the trust information up to date. Trustees of registrable trusts must also provide proof of registration to certain ‘relevant persons’, as set out in the MLRs. Relevant persons are advised not to do business with registerable trusts that fail to show proof of registration and must report to HMRC any material discrepancies between the information they hold on the trust and the information held on the TRS.

The Government is reviewing the operation and scope of the TRS: the role of the TRS in the investigation of money laundering and terrorist financing; the registration responsibility on trustees; and the changing international and national objectives to increase transparency of trusts. The purpose of the review is to identify areas where the TRS could be improved to continue meeting key policy objectives and to provide consistency and simplicity.

The Government says that it wants a targeted approach to trust registration requirements, to focus the requirements on the highest risk trusts. The Government proposes to make changes to the TRS to include:

  • requiring the registration of all non-UK express trusts with no UK trustees, that own UK land, regardless of when the land was acquired;
  • sharing trust information of non-UK express trusts with no UK trustees that own UK land by making these trusts subject to the current Trust Data Sharing process;
  • aligning the registration requirements of some trusts required to register following the death of a settlor;
  • clarifying that Scottish survivorship destination trusts are not required to register;
  • introducing a de minimis level for trust registration.

Registration of non-UK express trusts with no UK trustees, that own UK land

The Government recognises that there is currently a reporting gap of direct UK land ownership by wholly non-UK trusts. Since 6 October 2020, the MLRs have required non-UK express trusts, with no UK trustees, to register on the TRS if the trustees acquire land in the UK. However, non-resident trusts that acquired UK land or property before 6 October 2020 are not currently registered on the TRS unless the land ownership is creating tax liabilities for the trustees (for example, through letting). The Government therefore proposes to extend the requirement to register on the TRS to include express (i.e. non-taxable) trusts that acquired UK land before 6 October 2020.

In addition, a Trust Data Request cannot currently be made to access information held on non-UK express trusts, with no UK trustees, that have acquired UK land. In other words, this information cannot be shared with persons outside of law enforcement agencies. The Government is proposing to extend the TRS trust data sharing rules to include these trusts.

The National Risk Assessment (NRA) for Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing 2020 observed that the property sector faces a high risk from money laundering, due to the large amounts of cash that can be moved / invested in the sector and that non-UK trusts “…are likely to be more attractive for illicit purposes as they can offer better levels of secrecy and tax advantages compared to UK-based trusts”.

The Government says that it is against this backdrop that it seeks to improve the transparency of UK land ownership by non-UK trusts through increasing the scope of trusts that are required to be registered on the TRS.

Trusts required to register following a death

Currently will trusts are excluded from registering on the TRS for a period of two years from the date of death. However, there are other types of trust that become registrable on the death of an individual with different deadlines for registration on the TRS. Some of these are existing trusts which were not required to register on the TRS when the person was alive and some are trusts created as part of the estate administration process, namely:

  • co-ownership property trusts currently must be registered on the TRS within 90 days of a person’s death;
  • trusts created by deed of variation currently must be registered on the TRS within 90 days of being created.

The Government believes that a common registration deadline for those trusts associated with the estate of a deceased person will enable better compliance with the registration requirements.

The Government is therefore proposing to exclude co-ownership property trusts that would become registrable upon death from registration for two years from the date of death. This will align the timing of registration with will trusts that become registrable on death. Co-ownership property trusts are trusts of jointly held property. In cases where the trustees and beneficiaries (i.e the legal and beneficial owners) are the same persons, such trusts are excluded from registration. These trusts often arise in the purchasing of land and property in England and Wales. However, upon the death of one of the parties, as the trustees are no longer the same as the beneficiaries, the trust becomes registrable.

The Government is also proposing to exclude all trusts created by deed of variation that would become registrable upon death from registration for two years from the date of death. This will align the timing of registration with will trusts that become registrable on death. 

Scottish survivorship destination trusts

In Scotland it is possible for property to be owned jointly by property owners where the title to the property contains a special destination, known as a survivorship clause or survivorship destination. This clause directs that the property is held equally for the owners and the survivor. To revoke the survivorship destination after the property has been registered in the Land Register of Scotland, the property owners may either register a new deed in the land register where they will incur registration fees or create a trust that records that the survivorship destination has been revoked and sets out the new beneficiary of the property. Where a trust is created to revoke a special destination, this is an express trust, and it is therefore currently registrable on the TRS. Under English and Welsh Law, achieving this outcome would not result in a registrable trust. The Government is proposing to exclude Scottish survivorship destination trusts from the TRS registration.

De minimis exemption for registration

The government proposes to introduce a de minimis exemption for trusts required to register on the TRS. The de minimis exemption seeks to differentiate between small low value trusts and the higher risk trusts that hold property. Responsibility to determine whether a trust qualifies as being de minimis would fall to the trustees. The Government is proposing to exclude from registration a trust that meets all of the following tests:

  • the trust is not liable for relevant UK taxes;
  • the trust does not own or have an interest, in whole or in part, in UK land/real property;
  • the trust does not hold more than £5,000 in assets;
  • the trust does not distribute more than £2,000 in assets and expenses (combined) in any 12-month period.

Once a trust exceeds any of the threshold amounts, the trust would become registerable and remain registerable. For instance, were the value of a trust’s assets to be above £5,000 and then fall below this amount, then the trust would remain registerable.

From tax year 2024/25 a new tax rule will take trusts out of income tax where their income is less than £500, allowing more trusts to meet the first test. The Government similarly recognises that some settlors may attempt to create multiple trusts in order to meet the proposed de minimis criteria for registration above. To this end the Government proposes to put restrictions in place to prevent this from happening.

(The rule for income tax is set to be that where a settlor has created a number of trusts, the £500 limit will be proportionately reduced for accumulation & maintenance trusts and discretionary trusts by the total number of the current trusts to a minimum of £100. Interest in possession trusts, settlor-interested trusts, vulnerable beneficiary trusts, heritage maintenance trusts and certain pension schemes will not be taken into account.)

This consultation closes at 11:59pm on 9 June 2024.

In parallel with this consultation, HM Treasury is running a survey on the cost of compliance with the MLRs. The Treasury says that this will help it to understand better how regulated businesses comply with the regulations and to assess the impact of future changes to the MLRs. The Treasury is keen to receive responses from a wide range of regulated businesses, including large firms, SMEs and sole traders. You can see and respond to the survey at the Cost of compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations – survey for regulated businesses.

This is an example of one of the recent news bulletins that was posted on our Techlink website.  Signing up to Techlink will give you access to original articles, like this, on a daily basis.  Techlink also provides you with a comprehensive (and searchable) library of information, daily bulletins on developments of relevance to the industry, multimedia learning and professional development tools. Techlink can also be your ‘gateway’ for accessing consultancy through our ‘ASK’ service which enables you to receive responses to your technical questions from our highly trained technical consultants.

You can sign up for a free 30 day trial of Techlink at anytime.  For more information go to www.techlink.co.uk.

Raising standards in the tax advice market – new consultation

The Government’s consultation exploring options to improve the regulatory framework around standards in the tax advice market.

The new consultation, which was promised back in November 2021 – please see our earlier Bulletin – sets out three possible approaches to strengthening the framework:

  • mandatory membership of a recognised professional body;
  • joint HMRC – industry enforcement; and
  • regulation by a separate statutory Government body.

The consultation also explores approaches to strengthen the controls on access to HMRC’s services for tax practitioners.

It will be of interest to providers of tax advice and services, their clients or potential clients and tax and accountancy professional and regulatory bodies – basically, anyone who may receive or provide tax advice or offers services to third parties to assist compliance with HMRC requirements. This includes, for example, accountants, tax advisers, legal professionals, payroll professionals, bookkeepers, insolvency practitioners, financial advisers, customs intermediaries, charities and other voluntary organisations that help people with their tax affairs, software providers, employment agencies, umbrella companies and other intermediaries who arrange for the provision of workers to those who pay for their services, people who engage workers off-payroll, promoters, enablers and facilitators of tax avoidance schemes, professional and regulatory bodies, and clients, or potential clients, of all those listed above.

However, the Government says that it wants to avoid increasing burdens on professionals that are already robustly regulated. So, it proposes to exclude groups of tax practitioners who interact with HMRC that are already subject to statutory regulation, including those in regulated professions such as legal services, insolvency, audit, licensed conveyancers, and independent financial advisers. The Government says that, as these professionals are already subject to robust regulation, where this regulation extends to the provision of tax advice or services, it proposes to exclude them from this requirement. In detail, this is likely to include (but are not limited to):

  • legal professionals providing tax services regulated by an ‘approved regulator’ within the meaning of the Legal Services Act 2007 and Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010, and the Law Society of Northern Ireland by virtue of the Legal Complaints and Regulation Act (Northern Ireland) 2016;
  • professionals who are regulated in accordance with the Pensions Regulator, Prudential Regulatory Authority, Financial Conduct Authority, Insolvency Service, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, and the Funeral Planning Authority.

The consultation seeks views on:

  • potential approaches to raising standards;
  • whether the Government should pursue introducing a requirement for paid tax practitioners to be a member of a recognised professional body that supervises their professional standards;
  • how professional bodies and the Government can work together to raise standards of tax practitioners;
  • which groups of tax practitioners should be in scope or excluded from the proposed option;
  • a first step of mandating registration with HMRC for tax practitioners who wish to interact with HMRC on behalf of their clients, and the requirements that HMRC should establish to enable registration.

The consultation asks a number of questions, which are summarised below:

1: Do you agree the limitations in the partial framework across the tax advice market contribute to issues observed? Select all that apply and please give reasons for your answer:

  • no requirements of technical competence to practice;
  • no general deterrents for dishonest practitioners operating in the market;
  • disjointed monitoring of tax practitioners;
  • variations in the action taken against substandard and unscrupulous tax practitioners;
  • clients being unable to easily assess the competence of a tax practitioner;
  • other (please specify).

2: Are there other components of a regulatory framework that would support the delivery of these objectives?

3: Is there anything else that the Government should consider?

4: Do you think the Government should mandate the approach to registration for tax practitioners who wish to interact with HMRC? If no, please give reasons for your answer.

5: What are your views on the intention to apply the requirement to all tax practitioners who interact in any way with HMRC in a professional capacity?

6: HMRC currently applies several checks at the point of registration including: whether the tax practitioner has outstanding debt and/or, returns with HMRC, and the status of their AML supervision. Are there additional checks that the Government should consider for tax practitioners at the point of registration with HMRC?

7: Are there specific criteria or checks HMRC should apply if:

  • an individual, who has previously registered a company with HMRC as a tax practitioner, and attempts to register a new company?
  • a tax practitioner operating as a sole trader becomes incorporated?

8: Which approach do you think would best meet the objectives set out in chapter 4? Please give reasons for your answer:

  • approach 1: mandatory membership of a recognised professional body;
  • approach 2: joint HMRC-industry enforcement;
  • approach 3: regulation by a government body.

9: What are your views of the merits and problems of the three potential approaches described in this chapter?

10: Are there any other approaches to raising standards the Government should consider?

11: Do you think membership with a professional body raises and maintains standards of tax practitioners? Please give reasons for your answer.

12: What is your view of the capacity and capability of professional bodies to undertake greater supervision of tax practitioners?

13: What more could the professional bodies do to uphold and raise standards for their members?

14: What additional costs may professional bodies face if strengthening their supervisory processes?

15: What is the best way to ensure current and new professional bodies maintain high standards?

16: What role could the professional bodies play in supporting the clients of their members?

17: Should Government consider strengthening customer support options beyond the current complaints processes offered by professional bodies? Please give reasons for your answer.

18: What role should HMRC/the Government play under approach 1: mandatory membership of a recognised professional body?

19: Do you agree that the requirement should only apply to those who interact with HMRC? Please give reasons for your answer.

20: Do you agree that the requirement should only apply to controlling or principals of firms? Please give reasons for your answer.

21: Are there any other regulated professions that should be excluded from this requirement?

22: How can the Government ensure members of regulated professions have high standards in relation to their work providing tax advice or services?

23: What are your views of the proposed exclusions?

24: Do you think the following tax practitioners should be in scope of the requirement to become a member of a professional body member? Select all practitioner types you think should be in scope and please give reasons for you answer:

  • charities interacting with HMRC on behalf of taxpayers;
  • tax practitioners providing Pro-bono services;
  • promoters and enablers of tax avoidance;
  • overseas/offshore practitioners;
  • other (please specify).

25: What could be the consequences of introducing a legal definition of a provider of tax advice and services?

26: What gaps or issues can you see arising because of this definition?

27: How could unaffiliated tax practitioners be transitioned into professional body membership?

28: Should a legacy scheme be adopted? Please give reasons for your answer.

29: Do you agree a transition period of three years would give sufficient time for the market to adapt to the introduction of mandatory professional body members? Please give reasons for your answer.

30: What future developments would need to be accounted for in implementing mandatory professional body membership?

This consultation closes at 11:59pm on 29 May 2024. HMRC says that it will publish a summary of responses as soon as possible after the consultation period.

This is an example of one of the recent news bulletins that was posted on our Techlink website.  Signing up to Techlink will give you access to original articles, like this, on a daily basis.  Techlink also provides you with a comprehensive (and searchable) library of information, daily bulletins on developments of relevance to the industry, multimedia learning and professional development tools. Techlink can also be your ‘gateway’ for accessing consultancy through our ‘ASK’ service which enables you to receive responses to your technical questions from our highly trained technical consultants.

You can sign up for a free 30 day trial of Techlink at anytime.  For more information go to www.techlink.co.uk.

Marriage allowance: new claims process

Marriage allowance. A recent update from HMRC on the marriage allowance transfer claim form (MATCF).

As a reminder, the marriage allowance allows married couples/civil partners, born after April 1935, to transfer 10% of their personal allowance if one partner earns an income below their personal allowance of £12,570 and the other partner is a basic rate taxpayer.

So, an individual can transfer £1,260 of their personal allowance to their higher-earning partner, to reduce the amount of tax they pay. This means couples can reduce the income tax they pay by up to £252 (i.e. £1,260 x 20%).

According to HMRC’s latest Agent Update, the new MATCF form is available to view now.

All agents submitting a MATCF repayment claim on behalf of their clients, and who are wanting to receive the repayment directly, will need to use the new form from 26 February 2024. The new form can be found on Apply for Marriage Allowance by post.

HMRC says that the previous versions of the MATCF claim form should have been used until the new version went live on 26 February 2024. Any new forms dated and submitted to HMRC before 26 February 2024 will be rejected.

HMRC has also warned that, from 26 February 2024 onwards, form MATCF needs to be submitted on paper to HMRC exactly as it prints out on GOV.UK. The form should not be amended or changed. However, HMRC has added that,

“…if it is absolutely essential for your internal processes (for example, you need to add a company logo or bar code reference to the form to connect it to your own systems) you may replicate, print and submit the form. You can only make changes in the white space at the top of the form. Any other changes or additions outside of the white space at the top of the form will result in the claim being rejected and returned to the agent, who will need to submit again using the correct format.”

The updated claim form includes:

  • a question to ask if the taxpayer is nominating a professional that charges a fee for their services to act on their behalf;
  • a space to capture the nominated agent’s Agent Reference Number (if an agent is acting on behalf of a client).

From 26 February 2024, anyone making a claim on behalf of others, or wanting to receive a repayment on behalf of their client, will need to provide their Agent Reference Number when submitting a MATCF form. There is a required field to complete the Agent Reference Number. Failure to add the Agent Reference Number to the designated nomination section on or after 26 February 2024 will result in repayments for valid claims being paid directly to the taxpayer, not the nominated third party.

Clients will also need to have completed the section which informs HMRC whether they are nominating a professional to act on their behalf for the purposes of the repayment claim. Failure to select ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ in the appropriate section could also result in repayments for valid claims being paid directly to the taxpayer, not the nominated third party.

This is all part of an effort by HMRC to prevent taxpayers from being charged excessive fees to obtain small tax repayment claims. Please see our earlier Bulletin. Similar changes also apply to claims for a tax refund for work related expenses, using form P87. Please see: Claim tax relief for your job expenses if you cannot claim online.

This is an example of one of the recent news bulletins that was posted on our Techlink website.  Signing up to Techlink will give you access to original articles, like this, on a daily basis.  Techlink also provides you with a comprehensive (and searchable) library of information, daily bulletins on developments of relevance to the industry, multimedia learning and professional development tools. Techlink can also be your ‘gateway’ for accessing consultancy through our ‘ASK’ service which enables you to receive responses to your technical questions from our highly trained technical consultants.

You can sign up for a free 30 day trial of Techlink at anytime.  For more information go to www.techlink.co.uk.

Self-assessment statistics highlight the need for software under MTD

HMRC statistics, which show that only almost 60% of self-assessment return filings made during the past tax year were by agents.

According to HMRC, a record-breaking 11.5 million taxpayers submitted their self-assessment tax returns for the 2022/23 tax year by midnight on 31 January.

More than 12.1 million taxpayers were expected to file a tax return and pay any tax owed. Of those that met their obligations by the deadline, 778,068 beat the clock to complete it on 31 January, including:

  • 61,549 taxpayers who filed between 16:00 and 16:59 – the peak hour for filing;
  • 32,958 taxpayers who filed between 23:00 and 23:59.

AccountingWEB has obtained data from HMRC which shows that, of the 11.2 million self-assessment tax returns filed before the deadline of 31 January 2024, 59% (more than 6.6 million) were filed by agents – a term which includes professional tax agents and family members or similar completing the return on behalf of someone else.

The figure of 6.6 million returns filed by agents is similar to its 2020 equivalent (the last year HMRC provided data for), and in percentage terms has slightly declined in those four years.

When looking at the past four self-assessment deadline years split into who is making the filing (agent vs taxpayer) and how the return is filed (HMRC’s self-assessment portal vs third-party tax filing software), AccountingWEB found that the split in terms of agent vs taxpayer seemed roughly equal. This suggests a high number of individuals are not relying on agents to deal with their tax returns.

In addition, the figures highlighted the growth in individual taxpayers using HMRC’s self-assessment portal, with almost 4.5 million filing in this way – close to a million more than the corresponding figure in 2020. 97% of individual filings were made using HMRC’s self-assessment portal. In comparison, just 2.91% of individuals used third-party tax filing software, with the percentage figure for this actually in decline since 2020. This statistic alone highlights the scale of the challenge ahead for HMRC’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) ambitions. 

The current timetable for MTD income tax self-assessment (MTD ITSA) mandation – please see our earlier Bulletin – means that HMRC’s self-assessment portal for in-scope, unrepresented, taxpayers will be shut off from April 2026, and instead, more than 700,000 taxpayers (with a qualifying income of more than £50,000) will be required to buy third-party tax filing software, with a further 900,000 (above the income threshold of £30,000) brought in for the following year.

Qualifying income is the combined income that an individual gets in a tax year from self-employment and property income sources. It is the individual’s gross income or turnover before they deduct expenses. Sources of income such as income from employment, dividends or savings, do not count towards qualifying income.

An estimated 1.1 million taxpayers missed the deadline. As a reminder, the penalties for late tax returns are:

  • an initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time;
  • after three months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900;
  • after six months, a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater;
  • after 12 months, another 5% or £300 charge, whichever is greater.

There are also additional penalties for paying outstanding tax late. These are 5% of that unpaid at 30 days, six months and 12 months. Interest will also be charged on any tax paid late.

This is an example of one of the recent news bulletins that was posted on our Techlink website.  Signing up to Techlink will give you access to original articles, like this, on a daily basis.  Techlink also provides you with a comprehensive (and searchable) library of information, daily bulletins on developments of relevance to the industry, multimedia learning and professional development tools. Techlink can also be your ‘gateway’ for accessing consultancy through our ‘ASK’ service which enables you to receive responses to your technical questions from our highly trained technical consultants.

You can sign up for a free 30 day trial of Techlink at anytime.  For more information go to www.techlink.co.uk.

The ability to remotely witness a Will has ended

As no last-minute extension was announced by the Government, Wills can no longer be witnessed by video link.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, in simple terms a validly executed Will was:

  1. In writing
  2. Signed by the person making it (‘the testator’), in the physical presence of two independent witnesses; and
  3. The witnesses have signed it in the presence of the person making it.


Lockdown restrictions suddenly created the need for change and, so, the Government amended Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 to say that, in relation to Wills made after 31 January 2020, “presence” includes presence by means of video conference or other visual transmission, so that witnesses to Wills did not need to be physically present at the signing, but could be legally present, over a video link. Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 states:

(1) No will shall be valid unless—

(a) it is in writing, and signed by the testator, or by some other person in his presence and by his direction; and

(b) it appears that the testator intended by his signature to give effect to the will; and

(c) the signature is made or acknowledged by the testator in the presence of two or more witnesses present at the same time; and

(d) each witness either—

(i) attests and signs the will; or

(ii) acknowledges his signature,

in the presence of the testator (but not necessarily in the presence of any other witness),

but no form of attestation shall be necessary.

[(2) For the purposes of paragraphs (c) and (d) of subsection (1), in relation to wills made on or after 31 January 2020 and on or before 31 January [2024], “presence” includes presence by means of videoconference or other visual transmission.]

The process of video witnessing of Wills was applied for an initial two-year period from 31 January 2020, but was then further extended to 31 January 2024.

The Law Commission has undertaken a consultation, which ended in December 2023, seeking views on whether a new Wills Act should permit electronic wills, either immediately or by allowing for them to be introduced later. Please see our earlier Bulletin. We will of course update you on the results of that consultation.

However, unless the Government reintroduces video witnessing of Wills, this is no longer an option and witnesses must be in person. The ability to witness a Will’s execution by video link has ended.

Comment

Whilst social distancing and lockdown restrictions made remote witnessing a necessity for all for a time, it is not at all clear just how popular this method was as time went on, given that the process is far more complicated than simply having to have two witnesses physically present. Although, of course, the challenges faced by those wanting to make a Will and who were (and still are) also shielding and isolating have not gone away.

New life expectancy figures releases

A new report suggests that the State Pension Age may need to rise to 71 by 2050

The current legislated trajectory for the State Pension Age (SPA) is for an increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028, followed by another notch up to 68 between 2046 and 2048, although the 68 timing could change. Following an independent review and DWP review last year, the Government kicked the decision on whether to bring forward an SPA of 68 until a further study is completed after the general election. This was a repetition of the manoeuvre it had executed ahead of the 2019 election (please see our earlier Bulletin) in response to the Cridland Review. Controversially, Cridland had proposed a 2037-39 introduction for an SPA of 68 based on Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2014-based mortality data.

The topic of the SPA is kryptonite for politicians and has been made worse by the path of pensioner life expectancy over recent years (please see, for example, this recent Bulletin). It becomes much harder to justify SPA increases when life expectancy improvements are flatlining. However, life expectancy is not the only financial justification for raising the SPA. Another that is relevant for pay-as-you-go pension systems, such as the UK State Pension, is the old age dependency ratio – basically the number of workers (aged 16-64) per state pensioner.

A new report from the International Longevity Centre (ILC) says by 2050 the SPA needs to rise to between 70 and 71 to maintain the current status quo in terms of dependency ratio. It could be worse: the ILC says that if the UK’s working adult population is defined as 20 to 64 years, to account for time spent in full time education, the SPA might need to hit age 70+ as early as 2040 to maintain the current dependency ratio. The ILC accepts that the recent stalling in life expectancy during the austerity years and COVID has temporarily eased the pressure for increases in the SPA beyond 67 after 2027, but reckons that, in longer-term, the pressure will be to increase the SPA to 68 or 69 before 2040.

The ILC says that in the UK the problem becomes even more pressing because of the exit of workers from the workforce long before SPA, as it reduces the tax base to pay for pensions. Poor health is one of the key reasons for this workforce decline, which the ILC regards as one of the greatest barriers to economic prosperity currently faced by the UK. Research shows that, by age 70, at present only 50% of adults are disability-free and able to work.

The ILC calculates that if the proportion of the economically active population were to increase from current levels of around 78% to 85%, then it may be possible to hold the SPA at below 70 from 2040 – at least for a few years.

Comment

If the next Government is going to adopt the Cridland timing of 2037-39 and stay with the principle of giving at least ten years notice of an SPA change, it will need to commission that fresh study almost as soon as it enters office.

This is an example of one of the recent news bulletins that was posted on our Techlink website.  Signing up to Techlink will give you access to original articles, like this, on a daily basis.  Techlink also provides you with a comprehensive (and searchable) library of information, daily bulletins on developments of relevance to the industry, multimedia learning and professional development tools. Techlink can also be your ‘gateway’ for accessing consultancy through our ‘ASK’ service which enables you to receive responses to your technical questions from our highly trained technical consultants.

You can sign up for a free 30 day trial of Techlink at anytime.  For more information go to www.techlink.co.uk.

The abolition of the lifetime allowance from 6 April 2024 – an overview

How the new rules will limit tax-free lump sum payments in lifetime and on death

The lifetime allowance (LTA) will be abolished on 5 April 2024. It will be replaced by a new set of rules that will instead limit tax-free lump sum payments both in lifetime and on death. There will be no limits on any funds used to provide a taxable pension income.

Although no LTA charges have applied since 6 April 2023, for tax year 2023/24 the LTA framework has remained in place. This is an interim measure while HMRC work on a new set of rules to abolish the LTA entirely from 6 April 2024. HMRC have worked closely with the pensions industry to try and introduce a workable solution. Whilst there are a still a few technical issues to resolve, we now have a good idea of how the new rules are intended to work.

The aim is that there are no fundamental changes to the way pensions work. It’s just that new rules must be introduced to limit lump sum payments that were previously restricted by the LTA.

To read more in the full bulletin follow this link.

This is an example of one of the recent news bulletins that was posted on our Techlink website.  Signing up to Techlink will give you access to original articles, like this, on a daily basis.  Techlink also provides you with a comprehensive (and searchable) library of information, daily bulletins on developments of relevance to the industry, multimedia learning and professional development tools. Techlink can also be your ‘gateway’ for accessing consultancy through our ‘ASK’ service which enables you to receive responses to your technical questions from our highly trained technical consultants.

You can sign up for a free 30 day trial of Techlink at anytime.  For more information go to www.techlink.co.uk.

Premium Bond prize rate cut

National Savings & Investments (NS&I) has announced it will lower the prize rate for premium bonds from 4.65% to 4.40% tax free from 1 March. The odds of winning will remain unaltered at 1 in 21,000.

The premium bond prize rate was increased last September (please see our earlier Bulletin), when the chances of winning were marginally improved, as well as the average prize. Those changes were announced shortly after the Bank (Base) Rate was lifted by the Bank of England to its current level of 5.25%. The March nudge downwards could therefore be seen as pre-empting the likely next move by the Bank, although at present few commentators see a cut arriving as early as March.

The pattern of March’s prize distribution is detailed below along with the current distribution for comparison. The most notable feature is that there will be many more £25 prizes and correspondingly fewer larger prizes.

Comment

The prize rate remains higher than on offer from any other variable rate NS&I product, reflecting the importance of premium bonds to NS&I in meeting its funding target. Given that the top instant access rates are around 5.2%, the bonds still look attractive for anyone who pays tax on interest.

This is an example of one of the recent news bulletins that was posted on our Techlink website.  Signing up to Techlink will give you access to original articles, like this, on a daily basis.  Techlink also provides you with a comprehensive (and searchable) library of information, daily bulletins on developments of relevance to the industry, multimedia learning and professional development tools. Techlink can also be your ‘gateway’ for accessing consultancy through our ‘ASK’ service which enables you to receive responses to your technical questions from our highly trained technical consultants.

You can sign up for a free 30 day trial of Techlink at anytime.  For more information go to www.techlink.co.uk.