The start of last week saw a melt-down at the Government Gateway that allows tax returns to flow through to HMRC. In last week’s newsletter we offered some reassurance about penalties that may arise and suggestions of other routes to contact HMRC. We also had a warning about the fast approaching deadline for registering employee share schemes, and a heads-up on useful information hidden in the Employer Bulletin.

Employer Bulletin 
The June 2015 edition of the Employer Bulletin (issue 54) is just out and it’s well worth a read. This publication is now issued six times a year and it covers a wide range of tax and regulatory matters, not just payroll issues. 

For example this edition includes articles you may want to pass on to clients who will shortly reach state retirement age, who sell alcohol, or who are worried about pensions auto-enrolment.    

State pension 
People who reach state pension age on and after 6 April 2016 will receive the new flat rate state pension, but there is a lot of confusion about who will be entitled to what. A new You-Tube channel has been set up to answer questions about the state pension and how to prepare for retirement. It also includes videos about auto-enrolment.    

Individuals aged 55 or over can request a personalised state pension statement from the Pensions Service, which will give them an idea of their expected level of state pension. This service use to be open to anyone but it now seems to be restricted to those within 10 years of retirement age. 

Clients who sell alcohol as a retailer or wholesaler need to prepare for a new alcohol wholesaler registration scheme which comes into effect from 1 October 2015. It’s going to be administered by HMRC so no doubt there will be some cross-checking with VAT and Excise duty returns. 

The scheme is designed to stamp out sales of counterfeit alcohol and where duty has not been paid. There will be civil penalties and criminal sanctions for non-compliance with the scheme. 

This is an
extract from our tax tips newsletter dated 25 June 2015. The newsletter
itself contained links to related source material for this story and the
other two topical, timely and commercial tax tips. It’s clearly written
and extremely good value for accountants in general practice. Try it
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