January questions and answers

Newsletter issue - January 2021

Q. I want to pay for my employees to be screened regularly for COVID-19. Is this a taxable benefit or is it exempt?

When the initial guidance for employers was published back in July 2020, HMRC stated that an employer paying for an employee to be tested would constitute a taxable benefit in kind. This received a lot of criticism and resulted in a U-turn. It has now been announced that from 8 December 2020 to 5 April 2021, employer-funded tests for COVID-19 (but not the test for antibodies, i.e. to check whether the individual has previously had it) will be exempt. HMRC will also not seek to recover tax or national insurance where employers have paid for tests prior to 8 December.

What is not currently clear is whether the payments will need to be reported on form P11D - particularly those made in the period to 7 December 2020. It will be worth checking the published guidance when making the filings later in the year.

Q. I took advantage of the VAT deferral scheme back in June 2020. The payment date is 31 March 2021, but we had to close again on Christmas Eve - meaning we're going to struggle with cash flow. Is it possible to defer the payment?

There has been no further deferral for VAT announced - though things may change between now and the end of March. However, the government did confirm that businesses who used the initial deferral scheme could opt into a payment scheme that would allow them to spread the repayment over up to eleven instalments. You can read more about this here.

Q. I am looking to buy a substantial new property later this year. I have found one that is ideal on the Welsh Borders, but I've checked the Land Registry and it turns out that the land included is partly in England and partly in Wales. What does this mean for SDLT purposes?

This is what is known as a single cross-border property transaction. Wales and England have different systems of taxing land transactions, though they are similar in their mechanisms. Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) applies in England, and Land Transaction Tax (LTT) in Wales. There are different rates and thresholds.

You will need to apportion the consideration between the English and Welsh parts using a "just and reasonable" method. You will then need to check the apportioned amounts against the SDLT and LTT thresholds. If either or both exceed the respective thresholds you will need to make a return in that jurisdiction. Your solicitor should be able to assist you with this, but you can also contact the Valuation Office Agency for advice on how to apportion the consideration.

What our clients say about us...

  • "Paul has provided accountancy services to my company for 2 years now. I can recommend Paul very highly; his skills as an accountant are highly detailed and professional and he is always available to provide advice. One aspect of the way Paul works that I greatly appreciate is a preference to meet face to face when there is a detailed conversation to be had. I personally find this more productive and is a benefit of working with a small accountancy firm that you wouldn't get with the large faceless providers."


  • "I couldn't ask for more from Paul as an Accountant. Paul has been accountant to Work Relief Charity Recruitment for just over a year now and is proving an invaluable asset. Accurate, knowledgeable, flexible with an emphasis on service delivery, I would recommend Paul's services to any organisation looking for an accounts professional."

    Neil Price - Managing Director at Work Relief Charity Recruitment

  • "Paul was a referral from a family member when I started my business 2 years ago. As this was the first time I had ever run my own company I was totally clueless over the financial side of matters and was worried that I may have made mistakes in any of my accounting. I needn't have worried as after enaging Paul for a set monthly fee he was always there on the end of the phone for all sorts of questions I had and no matter how trivial they were Paul gave me all the information I required and more and did an excellent and painless job at the end of my first year! Couldn't ask for any better to be honest. Just two words - hire him!!!"

    Lee Westrap MBCS - Director - Bulldog IT Services

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Booth & Co  |   The Hermitage  |   15a Shenfield Road  |   Brentwood  |   Essex  |   CM15 8AG        Telephone: 01277 224666    |   Email: info@boothandco.co.uk