Tips for Efficient Savings and Investments
There are a range of methods for saving and investing your money more effectively. Summarised below are several straightforward ways to obtain tax-free returns and reduce your tax bill.
National Savings and Investments
National Savings and Investments are backed by the Treasury and thus offer a secure method of saving and investing your money. The tax free savings and investments products currently offered from National Savings and Investments include:
Tax-Free Interest on Savings
Interest from your savings in banks and building societies is usually taxed at 20%, but you may be able to register to receive gross (untaxed) interest if your taxable income is within your tax-free allowance. You can also claim back tax paid unnecessarily on savings in the past.
ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts)
An ISA is a financial product, introduced in the UK in 1999, to allow tax-favoured savings and investment accounts. They can be used to save cash (Cash ISA) or to invest (Stocks and Shares ISA). One can invest a maximum of £11,520 into an ISA in the tax year 2013-14, of which £5,760 may be saved in cash. The remaining sum may be invested in a range of financial products:
No tax is paid on the interest or dividends received from an ISA and profits from investments are exempt from Capital Gains Tax.
Similar to standard ISAs, Junior ISAs offer tax free savings for any child under the age of 18, providing they are not eligible for a Child Trust Fund (CTF) account. The upper limit for a tax free Junior ISA in 2013-14 is £3,720, and once again there is no tax on interest or dividends. However, as with CTFs, the money is locked into the ISA until the child is 18.
Child Trust Funds
Only eligible for children born between 1st September 2002 and 2nd January 2011, CTF accounts can be paid into by parents, family and friends up to a limit of £3,720 tax free for 2013-14. Once again, the money in the CTF account cannot be accessed until the child is 18 years old.
Taxpayers are encouraged by the government to make contributions to pension schemes by offering tax relief on any such payments. Once you retire, you will ordinarily be able to claim 25% of you pension fund as a tax-free lump sum, and then your pension will be taxed in line with standard income tax rates.
Savings in pension schemes are unlimited up to 100% of your earnings each tax year and thus offer an effective method for reducing your tax bill.
By Tom Hoadley. To read more interesting and informative articles by this and other writers visit www.taxaffinity.com/blog. Tax Affinity Accountants are experts in Tax and Accountancy for small businesses and help business across the UK and those abroad that have an interest in the UK. Visit www.taxaffinity.com for more details. Please feel free to comment and share this with your friends.
No one in the UK likes paying the taxman. So here's how to pay less tax!
Research by professionals claim we’ll collectively gift the taxman £12.6 billion, or £421 per taxpayer, this year.
Tax Action reports highlight ten examples of tax wastage, either benefits we’re not claiming or tax breaks we’re not using.
Some of the biggest area of wastage in the report highlight income-related tax credits, which include Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits and Pension Credits.
The public's failing to take advantage of the tax relief available on pension contributions is the second biggest waste, with not using tax relief on charity donations third.
Here are the top ten list of biggest tax wastes:
List of Tax wastage and their amount of wastage:
Income-related Tax Credits: £7.26 billion
Tax relief on pension contributions: £2.45 billion
Tax relief on charity donations: £997 million
Savings on Inheritance Tax: £448 million
Making use of ISAs: £403 million
Child Benefit: £401 million
Avoiding penalties for late filing of tax return: £307 million
Savings on Capital Gains Tax: £133 million
Making use of Employee Share Schemes: £118 million
Income tax and Personal Allowances: £83 million
Total: £12.6 billion
So it should become clear where you’re paying tax unnecessarily, So to help we at Tac Affinity Accountants are going to show you six ways you can stop wasting your money and pay less tax.
Have an ISA One problem with saving money in a standard savings account is that you have to pay tax on any interest you earn on those savings. And with interest rates so low on many savings accounts right now, this really is the last thing we all need.
Related how-to guide Cut your tax bill by thousands Tax may be an inevitable fact of life, but there’s no reason to pay more than you have to!
So to avoid this, make sure you invest in an ISA. This is a tax-free way of saving and you can invest up to £10,680 in an ISA each tax year. You can invest the full amount in a stocks and shares ISA, or you can split your investment between a cash ISA (up to £5,430) and a stocks and shares ISA.
You can also stash tax-free cash for your children by opening a Junior ISA (up to £3,600 during the current tax year) or by saving into an existing Child Trust Fund (the savings limit on these have now been raised to £3,600 a year in line with the Junior ISA limit). We took a look at the top Junior ISAs on the market at the moment inthe article Your child could earn 6% from an ISA. Or you could consider starting a pension for them. Find out more about all these tax-efficient savings options for children in Top tax havens for babies, children and teens.
By using a pension to save for retirement, you’ll also avoid paying tax. That’s because your pension contributions qualify for tax relief. So if you’re a basic rate taxpayer, you’ll qualify for tax relief at a rate of 20%. Meanwhile, higher rate taxpayers qualify for tax relief at a rate of 40% and additional rate taxpayers will get 50%.
So pensions are a great way to build up a tax-free nest egg for your retirement. That said, once you start to claim your pension income, you will have to pay income tax.
You should note that the amount you can contribute to your pension is now limited to £50,000 a year.
If you’re a taxpayer, but your partner isn’t, a great way to save tax is to transfer any income producing assets to his/her name and receive the lower tax rate by using his/her personal allowance. Your personal allowance is the amount of money you can earn before having to pay tax.
The list below shows the personal allowance for the current tax year and next:
Allowance for those aged 65-74
Allowance for those aged 75+
4. Tax Code
Your employer uses a tax code to calculate how much tax should be deducted from your pay. But how many of us actually bother to check our tax code to see if it’s correct?
Your tax code is made up of a few numbers and a letter. If you multiply the numbers as a whole by ten, that’s how much money you can earn before you start paying tax. The most common number is 747, as for most people it’s only once you earn more than £7,475 that you start paying tax.
Meanwhile, the letter refers to your tax status and how that affects the preceding number. The most common letter is L, meaning you qualify for the basic personal allowance.
If you check your tax code and you think there’s been a mistake, you need to contact your tax office. In some cases you can claim up to £1,300 of your tax back.
5. Give it away
In each tax year, you can gift up to £250 to as many people as you like, completely free of inheritance tax. Just bear in mind you can’t give a larger sum of money and claim exemption for the first £250.
You can also give away £3,000 in total each tax year and if you don’t use your full allowance, you can carry it over into the next tax year. However, you can’t combine this £3,000 allowance with a £250 gift to the same person.
Wedding or civil partnership ceremony gifts are also exempt from inheritance tax – although there are limits to this:
Gifts to UK charities are also tax-free. So its worth finding out how to cut your tax bill without the effort of complex tax planning.
6. Capital Gains Tax allowance
Each of us has a yearly capital gains tax (CGT) allowance (£10,600 in 2011/2012), so only gains above this band will be liable to CGT.
In other words, each of us can make profits of £10,600 each tax year from selling assets or investments before we have to pay tax.
Any profits made above this level will be subject to tax at 18%, or 28% if you’re a higher-rate taxpayer.
So each year, before the tax year end, consider selling assets to use up your allowance and make a tax-free profit. It’s a good idea to spread this over a couple of years to make the most of your allowance. For example, if you sold some shares today and then more on 6 April 2012, you’d be able to take advantage of two years’ CGT allowances totalling £21,200.
Don’t forget that children also have a CGT allowance of £10,600, so if they hold an investment they can make tax-free profits up to this level each tax year.
Tax Affinity Accountants are experts in tax and accounting. For more interesting articles and help visit www.taxaffinity.com. Please feel free to comment and share this with your friends.
Actor Stephen Baldwin will avoid prison and have up to five years to pay back a tax bill of around $350,000 (£235,000), according to his legal representative.
Lawyer Russell Yankwitt explained the deal after a private conference with prosecutors and a judge in New York.
The youngest of the acting Baldwin brothers is accused of not paying state income taxes between 2008 and 2010.
Mr Yankwitt said that under a tentative agreement, Baldwin will plead guilty to tax charges later this month.
He added that if Baldwin pays the money within a year, his record will be wiped clean.
If not, he will be sentenced to probation and given five years to pay back the cash.
Prosecutor Anthony Dellicarri confirmed that a tentative agreement had been reached on a plea deal but would not detail the specifics.
Asked how Baldwin would pay back the money, Mr Yankwitt replied: "He's doing commercials, he's acting, he's out in the public."
Baldwin has been heard on New York radio in recent days, in a commercial for a teeth-whitening system.
"The economy is not what it was, and Mr. Baldwin is a faith-based actor, which makes it harder to get roles," said Mr Yankwitt, describing Baldwin as a born-again Christian.
"In the past, he did movies that portrayed violence and drugs. He no longer does those types of movies."
Baldwin's brother Alec was a star of TV's "30 Rock," and brothers William and Daniel also are actors.
When Mr Yankwitt was asked if they were helping Stephen, he said only: "Mr. Baldwin is thankful for the love and support of his family."
He claimed that Baldwin got into trouble because he "relied on others," including an accountant and a lawyer".
He added: "He never intended to defraud the government. The government understands that."
The 46-year-old was one of the stars of the critically-acclaimed 1995 hit The Usual Suspects, but later films in which he starred were less successful.
More recently, Baldwin has appeared in reality TV shows, including Celebrity Big Brother in 2010 and the US versions of I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! and Celebrity Apprentice.
He filed for bankruptcy in July 2009, claiming he had debts of around $2.3m (£1.5m), while his New York property was worth only $1.1m (£0.7m).
Tax Affinity Accountants news. To read more visit our blog. Tax Affinity Accountants are expert in tax and accountancy in Kingston upon Thames.
Still wondering about what the key things to come out of the Chancellor's budget were for you and your business? - Well read on...
The threshold at which people start paying income tax is to be raised to £10,000 in 2014 - a year early - an increase in the threshold of £560.
State of the nation
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has forecast growth of 0.6% this year, half of what it said it would be in December. But the OBR predicts the UK will escape recession this year.
After that, growth is predicted to be 1.8% in 2014; 2.3% in 2015; 2.7% in 2016 and 2.8% in 2017.
Home buyers wishing to buy a new home worth less than £600,000 are to be given assistance. As long as they have a 5% deposit, the government will stump up an extra 20% - repayable when the house is sold.
Help for business
Chancellor George Osborne announced that corporation tax will be cut by 1% to 20% in April 2015.
This, Osborne said, will make the UK's corporation tax the lowest of any major economy in the world. The UK, he added, is "open for business".
Elsewhere, the Chancellor said some 450,000 small firms will pay no employer National Insurance.
Osborne also said stamp duty on AIM shares will be abolished from next April, in a move which he said will benefit hundreds of small business in the UK.
The government will give capital gains tax (CGT) relief on sales of businesses to their employees.
The government confirmed it will consult on options for transferring savings held in child trust funds (CTFs) into Junior ISAs.
The move will offer a lifeline to six million children.
Junior ISAs were introduced in November 2011 as an attempt to encourage saving for children, following on from the abolition of CTFs at the beginning of that year.
The Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey are to enter tax information exchanges with the UK that will significantly increase the amount of information automatically exchanged on potentially taxable income, in order to identify and tackle evasion. The move aims to recoup £3bn in unpaid taxes.
Additionally, the government will remove the presumption of self-
employment for limited liability partnership (LLP) partners, to tackle the disguising of employment relationships through LLPs and counter the artificial allocation of profits to partners (in both LLPs and other partnerships) to achieve a tax advantage.
The measures, the government forecasts, will in total raise over £4.6bn in new revenue over the next five years.
As previously announced, the single flat-rate pension of £144 a week is to be brought forward a year to 2016. This will end contracting out of the State Second Pension, so that everyone will pay the same rate of national insurance contributions and build up access to the same single-tier State Pension
Cap on social care costs confirmed at £72,000.
The government has also pledged to make £5,000 ex-gratia payments to Equitable Life policyholders who were too old to be eligible for compensation payouts. The government is not obliged to do it, Osborne pointedly said, but it is "the right thing to do".
Borrowing will be £114bn this year and is set to fall to £108bn, £97bn and £87bn in following years. The deficit has been cut by a third since May 2010.
Borrowing as share of GDP is to fall from 7.4% in 2013-14 to 5% in 2015-16.
Debt as a share of GDP will increase from 75.9% in 2012-13 to 85.1% in 2015-16.
The 2% Bank of England target is to stay in place, the Chancellor said, though its remit is to be changed to focus on growth as well as inflation.
Tax Affinity Accountants are experts in Tax and Accountancy in the borough of Kingston upon Thames. Please feel free to comment or share this article with your friends. For more information visit www.taxaffinity.com. And follow us on twitter to find more tax saving tips @tax_affinity
In the current economic climate everyone should be looking for ways to save tax. And to help, we at Tax Affinity Accountants have compiled a list to do just that.
The tax codes, allowances and deadlines
1. Tax code
Check your tax code each year (the numbers and letters on your payslip). If you're on the wrong code, you may be paying too much tax.
2. Capital gains tax allowance
Remember that capital gains under £10,600 are tax-free. Married couples and civil partners who own assets jointly can claim a double allowance of £21,200. CGT is charged at 18% if you are a standard rate taxpayer, and 28% if you pay tax at a higher rate.
3. Tax return deadlines
Don’t miss the 31 October deadline if you want to make a paper tax return. You can do your tax online up to 31 January, but paper tax returns need to be in three months earlier than online tax returns to avoid a £100 fine.
4. Annual investment allowance
If you are a landlord or run your own business, take advantage of the annual investment allowance (AIA) to claim for capital expenditure on items such as tools and computers. You can claim relief on up to £25,000 a year.
How to pay less tax if you're self-employed
5. Tax-deductible expenses
If you’re self-employed, don’t forget to claim all your tax-deductible expenses, including cash expenditure where eligible.
6. Self-employed car costs
If you're self employed, you can claim the running costs of a car, but not the cost of buying one. If you use the same car privately, you can claim a proportion of the total costs.
7. Cash-flow boost for self-employed
If you are setting up as self employed, you may be able to improve your cashflow by choosing an accounting year that ends early in the tax year. This maximises the delay between earning your profits and your final tax demand.
8. Annual losses
If you are self employed, you can carry forward losses from one year and offset them against profits from the next. See our page on when the self-employed pay tax for more.
9. Payments on account
If you are self-employed and expect to earn less in 2012-13 than you did the year before, apply to reduce any payments on account that HMRC ask you to make.
Saving tax on property income
10. Rent a room
Rent a room relief is an optional scheme that lets you receive up to £4,250 in rent each year from a lodger, tax-free. This only applies if you rent out furnished accommodation in your own home.
11. Landlord's energy-saving allowance
If you rent out property you can claim special tax allowance of up to £1,500 for insulation, draught proofing and installing a hot water system.
12. Landlord's expenses
If you rent out property, you can deduct a range of costs before declaring your taxable income. These include the wages of gardeners and cleaners, and letting agency fees.
13. Tax relief on your mortgage
You can claim tax relief on the interest on a mortgage you take out to buy a rental property – even if it the rental property is abroad.
14. Reduce capital gains tax (CGT) on a rental property
Landlords are normally liable for CGT when they sell a rental property. If it has been your main home at some time in the past, you can claim tax relief for the last three years of ownership.
Pay less tax on savings and investments
15. Isa allowance
Use your tax-free Isa allowance. This year, the overall limit is £10,680, of which £5,340 can be put into in a cash Isa.
16. No CGT on shares held in an Isa
There is no capital gains tax to pay when you sell shares or units held in an Isa. For more details see Tax on savings and investments.
17. Junior Isas
Use Junior Isas or Children’s Bonus Bonds to avoid being taxed on gifts you make to your own children.
18. Transfer assets
Transfer savings and investments to your husband, wife or civil partner if they pay a lower rate of tax than you do. See our guide to tax and your partner for more information.
19. Children's savings
Stop children being taxed at source on their savings by completing a simple form (R85) on their behalf.
Tax savings for older people
20. Age-related allowance
If you are aged 65-plus you may be eligible for an increased personal allowance. This means you pay a lower income tax rate. See Tax in retirement.
21. National Insurance
Make sure you stop making National Insurance contributions if you carry on working beyond state retirement age (currently 62 for women and 65 for men).
22. Gift Aid
If you are over 65, making donations to charity through Gift Aid can reduce your taxable income to below the threshold at which you start to lose out on age-related allowances.
23. Tax relief on gifts
If you are in a higher tax bracket, you can claim back the difference between the basic and higher rate of income tax on any Gift Aid donations.
24. Inheritance tax
Lifetime gifts are not normally counted as part of your estate for inheritance tax purposes if you live for a further seven years after making them. Known as potentially exempt transfers (PETs) they can reduce your residual estate significantly. See our blog on inheritance tax.
Tax savings through employee benefits
25. Season ticket loan
If you are a commuter, check to see if your employer will give you a tax-free loan to buy your season ticket.
26. Pool cars
Use a pool car for occasional business travel, if your employer provides these.
27. Childcare schemes and tax credits
If you are an employee and pay for childcare, ask your employer if they have a childcare scheme. Salary sacrifice childcare schemes are easy to establish and can result in substantial savings for both employees and employers. For more details see working for an employer. Child tax credits can also save you money.
28. Company car?
If you are entitled to a company car, consider whether it would be more tax-efficient to take a cash equivalent in pay instead.
29. Going green
If you are changing your company car, consider a low-emissions model . These are now taxed at a lower percentage of their list price, than cars with a high CO2 rating.
30. Pay in to a pension scheme
Contributions to your employer's pension scheme (including any additional voluntary contributions you make) can be made from your gross pay, before any tax is charged.
For the most up to date and accurate advice speak to tax accountant, as these allowances and benefits do change every year.
Tax Affinity Accountants are expert Qualified Tax Accountants in Kingston upon Thames. To read more visit www.taxaffinity.com/blog and please feel free to comment and share this with your friends.
David Beckham is at the centre of a political furore in France because of his minimum wage deal at new club Paris St Germain which will see him pay virtually no tax.
The 37-year-old revealed his entire salary - believed to be around £3.4 million - will go to a children's charity in Paris.
But the arrangement means he avoids the controversial 75 per cent tax which President Francois Hollande's government is currently bringing in.
Under French law he must take home the footballer's union minimum wage so the club can pay national insurance and other charges to the government - but this works out at less than £2,000 a week.
The deal means Beckham avoids paying not only the top rate on income tax, but also a three per cent surtax on annual income above £450,000.
With Victoria Beckham and the children remaining in London, Beckham can also claim his main residence is in the UK not France.
The other crucial element of the deal is limiting the contract to five months - anyone living in France for six months or more during a calendar year could be subject to the high band of income tax.
‘He will be paid less than my parliamentary assistant!’ said conservative MP Gerald Darmanin, claiming the Beckham case was another example of why the rich and famous do not want to settle in France.
Mr Darmanin added: ‘Be serious! It’s necessary to convince the Sports Minister to stop this deadly tax process. I’d rather receive 50 per cent of a lot than 75 per cent of nothing!’
Hollywood actor Gerard Depardieu and Louis Vuitton billionaire Bernard Arnault are among a list of high-profile citizens who are reportedly leaving Paris because of the new tax.
But Jerome Guedj, a Socialist MP, insisted that France would benefit in the long run from Beckham being in Paris.
‘Me, I see a symbol,' he said. 'He will create wealth around PSG, image rights, jerseys sold by PSG. This is proof that the tax system in France does not leak.’
Both Beckham and PSG will be able to make money from the ex-England captain’s image rights and other commercial activities.
His share of merchandising rights is likely to be paid into one of the three London-based companies. Footwork Productions, which exploits Beckham’s name and image, including work for Armani, Adidas, Samsung and Diet Coke, paid him nearly £86million in salary and dividends from 2002 to 2010.
PSG is already promoting David Beckham shirts on the club’s website, with an adult top featuring his name and number costing almost £100.
L’Equipe, the biggest sports paper in the country, has already suggested that ‘football’s glamour icon’ was little more than a money-spinning fairground attraction.
It carried a cartoon of the ‘S’ in PSG turned into a dollar sign last week, and wrote: ‘With the signature of the Spice Boy David Beckham yesterday, PSG pulled off a sensational publicity stunt. The sporting interest of the move is less clear.’
Others were even more cruel – with Le Figaro newspaper branding Beckham a ‘third-hand Rolls Royce’.
David's Tax Savings Planning at a glance:
Leaving a tax return to the last minute means you are more likely to do it in a hurry. There are still six million people in Britain who have not yet filed their self-assessment tax form, HM Revenue & Customs said this week – and time is running out ahead of the 31 January deadline.
Leaving it to the last minute means you are more likely to do it in a hurry and therefore more likely to make careless errors.
Filing online is a good way of avoiding mistakes because calculations are done automatically and there is on-screen help if you need it. But it is still easy to trip up, due to carelessness, not being organised enough, or lack of knowledge. Here are the five most common errors:
• Don't leave things out. "Probably the most common mistake of all is the omission of a source of income, typically the interest arising from a bank or building society account, which in some cases can be quite substantial," says Giddens. So before you start, gather together the documents relating to all your savings accounts and investments – statements, passbooks etc.
You have to include the interest you receive on bank, building society and other savings accounts, and on any loans to individuals or organisations, including those made via "peer-to-peer" lending websites such as Zopa.
You must also include interest received from credit union and friendly society accounts. And if you have enjoyed a payment protection insurance (PPI) compensation payout, any interest included in the payment must be declared, too. You don't have to declare interest from Isas.
You must also include dividends from UK companies and unit trusts, open-ended investment companies and investment trusts.
• Don't get your numbers in a twist. Another common error is, including the gross amount of interest instead of the net amount after tax that is being asked for.
For example, with box 1 on page TR 3, relating to taxed UK interest, you need to put in the net amount – the interest etc after tax was taken off. Some account statements will explicitly give this figure; others just show gross interest and tax taken off.
• Is your tax code wrong? Now's the time to check. Thousands of taxpayers may well be paying too much (or too little) tax as a result of having the wrong tax code.
In some cases people have received refunds running into thousands of pounds after belatedly spotting that they have been paying too much for years.
Your tax code can usually be found on your payslip – it's typically three digits followed by an L, such as "744L", and it tells your employer how much to deduct from your pay packet.
If your employer provides you with company benefits, such as medical insurance or a car, you will probably have to pay tax on them.
Last year, analysis has found that a quarter of all taxpayers may be paying the wrong amount of tax due to incorrect codes, and added that pensioners appear to be particularly vulnerable to problems.
To check you're on the right tax code, try moneysavingexpert.com's online code checker.
• Don't forget gift aid. You can tell the taxman about donations by filling in the section "gift aid payments". Gift aid boosts the value of donations by allowing charities to reclaim basic rate tax on your gift: £10 using gift aid is worth £12.50 to the charity.
If you pay higher-rate tax, you can claim extra relief on your donations, says Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). For example, if you donated £100 using gift aid, the total value of your donation to the charity was £125 – so you can claim back £25 if you pay tax at 40%, or £37.50 if you pay tax at 50%.
When you're asked about gift aid payments made in the year to 5 April 2012, enter the actual amounts given – don't add on any tax relief that you think the charity will obtain.
• Don't forget to pay what you owe! As well as pressing the button to send your form, you must pay what you owe by 31 January – this applies whether you filed a paper or online return.
So in conclusion most self employed people are so busy working that they just don't have the time needed to make sure that they are getting all the tax relief that they are entitled to. Many pay the wrong amount of tax and many more are late with their submission or payment. That's why its always better to consult a qualified accountant like Tax Affinity Accountants who can save you a lot of stress, time and money in the long run.
Tax Affinity Accountants provide Tax Return services and throughout the UK, and are based in the London Borough of Kingston upon Thames.
We have found out that figures show Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs officials made almost 14,400 authorised views of "communications data" on taxpayers during tax evasion investigations.
This compares to more than 11,500 such views in 2010, which equates to a rise of almost 25 per cent, according to statistics released under Freedom of Information laws.
Using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, HMRC can access details on what websites are viewed by taxpayers, where a mobile phone call was made or received and the date and time of emails, texts and phone calls.
From October 2011 to the end of September last year, HMRC was given 172 authorisations for "directed surveillance", covert surveillance, mainly in public places. This had decreased from the previous year.
But critics today accused tax officials of pursuing wrong targets.
"HMRC should be focusing on the estimated £35bn lost tax, not snooping on hard-working people,” said Stephen McPartland, the Conservative MP for Stevenage who is campaigning for large companies to be more open about tax.
It is not clear how many times the surveillance has led to a successful prosecution for tax evasion or whether those found to be innocent are told that they have been spied on.
HMRC did not respond to requests for this information from the members of the press.
Officials also refused to disclose how many times it had been given warrants to intercept and read peoples' private emails, or listen to their phone calls.
This is the most intrusive type of surveillance, which needs to be authorised by the Home Secretary.
It also refused to disclose the number of times it had carried out "intrusive surveillance", which can include covertly filming a person's house, or bugging their property or car.
An HMRC spokesman said: "Tackling serious organised crime is a priority for us and access to communications data and directed surveillance have a vital role to play in meeting that challenge.
"In 2011 communications data enabled us to prevent £850m of tax revenue being diverted into the pockets of fraudsters.
“Our use of these powers is subject to regular independent inspection, ensuring it is both proportionate and lawful."
Fortunately at Tax Affinity Accountants we are authorised HMRC agents and can quickly and effectively help in all matters investigations and penalties.
Also read this article in the Telegraph. Tax Affinity Accountants are the small business experts, helping the public in grow their businesses in Surbiton, Surrey.
You should act as soon as possible to avoid tax penalties. As HMRC are becoming increasingly aggressive in enforcing penalties.
The tax return deadline is 31st Jan 2013 and all self employed people can be fined £100 for late submission in the first month then after that a daily charge of £10 on top of all previous fines. Which if can easily become £380 after just 2 months. Or simply £680 if it is 3 months overdue.
This rule applies even if there is no tax to pay or the tax they owe has been paid!
Uniquely however, this year the taxman has offered taxpayers a small extension of 2 days before imposing penalties. This is because of a strike by its call centre staff which meant HMRC would not be able to handle a similar volume to last year.
At Tax Affinity Accountants, we see far too many people each year who loose a huge amount of hard earned money to fines. While we are experts in Tax and can in many cases successfully appeal for discretionary discounts on fines, the fines are not normally completely cancelled by HMRC especially when they have already given a 2 day extension.
So we recommend that all local businesses and self employed people make sure to have their tax returns submitted as soon as possible well before the 31st Jan 2013 deadline.
At Tax Affinity Accountants we are an authorised HMRC agent and are very experienced in all types of Tax eg Self Assessment, Corporation tax, PAYE, VAT, Personal Tax, Construction Industry Schems (CIS) to name a just a few and would be happy to help local people resolve their tax issues.
For more useful information about accounting and tax accounting issues in Kingston upon Thames visit www.taxaffinity.com/blog
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