Archived News May, 2010

Tax questions Carmarthen Journal 19th May 2010

I work for a building firm and friends who work for a competitor have said that they get tax relief at a fixed rate for tools and clothing. Should this apply to me and how do go about claiming it?

HM Revenue & Customs do indeed have a list of fixed rate expenses that employees in certain industries can claim. These industries range from building, engineering, printing and other labour intensive works – a full list and amounts that can be claimed can be found on the HMRC website. To claim the deduction either you or your employer should contact HMRC and ask them to include it in your tax coding. You may need to prove, however that you do incur costs in relation to the upkeep of your tools, purchase of special clothing etc.

We have just bought a commercial property which we intend to let out. However, there are several rooms above the property that we could convert into flats? Is this worthwhile and what are the tax implications?

Since 2001 property owners can claim 100% capital allowances on their capital costs of renovating or converting vacant or underused storage space above commercial premises. This effectively means that tax relief on the whole cost of the conversion can be claimed immediately. However, in order for the capital allowances to apply certain conditions have to be met, namely that; the flats must be available for short-term letting and will not be of high value, the property must have been built prior to 1980, the upper floors must either have been unoccupied for at least 12 months before the conversion or used solely as storage.

New government coalition

Local businesses in general should be satisfied with the new coalition government, as not only does it bring stability to the economy but also they plan to scrap the increase in employer’s NI.

With a mix of Conservative and Liberal policies to be introduced, the most beneficial to the west Wales area is the phased increase in personal allowances to £10,000. This is good news considering the low average wages in the area and should mean more money in people’s pockets.

Clearly the main concern is with the £6bn cuts in public spending and the impact it could have on local schools, hospitals, local government and other civil service jobs. There is also consideration being given to an increase in VAT and keeping the current IHT threshold, all of which should be announced with a new budget within the next 50 days.

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