Anna’s Accountancy Alerts – Week 40 (3rd – 9th January 2022)

Making your joint income tax efficient

Married couples and civil partners can elect for each to be taxed on half of the income or to share the income-producing asset in proportion, e.g., a buy-to-let property.

Once made a joint income election can’t be revoked.

A joint income election can be overridden whenever there is a change in the ownership shares in the asset.  Therefore, by transferring a greater share from one spouse to the other, for example by just 1%, will mean that the election can be varied.

Protection of pension savers

New rules to help protect pension savers from scammers have become law.

Under the regulations, pension trustees and scheme managers will be given the power to stop suspicious transfers before cash gets into the hands of fraudsters.

Fraudsters frequently offer ‘too good to be true’ incentives to pension savers, such as free pension reviews, early access to pension cash and other time-limited offers. Lured in by these bogus offers, individuals are then tricked into transferring their savings into a scam scheme and defrauded out of their money.

Between January and May 2021, pension scam losses totalling over £2.2 million were reported to Action Fraud.

The new regulations began on 30 November. From this date, trustees and scheme managers can prevent transfer requests if suspicious activity is suspected by giving it a ‘red flag’. If a red flag is present, the transfer cannot go ahead.

Where fraud is suspected, trustees and scheme managers will be able to pause transfer requests by giving it an ‘amber flag’. In this scenario, the pension saver will need to prove they have taken scam specific guidance from the free Money and Pensions Service before the transfer can go ahead. This is the only way a transfer can then proceed.

Workers face £1.2m underpayment of wages

Over 200 businesses have failed to pay the minimum wage to 12,000 workers and could face £2m in penalties.

In total, 208 businesses were named by the government as having failed to pay workers about £1.2m in a “clear breach of national minimum wage law”.

Companies named on the list compiled by Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) include groups such as outsourcer Mitie, transport firm Go-Ahead, retailer House of Frazer and food producer Greencore.

The list highlighted the different ways in which these businesses underpaid their staff, 37% made deductions to pay with workers having to pay to comply with it’s dress code, 29% were highlighted for unpaid working time such as mandatory training, trial shifts or travel time, 16% failed to pay the correct rate to apprentices, and 11% failed to increase wages when the rate was increased by the Government.

These businesses have since had to pay back what they owe to staff and face fines of up to 200% of what they owe, the total fines on this lost could possibly reach around £2m.

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