Key dates for business in 2019

03 January 2019

As we prepare for 2019, many of the deadlines to note are the usual ones that recur annually, but there are some unusual, even momentous, additional ones. Here is a summary.

31 January: Self-assessment returns

This is the last date to file your return and pay any outstanding income tax or capital gains tax, together with a payment on account of your 2018/19 liability. Failure to do so may lead to interest being charged by HMRC.

1 March: Last date to pay outstanding IT and CGT for 2017/18

Failure to pay by this date will incur an automatic 5% surcharge.

29 March: Brexit Day

The EU Withdrawal Treaty has not yet been ratified by Parliament. If approved it provides for a transition period ending in December 2020, which will give businesses more time to prepare. Otherwise, the UK will leave the EU at 11 pm on 29 March with no transitional arrangements. As this outcome appears increasingly likely businesses need to be ready to cope with interrupted supply chains, possibly by stockpiling essential components. Moreover, if you are one of about 140,000 UK traders who currently do business with the EU but not with other countries you will need to familiarise yourself with the required documentation.

The Government has interpreted the result of the 2016 referendum as a mandate to leave the Single Market and Customs Union. Leaving the EU on this basis will have a major impact on any business that imports from or exports to the European Single Market, and with no transition period this impact will occur on 29 March. Free circulation of goods between UK and EU will cease, and businesses will be required to make customs declarations on all transactions with European suppliers and customers in the same way as they currently do for non-EU transactions.

As well as import and export declarations, carriers of goods will need to prepare separate safety and security declarations for all items transported. Goods exported into the EU will be subject to the EU Common Customs Tariff and duty will have to be paid as the goods enter the EU. Businesses that import goods from the EU will have to account for VAT on them, although there will be a relaxation of the procedures to allow the VAT to be declared and paid on the importer’s next VAT return (instead of at the point of entry).

Manufacturing businesses need to ensure that they have continuing product approval; any products that are currently approved for conformity by a ‘UK Notified Body’ will need to be retested and re-approved by an EU conformity assessment body. Since this will take time those affected need to start the process immediately. The sale in the UK of goods previously certified by an EU body will be permitted for a limited period.

The Government has published guidance to assist: ‘How to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal’.

1 April: Making Tax Digital

From April 2019 all VAT registered businesses with taxable turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000 will be required to maintain their accounting records digitally in a software product or spreadsheet. Paper records will no longer be legal.

These businesses will have to submit their VAT returns to HMRC using a software product compatible with HMRC’s Application Program Interfaces.

The familiar online VAT return will remain available only to businesses that are voluntarily registered for VAT (i.e. have taxable turnover below the VAT threshold).

Most businesses will, therefore, need to acquire compatible software. If you use proprietary accounting software or a cloud accounting system, you will almost certainly have the appropriate facility by the deadline. If in doubt you should contact your usual UHY partner as soon as possible.

1 April: National Living Wage

With effect from the first payday on or after 1 April, the National Living Wage for those over 25 rises to £8.21 per hour. Lower rates apply to younger workers and apprentices. For full details click here.

1 April: Workplace Pension Rates

The employer contribution will rise from 2% to 3%, and the employee contribution will rise from 3% to 5% (less tax relief). More details are available here.

5 April: Benefits-in-kind

This is the last date to register to ‘payroll’ benefits-in-kind for 2019/20.

31 July: Self-assessment

Last date for second payment on account of 2018/19 income tax to avoid interest charges.


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