What you need to know about the double tax trap

If you are in the position where you have outstanding tax to pay on/by 1 January each year of up to £1000 perhaps because you have some untaxed rental income, there’s something you need to watch for as it could seem that you are being asked to pay double tax.

Provided the amount of tax due is always below £1000 then that’s all you will be asked to pay when your tax is calculated and due for payment.

However if, one year, it turns out that the outstanding amount is over £1000 even by one penny, then in addition to the sum itself, you will also have to pay an equivalent amount on account for the following year. This is due half on 1 January (i.e.immediately) and half six months later on the following 1 July. The only other exception is where you’ve already paid 80% or more of the total tax amount you owe (for example, through PAYE) in which case the “payments on account system” won’t be applied.

If you haven’t twigged by now, this means that in this one year you are actually paying double the usual amount. When you get through to the following January (unless your tax bill falls below £1000 again) you will have to pay an amount on account in advance again.

This means that in that one year you are really paying out tax twice, as you are being cleverly switched by Mr Taxman from paying your tax in arrears to paying in advance.

Something to watch out for then if you have rising sources of untaxed income such as rental income because as soon as you hit a year where the outstanding tax amount exceeds £1000, this will trigger the additional demand.

And it can come as a bit of a shock to the wallet.

If you think this could apply to you, there are a number of ways that the tax due could possibly be reduced down to below £1000 (such as by paying additional pension contributions) but any actions would need to be carried out by preceding 5th April – 9 months before the tax is actually due.

Talk to our tax experts

Worried about sorting out your tax, or want more advice about tax planning? Here at THP Chartered Accountants, our tax experts will be happy to help you out and advise accordingly.  Simply head to any of our offices THP Wanstead accountants, THP Sutton accountants, THP Chelmsford accountants, THP Saffron Walden accountants or get in touch today on 0800 6520 025.

Need further advice on any of the topics being discussed? Get in touch and see how we can help.

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    About Jon Pryse-Jones

    Since joining THP in 1978, Jon Pryse-Jones has been hands on with every area of the business. Now specialising in strategy, business planning, and marketing, Jon remains at the forefront of the growth and development at THP.

    An ideas man, Jon enjoys getting the most out of all situations, “I act as a catalyst for creative people and encourage them to think outside the box,” he says, “and I’m not afraid of being confrontational. It often leads to a better result for THP and its clients.”

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