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August Question and Answer Section

Newsletter issue - August 2013.

Q. I am thinking of investing some money in premium bonds. Are there any tax advantages or disadvantages?

A. You won't receive interest on the money held in premium bonds but any prizes you receive from those bonds are tax free. The prize fund is calculated on the basis of a nominal interest rate of 1.3%. Thus if you hold £10,000 in premium bonds for one year, on average you should expect to win £130 as bond prizes over the year. However, that return is not guaranteed and you may win more or less. You could also win the big prize of £1million!

The premium bonds will form part of your estate for inheritance tax purposes, so will be subject to inheritance tax on your death if the value of your total estate exceeds the exempt limit of £325,000 (fixed to 2018).

Q. I am a non-executive director of a number of companies. Can I offer consultancy services to those companies on a self-employed basis?

A. You can offer your services to those companies on a self-employed basis, but you need to have a clear contract which distinguishes your work as a consultant from work you do as a director. The self-employed tasks need to be invoiced separately and declared to HMRC as a separate business from your fees as a director.

Generally the fees for work you perform as a director should be taxed under PAYE. Legislation introduced in the Finance Act 2013 requires the IR35 provisions to apply to work done as officers where that work is charged through a third party, such as a personal service company.

Q. I formed my new company in November 2012 and my wife (Liz) became a director and employee of that company at that time. Liz is now expecting our first child in August 2013. Can our company pay Liz statutory maternity pay?

A. Unfortunately Liz has not worked for 26 weeks for her employer before the 15 weeks prior to birth, so statutory maternity pay is not due. There is nothing to stop your company from paying Liz her normal wages while she is on maternity leave, but as those wages do not amount to statutory maternity pay the company can't reclaim that pay from the tax office.

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