O mia babbino caro – what a Jolie story we have here (not)

Performance Accountancy

What do I have in common with Angelina Jolie?

Well, not a lot at first glance but it turns out there is something, or rather someone.

Because, funnily enough, before I began putting quill to parchment on this latest missive to you, dear reader, I was idly doom-scrolling through social media.

I’d heard some rumours about a forthcoming biopic about the wonderful Maria Callas and that “Angie” (as her mates call her) would be starring in the role.

So imagine the irony when I discovered that the Hollywood icon has been verbally sparring with her with daddy on social media.

Not about her baby, about that Trump fella (insert childish observation here).

Yes, that’s counter-culture icon John Voight.

Turns out he’s quite the Trump fan now – stop giggling at the back!

Now I’m vaguely aware that Angelina has done a lot of positive stuff in her UN role so this must be making for some awkward conversations around the Thanksgiving dinner table this year!

Whilst most of La Jolie’s body of work has passed me by, she’s clearly very talented and certainly has huge screen presence and charisma.

Can she pull off this role though?

Will she be singing?

Will they dub over her like they did with Renee Fleming in “Bel Canto” for Julianne Moore?

In what must have taken the writing team hours of creative thought, “Maria” is set during Callas’ final days in 1970s Paris.

Don’t expect it to be all glitz and glamour, this is likely going to be rather gritty as it is based on “true accounts” of Callas’ life and let’s face it, it wasn’t all kittens and sunshine!

It was a life filled with music for sure and a whole heap of passion but also tragedy.

Jolie shot to fame playing the role of “Gia Carangi” way back so she won’t flinch from telling the tragic story that ended with a heart attack aged just 54 and has commented that;

“I take very seriously the responsibility to Maria’s life and legacy. I will give all I can to meet the challenge.”

Quite why her syntax caused her to temporarily become “Yoda” is beyond my comprehension but I wish her well – wonder what her dad will make of it.

The film is due to be released in 2024.


Not the sort of thing you will normally hear from me but exactly what I told Classical Music magazine just before I packed away my abacus and Excel spreadsheets for the weekend.

I was discussing the latest chaos at HMRC HQ with Florence Lockheart (the editor of this excellent publication) with regard to the pickle that overseas workers are finding themselves in
when attempting to register as self-employed.

You can read the article HERE – registration is FREE so don’t worry about that.

If you want the gist and don’t fancy reading my chat with Flo (although you really should) it goes a little something like this…

Quite a few months ago, HMRC stopped using a system called “Verify” in order to deal with the verification of people who needed to be registered for Self-assessment and self-employment.

“Why?” you may well ask but ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and…well if you are on hold long enough (any many sadly are!)…

They then made a load more changes and updates but as I was helping a client through this it came to the verification bit and it was nigh on impossible to make progress, largely because the
ID required was UK-based.

Guess what?

If you ARE NOT UK-based you are unlikely to have such prized proofs! Payslips can help here BUT there is another layer of admin to break through after you have navigated this level where they ask once again for two items out of a UK passport, UK photo card driver’s license, or credit reference.

Spoiler alert… an overseas worker living and working here will struggle.

I certainly did and I have all manner of shortcuts and agent clearance so imagine if English is not your first language or you simply don’t have the time or iron-will to sit on the phone to HMRC
for hours on end when you should be practicing or performing!

We’ve had 3 months of a closed helpline and queues can be well in excess of an hour when people do get through. Come on HMRC, think about the customer experience, wherever they are from!

A night at the Oscars – well, for me anyway

The lights dim, the audience settles into their seats, eager to hear the opening lines.

The tension is unbearable.

Sort of.

A dim rustle of sweeties is heard near the back of the room and the traditional coughing fit begins somewhere off to the right of the stage.

“Good evening everyone and welcome to the annual Accountancy Excellence Awards!”

*Crowd goes mild*. (we don’t really go wild in our industry – trust me)

Mercifully for you, dear reader, this is not something you will have to endure.

Fear not, I have bravely taken this responsibility on for you and can exclusively reveal that I did NOT win at the Accountancy Excellence Awards.

It transpires that I am not quite the BEST in the UK, just one of the best.

Like top 5!

So that’s actually pretty cool when you think about it.

Curiously, I think they may have made an accountant error. You see, the category was “Sole Practitioner” and that is indeed what I am, along with my trusty PA who keeps me organised.

You hire me, you get me.

You know, the former opera singer turned “Singing Accountant”®.

However, the winners (note the use of the plural) were, well, more than one.

Now, my abacus tells me that the sums don’t really add up but I’m genuinely not fussed.

I’m proud of making the final and any moaning would be sour grapes and we can’t have that.

However, grapes aside, I might be “raisin” it before I enter for 2024 to avoid the “current” affairs!

Capital Gains Tax on the sale of an inherited property.

Capital Gains & Mortgages and “interest” rates - a contradiction in terms? Performance Accountancy, Louise Herrington, Getting a Mortgage when self-employed

The tax man likes to get his money somehow, and one of the “easiest” ways is on inherited property. An estate including property, may be passed to beneficiaries without any inheritance tax (IHT) being paid as it depends on the value of the estate, how many children inherited and if there is any spousal transfer before death.  We are not going to go into these reasons in this blog, and we are going to use dummy numbers to illustrate the points being made.

For this post, we will focus specifically on selling an inherited property in the UK and how capital gains tax may apply.

What is Capital Gains Tax?

Capital Gains Tax is a type of tax that you need to pay when you make a profit by selling something valuable, like property, stocks, or even artwork. It’s the Government’s way of collecting a small portion of the money you earn from selling these things.

Let’s imagine that you inherited a property from your father. The value of the property when you got it (called the probate value) was £300,000. However, when you decided to sell it, you found a buyer who was willing to pay £375,000. That’s great news because, on the face of it, you made a profit of £75,000!

When you do this, there is no tax for the person who passed away to pay. The estate was mopped up, inheritance tax paid (if applicable) and the property was passed to the beneficiaries. It is the person selling that property that will have the tax to pay as in effect this is a second property for the person and you are not selling your principle private residence as you have your own home that you live in.

How is Capital Gains Tax Worked Out?

In order to calculate the gain, you take the profit, less the personal allowance for capital gains (for 2023/2024 it has gone down from £12300 to £6000) and you then get a taxable gain of £69000. If there are two people selling the property, then the £69,000 will be divided by two. But let’s assume it is a single person.

Now the amount of tax to pay is based on a percentage, which is either 18% if you are a basic rate taxpayer, or 28% if you are a higher rate taxpayer. For ease, let’s assume that your income (from PAYE, Self Employment etc.) is over £50270, you will have to pay 28% on the £69,000 gain, so handing over to the tax man £19320.  You will therefore walk away with £355,680 in your bank account.

Add in a sprinkle of complication

Now we can put in a few complications.   If you inherited the property 3 years ago and did not live in it but say rented it out, and then you go and live in it as your principle private residence for a year, assuming the same gain of £69000, as you have live in it for 12 months out of 48, the gain then drops to £51750 which gives a tax bill of £14490.

Should you then move out whilst you try to sell it, the fact that you have lived in it, you can be given a maximum 9-month grace period which counts towards the number of months living it. If it only takes a month to sell after you move out, you only get 1 month grace period.

Registering Capital Gains Tax

Now the final thing you need to know about is that once the sale has been completed, you need to register the capital gain at HMRC and pay over the gain within 60 days of completion, so make sure when you start the sale process, you have all your ducks in a row with regards probate value, improvement costs, sales costs like estate agent fee etc as those 60 days pass by really quickly.

Here is how you report the gain>>  https://bit.ly/3oCp8SN

Always check with an accountant or tax advisor about the potential sale and taxes to pay as you may be planning something in the future and some small adjustments can change the outcome of tax on the sale.

Titanic effort means Charing Cross Theatre will “rival” West End

Titanic effort means Charing Cross Theatre will “rival” West End - Performance Accountancy, written by Louise Herrington

Catching up on industry gossip during a small window sans self assessment returns, I was delighted to read in The Stage that London’s 265-seat Charing Cross Theatre has launched a new “orchestra pit”. With capacity for 19 musicians, the “fringe” venue says the move will allow it to rival the West End.

That remains to be seen but it is hugely welcome news to see this investment (MD Steven Levy says they spent £55,000 redeveloping the space). It is especially exciting for me because it brings back fond memories of a fabulous performance of “Titanic”, way back circa 2016 featuring a wonderful client of ours.

Hazy dream sequence aside, here’s the goss, according to The Stage’s Matthew Hemley;

“The Charing Cross Theatre’s new room will be used for the first time next month with the English-language premiere of musical Rebecca, featuring an orchestra of 18 and a conductor.

Matthew goes on to note that;

“It comes amid a backdrop of cuts to band sizes in the West End, with The Phantom of the Opera recently reducing its orchestra by almost a half, from 27 previously to 14 musicians.”

You can read the full piece by Matthew in The Stage here

Meanwhile, word reaches me that “Bronco Billy – The Musical”, will buck its way into Charing Cross Theatre for its UK premiere in January 2024.

I’m told that it is loosely based on the Clint Eastwood film.

Well, go ahead Billy, make my day!

Oyster and TFL Travel

Transport for London travel evidence

I get a lot of queries about TFL Oyster card travel and TFL contactless travel, with people stating they don’t know how much their business spend is on their cards as they don’t have any detail.

Well, we can deal with that. It’s very, very simple. All you need to do is register your Oyster card or your contactless payment card at the TFL website (https://oyster.tfl.gov.uk/oyster/entry.do) . That way when you register it, you’ll be able to go in each month and download a copy of your statement which will show you every single trip that you have done in that month. When you download it, you can highlight the ones that are business and leave the ones that are personal.

Sometimes I suggest to people, you might want to get two Oyster cards or two different payment cards. That way you use one for business and one for pleasure. There is a downfall to that, in that if you are doing travel for a day, and some of it is business, some of it is personal, using two different cards mean you have the potential of not breaking the threshold to get your travel free after a certain amount. So there is a downside to that.

Now, I did mine years ago, that’s because I’m old. I get an email every Wednesday showing me what my travel was in the previous week. I can go through, print that off and say, “Here you go. This is how much I’ve travelled and that is business.” Luckily, I don’t live in London, so it’s not that much of an onerous task. But for those people who do, I really recommend keeping the diary to say what you are doing, whether you are auditioning, rehearsing, whatever you might be doing for your business, and register your contactless cards and Oyster cards at TFL, and that way you’ll be able to pull the data.

Beware though, the data does not remain on the TFL website forever. I thought originally it was six weeks, then someone said it’s six months, and then somebody else said it’s a year. So always check it. I suggest pulling the data at the start of the next months just to make sure you get the data.

Vital evidence – get it and keep it.

Beware about on-line stock trading

Online stocks & coin trading and UK tax

I want to give you a bit of a health warning about online trading and UK tax issues.


I’ve seen a massive increase in people playing on online platforms for bits of spare money they might have. Be it Bitcoin, Chip, Coinbase, Trading 212, interactive investors, eToro and various other platforms like it, including playing on platforms within the EU.


The problem you’ve got is that these platforms may not keep adequate records in order for you to complete your UK tax return. A lot of people think, “Well, it’s EU trading. I don’t need to worry” or “I’ve not made much or any profit, so I don’t have anything to declare”. Unfortunately, yes, you do.


You need to make sure that whatever platform you can use, they can provide an end of year consolidated tax statement for the UK. It has to be in the year 6th of April to the following 5th of April, not a European year. Some of the platforms do provide this, but not all.


The statement should include dividends paid to you, any interest paid, but more specifically, the capital gain & loss per sale and a summary for the year.


If this is not provided, you will have to keep very detailed records of when you buy an investment as to when you sell it, and if you partially sell it, how much of the individual investment did you sell?


You may only make a small profit or maybe a loss, but you need to tick the box that you had capital gains. If you sold over £49,200 worth of stocks and shares in the tax year, even if the initial investment you have played with is a small amount that you have just reinvested lots of times, you must report it on your UK tax return and detail out the sales proceeds, purchase costs, losses and gains, plus attached back up to the calculation.  You might’ve produced a loss which you can carry forward. You might’ve produced a profit and it could be covered by the capital gains tax threshold, so you may not think it’s important. It is important and must be declared even if no tax to pay.


One thing that’s been picked up very recently is HMRC get reports from UK and European trading platforms, and it will show if people in the UK have been dabbling on these markets and what income they have received. The problem being is HMRC only get to know the income. So if you’ve sold some investments, they just know how much you sold it for. They don’t get the information about how much it was purchased for. Therefore, it looks like you could have had an income of, let’s say, £100,000, but they don’t know you actually spent £95,000 to get that income. They just know the income and they will open an investigation if you end up on the naughty person list.  it’s up to you to collect these records to prove that you don’t have that £100,000 stashed away.


If you received any dividends from European trading platforms, then foreign dividends need to be declared either in the foreign box on UK dividends page if less than £2000, or in the foreign section of the tax return.


It may take a couple of years for those reports to come through, but they will be followed up with.


This is just a heads-up. Some of these online platforms are pretty useless at keeping the information. So unfortunately, it is down to you to keep detailed records of what you’ve purchased, what you’ve sold, when you sold it, did you get any other income for those returns.

What’s new with class 2.

What’s new for Class 2 National Insurance for tax year 22/23 onwards?


For those of you that have already completed your tax return for this year and didn’t have a high level of self-employed profit, you may notice something strange is going on.

You always have an option to pay Class 2 National Insurance if your self-employed profits are under £6,725. It means you do not have to pay the £3.15 a week for the 2022/23 tax year. It is optional.  I always encourage it as it goes towards a few state benefits, but more importantly it adds a year towards your state pension.

This is the same that has been all the time if you’re below a small profits threshold. No change there.


Should your self-employed profit be over £11,908, then you have to pay the full Class 2 amount. Again, no difference with that. For 23/24, it will be £12,570 because the government brought Class 4 National Insurance thresholds in line with income tax threshold. Yay. Makes things so much easier.

Where it gets strange is if you have self-employed profits between £6,725 and £11,908, then the government says you don’t have to pay Class 2 National Insurance and they’ll give you something called a notional credit and add that year to your National Insurance record. You get the full year that goes towards your state benefit, but you don’t have to pay for it. Woo hoo. No, they don’t actually pay you back the £163.80, it is notional. I have been asked that several times.


So this is something to think about. If you have no other income and your self-employment profit is low, try and get your profits between £6,725 and £11,908. That way you won’t have to pay Class 2 National Insurance and you’ll get the credit.


But beware, there is no point in increasing your self-employment if you breach the threshold of income tax with other income such as PAYE income, rental income, etc because increasing your self-employed profits to save the National Insurance will actually then push you up and more pay income tax. So that’s just the heads up.


There is a bit of tax planning you can think about, but don’t think too hard about it. It all depends if you have other income apart from self-employment.

Martin Lewis and Louise in pensions duet


Yes, after months of campaigning, negotiations, contract wrangling and carrier pigeon-powered correspondence it can be confirmed that the nation’s money mavericks are singing from the same hymn sheet.

Not really.

There were no pigeons and I offer zero financial advice.

However, Martin and I do both agree on this and it’s a belter of a tune.

Remember the Great Pensions Panic of Spring 2023?

Folk scrambling madly to check what they’ve paid into their State Pensions then flocking to the HMRC National Insurance portal thingy to top them up before they pulled up the drawbridge?


OK, you are forgiven but in a nutshell, our Martin (and Louise) were urging folk to go back and check your Ni contributions back to 2006. The reason being that if there are “gaps” you can go and fill them by topping them up.

Yes, it will cost you money but the end result would be a HUGE uplift in your State Pension when the time comes. We’re talking thousands of pounds for hundreds “invested” here.

Well….predictably, the HMRC website pretty much fell over so the deadline has now been extended to April 2025!


So you’ve got plenty of time to try and get through to the Future Pensions unit and sort out what you need to pay if you want to do any catch up years.

However, what you must remember is whilst they will tell you how much it will cost, you then need to decide whether you want to pay it or not.

I can’t really advise on that as I’m not a financial advisor.

If you do decide to pay, you must get an 18 digit reference number from the NI team or the Future Pensions team in order to make the payment. Whatever you do, do not come off the phone if you decide to pay until you have that number. Otherwise, you’ll sit in the queue again!

The one where the words “interest” and “tax” meet in the same headline

The one where the words “interest” and “tax” meet in the same headline, Performance Accountancy

It might sound like a contradiction in terms but I beg you pay heed to this seeming impossibility. DON’T forget to make your July Payment on Account if required!!!

Bringing it back to the headline, is it because “tax” is “interesting”?

Spoiler alert…no.

Is it because “interest” is “taxing”?

Well, yes.

Purely because if you read the following and do NOTHING about it before it is too late you might end up paying a HUGE amount of interest and even some fines to HMRC.

So what’s the problem?

It comes down to Self Assessment and Payments on Account.

Remember them?

They are the ones that are estimated by the good folk at HMRC after they peer into their crystal ball and miraculously conclude that you will earn the same amount of money this year.

They then “helpfully” ask you to pay half early doors.

Now it seems a pain to many people but it does make IF you are organised with your finances.

The problem is the whacking great inflation problem right now – you might have noticed it!

That means that if you are late….the impact of the interest you pay is far bigger than usual.

Like 7% and upwards bigger – never mind the fines.

So what do you do?

Check your online account and see how much you have to pay by the 31st of July. I recommend you set up the payment for a few days BEFOREHAND just in case something crumbles. Or…you could look at doing your tax return before the 26th of July. That will give HMRC time to reevaluate how much the July 2023 payment should be. Now…it will never go up, but it could go
down if your income has changed between the two years.

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