Q. I have been asked to represent my company on an official UK trade mission to Finland. It will involve meetings with potential clients over five days in two cities. My husband will accompany me on the trip, but he will not take part in the meetings. We will stay on in Finland to enjoy a short holiday. How should I split the costs between business and personal?
A. Your husband’s share of the costs, such as air-fares and hotel bills, are not a business expense, so you need to personally reimburse your company for those costs, if tax implications are to be avoided. Any expenses relating to the holiday part of the trip (e.g. hotel and car hire expenses) should also be borne by you personally, not by your company.
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 July this year and my wife became a director and employee of that company at that time. She is now expecting our first child. Can our company pay her statutory maternity pay?
A. Unfortunately your wife 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 her normal wages while she is on maternity leave, but those wages do not amount to statutory maternity pay so the company can’t reclaim that pay from the tax office.
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