News incl maintaining CPD and furnished holiday let alternative

Posted Dec 08, 2016

This update covers:

1. Maintaining your Personal Taxation knowledge through CPD
2. Learning to Learn
3. Furnished holiday let alternative?

1. Maintaining your Personal Taxation knowledge through CPD
To ensure that all our users are fully prepared for the CII’s new examination syllabus, which started in September 2016, we carried out extensive updates across all of our online materials. The most obvious changes made throughout the materials are the references to the tax year (2016/17), the new tax rates and allowances and the re-working of all associated example calculations and questions.

However, due to some changes in taxation and other laws, there are certain changes which create new impacts on a number of areas important to the provision of advice.

The main changes to the sections for the R03 Personal Taxation online course are listed below and are included in our accredited CPD system. All changes have also been reflected in the chapter assessments and the gap analysis assessments.

Although throughout the online courses there are many other minor amendments, as a part of your ongoing CPD it is recommended that you fully familiarise yourself with these major changes to ensure that your knowledge and understanding is fully up-to-date. By using the Wizard Learning accredited CPD system you will have access not only to all these updated courses but also all the learning materials for all of these diploma courses. These can be used at any time to refresh your knowledge of specific areas, and by carrying out gap analysis assessments over the year from each of the subjects as a part of your overall CPD plan, you can use the assessment results to identify areas of weakness against the learning outcomes and plan future CPD activities.

This article ‘R’ you doing the right CPD? covers how to meet the exacting standards for Statement of Professional Standing (SPS) CPD.

R03 Personal taxation: Online Multimedia Course



Change type

How self assessment works
How Pay As You Earn (PAYE) works
Tax avoidance and tax evasion
Types of income
Tax deductions at source
Personal allowances
Income tax and trusts
Classes of National Insurance
Rates of National Insurance
Residence in the UK
Double taxation relief
Stamp Duty Land Tax
Registration for VAT
VAT Special Schemes
Paying and accounting for Corporation tax
Cash deposits and fixed interest securities
Registered Pension Schemes
ISAs and Child Trust Funds
UK Life Assurance policies
Income tax planning
NIC planning

The top 5 areas covered by the major changes to consider first are:

  • How employee benefits are taxed
  • How interest and dividends are paid
  • Personal allowances
  • Criteria for residence status in the UK
  • The tax implications of investing in cash, fixed interest securities and shares

Free trial - Try the CPD system before you purchase
We recommend that you try the Wizard Learning accredited CPD system by requesting a free trial and you will have a week to try it to see how well it meets your requirements. If you have an existing record then login and click on the "My Account" link on the left hand menu. If you have not previously registered then register here, login and then click on the "My Account" link.

2. Learning to Learn
In this article we cover our Learning to Learn online course that are provided FREE when you purchase any of our training modules.

Introduction to Learning to Learn
The ability to learn, like breathing, is something that most people take for granted. 

Learning is something that we have been doing since birth and without it we would have had great difficulty in maturing into effective adult members of society. Every task we undertook and every day would have been a struggle for survival, with little time in our lives for relaxation or enjoyment.

Although we could easily identify the knowledge and skills we have learnt from our formal education, jobs, hobbies and social activities, many people are unaware of how that learning has actually taken place.  From our years at school we learn a vast amount, but not how to actually learn and the skills involved in learning are very much left for each individual to figure out on their own.  This may explain why some people seem to be more successful at learning than others.  Due to each individual’s unique characteristics, some people will have certain innate abilities that help them to learn, but the actual skills of learning can be acquired by anyone.

Lifestyle changes
Over the years, as society and lifestyles have changed, ongoing learning throughout our lives has become more common. Either through necessity as a part of our jobs, or through personal choice for self-development or enjoyment, more and more people now need or want to learn new skills or knowledge long after they have finished their formal education.

However, without an awareness of the skills involved in learning or where to acquire them, the process can often be very difficult and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.  The Learning to Learn series of online courses can help you to; improve your reading skills, increase your memory and mental agility, develop effective study skills, manage time effectively and face any exams within the process in a calm and confident way.  These online courses will be of benefit to anyone involved in learning, whether this is to; obtain qualifications at school, university or in a work-related context, assist with professional development or for personal pleasure.  Despite their overall focus leaning towards the more academic style of learning, the attitudes and skills they will help to develop and the principles and practices they explain are equally relevant to those planning to learn more practical skills.

Reading online course
In this online course, designed to improve reading skills you will learn about the skills and strategies that are actually involved in the reading process.  Different types of reading along with their uses and benefits will be explained.  Techniques will be discussed to develop the ability to speed-read without losing understanding and those that can be used to help with recall of what has been read at later times.  Finally, it will provide tips for creating the right environment for effective reading and practical ideas to make the reading of electronic materials easier.

Memory and mental agility online course
This online course starts by considering the relevance of memory and mental agility to learning and work environments.  It explains the links between memory and meaning and shows how association can greatly assist the memory process.  The actual working process of the mind is illustrated along with examples of how changing thinking and established habits can bring about improvement.   The final sections cover techniques to assist in improving memory and advice on dealing with factors that can affect overall ability.

Study Skills online course
The study skills online course aims to fully prepare those who will have to sit examinations as a part of their learning process.  From the initial examination of the preparations required before beginning to study for exams, it moves onto identify the different learning styles that individuals will naturally have and how these can be used most effectively.  Planning the period of study is examined in detail, including the preparation of timetables.  A model for effective studying is explained along with advice on additional support resources and tips to maintain motivation and concentration throughout the study period.

Time Management online course
The explanation of a range of competencies that are required to effectively manage time are the starting point for this online course. The principles of time management and scheduling are then examined, before moving on to consider goal-setting, action planning and the value of ‘to do’ lists.  The importance of prioritising within the overall process is then discussed.  Obstacles that can distract from effective time management are highlighted and the links to work-related personal development plans and continuous professional development are shown.

Exam Skills online course
This online course covers the process of preparing for examinations.  Starting with the importance of knowing and understanding the physical aspects and practicalities of the examination, it moves on to the drawing up of a revision timetable.  A number of revision techniques are examined and advice is given on dealing with issues that may arise immediately before and during the examination.  The final section looks at overall strategies that can be employed to maximise performance in examination situations.

Course summary
The five online courses in the Learning to Learn package will assist anyone considering a course of study or returning to learning after a significant period of time.  Following a logical step-by-step process in each area, the courses include interactive elements throughout the text and a range of activities to assist in understanding and creating an effective learning programme, while also including many tips and techniques for general use away from studying.

Provided FREE when you purchase any of our training modules.

3. Furnished holiday let alternative?
With the raft of changes affecting the buy-to-let (BTL) investor some must be wondering if a furnished holiday let (FHL) might be a more attractive option.

With a BTL there is no capital gains tax (CGT) relief and next year will see the start of the restricted income tax relief on interest payments, and although some of the advantages for FHLs have been reduced over the years, they are still treated as a trading venture and so enjoy certain advantages not available to the BTL investor.

The first point to make is that profits from a FHL can be used to make pension contributions, which has always been seen as a significant advantage. Secondly, capital allowances can be claimed on plant and machinery bought to furnish the property/ies (equipment such as white goods, furniture and other movable items).

If a loss is made from a FHL these can only be offset against profits from the letting business (prior to 2011 it was possible to offset losses against other income). This still means that if a loss is made on one property this can be offset against the profit on a different one. This is because all FHLs owned by the same person are treated as one letting business.

FHLs also qualify for certain CGT reliefs; if a property that has always been used as a FHL is sold, any capital gain arising on its disposal can benefit from roll over relief. This applies where the proceeds are reinvested into another let property or any other asset used for a trading purpose. The gain is treated as being zero and the acquisition cost of the bought asset is reduced by the amount of the gain. In this way, the gain is just being deferred until the replacement asset is sold.  Hold over relief can also apply if the property is given away as it is classed as a business asset and this also effectively defers a CGT liability. Finally, entrepreneurs’ relief can also apply to the disposal of a FHL business which reduces the rate to 10%.

To qualify as a FHL and enjoy these tax advantages, the property must be in the UK or in the EEA which includes Iceland Liechtenstein and Norway and - no surprises here - it has to be furnished.

The property must be commercially let (i.e. let for profit) and the total of FHLs in the UK are taxed as a single UK business (all FHLs in other EEA states are taxed as a single EEA business - separate records will therefore need to be kept for both).

There are also occupancy conditions; the minimum period the property must be actually let in a year is 105 days and it must be available for letting for 210 days. For most businesses this second rule should not cause a problem; most holiday lets will be available for letting on a commercial basis. The 105 day test means the property must be actually let for 15 weeks a year; any days which have been let to friends or family at reduced or zero rates cannot be counted as these are not ‘commercial’ so properties will have to be actively marketed and advertised to ensure the 15 week rule is met.  

Having said that, if a property isn’t let for 105 days there are two elections that can be made. The averaging election can be used if there is more than one property. This is an election to use the average rate of occupancy for all the properties. There is also a ‘period of grace’ election; where a property does not meet the actual occupancy test then, provided that it qualified as a FHL in one year it may be deemed to qualify for up to two following years. However the owner must be able to demonstrate that it was marketed and available for letting.

All of these advantages could provide the disgruntled BTL investor with an alternative. And even though when we think of a furnished holiday let we probably think of sandy beaches, crab sandwiches and seagulls, in reality the property could be located absolutely anywhere not just a typical holiday destination.


Wizard Learning Ltd

Provider of accredited online training and CPD system for financial advisers and financial services professionals.

We are committed to helping you gain higher level qualifications and maintain this knowledge through effective continuous professional development.

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