The cash basis scheme helps sole traders and other unincorporated businesses benefit from a simpler way of managing their financial affairs. The scheme was extended to landlords from April this year with many expected to benefit from the savings in administrative burdens. The scheme is not open to limited companies and limited liability partnerships.
Unlike other taxpayers that need to opt-in to use the scheme the legislation assumes that landlords will use the cash basis as the default method of calculation. A landlord can still elect to opt out of the scheme in which case they can continue to use generally accepted accounting practice (GAAP) to calculate their taxable profits. Landlords are also required to continue using GAAP if their rental receipts are in excess of the £300,000 threshold for using the scheme.
The cash basis scheme allows qualifying businesses to use the cash basis when recording income and expenditure i.e. recording the flow of money from and to the business based on actual money flows.
Traditional accounting uses the accruals basis i.e. income and expenditure is recorded when a bill is received or a customer is invoiced. The scheme can be used by new or existing businesses although existing businesses will probably need to make some adjustments to move to using the cash accounting basis.