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Choosing the right location for your business

With Amazon’s recent decision on the new location for their business, here are some aspects to consider when making a similar investment of your own. The location should be consistent with your particular style and image. If your business is retailing, do you want a...

HMRC Tax Return Filing Time

The deadline for submitting 2017/18 self-assessment tax returns online is 31 January 2019 with a penalty of £100 if the return is late. Last year approximately 11 million taxpayers completed the return with 10.7 million being on time. In a statement, Angela MacDonald,...

Changes to Capital allowances

The Budget includes an increase to the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) for two years up to £1 million. This is in relation to qualifying expenditure incurred from 1 January 2019, currently at £200,000 per year. Additional changes to the rules outlined include the...

Changes to Entrepreneurs’ Relief

For disposals on or after 29 October 2018, the Chancellor announced changes to the Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER) rules. During his October Budget, he introduced a requirement for a person claiming ER to have at least a 5% interest in the distributable profits and the net...

Autumn Budget 2018

In the Autumn Budget, the Chancellor Philip Hammond stated that “austerity is coming to an end, but discipline will remain”. He outlined a promise for a “double deal dividend” from Brexit and referenced that there is likely to be a full-scale Spring Budget if Brexit...

Making Tax Digital for VAT pilot

In the middle of October, HMRC opened the Making Tax Digital for VAT pilot. This is now available for nearly 70% of those mandated to file MTD-compliant VAT returns for all future VAT-return periods starting after the 31 March 2019. The requirement to join VAT-MTD...

The Budget 2018

The end is nigh. During what one could be forgiven for thinking was a pre-election budget, the Chancellor confidently stated that ‘austerity is coming to an end – but discipline will remain’. He then went on to promise a ‘double deal dividend’ if Brexit...

Five Steps to a Successful Business Strategy

When setting out on a new venture or business idea, so many businesses do not succeed. This could be down to a combination of factors. Yet, one common factor is the challenges associated with executing the idea and establishing it in the market. To ensure your idea or...

Self-employed Class 2 National Insurance remains

The government has decided not to abolish Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from April 2019. This is today paid at a rate of £2.95 per week by self-employed individuals with profits of £6,205 or more annually. Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the...

VAT Making Tax Digital – A Giant Step

Growing confidence It’s official. Sole traders and companies with up-to-date VAT affairs are now able to join HMRC’s test phase for VAT Making Tax Digital (MTD). While testing of VAT-MTD started last April, until now it has been on a limited, controlled,...

Latest guidance from HMRC in Employer Bulletin

HMRC Employer bulletins are magazines published every two months, giving up-to-date information on payroll topics for employers and agents. The latest edition has useful information on reporting payroll information, information on the National Living Wage and the...

5 Steps to Resilience

Running and managing your own business can be one of the hardest challenges of your life. The ups, the downs, the cash flow challenges, finding the right people – the list is endless. Likewise, though, are the ups in terms of success: winning the next deal, finding...

New Fuel Rates published for Company Cars

New company car advisory fuel rates were published, on September 1st, with the guidance indicating that the previous rates may be used for up to one month from the date the new rates applied. This only effects employees using a company car. The listed rates are shown...

HMRC warns: Declare offshore assets

As of 1 October, the new Requirement to Correct (RTC) rules are upon us. Previously, under HMRC Offshore Disclosure Facilities, taxpayers had been encouraged to come clean with an offer of lower penalties than would have been incurred if “the error” had been...

Tax legislation next round published

For the Finance Bill 2018-19, the government has published draft legislation that could affect a range of taxes, from Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) to Income Tax. This is now open for consultation and is aligned to the commitment from the government for a ‘competitive...

Relief for first-time buyers in Scotland

Around 80% of first-time buyers will pay no Scottish Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT). 30 June 2018 saw the introduction of the First-Time Buyers tax relief. The change has meant that the zero-rated LBTT threshold has increased from £145,000 to £175,000 for...

Rising interest rates from Bank of England

The recent Bank of England 0.25% interest rate increase (to 0.75%) sees UK interest rates at their highest since March 2009. This change will have an immediate impact on interest costs, such as mortgages for those on variable or tracker rates, whilst the rise may take...

Raising finance for your business: Where to start

To help you kick-start your business, there are several ways in which to raise finance to get your idea underway or to further accelerate your growth. At the time of writing, these are the most common routes to explore for finance. However, new offerings for finance...

Cold calling ban requested on pensions

HMRC recently issued a consultation concerning draft technical regulations to ban pension cold calling The consultation document sets out the policy intentions behind the proposed ban and invites comments on the draft regulations to implement the ban set out at Annex...

Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV)

HMRC has published a new VAT Notice (700/22), ‘Making Tax Digital for VAT’. The new notice provides information on the new rules with which VAT-registered entities will have to comply. For VAT return periods commencing after 31 March 2019, VAT-registered entities with...

Summer holidays and Tax-Free Childcare

Throughout the summer holidays, the government has been reminding parents seeking help for childcare costs that they can use Tax-Free Childcare (TFC). This is worth up to £2,000 per child per year, to pay for regulated holiday clubs. Findings from a recent survey by...

HMRC proposes new VAT rules for construction services

Subject to consultation, HMRC proposes to introduce new VAT rules for construction services, which have been published in a draft statutory instrument for consultation. It suggests, under the draft legislation, that supplies of standard or reduced-rated construction...

Fraudsters stopped by HMRC, saving the public £2.4m

Fraudsters have been tackled by HMRC, with a focus on the use of premium rate phone numbers for services HMRC provide for free. The reported fraudsters create fake websites for HMRC and then look to charge for what are actually free services from HMRC, through...

RTI filing extended by HMRC until April 2019

The payroll Real Time Information (RTI) late filing easement has been extended by HMRC until April 2019. For the RTI payroll, it is a requirement for employers to submit details of payments made to employees on or before the day that salaries/wages are paid. The new...

HMRC confirms UK ‘tax gap’ fall to 5.7%

The tax gap for 2016 – 2017 has fallen to 5.7%, HMRC has confirmed. The “tax gap” relates to the tax that should be paid and the actual tax paid to HMRC. In a statement, Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘These really positive figures show that...

Supporting the Self-Employed through Universal Credit

A recent report published by the government,“Universal Credit: supporting self employment,” considered the impact of the Monthly Income Floor (MIF) earnings requirement. To be eligible for Universal Credit (UC) claimants must earn the at least the MIF. The MIF is...

IR35 Update

Who would have thought that the Intermediaries Legislation – commonly known as IR35 – is almost twenty years old? Despite the passage of time, issues regarding employment status are less clear than ever. This is certainly no less true in the last few months, which has...

HMRC scam warnings

There have been warnings issued by HMRC regarding tax scams that approach individuals through SMS and emails. At present, HMRC are processing real refunds for the previous year and the scam is intended to replicate this approach through messages claiming the taxpayer...

QuickBooks files first MTD-compliant VAT return

In what can only be described as a momentous achievement for Intuit, QuickBooks, the world’s leading online accounting software provider, has submitted its first Making Tax Digital (MTD) VAT filing to HMRC – through QuickBooks Online on 15th May 2018. Dominic Allon,...

Scottish Budget Update

With the new Scottish Income Tax rates and bands introduced from 6 April 2018, UK tax reliefs will continue to work north of the border as intended. The following will apply: Transferable Marriage Allowance Taxpayers can transfer 10% of their tax-free Personal...

Remember P11D due for submission

For the year ending 5 April 2018, P11D reports detailing expenses and benefits are due for submission by 6 July 2018. It is important not to leave this task until the last minute, as it can take time to process the relevant information. Employees pay tax on benefits...

Amended VAT fuel scale charges

With effect from 1 May 2018, the VAT fuel scale charges have been amended. VAT-registered entities who calculate and apply the charges must use the new scales from the start of the next VAT return period, starting on or after 1 May 2018. VAT-registered businesses use...

Exemption for workplace charging

In the Autumn Budget 2017, it was announced that the government intends to implement an exemption; for the benefit of electricity provided by an employer, at the workplace, to charge electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. This means that there are no requirements for...

A Quick Guide to GDPR

From the 25 May 2018, companies that collect data on citizens in European Union (EU) countries need to comply with strict new rules regarding the protection of customers – in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Federation of Small Businesses...

Spring Statement and Budget 2018

The Headlines Phillip Hammond was in a playful mood when he presented his first Spring Statement on Tuesday 13 March 2018. He even referred to himself as being “at my most positively Tigger-like”. Hammond opened with an update on our economy and reported on the Office...

5 ways cloud accounting could transform your business

Whether you are a small business owner, or you are self-employed, embracing cloud accounting and technology could help your business transform and succeed. Here are five ways this can happen. Avoid paperwork and errors Having to manage multiple data sources in manual...

Tips for Tax Planning before Year-end 5 April

Make full use of your ISA allowance, a tax-free way to save, with individuals permitted to invest up to a limit of £20,000 for the 2017/18 tax year. A saver may only pay into a maximum of one Cash ISA, one Stocks and Shares ISA, and one Innovative Finance ISA per...

One million employers reach Auto Enrolment Pensions

It has been announced that approximately 9.3 million people are now saving into a pension according to the Pensions Regulator, a milestone has been achieved of one million employers having rolled out the scheme. In the past, many workers have missed out on valuable...

What is GDPR and how will it impact your business?

With the General Data Protection Regulation regime coming into force in the UK from 25 May 2018, key changes will be introduced to the way personal data is handled. The question, therefore, is whether your business is prepared for the forthcoming change. It is...

Inheritance Tax thresholds report

A recent poll, conducted by Canada Life, highlighted the confusion surrounding Inheritance Tax thresholds. It was found that 70% of UK adults over the age of 45, and with assets over the £325,000 individual Inheritance Tax threshold (IHT), were not aware that their...

Tax-Free Childcare update

From 14 February 2018, HMRC has made the scheme available to all parents of eligible children, who can now apply online. The Tax Free Childcare scheme is available to help towards the cost of childcare for working parents. The scheme has been rolled out in stages to...

Revision to Income Tax bands in Scotland

Due to “an anomaly that meant some higher rate taxpayers saw their bills fall while others on slightly lower incomes saw a rise, due in part to changes in the personal allowance,” Derek Mackay, Scottish Finance Secretary, has amended the proposed Scottish Income Tax...

HMRC scam messages stopped

HMRC have announced that they have prevented thousands of convincing scam text messages from reaching customers’ phones, up to 90% of all HMRC related scam messages being sent. The HMRC press release states: “Fraudsters alleging to be from HMRC send text messages to...

Corporation Tax changes for large companies

From April 2019, new rules will apply to companies with annual taxable profits in excess of £20 million. These companies will be categorised as ‘very large’ and will be required to make QIPs four months earlier than smaller companies. However, a company will not...

Rejected excuses for late Self Assessment

Since 31 January, HMRC has released the latest list of rejected excuses for late filing for Self Assessment. HMRC does this every year, and this year certainly did not disappoint! I couldn’t file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me...

HMRC payments announcement

With effect from 15 December 2017, HMRC has announced that the option will no longer be available to provide payment for tax via the Post Office, and that after the 13 January 2018, HMRC has removed the ability to pay with a personal credit card. This is due to the...

Stamp Duty Relief for first time buyers in Scotland

The Scottish Government has announced a first-time buyers’ Land and Buildings Transaction Tax relief for properties up to £175k – increasing the zero-tax level from £145k. There will also be relief for first-time buyers purchasing above the £175k on the portion of the...

Your finances for 2018 – 5 Promises to keep

The start of a new year is a great time for reflection, in particular when it comes to your finances, and planning to best achieve your goals in the forthcoming year. Following these 5 simple steps, should help you prepare to have your finances in order. Prioritise...

Delay in the abolition of Class 2 NIC

Following the previous announcement that the government plan to abolish Class 2 national insurance contributions, and make other NIC changes in 2018, there has now been an update. The changes have been delayed until April 2019, when the changes are now planned to...

Tax deductible expenses for sole traders

Do you work from home? Did you know, as a sole trader you can charge a proportion of household expenses to the business. The following expenses will need to be logged effectively to best support your books and tax return. Telephone & Broadband You should monitor...

8 phishing and scamming tactics highlighted by HMRC

We recommend that you are always vigilant when it comes to the risk of scams and phishing. To help, please see the current list of tactics provided by HMRC of known scams. Tax refund and rebate emails HMRC will not contact you via email to organise a tax rebate. Some...

Fuel rates update for company cars

There are new advisory fuel rates for employees using company cars, or where an employee is required to repay the cost of fuel used for private travel. Although the new rates came into effect on 1 December 2017, the old rates could still be used until the 31 December...

Tax exemption on employee gifts

If you have purchased your employees a seasonal gift, you might like to know what criteria you need to meet to ensure the gift can be exempt from tax. The cost of the gift must be £50 or less per employee, or on average where gifts are given to multiple employees. If...

Delay to roll out of tax free childcare

The Tax Free Childcare Scheme was anticipated to be fully launched by the end of 2017. However, the Government has since announced that completion of the rollout will be delayed. The Scheme was first made available in April 2017 to parents of children under 6 years of...

Paradise Papers

The second biggest data leak of all time, after the Panama Papers, contains a vast 1.4TB of data which is over 13.4 million records. Some of the most infamous names ousted have included the Queen and corporations such as Facebook and Apple. The papers suggest that...

Interest rates rise update

With the Bank of England interest rate rise, the first in more than 10 years, the official bank rate has been lifted from 0.25% to 0.5%, to the rate before Brexit. It is estimated that there may be further interest rate rises over the next 3 years as outlined by Bank...

New Help to Save Scheme launched

A new scheme will be launched in 2018, by the Government to incentivise those on low incomes to build up their savings. The Help to Save Scheme will be available to employed people who receive Working Tax Credits, and to those who receive Universal Credit with a...

Criminal Finances Act 2017

There has been an update to the Criminal Finance Act 2017, which imposes new duties on agents moving forward. The legislation makes companies and partnerships (relevant bodies) criminally culpable for the failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion committed by...

Important deadlines to remember for your Limited company

Running your own Limited company has so many exciting benefits; being your own boss, making decisions and the sense of pride and achievement when business is going well. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly tough, stressful, and time-consuming, with a whole list...

Class 2 National Insurance delayed

In a written statement to the House of Commons made on the 2 November 2017, Andrew Jones (The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury) announced the planned abolition of class 2 national insurance contributions (NIC) is to be delayed by one year to 6 April 2019. His...

Top 3 Barriers to Smash for Business Success

There are more than ½ million new start-ups each year, with last year alone having a record number of 657,790, as found by the Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE). However, almost shockingly, it is estimated that 1 in 5 of those will fail in the first year, and more than...

Trusts Registration Service launched

HMRC has recently launched a new Trust Registration Service which requires trustees to register their trust online. The old paper-based registration CT41G process ceased earlier in 2017. The new TRS must be registered as part of self-assessment with HMRC by the 5...

Have you set up a Personal Tax Account?

Your Personal Tax Account (PTA) can be set up and accessed via the GOV.UK website. Once your PTA has been activated you can use it to do the following: checking Income Tax estimates and tax codes completing and viewing a personal tax return claiming a tax refund...

The upcoming Budget and Making Tax Digital

The UK first Autumn Budget in years will be delivered by Chancellor Phillip Hammond on Wednesday 22 November. It will be his second Budget in 2017 and will include projected tax changes and spending plans as a result of the earlier report by the Office for Budget...

Company car fuel rates update

HMRC has published new Advisory Fuel Rates for employers to use when reimbursing employees provided with a company car who are required to purchase all fuel, both business and private themselves. The new rates took effect on the 1st September ’17.The previous rates...

Employer Bulletin

The Employer Bulletin is released every 2 months, with the most recent release in August. The update is full of useful information on such varied payroll areas as:PAYE reporting, and how to do it correctlyOptional Remuneration ArrangementsRisk-based approach to late...

Spend, bank or donate the old £1 coin

The final deadline for spending, banking or donating the old style £1 is on the 15 October ‘17, when the coin will cease to be legal tender and businesses can then refuse to accept it. After the deadline, any surplus old £1 coins found can be deposited with a bank....

Compensation for delayed Tax-Free Childcare Scheme

The Tax-Free Childcare Scheme is a new government initiative aimed at helping 2 million households with the cost of childcare.The scheme was launched in April this year. It will be rolled out gradually during 2017.The scheme is available for those with children up to...

HMRC launch a Small Business Online Forum

On the 1st August ‘17, a new online chat forum was launched by HMRC with the aim to provide Small Business with a quick and easy way to get answers to their tax questions, as well as: Starting a business Getting support with growing a business Buying and selling...

The new General Data Protection Regulation

A new EU data protection framework, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), was adopted on 8 April 2016.From 25 May 2018, GDPR will affect the whole of the EU covering half a billion citizens. Its goal is to unify data protection across the EU. It has many...

Succession Plans, who do you turn to?

With many successful businesses growing, succession planning can be overlooked. According to a survey by the insurer Nationwide, 60% of business owners said they did not think a succession plan was necessary. In questioning 502 owners, it was found that those who are...

No time off – SME leaders

In a report from the Aldermore SME Future Attitudes, more than half of UK SME leaders (52%) have five or less day’s holiday a year. The report also found: • 21% of Small Business owners end up cancelling some holidays due to outstanding tasks. • Once on holiday, 85%...

Brexit – fear of reducing tech firm investment

Trade group techUK, which represents 950 technology firms, has indicated that it is vital for any Brexit deal to allow the UK to continue to benefit from the European Investment Fund (EIF). Currently throughout Europe the EIF provides approximately £500 million each...

8 Million Employees signed to Workplace Pension Scheme

The introduction of automatic enrolment into the workplace pension scheme, intended to help more save for their retirement, has now reached 8,165,000 employees according to The Pensions Regulator (TPR). However, there are still more than half a million employers whose...

Latest on Making Tax Digital

Following concerns raised by the Treasury Select Committee, industry bodies and businesses, the Government has revised the timetable on Making Tax Digital for Business (MTDfB). The changes will now commence from 2019 for businesses which have a turnover which exceeds...

MPs outline new Making Tax Digital timetable

Expected to impact more than 3m small businesses of self-employed and landlords, Ministers have announced next steps for the Making Tax Digital initiative such that: – only businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) will have to keep...