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...

Money Laundering Regulations: your responsibilities

In June 2017, HMRC released the updated publication of the new Money Laundering Regulations, which outlines general businesses daily responsibilities to ensure customer due diligence checks are made. What do you need to do to comply? Understand customer due diligence,...

Latest guidance for employers

HMRC have issued the latest version of the Employer Bulletin, details here. This edition has articles on several issues including: – P11D and P11D(b) filing and payment deadlines – Paying the right amount of tax through PAYE – Construction industry...

Simplifying corporation tax

In an ongoing effort to modernise the tax system through The Making Tax Digital Initiative, to-date there has been minimal focus on simplifying Corporation tax. The Office for Tax Simplification has published their recommendations on simplifying the corporation tax...

The Queen’s Speech and future legislation

On the 21st June, the Queen delivered her speech which set out the government’s agenda for the coming parliamentary session, outlining the proposed policies and legislation focussing on: 1. Providing a Brexit that is suitable for the UK as a whole 2. Building a...

Individuals – Have you met LISA?

LISA (Lifetime ISA), which was launched on April 6th , 2017, is a tax free account for saving towards a first home or pension, with a Government incentive whereby every £4 saved is increased to £5, up to a maximum of £4,000 saved per year, providing a...

Small Business – Three Simple Business Rules

Consider these simple business rules to help your business thrive. First Rule: Make sure customers pay you on time, and that your pricing reflects the true value of what has been received. It is estimated that 4 out of 5 small businesses are owed money from customers,...

Election result, what about Tax?

A hung parliament could have an impact on tax policies being pushed through, and there is a risk that some of the more challenging areas could be re-prioritized in favour of easier policy reforms. Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative, the expectation is that it will...

Property / Landlords – Prepare for change

Since the previous chancellor, George Osborne, set on a path to help renters and first-time buyers, tax benefits for private landlords have been slowly reduced over time. With the additional 3% stamp duty charge on buy-to-let and home ownership 2nd properties,...

Marketing – Three steps to brand building

Marketing – Three steps to brand building Whether you’re a start-up or a small to large enterprise business, the power of your brand can make the difference between companies surviving and thriving. How you go about developing your brand needs to form part of...

May news

May news With the announcement of the UK general election and Making Tax Digital dropped from the Finance Bill, there is plenty going on affecting individuals, self-employed and business, not to forget changes to managing Tax codes, impact of Brexit as well as...

2018 Tax Year – the perfect time to ride the Cloud

2018 Tax Year – the perfect time to ride the Cloud The start of the next tax year provides a perfect time to consider improving the management of your business finances. As a small business, start-up and or self-employed, your time is precious in running your...

Class 4 National Insurance

Class 4 National Insurance A major announcement by the Budget was the planned increases to Class 4 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) paid by self-employed individuals from 9% to 10% from April 2018 with a further increase planned from 10% to 11% from April 2019....

Minimum wage increase

Minimum wage increase The rates have increased as of the 1 April 2017, so employers must check they are adhering to the new rates. From 1 April 2017 NLW rate for workers aged 25 and over   £7.50 the main rate for workers aged 21-24   £7.05 the 18-20 rate   £5.60 the...

Reduction in Dividend Allowance

Reduction in Dividend Allowance A reduction in Dividend Allowance from £5000 to £2000 from April 2018 was announced in the Budget. The Dividend Allowance means the first £5,000 are charged 0% tax. Additional dividends received over the allowance are to be taxed as...

Tax-free childcare

Tax-free childcare The government scheme has been introduced to help working parents with the cost of childcare. From April 2017, for every £8 a parent pays in, the government will pay in an extra £2. Parents can receive up to £2,000 per child, per year, towards their...

Gender pay gap

Gender pay gap From 1 April 2017, new equal pay reporting requirements have been introduced by the government for all private and voluntary employers of over 250 people. The new regulations in The Equality Act 2010 mean that large employers now must calculate and...

Making Tax Digital update

Making tax digital update Making tax digital for business (MTDfb) is a new government project to overhaul how taxpayers record and report income to HMRC. The project is to be implemented in stages over the next few years. The government has confirmed in the Budget...

Advisory fuel rates for company cars

Advisory fuel rates for company cars The new company car advisory fuel rates have been implemented from 1 March 2017.   Engine size   Petrol   1400cc or less   11p   1401cc – 2000cc   14p   Over 2000cc   22p   Engine size   LPG   1400cc or less   7p   1401cc...

Year-end tax planning

Year-end tax planning The end of the tax year is nearly here, but there is still time to save tax for 2016/17. Here are some areas to consider making the most of: ISA Allowance You can use your ISA allowance to save tax free. Investments and savings can be made up to...

New Lifetime ISA

New Lifetime ISA The Lifetime Individual Savings Account was made available from 6 April 2017, and provides a longer- term tax free savings account with an additional government bonus included annually. HMRC guidance includes: Opening a Lifetime ISA The Applicant age...

Ludicrous expense claims

Ludicrous expense claims HMRC have released a list of the most unusual items which have been added to expense claims. Included items were: holiday flights to the Caribbean luxury watches as Christmas gifts for staff – from a company with no employees...

Flexible pension savings access

Flexible pension savings access In April 2015, pension reforms were introduced which have allowed people to access their pension savings whenever they choose. Since then, more than £9.2 billion has been cashed-in by savers taking advantage of this new pension freedom....

The Spring Budget

The Spring Budget The Spring Budget has highlighted the Government’s commitment to building a strong economy while investing in infrastructure, education and life-long learning, and protecting the NHS. The Office for Budget Responsibility forecast that the UK economy...

Online refunds for Stamp Duty Land Tax

Online refunds for Stamp Duty Land Tax A new system is now in place for those applying for a SDLT refund on an additional property where the property sold was a main residence. Higher rates of SDLT were introduced on 1 April 2016 on purchases on additional residential...

Changes to National Insurance Contributions

Changes to National Insurance Contributions From 6 April 2018, the Class 2 NIC is going to be removed. Currently, the self-employed paying this contribution are charged a weekly flat-rate to receive contributory benefits. This is alongside Class 4 NICs on profits...

Personal tax account wins award

Personal tax account wins award After just one year after launch, the Personal Tax Account has recently won Digital Project of the Year at the annual UK IT Industry Awards. HMRC have said the account has achieved more than 7 million users and millions of transactions,...

Landlords to receive less tax relief on interest

Landlords to receive less tax relief on interest The new changes will impact residential landlords and the amount of tax relief available on property financial costs. Moving forward, landlords will receive a basic rate reduction from their income tax liability, rather...