Directors could face jail term for pension mis-management

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The government is to introduce a new criminal offence of ‘wilful or reckless behaviour’ in relation to pensions which would see directors facing up to seven years in jail. In its response to a consultation on protecting defined benefit contribution pension schemes, which ran from June to August last year, the government said it will […]

Minimum pension contribution rates to increase in April

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Minimum contribution rates under automatic enrolment are due to rise from 3% to 5% for employees and 2% to 3% for employers from 6 April 2019. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says its research suggests saving behaviour is sticking: the first increase in minimum contributions which took place last year has not prompted […]

“No Deal” Brexit Planning: Intellectual Property & Trademarks

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If the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without a deal this could have an impact on any EU Intellectual Property or Trademarks held by a business. At this point in time it is not clear if EU trademarks would be applicable in the UK post Brexit. If you own intellectual property rights […]

“No Deal” Brexit Planning: EU Employees working in the UK

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If the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without a deal the there may be considerations needed for your current and future workforce You may need to:. 1. Review all EU employees currently working in your business and ascertain whether they are applying for “Settled status” by 31 December 2020. See the Employer […]

“No Deal” Brexit Planning: VAT

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If the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without a deal, the government’s aim will be to keep VAT procedures as close as possible to what they are now, providing continuity and certainty for businesses. However, there will be some specific changes to the VAT rules and procedures that apply to transactions between […]

Uber loses landmark case over workers rights

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Uber has lost a landmark case over worker rights, entitling UK drivers to minimum wage and sick leave. The Court of Appeal upheld a 2016 ruling, refuting the ride-hailing app’s claim that its drivers are self-employed. Earlier this week, the government said that it would look into workplace policies to help preserve gig economy jobs. […]

Iceland supermarket accused of breaching minimum wage rules

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A savings scheme to help lceland staff save for Christmas could end up costing the supermarket at least £21m, after it was accused of breaching minimum wage rules.The scheme allows low-paid staff to have a sum deducted from their weekly paypacket and placed into a separate account, to be returned on demand, usually at Christmas. HM Revenue […]

Skills to learn for the future of work according to the World Economic Forum

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Having a good memory or a strong command of maths may have once rated high on your list of professional skills. But now that devices handle those tasks, the World Economic Forum is urging workers to skill up for the future. Analytical thinking, initiative and ideation will overtake manual dexterity, time management and speaking abilities. Managers may […]

How are Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies or cryptoassets taxed in the UK?

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In December 2018 HMRC published guidance on the taxation of cryptoassets. HMRC confirms that: Most investors will be subject to Capital Gains Tax on gains and losses.. It will be rare for investment in cryptoassets to be regarded as trading, although ‘mining’ is likely to indicate a trading activity. A capital loss may be claimed […]

Renewable power generation in the UK reached a record high in 2018

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A third of all energy generated in the UK last year was from renewable sources, according to climate research and news site Carbon Brief. Drawn from UK government data, the analysis found electricity generated from fossil fuels fell to a record low. The UK has cut its carbon emissions by more than 43% since 1990, but is still not […]

6 things to do when employing staff

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HMRC lists 6 things you need to do when employing staff for the first time. Decide how much to pay someone – you must pay your employee at least the National Minimum Wage. Check if someone has the legal right to work in the UK. You may have to do other employment checks as well. Apply for a DBS […]

Southern Western Railway has backtracked on its decision to not allow passengers to use reusable cups

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The company faced backlash after it emerged that passengers wanting to fill their own reusable cups with hot drinks bought on board were being denied. A spokesperson for the rail operator has confirmed the change in policy, which they say reflects their “ongoing commitment to manage our environmental impact”. Around 2.5 billion disposable cups are […]

How you treat your employees will determine the fate of your company

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Business magnate Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, believes that employers should put their employees before their clients. “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients. Most businesses put customers first while employees are just secondary. Employees are the branches […]

Is there such a thing as too much teamwork?

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Open plan offices and the use of messaging apps have encouraged always-on, constant collaboration at work. But research from Harvard’s Ethan Bernstein suggests that we develop more, and better, solutions to problems when we take occasional breaks from the group so we can ponder on our own. Such intermittent collaboration strikes an ideal balance between […]

Cost of rubbish

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Retailers could be forced to pay up to £1bn for recycling under the government’s new waste initiative.  Supermarkets, retailers and major drinks brands currently pay just 10% of the cost of collecting and sorting the 11 million tonnes of packaging waste produced in the UK. The government strategy, expected to be published this month, will […]

Record keeping & tax: what, how and until when?

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Good record keeping is vital, not just to ensure timely and accurate filing of tax returns but also in the event of any challenge by HMRC. Penalties can also be levied if your records are incomplete or inaccurate. Generally, you need to keep sufficient records to support any income or expenses included in a tax […]

The Circular Economy Model: Reuse, Remanufacture or Recycle

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With August 1 marking Earth Overshoot Day, the point during the year that we will have consumed the ecological resources and services that Earth can regenerate in one year, it is clear that something has to change. The circular economy requires a significant shift in mindset, starting with the design process, which must ensure that […]

New tax on global digital businesses

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To try and ensure that digital businesses pay tax that reflects the value they derive from UK users, the government has announced that it will introduce a Digital Services Tax (DST) which will raise £1.5bn over four years from April 2020. The DST applies a 2% tax on the revenues of specific digital business models […]

EU adopts proposal to cut VAT on e-books

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The Professional Publishers Association (PPA) has welcomed an EU decision to reduce VAT on online publications, including electronic books, newspapers and periodicals. At present, electronically supplied services such as digital publications are taxed at the standard VAT rate, which in the UK is 20%. This contrasts with traditional media, which is zero-rated. The directive, which […]

Brexit: Risks for UK and EU companies

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With less than six months until the exit, the main risks areas businesses may face are as follows: 1. Cyber-attacks: future cooperation between the UK and EU on this issue remains uncertain. No deal will have a knock-on effect on security. Businesses are concerned that the future involvement of the UK in organisations such as the […]

Bizarre excuses given for late Companies House filings

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An erupting volcano and a paper-eating goat are just two of the unusual explanations provided by directors for their inability to file their company accounts on time, according to this year’s analysis by Companies House of the most unusual excuses it received. Other reasons given for not meeting the deadline included the filer finding his […]

Small charities failing to provide accurate financial data

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According to a Charity Commission survey, not enough small charities are providing correct information in their annual returns because too many are relying on someone with insufficient knowledge of their organisation’s accounts, leading to errors. In a review of a sample of charities, 38% of charities with incomes below £25,000 per annum were found to […]

Childcare vouchers deadline 4 October 2018

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The Government will withdraw the tax and National Insurance relief associated with childcare vouchers for brand new applicants from 4 October 2018, with Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) providing help with childcare costs instead. For anyone who has not claimed childcare vouchers yet, it means they need to join in time for their employer to action their […]

Brexit uncertainty hits future planning at businesses

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Lack of clarity around the Brexit process is hitting preparations for business after the UK leaves the EU, with only a third of finance professionals in large businesses reporting their organisation has started scenario planning and just 20% of those in small organisations, according to a poll. Around eight out of 10 of the respondents […]

HMRC outlines ‘no deal’ preparations for EU-only UK traders

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HMRC has written to 145,000 VAT-registered businesses across the UK, including Northern Ireland, which only trade with the EU, explaining changes to customs, excise and VAT in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, which would require them to complete customs declarations for the first time. While HMRC stresses that it is ‘unlikely’ the UK […]

UK employees less ethical than European counterparts

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UK employees seem to take a more lenient approach than the average European employee to questionable workplace practices, according to a survey by the Institute of Business Ethics which found that 38% believe petty fiddling is inevitable in a modern organisation compared to 30% of their European counterparts. The survey sought to establish whether employees […]

HMRC update guidance on paying the Apprenticeship Levy

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HMRC have updated guidance on how to allocate the apprenticeship levy allowance across multiple PAYE schemes and/or connected companies and charities. Pay Apprenticeship Levy explains when the apprenticeship levy needs to be paid and how to report payments. The guidance has been updated at the section about ‘how to allocate your allowance’. The apprenticeship levy […]

Government outlines VAT implications if no Brexit deal

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The Government has set out the VAT implications for businesses in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit. For most UK businesses there will be no change to the VAT rules.There will, however, need to be some specific changes to VAT rules and procedures applying to transactions between the UK and EU member states. The key […]

HMRC late payment interest rates revised

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On 2 August 2018, the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to increase the Bank of England base rate to 0.75%. HMRC interest rates are linked to the Bank of England base rate and, as a consequence of the change, HMRC interest rates for late payment have also increased.  These changes came into […]

Ask Alexa to contact HMRC for help

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HMRC has launched new and innovative technology to help more than 3 million customers renew their tax credits. HMRC has developed a customer-focused service through Amazon Alexa specifically for those seeking help with their tax credits renewals. Customers with Amazon Alexa-enabled devices can ask Alexa to ‘open HMRC’ and ask for help and information with […]

Valuing an unlisted business

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If you are looking to sell your business, you will need to know what it is worth. There are various valuation methods however when valuing a business for sale to continue trading, typically a value model is something like this: Expected future annual profit before tax (HMRC require this to be provable by reference to […]

Ebay and Amazon pledge to assist with VAT compliance

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The growth in online e-commerce is an important part of the UK economy but has also created opportunities for abuse of the VAT system. HMRC have asked for the assistance of online market place companies to help them identify online trader who may not be complying with the requirement to register for VAT. Ebay and […]

Classifying food and drink expenditure

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The subject of classifying food and drink expenditure is a tricky area, not helped by HMRC’s vague guidance on the matter. There are VAT and corporation tax consequences depending on what classification you use so it is important to get it right. Generally, food and drink expenses incurred by a business can be categorised into […]

GDPR

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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on the 25 May 2018. It’s a single set of rules that is designed to protect the privacy of individuals in their private, professional or public life. The regulation will change the way personal data can be collected, used and transferred. Businesses will need to know […]

BBC presenter loses IR35 appeal

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HMRC has won the first in a series of appeals concerning the application of employment intermediaries legislation to BBC television presenters, after a first tier tribunal decided that IR35 applied to the arrangements under which the BBC contracted a presenter of the regional news programme, Look North. The appeal concerned the BBC engaging presenters through […]

Worker status

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Employment law has developed to acknowledge that some individuals are not self-employed or employed, but are “workers” with some limited employment rights.  In tax law there are still only two statuses: employed or self-employed.  If an individual is a worker for employment law they are likely, but not necessarily, they will be self-employed for tax […]

Invest in EIS or Seed EIS qualifying companies

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Before 6 April 2018, individuals may invest in companies that qualify under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and treat that investment as having been made in 2016/17. The tax relief is 30% of the amount invested.  So a £20,000 investment can reduce the 2016/17 tax liability by £6,000. Investing in a Seed EIS qualifying company […]

Does your accounts system comply with MTD for VAT?

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Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT is scheduled to start in April 2019 which means that your VAT information needs to be submitted to HMRC digitally. On 18 December 2017, HMRC published draft legislation together with examples of how the business account records might link with the HMRC computer in order to comply with MTD […]

Tax relief for energy saving technology

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For a number of years there has been a generous 100% tax break for businesses that install energy saving technology in their premises. This is in addition to the £200,000 annual investment allowance for plant and machinery. The technology that qualifies for this 100% tax break includes energy efficient boilers and energy saving lighting systems. […]

Pension Planning

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For most taxpayers the maximum pension contribution is £40,000 each tax year, although this depends on their earnings. This limit covers both contributions by the individual and their employer. Note that the unused allowance for a particular tax year may be carried forward for three years and can be added to the relief for the […]

Fixed Rate Mileage for Property Businesses

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From 6 April 2018, unincorporated property businesses can now use a fixed rate mileage rate for business journeys by car, motor vehicle or goods vehicle as an alternative to claiming capital allowances and actual expenses. This information is courtesy of 2020 As with all of our tax tips and web pages this information is necessarily […]

Training Costs

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It is long established that training costs learning new skills is not tax deductible for self-employed.  This is because costs of learning new skills is deemed by HMRC to be capital not revenue expense. The government are now consulting on extending the scope of tax relief currently available for work-related training costs. As with all […]

What to consider when deciding which type of trading entity to use

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Should I be trading as a sole trader, partnership, limited liability partnership (LLP), company limited by shares, company limited by guarantee or a Community Interest Company (CIC)? There are a series of issues that need to be considered when deciding which type of trading entity to use: What is the expected profit of the business […]

Good Governance Is Good For Business

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Good governance is not about making the right decisions but about ensuring there is a good decision-making process used in the business. In a large enterprise, the management board will have a team who are charged with ensuring the firm adheres to the principles of good corporate governance as is expected of a large organisation. […]

Business vs Non Business for VAT input tax claim

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When an entity has both business and non-business activities input tax claims may need to be apportioned to allow for this split. A case has highlighted that other objectives or long timescales do not necessarily have any impact of how such claims should be apportioned. In this case a charity acquired land which was used […]

Making Tax Digital

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Making Tax Digital will be mandatory for VAT purposes from April 2019. From then, businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) will have to:    Keep their records digitally – for VAT purposes only    Provide their VAT return information to HMRC through MTD-compatible software. Other businesses will be able to adopt […]

Off-payroll working

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HMRC has updated its guidance the intermediaries legislation (IR35) to clarify that the IR35 rules may apply if an agency, umbrella company or similar third-party supplies a worker by engaging their company rather than the individual directly. The new guidance can be found here. As with all of our tax tips and web pages this […]