Welcome to the Finton Doyle Resources Centre. We’ve got loads of useful information to help you manage your business and personal finances, links to forms and articles on taxation and general business matters.

We hope you find this useful, but if there’s anything you’d like to see that we haven’t got please feel free to contact us and let us know.

Employee’s £180,000 e-mail error

An employer has been fined £180,000 because a worker sent out a bulk e-mail on its behalf, breaching data protection rules. What went wrong and how can you avoid the same fate? Many employers distribute newsletters and other information to external parties via bulk e-mails.  These communications can be...Read more

Can VAT be charged on mileage costs?

Mrs A provides cleaning services and her staff travel to the premises in their own vehicles to provide the service and make a claim for mileage from Mrs A. The customer is charged both for the cleaning and mileage costs, at the same rate per mile as the worker...Read more

Voluntary contributions to your pension

The full amount of state pension is currently £155.65 a week for those retiring after 5 April 2016. You must have made 35 qualifying years of national insurance contribution, but there’s a catch. If you have been in ‘contracted out’ employment, you will have been paying a reduced rate...Read more

FAQ #70 – Electric cars – what are the tax rules?

For the most part, the tax treatment of running an electric car is the same way as conventionally powered vehicle: For a sole trader, all of the running costs are claimed as an expenses, but a proportion for ‘private use‘ is added back to profits for tax purposes; With...Read more

Business Tip #70 – Director’s duties under company law

Directors are appointed by the shareholders of a company to run the company on their behalf. For many companies the directors and shareholders are the same people; however where they are not it is important to realise that the appointment is one of trust and that they are to...Read more

FAQ #69 – As an employer you may want to reward an employee for working hard or in recognition of long service, particularly when they reach a significant milestone such as 25 years of service. However, can you do this tax free?

Unfortunately the answer is no, but it is possible to make tax free non-cash awards to employees with no less than 20 years service provided the value of the award does not exceed £50 for each year of service for which the employee is being rewarded. This rule does...Read more

Business Tip # 69- Reading for profit

I was at a business event recently when someone came out with the phrase ‘leaders are readers’. At first I dismissed this as just another bit of slick corporate-speak, but actually the more I thought about it the more it made sense. Just as that the old adage ‘knowledge...Read more

Can you sell part of your garden for development tax free?

The issue of selling part of your garden for development concerns the “principal private residence” relief from capital gains tax. The relief is given against gains arising on a disposal of a dwelling-house or part of a dwelling house which is or has at any time been an individual’s...Read more

End of the road for salary sacrifice?

The outcome of HMRC’s recent consultation on salary sacrifice isn’t good news for businesses. As an employer how might it affect you? As always the government is looking for ways to raise extra tax, this together with the fact HMRC has never liked salary sacrifice I was inevitable they...Read more

If you want to attract Millennials to work in your business, do you need to adopt a less traditional working style?

A recent study of 40,000 millennials and non-millennials revealed that 66% of millennials surveyed said they would like to shift their work hours to later in the day or put in some time in the evening.  The desire for flexible working is so great that 15% of male employees...Read more

FAQ #68 – A self- employed cellist suffers from back pain which is made worse by long periods of sitting still, particularly during concert performances, so she pays for regular visits to a chiropractor. Are the costs of treatment deductible from income for tax purposes?

The courts were asked to consider a similar case of a professional guitarist who paid to have medical treatment on a finger injury which was preventing him from playing. His costs were found not to be allowable because he also played the guitar as a hobby so there was...Read more

Business Tip #68 – Understand the past to manage the present

Getting to grips with the business finances on a day-to-day basis may seem like an impossible task to some, particularly with early-stage enterprises. But as time goes by the business will develop a track record, a history of data that can be used to help understand what is happening...Read more

Will renting a property to a family member affect your tax relief?

Mrs A has bought a flat which is being let to her son.  He has recently started his working life in a relatively low paid job so my client is helping out by charging him less than market rent and, as a result, expects her mortgage interest and other...Read more

Is it possible to pay staff tax-free using small value benefits in kind?

The “Trivial Benefits” rules have been introduced for the tax year 2016-17 and onwards.  In general terms, no income tax charge arises on a benefit provided to an employee (or member of an employee’s family or household) if four conditions are met: The benefit is not cash or a...Read more

FAQ #67 – Mr B intends to help his daughter buy her first home by taking a 25% stake in the property. He will continue to live in his current main residence. Will the higher rates of stamp duty and land tax for additional residential properties apply?

Yes.  When a property is acquired by joint owners the higher rates apply if the transaction would have been a higher rates transaction for any of the joint purchasers considered individually. Mr B is buying an interest in an additional residential property which is not replacing his main residence...Read more

Business Tip #67 – Shareholders Agreements

The main rules for how a company is run are set out in the Companies Act and in case law decided by the courts. However these rules are a framework that all companies have to work within, whereas a shareholder agreement can be designed to suit the particular circumstances...Read more

Can you receive building services VAT free?

Mr B has recently acquired some land and is going to build a new residential care home on it. He is not sure if he is going to run the care home himself or sell it to a third party. In either case he thinks he can receive building...Read more

Does a VAT registered business need to charge UK VAT to it’s French customer?

French customer? A VAT registered company provides consultancy to UK businesses.  However a French business has approached them to supply consultancy services to them and they are unsure whether they need to charge VAT to the French customer. The answer to this will depend on what type of consultancy...Read more

When do you need to register for VAT?

Mr A is not vat registered but has been asked by a customer to do some work.  The value of the work is expected to be about £70,000.  Another customer has also asked him to do some work for which Mr A will charge about £20,000. Mr A will...Read more

FAQ #66- I Filed my tax Return Late – What Can I Do?

If you file your tax return late HMRC will issue with an automatic penalty, starting at £100.  However if you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ for filing late, then HMRC’s guidelines state that an appeal can be against the penalty within 30 days of the date of the penalty notice....Read more

Business Tip #66- Making Tax Digital

The government is introducing some of the biggest changes to the tax system since Self Assessment came in more than 20 years ago. The current proposal is that this will be phased in from April 2018. But what does it mean? For business owners, Making Tax Digital will mean...Read more

Are flexible working requests just from employees who are parents?

Past changes in the law mean that all employees have the right to make flexible working requests so long as they have worked for you for at least 26 weeks at the time they make the request. Not only can parents request flexible working to spend more time with...Read more

Is it possible to claim the cost of attending a course as a business expense?

Mr B is a sole trader plumber and would lie to attend a refresher course to reinforce the skills he already has. He is also thing about attending a course to train as an electrician so that he may expand his trade.  Would the costs of these course be...Read more

Annual Returns RIP

Since 1 July 2016 annual returns have been abolished and replaced with a confirmation statement – what’s the difference? Each year your company needed to send an annual return to Companies House giving details of its registered office, directors, shares and shareholders.  But since 1 July 2016, the requirement...Read more

FAQ #65 – I’ve acquired a buy to let property and will be carrying out some repairs before taking on tenants. Will the costs quality for a tax deduction?

  The answer very much depends on whether the costs relate to genuine repair and maintenance and not to works which result in significant improvement over the asset’s original condition. The cost of such works will be treated as capital.   It is generally accepted that the cost of...Read more

Business Tip #65-Understand your balance sheet 4 – Capital

In our final look at company balance sheets we turn to the Capital section, which is found at the bottom of the balance sheet. As a reminder, the balance sheet sets out ‘where we’re up to’ in monetary terms. It is often described as a ‘snapshot’ of the company...Read more

Can you avoid paying Capital Gains Tax if you reinvest proceeds of sale into a new rental property via roll over relief?

Mr S has several investment properties that he lets our and on which he receives rent.  He is thinking of selling one of these properties and has been told that he can claim roll over relief. He is hoping that he will not have to pay any capital gains...Read more

: Simplified accounts for small businesses using the cash basis – what is it?

The cash basis for small businesses is a simplified form of accounting that uses a cash basis. This was introduced from 6 April 2013. The cash basis can be used if an election is made. In order to be eligible the business must meet three criteria: The total of...Read more

FAQ #64- Mrs S wants to put some of her substantial savings into the names of her children, who are all under the age of 18. Will the children be taxed on the interest that is earned from those savings?

Children’s income is theirs in their own right, no matter how young they are. They are also entitled to the full personal allowance. However for a child under 18 and unmarried, this does not apply to income that come directly or indirectly from a parent. Where it has come...Read more

Business Tip #64 -Understanding Your Balance Sheet – Part 3 Liabilities

As mentioned previously, the Balance Sheet sets out ‘where we’re up to’ in monetary terms. It is often described as a ‘snapshot’ of the company finances on a particular day and separates the businesses assets and liabilities at a given date. Broadly speaking, liabilities are amounts owed by the...Read more

What reliefs are available if you have bought a new office building that requires significant work before your employees move in?

For expenditure incurred on or after 1 April 2008 for limited companies and 6 April 2008 for unincorporated businesses a new reduced rate of writing down allowance was introduced for integral features. Expenditure incurred on integral features is allocated to a special rate pool. The current rate of writing...Read more

Can a job applicant make a discrimination claim?

Many business owners are unaware that job applicants are protected by discrimination laws even though they wouldn’t be part of the business at this point. Recent cases have confirmed that applicants who apply solely to make a claim aren’t protected but genuine applicants can make costly tribunal claims if...Read more

FAQ #63 – Are Disabled customers exempt from paying VAT?

Mr S runs a repair garage and a customer has asked him to fit new tyres and alloy wheels to his vehicle.  The customer is disabled and has provided Mr S with an exemption certificate stating that he should not be charged VAT.  Mr S is sure this is...Read more

Business Tip #63 – Understand Your Balance Sheet 2 (Assets)

As mentioned previously (Business Tip 61), one of the least-understood sections of the business accounts is the Balance Sheet. If you think about the Profit & Loss account as ‘telling the story’ of the business from a financial point of view (what’s come in, what’s gone out and what’s...Read more

Where do you stand if you refuse an employee’s holiday request and then they ring in sick?

As an employer it can sometimes be tricky managing staff holidays and sickness. For instance where do you stand if you refuse an employee’s holiday request because they have used up all their holiday entitlement and then they ring in sick on the first day of the request and...Read more

What costs can you claim for working from home and does it matter what you do?

The home has a dual role for many people who carry on a trade. It is where they live and also where they carry on some or all of their trade. Many of the costs for household expenses cover both trade and private use. For example, a self-employed person...Read more

Getting a refund for a new personal tax account from HMRC

Have you signed up for a personal tax account with HMRC for 2015/16 and wondering how to get your refund of tax? HMRC are expecting taxpayers who have signed up for a personal tax account to access the account and submit their bank details to obtain the refund.  HMRC...Read more

Thinking about self-employment but not sure what to do?

Once a person has established self-employment he has responsibilities in relation to tax, NICs and possibly VAT. HMRC produce a leaflet SE1 “Thinking of work for yourself”. This sets out the basic requirements for those considering self-employment or who have already started their own business. The newly self-employed can...Read more

Mrs J has been granted planning permission to build 2 dwellings on part of the garden of her main residence. She has lived in the property since she purchased it 30 years ago and intends to remain living in it. The land has been valued at £150k. Will any capital gains tax be payable?

Capital gains principle private residence relief is available not only on the sale of a main residence but also on the sale of the garden that attaches to the main residence. To qualify for relief the land must meeting the following conditions on the date it is sold: It...Read more

Don’t miss out on R&D tax savings

Accessing funding remains a key priority for many business owners. However, many are overlooking the opportunity to gain a cash injection through R&D tax relief and could be missing out on key savings. Almost a third of all UK R&D tax credit claims were made from manufacturers, which is...Read more

FAQ #62-What is the Personal Savings Allowance and how can I claim it?

From 6 April 2016 a basic rate taxpayer will be able to earn up to £1000 in savings income tax free.  Higher rate taxpayers will be able to earn up to £500.  This is called the Personal Savings Allowance. This means that most people will no longer pay tax...Read more

FAQ #61-What are the new stamp duty land tax rules?

Mr Smith has asked for clarification on the new stamp duty land tax rules. He owns his own home which he lives in and also an investment property. He is about to sell his own home and buy a new one. Based on these confusing rules does the additional...Read more


Put simply, the Stamp Duty Land Tax surcharge is an additional 3% SDLT charged on the purchase of a second residential property – this includes holiday homes, buy-to-let’s and land – from April 2016 onwards. It also applies to ‘non-natural persons’ (eg a company or a trust) buying first...Read more


The rules for taking your staff for a summer social are the same as for Christmas parties – the expense is allowable as a deduction from profit if the following conditions are met: The cost per head is no more than £150 – this is for all forms of...Read more


The answer to this will depend on what you’re selling: If you are a sole trader/partnership, you will pay income tax on the profit on any trading assets (eg stock, plant and machinery) Other assets such as land/buildings or goodwill will be subject to capital gains tax (CGT) If...Read more

FAQ #57- I’m Buying A Business – What’s it Worth?

When you buy a business the value is in its ability to generate profits in the future. There are a number of key components that will determine a company valuation: What’s on the balance sheet? If the balance sheet shows assets which can be valued with certainty, these will...Read more

FAQ #56-You Can’t Get Tax Relief on Buy-to-Let Interest Anymore, Right?

Fortunately, that’s incorrect. In this summer’s Budget the Chancellor announced that interest relief on Buy-to-Lets would be restricted to the basic rate of income tax only, not higher rates. To ease the pain, the changes are only coming in from April 2017 and are being phased in as follows:...Read more

FAQ #55-What Does ‘Dividend Tax’ on my Tax Code Mean?

As usual for this time of year, HMRC have been issuing new tax codes ahead of the 2016/17 tax year. What’s different this year though is that some of them are being adjusted for the new tax that’s payable on company dividends. To recap, whereas dividends were taxed at...Read more

Business Tip #62-HMRC & Emails

As we know from the news, cyber attacks seem to be forever on the increase and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of this changing. With this in mind it’s worth repeating that if HMRC owe you money, they will never inform you by email, only ever by...Read more

Business Tip #61-Understand Your Balance Sheet (Part 1)

One of the biggest problems with accountancy is ‘accounts speak’ and one of the least-understood sections of the business accounts is the Balance Sheet. So what is it and what does it do? The Profit & Loss account is easier to understand. It shows all of the incomings and...Read more