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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 sent…

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 claims…

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 of…

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 only…

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 would…

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 and…

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 expenses…

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 cash…

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 services…

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 the…

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 be…

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 their…

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 allowable…

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 to…

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 tax…

: 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 the…

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 down…

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 adverts…

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 said…

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 who…

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 have…

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 also…

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 must…

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 the…

Is an Employee Share Scheme right for my business?

Employee Share option and share schemes can help to align the interests of employees and shareholders, by giving employees a direct interest in the financial performance of the company. Smaller businesses and start-ups can use share schemes to attract and reward high-calibre staff without having to pay salaries the business…

Here’s some useful information from the Department for Business Innovation & Skills

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force on 1st October 2015 and updated the laws governing every business selling directly to consumers.  The law is now clearer and easier to understand. The changes are relevant to every business which sells directly to consumers. The new law makes it clear…

Stay In Control of Your Business

Losing your business partner would be bad enough. But without the funds to buy their shares, you could find someone else in the driving seat. Not what you signed up for? Shareholder protection could give your business the money it needs to buy shares back if a partner falls critically…

Workplace Pensions – Are you ready?

As an employer you will have to comply with the new pension legislation. Employers are obliged to automatically enrol eligible workers into a workplace pension scheme. The date from which employers automatically enrol employees (the “staging date”) depends upon the size of the workforce. Key Points: • All employers are required…

Is your business properly protected?

Have you ever stopped to think about what might happen to your business if you lost one of your key members of staff? You might already have insured your premises, equipment and stock, but what about the people who play the biggest part in your organisation’s success? For example if…

Tax Calculation (SA302) to support loan & mortgage applications update

HMRC will no long be able to provide copies of SA302 (otherwise known as the Tax Calculation) or the Tax Year Overview by fax, due to the type and level of customer information they include.  This follows changes to the Government Security Classifications stating that fax is no longer considered…

Capital Gains Tax for couples

If you buy a property with your partner you probably won’t think about how ownership should be shared.  Typically an equal split is assumed, but it can end up costing you extra tax because even married couples are taxed independently of each other, meaning one spouse can’t make use of…

When can penalties be suspended?

A simple mistake in your tax return that results in you paying too little tax can trigger a penalty. However, in some circumstances in can be suspended and ultimately cancelled. So, when can you ask HMRC to suspend a penalty? If you make a mistake in a tax return HMRC…

Taking your partner on a business trip

HMRC recently challenged a company for an expenses claim relating to the cost of a director’s business trip because the director was accompanied by their spouse who doesn’t work for the company.  HMRC said the cost wasn’t incurred wholly and exclusively for the purpose of the business, so wasn’t tax…

Capital Gains tax for couples

If you buy a property with your partner you probably won’t think about how ownership should be shared.  Typically an equal split is assumed, but it can end up costing you extra tax because even married couples are taxed independently of each other, meaning one spouse can’t make use of…

New NI exemption for 2016/17

Apprentices: HMRC has confirmed that starting from 6 April 2016 employers will be entitled to an exemption from Secondary Class 1 NI contributions in respect of wages for employees who are apprentices and aged under 25 at the time they are paid. However, the exemption doesn’t apply to primary Class…

Is your business properly protected?

Have you ever stopped to think about what might happen to your business if you lost one of your key members of staff? You might already have insured your premises, equipment and stock, but what about the people who play the biggest part in your organisation’s success? Is your business…

Taking your partner on a business trip

HMRC recently challenged a company for an expenses claim relating to the cost of a director’s business trip because the director was accompanied by their spouse who doesn’t work for the company.  HMRC said the cost wasn’t incurred wholly and exclusively for the purpose of the business, so wasn’t tax…

What will happen if my tax return is late?

If you think that you might miss the 31st January deadline for the online tax return, then you’d better come up with a decent excuse if you want to avoid picking up a fine. Some unsuccessful excuses included “my dog ate my tax return and all the reminders”, “My girlfriend’s…

Christmas parties and gifts

It’s that time of year again – so we thought we’d remind you about what you can and can’t put through the books when it comes to Christmas parties and gifts. Did you know HMRC allows up to £150 per employee for an annual party as long as all employees…

National Minimum Wage – prepare to be named and shamed!

The Government is going to start naming and shaming those employers who pay less than the National Minimum Wage (NMW).  The penalties will be 100% of the underpaid wages, with a minimum of £100 to a maximum of £20k per employer and an investigation by HMRC could include criminal sanctions.…

Changes To The Intestacy Rules

The intestacy rules in England and Wales have been changed.  Where there are no children, the rules now say that the surviving spouse or civil partner should receive all of the deceased person’s estate outright. Previously, they would have received the first £450,000 plus half the remainder- and the other…

Font-tastic Savings!

When it comes to printing, ink is often the largest cost.  Would you believe it costs about £3000 per litre!   A typical HP cartridge will set you back about £13 and contains as little as 5ml of ink. A decade ago the same cartridge would have cost about £20 but…

Let the Taxman help pay your Life Insurance

Did you know that as a director of your own company, your life cover could provide tax benefits while giving you the peace of mind that your family would be provided for should the worst happen? If you currently pay for your life cover from your own bank account you…

Don’t Get Hit by Lease Car Charges!

Lease companies make End-of-Lease charges to recoup the value that is lost on the vehicle when it’s returned to them. So how do you avoid hefty bills when it comes to returning your vehicle? Generally speaking, the best advice is to look after the car as if you are borrowing…

Criteria Relaxed for Small Business Development Funding

The Growth Vouchers programme is a Government-funded project to help support growth in small businesses, giving up to £2,000 on a matched-funding basis. Invest £500 and you get £250 back. Invest £4,000 and you get £2,000. If you want to get on the scheme you need to be quick as…

The Secret to a Successful Retirement

We often hear people say “Pensions are rubbish!” Usually as a result of the person having a bad experience with their pension provider. This statement isn’t entirely true. If we look at what a pension is, it is no more than a tax wrapper, in many ways no different to…

Flexible Working

From 30th June 2014, changes to the Children and Families Act extended the right to request to work flexibly to all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service. These employees can request a change to working hours, working time or working location. This includes job sharing, working from home, part time working,…

What makes a successful business?

There is no set formula for success, but there are certain qualities shared by businesses which grow consistently. A recent study by Barclays Bank highlights 5 attributes which are common amongst growing businesses. 1. Experienced, entrepreneurial executives Winners in the business growth race tend to be those whose management teams…

How will the new Pension changes affect you?

In light of the Budget 2014 announcements, we at FD Financial Planning have now implemented a proposition that has enhanced and rejuvenated our retirement planning service to the extent that we would actively encourage all of our clients to take full advantage of this. Particularly important if you have not…

Tax planning to achieve your goals

As a business owner it can sometimes be difficult to stand back and look to the future. Initially you will have set up your business to earn a living but, what about when you want to retire? Will you sell your business to fund your retirement or maybe a house…