Archive for December, 2014

Discount for first time buyers

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

A new scheme offering 100,000 first-time buyers new homes with a 20% discount was announced 15 December 2014.

The Prime Minister launched the new scheme that will offer 100,000 first-time buyers new homes with a 20% discount, as part of a major push to help people onto the housing ladder.

Aspiring home owners will be asked to register their interest in buying via the Starter Home initiative from the start of next year – at least 6 months earlier than planned. And many of the country’s leading house builders and councils are already looking at sites that could be used for new homes.

The government is today setting out how the scheme will work with a change to the planning system to free under-used or unviable brownfield land from planning costs and levies in return for a below market value sale price on the homes built on the site.

Developers and councils are being asked to respond to the proposals to ensure the changes will unlock a range of sites across the country.

100,000 homes will be available to first time buyers under 40 as part of the Starter Homes initiative – and work on the first raft will start next year.

Helping more people realise their dreams of home ownership and getting Britain building is a vital part of the government’s long-term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain and give hardworking people economic security.

The measures announced by the Prime Minister today include:

1.Innovative planning changes – to bring new homes onto the market at a minimum 20% discount

2.Backing of country’s leading house builders and councils

3.High quality design

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

Hardworking young people want to plan for the future and enjoy the security of being able to own their own home. I want to help them do just that.

Year end tax review

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Please click below to view our 2014 Year end tax review:

 

Year End Tax Review

 

 

Solicitors Tax Campaign

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

If you work within the legal profession as a solicitor in a partnership or company, or as an individual, this campaign provides an opportunity for you regularise your tax affairs.

To take advantage of this opportunity firms will need to:

  1. Fill in a notification form by 9 March 2015.
  2. Fill in a disclosure form and pay what you owe by 9 June 2015.

As with other tax settlement schemes, participation will enable practitioners to settle any outstanding matters on favourable terms: primarily, penalties will be levied at a lower rate.

How the Solicitors’ Tax Campaign works

If you work within the legal profession as a solicitor, you can benefit from the terms offered. Through notifying your intention to disclose by 9 March 2015 and making your disclosure and payment by 9 June 2015 you will have the following guarantees:

  • you can tell HMRC how much penalty you believe you should pay, what you pay depends on why you have failed to disclose your income, if you’ve deliberately kept information from HMRC you should pay a higher penalty than if you’ve simply made a mistake
  • if you can’t afford to pay what you owe in one lump sum, don’t worry, if your circumstances warrant it, you’ll be able to spread your payments
  • if you’ve simply made a careless mistake you only pay for a maximum of 6 years – no matter how many years you’re behind with your tax affairs, however if you don’t come forward and HMRC finds later that you’re behind with your tax, it may be harder to convince HMRC that it was simply a mistake, the law allows HMRC to go back up to 20 years in serious cases or HMRC may carry out a criminal investigation

You may not have to pay any penalty at all but if you do it’s likely to be lower than it would be if HMRC finds out you haven’t paid enough tax.

Under the Solicitors’ Tax Campaign you can make a disclosure:

  • about your own tax affairs
  • on behalf of someone else (for example, if you’re a personal representative of a deceased person)
  • on behalf of a company (if you’re a company director or company secretary)

New flexible approach to child care announced

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Parents will gain greater flexibility in how they share the care of their child in the first year after birth as new regulations regarding Shared Parental Leave (SPL) came into force 1 December 2014.

The new rules, which apply to couples with babies due or children matched or placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015, will allow parents to choose whether they want to share the mother’s maternity leave.

There are expected to be as many as 285,000 working couples that will be eligible to share leave from April 2015. The changes in how maternity leave can be used will kick start a culture change in workplaces where fathers feel more confident in taking time off for childcare.

Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said:

The new Shared Parental Leave rules will give real choice to parents. We all know that every family has its own unique set of circumstances, and Shared Parental Leave reflects that reality.

Up until now, families have had very limited options when it comes to juggling the demands of work with the arrival of a new baby. The old maternity leave system reinforced the archaic assumptions that the bulk of childcare responsibilities should be done by mums, and failed to recognise the vitally important role that dads and partners have to play.

Mothers and adopters will be able to choose when they return to work and fathers and partners will be able to spend more time bonding with their children during the precious early stages of their development.

Under the new rules, mums will still take at least 2 weeks of maternity leave immediately after birth, but after that working couples have the opportunity to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay.

The increased flexibility that Shared Parental Leave will create will be good for families, good for business and good for the economy. Businesses already recognise that employees are more productive and motivated when given the opportunity to work flexibly, and Shared Parental Leave will help employers to retain committed and knowledgeable staff.

Shared Parental Leave is just one strand of a wider programme of measures that the government has introduced to create a modern work environment and provide greater opportunities for parents and families – including the right to request flexible working and increased access to childcare and school meals.

New proposals to tackle late payment

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

New proposals obliging large and listed companies to publish detailed information about their payment practices and performance were unveiled 27 November 2014 by the Business Minister Matthew Hancock.

The proposed changes will provide robust information making it easier for small businesses to compare the role models with the less reputable. Specifically, the average payment time; the proportion of invoices paid beyond terms; and the proportion of invoices paid within 30 days, over 30 days, over 60 days and over 120 days.

The new reporting requirement has been developed in response to feedback from an earlier consultation, where a clear majority supported increased transparency. The new proposals show how the government intends to use the prompt payment power in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill which is currently going through Parliament. Reporting on a quarterly basis will be a mandatory requirement for all large and quoted companies.

Business Minister Matthew Hancock said:

Tackling late payment is at the heart of our drive to help small businesses. Coming from a small business background, I know just how critical late payment can be for small firms’ cash flow. We know that small businesses are often reluctant to risk losing business by using the redress measures we’ve put in place, so we want to tackle the underlying culture by increasing transparency on payment practices and performance.

The measures we are consulting on will make it clear to small businesses and consumers alike which large businesses behave properly, and those that think they can ride roughshod over their suppliers.

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