Archive for October, 2017

Bookkeeping in the cloud

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Smaller business owners, those with annual turnover below the current VAT registration threshold (£85,000 for 2017-18), will be relieved to know that the impending digitisation of tax by HMRC will not be a requirement when the process starts for business tax from April 2019.

You can register on a voluntary basis, but many smaller businesses may be advised to wait until the perceived benefits of the Making Tax Digital process are clearly demonstrated.

Many one-person businesses keep manual records and some use a spreadsheet to record business transactions. Others may have downloaded accounts software to their PC. In these cases, it would be necessary to take your records with you if you want your advisor to prepare your annual accounts or help you with a bookkeeping problem – where do I record this?

What is bookkeeping in the cloud? And how can it help?

Cloud based accounts software resides on a server that you access via your internet browser. Usually, you pay a small monthly fee for the use of this type of software, and there are significant advantages. They include:

  • The software providers take care of security and backup issues.
  • Your accountant can login and keep an eye on your financials, with your permission. This can vastly improve the speed with which accounts can be prepared and help provided with issues such as cash flow management, profit improvement and solvency.
  • You can access your accounts wherever you can access the internet, this might be your home PC, an iPad or even your phone.
  • There are lots of add-on tools that you can use, for example, the ability to scan receipts with your phone and push the information to your accounts.

Using this type of software is not for everyone, but if you are serious about growing your business having this ability to record and analyse information quickly will be of great benefit.

We can help. If you would like to see a demonstration of the software we recommend, please call for an appointment.

Avoid property fraud

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Since September 2009, HM Land Registry has prevented 254 fraudulent applications being registered. The most common fraud is when someone pretends to be you and mortgages or even sells your property without your knowledge.

A simple and cost-effective way to counter this activity is to register with the award-winning Property Alert service. This is managed by HM Land Registry. You can:

  • monitor a property already registered with HM Land Registry
  • monitor the property of a relative, you don’t have to own a property to set up an alert
  • you can choose up to 10 properties to monitor.

You can do this online at https://propertyalert.landregistry.gov.uk/

What you need to know about the service:

  • The property you want to monitor must be situated in England or Wales and registered with HM Land Registry.
  • You must create a Property Alert account to use the service
  • You will receive a HM Land Registry email (please check spam inbox) to enable you to verify your email details
  • You must then sign in to your account to add a property
  • Email alerts are sent when official searches and applications are received against a monitored property
  • If you receive an alert about activity that seems suspicious you should take swift action. The alert email will signpost you to who to contact.
  • You don't have to own a property to set up an alert
  • The same property can be monitored by different people.
  • Property, especially flats/apartments, can be registered with two titles. Blocks of flats are often owned by companies (Freehold), and the person owning the individual flat (Leasehold). When registering for this service please choose Leasehold title for individual flats/apartments.

You can also use the service if you are not online. Call the Property Alert team on 0300 006 0478.

 

Once you have registered your properties, HM Land Registry will send you an email alert each time there is significant activity on the property you are monitoring, such as if a new mortgage is taken out against it.

The alert will tell you the type of activity (such as an application to change the register or a notification that an application may be due), who the applicant is and the date and time it has been received.

Not all alert emails will mean fraudulent activity. If you don’t think the alert email is about any suspicious activity, you don’t need to do anything.

Signing up to Property Alert won’t automatically stop fraud from happening. You will need to decide if the activity on the property is potentially fraudulent and act quickly if so. The alert email will tell you who to contact.

Under 18s and tax

Monday, October 9th, 2017

Children (under 18s) can earn up to £11,500 in the current tax year and pay no income tax. This is the maximum that can be earned during 2017-18 and will include earnings from all sources subject to income tax. The most common are:

  • Income from employment
  • Income from self-employment
  • Bank interest and dividends received – although see comments below.

If you are aged 16 and over you may have to pay National Insurance if earnings with a single employer exceed £157 per week.

Parents are advised that if they gift shares in family companies to their under 18s children and then pay dividends on the gifted shares – with the aim of taking advantage of the annual tax-free dividends allowance and the possible lower rates of tax payable by the children – this strategy is unlikely to work as HMRC would seek to treat the dividends as if they had been received by their parent(s).

Once a child reaches the age of 18, then gifting shares in a family company to divert dividends from parents to the child would be possible. A word of caution however, this area of taxation is littered with anti-avoidance regulation so before transferring or issuing new shares, professional advice should be taken.

Parents also need to be clear that if they employ their under 18s in their business, then they need to pay a commercial rate for the job involved. Paying more than market rates would likely attract the attention of HMRC.

Capital Gains

Children under 18 years are entitled to claim the annual capital gains tax exemption of £11,300 for 2017-18, but only on the chargeable disposals of assets in which they have a legal title.

Junior ISAs

The under 18s can save in a tax-free fund by investing in a Junior ISA. The savings limit in these schemes for 2017-18 is £4,128. Parents can open an account but the money invested belongs to the child.

Children can take charge of the investment from age 16 but cannot withdraw funds until they reach 18 years.

Tax Diary October/November 2017

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

1 October 2017 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 December 2016.

19 October 2017 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 October 2017. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 October 2017.)

19 October 2017 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 October 2017.

19 October 2017 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 October 2017 is payable by today.

31 October 2017 – Latest date you can file a paper version of your 2017 self-assessment tax return.

1 November 2017 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 January 2017.

19 November 2017 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 November 2017. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 November 2017.)

19 November 2017 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 November 2017.

19 November 2017 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 November 2017 is payable by today.

Pay your VAT monthly

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

If you find it difficult to manage quarterly payments to HMRC to settle your VAT, why not consider the VAT Annual Accounting Scheme (AAS).

With the AAS you:

  • make nine payments on account towards your annual VAT bill – based on your last returns (or estimated if you’re new to VAT), and
  • submit one VAT Return a year.

When you submit your VAT Return you either:

  • make a final payment – the difference between your advance payments and actual VAT bill, or
  • apply for a refund – if you’ve overpaid your VAT bill.

The scheme wouldn’t suit your business if you regularly reclaim VAT because you’ll only be able to get one refund a year (when you submit the VAT Return). Also, you can only join the scheme if your estimated VAT taxable turnover is £1.35 million or less.

However, smoothing the cash flow impact of VAT payments can be helpful as is submitting one VAT return a year instead of four returns.

The annual return, and any balancing payment, need to be submitted within two months of the annual year end date for VAT purposes.

You can’t use the scheme if:

  • you left the scheme in the last 12 months
  • your business is part of a VAT registered division or group of companies
  • you are not up to date with your VAT Returns or payments
  • you are insolvent

You must leave the scheme if:

  • you’re no longer eligible to be in it
  • your VAT taxable turnover is (or is likely to be) more than £1.6 million at the end of the annual accounting year

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