Archive for January, 2018

Young people with great business ideas apply here

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

The Princes Trust and Innovate UK have formed a partnership to support young people with business ideas that could become a reality. The nuts and bolts of the scheme are set out below.

Ideas can come from anywhere

The competition – part of the ideas mean business campaign – will help young adults to make their ideas a success, no matter where they come from. Business ideas could be spotting a solution to a problem or a different way of doing things. They could involve:

  • changing something for the better in a local community
  • a new way of using technology to fix an everyday problem
  • a new way to tackle an environmental issue

 

What support is on offer?

Support is available to young innovators who can commit 15 hours a week to developing their idea.

This award will include:

  • an allowance to cover time spent working on the idea
  • coaching and mentoring from an innovation champion
  • a funding pot for activities or resources, such as travelling to meet customers and partners, training courses, equipment, office space and IT

Who can apply?

To be eligible applicants must:

  • be a UK resident that has the right to work in the UK, or is applying for the right to do so
  • be unemployed or either working less than 35 hours a week if applying through the online programme, or working less than 16 hours a week if applying through the in-person programme
  • not be studying or studying less than 14 hours a week
  • be aged between 18 and 30

People currently receiving support from the Prince’s Trust’s in-person Enterprise programme are also eligible to apply.

How to register

Applicants will need to register with The Prince’s Trust, where they will then be able to sign up to attend one of a series of regional events. These events will help young people to develop their ideas and give more information about the application process.

You must attend an event to apply and you will be able to get your costs reimbursed. If you are not able to attend but still want to apply contact younginnovators@ktn-uk.org to discuss.

Reasonable excuse for late filing of tax returns

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

According to an announcement made on the gov.uk website last week, more than three million self-assessment tax returns had not been filed with just a week to go before the 31 January deadline. That’s a third of returns due to be filed.

Readers who find themselves in this category may feel that they have an excuse for late filing, and should not pay the automatic penalty of £100. HMRC will consider a reasonable excuse and the criteria they will consider is set on their website and is reproduced below:

What may count as a reasonable excuse?

A reasonable excuse is something that stopped you meeting a tax obligation that you took reasonable care to meet, for example:

  • your partner or another close relative died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline
  • you had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs
  • you had a serious or life-threatening illness
  • your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online return
  • service issues with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) online services
  • a fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your tax return
  • postal delays that you couldn’t have predicted
  • delays related to a disability you have

 

You must send your return or payment as soon as possible after your reasonable excuse is resolved.

What won’t count as a reasonable excuse

The following won’t be accepted as a reasonable excuse:

  • you relied on someone else to send your return and they didn’t
  • your cheque bounced, or payment failed because you didn’t have enough money
  • you found the HMRC online system too difficult to use
  • you didn’t get a reminder from HMRC
  • you made a mistake on your tax return

If you did miss the deadline, for whatever reason, it will be in your best interest to file the outstanding return as soon as possible. In addition to the automatic £100 late filing fine there are progressive penalties if your late filing extends for months rather than days.

Practical support for subcontractors affected by the Carillion liquidation

Friday, January 26th, 2018

If, as is widely predicted, the Carillion liquidation proceeds, sub-contractors owed money by Carillion will have to join the list of unsecured creditors and are forecast to receive no more than 1p in the £ as a pay-out.

Apparently, most Carillion suppliers have been keep waiting for 120 days to get their invoices paid. If that proves to be the case for your business, there are a few basic steps you could take to regularise your financial position apart from laying off staff and sub-contractors engaged for your Carillion work. They are:

  • Bad debt: First job is to quantify the amount of the debt owed by Carillion, contact the liquidators and register your claim.
  • VAT: If you are registered for VAT and using the standard method of accounting you will have paid over any VAT added to your invoices to Carillion, and if these debts are now irrecoverable you can claim this VAT back. You will need to wait as debts need to be unpaid for 6 months. If you use a VAT special scheme (Cash Accounting for example) you only pay VAT when you are paid so no claim will be necessary.
  • Self-employed? If you are self-employed, any payment on account for 2017-18 (due January 2018) will be based on your taxable income for 2016-17. As your profits for 2017-18 are now likely to be much reduced, it may be possible to reduce the payments on account falling due for payment January and July2018. You will need to lodge a formal application with HMRC.
  • Limited Company? If you are an incorporated subcontractor you will have lost possibly four months past turnover to bad debts and future income from your Carillion contract(s). This will make a severe dent in your current year’s profitability and a significant reduction in any corporation tax you may owe. In many cases it may result in losses for the current year that can be carried back for corporation tax purposes and used to reduce tax paid in previous years. You will need to take professional advice on this point.
  • Banks: Hopefully, your bank will be sympathetic, and extend facilities to see you through. They will, however, need forecasts to determine that you can survive the loss of past and future earnings from Carillion. Which bring us to the last and perhaps most important review you should undertake.
  • Update your business plans: You will need to sit down with your advisors and consider your options. Perhaps this blow will be terminal for your business and you will need to follow Carillion into liquidation, but this may not always be the case. On careful consideration of your options will show the way.

The government has also issued a press release for businesses that were contracted to Carillion and will be concerned about their ability to pay their tax. As part of its ongoing commitment to delivering support for businesses, HMRC will provide practical advice and guidance to those affected through its Business Payment Support Service (BPSS).

The BPSS connects businesses with HMRC staff who can offer practical help and advice on a wide range of tax problems, providing a fast and sympathetic route to agreeing the best way forward and addressing immediate concerns with practical solutions.

The BPSS can:

  • agree instalment arrangements if you’re unable to pay your tax on time following the Carillion collapse
  • suspend any debt collection proceedings
  • review penalties for missing statutory deadlines
  • reduce any payments on account
  • agree to defer payments due to short-term cash flow difficulties

HMRC can also provide workers and their families with cash support through the tax credits system – details are on the https://gov.uk website.

If you find yourself without advice at this difficult time, please call to discuss your options. Clients affected should call as soon as possible so we can organise tax appeals and consider other matters.

World first register to crack down on money laundering

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

The government has made the following announcement regarding a new register they are creating to provide government with greater transparency on overseas companies. In short, the register will provide a:

  • world-first public register will require overseas companies that own or buy property in the UK to provide details of their ultimate owners,
  • £180 million worth of property in the UK has been brought under criminal investigation as the suspected proceeds of corruption since 2004,
  • government will publish draft laws this summer and the register will go live by early 2021.

 

A world-first register revealing owners of overseas companies buying property in the UK will go live by early 2021 to crack down on criminal gangs laundering dirty money in the UK, the government has announced.

More than £180 million worth of property in the UK has been brought under criminal investigation as the suspected proceeds of corruption since 2004. Over 75% of properties currently under investigation use off-shore corporate secrecy – a tactic regularly seen by investigators pursuing high-level money laundering.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s register will require overseas companies that own or buy property in the UK to provide details of their ultimate owners.

This will help to reduce opportunities for criminals to use shell companies to buy properties in London and elsewhere to launder their illicit proceeds by making it easier for law enforcement agencies to track criminal funds and act.

Recently, in the House of Lords, the government committed to publishing a draft bill this summer and introducing it in Parliament by next summer. Following legislation, the register would go live by early 2021.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

We are committed to protecting the integrity and reputation of our property market to ensure the UK is seen as an attractive business environment – a key part of our Industrial Strategy.

This world-first register will build on our reputation for corporate transparency as well as helping to create a hostile environment for economic crimes like money laundering.

The register will also provide the government with greater transparency on overseas companies seeking public contracts.

What options are left to pay your tax

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

As we have previously reported on this blog, HMRC will no longer accept payment of tax using a personal credit card. Also, payments cannot be made at the Post Office. The remaining options are to make payment by:

  • A personal debit card,
  • A business credit card,
  • Bank transfer/online banking,
  • Taking a payment slip to your bank or building society with a cheque made payable to HMRC and quoting the correct reference,
  • Setting up a direct debit with HMRC,
  • Sending a cheque to HMRC with a payment slip,
  • By adjusting your tax code to recover the tax due. There are limitations to the use of this method.

You could set up a Budget Plan with HMRC to make regular payments in advance; unlikely to be a favoured option, and if cash flow is an issue, you might be able to pay off arrears by instalments. To do this you will need to contact HMRC and agree a plan. They will need to know:

  • your reference number (for example, your 10-digit unique taxpayer reference or VAT reference number)
  • the amount of the tax bill you’re finding it difficult to pay and the reasons why
  • what you’ve done to try to get the money to pay the bill
  • how much you can pay immediately and how long you may need to pay the rest
  • your bank account details

They will also ask you about:

  • your income and expenditure
  • your assets, like savings and investments
  • what you’re doing to get your tax payments back in order

HMRC will use this information to decide whether you should be able to pay immediately, or if you can’t, whether you’ll be able to get your payments back on track with more time.

You should also be prepared to be asked more in-depth questions if you’ve been given more time to pay before. In more complex cases HMRC may ask for evidence before they decide.

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