Archive for December, 2021

Be prepared for change in 2022

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

We are all ‘up to here’ in accommodating COVID-19, and depending on our tolerance levels, this is likely to continue into 2022.

There are remote signs that a combination of vaccines and/or anti-viral drugs will eventually arrest the spread of this infection, but we will have to face disruption in economic activity next year and the entertainment and hospitality trades will again bear the brunt of any downward trends in trade.

The Bank of England has confirmed that inflation is running ahead of targets and year on year to the end of November 2021, it was 5.1%. Expect increases in interest rates in the new year.

Prices will likely be volatile until inflation is reduced to more manageable levels and supply issues are resolved.

Many trades are still starved of appropriate labour, including the NHS. This may create conditions for wage inflation as employers vie for suitable applicants.

Which is shaping up as just a few challenges ahead for business owners in 2022.

What to do?

As the title of this post suggests, planning, being prepared is a sensible option. Burying your head in the sand may do more than restrict your vision. At a minimum you should:

  • Prepare a budget for 2022 and monitor your actual results against these forecasts.
  • Be prepared to flex your budgets if your situation changes.
  • Each month extend your budget projections, so you are always looking at trading expectation twelve months ahead.
  • Take remedial action sooner rather than later if the numbers highlight possible challenges. For example, if cash flow dips and you will need funding to bridge the gap.
  • If you have resisted the use of cloud accounting software to this point in time, speak to us as a matter of urgency. Having real time data available to you at the click of a mouse is a must-have resource in these difficult times. The software we recommend would also accommodate your budgets and provide reports that compare actual results with forecasts.

And finally, discuss your results with us. We can help you chose your best options to weather any inconveniences that circumstance may throw at us. If we have learnt anything from the past years of disruption, it’s that its prudent to expect the unexpected, plan for the worst and hope for the best.

Plug-in vehicle grants reduced

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

From 15 December 2021, the government is making the following reductions to the grants made available for certain electric vehicle purchases.

  • It will provide grants of up to £1,500 (previously £2,500) for electric cars priced under £32,000. There are currently around 20 models on the market that would qualify for this grant.
  • Support for wheelchair accessible vehicles is being prioritised, with these retaining the £2,500 grant and a higher £35,000 price cap.

Grant rates for the Plug in Vans will now be:

  • £5,000 for large vans and
  • £2,500 for small vans, with a limit of 1,000 per customer per year.

According to government sources, Plug in Van Grant orders in 2021 are already over 250% higher than in 2020.

Motorcycle and moped grants will also be changing, with the government now providing £500 off the cost of a motorcycle, and £150 for mopeds, with a price cap on vehicles of £10,000. Almost 50% of mopeds sold this year were battery electric, with some models now at price parity with their internal combustion engine equivalent.

The government’s total investment in the EV transition remains unchanged following these changes, although total money invested in these grants will depend on the publics’ reaction.

If grant funding is reduced this will increase the price of a new, qualifying EV vehicle. Logic would predict that if the price increases, demand will drop.

Recent damage to electricity distribution network

Thursday, December 16th, 2021

Many individuals and businesses will have been affected by the disruption in electricity supplies due to recent storm damage.

Most of the serious damage that disrupted supplies was reconnected fairly quickly, but for many home and business owners, reconnection has become a protracted affair.

A recent letter from the Secretary of State for Business to Ofgem is worth noting. In his letter, the RT Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP said:

“Storm Arwen saw the worst damage and disruption to the electricity system in over 15 years. A significant number of customers in Northern England and Scotland have faced power disruptions in excess of one week, and the prolonged restoration has made life incredibly difficult for thousands of customers across the country.

“I understand that under Ofgem’s Guaranteed Standards, Distribution Network Operators have up to 10 working days from when a customer applies to make payments to impacted customers in all scenarios barring severe weather. Given the significant scale of disruption caused, particularly during the run up to Christmas, I expect Ofgem to ensure Distribution Network Operators make every effort to deliver compensation to affected customers swiftly and without delay, considering the burden making a detailed application might place on impacted customers, and in line with the Guaranteed Standards expectations.

“I am mindful of the 3-month eligibility window customers have to apply for compensation, however I expect Distribution Network Operators to proactively notify affected customers of their eligibility to simplify the application process, following what has already been a stressful and disruptive time.

In the review into the response to the Storm I have asked officials to conduct, we will also be looking at DNOs responsiveness in providing compensation. Please confirm to my officials what steps Ofgem are taking to ensure customers will receive compensation as soon as reasonably practical.”

The Ofgem ‘Know your rights’ following power cuts can be accessed at https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/sites/default/files/docs/2016/12/ofg581_guarantee_standards_booklet_updated_dec16.pdf

The message is clear, apply for compensation, and quickly, and certainly within the 3-month claim’s window.

Time to pay taxes

Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

January 2022 is a ‘taxing’ month. It is the last month to file a self-assessment tax return (electronically) for 2020-21 and avoid late filing penalties.

It is also a month when significant tax bills may become payable.

Companies

Companies that have a 31 March 2021 year end will need to pay any corporation tax due for the year ending on that date, on or before 1 January 2022.

New Year revellers may want to take this into account if they fit this profile and pay any corporation tax due the week before New Year’s Day.

Self-assessment

Any balance of income tax or NIC due for the tax year 2020-21 plus any first payment on account for 2021-22, both become payable on or before 31 January 2022.

Need time to pay?

If cash flow restricts your ability to meet these tax payments by the due dates, you could set up a Time to Pay facility with HMRC.

In a recent press release on the subject HMRC said:

“Where taxpayers are struggling to pay their bill in full, the self-serve Time to Pay service allows Self-Assessment individuals manage how they pay their tax liabilities. They can use the online service for tax bills worth up to £30,000 without the need to talk to HMRC.

“If they can’t pay in full, taxpayers can set up their own Time to Pay arrangement online if they:

  • have filed their tax return for the 2020 to 2021 financial year
  • owe less than £30,000
  • are within 60 days of the payment deadline
  • plan to pay their debt off within the next 12 months or less

“If taxpayers owe more than £30,000, or need longer to pay, they should call the Self-Assessment Payment Helpline on 0300 200 3822.

“The service will create a bespoke monthly payment plan based on how much tax is owed and the length of time needed to pay.”

Travel between places of work

Thursday, December 9th, 2021

A reimbursement of expenditure incurred by an employee in travelling between two or more places of work is not “earnings” and therefore not taxable.

This is because the expenditure would be an allowable claim if the employee had paid it out of their remuneration, as he or she would be travelling in the performance of their duties.

To establish what is a place of work, the employee has to show that he or she performs substantive duties at the place in question.

It is unlikely that an employee could successfully claim that their home is a place of work.

Travel between an employee’s home and a permanent workplace is “ordinary commuting” and the expenses of such journeys do not qualify for relief. This rule applies even when the employee does some of their work at home, and even if HMRC accept that they are entitled to relief for the additional expenses of working at home.

Since 6 April 2002, mileage payments which employers make to employees who use their own vehicle or bicycle for travel between two places of work are not chargeable to tax if they do not exceed the appropriate approved mileage allowance payment (AMAP) limit.

Payments that exceed the AMAP limit will be taxed to the extent that they exceed the limit.

Where employers pay mileage claims at rates per mile lower than AMAP rates, for work related journeys, then the difference can be claimed by the employee as an allowable expense.

The current AMAP rates are:

Cars and vans:

  • First 10,000 business miles in a tax year – 45p per mile.
  • Additional miles over 10,000 business miles in a tax year – 25p per mile.

Motorcycles: All business miles in a tax year – 24p per mile.

Bicycles: All business miles in a tax year – 20p per mile.

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