Posts tagged ‘Blog’

If you have a pension, then you are about to see a significant reduction in the amount of money you can put into it without paying tax.

From next April

The Government will slash the annual tax relief limit on pensions from £255,000 to £50,000. There will also be a reduction in the lifetime allowance on money that can be saved in a pension fund from £1.8 million to £1.5 million, which will come into effect from April 2012.

The Government hopes the changes will save it more than £4 billion a year, which it will use to tackle the budget deficit.

Warning

Experts have already warned that some people with long service in final salary pension schemes could suddenly face higher bills, particularly as the increase in accrued pension will now be multiplied by a factor of 16 instead of the current factor of 10.

However, the Government says that the changes would affect 100,000 pension savers a year, 80% of whom earned more than £100,000 a year, meaning that very few people earning less than that amount would actually have to pay any pension tax.

Utilising your allowance

Anyone with unused annual allowance from the last three tax years will be able to carry them forward if they are a member of a pension scheme during that period, meaning that if a pension contribution is more than £50,000 then they may not have to pay the annual allowance charge.

At George Hay, we can advise you on all aspects of pensions, including how the above changes might affect you.

For further information on whether you are getting the best from your pension, please contact us.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

If you are planning to treat your employees to a festive event, take care not to create a taxable benefit, that would certainly make your event expensive for both your business and your staff – Bahh Humbug!

The rules clearly state that employers can spend up to £150 a head annually on staff events, not a penny more. If the total cost of the event (including travel, accommodation etc) divided by the number who attended equates to £150.01 the whole amount is taxable.

The £150 is inclusive of VAT and can be spent on one or more events in the tax year.  The type of event you chose is not an issue, but all employees must be invited and it must be considered an annual event.  So a one-off party to celebrate a retirement for example does not qualify.

Unfortunately, you need to plan and budget carefully.  Its a delicate balance between being a generous, hospitable boss and playing Scrooge.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

If you do not currently offer your employees a company pension scheme then you need to take heed of a new scheme announced by the coalition Government.


All employers

From October 2012, all employers, no matter how small, will have to enrol staff in the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), unless they already offer a comparable pension scheme to their employees.

NEST

NEST is a scheme designed to give people more access to good quality pension savings, especially for those on low to middle incomes. The Government hopes that this will prompt people to start saving for their retirement, particularly with people now living longer with little or no savings.


Phased implementation

Each employer will be given a date from when the changes must be in place. The reform will be phased in over a four-year period to 2016, starting with larger firms and then working down through medium and then small and micro-employers. The size of an employer will be based on PAYE data.

A minimum contribution level will also be phased in gradually, with employers eventually contributing at least 3% of qualifying earnings by October 2017.

Eligibility

To be eligible for enrolment, staff must work in the UK, be at least 22 and under state pension age and not already be in a suitable pension scheme. They will have to earn at least £7,475 a year, which will be the threshold for paying income tax from April 2011.

Transferable and may be used by multiple-employers

Friendly, approachable, reliable professionals

The advantage of NEST is that it can travel with a person from job to job, with more than one employer being able to contribute to a member’s retirement savings pot at the same time.


If you are an employer or considering employing someone, then George Hay can advise on a wide range of pension and tax issues to help ensure you are fully prepared for the changes.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.


Do you want more from your business in 2011 than you had in 2010?  If you do, then I have a quick test for you, which will set you on the right track!

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the highest, score the following people, who supply your business with key services:

  1. Your accountant.
  2. Your marketing advisor.
  3. Your lawyer.
  4. Your IT consultant (hardware/software or Internet.).
  5. Your bank manager.

The cost of average advice

If your scores were 7 or below in any of those areas, you need to ask yourself why you are wasting your time, taking advice that is average or little better than average.  Just as you can tell a lot about a person, by looking at the kind of people they hang out with, you can also predict how successful a business will be, based on the quality of the people it calls upon for advice.  Unless you want an “average” business (and you don’t, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog), you must avoid taking average advice.

Surrounding your business with average providers is never a good idea, but as we progress through the worst economy in living memory, it’s a recipe for trouble!

The value of great advice

Interestingly, you do not always have to pay more, to find a better quality advisor or provider.  Some low quality providers charge too much for their services and others seem to undervalue just how great they are.  So, why not spend some time reviewing the people you rely on for advice, support and guidance.

Look particularly for new people in the areas where your business is weakest, as those advising you currently in that area, are clearly failing you!

This relatively straight forward process can help you massively improve your business results very quickly!


Guest author:   Jim Connolly is another of my valuable Twitterbuddies and a most accomplished business blogger. His contributions are a regular source of education and inspiration.  To read more posts like this one please click here

From 1st October 2010, workers who earn the national minimum wage will see a difference in their pay packet.

What’s changing?

  • The age threshold and the hourly rate are increasing
  • The hourly rate for young workers is increasing
  • Apprentices are now covered by the minimum wage legislation, albeit at a lower rate
  • Employers will be able to offset the national minimum wage by £4.61 for each day that accommodation is provided.

Planned changes

While these new rules come into effect on 1st October 2010, further changes relating to temporary workers are set to come into force from 1st January 2011.

In particular these regulations focus on “potentially exploitative arrangements” surrounding tips and expenses.

Need more information?

For full details of the changes and rates, please click here

If you are an employer, then George Hay  can advise you on what the new national minimum wage means for your business. We can also help you ensure you comply with the regulations and help you plan around any changes.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

One of the key roles of the Charity Commission is to encourage charities to adopt good practice.  They have set out six clear principles to communicate their definition of an effective charity in their guidance booklet CC10.

For a full copy of this guidance click here.  In brief, these ‘hallmarks’ suggest that a charity that is effective and well governed

  • Is clear about its purposes, mission and values
  • Has a strong, clearly identifiable board or trustee body that has the right balance of skills and experience
  • Is fit for purpose i.e. is structured appropriately to deliver efficient services
  • Is continuously learning and developing to maximise the impact of its work
  • Is financially sound and prudent.  It controls the use of valuable resources to maximise its potential
  • Is accountable to the public and its operations are transparent and understandable to all stakeholders.

It is the Trustees’ responsibility to ensure these hallmarks are in place.

In May 2010 the Scottish Charities Regulator reported that Charities with fewer trustees are more likely to fail.  Obviously quality of Trustees is a more important issue than quantity, but effective recruitment and retention of skilled and dedicated Trustees is imperative.

If your organisation needs assistance in developing these key principles or would like an audit of its effectiveness, please get in touch.  I use my own experiences as an accountant and auditor working in the 3rd sector in conjunction with sourcing highly skilled professionals from my business network to create a bespoke solution.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

This is a very short post just to let you know that the easy-to-read guidance offered by H M Revenue & Customs on the Gift Aid scheme has been updated.

If you are, or are thinking of running a gift aid scheme for your deserving cause, I highly recommend you read this http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/charities/gift_aid/basics.htm

I would particularly like to highlight the fact that the time limit for making a claim has reduced to 4 years.


The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

Why is it that some people are successful and some are not? Why is it that are some people paid millions a year while some are on minimum wage?

If you’re struggling to get by and you hear of someone making a HUGE amount of money it may seem unjust and unfair. But, as Jim Rohn would say, it’s all about the value you bring to the marketplace.

So it would seem that the other person is more valuable to the marketplace than you are.

The good thing is you can increase your value, and hence increase your income, and you can start today. However, Jim explains better than I do.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

With thanks to my twitterbuddy,  Mark Hibbitts

Just to make life a little more awkward for the average taxpayer, H M Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have changed the bank accounts to which you would normally make your PAYE and NIC payments.

As most businesses use CHAPS/BACS or internet banking for settling these regular liabilities, as encouraged by HMRC, this is a little irritating, but easily dealt with.  Please make sure any default settings are updated to show the new account details, which are:

 internet user

HMRC Cumbernauld  08-32-10  a/c 12001039

or HMRC Shipley 08-32-10 a/c 12001020

 The old account will remain open for a short while, but it is recommended that the new accounts are used as soon as possible.

 

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.