Posts tagged ‘Chancellor’

Now, I’m not particularly interested in politics, but the state of the economy and the property market is something that I just can not ignore.

Is it just me, or does George Osbourne’s grasp of economics worry you too?

In this Telegraph article  he is quoted as saying that 95% mortgages are not “weapons of mass destruction” despite warnings from RICS that they could create another housing bubble and he believes that large home loans are part of a “healthy market” and “aspiration society.”

Real Estate=Big MoneyHow does he think the 2007/8 crash happened?

When Maggie gave us the opportunity to be home owners, do you think she envisaged British people being up to their eyeballs in debt?

Simple?

There are two very obvious problems with big mortgages

  1. If you stretch yourself to the maximum to afford a loan at a time when interest rates are at historically low levels what do you do when interest rates rise, as rise they must, sooner or later?
  2.  What do you do when the house in which you have 5% equity drops in value by 10%?

The answer in each case is default on the loan and hand the keys back, and we all know who will end up paying the costs of these bad bank debts!

Responsibility?

So who should take responsibility for promoting  this “so what” attitude to debt?

The first time buyers who are being allowed to take on such a huge financial burden?  The lenders? The Government?

Personally

Frankly as the owner of several buy-to-let properties I am revelling in the shortage of properties caused by the recession, profiting from the low interest rates and the chance of another “bubble” is very exciting!

But I am sure I am in the minority with this rather selfish outlook.  What’s your view?  Has the Chancellor got it all wrong? Will his strategy help the country to recover from its economic crisis?

 

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.

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During his first budget speech in the Summer the current chancellor announced that the standard rate of VAT would be increased from 17.5% to 20% on 4th January 2011, the third rate change in two years. 

If you are using the flat rate scheme, this change will affect you too.  Be sure to check your new rate on the HMRC website.

Administrative Burden

For business that supply goods and services to other VAT registered businesses, the burden will be one of administration.

  • The default rates in bookkeeping systems such as SAGE need to be altered – ask for help
  • Business owners and bookeepers need to be clear about the tax point being used – the time of supply is important.
  • If you are using the Cash Accounting Scheme it is imperative that you can identify payments received on or after 4th January 2011 that relate to supplies made prior to that date, to be able to account for them at 17.5%
  • Make sure your book keeping is as up to date as possible, confusion surrounding work/supplies that span the VAT change are likely to be exacerbated if you are behind with your paperwork.
  • If you display prices inclusive of VAT you will need to be prepared to change literature/brochures/websites etc.

Financial Burden

But for business such as tradesmen and retailers that supply goods and services to non-VAT registered consumers, there are additional considerations as the change may have a significant financial impact.


  • How price sensitive are your customers?  Will they find a cheaper alternative or simply stop purchasing your offerings if you add another 2.5% to your prices?
  • If you don’t increase your prices, can your business afford the reduced margins?  If you don’t increase them now, when?
  • Speak to your customers, they may be willing to pay a deposit in advance of receiving your goods and services to take advantage of the current VAT rate. (For full details on whether this ruling can apply to your business click here )
  • Ensure you have procedure in place that will allow you to measure the amount of work carried out up to the date of the VAT rate change, such as detailed timesheets, as you are entitled to split your invoice.  i.e. work performed in 2010 charged at 17.5% plus work carried out in 2011 at 20%.

Effect on Economy

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has predicted that the VAT rate increase will result in the loss of an estimated 200,000 UK jobs.

The effect on an already under pressure retail sector is going to be huge, I don’t think anyone dare to hazard a guess at how huge.


We have been fortunate enough to benefit from one of the lowest rates of VAT in Europe for many, many years, but will this increase really have a significant effect on our huge deficits?  I am not convinced.


For guidance on how to implement the change and minimise the impact on your business, please get in touch.

Another easy to read article about the VAT increase and price sensitivity : What’s a small business to 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.


The new Chancellor, George Osborne  delivered his first budget on 22 June 2010. He said his budget was ‘tough  but fair’ but described it as being ‘unavoidable’ due to ‘the years of debt and spending’ by the previous labour government.

News PhotoThe Chancellor’s package included various tax increases and spending cuts, some measures had been widely anticipated such as the increase in the VAT rate and an increase in Capital Gains Tax. The Chancellor stressed that his measures were intended to be fair ‘Everyone will pay something but the people at the bottom of the income scale will pay proportionately less than those at the top’.


As tax is not my preferred subject (I have highly experienced colleagues for dealing with that!) I will be brief:

The key announcements included:

VAT Rate rise – As anticipated the VAT rate will increase from 17.5% to 20% with effect from 4 January 2011.

Personal Allowance increase – The personal income tax allowance is to increase by £1,000 in April 2011 to £7,475. This is worth £200 a year to a basic rate taxpayer.

Capital Gains Tax increase – The Capital Gains Tax rate for higher rate taxpayers will increased from 18% to 28% from 23 June 2010. It remains at 18% for basic rate tax payers.

Entrepreneurs Relief extended – Entrepreneurs relief has been extended to a rate of 10% on the first £5m of gains as opposed to the first £2m.

Corporation Tax Rate cut – The Corporation Tax rate will be cut by 1% each year over the next four years until it reaches 24%. The Small Companies rate is to be cut to 20%.

National Insurance rise to stay – The National Insurance rate increases announced by labour remained intact and will still take place however the threshold at which employers start to pay will rise.

No change to Cigarettes, Alcohol and Fuel – No changes were made to duty on cigarettes, alcohol or fuel and the plan to increase the duty on cider from July was scrapped.

Freeze on Child Benefits – Child benefit is to be frozen for the next three years.

Changes to Tax Credits – Tax credits will reduce for families earning over £40,000 next year but for low income families they will receive more Child Tax Credit with the amount per child increasing by £150 above the rate of inflation.

State Pensions – The state pension is to be linked to earnings from April 2011 and is guaranteed to rise in line with earnings or 2.5% whichever is greater. The increase in the state pension age to 66 is to be accelerated.

For further details on the key announcements download a copy of our budget summary.

Alternatively come along to one of our Budget Seminars which we are holding on the 24th and 25th June where we will be providing planning advice as a result of the changes.


Disclaimer: This article is for general guidance only.  All taxation planning should only be undertaken after appropriate professional advice.  George Hay Chartered Accountants are registered to carry on audit work and regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

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.

On Wednesday 24th March the Chancellor, Alistair Darling gave what could be his last budget. Many are saying how the budget was a waste of time, being so close to an election and the lack of assistance to small businesses or real attempt to recover from the significant budget deficit certainly supports this view.

Businesses however, should consider reviewing their own budgets and make sure they are set appropriately. As someone a lot wiser than me once said ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’.  Just as sinful is spending time creating a business plan and annual budget and not reviewing, updating or revising them on a regular basis.

Budgets are an important tool for anyone in business and at least an annual review should be considered. Many businesses approach their accounting year end at this time of year so it is an ideal time to appraise how your business is doing and what you wish it to achieve in the future.

Here are a few tips to consider when reviewing your budgets for the year:-

  • Are you producing management accounts on a regular basis, if not, what financial information can you easily extract from your accounting system that would help you monitor the business?
  • Business forecasts and cash flow projections should be prepared for a minimum of twelve months giving you something to monitor performance against;
  • You should ensure budgets are realistic in the current climate,
  • Are there any costs that can be trimmed back? Do you know which of your costs are fixed and which are variable, in reality in the short term most costs are fixed, if you need to go through a cost cutting exercise you need to know which costs can be varied and when.
  • Is cash flow behaving as expected? Are you likely to need further banking facilities at some point in the future?  Are your debtors and creditors being managed appropriately?
  • If you are selling a product, it is important to know at what point the business is generating a profit, following the recession with pressure on prices the break even point can be higher than you realise, you need to be aware of this.
  • If you are selling a service, do you know how many of hours of time you are invoicing out a month, you may feel busy but is it resulting in billable income.
  • How are you generating new business, and what is this costing you in terms of time and resources.  Are you being realistic about how much new business can be won?

Focus your attention

Reviewing your businesses budget can be a very valuable exercise.  It will focus your attention on how your business is doing and help you to keep control of costs.  It should also give you a target to achieve for the future.

If you are in business on your own, it may be beneficial to speak through your budgets with someone who understands your business, like your accountant, for example as this may help you to look at the bigger picture, question your processes or brainstorm ideas.

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.