Posts tagged ‘Experiences’

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.


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.

HMRC now have powers to name and shame individuals and companies who deliberately evade taxes, by publishing their names, address and details of their evasion on the HMRC website.

New Powers

The law that provides HMRC with the power to disclose is included at Section 94 of the Finance Act 2009.  This ruling can be used by HMRC for accounting periods starting 1 April 2010, it therefore may take a little time before anything ‘juicy’ is made public.

ShameDeminimus

To be named and shamed the evasion must be deemed to be deliberate and involve tax of £25,000.



Preventing the embarrassment

A full voluntary disclosure of tax wrong doings without undue delay may help avoid the detail being published.

My thoughts

Once again HMRC have been given more opportunity to burden taxpayers with the subjective views of individual inspectors.

  • deliberate
  • undue delay and
  • ‘full’ disclosure

are all terms that I consider could be misconstrued or misrepresented and this allows different cases to be dealt with in different ways dependant on the mood, attitude or experience of the inspector.

If you are exposed to this new HMRC power, defending your position by challenging the inspectors opinion of your guilt may well be expensive and stressful.


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 ‘VAT online service’ (VOS) was launched by H M Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in November in prepartion for the compulsory online filing of VAT returns and electronic payment of liabiliies for VAT periods commencing 1st April 2010.

These new regulations will be enforced and effect all

  • existing VAT registered businesses with a turnover (excluding VAT) of £100,000 or more (taken from the previous four returns submitted)
  • businesses that register for VAT on or after 1st April 2010, regardless of turnover.

 

Once your business has been required to file online once, it must continue to do so.  The only exemptions are businesses involved in an insolvency procedure or those who have satisfied HMRC that the religious beliefs are incompatible with the requirement to use electronic communications!

If your business is VAT registered, you can expect to receive a letter from HMRC during February 2010 notifying you of your obligations.

There are proposals for this to be just the first step of the process and that all VAT registered businesses should manage their VAT returns and payments electronically from 1st April 2011.

The new VOS will enable users to

  • Register for VAT
  • Enrol for electronic filing
  • View previously submitted electronic returns
  • Set up email alerts to remind business owners of when returns should be submitted

Of course, if you do not want to be burdened with this, your accountant will be able to act as your agent in the same way as they can file payroll and self-assessment returns.  They will ask you to an authority to act (HMRC form 64-8 is not adequate for VOS) and may re-issue their letter of engagement to clarify the terms of this service.

More information can be sought from your accountant or HMRC’s online services website


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.

Are you aware that the minimum retirement age is increasing to 55 from 6th April 2010?

This will mean that you will no longer be able to obtain an income or draw tax-free cash from your private pension before your 55th birthday except on the grounds of ill-health.

If you are aged 50 to 54 on 5th April 2010, you need to speak to your IFA as soon as possible to discuss your retirement plan as you will lose access to pension funds until you are 55 if you don’t act before 5th April 2010.  Please give your adviser time to administer your plans, there’s little point in approaching them at the end of March.

You have three options:

  1. Buy an annuity
  2. Transfer to an income drawdown scheme
  3. Do nothing and wait until your 55!

Retirement Road Sign with blue sky and clouds.Did you know that you do not need to physically retire to start taking income from your pension plan?  This means you could take your tax-free cash drawdown and reinvest it while you continue to work, giving you increased flexibility and control over your future.

Obviously taking cash from your fund will reduce its value so you need to talk to an adviser about the effect of this on the long term income you will derive from the plan.


The message here is clear, if you are 50 -54 years old and haven’t spoken to your IFA for some time, now is the time to do.  Don’t procrastinate, it could cost you dearly.


If you don’t have an IFA, I can recommend through personal and client experience, the advice of Chris Langdon at RHG 01438 345734. 

Please bear in mind that while accountants have a good working knowledge of retirement planning, most are not regulated or insured to give advice.  Make sure you are getting good quality advice bespoke to your needs from a professionally qualified  financial adviser.

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.