I was reminded in a recent publication, issued by the Federation of Small Businesses that the proportion of our working population who are self-employed has never been higher, accounting for over 15% of workers.
Many of the reasons cited for selecting self-employment were focused on the value of their independence, the realising of a personal vision and ensuring a better work life balance. Some of the less welcome uncertainties revolve around the variability of income on a month by month, and in some cases week by week basis.
It was this understandable concern that got me thinking about other uncertainties that those that choose to be self-employed may suffer. One of the benefits of being employed, especially by larger employers, is that certain benefits are often arranged on your behalf and form a part of your employment package.
The Enterprise Zone Business Rates Scheme (EZBRS) is a discretionary grant scheme available in the Port Talbot Waterfront Enterprise Zone. The Enterprise zone includes the Baglan Energy Park, Baglan Industrial Estate and the Harbourside and Port Talbot Docks.
The key objectives of the scheme are to focus on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) located in the Port Talbot Waterfront Enterprise Zone that are demonstrating business growth characteristics, namely new starts and those increasing the size of their full time workforce.
The grant available is limited to the lower of £55k in any financial year or the amount of business rates paid. The grant will be paid in arrears at the end of the financial year.
The closing date for applications is 30 September 2016.
HMRC has seen a strong return on its investment in tax investigations over the last year, with spend on its teams targeting ultra-wealthy individuals, large businesses, SMEs and ‘everyday’ taxpayers yielding very healthy amounts.
HMRC now has a number of specialist units, which focus their investigatory work on particular groups of taxpayers, in order to maximize the recovery of unpaid tax.
Three key teams include the High Net Worth Unit, which focuses on individuals with a net worth of £20 million or more, the Large Business Directorate, which monitors the tax compliance of the UK’s 2,100 most sizeable companies and finally, Local Compliance, which covers ‘everyday’ taxpayers and small to mid-sized firms.
With income and margins continuing to be squeezed in the agricultural sector for a number of reasons, many businesses are looking to diversify to generate additional income.
Common examples of diversification include the selling of produce, whether primary or value added and providing leisure accommodation either in the main farmhouse, converting unused buildings or developing a campsite.
The benefits of diversification are the greatest if it can be achieved with minimal increase to the cost base. However, it is important to get some key aspects right at the start to minimise risk to the overall operation.
Last chance to sign up to the Existing Regime and potential tax rate of 10%.
The existing scheme will be closed to all new entrants from 1st July 2016. If you have already elected in to the scheme you will be able to continue to enjoy the existing benefits until 1st July 2021. However, if this is something that you have not yet considered then now is the time to contact us and speak to our Patent Box and R&D Tax Credit specialists.
The new rules will effectively reduce the IP profit that will qualify for the special rate of 10% unless the majority of the IP research and development activity has been carried out by the company itself. It will also increase the record keeping and administrative costs of identifying the relevant IP income and costs.
Businesses wanting to take advantage of the business premises renovation allowance (BPRA) should be aware that the scheme closes on 31 March 2017 for companies and 5 April 2017 for unincorporated businesses. Expenditure will only qualify for BPRA if it’s incurred before these dates.
BPRA was introduced as an incentive for business to tackle derelict shops and empty business premises and bring them back into use. Under the scheme 100% initial capital allowances can be obtained as a deduction against profits for the full cost of renovation in the year in which expenditure is incurred. For expenditure to qualify it must be incurred on or in connection with the conversion or renovation of a qualifying building into a qualifying business premises. A qualifying building for this purpose is an unused commercial building or structure or part of an unused commercial building or structure and the building must have been unused for 1 year before the work begins the building. The building must also be situated in an area which at the time of the conversion or renovation work began was designated as a disadvantaged area.
You may have seen some information in the press or heard from HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) with an invitation to sign up to use your ‘personal tax account’. The reason for this is that HMRC are beginning to phase out tax returns as we know them. Instead, they plan to bring in “real time” reporting for taxpayers. It’s early days so we don’t yet know the finer details of the scheme but we’ll let you know about developments as soon as we know what they are.
What we do know is that taxpayers will be able to access and manage their Personal Tax Accounts via mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones as well as from PCs and laptops. HMRC will populate each personal tax account with information already available to them, which may help with the reporting of income. Eventually, as the system develops taxpayers will need to report their income and capital gains quarterly. It may come as no surprise that in time taxpayers will also need to pay the tax due every quarter – which is one of the attractions of the new system for HM Treasury.
Survey reveals a positive year for hospitality and tourism businesses, but some still lack crucial online presence
This month MHA, the UK-wide association of independent accountancy and business advisory firms, released the results of its annual Hospitality and Tourism survey. The survey provides in-depth sector specific knowledge, thus enabling association members to provide expert business advice to attraction owners, restaurateurs and accommodation providers.
The survey results revealed a positive financial year for hospitality and tourism businesses, with 67% of respondents reporting increased turnover in the past 12 months and 58% expecting an increase in 2016-17. Profits also increased for 64% of respondents, although the majority reported growth figures of less than 5%.
MHA, the UK-wide association of independent accountancy and business advisory firms, has produced a report identifying ten issues currently facing charities and organisations in the Not-for-Profit (NfP) sector.
The association’s not-for-profit specialists have drawn up the list of key challenges based on the issues raised regularly by its client base of over 1600 charity and NfP organisations.
Sarah Case, Head of the Charity and Not-for-Profit sector at MHA, said: “The sector is dealing with continued challenges from numerous directions. Changing legislation is placing a cost burden onto organisations already struggling with funding issues. Governance continues to be key in maintaining and developing a successful organisation, being alive to taxation issues has become imperative and the charity regulators (Charity Commission and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)) are adopting a more rigorous approach.”
Taxpayers in dispute with HMRC will now have to pay a fee if they wish to take the Revenue to tribunal. This recent government decision has provoked criticism from lawyers and accountants concerned that the introduction of fees may prevent some from accessing justice over their tax bills.
The proposed fees range from £20 for appeals against fixed tax penalties of £100 or less, to £2,000 for an appeal hearing in the Upper Tribunal or Chancery Court. Although fees at the lower end of this scale are relatively small, fears have been raised that the existence of a fee at all may deter taxpayers from appealing against HMRC and may be increased in the future.
Indeed, when fees for employment tribunals were introduced in 2014, the number of claims fell by 80%.