10 financial mistakes all new business should avoid 1

Stress business woman

Starting a new business is always a challenge but there are some common financial mistakes that all start ups should avoid.

  1. Lack of Planning – Businesses normally start with a great idea but you need to have business model that works and to at least have a basic business plan and cash flow.
  2. Over Trading – this happens when a business expands too quickly for its working capital, when you start a new business its tempting to accept every order without considering whether you can have the resources and the cash to deliver.
  3. Wasted Marketing and Advertising – new businesses are an easy target for marketing companies but its important to stick to the essentials to start with, having a website, e mail and business cards are essential, magazine advertising and other things can be done as the business grows, in the early stages you are experimenting and finding your market so if you spend too much too soon you might promote the wrong things at the wrong price.
  4. Wrong Business Structure – Before you start your business get some advice from your accountant, its important to choose the right structure not just for tax reasons but also for investment and ownership.
  5. Wrong Staff – Choosing the right team is critical for business success, choose staff that have the right skills, the right attitude and are dedicated to the success of the business.
  6. Over Ambitious – All too often businesses plans are over ambitious with sales growing rapidly, often they prove to be unrealistic, when preparing a sales forecast start with your order book and be cautious in your assumptions.
  7. Overheads – Many businesses over spend on overheads for example renting premises too early, work from home, if you can, to minimise costs.
  8. Stock Problems – Buying the wrong stock, under or over stocking are also issues for start ups, try to adopt a ‘just in time’ stock policy.
  9. Getting Paid – A sale is only a sale if you get paid, any one can give things away, make sure you manage your clients and get paid on time.
  10. Competition – Keep an eye on your competitors, they will be watching you and responding to maintain their market share.

steve@bicknells.net

HMRC demand payment from Landlords 1

Mosaïque de logements

HMRC launched the ‘Let Property Campaign‘ on the 10th December 2013.

If you’re a landlord who has undisclosed income you must tell HMRC about any unpaid tax now. You will then have 3 months to calculate and pay what you owe.

The Let Property Campaign is an opportunity open to all residential property landlords with undisclosed taxes. This includes:

  • those that have multiple properties
  • landlords with single rentals
  • specialist landlords with student or workforce rentals
  • holiday lettings
  • anyone renting out a room in their main home for more than £4,250 per year, or £2,125 if the property was let jointly, but has not told HMRC about this income
  • those who live abroad or intend to live abroad for more than 6 months and rent out a property in the UK as you may still be liable to UK taxes

 

According to the Telegraph….

Fewer than 500,000 taxpayers are registered with HMRC as owning properties other than their home. And yet other sources put the number of Britain’s growing army of landlords at between 1.2million and 1.4million.

Why the discrepancy? No one can say for sure, but the taxman has his answer: not enough people are declaring – and paying tax on – their property incomes and gains.

HMRC will identify those who they believe should have made a disclosure by:

  • comparing the information already in their possession with customers’ UK tax histories
  • continuing to use their powers to obtain further detailed information about payments made to and from landlords

Where additional taxes are due HMRC will usually charge higher penalties than those available under the Let Property Campaign. The penalties could be up to 100% of the unpaid liabilities, or up to 200% for offshore related income.

If you owe tax, you must tell HMRC of your intention to make a disclosure. You need to do this as soon as you become aware that you owe tax on your letting income.

At this stage, you only need to tell HMRC that you will be making a disclosure.

You do not need to provide any details of the undisclosed income or the tax you believe you owe.

It sounds like HMRC could be in for bumper Christmas if landlords take advantage of this opportunity to pay up!

steve@bicknells.net

Micro Entity Accounts – who can file them? 1

Micro Entity

Micro-entity accounts are a new type of accounts that can be submitted to Companies House from 1 December 2013. They will provide the smallest companies with the opportunity to prepare and publish simplified financial statements (profit & loss account; and balance sheet) if they wish.

A micro-entity is defined as meeting two of the following criteria:

  • Balance sheet total: £316,000
  • Net turnover: £632,000
  • Average number of employees during the financial year: 10 (or fewer)

Micro Entities are exempt from filing their profit and loss with Companies House.

Business Minister Jo Swinson said:

“Thriving micro-businesses are a vital ingredient for a stronger economy. However, because of their size they don’t always have dedicated finance teams behind them. We therefore need to make sure that they can focus on growing their business – rather than completing unnecessarily detailed paperwork.”

There are approximately 1.56 million micro-entities in the UK, as compared with a total number of companies on the UK register of approximately 2.8 million.

I don’t think this is going to help much? Micro Businesses still need to file corporation tax returns, deal with PAYE, RTI, VAT, minimum wage, Auto Enrolment Pensions, and a wide range of other requirements

steve@bicknells.net

Did you know …. you can lend money to your own pension Reply

Pension background concept

If you have a SSAS or a SIPP Pension you will probably want to invest some of your funds in Commercial Property – Shops, Office, Industrial Units. Pension funds can borrow money and with the current interest rates low and yields as high as 10%, you can increase your return and use less cash by borrowing.

But one thing you may not know is that connected parties can lend to the fund…

Trustees of registered pension schemes may sometimes wish to borrow funds, for example to enable them to purchase an asset. There is no objection to a registered pension scheme borrowing funds for any purpose providing that the scheme administrator/trustees are satisfied that the borrowing will benefit the scheme and that the borrowing is within the rules laid down by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

A registered pension scheme is treated as borrowing or having a liability of an amount, if that amount is to be repaid or met from cash or assets held for the purposes of the pension scheme.

A registered pension scheme may borrow funds from any individual, company or financial institution whether or not they are connected to the scheme, but any borrowing from a connected party which is not made on commercial terms will be subject to a tax charge – see RPSM04104020 .

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/rpsmmanual/rpsm07104010.htm

This is useful where you have paid in the maximum allowed pension contributions but you still have cash, so you could lend to your pension to buy a property.

steve@bicknells.net

 

 

Key Points from the Autumn Statement 2013 Reply

Tax Money

The Chancellor George Osborne presented the Autumn Statement to the House of Commons on 5th December 2013 and things are getting better, economic growth forecasts for this year have more than doubled from 0.6% to 1.4% but the austerity plan is set to continue.

Here is a summary of the key announcements:

Business Rates

Business rate increases in England will be capped at 2% in 2014/15 (they were set to increase by 3.2%) and businesses will be able to pay over 12 months rather than 10.

The Retail Sector will also get a £1,000 discount in 2014/15 and 2015/16, this applies to pubs, cafes, restaurants and charity shops with a rateable value below £50,000.

A reoccupation relief of 50% is being introduced for up to 18 months on premises that have been empty for a year or more and it will apply from 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2016.

Small Business Rate Relief has been extended to April 2015 under the scheme small businesses with a rateable value of £6,000 or less can get 100% relief, the relief is scaled down to zero on rateable values of £12,000 and there is a lower multiplier on rates between £12,001 and £17,999.

Income Tax

As previously announced the personal allowance will be £10,000 for the tax year 2014/15.

From April 2015, a spouse or civil partner who is not liable to income tax will be able to transfer £1,000 of their allowance to a basic rate tax paying spouse and as a result save £200 in tax.

State Pension Age

By 2020 it will be 66, by 2028 it will be 67 and by mid 2030’s 68, then in 2040’s 69.

Capital Gains Tax

The annual exempt amount will be £11,000 for individuals for 2014/15.

But there was an exemption for principle private residence  letting for 36 months and from 6th April 2014 it will be reduced to 18 months.

Consultation will start in April on non-residents paying capital gains on property disposals.

Individual Savings Account (ISA)

The limit will rise to £11,880 for 2014/15 and of this £5,940 can be invested in cash ISA’s

Mortgage Guarantee Scheme

The scheme started in October will run for 3 years and end in January 2017.

Buyers will only need a 5% deposit and the government and the funder will guarantee 15% of the loan in return for a fee.

IR35

Legislation will be tightened from April 2014.

Anti-avoidance

A range of measures were discussed in addition to IR35 and these included:

  • Partnership Tax
  • Controlled foreign companies
  • Charities
  • High risk tax avoidance schemes
  • Dual contracts

Other headline measures

  • Employers NI for under 21’s to be scrapped in 2015
  • Rolling back green levies to allow an average saving of £50 on energy bills
  • Free school meals for infants
  • Scrapping of 1% above inflation rail fare increases
  • Electronic tax discs
  • Abolition of next years 2p per litre fuel duty rise

 

steve@bicknells.net

 

IR35 HMRC Enquiries increase – are you at risk? Reply

Scaring amounts

On the 25th November 2013, the House of Lords Select Committee on Personal Service Companies met with Rowena Fletcher (Deputy Director with special responsibility for the Employment Status Team) and Robin Wythes (Team Leader of the Employment Status Team).

You can read the full minutes by clicking on this link http://www.parliament.uk/documents/lords-committees/Personal-Service-Companies/uc131125Ev1FletcherWythes.pdf

HMRC estimate there are 200,000 Personal Service Companies in the UK compared to their estimate in 1999 of 90,000. Interestingly, HMRC admit to employing 8 Occupational Phychologists through Personal Service Companies. The risk to the Exchequer is valued at £475 million and  despite the large increase in PSC’s this estimate hasn’t changed since the introduction of IR35 in 1999.

In 2012-13 opened 256 enquiries into cases believed to be high risk and the tax year 2013-14 112 cases were opened in the  first 6 months. In 2011-12 only 59 cases were opened.

Currently it is taking 28 weeks per enquiry which is faster than in previous years when it took between 110 and 140 weeks.

Currently only 5 cases under investigation which are expected to go to tribunal.

HMRC have 40 specialist staff working on IR35 Compliance, they had 1,200 calls in 2012-13 requesting advice and 80 detailed contract reviews were sought. If a contract review is carried out HMRC will issue a written certificate of opinion, the committee was assured that any contract review is totally confidential and not passed to the compliance team.

So are you happy that your PSC would be safe if HMRC carried out an enquiry?

steve@bicknells.net

 

 

3 reasons why businesses are sold Reply

Business woman

When you think about it, there are really only 3 reasons why a business owner would want to sell their business:

Cashing In

Sometimes the the value of your business could be over inflated, remember the dot com bubble. Throughout history there have been times when the price that a buyer is prepared to pay is huge compared to normal business valuation models.

Investopedia – Dot Com Crash

When: March 11, 2000 to October 9, 2002
Where: Silicon Valley (for the most part)

Percentage Lost From Peak to Bottom: The Nasdaq Composite lost 78% of its value as it fell from 5046.86 to 1114.11.

Imminent Threat

This can be caused by many things:

  • New Legislation
  • Loss of Resources
  • Increased Competition
  • Loss of Banking Facilities

Basically the seller will be aware that a problem is looming and they want to sell before the problem damages their business.

Life Changes

From a buyers perspective these are often the best businesses to buy, the key reason behind the sale being:

  • Retirement
  • Relocation
  • Life Style
  • Selling due to Illness
  • New Business Opportunity

steve@bicknells.net