A first-time buyer is someone who does not and has never owned an interest in a residential property, either inside or outside the UK.
Many people have said “I owned a property previously but now rent”, “I have a shared ownership property” or “I have inherited a property” can I still open a Help to Buy ISA? And the answer is NO – you have to be a first-time buyer to open one.
By the end of 2016, five million small businesses and the first 10 million individuals would use the new ‘digital tax account’.
‘Millions of individuals will have the information the Revenue needs automatically uploaded into new digital accounts,’ said Osborne. ‘Tax really doesn’t have to be taxing, and this spells the death of the annual tax return.’
Around 85% of those who complete self-assessment forms already do them online. But HMRC said the new accounts, unlike the current system, would be pre-populated with data HMRC already holds and that from third parties.
Those who pay tax using the pay-as-you-earn system will have their income tax, national insurance contributions and pension position already shown in their accounts, alongside any interest from banks and building societies.
HMRC said that small businesses using the system should also be able to use accounting software to feed data straight into their account.
In order for this to work, small businesses will need to keep their accounts up to date.
The top 5 common accounting problems accountants deal with are:
1. Not doing any accounts – the shoe box approach to business
This is the most common mistake, book keeping is best done as you go along, putting all the paperwork in a shoe box or carrier bag is a really bad idea as you have no idea how your business is performing.
2. Not keeping receipts. Often small business miss out on claiming all their expenses because they fail to keep receipts and lose track of their spending
3. Not reconciling. Reconciling your bank statements to your cash book is vital to make sure that all of your income and expenses have been recorded in your accounts.
4. Using the wrong accounting system. For some businesses a manual cash book and records are fine but for many accounting software such as Debitoor will be needed to keep track of debtors, creditors and VAT. Make sure you understand your accounting system and operate it correctly.
5. Mixing business and personal expenses. Some sole traders even mix up business and personal bank accounts and in extreme cases don’t even have a business bank account. This can cause errors and often means that a sole trader will either claim to many expenses or to few.
Will small businesses be able to overcome these problems or will they end up in a tax mess with Digital Tax Accounts?
Monthly payrolls never have a week 53 but weekly, fortnightly and for-weekly paid employees will have a week 53 if the process date is Sunday 5th April 2015. If it falls on any other day you don’t have a week 53 this year.
In 2012, the UK law on workplace pensions changed forever. By law, employers must now enrol their employees in a pension scheme and contribute towards that scheme. Every employer with at least one staff member now has new duties. These responsibilities include placing those employees who meet certain criteria into a workplace pension scheme where these employers, must also contribute towards the pension.
Employers are experiencing information overload when it comes to their new AE obligations. 1.2m small and micro businesses are set to start staging from June 2015. A large portion of these employers may lack the knowledge and resources to be able to process these AE tasks. Research by The Pensions Regulator reports that only 60% of employers due to stage between June 2015 and Nov 2015 have begun to plan for their Auto Enrolment duties, with a significant decline of 52% reported among employers due to stage in 2016.
The big question remains, will you help your clients prepare for Automatic Enrolment?? Whether you are a payroll professional or accountant, this change to the law will mean that your payroll clients may come to you to seek advice on the easiest way to fully comply. Automatic Enrolment is presenting accountants with a unique opportunity to offer additional services to existing clients thus bringing in new business. If accountants decide they do not want to take on this type of work then they run the risk of losing business.
Accountants will need to take time to consider the AE opportunity for their business. This AE platform presents a stepping stone for them to increase turnover, acquire new customers and build a lasting relationship with your current client base. To achieve this increased revenue, it will be essential that your payroll clients know that you are open for Auto Enrolment business. Make sure you have the correct tools and processes in place to streamline AE and increase profits. By taking the opportunity to identify payroll systems that reduce costs and resources and maintaining a strong level of best practice, then accountants will reap the rewards. It further provides a competitive edge to you over other accountants who refuse to provide AE as a service to their clients. Savvy accountants are already capitalising on auto enrolment and it has become a viable and profitable part of their practice.
Auto Enrolment Webinars
BrightPay has joined forces with Accounting for Growth to help accountants with payroll clients. The AE webinars are specifically tailored to support accountants in processing Auto Enrolment efficiently.
On the 24th March Patrick McLoughlin will present ‘Using Auto Enrolment to attract your Ideal Clients’ where he will give you practical and helpful tips to attract new business. Patrick’s presentation will help you to avoid the fee bargainers and focus on clients happy to pay premium fees for a premium service. Business owners are crying out for more information and help to comply with the legislation. You will never find a market more receptive to your support and services.
Paul Byrne from BrightPay will present ‘Embrace Auto Enrolment to increase Profits’. With the tsunami of auto enrolment staging dates ready to hit the UK’s small businesses, accountants are deliberating whether to embrace auto enrolment and whether it is worth the time and effort. Discover how all Bureaus can benefit financially from Auto Enrolment. Find out how and why AE should be a chargeable service.
Register today for our webinar to take the stress, hassle and pressure out of dealing with payroll clients.
Free Registration – Book your place here.
Written by Karen Bennett – BrightPay, auto enrolment software.
The Office of Tax Simplification – Employment Status Report – March 2015 suggests we could see a new type of worker being created, part way between Employed and Self Employed. We could also see the term office holder removed from legislation.
Contractor Weekly reported – This involves the introduction of a new category of worker, a ‘third way’ between the employed and self-employed, acknowledging that some workers do not fit easily into either of the two traditional positions and that they should be subject to a modified set of tax rules. Freelancers might fall into this ‘third way’ and who might be seen as people who have chosen this route of working and want certainty over their status.