Every year 6% of vouchers bought by consumers go unused as they lay forgotten in people’s wallets and drawers.
In 2013 some £2.5 billion worth of gift cards and vouchers were sold in UK retail stores as gifts and £2.25 billion were purchased by businesses as staff or customer rewards. Meanwhile a UKGCVA report shows that in the third quarter of 2014, the gift card and voucher industry grew by 10%. The UK industry as a whole is now worth £5 billion.
Modern technology may provide the answer as digital vouchers, such as those that can be loaded on to a mobile phone, are becoming more popular according to the UKGCVA, and may be more likely to be used because the recipient does not have to remember to take a physical piece of plastic or paper with them to the shops.
Many employees incur expenses doing their job that they don’t reclaim from their employer. You can reclaim these costs against tax going back up to 4 years.
Here are a few suggestions
Flat Rate Expenses by Occupation – HMRC have a list EIM32712 for example Healthcare staff in the National Health Service, private hospitals and nursing homes – Uniformed ancillary staff: maintenance workers, grounds staff, drivers, parking attendants and security guards, receptionists and other uniformed staff – get a flat rate of £60 per year – this link explains how it works – Money Saving Expert
Mileage in your own vehicle on business – the approved rates are list below if your employer pays you mileage already deduct the rate from the amounts below and claim the difference
Tax: rates per business mile
Type of vehicle
First 10,000 miles
Above 10,000 miles
Cars and vans
45p (40p before 2011 to 2012)
3. Professional Subscriptions – if you personally pay for a professional subscription that you need for your work you can claim the cost against tax – here is a list of HMRC approved professional organisations
4. Traveling Costs – you may have business travel costs for hotels and meals that haven’t been reimbursed and these costs can be reclaimed against your tax
7. Training – where training was an intrinsic contractual duty of the employment (see also EIM32535 & EIM32546) and where any personal benefit, unlike most CPE/CPD courses, would be incidental and not therefore give rise to a dual purpose of the expenditure.
8. Other costs – where the cost is wholly and exclusively for business
This has to be complete madness! but its absolutely correct under new accounting rules – FRS102.
Take a simple example of a £5,000 interest-free loan repayable in three years’ time:
if the market rate for such a loan was, say, 7% then the present value of the loan would be £4,081 (£5,000 x 1/(1.07)3).
Unfortunately, FRS 102 does not contain any requirements about how the above financing shortfall of £919 should be accounted for on initial recognition. It is therefore necessary to consider the particular facts in order to determine the accounting treatment.
In simple terms, the financing shortfall of £919 is either interest income or an interest expense when the loan is made. That then reverses as interest receivable or payable as the discounting unwinds.
The deadline of the 31st January 2016 is fast approaching for filing 2014/15 Self Assessments online, thousands will probably file late and 50% will leave filing until January.
Here are 10 of the most common problems, issues and errors that come up.
Not leaving enough time to register for Self Assessment – It can take 20 working days (this is usually 4 weeks) to complete the registration process, then for online returns, allow 10 working days (21 if you’re abroad) to register because HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) posts you an activation code.
Lost Login details – Your account will be locked for 2 hours if you enter the wrong user ID or password 3 times.If you’ve lost both your user ID and password:
Leaving it too late to get help – If you need help from an accountant don’t leave it too late as they will need to carryout AML and other checks before they can file your return, they will also need your UTR
Failing to complete all the parts of the return – For example leaving out PAYE information
Failing to press ‘submit’ – you would be surprised how many people complete the return and then stop without submitting or leave submission and then forget to do it
Missing out details of your Pension Provider
Failing to check the calculation – Most people do a rough calculation of what they owe but fail to check the HMRC calculation only to find out they have made a mistake
Using invalid characters such as # ‘ ” in boxes where these are not allowed
Not paying the tax they owe by 31st January
Failing to explain where estimates and provisional sums have been used