How to have a tax free Christmas 6

the unlike trio 01/Devil, Angel and Santa celebrating Xmas

Christmas Parties

·         HMRC have an Exemption (not an allowance) of £150.

  • available to employees generally or
  • available to employees generally at one location, where the employer has more than one location.

·         If the employer provides two or more annual parties or functions, no charge arises in respect of the party, or parties, for which cost(s) per head do not exceed £150 in aggregate.

The figure of £150 is not an allowance. For functions that are outside the scope of the exemption (see example at EIM21691) directors and employees, except those in an excluded employment, are chargeable on the full cost per head, not just the excess over £150, in respect of:

  • themselves and
  • any members of their family and household who attend as guests.

The cost of the function includes VAT and the cost of transport and/or overnight accommodation if these are provided to enable employees to attend. Divide the total cost of each function by the total number of people (including non-employees) who attend in order to arrive at the cost per head.

Christmas Gifts from suppliers to employees

Certain gifts from third parties are tax free if all these conditions are satisfied:

• the gift consists of goods or a voucher or token only capable of being used to obtain goods, and

• the person making the gift is not your employer or a person connected with your employer, and

• the gift is not made either in recognition of the performance of particular services in the course of your employment or in anticipation of particular

services which are to be performed, and

• the gift has not been directly or indirectly procured by your employer or by a person connected with your employer, and

• the gift cost the donor £250 or less, and

• the total cost of all gifts made by the same donor to you, or to members of your family or household, during the tax year is £250 or less.

Some other gifts are not taxable. If you earn at a rate of less than £8,500 a year and you are not a director, a gift to mark a personal occasion, such as

a wedding present, which is not a reward of your employment, is not taxable. If you earn at a rate of £8,500 a year or more, or you are a director,

any gift from your employer is taxable unless your employer is an individual and makes the gift in the course of family, domestic or personal relationships.

Seasonal gifts from Employer to Employee

An employer may provide employees with a seasonal gift, such as a turkey, an ordinary bottle of wine or a box of chocolates at Christmas. All of these gifts can be treated as trivial benefits. . For an employer with a large number of employees the total cost of providing a gift to each employee may be considerable, but where the gift to each employee is a trivial benefit, this principle applies regardless of the total cost to the employer and the number of employees concerned. If a benefit is trivial it should not be included in a PSA (EIM21861).

If the gift extends beyond one of the items mentioned above, for example from a bottle or two to a case of wine, or from a turkey to a Christmas hamper, you will need to consider the contents and cost before being able to determine whether the benefit is trivial.

PAYE Settlement Agreement (PSA)

For practical purposes it may be that small cash and money’s worth benefits can be included in a PSA.

PAYE Settlement Agreements (PSA’s) are requested by Employers and subject to agreement with HMRC. Under this agreement the employer will be responsible for accounting for any tax and national insurance liabilities arising. Any items covered by a PSA will not need to be shown on forms P35 and P11D at the end of the tax year.

steve@bicknells.net

Are you missing out on money you’re entitled to? 2

Pot of gold coins isolated on white

You could be missing out on money that is owed to you:

UK Benefits https://www.gov.uk/benefits-adviser

The benefits adviser checks if you’re eligible to claim:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Bereavement Payment
  • Carer’s Allowance *
  • Carer’s Credit
  • Child Benefit *
  • Child Tax Credit *
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance *
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • Housing Benefit *
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support *
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance *
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Pension Credit *
  • State Pension
  • Statutory Adoption Pay
  • Statutory Maternity Pay
  • Statutory Paternity Pay
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • War Widow’s or Widower’s Pension
  • Widowed Parents Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit *

(*) – For these benefits, you’ll also get an estimate of how much you might get.

Lost Pensions https://www.gov.uk/find-lost-pension

The Pension Service will help you track down any lost pensions, if you’re not retired you might be able to consolidate all your pensions to get a better return.

Unclaimed Assets and Forgotten Funds http://www.unclaimedassets.co.uk/

Assets are considered dormant when contact with the owner is lost – typically due to a name change after marriage or divorce, an unreported change of address or expired postal forwarding order, and incomplete or illegible records.

It’s important to note millions of family members remain unaware they’re entitled to collect unclaimed assets owed deceased relatives, who passed on without leaving updated financial records for their heirs.

The majority of this lost money comes from dormant bank accounts, orphan pensions, unknown windfalls, missing shares and abandoned dividends, forgotten life insurance policies, National Savings Certificates and Premium Bonds which have not been redeemed; but also included is £300 million in unclaimed National Lottery winnings!

Lost Savings and Bank Accounts http://www.mylostaccount.org.uk/

If you think you may have lost touch with your account or savings, this website will guide you through some simple steps to help reunite you with your money. This is a FREE service and is brought to you by the British Bankers’ Association, the Building Societies Association and National Savings and Investments.

steve@bicknells.net

 

The Extreme Coupon frenzy, is it good for business? 1

Collection vintage free ticket

I was watching BBC news this morning and saw Jordon Cox, 16, from Brentwood in Essex, he scours newspapers and magazines for coupons and vouchers that offer special deals on food and household products.He bought £105 of groceries for £1.62, follow this link to see his interview http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22418225

So lets start by learning the lingo

  • Bogo: Buy One Get One
  • Peelie: A coupon stuck to a product
  • Blinkie: A coupon station in a store
  • Stacking: Using a store coupon with a manufacturers coupon – not all stores allow this
  • Catalinas:Coupons printed at the cash register when you pay for your items
  • Rebate: Mailing a receipt to a company to get a refund
  • Overage: When the value of a coupon exceeds the purchase price of the item

Everyone loves a freebie or money off, but there seem to be so many sites offering vouchers its hard to keep track of what is on offer, for example I get e mailed deals from:

  • Groupon
  • KGB
  • Wowcher

I have apps for:

  • Voucher Cloud
  • O2 Moments
  • Vouchercodes
  • Quidco
  • Top Cash Back

Then there are websites like http://www.freebiesiteuk.co.uk/

That’s before you start cutting coupons out of magazines.

Pitney Bowes have produced a white paper on Coupons – April 2013:

The whitepaper, entitled ‘The Coupon Renaissance’, revealed that 76% of consumers would buy more from local businesses if they offered coupon incentives. With many small local businesses struggling in today’s economic climate, the figures offer a positive outlook that SMEs should capitalise on.

The surge in coupon redemptions is a relatively new phenomenon; with the current economic climate increasing popularity, the UK has witnessed a sharp 14.7% spike in usage since 2008**. The research also showed that an impressive 80% of consumers have redeemed a coupon in the last year, and half (49%) of customers redeem them as frequently as one per month.

The trend by consumers to use coupons to cut costs are likely to increase based on a report from Which:

More than half of Britons cannot cope on their current salaries with one in five forced to borrow money to buy groceries and other household essentials because of the soaring cost of living, a new survey revealed today.

One in four people revealed they’ve had to use their savings to buy food or other daily essentials while one in five have gone into debt to do this.

Another 10 per cent said they could envisage needing to borrow buy food in the future.
Read more: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2110009/Which-report-reveals-millions-Britons-forced-borrow-buy-groceries.html#ixzz2SS0GEVyd

steve@bicknells.net

 

How small companies can comply with RTI for Free 4

Close up of payslipFrom 6 April 2013 employers will have to start reporting PAYE information to HMRC in real time. This is referred to as Real Time Information – or RTI.

Lin Homer, the Chief Executive of HMRC, said:

“RTI delivers on all fronts. Business costs will be cut by £300 million a year, employees will be taxed more accurately and fraud and error in the tax credit system will be reduced by hundreds of millions of pounds every year.”

If you have 9 employees or less you will be able to use Basic PAYE Tools to comply with RTI for larger business you will need to purchase a payroll system or use a bureau.

Basic PAYE Tools will:

  • record your employees’ details
  • handle mid-year tax code changes
  • work out and record your employee’s pay, tax, NICs and any Student Loan deductions every payday
  • generate the payroll data that you need to send to HMRC in real time, including starter and leaver information
  • produce an Employer payment record that works out how much you need to pay HMRC
  • contain integrated calculators to help you to work out statutory payments such as Statutory Sick Pay and Statutory Maternity Pay
  • transfer employee details from one year to the next so you don’t have to re-enter their details

Basic PAYE Tools does not provide a payslip so here is a template you can use.

A key feature of RTI is to link RTI data and payment information together where employees are paid by direct Bacs. This will reduce errors and improve accuracy, particularly when Universal Credits is introduced. Employers need to use employee bank details to generate the hash cross reference. HMRC appreciate that this may result in a change to business processes for some employers.

The payroll and payment will be linked with a hash created by your payroll solution which contains:

A four character random string which is inserted in field 7 of the Bacs payment record• The sort code of the originator’s bank (6 digits);• The sort code of the recipient’s bank (6 digits)• The amount of payment in pence (-Tax and NI) (11 digits).

This will be sent alongside the tax information to HMRC.

Currently the use of the Hash Cross Reference only applies if you use Direct Bacs

The High Street Banks have not enabled Hash Tags for online banking yet, although this may well change at a later date.

See further discussion on Hash Tags on www.accountingweb.co.uk

steve@bicknells.net

Will you be cashing in on the Green Deal? up to £1000 cash back 3

How does it work for Cashback claims? (launched 28th January 2013)
To qualify for the Cashback householders must:
• have a Green Deal assessment carried out on the property
• get and agree quotes from a Green Deal Provider (this could be directly with a national brand or through a local tradesperson linked with a Provider)
• apply for Cashback voucher online or by phone.
Your Provider may be able to do this for you – ask them
• complete works within three months (six months for solid wall).
Householders can fund improvements through a Green Deal Plan, or pay in other ways, and get the Cashback but they must use a Green Deal Provider to arrange the work. The more improvements a householder makes, the bigger the Cashback.
Householders can only make one claim for the Cashback, but it may cover a package of improvements recommended by the Green Deal assessment. The Government Cashback is separate and additional to any similar offers that may be made by Green Deal Providers.
Customers will receive a cashback payment once Providers have confirmed work has been carried out and the Energy Performance Certificate has been updated.
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/65572/6715-the-green-deal-cashback-for-energy-saving.pdf

https://gdcashback.decc.gov.uk/Application/Apply

Green Deal is also available for Businesses but without the benefit of cashback.

steve@bicknells.net

Are you eligible for Tax Credits? 3

Cash

There are two types of Tax Credit and there is also Child Benefit:

Child Tax Credits

You could get Child Tax Credit for each child you’re responsible for if they’re:

  • under 16
  • under 20 and in approved education or training

You don’t need to be working to claim Child Tax Credit.

https://www.gov.uk/child-tax-credit

Child Benefit Changes

The current rate of child benefit is £20.30 a week for the oldest child and £13.40 a week for each subsequent child. The payments are made every four weeks into one parent’s bank account.

From Monday 7 January 2013, any household in which someone earns more than £50,000 will no longer be entitled to the full payment. Households which include someone earning more than £60,000 will not be entitled to any child benefit at all.

However, rather than just paying parents less the government will continue to pay the full amount and claw back overpayments through the tax system and a new High Income Child Benefit Charge – unless you opt not to receive the payments.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/jan/03/child-benefit-changes-what-they-mean

Working Tax Credits

Working tax credits are less easy to understand and often overlooked. They are awarded on a points system.

A working family with 2 Children could earn up to £58k and still get Working Family Tax Credits, on £30k they would get £12k in tax credits, at £40k its £8k and £50k its £4k (according to Tax Cafe – Small Business Tax Saving Tactics).

Claims are initially based on your previous years income and can only be backed a month.

Follow this link to find out how much you could be entitled to https://www.gov.uk/working-tax-credit/overview

The benefits system will be changing again with the introduction of Universal Credits in October 2013.

steve@bicknells.net

Supply Chain Finance – its like Invoice Finance in Reverse 1

I received my copy of CIMA – Excellence in leadership Issue 1 2012 today and I have been reading all about Supply Chain Finance.

I hadn’t heard of it before, the article explains how businesses like Travis Perkins have been working with Santander to find a way to help their suppliers.

Santander offer to pay the suppliers immediately for a fee and the client (TP) pays on their normal trading terms, this is better for the suppliers than factoring because it improves their working capital position and based on the article the fees are cheaper than factoring.

Its good for the client because they aren’t borrowing money either, but the client needs to have a good credit rating. Here is link for more details:

http://www.santander.co.uk/csgs/StaticBS?blobcol=urldata&blobheader=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1223417457873&cachecontrol=immediate&ssbinary=true&maxage=3600

Have you used this type of finance? do other banks offer it?

steve@bicknells.net

£50 to £500 in Cash if you can get enough votes….. Reply

I was looking at PayPal becuase I had to up date some details and spotted they were promoting Fund 101 from Enterprise Nation its backed by Intuit and PayPal.

Every month they give £5000 to new businesses and they invite businesses to ask for amounts from £50 to £500, details as follows:

http://www.enterprisenation.com/fund101/?mpch=ads&mplx=3484-133899-12439-45

If you have an idea for a business and need a bit of cash to get started or you’re running a small business and need up to £500 to buy equipment, promotion flyers, hardware etc, you can apply.

Apply for between £50 and £500 and once you receive the money, the only thing we ask is you agree to be profiled on the site so we can see how you’re getting on. The money doesn’t have to be paid back; it’s for you to use on your idea or business.

Apply online and outline how much money you need and for what purpose. Make a good case for your idea and then encourage as many people as possible to vote for you. The number of votes required is equal to the amount of funding you’re looking for so to obtain £500 you’ll need to secure 500 virtual votes.

Remember, the Enterprise Nation community will help you spend the dosh! Want to use it to buy a camera to take good pictures of your products? Ask peers about the best deal on the market. Want to spend the money on a Google Adwords campaign but not sure where to start? Watch our video clips that will show you how!

Sounds like an interesting idea and if all you need is votes, how hard can it be?

steve@bicknells.net

Its too expensive to become a limited company, isn’t it??? 2

I have often heard sole traders say that it will cost too much to become a limited company.

This is because many sole traders prepare their own accounts and do their own self assessment returns, but the reality is that for a basic business, just like a basic sole trader it could be done on a shoe string.

Lets look at the costs:

Company Formation this could cost as little as £16.99 by using a formation agent such as http://www.company-wizard.co.uk/

Accounting Software – TAS Books Basic is Free http://www.tassoftware.co.uk/products/tas_accounts_software/basics.html

Payroll – HMRC software is Free https://stevejbicknell.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/free-payroll-with-free-updates/

Statutory Accounts – Free webfiling at http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk – the annual return only costs £14 if filed online

Corporation Tax Returns – Free software from HMRC https://stevejbicknell.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/corporation-tax-online-its-free-its-ixbrl-complaint-and-you-can-file-accounts-too/

I appreciate that there will be things that you might need help with, just as a sole trader would, but it doesn’t have to be expensive to be a company and small companies pay 20% Corporation tax compared to sole trader paying 20% tax and 8% NI on profits.

It is worth stressing that if you need help always seek professional advice, mistakes can be costly, but if as a sole trader you were happy to prepare your own accounts why would you not be capable of preparing company accounts?

steve@bicknells.net

 

 

How to calculate and assess credit risk 1

Probably the most famous method of calculating credit risk is the Z Score.

The Z-Score was developed in 1968 by Dr. Edward I. Altman, Ph.D., a financial economist and professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business.

The Z-Score bankruptcy predictor combines five common business ratios, using a weighting system calculated by Altman to determine the likelihood of a company going bankrupt. It was derived based on data from manufacturing firms, but has since proven to be effective as well (with some modifications) in determining the risk a service firm will go bankrupt.

http://www.actioncoach.com/free-business-calculator-z-score

The results indicated that, if the Altman Z-Score is close to or below 3, it is wise to do some serious due diligence before considering investing. The Z-score results usually have the following “Zones” of interpretation:

  1. Z Score above 2.99 -“Safe” Zones. The company is considered ‘Safe’ based on the financial figures only.
  2. 1.8 < Z < 2.99 -“Grey” Zones. There is a good chance of the company going bankrupt within the next 2 years of operations.
  3. Z below 1.80 -“Distress” Zones. The score indicates a high probability of distress within this time period.

There are different veriosn of the Z Score http://www.exceluser.com/tools/zscore.htm

Z (Public)

Z1 (Private)

Z2 (General)

There are other credit risk assessment models too

http://www.creditanalyzer.com/models

Credit Analyzer has free calcultors for:

Z Scores

C  Scores

Simple Logit Model

S&P Median Value Model

Private Company Model

What method do you use to assess credit risk?

steve@bicknells.net