Category Archives: Professional News

Will Taylor Review put an end to cash-in hand payments?

Cash-in-hand payments should be replaced with technology driven alternatives in the hopes of collecting up to £6 billion more in tax – this is the conclusion of a Government-commissioned review conducted by Matthew Taylor, head of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).

The 116-page report, entitled Taylor Review of Modern Work Practices, was commissioned to explore modern employment practices in the UK, in particular how the country should adapt to the growing ‘gig economy’.

Reflecting on cash-in-hand, Mr Taylor said: “Technology can make life easier and what we are suggesting is, as we move more to a cashless economy, then when, for example, your window cleaner charges you, you can pay cashlessly.

“At the same time, their tax can be paid as we as employees pay through PAYE, which makes their life easier. They might at the same time be making a contribution to their pension or to insure themselves for sickness.”

Within his report he also recommends:

  • Creating a new category of employee called a ‘dependent contractor’, who should be given extra protections, but should be offered the flexibility of a self-employed worker
  • Closing the gap between the rates of National Insurance for employed and self-employed people
  • Offering employees clear chances for promotion, higher earnings and career development

Following the release of the report Downing Street said it would not introduce an outright ban on cash-in-hand payments, but said it would back the idea of digital payment systems that could be linked to pensions and other benefits.

The Prime Minister said that the Government would review the report and see if it could implement some of its changes in future, but emphasised that she would need the support of the rest of Parliament to do so.

Moore Thompson can support your clients with help and advice relating to PAYE, payroll and payments to contract and casual staff. For more information, please contact us.

Sign up for our FREE Annual Tax Conference

Following the huge success of our 2016 Tax Conference, we will once again be holding this popular event at the South Holland Centre, Spalding.

Our 2017 Tax Conference, on Wednesday 18 October 2017, will focus on two main themes – Making Tax Digital and Current Hot Tax Breaks.  

Our aim is to bring clarity to the UK’s ever-changing tax regime with clear, concise and engaging presentations geared to helping you and other business owners keep more of what you earn.

We will also be focusing on Making Tax Digital, explaining what it will mean for you and your clients, when the changes will affect you and the steps everyone needs to take to avoid costly non-compliance penalties.

The highlight of the event will be a talk from leading tax expert Giles Mooney, a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser, who has been involved in UK tax training for more than two decades.

We expect this event to attract a capacity audience so to avoid disappointment book your FREE place now.

Reserve your place by contacting Louise Bacon on 01775 711333 or by email: louise@mooret.co.uk, no later than Friday 13 October 2017.

HMRC receives more funding to crack down on companies flouting NMW rules

According to the Government’s latest Labour Market Enforcement Strategy report, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is to receive an additional £5.3 million of funding in 2017/18 to ensure businesses are paying employees the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW).

This follows on from a previous increase of £20 million in 2016, which has allowed the team to expand to more than 360 members of staff.

The funding boost comes as the latest list of UK employers who have failed to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage, has been published, revealing that a record number of fines, totalling £1.9 million, has been handed down.

In addition to the fines, employers will need to pay more than 13,000 employees around £2 million in back pay.

The review has named and shamed 233 employers who have failed to pay staff their full wages.

High Street catalogue retailer Argos has emerged as the worst offender. The company, which was bought by supermarket giant Sainsbury’s last year, had failed to pay 12,176 workers the correct amount, with a shortfall close to £1.5 million.

The error was linked to staff briefings which were conducted before they had clocked on to their shifts as well as security searches after workers had clocked off. The company has confirmed that all staff have now received their back pay.

Business minister Margot James said: “It is against the law to pay workers less than legal minimum wage rates, short-changing ordinary working people and undercutting honest employers.

“Today’s naming round identifies a record £2 million of back pay for workers and sends the clear message to employers that the Government will come down hard on those who break the law.

“Common errors made by employers in this round included deducting money from pay packets to pay for uniforms, failure to account for overtime hours, and wrongly paying apprentice rates to workers.”

Since 2013, the Government has fined 1,200 employers around £4 million and forced them to pay out £6 million to staff.

Currently HMRC enforces non-compliance with the statutory wage legislation by:

  • Ordering wage arrears to be paid to the worker
  • Imposing civil penalties of up to 200 per cent of the arrears owed per worker up to £20,000
  • Naming and shaming employers who owe their workers over £100
  • Undertaking and ordering labour market enforcement
  • Conducting criminal investigation possibly resulting in a prosecutions

Depending on the severity of the case, employers can face one or all of the penalties listed above, so it pays to ensure that a business is compliant with the current NMW and NLW requirements.

For help and advice on national minimum wage compliance and how Moore Thompson can support your clients with a wide range of issues relating to payroll, please contact us.

Is your business ready for the General Data Protection Regulations?

From 25 May 2018 important new data handling regulations come into force which will affect you and your clients.

Ignoring the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) is not an option and there will be tough sanctions for those who breach the rules, which is why you and your clients cannot afford to miss our FREE Seminar.

Our seminar, in conjunction with data security specialists, ICARIS Sentinel, will be held at the South Holland Centre, Market Place, Spalding, on Wednesday 20 September 2017.

Registration is at 4.30pm and the seminar starts at 5pm.

Presenter, Mathew Jarvis, is Business Development Manager with ICARIS Sentinel and he will provide plenty of helpful advice including:

  • How to ensure your company is compliant
  • The rights of data subjects – including the ‘right to be forgotten’
  • New guidance on privacy notices
  • Monitoring and auditing requirements
  • Requirements of a Data Protection Officer and which companies need one
  • What you must do if you suffer a data security breach
  • Sanctions for non-compliance

If you want to make sure that there are no nasty surprises in store for you or your clients when GDPR comes into force, please book your place at our FREE seminar by contacting Louise Bacon on 01775 711 333 or by email at louise@mooret.co.uk before Tuesday 19 September 2017.

Making Tax Digital – local businesses warned not to rest on their laurels

Companies across the region need to get ready for Making Tax Digital – the Government’s new online tax system – by incorporating online accounting software into their business.

Despite plans to delay the roll-out of the new regime, businesses are being urged to plan ahead so that they are not caught out by the changes that will come into force in less than two years.

It has been revealed that the new system, described by many as the biggest change to taxation in more than 70 years, will begin to be rolled out for businesses above the VAT threshold in April 2019.

For the first year, these businesses will only need to report VAT-related taxes on a quarterly basis online using MTD accounting software or via a spreadsheet fed into similar systems.

Businesses will not be asked to keep digital records, or to update HMRC quarterly, for other taxes until at least 2020.

Companies, sole traders and landlords below the VAT threshold will still be able to use the Making Tax Digital system on a voluntary basis to record and report their tax affairs.

This differs drastically from the Government’s previous plans, which would have seen all businesses, landlords and self-employed taxpayers with an annual turnover of £10,000 or more register, file, pay, and update their information online each quarter.

While this is a delay to the original timetable, local businesses still need to act now to ensure they have the necessary infrastructure in place and functioning before digital taxation becomes mandatory for a wider range of taxes.

Online accounting packages, such as QuickBooks, Xero and Sage, will allow your clients to monitor their performance and collaborate with their professional advisers in real-time. The packages also safe and secure storage of invoices, receipts and other important documents in the cloud.

We have already assisted a number of companies to incorporate online accounting into their business and they are now reaping the benefits of these innovative systems.

To find out more about our range of online accounting and cloud services and how they could help both you and your clients, please contact us.

Has your firm signed up for our annual charity quiz?

Do you and your colleagues fancy yourselves as quiz experts? Is someone in your office always quick with a nugget of useful trivia?

If so, come and join us at our Professional Quiz Night – an event which combines a fun evening in the company of fellow local professionals, with fundraising for a worthy local cause.

This year’s quiz will take place on 5 October 2017 at the South Holland Centre in Spalding and will raise money for Lincolnshire Autistic Society, which is dedicated to building awareness and understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

This cause was specially selected in memory of Jenny Nicolson, our much loved colleague and former tax manager at our Spalding office, who passed away suddenly in 2016.

Jenny had worked for our firm for many years and was an extremely enthusiastic quiz buff. It is therefore fitting that this year’s Professional Quiz night will be held in her memory and in aid of a charity close to Jenny’s heart.

The event will also feature a raffle, which will include prizes donated by a number of local organisations and businesses to help boost the fundraising total.

Entry for the quiz is £60 per team, made up of four members. This includes an evening meal of chicken, sausage or scampi and chips, served in a ‘traditional’ basket.

To make sure your organisation is represented, book your team’s spot at the quiz night, by contacting Louise Bacon at louise@mooret.co.uk or on 01775 711 333.

Is your business ready for the General Data Protection Regulations?

From 25 May 2018 important new data handling regulations come into force which will affect ALL Businesses.

Ignoring the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) is not an option and there will be tough sanctions for those who breach them which is why you cannot afford to miss our FREE Seminar.

Our seminar, in conjunction with data security specialists, ICARIS Sentinel, will be held at the South Holland Centre, Market Place, Spalding, on Wednesday 20th September 2017.

Registration is at 4.30pm and the seminar starts at 5pm.

Presenter, Mathew Jarvis, is Business Development Manager with ICARIS Sentinel and he will provide plenty of helpful advice including:

  • How to ensure your company is compliant
  • The rights of data subjects – including the ‘right to be forgotten’
  • New guidance on privacy notices
  • Monitoring and auditing requirements
  • Requirements of a Data Protection Officer and which companies need one
  • What you must do if you suffer a data security breach
  • Sanctions for non-compliance

If you want to make sure that there are no nasty surprises in store for you or your clients when GDPR comes into force, please book your place at our FREE seminar by contacting Louise Bacon on 01775 711 333 or by email at louise@mooret.co.uk before Tuesday 5 September 2017.

HMRC loses tribunal after posting correspondence to wrong address

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) apparent failure to keep their address book up to date has cost them dearly, after a Tribunal sided with a businessman who claimed he had never received a notice to file.

According to the gov.uk guidance, a director must register for self-assessment (SA) and send a personal SA tax return to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) each year.

However, businessman Mohammed Salem Kadhem has proved that this is not always the case and there are, in fact, exceptions to the rule.

Mr Kadhem had been a director of a property company since 21 May 2014 but had received no benefits or dividends from that company and so chose not to register for self-assessment.

However, unbeknown to Mr Kadhem, he was automatically registered for self-assessment by HMRC. After apparently “failing” to complete an SA tax return, HMRC sent a notice to file immediately for 2014/15 on 6 April 2015.

The director not only denied ever receiving this notice but stated that he believed an SA return was unnecessary as all of his income was taxed at source through PAYE. Despite this, Mr Kadhem eventually submitted a return for 2014/15 on 21 September 2016 in response to a second letter, this time demanding a £100 penalty fine.

Such was the length of time that the tax return was delayed, further fines were issued totalling £1,200.

Mr Kadhem appealed the fine and attended a tax tribunal. HMRC quoted the guidance as published on gov.uk, but the tribunal ruled that the guidance does not have the force of law and did not “accurately reflect what the law says”.

It added: “If a person receives a notice to file a return he is under an obligation to file a return by the due date, but that is not what the Government guidance says.”

Further to this, HMRC could not prove that the notice to file a return was sent to the director’s correct address.

The tribunal accepted that he had a “reasonable excuse” for filing a late return and all penalties were quashed.

Although this case proves that there are indeed rare occasions where HMRC can be challenged, the majority of directors will not be able to rely on the defence that they have not received a letter from the taxman and will therefore need to ensure that their returns are filed within the stipulated deadlines.

At Moore Thompson, we can help with a range of tax and accountancy services for businesses and can help ensure that you and your clients do not attract the unwelcome attentions of HMRC. To find out more, please contact us.

800,000 employers risk workplace pension penalties

Employers who have failed to set up workplace pension schemes by their staging date are risking massive fines.

According to the latest figures published by the Pensions Regulator, around 800,000 small businesses have yet to auto-enrol their employees into a workplace pension scheme

Businesses found to be non-compliant have either been issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) or an Escalating Penalty Notice (EPN). Those receiving the latter have been publically named and shamed on the Pensions Regulator website.

Fines for receiving an EPN range from £500 to £14,000 – depending on the size of the business. However, some businesses who have failed to pay an EPN are now facing a court order and huge penalties of up to £52,500.

The Pensions Regulator also warned that new businesses which start trading from October 2017 will have instant pension responsibilities.

Charles Counsell, executive director of Automatic Enrolment, said: “Employers who wilfully refuse to become compliant should be in no doubt that we will take enforcement action against them.

“Automatic enrolment is not an option, it is the law. Allowing some employers to get away with non-compliance is not fair on the employees who are denied the workplace pensions they are entitled to and is not fair on the vast majority of businesses who have taken the time to meet their responsibilities.

“To date we have only had to bring court proceedings against a tiny proportion of employers, but every court case is one too many – and one that employers can easily avoid by becoming compliant.”

For more information on Moore Thompson’s auto enrolment pension services and how we can help both you and your clients to remain compliant, please contact us.

Savings in sharp decline

New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the proportion of UK residents’ disposable income that goes into savings has fallen to a record low.

The ONS latest study found that the savings ratio, which measures the outgoings and incomings that affect households, had fallen to 1.7 per cent during January to March, down from 3.3 per cent in the previous quarter.

This is because, for the first time since the 1970s, disposable income has fallen for three quarters in a row.

Darren Morgan, Head of GDP at the ONS, said: “The saving ratio has fallen again this quarter to a new record low, partly as a result of higher tax payments reducing disposable income.

“Some of the fall could be as a result of the timing of those payments, but the underlying trend is for a continued fall in the saving ratio.”

And yet ‘traditional’ savings may soon become popular again thanks to rising interest rates as a result of growing inflation, with many suggesting that the Bank of England may increase the base rate in the months to come. 

In today’s complicated marketplace, professional and impartial advice is paramount when it comes to finding the best solutions to meet your clients’ financial needs.

MT Financial Management is a firm of Chartered Financial Planners that provides independent and unbiased financial planning, investment portfolio management, pension review and trust review services to the clients of Moore Thompson Chartered Accountants and selected professional introducers.

We offer an initial meeting at our cost and with no obligation, so that your clients can decide whether they wish to use our services before incurring any costs.

We will agree a fixed fee to provide a review of your clients’ current financial situation, so that our experienced and independent financial advisors can determine whether their financial arrangements are appropriate, and recommend areas that need improvement. Of course, our proposals will be comprehensively explained, so your clients can make informed decisions about any suggested changes.

All of our advisors are qualified to Chartered Financial Planner status, providing their high levels of technical knowledge and experience on a fixed cost basis.

As our fees are agreed in advance, we are not tied to promoting particular solutions and can focus on providing the best professional advice.

To find out more about our services, please contact Trevor Wilshire on 01775 717220 or visit www.mtfinman.co.uk.