Category Archives: Professional News

Chancellor claims SMEs are backbone of UK economy but delivers little to help them

Rising to address Parliament, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, recognised that the Government couldn’t “build an economy fit for the future without supporting its backbone” – the country’s small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Mr Hammond proclaimed that he recognised the pressure small businesses were under but, arguably, this was not truly reflected in the Budget he went on to deliver.

One of the key measures in his speech was the confirmation that the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage would continue to rise, with the NLW reaching £7.83 an hour from April next year.

This will increase payroll costs significantly for firms, forcing them to pay additional National Insurance Contributions and increasing payments into their workplace pension schemes.

In a small giveaway to SMEs, Mr Hammond announced changes to business rates that will see the date at which rates switch from being set by the Retail Price Index (RPI) to Consumer Price Index (CPI) brought forward to April 2018 – two years ahead of schedule. This is expected to reduce the burden of business rates by £2.3 billion over next five years.

The Chancellor also confirmed that the Government would invest £2.3 billion in research and development, setting aside additional money, worth up to £500 million, for the development of AI and broadband. R&D Research and Development Expenditure Credit would increase from 11 per cent to 12 per cent on qualifying expenditure, to help firms invest more.

Small businesses across the UK will also welcome the freezing of the VAT threshold. Prior to the Budget, the Office for Tax Simplification released a report suggesting that the Government should reduce the threshold to bring more businesses within the VAT regime – as the UK has one of the world’s highest limits.

However, the Chancellor said he may look to reform the threshold in future, but not within the next two years.

Although there are a few positive aspects to the latest Budget, many commentators suggest that the proposals as a whole fail to address some of the key issues that companies are currently facing.

On a personal level, the Chancellor also confirmed that the personal income tax allowance would continue to rise to £11,850 in April 2018, while the higher rate threshold will rise to £46,350, which is in line with the Government’s current commitments.

At Moore Thompson, our experienced team of accountants and tax advisers are here to help you and your clients make sense of the latest Budget and provide practical assistance to ensure that the both your business and personal finances are tax efficient. Please get in touch with us and we will be happy to help.

Are your clients making the most of the ECA scheme?

We are always keen to promote ways that will help your clients make their capital budgets stretch that little bit further.

Recently we have been talking to a number of local businesses about the benefits of the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme, which allows companies to invest in energy-saving plant or machinery that might otherwise be too expensive.

Many had previously been unaware or were confused about the level of help available in the form of tax relief for being an energy efficient business.

As a result, some businesses risk missing out on valuable tax savings which they could claim.

The first year allowances let businesses set 100 per cent of the cost of the assets against taxable profits in a single tax year.

This allows business owners to write off the cost of new plant or machinery against their taxable profits in the financial year that the purchase was made.

If you have clients that you think may benefit and would like to find out more about equipment or plant which qualifies under the ECA scheme or they would like help and support to make a tax claim, speak to our experts and we’ll set the wheels in motion.

Sharing our expertise with the farming community at LAMMA

We are delighted to confirm that we will once again be attending the LAMMA show – the UK’s leading farm machinery and services event.

This will be the third year in a row that we have taken a stand at LAMMA, which is being held at the East of England Showground in Peterborough from 17 to 18 January 2018.

The free-to-attend event will see more than 800 exhibitors demonstrate their latest models and equipment to nearly 50,000 farmers.

During the show, our team will speak with hundreds of members of the farming community about their financial and accounting needs.

Our firm has a long history of providing advice to agricultural and horticultural businesses through our dedicated team, who understand the requirements and expectation of rural enterprises.

The LAMMA show provides us with a unique opportunity to showcase our range of services for farmers and rural businesses and gives us the opportunity to connect with farmers, particularly during these uncertain times in the industry.

If you have farming or rural clients that would benefit from our range of agricultural services, please contact Andrew Heskin by calling 01775 711333 or emailing andrew@mooret.co.uk

New faces welcomed to our team

As part of our ongoing expansion, we are pleased to announce that we have recruited five new members of staff to our team.

Asif Hamid, Aaron Wykes, Harry Witt, Sherry Yuen Ying Tung and Danny Hunt have all recently joined us.

Asif is based in our Spalding office, having previously worked as an accounts manager at a specialist VAT firm in Peterborough.

He holds an AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualification and is also ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) part-qualified.

Aaron, another recent appointment, joins our sister company, Moore Thompson Financial Management, as a Paraplanner supporting the practice’s independent financial advisers.

Our three final recruits, Danny, Sherry and Harry, have been hired as trainees and will now undergo professional training with the firm in the months and years to come.

Overdue payments land small businesses with £2 billion cash shortfall

Smaller businesses (SMEs) are facing a £2.16 billion deficit as they chase overdue payments, according to Bacs.

The company, which is behind direct debit and Bacs payments in the UK, has revealed that, of the 1.7 million SMEs in the UK, almost 640,000 are waiting beyond agreed terms for payments.

37 per cent of English SMEs continue to report problems with overdue payments, despite a significant drop in overall late payment debts.

The latest new figures show that across the UK, SMEs are owed £14.2 billion, compared with five years ago when the figure was more than double, at £30.2 billion.

The research also showed that 39 per cent of SMEs are spending up to four hours a week chasing overdue payments.

Almost one in five (19 per cent) of SMEs affected by late payments are owed between £20,000 and £50,000, which could potentially lead to bankruptcy, with 7 per cent admitting they are already in that danger zone.

Late payments have in some cases led to problems with payroll, with 16 per cent conceding they had struggled to pay their staff on time, while 28 per cent of company directors have had to reduce their own salaries to maintain sufficient business cash flow.

Of those surveyed, 25 per cent rely on bank overdrafts to make essential payments, and 15 per cent struggle to pay utility bills and business rates when they fall due.

A significant issue for SMEs is the amount of time they are being kept waiting beyond their previously agreed payment terms. Almost a third of companies face delays of at least a month beyond their invoice terms, with almost 20 per cent waiting in excess of 60 days before being paid.

We predict a cracking time at Peterborough Biscuit Business Event

The Peterborough Biscuit Business Event held at the East of England Arena and Events Centre is to return in early 2018.

Our firm is, once again, taking up the role of gold sponsor of the Finance and Accounts sections of the event, which takes place on Wednesday 7 February 2018, from 8am to 6pm.

The event acts as a showcase for the excellent business community that operates in and around Peterborough, making it one of the best networking events in the area.

Our team will be on hand throughout the show to provide useful advice. If you have business clients based in and around Peterborough, please encourage them to attend this fantastic event.

For more information about the Peterborough Biscuit Business Event and to book places, please visit http://www.peterboroughbiscuit.co.uk/

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.