Friday, 31 August 2018

SAVE THE DATE! Tuesday 9th October 2018…


And yes, there’ll be a buffet and drinkypoos!

Okay, we recognise we’re nowhere near October yet but, when we’ve got something like this lined up, we know how important it is to get the message out early. After all, we wouldn’t want you to find out too late – or worse, miss out altogether!

So, as the current Chair of Wantage & District Chamber of Commerce, please treat this as a personal invitation to all Chapman Worth clients from Matthew Chapman on behalf of the Chamber.

Ah, that’s nice. So, what’s the big deal?
Well, it’s on Tuesday 9th October from 6pm to 8pm. There’s going to be an informal reception held in the Vale & Downland Museum in Wantage and it’ll be an evening of opportunity and firsts.

An evening of opportunity and firsts? Sounds intriguing…
That’s right. It’s something that you may not have experienced before (some might say for good reason but they’d be wrong, of course!) and this one’s going to be different again, which is why we’d really appreciate it if you could come along. We need you, and if we could superimpose Matthew Chapman’s face onto a Lord Kitchener poster, we would.

Please don’t, but go on…
Well, the purpose of the evening is twofold. Firstly, it’s going to be one of Matthew’s last meetings before stepping down as Chair and he wants to say a big thank you in more ways than one. 

Secondly, the Chamber of Commerce is a great way to network with other local business leaders, influencers and professionals, and keep up to date with community initiatives.

Thirdly, and just as importantly, there’ll be a special presentation from the charity SUDEP Action starting at 6.15pm, all about their Prevent21 campaign, and how your business can potentially become involved.

And because it’ll be held in the museum, it’s the perfect opportunity to relax with a load of old relics.

Oh, and there’s also going to be drinks and nibbles with outside catering laid on. Indoors.

That’s 5 reasons. Its’s starting to remind me of Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition.
Yes, sorry. Anyone would think we worked with numbers for a living.

So, it’s a good opportunity to network?
Absolutely. Especially as we’re chasing, harrying and cajoling expecting so many people to attend. 

And SUDEP Action? Have I heard of them?
Possibly. They’re a Wantage-based charity that operates nationally to raise awareness of epilepsy risks in the young. It stands for ‘sudden unexpected death in epilepsy’ and aims to reduce the number of fatal cases it causes in that age group.

That sounds like a great initiative!
That’s because it is. As well as preventing epilepsy-related deaths, it also offers support to those bereaved by epilepsy.

Impressive. And Prevent21?
We don’t want to give away too much other than saying that Prevent21 is a business awareness partnership designed to be part of a creative business engagement campaign. 

How can my business become more involved?
Easy tiger! All will be revealed on the night! And rest assured that this isn’t one of those evenings where anyone will be asking for donations or anything like that!

Is there anything else you can disclose?
Oh yes. Rumour has it that Matthew will be the one putting his hands in his pockets.

Er, that sounds ominous.
It does. Hopefully they won’t stay there though as no one will get a drink unless he pulls them out again…

Did someone mention food and drink?
Yes indeed. We can’t have people attend on an empty stomach after a hard day’s work, can we?

Great. Count me in.
Oh no, please don’t get us counting again…

Anything else I need to remember or bring?
Something to record this momentous happening for posterity.

And any advice on what not to say?
Yes – please don’t say: “What was the date again?” Or even worse: “Oops, missed it. I wish I’d gone to that.”

And anything I should say?
Something like: “See you there – I can’t wait. Cheers!”

We hope you can join us on Tuesday 9th October. 

Not only will it be a great opportunity to find out more about the new Prevent21 Business Awareness Partnership, you’ll also be able to network with a whole host of other local businesses in an informal, relaxed and unique setting.

We’re anticipating a busy evening so if you’re planning to attend, please could you email Matthew directly on matthew@chapmanworth.co.uk to help us manage the buffet numbers.

And don’t forget – Matthew’s buying!

See you then!

Until next month...

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Look into my eyes and then your APN…

Oops, you’ve gone under.

How’s your summer going?

What with scorchio weather, school holidays and the World Cup, we’ve gone from ‘It’s too hot’, ‘I’m bored’ and ‘It’s coming home’ to everyone’s gone home. 

And all because it’s the time of year when there’s not a lot of work going on. BBQs and sunburn, yes. Conscientious levels of industry, no.

Unless, of course, you’re HMRC and its Advanced Payment Notice (APN) Department. They’ve been busy…

In fact, so busy, it’s resulted in a not-so-great summer for one unlucky person.

Any ideas? Go on, close your eyes, and think hard now…

That’s right. Following on nicely from the previous blog on our Tax Investigation Protection service, we’re talking about Psychic Sally, a popular clairvoyant and director of Sally Morgan Enterprises whose psychic services company recently went into voluntary liquidation following a £2.9m tax bill and unexpected APN from HMRC.

We’re not sure how Mystic Meg, Septic Peg and all the other oracles would have fared but, clearly, Psychic Sally didn’t see this one coming. It certainly puts a whole new spin on a person from her profession crossing someone’s hand in silver. In this case, HMRC’s. Wanting rather a lot of it.

Even though the amount of the tax bill has been disputed, the issue of an APN means that the taxpayer has only 90 days to act – without a formal right of appeal or the ability to defer the payment (and any other payments that had been postponed up to that point). Effectively, it results in Hobson’s choice: either settle by producing the amounts owed or go into voluntary liquidation as in the case here.

APNS: The good, the bad and the ugly

Since they were first introduced in the Finance Act in August 2014, around 80,000 APNs have been issued. Last year alone, HMRC reported that more than £4bn had been collected through them, with the average bill for large companies trying to avoid tax around £6m.

And, whilst representations can be made to HMRC, convincing them that the amounts or even the demands themselves are a mistake can prove extremely difficult – despite recent official figures revealing that as many as 6,000 of those notices were withdrawn after having been wrongly issued. It’s no wonder APNs are deemed so controversial.

With regard to Sally Morgan Enterprises, without the available funds to pay its debts, it’s not looking good; especially with HMRC upholding around 90% of its APN decisions. As one wag commented: “Psychic Sally might find it easier to commune with the dead than disputing her APN.”

So, there you have it, the latest news from the CW vault and why it always pays to be on top of your taxes.

Which reminds us; we need to rebook the entertainment for our works summer BBQ. Now, would you believe it – we also had a clairvoyant lined up. Unfortunately, the rather diminutive Seymour Footure has gone AWOL due to unforeseen circumstances. 

The local papers really went to town with that headline: ‘On the run: Small medium at large.’

Oh dear, that’s about the size of it. Let’s hope his crystal balls aren’t hampering him too much. 

Until next month...

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

HMRC is on the prowl…

But don’t worry – our Tax Investigation Protection means you won’t have to take them on alone.

Tax investigations can happen to anyone, whether you’re an individual or in business.

And, regardless of whether you’ve been compliant or not, they’re on the increase.

Why? Because HMRC is working hard to collect more revenue than ever before. No longer is its role to only ensure that you or your business paid the right amount of tax; its key objective now seems to be to maximise the amount of revenue it can collect from taxpayers.

In the last financial year, HMRC generated a record £28.9bn from challenging accounts, tax returns and business records – simply by upping the number of compliance checks, enquiries and investigations conducted.

Not only that, thanks to global tax authorities liaising more closely with one another and the burgeoning amounts of data now available to HMRC, your chances of being selected for an enquiry have also increased dramatically.

It could be due to the nature of your business, where you live, your rental property or because HMRC has decided to target your particular profession – or simply through being selected completely at random!

So, how well would you fare in a HMRC tax investigation?

Could you successfully defend your case?

And, with in-depth tax enquiries lasting well over a year and able to run up thousands of £££s in professional fees (even if you’ve no case to answer), would your resources stretch to see it through properly?

Protect yourself and your business today…

Now the good news: we’re here so that you won’t have to tackle HMRC on your own.

Our Tax Investigation Protection Service is designed to help both your sanity and finances should HMRC start a compliance check on you.

The service is designed to reimburse the costs of your defence if you’re selected for enquiry, whilst at the same time providing you with the best possible representation and assurance that you won’t have to concede to HMRC’s demands on a purely commercial basis.  

As well as handling everything from start to finish to ensure you get the best possible defence, it also means you won’t have to worry about any additional professional costs associated with the process.

These are some of the benefits…
  • Experienced professional support on your side when you need it.
  • Round-the-clock legal support – available 24/7, 365 days a year.
  • Free Business Legal Helpline with access to a team of qualified solicitors and barristers for employment law, health and safety matters and commercial issues.
  • Unlimited calls and up-to-date advice in plain English reflecting the latest law changes.

Check out our Tax Investigation Protection microsite for more details.

There’s more detailed information on our Tax Investigation Protection microsite – find out what extra support is provided and how it can make a potentially stressful situation so much easier.

And if you have any queries, there’s also a dedicated FAQs page providing more information on the service and covering the common questions clients have on tax investigation.

Don’t want to be an easy target for HMRC? Then arrange your cover today!

HMRC is completely committed to driving its revenues, so this isn’t going to go away.
If you’d like peace of mind knowing that your tax affairs will be professionally defended with everything taken care of for you, you can register or renew your cover here.

It’s just a small annual fee and there’s now an easier way to pay.

This year, we’re delighted to offer significant savings on subscription through a new payment system and negotiating reduced rates with our provider.

You can renew your cover or sign up ready for 1 September 2018 by paying directly via our microsite.

And, if you’re a current subscriber, we’ve even more good news – while we’ve been implementing the new system we’ve given you 2 months’ extra cover free!

Remember, cover starts from 1 September and is only a fraction of the costs of a typical defence.

Good luck – and whatever you do: stay safe out there.

Until next month...

Monday, 25 June 2018

MTD is coming and we’ve something that’s going to make life a whole lot easier for you.

Introducing our new monthly fixed fee service…

Okay, let’s start with the obvious.

MTD.

Does it ring a bell? Anyone? Go on, have a guess…

Match of the Day? Could be, but not quite.

Marsupial Training Device? Try again.

Midlothian Trampolining Disco? Er, no.

Okay, we’ll tell you.


Making Tax Digital 

MTD stands for Making Tax Digital and it’s the biggest change to the UK tax system for a generation. It’s part of the government’s plans to implement a modern, fully-automated digital tax system by 2020 to ensure that businesses declare their tax accurately first time and then submit it on time.

And it’ll be here as early as April 2019 when MTD for Business becomes compulsory for those who are VAT-registered, before being rolled out across the board for all businesses. By that stage, you’ll need to use commercial accounting software to maintain your records and submit quarterly updates to HMRC.

Our new monthly fixed fee service

Okay, so now you’re probably wondering how this relates to our new monthly fixed fee service…

Well, quite simply, it includes the cloud software that will have you ready for MTD and ensures that you’re compliant with the new regulations.

But that’s not all – there are several other benefits that will make your life a whole lot easier….

A personalised review checklist to identify which services you’re most going to need.

In setting things up, our 1:1 review meeting allows us to discuss and guide you on what your business needs now and what else it might benefit from, with you then selecting what services you want to go with – e.g. accounts, payroll, VAT returns etc.

Knowing exactly where you stand with costs for all your services.

As the review process identifies what services you need, the individual service fees are automatically calculated based on your turnover of business, number of employees, complexity of tax return, quality of bookkeeping etc. It means there’s no need to keep track of separate services or bills as you now have everything in one place.

Better cashflow via a monthly, consolidated DD payment.

Whereas in the past you would have paid an annual fee for each individual service, now you make just a regular monthly payment. Routinely collected by direct debit, it lets you budget accordingly without any nasty surprises.

A streamlined process that’s quick, convenient and flexible.

Following our review, all the information is automatically emailed to you as a proposal so that you have a record of everything. And once you decide you’d like to continue, all it takes is the press of a button through the link in your proposal document. It’s that easy. And, should your circumstances change through you wanting to add or amend services, the system is completely flexible and will calculate your revised monthly payments there and then for you.

Modernisation is coming and it’s time to go digital…


Are you ready to benefit from a fixed monthly fee? Then get in touch!

Who said keeping on top of your accounting had to be difficult?

Now you can forget all about how inconvenient it used to be filing and keeping track of everything, and look forward to a slicker and more reliable way of doing things.

And with it being suitable for both existing and new Chapman Worth clients, it means you’ll be well prepared for MTD and any other abbreviations that come your way.

Like CWMFFS.

Answers on a postcard please.

Until next month...

Friday, 11 May 2018

Say hello to our new in-house Agony Aunt…

Margery Orpington-Smythe at your service!

Ever mindful of wanting to give something back to the local community, we now have our very own resident Agony Aunt in post: say hello to Margery Orpington-Smythe.

Having just returned from an almost sell-out tour of two South Oxfordshire community halls, we’re pleased to announce that Margery’s at last bringing her coveted counsel online, ready to help our clients and readers address their everyday dilemmas and travails.

And with a reputation cobbled together around none of the qualities you’d expect from a half-decent Agony Aunt, she’s never short of some good old misplaced advice and opinions – all based on personal experience, of course (and what she imagines her experience might have been otherwise).

So, whatever you need to know and no matter what’s on your mind – whether it’s finance-related or otherwise, just ask Marge…

Here’s one to get us started:

Dear Marge,

After one of the hottest early May Bank Holidays ever, I’m now completely out of sorts. Not only am I concerned that the village has developed its own microclimate due to global warming, my dahlias have gone into overdrive, the cat refuses to vacate the bidet, and my G&Ts won’t stay chilled long enough for me to Instagram them. I’m at my wit’s end. Please help.

Yours, Perturbed and Desperate. (East Hendred)


Dear Perturbed and Desperate,

My, my. How awful for you. Luckily, I can completely empathise.

It reminds me of the summer of ’76 when our village too experienced unseasonably premature sunshine. If we’d heard of it, we also would have put it down to global warming. We hadn’t though, so we didn’t. Yet that was the very least of our problems.

Around that same period, I recall that our garden hedge maze grew so wild that a local tax inspector became lost in it for 3 whole weeks. Thankfully, there was an upside. It could have been a fortnight.

Our cats (Spreadsheet and Debit) were similarly out of sorts due to the heat. However, instead of being forced to seek a place of cool refuge in the way you describe, they were plagued with the biggest furballs I’d ever seen. At one point, I thought we had an infestation of extremely idle guinea pigs all over the house.

And, as for keeping one’s drinks cool, that remains a perennial problem. My advice would be to forget about the need for posy snapshots and just drink it while you can. If it’s still not staying cool for long enough, then just top it up. That always works for me.

Or just photoshop your G&T. Everybody does it and no one will know. Besides, when I was younger, it would take ages to take and develop a photograph, so it was much easier to instead write about whatever it was you wanted to capture by way of letter. Quaint, I know but oh, so satisfying! (By the way, if you think chilled tipples are a challenge, you should try keeping a Baked Alaska at the right temperature. There have been innumerable instances in our house when it’s resulted in marital disharmony and many a time nearly caused me to resort to simply being called Ms Smythe again.)

Anyway, I digress.

In summary, consider taking a social media holiday, build a walk-in refrigerator in which to enjoy your summer aperitifs, and keep your bathroom door shut. If that doesn’t work, remove the cat flap from it altogether.

The global warming issue is slightly trickier. One option is to move village. Or, if you don’t fancy that, just stay in the UK and wait until June.

Oh, and find yourself a nice accountant. They’re not all listless and boring.

Helpfully yours, Marge.

Until next month...

Friday, 20 April 2018

Had a chance yet to digest what the 2018 Spring Statement means for you?

Here’s a summary…

Last month, Philip Hammond announced his first Spring Statement.

After two full Budgets in 2017, it didn’t include any tax changes or new spending initiatives (these will come in the Autumn Budget).

Instead, it represented a move to a new cycle of annual tax and spending changes and, as such, focused on reviewing Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) figures and announcing consultations.

Here’s a recap of its key contents for the 2018/19 tax year:

Consultations ranged from ways to squeeze more tax from international digital businesses to a proposal for extending entrepreneurs’ relief to some shareholders whose holdings drop below the qualifying 5% level. There’s also the possibility of the VAT threshold being lowered.

The start of April saw the usual changes to the income tax rates and allowances as well as national insurance contributions. This year there will also be a cut in the dividend allowance and some special new tax rates for Scottish taxpayers. Modest tax increases have been applied to company cars, but their cumulative impact could be significant for some people.

Many employees will see any extra net income from the tax changes diminished by higher minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions, although the lifetime allowance for pensions has been raised.

And, less welcome for some will be the changes to employee termination payments and the new rules for enterprise investment schemes.

Other areas included:

English business rates                                                                                               
The next revaluation of business property in England will be brought forward one year to 2021, with three-yearly revaluations thereafter.

Entrepreneur’s relief                                                                                                     
A consultation paper was published on how to give entrepreneurs’ relief in circumstances where it would otherwise be lost because of a new share issue.

It could be extended for shareholders who currently miss out because their company issues new shares to raise cash, dropping their shareholding below the crucial 5% point.

VAT threshold                                                                                                             
Because of concern that the VAT threshold of £85k is inhibiting business growth, the government issued a call for further evidence on restructuring the VAT registration threshold to offer more incentives for small businesses to grow. There’s already some evidence that businesses deliberately limit growth to avoid crossing the existing £85,000 threshold (which has been frozen for the next two years).

So, watch out for changes – maybe a system of gradually increasing tax rates as turnover rises, or possibly different rates for different types of business.

Tax and the digital economy                                                                                           
There were several papers examining taxation issues surrounding the digital economy, including VAT and income tax leakage through internet trading platforms.                                                                                       
The government says that some people who use online platforms to run their businesses are not paying their fair share of taxes. One approach could be to ask platforms to help with tax admin – rather like employers.

Self-funded work-related training                                                                             
A consultation paper was published examining how to extend the existing tax relief framework to self-funded work-related training by employees and the self-employed.

According to HMRC, over 1 million people paid for their own training back in 2016, so now the government would like views on how to extend the tax relief to provide a training boost and encourage this further.

Tax evasion and money laundering                                                                                                   
The government wants to crack down on people who use cash to evade tax and for money laundering by taking a keen interest in large cash transactions and finding out why they are used.

Enterprise investment schemes and venture capital trusts                           
New rules for enterprise investment schemes and venture capital trusts will mean more cash for innovative businesses – but higher risks for investors.

HMRC to extend powers                                                                                         
HMRC can demand a security deposit from businesses where tax is at risk for VAT, PAYE and NICs as well as various other taxes, and this will now be extended to corporation tax and the Construction Industry Scheme.

Get everything you need in your 2018/19 Tax Tables

We have free 2018/19 Tax Tables to give out if you’d like one.

They conveniently give you all the key numbers in one place and include all of the updated information announced in the Spring Statement.

If you’d like us to send you your new Tax Tables for the 2018/19 tax year, please get in touch.

Key changes for 2018/19 include:

  • Increases to the personal allowance, and basic and higher rate tax thresholds.
  • New income tax bands and rates for Scotland.
  • A cut in the dividend tax allowance from £5,000 to £2,000.
  • Revised company car tax scales, with an increase in the diesel levy.
  • The first increase in the lifetime pension allowance since 2010.
  • An increase in the maximum tax relievable investment in Enterprise Investment Schemes.

Questions or queries on how these relate to you?

If you have any questions or would like some more information on how the Spring Statement affects you, please get in touch.

Until next month (when we return to a lighter take on things)...

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Steady now… HMRC releases new guidance on reasonable care...

Unfortunately, Finance Bill didn’t see the memo.

Maybe it was all the talk of Hysteria from Siberia or The Beast from the East but it made Finance Bill a little more distracted than usual.

Although never particularly detail-oriented, he nonetheless always acts with absolute conviction – regardless of whether he actually knows what he’s doing, or even if it’s right.

So, when he heard of new guidance from HMRC about taking reasonable care, he embraced it with his usual overly-enthusiastic gusto, and pretty much applied it to every area of his life. Better safe than sorry, eh?

As he was going to be working from home for a few days, the first thing he needed was an extra-comfy chair, lots of cushions and a supportive back rest. At long last he was able to use his Secret Santa present – a pressure-activated massager that gave messages of encouragement every time you shifted against it, such as “You are a tiger!” and “Whatever anyone else ever tells you, accountants are fabulous. No, really.

His laptop was fully charged, his therapeutic wrist support was in place; Wi-Fi signal at full strength, and firewalls, antivirus, and malicious threat software all ready to go. He had spare spare batteries for his calculator and his compendium of crayons was neatly lined up in colour order alongside his new school maths set. As his old mentor used to tell him, you can always rely on someone with a protractor and pair of compasses, but beware those who chew their pencils…

Efficient? He was going to be unstoppable. He even had a cup of freshly-poured herbal tea sat on his desk to help him stay hydrated (and not too hot, of course – ever since the last time when he burnt his lips and short-circuited the keyboard with a spray of Wong Lo Kat).

Nothing beats the feeling of being fully prepared. Even the background music was just right; conducive to creating a zen-like atmosphere and, importantly, not too loud. Despite having a vast and eclectic LP collection, Finance Bill had very fixed ideas on what qualified as work music and what he liked to call ‘Helloooow, sociable smooth’. Thrash metal was definitely not allowed (danger of sudden movements, moshing and breakages), and nor was anything by Anthrax (pathogenic reasons and highly contagious). The New Seekers were also off the playlist (due to danger of DVT from not moving at all).

Finally, he made sure the room was well-aired but warm (by having his convection heater outside the open window), and ensured that the lighting wasn’t too bright, but more ambient to aid concentration and remind him of his favourite jazz club near Whitehall, Dim.

Then, just as he was about to finally settle down to start some work, he decided to make one last trip to the kitchen to check he hadn’t left any taps dripping, slipped on the HMRC Reasonable Care booklet that was lying on the floor and is now in traction in The John Radcliffe Hospital. So much for better safe than sorry.

Still, it could have been worse; it could have been his Tom Petty Free Fallin’ single that he’d trodden on.

For the record (no pun intended), HMRC has published new guidance on how to take reasonable care when submitting tax returns and other documents to them, and what happens if you don’t (including details of penalties).

Coincidentally, it’s entitled ‘Reasonable care: tax returns and other documents’ and is the first time HMRC has made all care advice available to access from one location (on GOV.UK) instead of across various compliance manuals. Essentially, it gives advice on "doing everything you can to make sure the tax returns and other documents you send [to HMRC] are accurate.”

In case you were wondering how Finance Bill is doing, there was a silver lining. Kind of.

Now that all the snow has melted, he is starting to get a few more visitors; yet keeps telling them that everything’s up in the air and he’s completely plastered.

Sedative, anyone?

Until next month...