Don't read this post…

Unless you would like to join the growing band of professionals who are replacing static text on their website with relevant, and useful, watch and listen video content.

Next month, November 21st, I will be producing a video summary of the 22 November budget announcements. The completed video will be available in generic or branded formats the next day, 23 November 2017. This delivery is guaranteed, so you could have the content on your website the day after the budget and driving traffic to it via social media.

The generic version is delivered as HTML code to create an iFrame on your website. Your developer should be able to have the video displayed on your site in a matter of minutes.

The branded version, topped and tailed with your logo and contact details, is also delivered as iFrame code, and additionally, we provide you with access to the source MP4 file so you can upload the video direct to your YouTube (or similar) channel.

View the March 2017 video here:

This is the generic, unbranded version of the Spring Budget update we prepared. The November version will be similar, but with a male voice over this time and at a slower pace.

To secure your next day delivery slot please add your practice to our BudgetBox subscription service here, no invoicing or payments taken until Budget Day.

Expand your range of services

There’s comes a time in most practitioner’s careers when a client requires a services that is “beyond our ken”. It has happened to me on more than one occasion.

Fortunately, I have always maintained contact with a number of specialists in various areas, who have managed to plug any gap in my knowledge base, and clients have been well served by this process.

From time to time I am approached by firms in need of a professional referral to solve a client’s problem(s) as the sometimes contradictory opinions offered in the “popular” online forums have not quite hit the spot. Accordingly, I am considering creating a space on the Landmark site where firms can request and/or provide professional assistance to colleagues in need of specialist support. This will not be a forum for opinion swaps – Accounting Web is the place to go – this will be a secure place to find support with client related issues on a professional basis.

At this stage, I am gauging support for this notion – before committing to the online development required – I just need to know if this is a service that practitioners feel is required and one that they would use. Reply to or add a comment to this post.

So simple!

It is interesting to reflect on the use of words, particularly adjectives, and how the usage has changed.

In many contexts, simple is used in a derogatory way, to describe something that lacks intelligence or sophistication. Alternatively, simple is used to describe an idea as elegant, stripped of unnecessary baggage.

This week, we reported the publication of a policy paper by HMRC entitled “Simple Assessment – ending the tax return”.

This rather wide-ranging announcement seems at first glance to be Making Tax Digital in another guise. HMRC are declaring that for certain groups of taxpayers, in fact two groups, they can now gather the required data to assess their tax position without a requirement for the affected taxpayers to complete a tax return.

The two groups mentioned are:

  • new state pensionerswith income more than the personal tax allowance in the tax year 2016-17
  • PAYE customers, who have underpaid taxand who cannot have that tax collected through their tax code

HMRC declare:

All existing state pensioners, who receive state pension over their personal allowance, who have received a notice to file a Self-Assessment for the tax year 2016 to 2017 should complete their return as usual. They will be taken out of Self-Assessment for the next tax year, 2017 to 2018, and will receive a Simple Assessment notification instead.

The temptation to lower the tone of this announcement by invoking “Simple Simon says…” is compelling. Interesting that HMRC state the already obvious by turning it into a new idea:

Simple Assessment is a new way of collecting tax which will make life easier for millions of customers who have had to do Self-Assessment tax returns in the past.

It is not clear if HMRC’s ability to gather the required information for these groups is a new or existing facility, what we can reasonably speculate is that it will be far from simple.

Editor’s note:

This article was written by me for Informanagement as is reproduced with their permission.

Are you lending money to your company?

I added the following article to Landmark’s Online Copy service last week. I provide two articles a week that practices use to feed content into their blog’s and website copy.

There is a whole raft of legislation that seeks to penalise directors and shareholders if they borrow money from their company. These regulations include possible benefit in kind charges for the director/shareholder, and additional corporation tax payments of 32.5% for the company.

In effect, the tax system discourages directors from using their company as a private bank account.

But what happens if the reverse situation occurs and a director/shareholder lends money to their company?

If a company requires long-term funding, this “loan” may be secured by the issue of shares in which case the shareholder may be entitled to a dividend. They would also share in the spoils if the company was subsequently sold or wound-up. Essentially, once capital is locked in to a formal shareholding arrangement, it is difficult for the shareholder to recover their investment without undertaking a complicated, and expensive, legal process.

An alternative approach, is to simply lend money to the company. This is best done by agreeing terms and setting up a formal loan agreement between the company and the person lending the funds. It should set out any terms for repayment, security offered by the company, and most important, any interest that will be paid by the company for the use of the funds.

The last point is significant. Many directors of smaller companies simply deposit funds in their company and take it back when it is no longer required, but they may be missing out on a possible tax-free – albeit small – income stream.

For example, depending on other sources of income, the person lending the money could be entitled to the £1,000 or £500 personal savings allowance. A loan of just £16,000, with an agreed interest rate of say 6%, would generate an annual income for the lender of just under £1,000. If the lender was a basic rate tax payer they would be entitled to the £1,000 tax-free allowance, and the company could deduct the interest payment from their taxable profits.

As always, the devil is in the detail. Please contact us for advice if you are considering a loan to your company or formalising any past loans made.

Please use the copy with my compliments. If you would like to take out a monthly subscription follow this link.


GDPR video available

We are all going to suffer unless we deal with the basic demands of the GDPR, the extended data protection regulations, that are due to be activated 25 May 2018.

Not only will we risk breaching the new regs, we may also lose business as suppliers and customers up and down our supply chains are required to sever contacts with businesses who are not GDPR compliant.

I have added a new video to our video library that deals with this issue. Use it to start a dialogue with clients now. It has a professional voice over and graphics and can be branded for your practice.

Follow this link to our Video Library.