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Businesses should make strong cash flow their New Year's resolution

Businesses need to prioritise cash flow in 2016 to ensure stability and help drive growth. Cash flow refers to the net amount of cash and cash equivalents moving into and out of a business and having healthy cash flow is an . . .

Christmas comes second to work for SME owners

According to Zurich's latest SME Risk Index 49% of the UK's small business owners worked on Christmas Day last year. The research indicated the challenges of achieving a work life balance, with a further 9% having admitted to missing their child's . . .

Tax Return should be top of people's Christmas list

At this time of year most people's focus will be on buying presents, putting up decorations and preparing the Christmas dinner, but people need to remember the self assessment tax return deadline. Taxpayers who are required to complete self assessment tax . . .

A welcome boost for SME funding

The government's move to introduce flexibility for replacement capital within Enterprise Investment Scheme [EIS] and Venture Capital Trust [VCT] schemes, as revealed in the recent Autumn Statement is warmly welcomed as a boost for small business funding. Replacement capital is finance . . .

HMRC has set its sights on the affluent

Those of you with high incomes should ensure your tax affairs are in order as H M Revenue & Customs [HMRC] bolsters its Affluent Unit. HMRC has announced that is has doubled the number of inspectors trawling through the tax files . . .

HMRC's failings won't go unanswered

Did you know that H M Revenue & Customer [HMRC] could be forced to waive or reduce penalties for taxpayers who filed returns late or incorrectly because the tax authority did not answer their telephone calls. Ministers have condemned HMRC for . . .

Remember to consider capital gains tax when selling up

We would encourage all business and home owners to give greater consideration to capital gains tax [CGT] when selling. The message comes after new figures show that the amount of CGT being collected by the government is growing at a rate . . .

Insolvency fees rise but the number of insolvencies drop

SMEs should be reminded that revised fees for bankruptcies and company insolvencies will come into force on 16 November 2015. Fees and charges are reviewed annually and the revised fee structure ensures that the cost of insolvency processes is paid for . . .

Get ready for payroll changes

We would like to remind you that PAYE legislation is changing from 5 April 2016, so employers who intend to or are already payrolling benefits and expenses must register with HMRC using the new online Payrolling Benefits in Kind (PBIK) . . .

Don't be scared, you still have time to submit your paper tax return

As Halloween quickly approaches, most people may be worried about ghosts and ghouls, but maybe individuals should be more concerned about their paper self-assessment tax return. The deadline for submission of this year's annual paper tax return is midnight on 31 . . .

Consumer rights are reviewed but are you aware of the changes?

Are you aware that the law has changed for consumers and it now covers new areas? Introduced on 1 October 2015, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 seeks to simplify and modernise UK consumer law.  The act replaces three major pieces of . . .

Do not bury your head in the sand

Businesses are being urged not to be complacent if they receive accelerated payment notices (APNs), after new figures reveal that the government has collected more than £1 billion through their use. H M Revenue & Customs (HMRC) recently announced that it . . .

UK's smallest employers need to embrace auto-enrolment

According to a Chartered Institute of Payroll Professional survey more than a third of workers reaching the end of their working lives are not planning financially for their retirement. At a time when auto-enrolment is very much at the forefront of . . .

Changes announced to tax relief for buy to let owners

In the recent Budget there are two key changes to tax relief for buy to let owners  : Restricting finance costs for landlordsRemoval of the wear and tear allowance Read our factsheet to be fully informed. FACTSHEET - Changes for buy to let . . .

Annual Investment Allowance reduction from January 2016

In the Summer Budget the Chancellor announced a reduction in the amount of AIA available.  Read our factsheet above for key information. FACTSHEET - Annual Allowance falls to £200,000 . . .

Tax relief on pension contributions 2015-16 and beyond

The Government intends to cut pensions tax relief for higher earners from April 2016 - read our factsheet as it may provide a one off additional opportunity to maximise pensions saving tax relief. FACTSHEET - Tax relief on pension contributions 2015/16 . . .

The new dividend tax regime

Fundamental changes are on their way from April 2016 in the way dividends are taxed.  If you extract profits from your business as dividends you may need to consider whether to increase dividends before this date.  Read our factsheet for . . .

EU court ruling could have significant impact on businesses

A new European court ruling has clarified that travelling time to and from work could itself be classed as work. In a landmark ruling, the European Court of Justice has said that time spent to and from first and last appointments . . .

SMEs are looking to grow

According to research from Close Brothers Asset Finance, growing their business is top of the agenda for 34% of SMEs. The quarterly survey of UK SME owners and senior management from a range of sectors also revealed that more than half . . .

SMEs are encouraged to seek government contracts

The government has announced that it is aiming to increase its spending with small and medium size enterprises [SMEs] to a third by 2020, and we would encourage businesses to get involved. The most recent public expenditure figures show that from . . .

Invoice financing for SMEs

There has been a lot of publicity recently on the availability of finance for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly focusing on traditional bank loans or equity investments. However there are other forms of business funding which should also be . . .

Businesses need to prepare for changes to company law

Business owners should prepare for a change to company legislation that will require them to register individuals with 'significant control' over the company. Under proposals, laid down in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, all businesses that are not . . .

More SMEs to be affected by auto-enrolment

Recent data from The Pensions Regulator has revealed that approximately half a million more businesses will have to enrol than previously anticipated and will face higher employment bills as they set up their pensions. Apparently, around 1.8m small and micro employers . . .

Owners of personal service companies could face stricter tax rules

Individuals who run a personal service company (PSC) are being warned that they could face higher tax bills in the future as H M Revenue & Customs (HMRC) looks to re-evaluate its tax rules.  HMRC have put forward a proposal . . .

Government finds low awareness of Bribery Act

The Government recently published a report titled 'Insight into awareness and impact of the Bribery Act 2010 among small and medium sized enterprises', which was formed in response to the July 2013 Business Services Red Tape Challenger that recommended SMEs . . .

An end to FRSSE

We welcome the news that the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has issued a number of changes with the aim of simplifying the reporting of company accounts. FRSSE is no more and according to the FRC, the changes - which are effective . . .

Small businesses need to take advantage of the Annual Investment Allowance now

Small businesses are being encouraged to take full advantage of the half a million Annual Investment Allowance [AIA] available to them now before the rate drops at the start of next year. This warning comes following the Chancellor's Summer Budget statements . . .

SMEs cold see smaller profits after Summer Budget

It is feared that measures introduced in the Chancellor's Summer Budget will affect the profit margins of SMEs. George Osborne's seventh budget - the first of this Conservative Government - heralded a decrease in Corporation Tax but saw a rise in . . .

Business confidence remains high

According to the latest Business in Britain report from Lloyds Bank, overall business confidence remains strong and stable. This positive attitude is largely underpinned by companies' expectations of an improvement in exports, as well as anticipated increase in investment levels. The twice . . .

SMEs should get back to doing what they do best

UK SMEs are spending over 600,000 hours a year on company administration rather than core business activities. That's according to research carried out for the British Insurance Brokers' Association [BIBA] which reveals that a significant number of SME leaders perform a . . .

More UK start-ups survive first year of business than European counterparts

A recent study shows that more of Britain's start-ups are surviving their first year of business than their European peers. The research conducted by Rosseau Associates highlights that of the 234,000 UK businesses launched in 2011, 93 per cent of start-ups . . .

Don't forget to renew your tax credits on time

Hundreds of people could miss out on tax credits if they fail to renew their claim by the deadline next month.  The deadline for renewing tax credits is 31 July 2015 but we would advise you get your information in . . .

What does the Queen's Speech mean for SMEs?

Speaking at The State opening of Parliament on 27 May, the Queen announced a number of initiatives to stabilise the UK economy, including lower regulations for SMEs alongside a freeze on tax rises for the next five years. She said "Legislation . . .

Businesses reminded to hand out P60 forms before the end of the month

Business owners are being reminded to provide all of their employees with a P60 form before the deadline at the end of May. All employers must provide any employee, who was in their employment on the last day of the tax . . .

Businesses need to be aware of escalating auto-enrolment fines

A number of businesses who have failed to sign staff up to a workplace pension scheme have been hit with escalating fines by the Pensions regulator for the first time and we are warning firms not to get caught out. Under . . .

Is your SME ready for FRS102?

Small and medium sized enterprises [SMEs] are reminded that the new accounting standard could affect their financial affairs. The proposed changes of the new UK GAAP [Generally accepted accounting principles] known as FRS102, will align the requirements of FRS102, which generally . . .

SMEs face barriers to growth

46 per cent of SME owners believe that a lack of access to skilled workers is the main obstacle to growing their business.  The figure comes from research conducted by British Insurance Brokers' Association [BIBA] and Populus in which 500 . . .

Is your self-assessment tax return still outstanding?

Just a reminder to people that if they still haven't submitted their self-assessment tax return, additional fines will soon be charged. From 1 May, people that have yet to send H M Revenue & Customs [HMRC] their returns will incur a . . .

How will the pension reforms affect you?

New pension freedoms for over 55s that were introduced at the start of the month represent the biggest shake-up to pensions in a generation.  Although the reforms will change the way we save and spend before and during retirement, people . . .

People need to be aware of changes to tax efficient schemes

Individuals are reminded that a number of tax efficient investment schemes will be changing soon. The reminder comes after the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced a number of changes to venture capital trusts [VCT] and enterprise investment schemes [EIS] during this year's . . .

Time for businesses to put shared parental procedures in place

Businesses should update their employment policies and staff handbooks to ensure they meet the changes to parental leave that came into force at the end of last year. Shared parental leave is a new legal right that allows couples to share . . .

Budget 2015 - SMEs recognised as backbone of Britain

Recognising the contributions made by micro-businesses in terms of UK wealth and reducing the number of unemployed, this final Budget of the current Parliament, delivered 50 days before the next General Election, offered two key benefits.  SMEs make up around . . .

Be prepared for changes to prompt payment discounts

Business owners are reminded that H M Revenue & Customs [HMRC] has announced the rules surrounding VAT declaration on prompt payment discounts [PPDs] are changing from 1 April 2015. PPDs offer a reduction to the price of goods and services between . . .

Employers to reveal gender pay gap

Companies that employ more than 250 people will soon have to reveal differences between average pay for male and female workers under a change to a law passing through Parliament. Large firms that do not comply with the new rules could . . .

Employers reminded about the change in rules to PAYE information

Businesses are reminded that they will no longer be automatically penalised for failing to file PAYE information under new changes to the legislation. Under the new rules H M Revenue & Customs [HMRC] has said that they will not impose PAYE . . .

The TTIP of the iceberg

The future of the UK's SMEs could be threatened if the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [TTIP] is introduced.  TTIP would being benefits to big business, but SMEs seem set to lose out.  A huge majority of UK firms are . . .

Have you checked for fraud and error?

Businesses should check their accounts regularly to identify errors and fraudulent acts that could potentially harm their businesses. It comes after a new report produced by the Centre for Counter Fraud Studies at the University of Portsmouth unconvered an increase in . . .

Did you forget to file your return on time? Be prepared!

People who filed their tax returns late should be prepared for fines and to deal with them quickly before they become a bigger issue. The latest figures from H M Revenue & Customs [HMRC] showed that more than 890,000 failed to . . .

Check your tax codes for HMRC errors

Up to three million people that have more than one source of income potentially face backdated tax bills of £2,000 per year because of errors made by H M Revenue & Customs {HMRC]. Among those most likely to be affected are . . .

Look out for unofficial HMRC emails

Everyone should be aware of fraudulent emails and imitation H M Revenue & Customs (HMRC) websites as the 31 January deadline for self-assessment tax returns looms. The number of so called 'phishing' emails - correspondence designed to acquire sensitive information such . . .