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Active Practice National Insurance Planning

1 September 2016

Active Practice National Insurance Planning

An overview of the types of national insurance and advice on how to make sure you don’t pay too much. Since its introduction in 1911, national insurance (NI) has changed from a form of protection against ill-health and unemployment to include a wider range of benefits. Today it helps people build entitlement to the state pension and other state benefits including the maternity allowance and incapacity benefit.

Active Practice Personal Financial Planning

1 September 2016

Active Practice Personal Financial Planning

Achieving your financial goals is made harder when you don’t have a plan laid out on paper. Without a timescale, a sense of priority and an idea of how you will use your money in the future, how can you be sure that you’ll achieve what you want to in your lifetime?

Insider September 2016

1 September 2016

Insider September 2016

Apprenticeship funding proposals announced Employers with 50 employees or fewer will have up to 100% of their apprenticeship training costs funded by the government. The government has announced more details about its apprenticeship programme and the funding that will be available to businesses that take on apprentices. The proposals relate to the reform of apprentice funding in May 2017. An apprenticeship levy of 0.5% of a company’s annual tax bill will be payable by companies with a pay bill of £3 million or more. Those employers too small to pay the levy (around 98% of employers in England) will have 90% of their training costs paid for by the proceeds. Extra support worth £2,000 per apprentice will also be available for those that take on apprentices that are 16-18 years old or young care leavers. Small employers will have 100% of their costs funded for taking on these apprentices. The final details will be confirmed in the autumn.

Active Practice Gifts and Inheritance Tax

1 August 2016

Active Practice Gifts and Inheritance Tax

Gifts and inheritance tax How gifts can reduce your liability for inheritance tax. Inheritance tax (IHT) at 40% is due on the portion of a person’s estate that exceeds £325,000. This can be reduced to 36% if 10% (or more) of the estate is given to charity. Married couples and civil partners can transfer any unused allowance to their spouse, meaning the nil-rate band can potentially double to £650,000. Although leaving an inheritance has traditionally been a key part of estate planning, attitudes are changing.

Active Practice Audits and Accounts

1 August 2016

Active Practice Audits and Accounts

Audits and accounts A guide to keeping accounts and how an audit can benefit your business. An audit is an official inspection of a company or organisation’s accounts by an independent body. A company can choose to be audited in order to prove to its investors or shareholders that its accounts are sound. An external audit should also determine whether all financial reporting is in accordance with current accounting standards and legislation. If a company ensures that its accounts, reporting and record keeping are in accordance with legal requirements, an audit should not be too taxing a process.

Insider August 2016

1 August 2016

Insider August 2016

New system to challenge business rates outlined A system to allow businesses to check and appeal business rates bills has been announced. The aim is to ensure that disputes are settled more promptly. Currently, over 955,000 appeals have been submitted against rating valuations but less than 2% of business rates appeals proceed to a tribunal hearing. The new process is part of the government’s target of self-sufficiency for councils and the retention of 100% of local taxes by 2020. Announcing the plan on 6 July 2016 the then secretary of state for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, said: “The vast majority of disputes will now be settled long before lengthy litigation and will mean businesses and councils can get on with planning budgets, confident they are getting a fair deal.”

Active Practice Extracting profits from your business

1 July 2016

Active Practice Extracting profits from your business

A guide to tax-efficient profit extraction for business owners. Owning and running your business is a tough proposition but it is vitally important that people continue to do it. As well as the rewards that come from hard work and determination, there are also monetary benefits to running your own business. There are a variety of ways in which profits can be taken out of a business, each with their own tax implications. And, of course, tax rules have a habit of changing over time so strategies that worked in the past may not be best suited to the present.

Active Practice Lifetime ISAs

1 July 2016

Active Practice Lifetime ISAs

A guide to the Lifetime ISA. Announced by Chancellor George Osborne in Budget 2016 and launching on 6 April 2017, the Lifetime ISA is designed to provide a tax-efficient option for people saving for a first home or retirement. Buying a first home and saving for retirement represent 2 of the most important aspects of a person’s financial life, but the latter can often fall by the wayside in the face of other challenges. The logic of the Lifetime ISA is that a person will continue to save for their twilight years once they have purchased their first property if they are given the same incentives. The government has revealed a 'high level design' of the Lifetime ISA but the final details will be set out later in the year. So what are the details of the new measures?

Insider July 2016

1 July 2016

Insider July 2016

Businesses will require software for digital tax accounts Businesses will need to submit their tax and financial information quarterly using software that's compatible with HMRC's systems. In a letter to financial secretary to the Treasury David Gauke, Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said that submitting records in a "prescribed digital format" would bring a financial burden to small firms that currently don’t have accounting software or use computers.

Active Practice Capital gains tax planning

1 June 2016

Active Practice Capital gains tax planning

A guide to capital gains tax and allowances for 2016/17. Selling something you own for more than you originally bought it for is the basis of doing ‘good business’ in terms of both personal and business finance. Depending on the profit that an individual or organisation makes on the sale of their asset, they may become liable to pay capital gains tax (CGT). There have been a number of changes introduced to CGT and its allowances and reliefs for the 2016/16 tax year. Individuals and businesses who may be planning on selling assets in the near future should be aware of what their CGT liability is likely to be.

Active Practice Auto-enrolment for businesses

1 June 2016

Active Practice Auto-enrolment for businesses

A guide to staying compliant with auto-enrolment. Auto-enrolling employees into a workplace pension scheme is a legal requirement for all businesses, from those employing hundreds to those with 1 or 2 people on the payroll. Over 6 million workers have been enrolled since 2012, with a further 1.8 million due over the next 2 years as the process turns to smaller employers. The Pensions Regulator has warned that while the majority of companies are complying with the process, a rise in non-compliance is expected from smaller employers who have not prepared properly. So far 2016 has matched these expectations with 806 fixed penalty notices (bringing the total since 2012 to 2,234) and 96 escalating penalty notices (making the total 127) being issued in the first quarter. Non-compliance with auto-enrolment can lead to daily fines of up to £10,000 for businesses with 500 or more employees. So it is important that all businesses know exactly what is required of them.

Insider June 2016

1 June 2016

Insider June 2016

Keeping people with significant control registers It is now a legal requirement for companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) to keep a people with significant control (PSC) register from 6 April 2016. A PSC register lists individuals with ‘significant control’ over a company. All information on the PSC register must be delivered to Companies House at least once a year from 30 June 2016. This can be done as a confirmation statement, which replaces the annual return from June 2016. There are no set dates to submit the statement, but no more than 12 months can be passed from the original statement when submitted.

Running a Company Car Scheme

1 May 2016

Running a Company Car Scheme

A guide to setting up a company car scheme and the tax implications of doing so. A company car is something that can benefit both employers and employees, provided you plan accordingly. Important questions to ask yourself are: • what kind of car should you choose? • how are you going to fund it? • how many employees will use it? • what is the estimated annual mileage? These are all things you must take into consideration before making a final decision. The following guide provides the essential information you need to know when planning a company car scheme and the effect it will have on your tax bill.

Estate Planning

1 May 2016

Estate Planning

A guide to making sure that your estate goes to the right people when you die. Effective estate planning ensures that your property and/or possessions go to the people you choose when you die. It can also be financially beneficial to the recipients of your estate as it can reduce the amount of tax paid to HMRC on your estate. An individual’s estate is defined as the things that belong to them or that they own a share in. This can include property, investments, pension payments, insurance, cars, jewellery and furniture. If you own any assets or property jointly then your share of the asset will be included in your estate. If you have given any of your property away or you have benefitted from a gift during the previous 7 years, these assets will also be considered as a part of your estate.

Insider May 2016

1 May 2016

Insider May 2016

Charities unaware of reporting obligations Many charities are unaware of their reporting obligations with 1 in 5 having submitted the wrong documents, according to research by the Charity Commission. 1 in 6 did not send any form of report and others only sent their annual reports and accounts after reminders and explanations from the commission.

Insider April 2016

1 April 2016

Insider April 2016

Lack of management skills limit business growth A lack of leadership and management skills may be inhibiting the growth of businesses. Just under half of new start-ups in the UK last less than 3 years. The UK also has a growing productivity gap, currently 18% below the G7 average. A report by the Federation of Small Businesses looked at the level of management training that businesses are currently exposed to.

Active Practice Succession planning for a family business

1 April 2016

Active Practice Succession planning for a family business

A guide to transferring a business to a family member. There are more than 3 million family businesses in the UK, which between them employ more than 9 million people and contribute 15% to GDP. Despite these successes, family businesses often experience difficulties when it comes to passing their businesses to younger generations. Research has found that only a third of family businesses are successfully transferred to the second generation of a family. While the reasons behind this are unclear, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has identified that only a third of family businesses have a formal succession plan in place. It seems that failing to plan adequately could be stopping family business from successfully passing their business from one generation to the next.

Active Practice Personal Tax Planning

1 April 2016

Active Practice Personal Tax Planning

A guide to reducing an individual’s tax liability. The overriding aim of all personal tax planning is to legally reduce the amount of tax paid on an individual’s income. This income can come from a number of sources and the tax reduction strategies available will be based on the reliefs and allowances applicable to each source.

Budget Report March 2016

17 March 2016

Budget Report March 2016

Budget Report for March 2016

Active Practice Residence and Domicile

1 March 2016

Active Practice Residence and Domicile

A guide to understanding the terms residence and domicile as well as their legal and tax implications. A large part of a person’s legal identity is based upon where they live at any one time and how long they will be staying there. If you stay in the UK for a prolonged period of time, you are going to be liable for tax at some point. The exact point and how much tax you will have to pay will depend in large part on whether residence or domicile applies to you.

Active Practice Salary or Dividend?

1 March 2016

Active Practice Salary or Dividend?

What’s the most tax-efficient way to pay yourself in 2016/17? Owner-managers and contractors often pay themselves in a combination of salaries, bonuses and dividends. A common strategy is to draw a salary of around £8,000 while also extracting profits from the business as a dividend. A salary of £8,060 (for the 2015/16 tax year) preserves entitlement to the state pension and some benefits. It is also within the personal allowance and below the threshold for employer and employee national insurance contributions (NICs). Some people opt for a higher salary to make better use of the personal allowance and, in doing so, help lower company profits which are liable for corporation tax. This option means that the individual will have to pay NICs on any salary exceeding £8,060 and the business will have to pay employer NICs.

Insider March 2016

1 March 2016

Insider March 2016

Pension freedom barriers to be removed The government has introduced a range of measures aimed at removing barriers that may be stopping people from being able to access their pensions. In January, the Chancellor announced that he would be giving the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) the duty to cap excessive early exit charges. FCA data shows that around 16% of customers in contract-based schemes who are able to access their pension could face an early exit charge.

Tax Card 2016/17

1 March 2016

Tax Card 2016/17

TAXABLE INCOME BANDS AND TAX RATES

Year End Tax Guide 2015/16

1 February 2016

Year End Tax Guide 2015/16

With 5 April fast approaching we consider some of the ways you might act now to reduce your current year’s tax liability. Contact us now to discuss your specific situation and the planning opportunities you could consider before the end of the tax year. This year end guide relates to planning opportunities that are relevant to the end of the current tax year.

Active Practice Choosing a Business Structure

1 January 2016

Active Practice Choosing a Business Structure

Choosing a business structure An introduction to the most common types of businesses: sole traders, limited companies and partnerships. After the start of a brand new year, changing something about the way you do business can make you feel like you’ve turned a new page. This could be anything from launching a new product or service, redesigning your company logo to ordering new office stationery. Switching your business’s structure is one such way of changing the way you do business.

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