Bank of England February 2016 Inflation Report Summary

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This report is courtesy of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce.

Bank of England February Report significant points:

  • There has been a softening of UK growth forecasts from 2.5% to 2.2%
  • Spare capacity in UK is 0.3% of GDP and unemployment is below 5%, which leaves little room for manoeuvre within the current downturn – this may lead to price pressure
  • A corporate cash balances are high (lessons learned from the recession) and because lending from the non-banking sector has grown, any issues within the financial sector are not expected to have a catastrophic effect on a globally resilient UK
  • Global growth outlooks are fuelling the 7% drop in equity; growth expectations amongst emerging economies have dropped significantly as a result of the drop in commodity prices (Less investment and bank lending tightening). Growth expectations in advanced economies has risen (where 75% of our exports go to)
  • Oversupply is the reason why the oil prices are dropping. Some commentators are expecting prices to drop to $10 a barrel
  • Productivity in the UK is rising but more business investment is required to consolidate

Click here to view the full Bank of England February 2016 Inflation Report.

We will continue to keep you updated with all of the latest financial and accounting news and hope that you have found our Bank of England February 2016 Inflation Report Summary useful.

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If you require any tax or general accounting advice, feel free to call us on 01902 837 408 or you can request a free of charge call-back from our website.


Will UK Consumers Reject Technology in 2016?

Will UK Consumers Reject Technology in 2016?

I recently read a report – 2016 predictions – that UK consumers will increasingly reject tech in favour of a more traditional in the year ahead, creating new opportunity for businesses.

For Britons, 2016 will increasingly be about balancing the technological with the human element. We’ll continue to enjoy technology that gives us greater control over entertainment, purchasing, consumption, our work and personal lives.

We’ll use technology to learn; to sidestep traditional rules and behaviours and to speed up our lives using all the wearables, smart technology and internet led services that will be available in the year ahead.

But 2016 will see a growing reaction against the omnipresence of technology. More and more of us will want to balance our tech use with romance, relaxation, creativity, tradition, sensuality, rawness and honesty.

More and more of us will lose our “fear of missing out” and actually gain some pleasure from missing out. We’ll find time to switch off gadgets and seek out older, quieter, less urban environments in which to enjoy some ‘me time’. Or even take some tech-free we time with our closest friends and family.

More employers will embrace relaxation, digital detoxing and mindfulness.

The year ahead will see the “Slow Living” movement gain momentum, as more young people embrace old fashioned, inefficient ways to do things.

Many will start enjoying the traditionalist lifestyles and “Olde England” attitudes of village life and good neighbours, feeling a call of duty and encouraging others rather than making fun of them.

Reacting against the logic and ‘perfection’ of technology, some Britons will start championing flaws, randomness and a sense of danger. As with the trends we’ve seen in 2015, will all of the above have implications for business community?

Well maybe, but I think this is a utopian and perhaps unrealistic dream – technology will continue to be a massive part of our lives and our businesses and it’s up to us to stay in control: use it and don’t let it use us. How do you see 2016?

Will UK Consumers Reject Technology in 2016?

Written by: Andy Coleyshaw, Partner at Omni Tax & Accountancy Solutions Ltd


Tax relief restricted for many contractors from April 2016

Are HMRC digital tax accounts a good or bad thing?

HMRC has confirmed that people working through umbrella companies will no longer be able to claim tax relief on travel expenses.

Only those who can pass a test of being genuinely self-employed will be allowed to set these costs against expenditure in their accounts.

From April 2016, tax relief will be stopped if an individual is employed by an intermediary but is under the “supervision, direction and control” of an end user.

In addition, tax relief will be stopped if services are provided through a personal service company (PCS) and the engagement is caught by the Intermediaries Legislation (IRS35).

Once the definition and further guidance has been issued on the term, “supervision, direction and control” has been published by the HMRC, businesses will need to review the way they use temporary labour and all or any existing documentation that may be in-situ between them and employment intermediaries.

Contractors will need to take appropriate advice and make their decisions about which supply model to use.

Could you be affected by these new changes? Will your business have to take a look at how you manage your temporary labourers? Omni Chartered Accountants are here to provide advice and guidance and welcome any queries that you may have on this topic.

Tax relief restricted for many contractors from April 2016

You can request a free of charge call-back from our website www.taxandaccountancysolutions.co.uk or call us today for a chat about your circumstances on 01902 837 408 – we will be happy to help!

 


Are HMRC digital tax accounts a good or bad thing?

Are HMRC digital tax accounts a good or bad thing?

Taxpayers will start to be able to manage their tax affairs online with the formal launch of personal tax accounts by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

By mid-December 2015, more than one million taxpayers completing their self-assessment will have been directed to their online personal tax account, HMRC has said.

These personal tax accounts, which will work in a similar way to online banking, promise to give people a “clear and joined-up view” of the tax they pay and enable them to update their tax details, supposedly removing the need to resubmit information.

Personal tax accounts

The launch of personal tax accounts is part of a drive towards a fully digital tax service. Two million businesses are already using their digital accounts and by April 2016, all of the UK’s five million small businesses will have access to their own digital account.

Every individual taxpayer will also have access to their own digital account by April 2016.

HMRC have said that by 2020 businesses and individual taxpayers will be able to register, file, pay and update their information at any time of the day, and at any point in the year, to suit them. For the vast majority, there will be no need to fill in an annual tax return. This will make it hugely important that you take the right advice from a professional or firm of Accountants.

At the moment, the information that HMRC receives from a range of sources is held on separate systems. This can mean taxpayers being asked to give information to the taxman that it already holds on another system.

The new digital tax accounts will join up the information HMRC holds in one place.

HMRC additional information and control

However some see it as not only being unable to cope but as an ulterior way of gleaning additional information and control.

One such quote from a tax blog;

“The real objective is to spy on your financial affairs 365 days a year and take what they think is the tax you owe directly from your bank account whenever they feel like it. After all these years, the present on-line system is a hopelessly unreliable mess.”

This may be an extreme view, but it is certain that the current systems and advice lines are struggling to cope with demand, wait times are increasing and historic legacy systems have not delivered as promised.

So, do you know what this means to you? Are you concerned, and if so by what?

Are HMRC digital tax accounts a good or bad thing?

Let us have your comments, views and concerns @OmnitasTax – we would love to hear your thoughts! Of course, if you require any tax or general accounting advice, feel free to call us on 01902 837 408 today!


2015 Autumn Statement from an SME perspective: Smoke and Mirrors?

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Mercurial Chancellor’s Autumn Statement treads fine line between smoke, mirrors and political sleight of hand.

 Chancellor George Osborne’s smiling face delivered a customary, skillful declaration of Government intent unveiling mouth-opening surprise in a ‘rabbits out of the hat’ delivery designed to trample over the critics of his financial and political aspirations.

 Determined to maintain his battle with Austerity the chancellor unveiled headline grabbing measures fuelled by a reduction of £8 billion in Government borrowing; robust growth forecasts for the next four years reducing Government debt as a share of GDP.

Opposition voices complained the ‘less generous’ Universal Credit benefit system introduced in stages between 2013 and 2017 but, as ever, the engine driving Treasury optimism is the performance of business, generating sufficient revenues to enable measures protecting front line budgets such as defence, policing, health and international aid.

 Yet small businesses continue to gnash their teeth about liquidity or rather the lack of it. Orders and production satisfactory, but getting paid?

 The old adage Cash is King never truer than today.

2015 Autumn Statement from an SME perspective: Smoke and Mirrors?


Timing bad debt relief

Timing bad debt relief, Accountancy advice, Accountant, accounting, accounting directive, accounts, affordable accounting, Blog, bookkeeping business, Businesses, business owners, chartered accountant, chartered accountants, companies house, company law, EU accounting, financial reporting, general election, HMRC, HMRC online system, HM Revenue & Customs, Income Tax, limited company structure, majority shareholder, minority shareholder, Omni, Omni Chartered Accountants, partnerships, PAYE, self-employed, self assessment, self employment, shareholder, agreement shareholder, rights small business, small business accountant, small business owners, small company accounts, SME, SMEs, tax, tax advice, tax affairs, tax return, VAT, Omni Chartered Accountants, Chartered Accountant Wolverhampton, Tax Advice Wolverhampton, Payroll Services Wolverhampton, CIS Accountant Wolverhampton, Accountant Wolverhampton Whatever accounting method your company uses, its profits have to be calculated on a “true and fair” basis.

That means including the value of invoices issued even where they won’t be paid until the following accounting period – or perhaps not at all. Accounting rules get around this apparent unfairness by allowing a deduction for the value of invoices you think won’t be paid i.e. Bad debts.

Bad debt relief

HMRC allows you to make a deduction from taxable profits for bad debts. However, it takes a tougher approach to it than accounting rules on what is classed as bad debt.

It isn’t just a case of estimating the value of debts you don’t expect to be paid, even if it’s a virtual certainty based on what’s happened historically; you have to carry out a review of each and every specific debt.

Chasing your debts

HMRC will expect you to have made a reasonable and proportioned effort to recover money you are owed.

This will be relevant to the amount of debt of course, e.g. if you are claiming a tax deduction for a £15,000. HMRC expects you to have been very thorough in your attempts to recover it, by using debt collection services for example, or taking court action.

Timing bad debt relief

You should claim relief for the accounting period in which you decide the debt has become irrecoverable.

If you suspect a debt may ‘go bad’, try to establish this in the same accounting period. This ensures that you won’t be taxed on unpaid bills. It is essential that you review your debts regularly – not just when the end of an accounting period is looming!

Post-accounting period

If the status of a debt you thought was bad at the end of your financial year changes, and before you sign your company’s accounts it is paid, HMRC will not accept a claim for bad debt relief.

This works both ways and if a good debt turns bad you can claim relief. Given this, it is well worth reviewing the debts during this period before signing and filing your accounts.

Seeking help

If you would like to talk about your bad debt situation, we would be delighted to hear from you – we are happy to provide expert advice that is totally free of charge. Simply request a call-back from our website, call on 01902 837 408 or click here to contact Omni Chartered Accounts.


When should we put a share agreement in place?

When should we put a share agreement in place?

Usually, it is best to put a shareholders’ agreement in place when you form the company and issue the first shares. In fact, it can be a positive exercise to ensure there is common understanding of shareholders’ expectations of the business.

At that point, the shareholders should, as far as is possible, be of a similar mind about what they expect to offer and get from the company. Indeed if the differences of opinion between you at this stage are too strong to form a shareholders’ agreement, it is likely to ring warning bells about the nature of your future working relationship.

When should we put a share agreement in place?

You may choose to defer discussing a shareholders’ agreement in order to get on with the important task of establishing the business. While you may have every intention of return to it at a later date when there is more time, the appropriate opportunity may not arise and something else always takes priority.

Even if you do pick it up later, by then the shareholders’ expectations and feelings towards the business may have diverged, making it more difficult for them to agree to the terms that should be included in the shareholders’ agreement.

What should I ask to be included in a shareholders’ agreement?

This, as described above, will depend on your level of shareholding and the number of your fellow shareholders.  The key provisions, however, that you should consider including in a shareholders’ agreement are those relating to:

  • Issuing and transferring shares – including provisions to prevent unwanted third parties acquiring shares and how a shareholder can sell shares.
  • Providing some protection to holders of less than 50% of the shares – including requiring certain decisions to be agreed by all shareholders.
  • Running the company – including appointing, removing and paying directors, deciding on the company’s business, making large capital outlays, providing management information to shareholders, banking arrangements and financing the company.
  • Paying dividends
  • Competition restrictions
  • Dispute resolution procedures

We will look at these and other things you might want to include in a shareholders’ agreement in a forthcoming article.

It is possible that the contents of the shareholders’ agreement may overlap with other company documents, particularly the articles of association. The articles will, for example, contain provisions relating to decision making and transfers of shares and in another article we explored what investors should look for in a company’s articles of association.

Consider seeking legal advice if you are not sure which provisions to include in which documents, but overall do ensure that the shareholders’ agreement and articles of association are consistent with one another.

To find out more, feel free to request a free of charge call back from our website or click here and we will contact you by return.


What is a shareholders’ agreement?

What is a shareholders’ agreement? limited company structure, majority shareholder, minority shareholder, partnerships, shareholder agreement, shareholder rights, small business, SME, dividendA shareholders’ agreement is, as you might expect, an agreement between the shareholders of a company.
It can be between all or, in some cases, only some of the shareholders (like, for instance, the holders of a particular class of share).

Its purpose is to protect the shareholders’ investment in the company, to establish a fair relationship between the shareholders and govern how the company is run.

A shareholders’ agreement will:

  • Set out the shareholders’ rights and obligations
  • Regulate the sale of shares in the company
  • Describe how the company is going to be run
  • Provide an element of protection for minority shareholders and the company
  • Define how important decisions are to be made

The shareholders’ agreement will contain specific, important and practical rules relating to the company and the relationship between the shareholders.

How will a shareholders’ agreement help me if I am a minority shareholder?

Without a shareholders’ agreement, a minority shareholder (one owning less than 50% of the shares) will on their own have little control or say in the running of the company. Indeed, the control will often rest with one or two shareholders.

Companies are generally run by majority decision and even if the articles of association include provisions that protect the minority, these can be changed via special resolution by holders of 75% of the shares.  There are laws that provide limited protection to minority shareholders but these can be costly to enforce and may not achieve the required redress.

Protecting your rights as a minority shareholder

Being a minority shareholder and having a shareholders’ agreement that includes the requirement for all shareholders to approve certain decisions ensures that you have a say in the important decisions that impact the company.

This could be decisions on the issue of new shares, appointment or removal of directors, taking on new borrowings or changing the main trade.  However, if the shareholders’ agreement requires all decision to be unanimous this could cause problems and ultimately prevent your company carrying out its business.

As a minority shareholder, you may want a provision included that if someone is willing to buy the shares of a majority shareholder, that shareholder can only sell the shares if the same offer is made to all shareholders including you as a minority shareholder. This is often referred to as a “tag along” provision. This should then ensure that you receive the same return on your investment as the other shareholders.

How will a shareholders’ agreement help a majority shareholder?

If, as the majority shareholder, you want to sell your shares but a minority shareholder is unwilling to agree then including a provision forcing that shareholder to sell their shares is important.

This is often referred to as a “drag along” provision.  This will then allow you to realise your investment at a time and price that you feel is appropriate.  Obviously the price and other payments for the sale will need to be fair for all shareholders, including the minority shareholders.

In addition you would want to prevent minority shareholders passing on confidential company information to competitors or setting up rival businesses, each of which can be included as a provision within a shareholders’ agreement.

Another concern is where one of your fellow shareholders could transfer their shares to anyone.  This could cause problems for you and the other shareholders, especially if the sale is to a competitor or someone else you do not want involved with the company.

Conversely, however, to force an unhappy shareholder to stay may cause more problems than having a new unknown shareholder who is interested in the company being successful.  You and your fellow shareholders need to get on with each other for the business to thrive.  To overcome these problems, shareholders’ agreements will often include rules around share sales and transfers – who shares can be transferred to, on what terms and at what price.

In our blog tomorrow, we will discuss when the best time is to put a share agreement in place. In the meantime, if you have any queries or would like to discuss your situation in more detail, request a free of charge call back from our website or click here and we will contact you by return.


Do you need a shareholder agreement?

Do you need a shareholder agreement?

When setting up a company with family or friends it is easy to assume that nothing can go wrong in the future.

You might assume that – as you trust one another – you do not need to put in place something like a shareholders’ agreement. In fact, you might think that asking for a shareholders’ agreement will make it sound like you don’t trust or respect your new business partners.

Hopefully, nothing will go wrong in the future – after all, nobody sets out expecting it to! However, even family members and best friends fall out and, unforeseen circumstances can occur.

If the worst should happen, you could then end up with nothing. Or you might face the breakdown of a friendship alongside a costly and acrimonious legal dispute related to the business.

Why do you need a shareholders’ agreement?

Although the company’s articles of association will help to some extent, a fully considered and well drafted shareholders’ agreement can act as a safeguard and give you and your fellow shareholders more protection against these types of scenario.

Although some people with a shareholders’ agreement will never need to rely on its terms, there will be many more cases where shareholders wish they had taken the time to put a proper agreement in place.

If you are going into business with others and are looking for confidence about your future relationships with them, you should carefully consider putting a shareholders’ agreement in place to protect both the business enterprise and your own investment in the company.

Our next blog will explain what a shareholder agreement is – in the meantime, if you have any queries or would like to discuss your situation in more detail, request a free of charge call back from our website or click here and we will contact you by return.