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.


Taking early action on debt for SMEs

Small business owners that are struggling to make ends meet should seek early advice from the Business Debtline while they still have a chance to turn things around.

Taking early action on debt for SMEs

The Business Debtline is a free, Government-backed service run by the Money Advice Trust, which offers one-to-one advice sessions for those struggling to cope, helping them produce an action plan that could prevent insolvency.

If your company is struggling with cash-flow due to debts, it makes sense talk to them first before you go down the slope that could lead to bankruptcy. If you have debts and/or owe HMRC monies then give them a call – you can visit their site at www.moneyadvicetrust.org

Taking early action on debt for SMEs!

Omni Chartered Accountants also offer free impartial advice to UK SMEs and our competitive pricing plans are designed to help your business stay right on track.

For an initial chat, call us today on 01902 837 408 or click here and we will come straight back to you!


What is the real reason behind the UK’s falling unemployment figures?

What is the real reason behind the UKs falling unemployment figuresIs the UK’s steadily falling unemployment rate being driven primarily by a rise in self-employment, rather than a recovery of permanent jobs?

Depending on who you speak to, employment figures are either great news or a disaster.

With imminent election, the Government is happily repeating the falling unemployment figures to anyone who will listen, but bodies such as the Trade Union Congress have issued alarming reports that Britain’s now-4.7 million-strong self-employed workforce lack job security and employee rights, earn well below the average wage, and have started their own business due to a lack of better options.

Often with political issues such as this, the real answer lies somewhere in the middle. However in this case it looks as though both parties could be telling the truth, but talking about different things.

The numbers problem

Self-employment numbers as reported by the Office for National Statistics aren’t concrete figures – they’re the result of sample surveys.

So the ONS numbers aren’t recording the exact number of sole traders, umbrella contractors, limited company directors or any single specific legal entity – they’re recording the number of people that identify as self-employed.

UK self-employed

We know from available research that sole traders are more likely to identify as self-employed, while limited company directors are more likely to see themselves as “business owners” or “company directors” – even if they’re running a company of one. So it’s relatively safe to assume those classed as “self-employed” by the ONS are sole traders.

But what about the limited company freelancers and contractors? It would appear they’ve been largely excluded from the debate up until now.

Attempting to compare sole traders and one person limited companies is where we encounter the biggest problem in the self-employment debate. The data we need to get the whole picture is split between the ONS Labour Force Statistics, HMRC’s Self Assessment receipts and Companies House data.

What are people actually earning in the UK?

According to HMRC’s Personal Income Statistics, the average income for a self-employed person in the UK is around £13,500 per year – which would seem to back up the TUC’s “low paid jobs” line. However this group’s average earnings is weighed down by a huge number of people who earn very little (a few thousand pounds per year) through their self-employment. This group – over a million of them – are the moonlighting freelancers, doing work here and there to supplement their income.

As to what the average full-time sole trader earns, it’s very difficult to tell. Tax Research estimates around £19,000.

But again, what of the limited company brigade? We know that 43.5% of limited companies in the UK are freelancers and contractors. Based on that ratio about 230,260 one-person limited companies were formed in 2013/14 (about 35,000 more than the previous year). In the same period roughly 326,000 people became sole traders.

We know that one-person limited companies earn on average £58,200 per year. Compare that to the Tax Research figure of £19,000 for sole traders and it seems we’re looking at a two-speed self-employment boom.

High earners quitting day jobs

On one hand, high earners are quitting their jobs, incorporating, and earning more than twice the national average wage. These are the entrepreneurial go-getters that Osborne and Cameron love to lionise.

On the other hand, those taking their first steps into self-employment are sole trading, earning a somewhat lesser wage (below the national average in many cases) and missing out on employee rights and job security. This is the group the TUC and others are concerned about.

To attribute the entire self-employment boom to either group is patently inaccurate – however this kind of nuance tends to get lost in political debate.

Do sole traders earn less than limited company directors?

Based on the available data we can conclude that sole traders earn significantly less than Limited Company Directors – and the former group is growing faster. This trend could change over time though, as those who have been freelancing longer tend to earn significantly more.

The TUC’s claim that the UK’s burgeoning ranks of self-employed workers are going it alone out of necessity doesn’t appear to wash, though.

A survey by RSA found only 15% chose self-employment due to a lack of better options (over 50% chose it “to have more freedom”), Global Entrepreneurship Monitor found the number freelancing out of choice was five times higher than those forced into it, and the Resolution Foundation reported that almost three quarters (72%) of newly self-employed professionals prefer it to salaried work.

It may be a while yet before the UK’s exploding self-employed population is fully understood – not least due to the problems understanding how they work and what they earn. It seems clear from the available data that the vast majority enjoy their job but, just like full-time employees, will have to wait for their wages to recover to pre-recession levels.

How to maximise your earnings

Of course, everyone’s work situation is different and advice will differ from client to client – we are here to help provide guidance whatever your circumstance may be.

Contact Omni Chartered Accountants today for more information.


Self assessment tax return help

The self-Paper crumpleassessment tax return is an unavoidable burden if you are liable for self-employed tax or have more complicated income tax affairs. Both self-employed business owners and company directors must complete self-assessment tax returns.

The right approach to your self-assessment tax return will minimise aggravation and can reduce the amount of income tax that you end up paying.

Our guidance will help you understand the key issues that need to be dealt with. For help with the specifics, talk to an accountant: professional expertise should save you time and money.

Registering for self-assessment

Who needs to complete a self-assessment tax return?

  • Recently self-employed
  • Have become a partner in a partnership
  • Are a company director
  • Have untaxed income (perhaps from rental property or complicated income tax affairs)
  • Have an income of £100,000 or more
  • Need to pay capital gains tax or have expenses to claim

There are a number of circumstances under which you may be required to complete a self-assessment tax return.

You can find out if you need to complete a self-assessment tax return on the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website, or by giving Omni a quick call on 01902 837408.

Before you can complete your first self-assessment income tax return, you will need to register with an accountant or with HMRC. You should register as soon as your circumstances change but certainly no later than 5 October after the end of the tax year for which you need to submit a form.

Self assessment tax return help