Have HMRC really waived £100 fine for late self-assessment filing?

Have HMRC really waived the £100 fine for late self-assessment filing?

Have HMRC really waived £100 fine for late self-assessment filing?

If you keep up to date with accountancy news, you may be aware of the rumours that HMRC have been waiving the £100 late self-assessment fine that is usually imposed by HM Revenue & Customs, if the filer has a “reasonable excuse”.

HMRC staff were asked to waive the £100 fine if people with mitigating circumstances appealed after paying up – this was all reported in an internal memo allegedly leaked to the Daily Telegraph.

It is estimated that up to 890,000 people could have potentially benefitted from the amnesty for missing the 31 January deadline as HMRC deals with a backlog of nearly a million letters from British taxpayers.

HMRC said it was trying to focus its resources on tackling major tax avoidance instead of “penalising people for trying to do the right thing”.

However, previously, people who appealed the fine faced a two- or maybe even three-week investigation of their tax affairs before a decision was reached.

Leaked HMRC memo

The HMRC memo questioned the “lengthy” process, especially given that the “overwhelming majority of appeals” were actually accepted.

The alleged leaked document stated;

“Our penalty regime is intended to influence customer behaviour, but also be clear and cost effective, fair and proportionate.

“The current way of managing penalties does not meet these objectives, and so we have decided to take a more proportionate approach where a customer has filed their return late, and then appealed against their penalty.

“This means that in the vast majority of cases we will be accepting the customer’s grounds for appeal, and we can cancel the penalty.”

So, have HMRC really waived £100 fine for late self-assessment filing?

It may be a hunch, but perhaps the recent act of goodwill could be something to do with a backlog of paperwork and the need for a less complicated appeals system?

In any event, don’t risk filing your self-assessment late – a spokesman for HMRC did add that despite the policy, nobody will be getting off the hook unless they’ve now sent in their return and “have a good reason for sending it in late”.

Don’t take a chance – particularly when affordable help is at hand from Omni Chartered Accountants. Click here to contact us now, request a free of charge call-back from our website http://www.taxandaccountancysolutions.co.uk  or take our Accountancy Savings Challenge today!


Is self-discipline a common trait of successful business people?

Is self-discipline a common trait of successful business people

Is self-discipline a common trait of successful business people?

Success just happens, right?

We all want to get somewhere in life and in business. We have aspirations, goals and dreams. But why is it that only some people are able to get there?

Is it because of luck, circumstance, or talent?

Depending on the person it could be a combination of these elements.  The one common theme that does come up when conversing with successful people is discipline. Whether it’s a business person growing an organisation or a self-employed sole trader building a small business, discipline is the one element they all have in common.

Discipline is a fundamental element in obtaining goals, dreams and desires.

Discipline is what keeps us going when times are tough and not going our way. It makes the bad times easier to get through. We must constantly practice, repeat, and believe in our purpose.

Given this knowledge, why do so many individuals leave self-assessment until the last minute?

Don’t leave your self-assessment until the last minute

The end of January may seem like a long way off right now but it will come round quicker than you think. Our advice would be to get your return done as early as possible.

How to avoid HMRC fines

The earlier you start to do it, the more time you have to check that you have everything to complete it, as you may find for instance that you do not have all the interest statements you need. HMRC won’t hesitate in fining you if there are mistakes in your tax return. The last thing anyone needs is a wholly avoidable fine from the tax man.

For many people, filing an online self-assessment return is a straightforward process. However, if you are unsure about the information you are submitting, don’t be one of the almost one million people caught out each year.

Omni Chartered Accountants can help you for as little as £95.00 – call 01902 837 408 and take the Omni Challenge today to see how much we could save you by managing your accounting affairs!

UHY Hacker Young report finds UK economy over-taxed

UHY Hacker Young report finds UK economy over-taxed

UHY Hacker Young report finds UK economy over-taxed

According to research by UHY Hacker Young, Top 50 firm, the UK economy is paying way over the global tax average. Britain has a tax burden of 18% above everyone else around the world.

So yes, it is fair to say that we are somewhat over-taxed as a nation.

The high effective rate of 32.9% GDP could well be meaning that our growth could be in jeopardy; the global average is 27.8% of GDP. The US is at 25.4% GDP and Ireland is at 28.3% – even Japan come in at 29.5%.

In saying this, many of our European counterparts also have high tax burdens, with most coughing up around 40% in tax.

The report by UHY Hacker Young warned that such high tax can put off investors, which has knock on effects when it comes to large corporations choosing to locate their bases outside the UK where the tax burden is lower.

UHY Hacker Young tax partner, Roy Maugham, said;

“While our tax burden compares favourably with some of our Western European neighbours, increasingly, that is not where the most intense competition is coming from. It needs to be a clear ambition to make our economy globally competitive by keeping a close eye on the overall tax take – perhaps even setting a specific target.

“That will need to be balanced by greater efforts to ensure that spending on the public sector delivers the best results for its customers.

“How much tax is too much ought to be discussed much more openly during the election campaign.”

What do you think of the latest report? Are we running the risk of falling behind with the rest of the world due to our high taxes? Let us know your thoughts @OmnitasTax and join in the conversation on Facebook – with the General Election only weeks away, the debate is certainly sure to be a lively one!

To Dom or non-Dom? That is the question

To Dom or non-Dom? That is the question

To Dom or non-Dom? That is the question

Labour has announced that it will remove the existing tax benefits in April 2016 if it gets into power. This follows the recent Budget announcement where a £90,000 charge was introduced for non doms (a person who lives in a country but is not legally domiciled in it, in other words) who have lived in the UK for 17 out of the last 20 years.

Whichever party forms the next government, it appears that non doms are clearly in the sights of the major political parties and the long standing tax benefits future looks bleak. Most non doms should now consider the likelihood of the tax benefits they receive continuing in the long term as remote.

To dom or not to dom? That is the question

It is estimated that its abolition would affect 116,000 people but there are no certain sources as to how much tax would be generated. What is certain, however, is that it would make the UK less attractive to those who have the resources to choose where they live and work.

Obvious casualties would be the high end London property market and businesses like hedge funds that can easily relocate to more tax friendly jurisdictions.

Like many tax strategies, the long term effects may take years to materialise; new businesses may simply not chose to come to the UK.

Weighted against this is the prevailing view that everyone should pay their fair share of tax. Historically, non dom status is an aberration in the tax system and its original reason for existing has long disappeared.

So what are your thoughts about it all? Do let us know and join in the conversation @OmnitasTax and Facebook – we are also here to help with any tax advice that you may need so please do feel free to call us on 01902 837 408 or click here.

ICAEW report shows gender pay gap in accountancy practices widens

ICAEW report shows gender pay gap in accountancy practices widensAccording to the latest survey from ICAEW, the gender pay gap for accountants working in the business sector has widened. Women over the age of 45 have experienced the biggest drop in salaries from 2014, according to the institute and Stott & May.

Male chartered accountants earn an average salary of £100,900 whereas females earn an average of £63,900 – this gap has widened since 2014 by 5.4%.

Women over 45 experienced an average salary drop of £6,500 compared to the previous year; this is despite men of the same age category enjoying an increase of £4,200.

The pay gap is at its smallest for among chartered accountants under the age of 30.

ICAEW report shows gender pay gap in accountancy practices widens

Sharron Gunn, ICAEW commercial executive director, said;

“We need to face the hard truth that there has been desperately slow progress to correct the gender pay gap, given the Equal Pay Act was introduced 45 years ago. While it’s a national trend across all professions, we have a gender pay gap problem in accountancy too.

“With men more likely to hold more senior posts and chartered accountancy being a route into leading businesses, we must look again at how businesses are developing their pipeline of female leaders.”

What do you think about the gender difference in earnings – is it fair and actually, is it at all modern? Is this latest report down to the age of the individuals who have experienced the wider gap and the positions that they hold now? Will the younger generation change the outcome for the future when it comes to equal earning potential for men and women?

We would love to hear from you @OmnitasTax or why not join in the conversation on Facebook!

Keeping ahead of the new UK tax changes


A cut in corporation tax to 20%, a new diverted profits tax against corporate tax avoidance and an increase in the bank levy were amongst the tax changes introduced by the UK government on 1st April 2015.

Other UK tax changes include:

  • New reporting requirements came into force on 6 April 2015 for employment intermediaries and agencies that engage and supply workers. They will now have to submit quarterly reports providing details of all workers they place with clients where they do not operate PAYE.
  • Air Passenger Duty has been restructured, abolishing bands C and D
  • Hospice charities, blood bikes, search and rescue and air ambulance charities will be eligible for VAT refunds
  • Business rates changes (England only): the business rates multiplier has increased from 48.2p to 49.3p (47.1p to 48.0p for small business multiplier). This includes the 2% inflation cap.
  • The Small Business Rate Relief scheme has doubled for a further year, providing 100% relief for businesses with a single property with a rateable value of less than £6,000, and tapered relief with a rateable value of £6,000 – £12,000
  • The business rates discount for shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants with a rateable value of £50,000 or below has increased from £1,000 to £1,500
  • The cultural test for ‘high-end’ TV tax relief has been modernised and the minimum UK expenditure requirement for all TV tax reliefs has reduced from 25% to 10%

Keeping ahead of the new UK tax changes from April 1st 2015

If you have any questions regarding the above and how they affect you and your business, why not request a free of change call back from our website?

Follow us on Twitter @OmnitaxTax and Facebook for all of the SME business tax and accountancy latest news.

What abolishing the tax return means for your business

What abolishing the  tax return means for your businessIt is nothing new for taxpayers or their agents who already use HMRC’s services to manage their tax affairs online. In fact, over 85 per cent of Self Assessment tax returns are already completed this way.

Digital tax returns to replace  tax returns announced in 2015 Budget

The Government has announced their plans to update the tax system, by replacing traditional tax returns with digital tax accounts for millions of UK individuals and businesses.

From early 2016, around five million SMEs and ten million individuals will have access to their own digital tax account and by the end of the next Parliament, every individual and SME in the country will have one. But what does this mean to you and your business?

At the moment, there is still some uncertainty as to the finer details and many sole traders and small businesses are concerned about the changes and how it will affect them.

Later this year, the government intends to publish its roadmap and further consult on the changes; some of these changes will require investment in new systems and changes to legislation.

What abolishing the  tax return means for your business

Digital tax accounts taxpayer easy guide 2015

  • Businesses and individuals will be able to view and manage their tax information online
  • Taxpayers will be able to see how their tax is calculated
  • There will be options for paying securely online
  • Taxpayers will be able to check how much tax they owe or need to be repaid online
  • Businesses with more than one tax affair – like corporation tax, VAT and Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) – will be able to view their total liabilities across the board
  • HMRC will already hold information on file along with third party data
  • Those who pay tax through PAYE will have their National Insurance contributions, income tax, and pension position shown in their digital tax accounts, including any interest from banks and building societies

Although it is not exactly clear yet as to the timing or the implications, we will keep you informed with all of the latest news and developments. Losing the paper does not mean that you will no longer need an accountant – looking ahead and adapting your business to deal with any changes will be the key to making the transition smoothly. HMRC will be in receipt of real time data and information, it is going to be vital to ensure that all information entered is clear, correct and validated prior to updating your digital account.

In the meantime, if you would like to contact us please click here, or request a free of charge call back from our website. We are also available for online chat via @OmnitasTax or you can join in the conversation on Facebook.

What accountancy software is the best one for my business?

What accountancy software is the best one for my business?

We are often asked “what accountancy software is the best one for my business?”

The first things to ask yourself as a business owner are three key things:

  1. Do you need accountancy software at all?
  2. Are you competent with spreadsheets?
  3. What is the best accountancy software fit for your business?

With so many variations, different requirements and so many offerings on the market these days, it can be tricky to negotiate and make the right choice.

Is it best to opt for a cloud based accountancy system or an online spreadsheet? Just how do you pick the right one for you and your business?

Getting the best value accountancy software

Take into account monthly fees, licence fees, subscription models, and make the choice based on what is the most appropriate and best option purpose for your business?

Of course, we are here to help and advise, but we would like to find out your opinion, share your views and if you have considered the options, we would like to know what you choose and why you made that decision.

If you are a limited company, partnership or self-employed individual, spread the word and tell others about why you made the choice you did. Most importantly, did it live up to your expectations? Has been able to adapt and meet your changing needs over time?

Tweet us @OmnitasTax or join in the conversation on Facebook. Your opinion, as always, matters and could help others make the right one for their business!

National Insurance £2000 up for grabs

NI TaxFind out how the new employment allowance EA could cut your NI bill by £2000

Yes, there’s usually no such thing as free lunch but in plain black and white, HMRC has published a guide on how and when you can claim it: www.gov.uk/claim-employment-allowance.

Who can claim £2000 new employment allowance EA

Most companies can claim the EA even where their only employee is a Director.

However, if your business is caught by IR35 (i.e it’s classed as a personal service company) you can’t claim the EA in respect of deemed PAYE income. Other excluded employers are government bodies, some businesses which supply services to the government and employers of domestic workers.

Claim one EA allowance only

You can’t double up on the EA by paying wages through two businesses that are controlled by the same person. Only one of the businesses will be able to claim the allowance.

How to claim new employment allowance EA National Insurance

After you have sent your RTI full payment submission for payrolls run since 5 April 2014 you can file an employer payment summary (EPS) specifically to claim the EA.

Most payroll software will show a yes/no indicator asking if you want to, i.e. are you entitled to, claim the allowance. You must select YES where your payroll software asks if EA applies, if you use an agency or outsource your payroll ensure they have done this for you.

Omni Chartered Accountants can help your business money

Unlike some other businesses, we are here to save you money – in the long run, our ethos is simple: if we help increase your profitability, we retain business and encourage referrals.

And that, as they say, is the way to do it!

Call us today to find out more on 01902 837408, request a free call back from this site or click here to make an online enquiry.

PwC annual Women in Work Index shows UK improvements

pwc women at work

The debate of women in work – and women in business – is one that is certainly ongoing.

With reports that women are generally paid less than male counterparts even though the latest news shows that only one in ten women are now stay-at-home mums, the British Government has certainly had its work cut out to make sure that every effort is made to encourage women into the workplace.

The latest PwC report shows that the UK has risen four places to take 14th position within the 2013 OECD; this was its previous position back in 2000.

The improvement in performance has largely been attributed to strengthening economic recovery – this has driven improvements in the female labour force and reduction in female unemployment.

Nordic countries stay at the top when it comes to the latest statistic; Norway remains in first place, with Denmark second, Sweden third, and New Zealand and Finland fourth and fifth respectively (all of which have retained their positions from 2012).

The USA and Hungary notably improved their index positions, showing a narrowing of the wage gap, a general reduction in female unemployment and an increase in the female full-time employment.

What is the PwC Women in Work (WIW) Index?

The PwC Women in Work Index is a weighted average of various measures that reflect female economic empowerment:

  • The equality of earnings with men
  • The proportion of women in work
  • The gap between female and male labour force participation
  • The female unemployment rate
  • The proportion of women in full-time employment

Executive board member and head of people at PwC, Gaenor Bagley, said;

“Whilst it is positive that the UK is gaining ground, it is clear that the low number of females in full-time employment is preventing the UK from competing with the Nordic countries at the top of the index.

“Despite the perception that flexible working helps women, our index and wider research suggests that it is still holding back women’s career progression. The reality for many flexible workers is that they have to work harder for promotion and don’t progress as quickly.

“The decision to go part-time is often made for short-term reasons, but unfortunately for women it often seems to have a wider, long-term negative impact.”

Bagley also commented that new Shared Parental Leave option which comes into force in April 2015 month were important, a change in culture is also required. She continued;

“For the UK to make real progress we first need to solve the culture challenge. We know women are confident and ambitious; they just need a workplace and society that support these aims. This often means getting the basics, such as how people are assessed and rewarded at work, right.”

Make the most of being female in work

There is no reason why you can’t choose to start your own business – whether it be as a sole trader or as a limited company – as an alternative to taking on a ‘day job’. And it may not be as scary as you may think!

With the help of an experienced company like Omni Chartered Accountants, starting up your business can be made easy, and running it is often a lot simpler than many anticipate.

For an initial chat, we are here to help – make that first step by calling 01902 837408 or by requesting a free of charge call back from our website. You can also click here to make an online enquiry.