In The Press…

You may have spotted us in the latest Craven Herald and the July edition of Aspire magazine! But if not, please read on for the published article…

 

There’s been a lot going on for Skipton-based accountancy firm, Shepherd Partnership, who recently relocated to new premises at Carleton Business Park…and appointed a new director!

The long-established practice, which provides personalised support to local business owners and individuals, relocated to their new offices to offer an enhanced visitor experience, and to accommodate a recent period of growth. Staff and clients are now benefiting from a comfortable, modern office space and state-of-the-art meeting rooms; all kitted out with a range of high-tech equipment.

Managing Director, Adam Dutton, said, “As well as being fantastic for us, the move also signifies a positive time for Skipton’s business community. Despite what’s going on in the wider economy (avoiding the ‘B’ word!), we are seeing no decline in activity in any areas of business. The region as a whole – and Skipton in particular – is continuing to develop and grow.”

In addition to the move, the firm were thrilled to simultaneously appoint Heather Langtree, an experienced accountant who joined the firm in 2015, to her new role as director.

“Heather has a wealth of experience and a portfolio of clients who trust and respect her knowledge and advice. She will enhance our leadership team whilst continuing to provide informed advice and opportunities to local businesses.”, explained Adam.

Heather added, “I believe Shepherd Partnership provide an unrivalled and personalised service. I am excited to drive the business forward in my new role… and in our new home. Our team were unbelievably helpful in making the move a success; from packing, unpacking and sorting out IT and phone systems, to welcoming visitors to the new premises.”

After visiting the new offices and talking to the team, it’s clear Shepherd Partnership’s focus is on clients’ success – and they have a real desire to make Skipton a thriving business hub. To discover more, take a look at their website, or get in touch to arrange a visit to their fabulous new location.

Company car tax rises take effect

Company car tax rises take effect

The company car has continued to be an important benefit for many employees, despite increases in the taxable benefit rates in recent years.

However, April 2018 saw the introduction of further changes affecting employer-provided cars, which could have a significant impact on your business motoring costs.

Benefit-in-kind rates

Company cars are essentially taxed as a benefit-in-kind (BiK) by multiplying the list price of the car (including most accessories) by the ‘appropriate percentage’. This is set by reference to the car’s fuel type and level of CO2 emissions.

In 2017/18, a reduced BiK rate of 9% applied for vehicles emitting no more than 50 g/km of CO2, but from April 2018 these rates have started to increase significantly.

Cars with CO2 emissions of 0-50 g/km are now liable to a rate of 13%, with similar rises applying to cars with higher levels of emissions.

Diesel cars

April 2018 also saw an increase in the additional diesel car supplement, which has risen from 3% to 4%. The maximum cap of 37% still applies (unless the car is registered on or after 1 September 2017 and meets the Euro 6d emissions standard).

Capital allowances

Changes have also been made to the tax relief for business expenditure incurred on or after 1 April 2018. The 100% first year allowance for expenditure on cars now applies where emissions are less than 50 g/km, reduced from the previous level of 75 g/km. In addition, the limit for attracting an 18% writing down allowance has fallen from 130 g/km to 110 g/km.

Electric charging points

There is perhaps more welcome news for those employers providing charging points for electric or hybrid cars, as HMRC intends to exempt employer-provided electricity from being taxed as a BiK, to apply retrospectively from 6 April 2018.

Further changes to company cars are due to take effect in 2019 and beyond, including additional increases in the BiK rates and the introduction of a new range of bands for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs).

We can help you to plan ahead and decide on the most tax-efficient option for your business motoring needs.

For more information, including the latest tax rates, visit the Tax Strategies area of our website.

Research suggests 70% of individuals ‘unaware of inheritance tax nil-rate band’

Research suggests 70% of individuals ‘unaware of inheritance tax nil-rate band’

Research carried out by Canada Life has suggested that a significant amount of individuals ‘do not know the threshold’ for the standard inheritance tax (IHT) nil-rate band. Canada Life found that 70% of those surveyed did not know the standard nil-rate band threshold, which currently sits at £325,000.

55% of those questioned do not know the rate at which assets above their available nil-rate band are taxed, the data also revealed.

Meanwhile, an additional 38% do not believe that their main home is liable for IHT. Canada Life has warned that many families in the UK could face ‘unexpectedly high’ tax bills as a result.

‘There is a disturbing lack of knowledge which will undoubtedly translate into unnecessarily high inheritance tax bills,’ said Karen Stacey, Head of Distribution Services at Canada Life.

‘Unless people learn more about taxes and actively plan the future of their estate, the government is in line for a large, ongoing and often unnecessary windfall.’

Meanwhile, Chancellor Philip Hammond has commissioned the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) to review the UK’s IHT regime, and make suggestions as to ways in which the tax can be simplified.

In a letter to the Chair of the OTS, the Chancellor acknowledged that the IHT regime is ‘particularly complex’, and suggested that the review focus on the technical and administrative issues surrounding the tax.

Mr Hammond also said that the review should examine how existing gifts rules interact with the IHT system, and consider whether the current rules cause taxpayers to rethink their decisions when it comes to investments and transfers.

A ‘scoping document’ for the review into IHT will be agreed and published ‘in due course’, the OTS said.

As your accountants we can help you to plan to minimise the IHT due on your estate – please contact us for further advice.

Strategies for saving tax ahead of the 5 April year end

With the end of the 2017/18 tax year approaching, now may be the ideal time to think about strategies to help mitigate your tax liability. There are many different options to consider so do contact us for further advice.

Reducing your personal tax liability…

Are you making the most of your tax-free personal allowance (PA)? Individuals are entitled to their own PA, which is set at £11,500 in 2017/18. Therefore, if your spouse or partner has little or no income, you could stand to benefit by spreading your income more evenly to ensure that each PA is being fully utilised.

Some married couples may also be eligible to transfer 10% of their PA to their spouse under the Transferable Tax Allowance, or ‘Marriage Allowance’. It means £1,150 may be transferred in 2017/18, which could help to reduce a couple’s tax liability by up to £230 in this financial year. Certain rules apply.

And despite relatively low interest rates, for many individuals ISAs are still an attractive tax-free way to save. For 2017/18, the overall subscription limit for ISAs is £20,000, of which no more than £4,000 can be deposited into a Lifetime ISA. With a range of ISAs to choose from, you have until 5 April 2018 to make your 2017/18 ISA investment.

… and your business’s tax bill

Are you maximising claims for capital allowances? The majority of businesses are able to claim a 100% Annual Investment Allowance on the first £200,000 of expenditure on most types of plant and machinery (except cars). In many cases, a purchase made just before the end of the current accounting year will mean that the allowances are available a year earlier than if the purchase was made just after the year end.

Business owners may also wish to consider tax-efficient ways in which they can extract profit from their business. There are many ways to achieve this. Some may opt to take dividends instead of a salary or bonus, as these are paid free of national insurance contributions. Others may wish to talk to us about incorporating their business, while employer pension contributions can be another tax-efficient means of extracting profit.

As always, it is important to seek our advice before taking action. For more information on tax-saving strategies to implement ahead of the 5 April 2018, please visit the Hot Topics section of our website.

FSB urges Low Pay Commission to delay National Living Wage rise

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called on the Low Pay Commission (LPC) to consider whether forthcoming rises in the National Living Wage (NLW) rate may need to be put on hold if the economy cannot bear the pace of change.

The NLW rose in April 2017, and presently stands at £7.50. The government has pledged to bring the NLW to £9 per hour by 2020. However, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has estimated that this will ‘fall short’, and may only reach £8.75 an hour by this time. The FSB has stated that any risk to the UK economy should be ‘built into the next NLW increase’, which is scheduled for April 2018 – suggesting that the NLW should rise to no higher than £7.85 next year.

The FSB is concerned that the NLW does not currently take into account the state of the UK economy and inflationary issues, and has highlighted a ‘string of recent poor economic statistics and continued uncertainty’ as reasons for the LPC to consider delaying the planned rises.

The call followed the FSB’s publication of new research, which revealed that 64% of small firms affected by the NLW have recorded lower profits in order to meet the April 2017 rise, while 39% have had to put up prices to meet the demands of the NLW.

Commenting on the issue, Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said: ‘Small employers have demonstrated their resilience in meeting the challenges set by the NLW, with many cutting their margins or even paying themselves less to pay their staff more.

‘In sectors where margins are tight, small firms are resorting to more drastic measures to cope with the NLW.

‘It’s vital that the NLW is set at a level that the economy can afford, without job losses or harming job creation. Cost pressures on small businesses are building, and with most recent economic indicators underperforming, we are now facing the reality that the NLW target may need to be delayed beyond 2020.’

The LPC is set to make its NLW recommendations to the government in the Autumn.

Exciting Opportunity! Job Vacancy for an Accounts Assistant…

An opportunity not to be missed!

Due to continued growth, The Shepherd Partnership Ltd have an exciting opportunity for a PRACTICE ACCOUNTS ASSISTANT to join our friendly team.

We are looking for a committed, hard-working team member to support our senior staff and Directors… and make a real difference to our business!

Responsibilities

We envisage that key responsibilities will include, but not necessarily be limited to;

  • Preparation of annual accounts for limited companies, partnerships, sole traders and other entities
  • Maintenance client records/ book-keeping
  • Preparation of VAT returns and management accounts
  • Preparation of tax returns
  • Payroll

Qualifications & Experience

  • Candidates must have GCSE grade C or above in Maths and English.
  • A formal accountancy qualification is desirable but not essential.
  • The ideal applicant will have a minimum of 3 years’ experience gained within an accounting practice, ideally including knowledge of cloud based accounting packages and payroll processes (including auto-enrolment).

Work Pattern

This position is full-time (some flexibility in working hours may be possible for the right person). The successful candidate will primarily work from our Skipton premises.

To Apply

If you feel you are the ideal person to join our supportive and experienced team, please send a covering email and your CV to skipton@shepherdpartnership.com.

Salary

Competitive – negotiable depending on experience.

Business Groups React to Taylor Review of Employment

Business groups have reacted to the recommendations of the Taylor Review into modern-day employment practices, which sets out the key principles for providing ‘fair and decent work for all’.

The review suggests that a national strategy is needed to help provide security in such areas as wages, quality of employment, education and training, working conditions, work-life balance and the ability to progress at work.

Recommendations for the government include implementing strategies to ensure that workers don’t get ‘stuck at the living wage minimum’, initiating a review focusing on providing employees with ‘good work’, and avoiding an increase in the non-wage costs involved in employing an individual, such as the Apprenticeship Levy.

The review also highlights the so-called ‘gig’ economy, recommending the creation of new ‘right to request’ guaranteed hours, and the introduction of the term ‘dependent contractor’ to replace the term ‘worker’, with the aim of capturing those who are currently classed as self-employed, but who work for firms which have a ‘controlling and supervisory’ relationship with their workers.

Business groups have given mixed reactions to the report’s findings, with many welcoming the focus on labour market flexibility, but also warning that some areas, including the plans to rewrite employment status tests, are a cause for concern.

Commenting on the report, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: ‘The world of work is changing, and it is only right that employment law and practice change with it. Matthew Taylor has rightly recognised that the UK’s flexible labour market is a great source of strength and competitive advantage, but has also recommended some common-sense changes where grey areas have emerged in recent years.’

However, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) warned that the review ‘is not the game-changer needed to end insecurity and exploitation at work’.