Archive for November, 2009

How is your CV?

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

We often receive unsolicited letters and CVs from prospective employees, and even though we have no vacancies I do read them (and mark them).  Very few pass the no-spelling-mistakes or no-wrong-words test.  It seems odd when someone has taken the trouble to prepare, print and send out their details that they are not more careful to check for errors.  Accountants are not, generally, looking for literary geniuses/genii but we do expect attention to detail – as do most employers.

So, after you of weeved the majic with the truth to compile you’re masterpeace, cheque the speeling – and the grammer – and the words!

It’s behind you!

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) apparently maintains a Business Confidence Monitor and it has shown a rise on previous quarters.  Two-thirds of businesses are planning growth in turnover during the next two years.  Optimism, on its own, is no guarantee that things are improving, but there are some positive signs emerging.

At a recent seminar (sales pitch for Action Coach) attended by a good number of (small-medium) business owners, a significant number of the audience indicated that business is better this year than last.  The news appears to lag behind reality when it comes to reporting major changes in matters of finance.  The recession was well underway by the time anything appeared in ‘news’papers.  Similarly, by the time anything appears in print about the recovery it will be read in departure lounges.

There are always negative signs amongst the positive.  The local filling station is lots of litres down on petrol sales.  ‘There are lots of people on a three-day week’.  I doubt it is to do with many of us travelling five miles less per week.

Is there any other bad ‘news’ waiting in the wings?  Have we seen all of the banks’ failings?  The banking crisis happened almost over night, but the problems that caused it didn’t – and they were all so obvious – after the event.  Improvement in employment  prospects will be delayed until the uncertainty has passed.  The pantomime season is fast approaching.  Let’s hope we can all be saying, very soon, about the recession ‘It’s behind you!’

HMRC – a tax scam

Monday, November 16th, 2009

There is, apparently, no let up in the number of scam e-mails purporting to be from HMRC saying that a tax refund is due. The e-mail asks for bank account or credit card details.

HMRC’s advice includes:

* check www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/examples.htm to see if the email is listed;

* avoid clicking on websites, links contained in suspicious emails or open attachments;

* follow advice from www.getsafeonline.co.uk

If in doubt, please check it out with HMRC at: www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/fraud-attempts.htm.

Is a refund due? – check with your accountant. If you haven’t got one, get one.

VAT traders do it online

Friday, November 13th, 2009

From 1st April 2010 it is proposed that, for all VAT registered businesses whose annual turnover exceeds £100,000, VAT returns must be filed online and the VAT must be paid electronically. From 2012 it is likely that all VAT returns will have to be filed online.

The change is inevitable. We may as well embrace it sooner rather than later. In order to file (VAT returns) online it is necessary to register with HMRC for the service. Information required to complete the registration is:-

1] Date of original VAT registration as shown by the VAT registration certificate

2] Period of your last VAT return

3] Amount of VAT due (Box 5) from the last VAT return

Once registered it is possible to appoint an agent to deal with future online filing on your behalf, or you can simply do it yourself.

Directors’ Privacy

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Since 1st October 2009 it has been possible for directors of companies to adopt a service address distinct from their home address.   It is the service address that is visible on the company’s record at Companies House.  By default, initially, the home address will be treated also as the service address.  It can be changed using the Web Filing Service on the Companies House’ web site at http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk

You will need the security and authentication codes for the Webfiling service.

Tax + Tips

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

New rules, recently introduced, outlaw using tips to form part of the minimum wage paid to staff.

In 2008 the court agreed with HMRC that a prominent London restaurant could not include tips to support payment of the minimum wage to its staff. Working in such a prestigious environment for less than the minimum wage appeared grossly unfair. The thought of any staff working hard, to a high standard of service amongst the serious affluence of the clientele – for a pittance, relying on the benevolence of customers to top-up their earnings to the minimum wage would draw considerable sympathy. Few tears were shed, however, and sympathy waned when it was realised that most, if not all, of the staff involved were higher-rate taxpayers resulting from their wages + tips.

The new rules are set out in a revised HMRC leaflet E24 Gratuities, Service Charges and Troncs

It is important to realize that PAYE must be applied to the payment of tips to staff if they are paid in an organized way. They fall under the normal payroll if payment is organized or controlled by the employer. If someone other than the employer (a Troncmaster) organizes the payment, it is the Troncmaster who must deduct tax and account to HMRC.