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Could your generosity be costing you?

When making charitable donations, it is commonplace to be asked “Can we Gift Aid your donation?”. This increases the value of the gift by 25%. For every £80 donated, the charity receives £100, being your donation of £80 plus £20 of tax reclaimed from HMRC.

On the face of it, making this claim may seem like an obvious choice, but there is a potential downside.  If you have not paid sufficient tax during the year to cover the reclaimed tax, HMRC will require you to make up the difference, which may result in an unexpected tax bill occasioned from your own generosity.

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HMRC introduce a new higher flat rate percentage

Do you use the VAT Flat Rate scheme to calculate the amount of VAT that you are required to pay? HMRC announced in the Autumn Statement that they will introduce a new 16.5% rate from 1 April 2017 for businesses with limited costs.

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Advisory fuel rates for company cars from 1 December 2016

The advisory fuel rates for journeys undertaken on or after 1 December 2016 are:

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New measures to save inheritance tax on residential property

In the run up to the 2010 election a great amount of hype was made about raising the IHT threshold to £1m.

Roll forward to the summer of 2015 and in his July Budget statement the then Chancellor George Osborne announced the introduction of the residence nil rate band (RNRB) which comes into effect next April.

Simon Hopwood looks at the small print.

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10 steps to help your Charity tackle fraud

Fraud is a serious problem and is not restricted to commercial organisations alone.  In fact, evidence suggests that charities are targeted more than ever because they are perceived by fraudsters to be more vulnerable.

The Charity Commission is aware of charities’ vulnerabilites and have set up a useful website http://charitiesagainstfraud.org.uk/ to improve trustees' and trust directors' awareness.

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Start your business by the book

You’ve launched a new business and are optimistic about the future. Perhaps you want to focus on the development of your product or service, or on marketing it to prospective customers. Unfortunately, however, day-to-day book-keeping is an essential part of every successful start-up. You ignore it at your peril argues IAN SMITH.

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Start planning for the future with your accountant

Accountants do a lot more than simply crunch numbers, writes Deborah Graham. They can be trusted partners who’ll help you draw up a compelling business plan.

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Planning a party for employees

With the season for workplace parties fast approaching we thought it would be a good idea to remind you of the tax implications of these types of events. The good news is that, unlike entertaining customers, the costs of entertaining employees are generally allowable against the profits of the business.

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Watch out for telephone calls from fraudsters pretending to be from HMRC!

Fraudsters pretending to be from HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) are expanding their unscrupulous activities.  After years of sending out fake emails, they are now calling unsuspecting individuals and, in some cases, duping them into making payments.  

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Are your pension savings tax efficient?

As you may be aware, there is a maximum amount that can be saved tax-efficiently for retirement each year. This is known as the Annual Allowance and it governs all pension savings including those made by an employer on an employee’s behalf.

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Money laundering: your role in stopping the criminals

It’s not just accountancy firms and tax officials who have obligations in relation to money laundering, writes GRAHAME MAUGHAN.  HMRC expects many others to play a role too.

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Making Tax Digital

Last month HMRC issued 6 consultation documents setting out the first steps in their ambitious plans to implement the Making Tax Digital (MTD) proposals announced in 2015.

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Simple ways to reduce your family’s inheritance tax bill

The inheritance tax (“IHT”) allowance, above which inheritance tax of 40% is payable, stands at £325,000 per person and has been frozen at that level since 2009. With almost 1,400 extra families being dragged into the IHT net, it’s increasingly important to take steps to minimise the amount of tax due.

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Advisory fuel rates for company cars from 1 September 2016

The advisory fuel rates for journeys undertaken on or after 1 September 2016 are:

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Capital Gains Tax on transfers between divorcing couples

During the emotional upheaval of a divorce, tax considerations are generally the last thing on the minds of those involved.  However, by taking advice early in the process, a divorcing couple may be able to avoid unnecessary tax liabilities.

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Free up your time with professional, strategic support.

Many professional services firms – including accountants – employ a ‘practice manager’ to oversee and co-ordinate their work. Plenty of companies in other sectors could benefit from exactly the same kind of approach, writes CHRIS ROBSON

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Ten tips for keeping your business safe online

The government has identified ‘Ten Steps to Cyber Security’, which are essential for any business looking to protect itself online. IAN SMITH talks us through the suggestions.

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There’s great value to a proper valuation

Although valuation isn’t always an exact science, writes Ryecroft Glenton’s Carl Swansbury, it can be an essential part of your long-term business planning.

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What's driving change in the world of company cars?

Company cars are only going to make financial sense in the coming years if they’re very low or zero-rated on CO2 emissions, writes GORDON WILKINSON. Personal car allowances and personal contract hire may be the way forward. 

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The end of the annual return

The requirement for companies to send an annual return to Companies House has come to an end. From 30 June 2016, companies will instead have to file a confirmation statement. 

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Brexit: the economic consequences of uncertainty

Richard Jeffrey, Chief Investment Officer at Cazenove Capital Management considers the economic consequences of uncertainty following Brexit

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Brexit: What does it mean for UK taxes?

On 23 June 2016, in an historic referendum, the UK public voted to leave the European Union (“EU”). The precise impact of Brexit on UK taxes will depend on the new terms negotiated with the EU.  

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Keep it in the family: planning your business for the next generation

ANTHONY MAIN discusses very important questions about succession planning.

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Self Assessment: don’t leave it all to the wire

If you’re relying on your accountant to help you with your self-assessment tax returns, the earlier you’re able to get organised the better, suggests CLAIRE CHARLTON.

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Even when you act global, you can think local.

If you’re an international business, you might imagine you need to employ a large, global accountancy practice.  There are, however, other options, writes CHRIS ROBSON.

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Five ways to measure business health

Keep on top of how well your business is performing by monitoring five key indicators, writes DEBORAH GRAHAM

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Earning Commission While on Holiday

There have been a number of recent court decisions surrounding entitlement to holiday pay, specifically whether or not overtime, commission and work related travel should be factored into holiday pay calculations.

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HMRC urges claimants to renew tax credits online

HMRC are urging people to renew their tax credits claim well before the 31 July deadline.

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Flat-rate pensions: clearing up the confusion

It appears to be a straightforward concept, but the new state pension regime does, in fact, throw up a few complications.

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Thinking of selling or winding up your business? Watch out for the new rules.

The way in which you are taxed when you sell or wind up your company is about to become a lot more complicated…  Charlie Burton outlines the implications.

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Advisory fuel rates for company cars from 1 June 2016

The advisory fuel rates for journeys undertaken on or after 1 June 2016 are:

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Don’t let doubts cloud your judgement

Cloud accounting makes sense at a number of levels, argues Ian Smith. So why are some businesses still so reluctant to embrace it?

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Savings allowance

A new savings allowance is available to basic and higher rate taxpayers for 2016/17. The amount available depends on the individual’s circumstances.

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Banking on the right decision

Detlev Anderson argues that you need heavy-hitters on your side when you approach a bank with a view to getting finance for investment.

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A holding company? There may be no reason to hold back.

If you thought the formation of a corporate group structure was just for big multinationals, it’s time to think again, suggests GRAHAME MAUGHAN It’s a serious option for much smaller businesses too.

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Expand in a disadvantaged area and you could receive a tax break

If you’re looking for new premises, it’s worth widening your range of options, writes JON ROUTLEDGE. By choosing to renovate a derelict building in a disadvantaged area, you could benefit from a significant tax break.

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Register of People with Significant Control

Under new rules companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) must now compile and keep up to date a Register of People with Significant Control (PSCs). The aim of the register is to help increase transparency about who ultimately controls UK companies.

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Share Scheme Filing Deadline

The 2014/15 tax year saw major changes to the reporting requirements and administration of employee share schemes.  All share schemes now need to be registered online with HMRC and annual returns must also be filed online.   

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Year-end accounting - what, when, how (and sometimes why)?

It is apparent that there are increased stress levels surrounding a client’s accounting year end, including what to do, when to do it, how to do it and what to consider.

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