Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Deadline approaching for checking property details

Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

Have you checked the details held on your property ahead of a UK-wide re-evaluation of non-domestic rates in just two months?

If the answer is ‘no’, we would strongly advise that you put it on your to-do list.

A new non-domestic rating list comes into effect on 1 April after the 2017 list closes. If the information held by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) isn’t correct, it could affect your future business rates.

The rating list sets out all rateable values for non-domestic properties in England and Wales. It is used by local authorities to help determine business rates. But your rateable value isn’t the same as your business rates bill.

The closure of the 2017 list means that there are only limited circumstances in which further amendments may be made to it. These are when:

  • changes need to be made to the list following Checks submitted before 1 April 2023 (and any subsequent challenges and appeals).
  • the VOA is correcting inaccuracies on the list (this can be done up to 31 March 2024). If the list is changed then customers for those properties have the right to make a Check within six months of the change.
  • a customer wants to challenge the 2017 list on the grounds of a tribunal or court decision. They can do this so long as a Check has been made by 30 September 2023.

This means that you have up until 31 March to check that the factual information held about your property on the 2017 list is correct, and to inform the VOA if it isn’t (this is known as making a Check case).

You will be able to challenge the 2017 assessment if you are not happy with the outcome.

If information needs updating, you will need to have an account set up on the Government Gateway and claim your property before you can make a Check case.

It can take some time to claim a property. It is recommended that you do this as soon as possible if you want to make a Check case on the information held about your property on the 2017 list.

When reviewing the information already held, you will need to consider if the below have been correctly reported:

  • accommodation or floor area
  • heating and air conditioning
  • width if it is a shop
  • car parking
  • floor levels
  • mezzanines
  • temporary structures
  • storage land
  • security cameras

The VOA regularly looks at property information selected at random and will carry out inspections if it is believed the details are incorrect.

Do not get caught out by dodgy job ads

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

The start of a new year is the peak time for jobseekers, but that also means that scammers crawl out of the woodwork to exploit unwitting victims.

If you are looking around for a new job, there are a number of red flags you should be aware of.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is working with JobsAware to raise awareness of job scams that might lead people down the path of sharing identity details, and even their own money, in the mistaken belief they are in line for new employment.

Be on your guard for the following:

1. Poorly written job adverts

It is important that the job you are applying for sounds legitimate. It should include roles and responsibilities, desired experience, working hours and expectations, and salary. Job adverts that withhold basic information should be treated as suspicious.

2. Suspicious contact details

Are the contact details legitimate? Look out for a direct contact person or email address. Be wary if there is no point of contact linked with a job advert.

3. Unrealistic salary

Does the salary not seem to match the role? This could be a way of drawing you into a role that does not actually exist to gather personal information or bank details.

4. A job offer without an interview

Being offered a job automatically without having met a member of the hiring company should automatically set the alarm bells ringing. You should always ask to meet face-to-face or online with the hiring manager.

5. Being asked for money

Don’t ever send money before starting a job. This includes for training, uniforms, or DBS checks. These, in most instances, should be provided by the employer.

6. Illegitimate companies or illegitimate emails

If you are unsure of the legitimacy of a company, you can check this using Companies House via GOV UK.

 

7. UK domains

If the domain is outside the UK, ensure to investigate the company further. Online jobs can be legitimate but require extra vigilance.

Dr Suzanne Smith, Barring and Safeguarding Director for the Disclosure and Barring Service, said: “Job search trends show that the start of a new year in January, and into February, see high numbers going online to find new employment opportunities. Often people can be keen in their pursuit of what might seem to be the perfect job on the surface, leaving themselves vulnerable to scams.

“Taking some simple steps to spot potential job advert red flags could save you time, stress, money and a lot of heartache.”

Keith Rosser, Chair of JobsAware, said: “Job scams continue to bring misery to people looking for work. In January we anticipate we will receive more than double the number of reports of monetary losses due to job scams when compared with December.”

If you suspect you have been targeted by, or have been the victim of a job scam, there are a number of ways to report this, including via the JobsAware portal. They will investigate and take further action, if necessary.

If you have parted with money as part of a suspected job scam, please contact the police and they will take the matter further.

Corporation tax changes April 2023

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

The Corporation Tax main rate will increase to 25% from 1 April 2023 for companies with profits over £250,000. A Small Profits Rate (SPR) of 19% will also be introduced from the same date for companies with profits of up to £50,000 – ensuring these companies pay Corporation Tax at the same rate as currently.

Where a company has profits between £50,000 and £250,000 a marginal rate of Corporation Tax will apply that bridges the gap between the lower and upper rates. The lower and upper limits will be proportionately reduced for short accounting periods of less than 12 months and where there are associated companies.

The effect of marginal relief is that the effective rate of Corporation Tax gradually increases from 19% where profits exceed £50,000 to 25% where profits are more than £250,000.

The amount of Corporation Tax payable will be found by multiplying taxable profits and gains by the main rate of 25% and deducting marginal relief. For the fiscal year 2023, the marginal relief fraction will be 3/200. HMRC also offers an online calculator that can be used to check basic eligibility for marginal relief. The calculator can be found at www.tax.service.gov.uk/marginal-relief-calculator.

For certain businesses it may be prudent to reconsider associated company relationships before April 2023. This will help avoid partial loss of the lower 19% rate or marginal tapering relief.

Limits to tax relief for pension contributions

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

Under current rules, you can claim tax relief for your private pension contributions. The annual allowance for tax relief on pensions is £40,000 for the current tax year. There is a three year carry forward rule that allows you to carry forward any unused amount of your annual allowance from the last three tax years if you have made pension savings in those years. There is also a lifetime limit for tax relief on pension contributions. The limit is currently £1,073,100 and will remain frozen at that level until at least April 2026.

You can get tax relief on private pension contributions worth up to 100% of your annual earnings, subject to the overriding limits. Tax relief is paid on pension contributions at the highest rate of Income Tax paid.

This means that if you are:

  • A basic rate taxpayer you get 20% pension tax relief
  • A higher rate taxpayer you can claim 40% pension tax relief
  • An additional rate taxpayer you can claim 45% pension tax relief
  • The first 20% of tax relief is usually automatically applied by your employer with no further action required if you are a basic-rate taxpayer. If you are a higher rate or additional rate taxpayer, you can claim back any further reliefs on your Self-Assessment tax return.

The above applies for claiming tax relief in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. There are regional differences if you are based in Scotland.

When you must register for VAT

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

The taxable turnover threshold, that determines whether businesses should be registered for VAT, is currently £85,000.

The taxable turnover threshold that determines whether businesses can apply for deregistration is £83,000.

It was confirmed as part of the Autumn Statement 2022 measures that the taxable turnover registration and deregistration thresholds will be frozen at the current rates until 31 March 2026.

Businesses are required to register for VAT if they meet either of the following two conditions:

  • At the end of any month, the value of the taxable supplies made in the past 12 months or less has exceeded £85,000; or
  • At any time, there are reasonable grounds for believing that the value of taxable supplies to be made in the next 30 days alone will exceed £85,000.
  • The registration threshold for relevant acquisitions from other EU Member States into Northern Ireland is also £85,000.

 

Businesses with no physical presence in the UK may also have a liability to be VAT registered in the UK if they supply any goods or services to the UK.

PAYE and overseas employees 24773

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

There are a multitude of rules and regulations that you must be aware of when you employ someone from abroad who is coming to work in the UK.

HMRC’s guidance (entitled New employee coming to work from abroad) sets out some important issues to be aware of when taking on a new employee from abroad.

This includes the following:

  • Check an employee’s right to work in the UK
  • Paying tax and National Insurance contributions
  • National Insurance contributions
  • Modified PAYE arrangements
  • Payments
  • Work done in and outside the UK
  • Short term business visitors
  • UK employers must operate PAYE and NICs for employees from abroad regardless of whether they are working on a temporary or permanent basis. This also applies to seconded employees who are being paid by an overseas company. The UK employer is responsible for reporting earnings and PAYE deductions in the same way as for a UK employee.

New employees from abroad will not have a P45 so you will need to obtain all the pertinent information to set them up and report to HMRC on a Full Payment Submission (FPS).

This includes their full name, gender, date of birth, full address and National Insurance number (if the employee knows it). The employer will also need a completed starter declaration and should enquire if the new employee has an existing student loan.

Tax Diary February/March 2023

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

1 February 2023 – Due date for corporation tax payable for the year ended 30 April 2022.

19 February 2023 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 February 2023. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 February 2023)

19 February 2023 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 February 2023.

19 February 2023 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 February 2023 is payable by today.

1 March 2023 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 May 2022.

2 March 2023 – Self-Assessment tax for 2021-22 paid after this date will incur a 5% surcharge unless liabilities are cleared by 1 April 2023, or an agreement has been reached with HMRC under their time to pay facility by the same date.

19 March 2023 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 March 2023 (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 March 2023).

19 March 2023 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 March 2023.

19 March 2023 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 March 2023 is payable by today.

Electric car owners to save money under landmark initiative

Thursday, January 26th, 2023

Cheaper motoring is heading down the road with the announcement of a new scheme for smart charging of electric vehicles.

The Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Action Plan, published by the Government and Ofgem, sets out steps being taken to seize on the significant potential of smart charging and make it the preferred method of long duration charging by 2025.

Smart charging harnesses the potential of energy use data and the latest energy innovations to deliver significant benefits for consumers, including allowing motorists to charge electric vehicles when electricity is cheaper or cleaner, allowing consumers to power their home using electricity stored in their electric vehicle, or even sell it back to the grid for profit. It is expected high mileage motorists could save up to £1,000 a year through smarter charging.

Easier charging

Energy and Climate Minister Graham Stuart said: “We want to make smart charging an easier choice for drivers of electric vehicles, whether that is charging on the driveway, at the workplace, or parked on the street. To do that we need to build new network infrastructure at pace, using the latest available technologies.

“This plan sets out how we will work with Ofgem and industry to kickstart the market for smart charging, which we are backing up with £16 million in innovation funding. This will let people take control of their energy usage, in the most convenient and low-cost way.”

The Government has also announced £16 million funding from the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) for technologies that harness the potential of smart charging, including a smart street lamppost which will enable motorists to access smart charging on the move, and projects that will enable domestic appliances, from heat pumps to electric vehicle charge points and batteries, to integrate into a smarter energy system.

Ofgem Director for Strategy and Decarbonisation Neil Kenward said: “As energy regulator, we’re helping create the infrastructure to deliver Britain’s net-zero future at the lowest cost to customers.

Smart benefits

“This latest innovative plan will help to maximise the benefits of smart charging, offer vital savings to consumers and reduce the overall cost of energy by seizing the opportunities to use batteries to both power homes and fuel the wider grid.”

The announcements build on the steps already taken by the Government to enable smart and flexible electric vehicle charging. As of July 2022, all new charge points sold for private use now must have smart functionality and the UK is consulting on a new policy and technical framework to unlock the benefits of domestic smart, flexible energy, and enhance its cybersecurity.

Through the plan, the Government will improve publicly available information and evidence on smart charging, support the implementation of robust consumer service standards and ensure private charge points are secure and compatible with the latest energy innovations.

The roll-out of intelligent and automated smart charging will deliver a win-win situation for all consumers. Reduced electricity system costs will lower prices for everyone, motorists will pay less for charging their electric vehicle, and the electricity powering electric vehicles will be cleaner and greener.

Be on your guard against scammers

Tuesday, January 24th, 2023

It’s a sad fact of life that scammers love to take advantage of vulnerable people, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

Making yourself and your loved ones aware of the tactics used by criminals is the first step to staying safe.

Consumer champions Which? have helpfully put together a guide to the leading five banking scams to look out for.

1. Money mule requests

These scammers try to use unwitting victims to help them launder stolen money by using legitimate bank accounts. They will pay you for passing the money through your account.

Lloyds Bank recently revealed that more money mules are falling into the over 40 category, when previously it was understood that younger people were the target as the criminals reached out via social media.

They offer easy investment opportunities with the promise of big rewards. It may seem tempting, especially in the current economic climate, but if you’re caught and charged, you could end up with a 14-year stretch in prison.

2. Shoulder surfing and card identity theft

This has been around for years, but it is still catching people out. Take extra care when you are at the cashpoint and make sure no-one is hovering behind you to take note of your PIN. Many ATMs have small mirrors to help you see behind without making it obvious that you are looking.

Card identity theft is still a major issue. In the first six months of last year, face-to-face card fraud in shops rocketed 72 per cent, costing its victims £33.6m.

Don’t forget to keep a close eye on your card statements and report any activity you don’t recognise to your bank as soon as possible.

3. Fake apps

If you like to download apps, go through official stores rather than clicking links in emails or ads. Last year a fake app call 2FA Authenticator was doing the rounds. It appeared to provide a legit service, but unfortunately it installed malware on users’ devices and accessed banking login data.

4. Is it really your bank calling?

It is not surprising that so many people fall victim to scammers who claim they are calling from the bank. They can appear very authentic and credible and may have sufficient information about you that you begin to trust them. This is what they want.

They want you to be comfortable enough to hand over the information they need so they can carry out their theft. Be on your guard. If you have the slightest doubt that things are not what they seem, put the phone down and call your bank using the number from its website.

5. Online purchase scams

An offer that looks too good to be true probably is. Trust your gut. Use Google to see if anyone has already raised concerns about the company you are considering buying from.

It might look like a good deal, but if your hard-earned money is going straight into a scammer’s pocket, it’s best to walk away. If you do decide to make a purchase, pay with a method that will offer you protection, like PayPal Buyer Protection.

Thanks again to our friends at Which? for highlighting what to look out for.

If you have any concerns about scams, get in touch.

Energy discount scheme a further boost for businesses

Thursday, January 19th, 2023

New energy bills support will give businesses a boost when it is introduced later this year.

A new energy scheme for businesses, charities and the public sector has been confirmed ahead of the current scheme ending in March. The new plan will mean all eligible UK businesses and other non-domestic energy users will receive a discount on high energy bills until 31 March 2024.

This will help businesses locked into contracts signed before recent substantial falls in the wholesale price manage their costs and provide others with reassurance against the risk of prices rising again.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, said: “My top priority is tackling the rising cost of living – something that both families and businesses are struggling with. That means taking difficult decisions to bring down inflation while giving as much support to families and business as we are able.”

Unprecedented help

The Government provided an unprecedented package of support for non-domestic users through this winter, worth £18 billion per the figures certified by the OBR at the Autumn Statement. This is equivalent to the cost of an increase of around three pence on people’s income tax.

It has been clear that such levels of support, unprecedented in nature and scale, were time-limited and intended as a bridge to allow businesses to adapt. The latest data shows wholesale gas prices have now fallen to levels just before Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and have almost halved since the current scheme was announced.

The new scheme therefore strikes a balance between supporting businesses over the next 12 months and limiting taxpayer’s exposure to volatile energy markets, with a cap set at £5.5 billion. This provides long-term certainty for businesses and reflects how the scale of the challenge has changed since September last year.

“Wholesale energy prices are falling. But to provide reassurance against the risk of prices rising again we are launching the new Energy Bills Discount Scheme, giving businesses the certainty they need to plan ahead.

“Even though prices are falling, I am concerned this is not being passed on to businesses, so I’ve written to Ofgem asking for an update on whether further action is action is needed to make sure the market is working for businesses.”

More support for some

From 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024, eligible non-domestic customers who have a contract with a licensed energy supplier will see a unit discount of up to £6.97/MWh automatically applied to their gas bill and a unit discount of up to £19.61/MWh applied to their electricity bill, except for those benefitting from lower energy prices.

 

A substantially higher level of support will be provided to businesses in sectors identified as being the most energy and trade intensive – predominately manufacturing industries. A long-standing category associated with higher energy usage, these firms are often less able to pass through cost to their customers due to international competition. Businesses in scope will receive a gas and electricity bill discount based on a supported price which will be capped by a maximum unit discount of £40.0/MWh for gas and £89.1/MWh for electricity.