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HMRC

Why change something if it is not broke
Why change something if it is not broke? 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Why change something if it is not broke?

With the changes to self assessment thresholds bought in to simplify the submittal processes, has it really had the positive impact the government were hoping? Let’s explore this in more detail.

When the autumn statement was released there was a very small area included which relates to employees on PAYE who no longer have to file tax returns from 2024/25, regardless of the amount that they earn. This was a follow up on the changes introduced in 23/24 where employees who solely had income from PAYE only had to worry about self assessment when there earnings were in excess of £150,000.

When these changes were introduced there were a number of concerns raised about any underpayments or overpayments that could be made by professionals earning over £100,000 who do not have to file any returns in regards to self assessment.

There does appear to be a number of discrepancies which can cause issues with employees that have no other taxable income than PAYE. There can easily be failures to declare specific liabilities simply because it was perceived that this was no longer needed. There could also be a failure to pay any tax owed on investment returns because again it was assumed this was not applicable.

According to HMRC the message is simple; keep them up to date with all income by using their digital services. Report everything that is relevant. Of course this sounds easy but anybody who has used the HMRC platform knows it can actually be a complex matter. Coupled with the issues which arise when contacting HMRC support to ask questions the phrase “clear as mud” can sum up the entire process.

The simple solution is to leave it to the professionals. Seek out a qualified accountant who knows exactly what is needed can take care of the entire process. Take stock early, consider all factors that are relevant but most importantly, consult with experts who are easy and available to contact when you need them.

In summary the changes in self-assessment threshold have been introduced to simplify the process but clearly it has caused more confusion than clarity. So why change something when it is not broken?

If you have any questions in regard to self assessment thresholds or need some help with any aspect of business accountancy our team would be happy to help. Please call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk. You can also book a free 20-minute call with Yarka – https://calendly.com/yarka-ssa/20min

How to get a mortgage if you are self-employed
How to get a mortgage if you are self-employed 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

How to get a mortgage if you are self-employed

At various times in our working life, we may all have a desire to do something for ourselves and step into the world of business ownership. However, it is only a very small percentage of people that take the plunge and become self-employed. Those that do take the required steps benefit from total independence, a true love for what they do, flexibility in working hours and potentially unlimited earnings.

There are a number of excellent benefits of being self-employed. However, the one problem that can arise is with trying to secure a mortgage. Historically securing a mortgage when you are self-employed can be a challenge as lenders are concerned about the lack of evidence when demonstrating income. To help with this process there are several steps that can be taken to put a self-employed professional in a positive position when applying for a new mortgage.

  1. Preparation

Keep excellent bookkeeping records of income and expenditure, look to use an accounting system which, when populated, can prepare reports of accurate and meaningful data. Always ensure you have a positive credit score and if possible, have a good level of savings.

  1. Speak to the experts

There are several excellent mortgage advisors that specialise in self-employed mortgages. Seek their professional advice and guidance as they can complete an initial fact find, check on affordability scales and match you to the right lenders.

  1. Seek financial accounting help

Use a professional accountant to prepare all financial information. A lender will look more favourably on the application if the accounts have been prepared by experts. The credibility of providing accurate information gives a lender lots of confidence.

  1. Credit history

Try to maintain a positive credit score and if there are any negative connotations then work to address these and allow time before completing the mortgage application. It goes without saying the better your credit score, the better the chances of securing a mortgage.

  1. Positive cash flow

Try to ensure you have a positive cash flow which demonstrates that any bank accounts have a healthy credit. Where possible also have good levels of personal savings which, should income one month be slow, demonstrates that the repayment of mortgage fees will always be covered.

  1. Present the right documentation

Copies of trading history (for the previous two years), HMRC documents such as an SA302 and evidence of upcoming contractual agreements will be required when any mortgage applications are made.

Other personal information used for evidence will also be required these can include passport or driving licence, utility bills, council tax bills and bank statements.

Finally, being on the electoral register with the right to vote is also advantageous as a lender can research this and use it as verification for identification purposes and proof of address.

If you have any questions or need some help with any aspect of self-employment and accountancy support then would be happy to help. Please call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk. You can also book a free call with Yarka – https://calendly.com/yarka-ssa/20min

Understanding the P11D | Accountancy Help with P11D | What is a P11D | Purpose of a P11D
Understanding the P11D 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Understanding the P11D

A business that employs staff will have several payroll responsibilities. One area which is often misunderstood or overlooked is the need to file a P11D. In this blog we will explore exactly what its purpose is and why it is needed.

The purpose of a P11D

If a business has set-up perks for their employees such as private medical, company car or leisure memberships, then this is considered a ‘benefit in kind’ and a P11D form should be submitted. The phrase ‘benefit in kind’ relates to any form of perk which holds a monetary value and is not a necessary essential to enable an employee to complete their job. These benefits must be declared as they are taxable and need to be considered for PAYE deductions.

Thus, the P11D acts as a declaration of benefits given to an employee during the Tax Year. HMRC will then use this information to calculate the National Insurance applicable to the individual employee.  A business must ensure they incorporate the P11D submittal as part of their payroll obligations.

When does a P11D need to be submitted?

The submittal for a P11D is always based on the financial year. Once the tax year is completed a business will then have up until 6th July to complete the necessary paperwork.

If we focus on the 2022/23 tax year, then a P11D will need to be submitted no later than 6th July 2023 and for payment, if this is made electronically, then the deadline is 22nd July 2023.

Who is responsible for the P11D

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that a P11D is completed and submitted for every employee that is receiving ‘benefits in kind’.

There are however, 2 instances where a submission is not required. Firstly, if the employee does not receive any benefit during the financial year, for example they might have chosen to no longer have a company car, then no benefit in kind is received and no P11D submission is needed. Secondly, if a business is paying tax on the benefits through its payroll, they can then inform HMRC using a P11D(b) as a more simple way to identify National Insurance contributions.

Any P11D submission should be filed electronically either via the HMRC PAYE online service or a HMRC approved payroll software solution. Details to be declared on the submission will include full company details, relevant employee details, benefits received and relevant value of these benefits.

As a business what else do I need to know?

  • If a business misses the filing deadline, then HMRC may issue fines in the region of £100 per month.
  • Upon submittal of the P11D, every employee this relates to should be given a copy.
  • Always keep accurate records which can be referred to after submission.

If you have any questions or need some help with a P11D submission, please call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk. You can also book a free 30-minute call with Yarka – https://calendly.com/yarka-ssa/30min

What Are You Asked For When Setting Up With A New Accountant | New Accountant |
What are you asked for when setting up with a new accountant? 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

What are you asked for when setting up with a new accountant?

Change can often fill people with dread. We are at our most happy when we are content and feel safe. Even the little things like changing the provider of our home insurance or our utility provider can cause stress, so much so that many just stick with an auto renew.

However, change can be good and should be embraced. Gone are the days when changing to new suppliers cause extra work, hassle and delays. Instead, change is simple, easy and stress free. The same can be said when appointing a new accountant. Of course, there is a little bit of work to be done but by completing the following simple activities your new accountant can be up and running in no time:

Stage 1 – 20 Minutes

The first step takes no more than 20 minutes, it is a simple telephone call to undertake a fact-finding exercise. It is a great chance to cement the business relationship, run through some standard business questions, identify the type of help that is needed and recommend steps to move forward.

Stage 2 – 2 days

Next step is a data exchange process which includes proposal of work, access to all relevant online portals and uploading data. This is typically a 2-day process, and the result is the acceptance of the accountant’s plans and commitment to agree to work being undertaken.

Stage 3 – 1 week

Our third step is a 1-week process focussed on due diligence. The necessary security checks will be undertaken, including photo ID for recognition and anti-money laundering. Following this will be the full registration to a client portal.

Stage 4 – 2 to 5 weeks 

The final stage, which is the longest, is the registration through HMRC. This will involve applying for Corporation Tax, PAYE, VAT and Self-Assessment codes which allow the accountant to act on behalf of the business or individual. Authorisation will typically take 10 days to arrive and then a scheduling of works can commence.

Once these key steps are taken a business owner can sit back and relax in the knowledge that all of their accountancy responsibilities are taken care of, and they can focus solely on the successful running of their business.

If you have any questions or have a few more questions, please call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk. You can also book a free 30-minute call with Yarka – https://calendly.com/yarka-ssa/30min

Renting home office space to your company | Home Office Accountant Advice | Advice on Home Office Set-Up | Accountancy Support Bristol
Renting home office space to your company 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Renting home office space to your company

The last few years have seen more of us working from home and although life is slowly returning to normal, many organisations have realised there are many benefits of home working and are encouraging staff to make this change, whether full or part time, more permanent.

Naturally this change in work location incurs additional costs and this is recognised by HMRC with their work from home allowance. Whilst this allowance enables people to reclaim a proportion of the costs of running a home office, it does not allow directors of companies to claim for a percentage of their rent or mortgage interest charges.

To mitigate this, directors are entitled to charge rent to their company for the use of their property, with this then being declared as commercial rent on the directors’ personal tax return and enabling them to also declare a proportion of costs.

It is essential that a rental agreement is put in place between the director and the company so that the director can become the landlord and in turn charge commercial rent. If the rent is charged at the same rate as the costs, then income offsets costs and thus no rental profit needs to be declared. As rental income is not subject to National Insurance many see this as a cost-effective way to release money from your business.

Prior to setting up a formal rental agreement there are some elements that must be considered:

  • Will your mortgage provider/landlord allow you to enter into the agreement and how will it affect your home insurance?
  • Ensure that the agreement only covers trading hours as it is normal for a home office to be utilised for personal use outside of these hours.
  • The proposal to put an agreement in place must be evidenced in the board minutes and cannot be backdated.
  • The agreement must be in joint names if the property is joint owned.
  • Rental costs may include service charges for a proportion of heating, light and power costs.
  • The rental cost must not exceed local commercial rental values, or it may be deemed by HMRC as disguised distributions.
  • The director must genuinely work from home and be able to evidence the costs that are being claimed for.
  • If you are leasing a substantial part of your property or separate buildings then a formal lease agreement would be more appropriate and this must be drawn up with the help of a solicitor as it would be covered by the Landlord and Tenant Act and would have implications for Capital Gains Tax and Business Rates.

If you have any questions or need some accountancy help, please call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk. You can also book a free 30 minute call with Yarka – https://calendly.com/yarka-ssa/30min

What Happens Behind The Closed Doors Of An Accountancy Practice | Why Use An Accountant | Accountant in Bristol
What happens behind the closed doors of an accountancy practice 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

What happens behind the closed doors of an accountancy practice

Most businesses only think about hiring an accountant once a year when it is time to complete their tax return and they’re struggling. But an accountant can add so much more value to your business. Naturally, they can help with your tax return, but their knowledge and skills can be a true asset to your business if you work with them throughout the year.

Here are our 6 jam packed points you may have not known about.

ONE – Accountants have a license to practice and that doesn’t happen over night. Years of studying is behind it. They have to prove they have the correct qualifications, are committed to programme of continual learning and have completed an anti-money laundering course. Vitally important is the professional development, which helps when HMRC/Government makes announcements. Accountants do NOT even get a month notice from the government about changes so they must be prepared for when the change actually happens.

TWO – Accountants have a plethora of tools designed to accurately record and process data along with making it readily available and easy to access for all customers. This makes analysis much more simplified and saves customers a huge amount of time when providing all relevant data.

THREE – Communications are streamlined thanks to the use of systems such as QuickBooks, Receipt Bank, Sage or Xero. Both the client and the accountant can feed data directly into these systems. They can also be automatically updated with all necessary changes implemented by the Government. Of course, these systems are also 100% compliant to all GDPR requirements.

FOUR – Time is being saved by an accountant completing a tax return. By completing your own tax return your focus is taken away from your day job meaning a loss of revenue. It could cost just £300 for an accountant to complete a tax return, in reality it could be double or triple that with the time a solopreneur takes to complete a return and therefore loosing revenue as their focus is away from their day-to-day business.

FIVE – An accountant knows exactly what is required for a tax return, they will look at many areas that individuals just wouldn’t event consider such as allowable expenses & claiming for working from home/mileage/telephone, profit from equipment sales, donations to charity, VAT charges, tax planning and pension contributions…

SIX – Finally an accountant will also ensure you know exactly what is happening. They will keep you up to date with reminders, e-mails and when payments need to be made. Alongside this they are also available to answer any questions or offer guidance as and when you need it.

Remember YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW – that is when we come into the picture.

If you have any questions or need help with a tax return, please call us on 01173 700 079 or email hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk.

Why do we need quarterly updates with Making Tax Digital (MTD) | Tax Advice MTD | Advice on Making Tax Digital
Why do we need quarterly updates with Making Tax Digital (MTD)? 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Why do we need quarterly updates with Making Tax Digital (MTD)?

As the Making Tax Digital (MTD) scheme continues to gather momentum there are many business owners still unsure of their commitments. However, the requirements can be broken down into 4 key measures which determine why taxpayers (even those who may have a small turnover as little as £10k) are required to provide a breakdown of income and expenses. This needs to be done via an online accounting platform which is approved by MTD and submitted every quarter.

Keeping up to date

By submitting a quarterly return, a business is keeping up to date with their returns and complying with their commitments to MTD. The regulations state that a quarterly filing deadline needs to be submitted online.

More accurate provision for tax payments

Any profit which is reported within the quarterly updates will allow the HMRC to provide an estimate of the tax payments a business might have to make during the tax year. The clear benefit of this is that a business will know how much tax they need to pay and when they will need to pay it, thus allowing for accurate budgeting.

Vital business analysis

Whilst a small business might think their quarterly tax return is only important to them, it is also a very useful tool for the HMRC. Being able to evaluate the data received from tax returns enables them to provide some informed and critical business analysis in relation the state of the economy.

Penalties for late submissions

To ensure businesses recognise the importance of quarterly submissions, HMRC will be implementing penalties to anybody who fails to comply. Penalties will be based around a points system, where any late submission means points added to an account. When a designated number of points are accrued a fine will be issued. Points will stay on record for 24-months after which they will be wiped from the record. To find our more please follow this link – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/penalties-for-late-submission/penalties-for-late-submission

If you have any questions in relation to Making Tax Digital our team would be happy to help. Please call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk.

Claiming VAT on Mileage | Advice on Business Mileage VAT | Help with VAT Claims on Business Mileage
Claiming VAT on mileage 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Claiming VAT on mileage

Those drivers who utilise their own vehicle for work purposes, excluding their normal commute, can claim money back against the approved mileage allowance payment rate (AMAP).

The eligible amount is dependent on several factors which are dictated by HMRC. For example, an employee using a private vehicle such as a van or car for work purposes can claim up to 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles and 25p per mile after that. The higher 45p rate considers both fuel and wear and tear on your vehicle.

Employers can also claim an additional 5p per mile for each passenger that they take with them on the nominated journey.

In order to make a claim the following information is needed:

  • Date of the trip
  • Full address of tart and end destinations
  • Milage travelled
  • Reason for the journey
  • Any passengers travelling with you (must be employed by the same company)
  • Fuel receipts

As an employer you may only claim the VAT on your employee’s mileage if:

  • The driver is directly employed by you, not contracted or freelance
  • You are paying them milage allowance for utilising their own vehicle for work purposes
  • You can only claim for the fuel part of the allowance
  • The amount you pay is equal to the fuel portion of the claim you make

For the most up to date regulations and advisory fuel rates per mile please refer to the gov.uk website. Or if you need some accountancy help please call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk.

I Thought I was Employed | Am I Employed or Self Employed
I thought I was employed! 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

I thought I was employed!

This article focuses on the importance of having the correct employment documentation in place. All characters are fictional for explanation purposes.

Jamie was working on behalf of XZY Ltd, all work activities were agreed verbally but no written and signed contracts were put in place. Jamie worked at home, in the offices of XYZ Ltd and at customer sites. He was provided with a laptop, business stationery and a company credit card but had no formal induction, no company handbook and did not have a dedicated desk space.

When initial discussions were held it was proposed that Jamie would become an employee and he was sent a payroll form by XYZ Ltd. However, Jamie did not return the completed form or any details regarding his preferred employment status. During the first 4 months various discussions were held about employment for an agreed working relationship but nothing was finalised, although a couple of e-mails were sent.

The last e-mail thread was what both Jamie and XYZ Ltd were adhering to, it stated that the salary would be based on a tiered commission basis but again no written agreement or formal employment agreed because Jamie was too busy to arrange it.

Although he did not have any written agreement Jamie believed he was employed by XYZ Ltd and had an official contract with them. However, when he contacted HMRC to request a copy of his P60 he was advised this was not possible. After several frustrating months Jamie was then advised by the HMRC that under the s8(1) Social Security Contributions (Transfer of Functions) Act 1999 he was classed as being self-employed. This meant he was not entitled to any of the employee benefits such as sickness pay, holiday pay, pension, etc.

There are some discrepancies between employment and tax law when it comes to employment status. However, the lesson is very simple; you are not employed until you have a written and signed contract.

If you need some help, advice or guidance in regard to being a contractor or an employee please feel free to call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk.

Have Your Claimed Correctly For Your R&D Project | Tax Claim for R&D | R&D Tax Advice
Have you claimed correctly for your R&D project? 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Have you claimed correctly for your R&D project?

An R&D project basically encompasses the research and development activities that a company will undertake when developing new products and services or when improving products or services which already exist. The R&D phase is the first stage of the project that involves all of the research around market needs and then development of prototypes and products.

Of course, with any R&D project, there is uncertainty. It is not until you complete the process, that you know whether it will be successful or not. This issue is actually something that causes lots of uncertainty when a company is claiming for R&D tax relief. In fact, those companies that only focus on applying with successful R&D projects could be missing out.

If we look at the HMRC guidelines it clearly states that, “not all projects will succeed in their aims. What counts is whether there is an intention to achieve an advance in science or technology”. So, if we translate that it basically means that if the R&D project has met the correct criteria then you can apply for the relevant R&D tax relief.

Often, we are asked about the eligibility of an R&D project and if a claim can be made. In simple terms the following applies:

ELIGIBLE NOT ELIGIBLE
The project did benefit science and technology but was stopped due to commercial reasons The project did not benefit science and technology but was stopped due to commercial reasons
The project did benefit science and technology but was stopped due to commercial reasons The project did not benefit science and technology but was stopped due to technical reasons

Calculating the cost for any R&D tax credit, both successful and unsuccessful is the same. You simply total the time spent on the project, summarise the materials used and then add the 2 costs together. This then forms the eligible expenditure for the claim.

If you are looking for some help with your R&D tax credits claim, please feel free to call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk.

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