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VAT

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

A New VAT Threshold for the Hospitality Sector | New VAT Threshold | What is VAT Threshold | Are the Different VAT Rates
A new VAT threshold for the hospitality sector 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

A new VAT threshold for the hospitality sector

On 1st October a new VAT rate of 12.5% was introduced for the hospitality industry, this temporary rate now means certain businesses will have to deal with four different rates of VAT. These consist of 0%, 5%, 12.5% and 20%. Fortunately, this will only be for a short period of time as the 12.5% scheme will only run until 31st March 2022.

Who is affected by the new rate?

Those impacted with this new rate are suppliers to the hospitality sector. Since July 2020 they would have been charging VAT at the rate of 5% but will now have to charge VAT at the rate of 12.5%.

What happens to any invoices not yet paid?

For any invoices that were raised at the original 5% VAT rate and providing they were issued before 1st October 2021 nothing changes. Alongside this, if for some reason these invoices need to be adjusted, such as a drop in price or a cancelation, then changes can still be made with the 5% rate also still applying.

Changes also to the flat rate scheme

Further changes which should be highlighted are the new percentage rates applicable from 1st October, as part of the flat rate scheme (FRS).

  • Catering (which includes restaurants, café’s, food outlets and takeaways) – The 4.5% rate has increased to 8.5%
  • Hotels (including all types of accommodation) – The 0% rate has increased to 5.5%
  • Public Houses – The 1% rate has increased to 4% 

It should be noted that a business may need to account for the 2 different flat rate charges. For example, if you are in the Catering field and complete a VAT return for August, September and October then you will need to account for VAT charges of 4.5% for 2 months and then 8.5% for the third month.

Staying on top of the changes

Of course, when any new changes are implemented, there can be confusion as to what VAT charges should be made. The most reliable solution will be to make sure your online accounting software is able to adapt to the 4 different rates. Failing that seek professional help and speak to your account who can advise you.

If you are looking for some help, then feel free to 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.

Key accountancy dates to remember 150 150 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Key accountancy dates to remember

In this latest animated video we provide some of the key accountancy dates that everybody should be aware of.

Do I Need An Accountant | Accountant Advice Bristol | Business Accountancy Help
Do I need an accountant? 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Do I need an accountant?

At some stage, a business owner will inevitably have asked themselves the question, “do I need an accountant”? They will all have also found themselves unsurprisingly faced with the answer, “yes, I do”. No matter what stage your business is at, an accountant can offer help, support and guidance.

From the outset

At the initial start-up phase of a business an accountant can offer support for:

  • Helping to finalise business plans – giving advice and feedback on business direction, goals and funding.
  • Business structure – providing recommendations on how to structure the business to become a sole trader, private limited company, public limited company or limited liability partnership.
  • Licenses – advising what business licenses you need to set-up and what your legal obligations are in relation to monthly, quarterly and annual accounts.
  • Accounting software – advice and recommendation on the best type of software to use along with feedback on what modules would be most beneficial.

Tax and compliance

Throughout the life span of a business there will be a requirement to seek specialist tax and compliance guidance such as:

  • VAT – giving guidance on when to start charging VAT or if already on the scheme whether to continue.
  • Payroll – helping to keep on top of all payroll commitments and ensuring wages / compliance matters are correctly adhered to.
  • Reporting – providing support in relation to tax liabilities, regular reporting processes, creditors, and debtors.

Small business support

All small businesses will benefit from meeting regularly with an accountant. They can assist with:

  • Being smart – having some expert advice on hand to help make smart decisions, especially during key growth stages helps to avoid costly mistakes.
  • Liabilities – as a business grows so does its liabilities, making sure you recognise what these changes will be and how to account for them requires specialist help.
  • The bigger picture – business owners can often become consumed in day-to-day activities and unable to recognise blind spots within the business, an accountant can help with seeing the bigger picture to assist with ongoing growth.

If you are looking for some specialist accountancy support both for you and your business, then please feel free to call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk.

Translating The Accountancy Jargon | Accountancy Terminology |
Translating the accountancy jargon 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Translating the accountancy jargon

People usually go into business because they feel that they have something special to offer; a unique skill set or product that the market needs and a desire to offer the very best customer service to complement that offering.

Whether you are gifted at capturing the perfect photograph, capable of building distinct websites or have a unique talent for developing flavour combinations for that favourite of lunchtime foods, the humble sandwich, you are a specialist for a reason and you are no doubt passionate about what you do. However, as business owners there are lots of areas that you are not a specialist in. For example, apart from a web developer few people need to understand what CMS means or apart from a photographer only a small number of people will understand what the use of bokeh is. There are so many business acronyms and technical terms that we will probably never fully understand and perhaps have no need to understand.

If we look at the world of accountancy, how many people really know their accruals from their capital gains or their liabilities from their overheads?  To help you navigate the plethora of phrases commonly used in accountancy, here is an A to Z of some of the most popular ones and what they actually mean:

Accrual – an expenditure that has not yet been paid for or invoiced
Balance Sheet – a summary of the assets and liabilities within the business
Capital Gain – the profit that you make on the sale of asset which is purchased and used within the business (rather than sold on)
Depreciation – the devaluing of an asset purchased within the business
Equity – the value of the business to its shareholders
Fixed cost – a recurring cost that remains the same for a dedicated period of time
Goodwill – the intangible asset associated with the value of a business, e.g.  goodwill, brand recognition, copyrights, trademarks, customers, etc
HMRC – Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, the UK’s tax, payments and customs authority
IFRS – the accounting standards set by International Financial Reporting Standards
JSA – job seekers allowance is the money paid to people who are unemployed but that are actively seeking work
Kashflow – one provider of the many solutions for online accounting software
Liabilities – either money or debt which the business owes and results in funds quickly coming out of the business
MTD – a HMRC scheme called Making Tax Digital which is focussed on digitalising the tax system
NI – known as National Insurance which is a payment made by everybody who is employed with a salary over £9,500
Overheads – the fixed costs which do not relate to sales, e.g., rent, fees and depreciation
P45 – a formal document issued to an employee when they leave the company
Quarterly – accountancy processes that need to be completed four times a year e.g., VAT returns and MTD updates
Retained Profit – the sum of all profits when all taxes and dividends have been taken out of the business
Self Assessment Tax Return – personal tax used by HMRC to collect relevant income tax payments
Tax Planning – the process which can be completed to help reduce the burden of large tax payments
UTR – this will be a 10-digit number (known as the Unique Taxpayer Reference) which is given to self-employed professionals for either self-assessment or setting up limited companies
VAT – the tax payments that needs to be made on business purchased (also known as Value Added Tax)
Worker – the newest phrase predominantly used in the ‘gig economy’ for a person’s employment status
Xmas Party Tax Relief – for annual events such as a Christmas party there are tax free benefits as long as the costs is no more than £150 per person
Year End – the closing period of a business’s accounting year
Zero Rate – all goods that are rated zero rate means not VAT is applied to their cost

If you have any questions or unsure about any other accountancy terminology then please call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk.

An Update on MTD | Making Tax Digital | Advice on Making Tax Digital | Accountancy Support with MTD | What is MTD
An Update on Making Tax Digital (MTD) 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

An Update on Making Tax Digital (MTD)

Making Tax Digital (MTD) was first introduced during the Spring Budget of 2015, its aim was to completely negate the need for an annual tax return. Instead, taxpayers would have all their information loaded directly onto a digital tax account. Alongside this, businesses would only have to worry about paying one simple business tax. The other key benefit announced was the simplification of tax for self-employed people along with the complete removal of the class 2 national insurance contribution.

Despite lots of discussion and various communications from HMRC, including a number of consultation papers that addressed various aspects of the MTD project, none of these objectives have been met. Indeed, back in July 2017 there was an announcement that the scheme would be delayed with MTD for income tax being introduced in 2020 and MTD for VAT being introduced in 2019.

As planned the MTD for VAT did commence in April 2019 but with the exclusion of specific businesses (classed as complex), who were delayed until October 2019. It was also decided that specific public sector bodies would also not be joining the scheme until sometime in 2022. The final implementation of the scheme will see a compulsory digital transfer on all VAT data to happen by April 2021 and the mandating of all VAT registered businesses to comply with MTD by April 2022.

If we look at income tax, this digitalisation involved a far more complex structure. The result is that a taxpayer will have to adopt four quarterly reports and a final report that in most cases will replace the annual self-assessment return. A pilot scheme for this was initiated in April 2018 however, there are currently only a small number of taxpayers and agents participating in this pilot and also only 6 of the major software companies (compliant with MTD) that have provision for recording this.

Although planned for 2017, the MTD for corporation tax and complex businesses (defined as large partnerships with income of over £20m or mixed partnerships that include companies, LLP’s and individuals) has yet been introduced. The HMRC issued a specific consultation documentation in November 2020 (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/making-tax-digital-for-corporation-tax), however this consultation will run until 5th March 2021, so in reality it is likely that developments within this field will not be seen until later this year.

The final item to note on MTD is that the reporting of corporation tax will be very similar to that of income tax rather than VAT. There will be a quarterly reporting structure for both income and costs. Companies will still need to assign all their accounting totals for iXBRL when submitting annual accounts to HMRC. Therefore, companies within MTD will have to submit 5 reports to HMRC for their annual accounts, along with the standard 4 quarterly VAT returns and relevant PAYE returns

VAT Reverse Charges for Construction Industry | Help with VAT Reverse Charges | Vat Advice for CIS | Construction Industry Scheme Advice Bristol
VAT Reverse Charges for Construction Industry 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

VAT Reverse Charges for Construction Industry

Individuals operating in the Construction Industry need to be aware that from the 1st March 2021 there will be a change in how VAT will be handled. Originally these changes were due to start in October 2019, but they were delayed initially due to Brexit and then subsequently by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The VAT domestic reverse charges for the construction services is, in essence, an extension to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS). It will apply to any business transactions between VAT registered contractors and sub-contractors that have to be submitted under CIS.

Reverse charges will apply when:

  • VAT is charged in regard to construction services and materials
  • VAT is paid at a standard or reduced rate
  • A UK project is initiated between a VAT registered supplier and a VAT registered customer
  • Both the supplier and customer are registered for CIS
  • Neither the supplier nor the customer is connected in any way

According to the HMRC, they have introduced this initiative to help combat fraud. There have been many cases where construction businesses charge VAT and then decide to stop trading which ultimately means that they take with them between 5% to 20% of additional profit due to the VAT that they have charged.

Ultimately, as with any change of this nature, a business will need to make some significant changes:

  • Staff will need extra training to recognise CIS projects
  • All accountancy and bookkeeping practices will need to be updated to account for the changes in invoicing and reporting obligations
  • The VAT Flat Rate Scheme can no longer be utilised
  • No cash payments can be accepted
  • The cashflow needs of a business will change and consideration might be needed to file monthly returns

In summary, the construction activities that VAT reverse charges apply to are:

  • A building or structure project that has some form of construction work which includes alterations, repairs, extensions or even demolition
  • Any work on a piece of land that includes construction activities for walls, power lines, electrics, water, pipelines and sewers
  • The installation of lighting, heating, air conditioning, power supplies, drainage, water supply and fire protection
  • Painting and decorating of any internal or external surfaces of a building

Should you have any questions or need any further information in regards to the VAT reverse charge scheme please call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk.

VAT Charges for Online Marketplace | VAT Advice for Selling Online | VAT Help Bristol | VAT Advice Online
VAT Charges for Online Marketplace 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

VAT Charges for Online Marketplace

More and more people are setting up their own businesses as a result of COVID-19, whether it be because of redundancy or just taking a fresh look at life following lockdown and deciding to make a change.

When these businesses start out though they only have a small client base, so for these vendors the quickest route to get their goods or services to a larger market can be via a third-party online marketplace such as Etsy or Amazon.

Whilst this is an attractive and seemingly simple way to reach new customers, there are some considerations that need to be taken into account when selling in this way, such as commission fees, transaction charges and VAT charges. Things to be aware of include:

  • VAT is payable on the full price of the product or service, not the net amount after fees have been paid to the online marketplace.
  • If the online marketplace is based outside of the UK, as is often the case, a UK business that is VAT registered must apply the reverse charge on their VAT return.
  • If the sales are to EU based customers, as of the 31st December 2020 it is important to remember that the transitional deal ends and VAT will be charged at the rate of the customer’s country where applicable.
  • Sales to UK customers will be at standard rate.
  • Sales to customers outside of the EU are not liable for VAT.
  • Where a business is not VAT registered, any payments to overseas suppliers are treated as taxable sales.

The rules can seem somewhat complicated so if you are unsure about how they apply to your business it is important to seek advice from and accountant who will be able to clarify what VAT payments are due.

If you have any questions or need some assistance then please call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk

VAT Oddities | UK VAT Rules | VAT Advice Bristol
VAT Oddities 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

VAT Oddities

VAT rules are known for their complexities and the headaches that they can cause businesses around the UK. But it’s the peculiarities of the system that can have people scratching their heads, particularly in the world of food!

Recently, the case of Nesquik flavoured milk has been highlighted. Bizarrely chocolate flavoured milk is already VAT exempt, however, strawberry and banana are classed as standard rated and so 20% VAT is applied. Nesquik tried, and lost, to argue that all three flavours should be exempt

Fancy a biscuit with your milkshake? Depending on whether or not it has chocolate on can make all the difference when it comes to VAT. A plain biscuit, traditionally a zero-rated product, when coated in chocolate, a standard rated item, suddenly becomes a luxury item and has 20% VAT added.

Sounds fairly straight forward? Think again. If the chocolate is included inside the biscuit, in the case of chocolate chip cookies, it is back to being zero rated. This is also the case where the chocolate is sandwiched between two biscuits.

Think that is peculiar? Spare a thought for the poor gingerbread man. If he just has two chocolate eyes there is no VAT charged, but as soon as he starts to put on any clothing made from chocolate, such as trousers or a nice smart bow tie, he suddenly has VAT added.

And don’t even mention Jaffa Cakes….. McVities have very cleverly argued that they are classed as a cake not a biscuit and so no VAT is not applied despite being coated in chocolate.

VAT rules – they really take the biscuit!

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