Monthly Archives: October 2014

Helping Family Businesses Achieve Their Goals

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Running a family business can be challenging and it’s common for conflict to occur. Whilst family businesses are becoming more prominent and recognised as the ‘backbone of the UK economy’, they come with the risk of family dynamics interfering with the running of the business. Our expert team specialises in helping families build high performing teams through vision, creation and strategic planning to prepare the next generation for leadership and succession.

However, having your family there to support the business can be rewarding as well as challenging. The key to running a successful family business is balance; balancing family and business interests, which often requires compromise. It is often personality and emotions that cause conflict within a family business, making it essential to integrate succession and leadership plans.

Family businesses that are in transition from one generation to the other are often the ones that face conflict. Conflict can often escalate over time due to the root of the problem being ignored. Succession planning for a family business gives you peace of mind and having a plan in place lays down the firm’s direction for the future, giving security when handing over to the next generation.

As the North West Centre for Family Businesses, the experts at PM+M give advice and guidance in succession planning, vision and strategy, and our expert advisers are trained in conflict mitigation. PM+M has over 90 years of experience working with family businesses in the North West and we provide support every step of the way.

For more information on how to have a successful family business, come along to our FREE seminar on Tuesday 18 November (8am-1pm, breakfast and lunch provided) and hear from award-winning guest speaker Peter Roper, The Family Business Man.

To book your place on our FREE family business seminar, call 01254 679131 or email familybusiness@pmm.co.uk.

 

Would you like to win an iPad? Take part in our Family Business Survey 2014.

 

Trust needs to be rebuilt in pensions

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It has been impossible to avoid hearing about pensions since the Government brought in compulsory workplace pensions back in October 2012. We asked Antony Keen, Director of PM+M Wealth Management, to share his thoughts on the most recent changes.

“I realised a long time ago that the word pension is a complicated one and much of the public’s confusion stems from the plethora of changes that the Government has introduced in recent times. It claims this evolution seeks to reinvent pensions in order to make them more appealing and fit for purpose in the modern world. Of course, to offset this, the state retirement age has been put back to 68 for many people, and as longevity rates increase, 70 may well become the new retirement age. A concept many of us will struggle with.

Under the proposed changes, gone is the requirement to purchase an annuity (income for life) and you can now draw part – or all – of the fund as you see fit, subject to reaching a minimum age of 55. Generally, the first 25% of the fund can be taken tax free with the remaining fund being taxable at your marginal rate.

The more cynical amongst us may believe that George Osborne hopes many people will draw their entire funds producing an additional tax take for the Revenue. There is also a proposal to abolish the potential 55% tax charge on death, and a further proposal to allow pension funds to be passed down the family line whilst retaining the tax free wrapper.

So, pensions are more flexible than ever and combined with the dual benefit of income tax relief and tax free growth, they can be one of the most powerful planning tools available. With the removal of the upper income cap allowing individuals to draw any amount out of their pension pot, will we see people drawing out whole funds to buy a Ferrari or a yacht? The short answer will probably be no. More than likely we will see people access their pots to fund children’s university education or house deposits, and maybe even for their original intention as a pot to retire with!

In general all the proposed changes are positive and will give everyone more flexibility and control over their pension and financial future.  However, if trust is to be rebuilt in pensions, a period a consistency is required with no further changes, so people can come to terms with reinvention of pensions. If you are reading this George, no more changes please!”

Record Number of Phishing Emails Documented Over the Past 6 Months

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HMRC warn of a record number of phishing emails being reported. Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an email. In scam emails appearing to come from HMRC, recipients are being promised tax rebates in exchange for their personal details, which can lead to serious offences being committed such as identity theft. Over the past 6 months, HMRC have been alerted to almost 75,000 scam emails. This figure is up 70% on the same period in 2013.

At PM+M, we would like to remind you, as clients or simply readers, to be vigilant and bear in mind that HMRC will NEVER contact you via email regarding a tax refund. Never give your personal details out over email.

For more information on tax rebates, contact our tax team on 01254 679131.

HMRC Homes in on East Lancashire with Fines for Late Tax Returns

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Due on 31 October, a late paper tax return could result in a £100 fine for East Lancashire residents as HMRC targets the region. Whether you have tax to pay or not, and even if you pay the tax on time, HMRC have the right to fine for late-filing.   If you file your tax return electronically, the deadline is 31 January, but if you want to submit a paper tax return, you have to get it in by the end of this month to avoid penalties.

According to HRMC, around 179,000 people in Lancashire need to file a Self-Assessment tax return and many of those may not be aware of the looming deadline.

Even if you plan to file electronically, you should avoid leaving your tax return until January.  It can take some time to get yourself set up on HMRC’s online service, particularly as HMRC’s systems get busier in January.

For more information about tax returns and how PM+M can help you, please contact Jane Parry or a member of the tax team on 01254 679131.

Jackie Fisher achieves a fantastic feat of endurance

Jackie & Her Team

Jackie & Her Team

This weekend Jackie Fisher Run My Business Partner at PM+M, successfully completed a charity climb to the top of Ben Nevis. Jackie took on this challenge with her husband Rob, her son Scott as well as some friends, all in aid of the ABF The Soldier’s Charity. So far, they have raised over £1,400.

The ABF Soldiers Charity provides a lifetime of support to serving and retired soldiers and their families. The local office in Preston provided Jackie’s team with t-shirts for the climb and a flag which was proudly held up at the top of Ben Nevis.

Jackie said “We are delighted to reach the summit and the climb was most certainly a challenge. However, raising money for a charity that we believe in so passionately was our inspiration and that really helped us to get to the top.”

If you still wish to donate to this fantastic charity, it’s not too late! Donations no matter how big or small can be made via their Just Giving page: http://ow.ly/CMnoq

Jackie near the summit

Jackie approaching the summit

The team near the start

The team at the beginning of the climb

Businesses Risk Costly HMRC Investigations without Fee Protection Insurance

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It is important that businesses are aware they risk financial loss and unnecessary stress if they don’t have adequate fee protection insurance to cover professional fees incurred in unexpected tax investigations.

We work with clients from across the North West and the whole of the UK, recently we undertook a survey of over 2,000 businesses looking at how many of them have fee protection insurance. Our findings showed that just 21% of private clients (including partnerships, sole traders and trusts) and 16% of corporate clients were adequately covered.

HMRC tax investigations can be deeply intrusive, time consuming and can drag on for months or even years. If a business is subject to an investigation, significant professional fees can be incurred which means costs can spiral and are in addition to any subsequent tax, interest and penalties which become payable. HMRC is expected to increase the number of tax investigations that it carries out over the next 12 months – both via random selection and industry specific targeting.

Some of the most common disputes include: HM Revenue and Customs income tax and corporation tax enquiries, the Construction Industry Scheme, VAT, NI Contributions and PAYE issues. The aim of fee protection insurance is to cover all the costs incurred by specialists in defence of an enquiry from the Revenue authorities.

Jane Parry, our lead tax partner at PM+M, said: “Issues around tax have dominated the news agenda for some time now. HMRC has stated its intention to clamp down on non-payment of due tax so the number of investigations is almost certainly set to rise. Any business could be subject to a snap inspection so people shouldn’t put their heads in the sand to the potential risks.

Jane added: The authorities don’t always get it right but the onus is on the taxpayer to prove their innocence which can mean huge and unsustainable costs. It’s therefore vital for taxpayers to ensure they’re protected and adequately covered should they get a knock on the door from the tax man.  Having fee protection insurance in place gives our clients complete peace of mind that we will be able to spend as much time as necessary to fight their case without it costing the earth.”

For further information, or advice on this, please contact Jane Parry jane.parry@pmm.co.uk or contact the tax team on 01254 679131.

 

Panaz Testimonial for PM+M

At PM+M, we like to hear what our clients think about our services. Recently, we invited Tony Attard of Panaz, who we have been working with since they began trading almost 30 years ago, to talk about his experience.

Panaz first started using PM+M for their accounts and audit and as they have grown, Panaz started to use more of the services we have to offer, such as managing their payroll and pensions.

Here is Tony speaking about his experience with PM+M:

For a look at what more of our clients have to say about PM+M click here.

Daniel Hill – PM+M Marketing Team

Navigating through the pensions maze

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It seems that hardly a day goes by without more articles appearing about pension changes since the major relaxations in the rules governing how you can access your pension savings were announced in this Spring’s Budget.

Recent ones include stories in the press over the weekend about the flipside of the new pension flexibility meaning that your pension fund could be available for creditors in insolvency or cause problems on divorce or affect those with means tested benefits.

We also have the Chancellor’s announcement this week that the current 55% tax charge on pension funds is to be abolished from April 2015. This charge applies to the unused fund if you die after age 75 or if you started to draw down from your pension pot before age 75.

This latest announcement paves the way for family pension pots which can be passed down the generations tax efficiently.

With all these changes bringing a host of opportunities and also some threats, how do you make sure that you choose the right path for you and your family?

The answer is that there is no one size fits all approach, but our team of skilled financial planners and tax experts will sit down with you, spend the time to understand your situation and then work with you to guide you through the pensions maze.

Pensions are notoriously complex and confusing for even the financially astute. Our job is to demystify them for you and give you clear information and helpful advice so that you can make the right decisions.

If you would like advice on your pension planning please contact Tony Brierley, Antony Keen or Richard Hesketh on 01254 679131.

During 2014/15 we are running a number of important FREE seminars aimed at helping people plan their financial futures and achieve peace of mind. For more information and to reserve your place click here.

HMRC to take tax debts from pay packets

HMRC tax debts from pay packets

HMRC are set to take tax debts from high earners’ pay packets, under new powers that come into force later this week. This measure was discussed in the 2013 budget and implemented through secondary legislation. It means that HMRC will be able to collect up to £17,000 a year of tax debts directly from pay packets, which is a significant increase from the current limit of £3,000.

The change is expected to raise £115m in the 2015-16 tax year and has been overshadowed by new HMRC powers to recover debts directly from bank accounts. Despite receiving intense criticism, HMRC continues to defend its crackdown. The matter may end up being decided by the next government, as the May general election is likely to result in a reduced Finance Bill.

It should be noted that this proposal has been introduced on a sliding scale, consequently only individuals earning more than £90,000 would face a £17,000 deduction and this will not affect those earning less than £30,000, who will still be subject to the £3,000 limit. HMRC have also issued a guarantee that it would not take more than half the salary of those concerned. This new measure has caused less controversy than the plans to deduct the money straight from bank accounts, as it spreads the payments over the year via a PAYE coding notice.

Experience would suggest that once HMRC start interfering with your PAYE code number it can easily get confusing therefore those affected should seek advice and also take care to ensure it is removed from the code for the following year.

For advice on this, or any other tax issues, contact Jane Parry jane.parry@pmm.co.uk or any member of the tax team.