Monthly Archives: January 2016

Tax Deadline Extension For Flood Victims

shutterstock_356163935With the tax return deadline looming, HMRC have issued guidelines to those affected by recent flooding. Businesses and individuals who are unable to complete their tax returns online by the 31 January deadline as a result of flood damage should contact the HMRC. A new deadline will be agreed directly with the taxpayer by HMRC and fines will apply if this new deadline is missed.

Failure to contact HMRC to alert them of a late filing due to flooding will result in a fine, but those who miss the deadline will have the opportunity to appeal. HMRC will also agree to payment in instalments if taxpayers are unable to pay as a result of the floods.

Please be advised that this is not an indefinite suspension of self-assessment penalties, but a recognition by HMRC that many businesses and individuals are being affected by adversities beyond their control.

Full details are available on the Accountancy Age website. If you require more information and think you may need to apply for an extension, please get in touch with our tax team by phone on 01254 679131 or by email at tax@pmm.co.uk.

Big Changes Coming (Slowly) In Accounting For Leases

shutterstock_246723634It has been over 20 years since the first accounting standard setter dared to propose that all future lease payments should be shown as a liability.  This week a new International Financial Reporting Standard was published meaning that this will be a requirement for large companies from January 2019.  There is no news yet as to when this change will be imposed on smaller businesses but it is almost certain to happen at some stage and may come into force at the same time (January 2019).

At the moment, company accounts include a note setting out what the future payments under leases will be. In many cases, company accounts only recognise as a liability lease payments which were actually due to be settled by the accounts date.  For large and long term leases, such as for property, the difference can be enormous.

From 2019 when you sign a new lease for the use of an asset you will recognise as a liability all the future payments you commit to making (adjusted for interest if you want) and recognisea fixed asset for the same value.  You then depreciate the asset over the lease term and pay the lease payments as they are due.

The big difference will be that many companies will show significantly higher fixed assets and liabilities.  This may make suppliers and customers more nervous and may mean that businesses breach the covenant requirements of their bank loans and overdrafts.

There are lots of sensible provisions to minimise the disruption of this – for example, excluding leases of less than 12 months, excluding leases for individual small amounts and putting in special rules for dealing with break clauses and leases with rent based on turnover.

The change is unlikely to affect the tax position of companies, but it is much too early to be definite on that.  There will however be some very different figures presented for “earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation” (EBITDA) as lease payments previously included as operating costs will now be shown as depreciation and interest.  EBITDA is often used by analysts and corporate financiers in valuing a business and several ratios will have to change as a result of this.

I expect the biggest impacts on accounts to be for companies in sectors with a high property cost, such as retail and agriculture.  In areas like this, however, I think that everyone looking at accounts will understand the issue and it won’t cause too many problems.  Smaller manufacturing and distribution businesses with leased properties may find that their accounts are significantly affected and the problems for them may be much greater.

While personally I think that these new rules will make accounts more easily understood and comparable, the change from current practice for many businesses will require a lot of work.

If you want to discuss how this may affect you, please call me on 07710 703 463.

David Gorton – Senior Partner 

When Pension Freedom Isn’t Free – FCA To Consult On Scrapping Exit Charges

shutterstock_138231248Following the introduction of pension freedoms allowing people over the age of 55 to access their pension pots, many people have found that free means paying penalties or exit fees! On older style contracts it is not unusual to find that exit penalties apply up to the nominated retirement age Although modern contracts tend to be much more cost effective, these can be as much as 10% of the value of the fund, amounting to thousands of pounds.

The Treasury has confirmed that excessive exit charges enforced by some pension providers will be banned.  The precise level of the cap will be set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), following a public consultation.

There is little doubt that the introduction of such a cap would be a positive step in the right direction in further restoring confidence in pensions and making them more transparent.

As the pension revolution continues full steam ahead, against the back drop of volatile world markets and further possible changes in tax relief, it has never been more important to review pension arrangements to make sure you are able to make full use of the financial and tax planning opportunities that exist.

For a free pension health check please contact Antony Keen, Director at PM+M Wealth Management, either by email at antony.keen@pmm.co.uk or by phone on 01254 604303.

PM+M Wealth Management Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

There’s No Place Like Home

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It’s fantastic to see a local business grow to a huge size and still stay loyal to its geographical roots. Euro Garages began its life in sunny Blackburn and is still in sunny Blackburn, having resisted any temptation to move to the bright lights of the big city. It is by no means the only example though, with Daisy Telecom still based in even sunnier Nelson.

Both companies have put acquisitions at the heart of their growth strategy and have shown how to make them work. The gloomy statistics put out about how something like 50% of acquisitions fail to deliver the hoped for value just show how important it is to get things right.

Firstly, both these companies have a clear strategy which makes the decision about what to buy and whether it is worth buying much easier. Woolly thinking destroys value.

Secondly, they have a tried and tested business model into which they can integrate their acquisitions to maximum benefit.

Thirdly, they have secured external equity investment in one form or another to fuel their growth plans. The expected increase in value outweighs the proportion of ownership relinquished.

But you don’t have to be a Daisy or a Euro Garages to make acquisitions work for you. SMEs can also play this game. Have a clear growth strategy. Be positive about how you are going to integrate your acquisition and make it happen. Don’t be afraid of external investment.

Finally, get help. PM+M Corporate Finance have the experience and contacts to help you drive your growth ambitions. For more information, contact Jim Akrill (jim.akrill@pmm.co.uk or 01254 604353) or Tim Mills (tim.mills@pmm.co.uk or 01254 604302).

Mixed Response To HMRC’s Plans To Digitalise Services By 2020

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In last year’s Autumn Statement, the Chancellor George Osborne revealed the Government’s plans to digitalise HMRC services by 2020.  As part of the reforms, small businesses and self-employed individuals will be required to submit quarterly tax data online. Since the announcement, an official petition has been set up and has gathered over 100,000 signatures in an attempt to block the changes.

Whilst the plans to digitalise HMRC services have on the whole have been praised, some believe it will cause problems for businesses run by non-computer literate owners or those who shun more “sophisticated” tax recording methods. Also, most small business owners spend all their time running their business and don’t really want to spend too much of it compiling information to send to HMRC.

As with almost all petitions gaining over 100,000 signatures, the matter will now go before Parliament on 25 January.

If you are a small business owner or are self-employed, what are your thoughts on the digitalisation of HMRC services? Do you think submitting quarterly data is a blessing or curse? What effect will this have on your business? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comment section below or get in touch with our tax team on Twitter – @pmm_tax.

For further information, you can read a more detailed summary on Accountancy Age here.

Have You Completed Your Personal Tax Return?

shutterstock_276568649Christmas is now a distant memory and time is running out for completing your tax return before the 31 January deadline.

If we do your tax return and you have not yet sent us your information, please do so as soon as possible in order to ensure you don’t incur a £100 late filing penalty.

If you prepare your own tax return and are already registered with HMRC’s online service, we recommend you log on and prepare your return sooner rather than later.  The HMRC portal is likely to get very busy as we get closer to 31 January.  Also, you may find when you sit down to prepare your return that you are missing some information or need some advice, both of which may take time to resolve.

The bad news for those who have not already registered for self-assessment is that it’s currently taking HMRC 6 weeks to issue UTR (unique taxpayer references). However, if you apply now and make a reasonable effort to register well before the deadline HMRC may exercise some leniency. They may not be so keen to set aside late filing penalties if you do not apply until 30 January.

If you need help with your tax return or this is your first time completing a tax return online and are worried about meeting the deadline, please get in touch with Julie Walsh (Tax Manager) at julie.walsh@pmm.co.uk or call 01254 679131.

Introducing Our New Business Sales Website

 

When you build a business from the ground up you devote a  huge amount of effort making it a thriving and profitable enterprise. Your business may well represent a lifetime of blood, sweat and tears so when the time comes to sell it you need to make sure that you have a first class team on your side.

Our new website concentrates on giving owners a better understanding of what is involved and how to position their business in anticipation of a sale.

Jim Akrill, corporate finance partner at PM+M, said: “Our approach is simple and we use our years of experience to guide, support and advise the seller through every stage of the process. We provide a complete service to business owners as opposed to acting merely as a broker. We believe it is vital that all aspects of a deal are considered including effective tax planning, ways to enhance value as well as providing efficient project management to ensure rapid progress to completion. With us, owners can get all this and more under one roof.”

If you would like to explore the prospect of selling your business, even if you’re not quite ready to take the plunge, we’re running a series of seminars to help business owners understand the sale process and how to increase business value. Please visit www.pmmbusiness-sales.co.uk to book or to obtain more information.

Alternatively, if you would like to discuss the sale of your business please get in touch with Jim Akrill at jim.akrill@pmm.co.uk or call 01254 679131.

Recruitment Update

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L-R: Josh Tuplin, Bethany Atkinson, Harriet Gerrard, Kathryn Rigbye, Denise Mortimer, Jack Hambley & Janet Hughes

It’s been a busy few months for PM+M with a number of new starters across the firm. Our rapidly growing Run My Business team has welcomed Evie Halliwell, Janet Hughes, Denise Mortimer, Jack Hambley and Harriet Gerrard.

As another busy audit period fast approaches, our Corporate Services team has also welcomed Bethany Atkinson and Josh Tuplin, whilst our support team has expanded by welcoming Kathryn Rigbye as our new HR Talent Manager and James Cooper as our new Caretaker.

We are still currently recruiting for an Audit and Accounts Semi Senior for the Corporate Services team. For a full listing of available roles at PM+M, please click here.