Category Archives: PM+M

Introducing Jon Connor: Our new R&D tax specialist

Research and Development (R&D) tax incentives have been around now for quite some time, but are you making the most of them? According to our newly appointed R&D Tax Credits Manager, Jon Connor, these benefits could give you “a competitive edge”.

Uncovering innovation from within a business can often be complex. It may be buried within different areas of your organisation or even outsourced. Whether you’re a recruitment agency designing a new app or a manufacturer developing new production techniques, innovation can come in all shapes and sizes, and is very rarely bound by industry.

However, around nine out of ten eligible SMEs fail to claim for R&D tax relief, indicating that the hidden value of innovation is not known.

“Companies are missing out on valuable R&D tax credits to the tune of thousands of pounds,” says Jon. “Generally speaking, I find it’s the businesses you typically wouldn’t associate with R&D that are overlooking relief.”

“The very term “R&D” often deters many firms from applying,” Jon explains. “Innovation doesn’t always take place in laboratories with scientists in white coats. On numerous occasions I’ve had business owners tell me “we don’t really do R&D”, often perceiving the scope of qualifying activities to be much narrower.”

If you are developing new products, processes or services there is a strong chance that you are eligible for R&D tax relief. The relief allows a company to deduct an extra 130% of qualifying costs from its yearly profit (as well as the normal 100% deduction) to create a total 230% deduction. Qualifying expenditure can include costs spent on employees, software, transformed / consumed materials and subcontractors.

Here at PM+M have helped clients all over the UK recoup over £3m in R&D tax credits in total. In turn, this has enabled business-owners to reinvest in innovation, future-proof their companies and, most importantly, invest in growth initiatives.

Jon says: “If you’re unsure as whether you could qualify for tax relief, it is absolutely worth having a ten-minute phone call with us. The potential outcomes of making a claim could revolutionise your business and help you achieve your financial goals.”

We can help you to identify eligible R&D projects (historic, current and future), highlight expenditure incurred on qualifying activities, optimise the amount of relief available, draft supporting documentation to HMRC and offer support in defending your claim in the event of HMRC raising queries.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with Jon to discuss your situation and understand whether or not you may be eligible.

How do changes in entrepreneurs’ relief following the Budget affect me and when do they come into force?

PM+M’s tax director, Claire Astley, examines the changes to entrepreneurs’relief following announcements made in the 2018 Autumn Budget.

Entrepreneurs’ relief allows the individual owners of business assets, including shares in a “personal company” (see definition below), to pay a reduced rate of tax on any capital gain they make when they sell those assets.  Entrepreneurs’ relief applies to individuals only.  It isn’t applicable to any gains made by limited companies.

Key changes following Autumn Budget

The Chancellor announced two key changes to entrepreneurs’ relief which shareholders need to consider now.

The first change announced was the definition of a ‘personal company’ for entrepreneurs’ relief.  Previously, a personal company was defined as a trading company in which the shareholder:

  • is an office holder, director or employee of the company or group company; and
  • holds at least 5% of the ordinary share capital and of the voting rights of the company.

Following the Budget announcements, the shareholder will now also need to hold a 5% interest in the distributable profits and the net assets of the company for the relief to be available on the gain.

As this change will apply to disposals on or after 29 October 2018, the new conditions will need to have been met for a minimum period of 12 months leading up the disposal, this could have an impact on any imminent sales.

The second change, effective from 6 April 2019, is to extend the holding period throughout which the qualifying conditions for the relief must be satisfied before the disposal from one year to two years.

Finally, an individual whose shareholding is below the 5% qualifying threshold due to an issue of new shares will from April 2019 be able to obtain entrepreneurs’ relief on gains made up to the time of the dilution and freeze their entitlement at that point.

Points to note

There has been much discussion in the industry media regarding the impact these changes may have on shareholders with alphabet shares in their personal company and whether such shareholders will meet the new 5% interest in distributable profits condition.  The changes in legislation have led to a great deal of uncertainty in this area and the professional bodies are due to meet with HMRC on 12th December to hopefully clarify the position.

On the bright side these new conditions do not apply to shares issued through the enterprise management investment (EMI) scheme making this an even more attractive option for issuing shares to key employees.

Next steps

Shareholders with alphabet shares should sit tight for now and await the outcome of the discussions with HMRC.  Shareholders with alphabet shares who are in the process of selling their shares please contact us for a review of your position.

Any changes made to share rights without proper advice could result in income tax charges arising for shareholders under the employment related securities legislation, so it is important not to rush into making changes.

For advice on this matter speak to Claire Astley on 01254 679131 or email Claire directly at claire.astley@pmm.co.uk.

Christmas present appeal 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2010, we launched the first ever PM+M Christmas present appeal where our team, clients and friends were asked to donate Christmas presents for local vulnerable children. Due to the success and generosity over the past eight years we have decided to run the appeal again.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be collecting gifts for Blackburn, Burnley and Bury Children’s Services and want to make it our biggest year ever!

If you are able to spare a little time and money, we know your donations will be greatly appreciated. For some children, this could be the only gift they receive this Christmas. Gifts can be for children of any age or gender and we have included a few guidelines below:

  • Gifts should be to the value of around £10
  • Gifts must be new
  • Gifts can either be wrapped or unwrapped
  • If wrapped, gifts should be clearly marked with gender and age range
  • Gifts should not contain confectionery or alcohol

Gifts can be dropped off at our any of our offices between 8:30am and 5pm. The last day for drop off is Thursday 13 December.

The PM+M team would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your kindness and generosity and we do hope that as many of you as possible will join us in supporting such a worthy cause.

A reminder of our office addresses are below. Should you require any further information, please get in touch with our marketing team on 01254 679131.

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PM+M wins Professional, Legal and Financial award for the second year running at Made in Bury Business Awards

Today all of us here at PM+M are celebrating after winning the Professional, Legal and Financial award for the second year running at the prestigious Made in Bury Business Awards.

The Made in Bury Business Awards (which took place last night – Thursday 22 November) are held to champion local Bury businesses and celebrate their outstanding achievements. This is the sixth year the awards have been staged, and entries were judged by a high-profile panel which included some of the borough’s leading business professionals.

Along with being crowned as best Professional, Legal and Financial firm in Bury, we are pleased to confirm that PM+M was also highly commended in two other categories – Excellence in Developing People (for our dedication and commitment to supporting and encouraging our team to exceed), and Businesswoman of the Year (in which PM+M partner Helen Clayton was shortlisted).

As the leader of PM+M’s Bury office, Helen has played an integral part in PM+M’s success over the past few years, and under Helen’s direction, PM+M has become a leading figure in Bury’s business scene.

Helen said: “As our Bury office goes from strength to strength, I am so proud of the PM+M team and the success we have had in Bury since setting up the new office just over two years ago. Winning this award for a second year really does demonstrate our commitment to the Bury community which we serve. We will of course continue to develop and will hopefully be back to enter Made in Bury Business Awards next year and fingers crossed we will walk away with a third success story!”

PM+M payroll shortlisted at The Rewards 2018

We are pleased to announce that for a second year running, our PM+M payroll team have been shortlisted for The Service Provider Team Award at The Rewards 2018.

The popular ceremony, The Rewards, previously the payroll world awards, is returning for its 7th year and is known as the leading independent awards for payroll, HR and reward professionals in the UK.

The ceremony will be taking place at Hilton London Bankside on November 7 and is the most distinguished event on the industry’s calendar. It is the perfect opportunity to celebrate high achievements and excellence in payroll, reward and related sectors.

Entrants must demonstrate outstanding performance and the judges will be looking for evidence of success in one or more of the following criteria;

  • Outstanding effort under testing circumstances
  • Significant improvements in performance
  • Achievement of targets/incentives
  • Achievement of training/qualifications
  • Implementation of new procedures or systems
  • Excellent teamwork within their own team or with other departments
  • Excellent customer service record

Providing outsourced payroll solutions to over 400 clients, our payroll team at PM+M are highly regarded as one of the leading payroll providers in the North West. Over the past year we have seen many changes to our way of working, having implemented several changes that have enhanced both our procedures and our service delivery to clients.

Julie Mason – head of payroll at PM+M – commented: “The PM+M payroll bureau has grown tremendously and seen a digital transformation over the last twelve months. We have introduced new systems and procedures to improve our services for clients and ensure we provide great value for money.  We work really hard to help our clients and are thrilled to be nominated.  We can’t wait to find out the results!!”

Welcoming more members to our growing payroll team

In celebration of National Payroll Week, we are pleased to welcome two members to PM+M’s growing payroll team, our new payroll administrator, Andrea Wellock and payroll apprentice, Mohammed Aamir Patel. The addition of Andrea and Mohammed to PM+M has taken our payroll department to a team of eight, allowing us to dedicate even more time to helping our clients achieve more through their outsourced payroll solutions.

Whilst Andrea joined our team a few months ago, Mohammed joined our team only this week, following our appointment of six other apprentices across the firm. Working across all teams at PM+M, each apprentice will be studying towards a recognised qualification over the next three years, as well as gaining invaluable ‘on the job’ training.

Jane Parry, managing partner of PM+M, commented: “As a firm, we are fully committed to making sure that we invest in young local talent, so the apprenticeship programme is a hugely important part of the business. We are confident that these new recruits will further enhance the level of service that our clients have come to enjoy and we are really pleased to guide them through their studies and watch them develop as professionals.”

 

24/7 work culture – are you complying with minimum wage?

The advent of new technology has transformed the way we work and live. This dramatic change has wiped-out the 9-5 office culture, creating endless possibilities and making it far easier to work outside of the workplace. The average working week in the UK has risen to 42.7 hours for full time employees* so, how does this impact on your team and their salary?

 

What does this mean for employers?

Recently, a case was highlighted in Ireland where an executive was rewarded €7,500 after arguing that she was required to deal with out-of-hours work emails. This led to the individual working more than the maximum 48 hours a week set out in Ireland’s Organisation of Working Time Act 1997.

Obviously, enhanced communication can make our lives easier, but we can equally fall victim to constantly being tied to our job. In National Payroll Week our payroll team are encouraging employers to address the necessary policies to ensure that their employees can switch-off entirely.

No emails out of working hours or during holidays, no staying at the office outside normal hours, unless necessary and no calls to mobiles outside of the employees normal working hours, are just a few suggestions. Other measures include work-sharing and ensuring employees have a healthy and productive work-life balance.

Our digital mobility and capacity to work for longer periods of time and at differing hours can be very productive but also counter-productive for employee’s well-being and ultimately affect the salary. It is important that organisations work with individuals to produce guidance that is effective for all.

Julie Mason, who heads up the PM+M payroll team said: “Individual requirements for flexibility can make ‘a one for all policy’ difficult, but what is most imperative is to ensure that everyone can benefit and that a supportive culture is developed which focuses on the well-being of all team members. This in turn will mitigate any risk to the employer on dropping below the minimum wage.”.

If you would like to discuss any payroll issues with Julie Mason or any member of the payroll team, please contact our Payroll Services Manager, Julie Mason, on 01254 679131 or via email at julie.mason@pmm.co.uk.

Childcare Vouchers vs Tax-Free Childcare

Do you offer the childcare voucher scheme to your team ? The current tax-free scheme has proven very popular with working parents, allowing them to earn up to £55 per week in childcare vouchers. The scheme will soon be replaced by a new government initiative meaning that there are a few things that you, as a business owner, will need to consider.

You are still able to offer the current scheme to any eligible employees if they sign up before October 4, 2018. However, it is advised that you encourage your team to apply as soon as possible, as they must have received the first set of vouchers before the cut-off date. Alternatively, you could take this opportunity to stop your involvement in the scheme altogether. Whichever way you decide to proceed, it is vital that you inform your employees appropriately.

After the cut-off date, employees will only be eligible for the government led programme, which requires no input from yourself. The new scheme will require team members to deposit funds into an account on the HMRC website where the government will also contribute up to £2000 per child, per year.

The new scheme: what is Tax-Free Childcare?

The new scheme will be open to single parents/couples who work eight or more hours a week (including self-employed individuals), and who pay for Ofsted registered childcare for a child under the age of 12, or under 17 if the child is disabled.

Eligible families will receive 20% of their annual childcare costs paid for by the government. In other words, for every 80p in the £1 contributed by parents, an additional 20p will be funded by the government up to a maximum total of £10,000 per child per year.

The new scheme is open to all qualifying parents, unlike the current childcare voucher scheme which is only available to people whose employer offers the scheme.

New scheme vs current scheme

Childcare voucher scheme Tax free childcare
You can only apply for them if your employer offers them Anyone can apply
You do not have to earn any minimum amount and only one parent needs to be working You will need to earn a minimum of £115.00 per week and both parents need to be working
The maximum age where a child’s childcare can be paid for is 15 years (16 years if disabled) The maximum age where a child’s childcare can be paid for is 12 years (17 years if disabled)
There is no maximum amount of monies earned Parents must earn less than £100,000 per year

If you have any questions regarding the changes to the childcare scheme, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Payroll Services Manager, Julie Mason, on 01254 679131 or via email at julie.mason@pmm.co.uk.

Introducing new Xero Expenses

Expense claims are a part of running any business, from fuel to office supplies and everything in between. However, a what should be simple task of reimbursing employees can quickly turn into a laborious, paper work nightmare.

Well, not anymore. Recently Xero launched their new Xero Expenses to tackle several issues within Xero. The new function will run along aside the existing and gives accountants, bookkeepers and small businesses all the tools needed to process expense claim simply and efficiently.

What’s new?

  • Faster expense capture – Reduces the need to keep paper receipts, a quick picture taken on a smart phone can be automatically scanned in.
  • Push notifications – To keep businesses, employees and advisors up to date with claims from anywhere.
  • More flexible user permissions –  Giving complete control of who can view, submit, and approve an expense claim for or on behalf of someone else.
  • Simple and intuitive workflows – Making it easy to monitor, review and approve any unpaid expenses.
  • Greater insights and powerful analytics – Helping businesses to understand their spending habits and patterns with a detailed and real-time understanding.

If you have been using classic expense claims in the six months prior 10 July 2018, you can continue using it for the foreseeable future. However, you’ll also be able to try out Xero Expenses for free until 28 September 2018.

For any further information, help or advice with Xero, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01254 679131 or email cloudaccounting@pmm.co.uk.

Spring Statement 2018

Jane Parry, Tax Partner, comments on today’s Spring Statement announcements…

As expected, the Spring Statement was a bit of a non event which was refreshing as I know many businesses didn’t want another ‘mini budget’. They’re tired of hearing new policy announcements along with additional tax and spending measures; they simply want to focus their time and effort on growing despite the ever present uncertainty of Brexit and things like the Making Tax Digital regime and the looming shadow of GDPR.

The news around consultations on tackling the issue of single-use plastics and the taxation of the profits of digital giants like Facebook and Google is all well and good, but action is what’s needed not more consultations.

On a positive note, it was good to learn that tax receipts are covering day-to-day government spending for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, that borrowing is £4.7bn lower than expected and that growth is slightly higher than forecast last year. However, we’ve still got one of the slowest growth rates in the G7 and public debt as a percentage of national income remains well above 80%.

The consultations on productivity improvement and tackling late payment are both good news for local businesses, as is the additional funding to help smaller businesses take on apprentices.

What I want to see from the Government over the next few months is simple: more clarity around Brexit and how it plans to help businesses grow by closing the skills gap and helping them to improve productivity. These are the real issues that need to be addressed, everything else comes second.

If you would like to discuss any of today’s announcements with the PM+M team, please call 01254 679131.