Latest news from HCA – April 2017

Tax Year End – Submit Your Self Assessment Return Early

Another financial year has passed so quickly.

So, it's time to start collating that financial information for your self assessment return.

If you are likely to have overpaid tax in 2016/17, such as being a Subcontractor with Gross CIS deductions, then of course there is strong motivation to complete your return soon and get the cash back in your bank account as soon as possible.

If you are not due a refund, then an early submission to clarify the amount of tax due to be paid in the future is always helpful for your financial planning.

Another Payment Scam

Following last month’s news highlighting two common Fraud Payment Scams, we have been advised by the banks of a new scam.

The latest scam is a Trojan virus that changes the bank account details of payments, when batch transactions are exported from your accounts software to your bank payment system. So instead of paying your supplier, you pay the fraudsters bank account, which will be closed before your supplier advises they never received the payment. It is good practice to at least undertake a random check of the bank account information, if it is not possible to check them all, BEFORE authorisation. 

These scams should be seriously considered, as if you are seen to have given the payment instruction then there is likely to be no recourse.

VAT changes from 1st April

VAT threshold increases

The usual increase in VAT thresholds were announced in the recent budget. From 1st April 2017, the registration threshold has risen from £83,000 to £85,000 and the de-registration threshold has risen from £81,000 to £83,000.

VAT Flat Rate Scheme changes

With effect from 1st April 2017, businesses operating the flat rate scheme for VAT will need to use a new percentage if they meet a new definition of being a “Limited Cost Trader”. This is defined as a business where, in a given accounting period:

1. Expenditure on goods (excluding capital goods, subsistence and vehicle parts/fuel) is less than 2% of VAT inclusive turnover, or

2. Expenditure on the same goods is more than 2% of turnover but less than £1,000 per annum.

Draft legislation is expected to clarify matters; in particular, how the level of VAT on services incurred is dealt with.

You can calculate if you need to pay the higher rate and work out which goods count as costs by visiting the website here

Don’t let your broadband performance become another hidden cost

The numbers in our financial accounts that relate to payments we have made are obvious costs to our business and often considered to be as low as possible. However, what about those hidden costs? For example, the hidden cost of an ineffective computer network or poor broadband service?

How much money do we lose every day from the inefficiency of our telecoms and technology?

Yes, large outages are rare, but they do happen and when you have no broadband for a few hours, then how much is it really costing you? Lost sales? Poor customer experience? The rate of someone’s time to repair? 

When you have no IT department and the broadband ‘goes down’, it is normal practice to experience some office panic, a manager’s stress and in some cases others taking a rest! The solution could be as easy as rebooting all your hardware, but that’s still someone’s time whilst the rest of the team are waiting for a connection again. It may mean waiting in lengthy queues to get through to your service provider for a solution. All this people time is a hidden cost to your business.

If you have any questions about your broadband service or your wired network, then our IT-tech team are here to help. 

Changes to The National Minimum Wage & Living Wage

From 1st April 2017, there has been a rise in the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage.

The National Minimum Living Wage has been raised to £7.50 per hour for over 25s from April 2017.  It is planned for this to rise to £9 by the end of this parliament.  

The National Minimum Wage has increased from 1st April 2017 to £7.05 per hour for 21-25 year olds (from £6.95), £5.60 per hour for 18-20 year olds (from £5.55), £4.05 per hour for 16-17 year olds (from £4) and an increase in the apprentice rate from £3.40 to £3.50 per hour.  

For more details, please click here

How can our bookkeeping service really help you?

We know we like sorting out receipts and establishing a financial management system for you, but why do our clients really use our services?

We asked some of our customers; Why do you Outsource your bookkeeping to us at HCA and what are the benefits you see? The top 4 responses, related to the most common reasons given, were:

1.You take away the worry of meeting the deadlines and having accurate records

2.It frees up my time to focus on other areas of the business

3.It is great to have your expertise in support and be one of our wider team

4.Your knowledge has saved us money, as we are now claiming everything we can and reducing our tax liability

If we could perhaps support you with your Bookkeeping and/or Accounts, then please do not hesitate to contact us for a no obligation discussion and quote to see if we are right for you.