Welcome to our Winter newsletter. This quarter we have a guest blog all about getting prepared for your self-assessment from the wonderful EK Williams Accountants. Our interview this quarter is with pension expert Gary Bishop who answers your FAQ’s on pensions. We also have card machine advice, an award announcement, our Christmas hours, and a new partnership announcement. Plus our upcoming webinars!
Steph’s been nominated for an award!
The Apprentice Academy have nominated our team member Stephanie Marshall for their Apprentice Star award.
Our MD Karen states “We are absolutely delighted with this well-earned award which recognizes Steph’s skills and hard work”
Steph’s tutor Jacqui O’Mara submitted the following recommendation to the academy to nominate Steph:
“Throughout the lock down period Stephanie really had to step up her leadership skills and take on more responsibility as well as learning new tasks. There were employees that got put on Furlough and so Steph took an overall view and managed the work that was left to be done. Steph was a huge help to the business in both taking on tasks and delegating tasks to the appropriate colleagues. Steph did this whilst maintaining the high quality of service delivered to the clients of COS bookkeeping. This included Steph having to get familiar with the Furlough payments rules and calculations as Steph is responsible for the payroll. Both Steph’s colleagues and Manager have commented on the support that they received from Steph throughout this difficult period. Steph was doing all this whilst working from home and having to home school her son. Steph was supposed to get married in this period and she didn’t let the wedding getting postponed set her back. She as always put her focus into work and study and passed the Final Accounts Prep and Indirect Tax exam (97%) with brilliant results.”
At COS we are all very proud of Steph and wish her all the best.
All we want for Christmas… stress-free advice for self-assessment
A guest blog by EK Williams Accountants
As we begin to enjoy the festive period, let us remind you to not let your tax return spoil your Christmas celebrations. Understandably, when we think of Christmas, tax may not be the first thing that pops into your head. However, figures from HMRC revealed over 3,000 people actually filed their tax return on 25th December last year! In addition, a total of 9,254 people compromised their Boxing Day celebrations to file their tax return.
Here at EKWilliams, we encourage everyone to plan and prepare as early as possible. The Covid-19 pandemic is a likely cause for being caught out by the unknown. With the various support and schemes that have been created this year, there are new elements to consider so it makes sense to get ahead with filing your return as soon as possible. We have already found that many clients have been hindered by the challenges of this year and have left it later than usual to provide information required, so right now is the perfect time to get your records in order to avoid any nasty surprises over Christmas and the New Year. The earlier you start, the more potential there is to reduce taxation liabilities by allowing more time to discuss and advise on tax savings opportunities.
It is also worth remembering we are over halfway through the 20/21 tax year so it is possible to also assess the level of profits including the taxable SEISS grants to forecast your tax bill for the following year and allow time to plan and prepare for this. You may be unaware that the SEISS grants are taxable so despite a quiet year that may have forced closures for the majority of 2020, the various Government support schemes may have contributed to unexpected occurrences in your future tax bills.
If you’re hearing alarm bells rather than Christmas bells right now, get in touch with us today to find out how our expert team can help you avoid the extra headache of self-assessment stress this December.
Late penalties advice:
The deadline for completing an online self-assessment is 31st January following the end of the tax year. The UK Tax year runs from 6th April to 5th April. So, for the 2019/20 tax year, the self-assessment deadline is the 31st January 2021. Any late filings automatically receive a £100 penalty fine. This fine applies no matter what the excuse, even if it’s because you were unaware you had to pay tax.
After three months, HMRC can hit you with an extra fine of £10 a day – up to a maximum of £900. If you fail to settle your tax bill after six months, you could end up with a further penalty of 5% of the tax due, or £300 – whichever is greater. You will be charged a further penalty of 5% or £300 if it hasn’t been resolved after a year, while fines of 5% of the unpaid tax can be charged after 30 days, 6 months and 12 months.
Getting your self-assessment filed before the Christmas break means you’ll be free to relax and to enjoy the festive season with the satisfied feeling of having your tax filing organised ahead of time.
At EKWilliams, we take care of the whole process so you don’t have to worry. Contact us today to discuss how the team can help you with your submission on 01942 816 512 or email email@example.com
A quick and simple guide to pensions
An interview with Gary Bishop of Sense Financial
Q. What is a pension?
In essence a pension is a tax efficient savings account. You save money into a pension, where it grows tax free, and then when you retire you draw the money back out, including a quarter of it as a tax free lump sum. There are a lot of rules and regulations that govern pensions so if you have to make your own pension decisions I would recommend getting professional financial advice.
Q. How much should I be saving in to a pension?
That really depends when you start and when you intend to retire. The earlier you start the less you will need to put in as the compounding tax free growth of the pension will make a bigger difference.
Whatever you contribute to a pension should always be affordable, but also needs to be realistic in terms of achieving your retirement goals. A financial adviser would be able to help you forecast what your retirement income will look like based on all your pensions and savings.
Q. Can pensions save you tax?
Yes they can and are frequently set up to do just that.
Employees and the self-employed will receive basic rate tax relief at source and claim back any higher rate tax by reducing their tax bill. For business owners, they can save corporation tax by making contributions from the business to their own pensions. This is a great way of increasing remuneration to the business owner without increasing tax.
Q. How do you get your money from a pension when you retire?
There are a variety of options but they broadly fall in to one of 2 categories either; as a regular income or as one or more lump sums.
Regular income methods include Annuities, which have fallen out of favour due to very low rates over recent years.
Lump sums are known as Uncrystallised Pension Lump Sums (UFPLS), but can lead to large tax bills for the unwary.
The most popular currently is “Flexible Drawdown” which can provide lump sums and income. The decision as to which is complex and can be long lasting, so again seeking professional advice is key.
Q. Do I have to retire before I can take my pension?
No you don’t!
Any time after the age of 55 you can access all or part of your pension. It is very common these days for people to access their tax-free lump sum early, for something like home improvements, and then leave the remainder until they do stop work or go part-time.
Q. I have heard that pensions die with you is this true?
In a few cases, yes.
Some pensions, especially older ones or employer schemes, only provide during the life of the individual and/or their spouse. Where there is no spouse or they have predeceased the individual then the pension could cease on death.
Modern pensions have far more flexible, tax-efficient and fair death benefits and can even be passed down the generations. Fortunately, it is possible, in most cases, to transfer these older schemes into the modern ones if needed.
Q. I have several “frozen” pensions from previous jobs can I combine them to make it simpler to manage?
Yes you can and I spend much of my time doing just that for clients.
In combining any pensions I have a duty of care to ensure that no valuable benefits are lost and as such I carefully conduct a detailed analysis of each one.
Once combined, economies of scale could see charges being less and of course reduced paperwork.
In making the combined pension simpler to manage it is also important to review them regularly and that is part of our service; to ensure your retirement planning remains on track.
If you’d like assistance from Gary regarding your pension then you can contact him on: 07547916913 | 01617553366 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Starling Bank Partnership
We are excited to announce that we are now Starling Bank Partners! We do not receive any commission as a result of this but we would highly recommend them.
Usually it can be quite inconvenient for new businesses to set up bank accounts but with Starling Bank you can set it up within MINUTES so you can get your business up and running quickly.
Imagine no monthly account fees, 24/7 support, easy deposits and it integrates with Xero, Quickbooks and FreeAgent!
If you’d like to learn more about Starling Bank you can download a information booklet below.
Tackling expensive card payment options
We’ve got to know a fantastic card payment expert, if he can save you money he will, if he can’t he’ll be honest and tell you to stick with your current provider. He also happens to be a creator of craft gin and rum too! So a man of many talents! (You can find his booze website here). We just had to share some information from him with our readers so that you can get the best deal for your business.
“When it comes to Card Payments, many Merchants I meet are frustrated by confusing jargon, complicated statements and hidden charges. Some providers even charge their Customers to view the fees they are charging!
With a free Payments Review, I can help make sense of the baffling terminology, and advise Merchants if they are paying unnecessary charges; such as excessive Interest Rates, Authorisation/Transaction Fees, Minimum Monthly Service Charges, PCI Surcharges (Data Security). I can even help, if they are in a seemingly inescapable contract.
Even if you think you’re on the best deal possible, if I can’t save you money, I’ll tell you to stick with your current supplier. At least you’ll be a little clearer on what you are paying and have the reassurance that you really are on the best deal possible.”
- CIP partner with some of the industry’s leading acquirers, so we can offer a great range of products to choose from.
- Tailor-made plans – selected from our great range and designed around your specific business needs.
- Great value and transparent pricing – typically removing PCI charges, minimum monthly service charge and transaction charges resulting in statements that inform not confound.
- Exceptional service – We’re 5* Rated on Trustpilot & have 24/7/365 UK based phone lines, so we’re always available should you need us. We’re also, recently nominated for two card and payments awards 2021- Best Payments Industry Newcomer and Innovation in Retail Payments.
07770 472 796
|Quickbooks Online: Bank Rec, Rules and Feeds||Thursday 17th December|
|Xero Bank Reconciliation||Tuesday 22nd December|
|Xero Sales Invoicing||Tuesday 12th January|
|Quickbooks Online: Invoices and Sales||Tuesday 12th January|
|Xero Fixed Assets and Depreciation||Thursday 14th January|
|Xero Purchase Ledger and Overview||Tuesday 19th January|
|Quickbooks Online: Purchases and Departments||Wednesday 20th January|
|Xero Bank Reconciliation||Tuesday 26th January|
|Quickbooks Online: Bank Rec, Rules and Feeds||Thursday 28th January|
|Directors’ Loan Accounts||Thursday 11th February|
|Quickbooks Online: Bank Rec, Rules and Feeds||Thursday 18th February|
Please note that over the Christmas period our team will be off for the bank holidays. In the period between Christmas and New Year we will be working with a skeleton staff. On the lead up to Christmas various staff members will be on leave. We recommend avoiding calling personal mobiles or the office mobile during the week of Christmas. Please use the office main line or support email to ensure your query is seen to: 0161 850 3355 | email@example.com