Higher earning family?... Your state pension may not be protected!

The child benefit claw back for higher earners (those earning over £50,000) was first introduced back in January 2013, and meant those who claimed the benefit had to pay it back through a charge on their tax return. 

However, mothers with children born after 6 April 2013 may not realise that by not claiming this benefit as their partner is a higher earner, this could leave them with a big gap in their national insurance record affecting their state pension entitlements.

If this applies to you, take action now!

If you or your partner fall into this category, you should either claim child benefit and include the tax charge on the higher earner's tax return, or fill out the form CH2 to claim the child benefit at 0%. Those qualifying years will then be protected up until the child is 12.

Those who claimed child benefit before 2013 will still be protected until their child is 12. If you don't claim for children born January 2013 and onwards, you could be missing out on those all important contributions especially for those not returning to work once the child has reached 12.

To qualify for a state pension, you now need 35 years of NI contributions. 

Blog by Caroline

Blog by Caroline

 

 

If you would like further information on anything outlined above, please contact Cooper Curtis on 0845 303 1144 or email info@coopercurtis.co.uk.

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published

 

Our chosen charity for 2017

Our chosen charity that we will be supporting in 2017 will be Maggie’s, who's centres provide practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their families. We will be kicking off our 2017 Sponsorship with a Christmas donation to them. A sponsored bike ride from Oxford to Cheltenham is planned by our team in early 2017 so we will be in training after the Christmas excesses!

We hope that you find our 2017 content interesting and helpful to you and look forward to interacting with you in future.

Best Wishes,
Brian and the team

Running your Recruitment Agency from home

In our latest blog, Brian discusses the benefits of running a Recruitment Agency from home

 

Most newly established Recruitment Agencies we meet operate from their home address with possibly their registered company address held at their accountants, a way of keeping overheads to a minimum which is so important in the initial first few years of trading.

A 24 hour business landline telephone can be easily purchased to point at your mobile to receive business calls.

There are also companies who offer managed admin services answering your calls in your agency name and then passing the details onto you to follow up as soon as you can. This creates the impression of you being a larger agency.

You may have considered, or put into action some or all of the above but what if you reach the point of overload and need help in-house?

In my next blog, I will discuss taking on another fee earner and support staff to accommodate your business expansion and the issues you might face.

Blog from Brian

Blog from Brian

Meanwhile, please feel free to contact us anytime on 0845 303 1144 to see how we can improve on the services you currently receive

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published.

 

Are you looking to save money through a Childcare voucher Scheme?

A question we get often asked by our recruitment director clients' is; 

'Should I be operating a childcare voucher scheme through my own limited company?'

The facts.

An employer operating the Childcare voucher scheme will allow each parent paying basic rate tax, up to £55 per week or £243 per month tax free childcare for children up to the age of 15. Higher rate tax paying parents are allowed up to £28 p/wk and £124 p/mth respectively. Any vouchers exceeding this amount are subject to tax and NI and must be included on a form P11D. 

So, many limited company directors who employ their spouses, have use of twice the amount of vouchers. 

It works by having either a deduction in your salary (via a salary sacrifice) saving tax &NI, or having an addition to your salary, and having it as a company expense. 

Care needs to be taken when coming to a decision on which option to take. 

How it's done.

  • Your childcare provider must be registered with the OFSTED scheme. You can find out this information from the OFSTED website.

  • Set your scheme up IN YOUR COMPANY'S NAME through HMRC or pay for a scheme administrator such as Kiddivouchers or Edenred to do this for you.  

  • If you choose to use a scheme administrator they will charge commission on supplying the vouchers for this but is allowed as an additional business expense. (Yet more tax savings!) 

  • Payments MUST be made through the company bank.

The future of the Childcare Voucher Scheme.

The childcare voucher scheme is running out and no further parents can apply to join the scheme after April 2018.

You may already be aware of the Government's new 'Tax-free childcare' scheme which is being introduced from 2017. It will then be necessary for parents to decide which scheme would be more beneficial to them. There are more strict conditions with this new scheme. For example, both parents must be working and earning over a certain amount to enter the scheme.

How it works under the new 'Tax-free childcare' for every 80p paid into the scheme, the government will top this up by 20p up to a total of £10,000. For parents with lower childcare costs such as a couple of days a week, the current childcare voucher scheme may be more beneficial to them.

To conclude, in my opinion it is beneficial to enter the scheme and operate the vouchers through your limited company as long as your administration costs stay low and the costs don't outweigh the benefit. We will see what happens when the new 'Tax-free childcare' scheme is introduced next year and whether my view will change.

post by caroline

post by caroline

If you would like further information on how to set up a childcare scheme through your own limited company, please contact Cooper Curtis on 0845 303 1144 or email info@coopercurtis.co.uk.

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published

National Minimum Wage change to age bands from 1st October

From the 1st October 2016, the national minimum wage rates for the different age bands and for apprentices are increasing.

The new rates from next month will be as follows;

From October 2016 - April 2017

Adult rate (21+)NLW (25+)        £7.20

 Adult Rate (21-24)                    £6.95

YDR (18-20)                               £5.55

16-17 Yr Old Rate                       £4.00

Apprentice Rate                        £3.40

 

Please ensure your current payroll system is compliant in advance of the changes.

POST BY CAROLINE

POST BY CAROLINE

 

If you would like more information on the minimum wage requirements or have a payroll query, please contact us on 0845 303 1144 or email info@coopercurtis.co.uk. 

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published

Key person protection

Key person protection is a business insuring itself against the financial loss it would suffer if a key person in their business died or were diagnosed with a critical illness.

The policy is owned and paid for by the employer, so any pay out is payable to the employer. A key person is an individual whose skill, knowledge, experience or leadership contributes to the financial success of a business and could be one of a number of people within the business such as the;

  • Chairman
  • Managing director
  • Marketing manager
  • Computer specialist
  • Sales manager

Anyone whose death could lead to financial loss for the business through:

  • Loss of profits
  • Having to recruit or train a replacement
  • Important business contracts being lost if the key person is not there to maintain relationships
  • Customers and suppliers losing confidence in the busines

Why do I need Key Person Protection?

Key Person Protection is designed to pay out a lump sum on the death of the insured key person, during the length of the policy. It is paid as a lump sum and could significantly help the business to recover. The proceeds can be used to help replace lost profit or finding and hiring a replacement.

post by brian

post by brian

 

If you would like to consider the possibilities of how your business can benefit from protecting itself against the loss of key people or shareholders please contact me on 0845 303 1144 or email brian@coopercurtis.co.uk to discuss this further. 

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published

 

Business loan protection

Business Loan Protection helps businesses pay an outstanding overdraft, loan or commercial mortgage, should a key person die or be diagnosed with a specified critical illness. 

Why consider Business Loan Protection?


Being unable to repay loans can be a serious problem for a business following the death of a key person. For instance, Director’s loan accounts should be paid off on death – without business loan protection, where would this money come from?

post by Brian

post by Brian


If you would like to consider the possibilities of how your business can benefit from protecting itself against the loss of key people or shareholders please contact me on 0845 303 1144 or email brian@coopercurtis.co.uk to discuss this further. 

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published

 

Share protection

In the event of a business owner dying or being diagnosed with a terminal illness, share protection can provide a lump sum to the remaining business owners. This means that a lump sum could be used to help purchase the deceased partners/shareholding directors/members interest in the business.

Share Protection allows the remaining partners, shareholding directors or members to remain in control of the business following the death of a business owner.

Why consider Share Protection?

If a business owner dies with no share protection in place his or her share in the business may be passed to their family. This means that the surviving business owners could lose control of a proportion or, in some circumstances, all of the business. The family may choose to become involved in the ongoing running of the business or could even sell their share to a competitor. 

A share protection policy can help avoid these issues. 

As well as retaining control for the surviving shareholders, if set up correctly it can also reduce any potential inheritance tax liabilities that could be created for the family of the deceased by retaining Business Property Relief. 

Post by Brian

Post by Brian


If you would like to consider the possibilities of how your business can benefit from protecting itself against the loss of key people or shareholders please contact me on 0845 303 1144 or email brian@coopercurtis.co.uk to discuss this further.  

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published

Helping you protect your business

Many clients I work with protect their homes, cars and family however many forget to protect the one thing that provides them with the lifestyle they currently have. Their Business. 

Having the correct protection in place can make sure that in the event that something happens to one of your key employees, shareholders or partners the effect on the business will be minimized. 

There are a variety of options available to help you achieve this:

•    Share Protection
•    Key Person Protection
•    Business Loan Protection

In my next 3 blogs, I will outline these and the reason these should be considered for your business. 

Post by Brian

Post by Brian

 

If you would like to consider the possibilities of how your business can benefit from protecting itself against the loss of key people or shareholders please contact me on 0845 303 1144 or email info@coopercurtis.co.uk to discuss this further. 

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published

Tax advantages for Employing your spouse

At first, the idea of giving a role in your organisation to your husband or wife might not seem particularly appealing. Working in such close proximity to your partner, could put a strain on your relationship.

When you begin to take a deeper look into the consequences of such an arrangement however, perhaps it isn’t the worst idea after all…

Clearly, you know the person well, and therefore all the concerns about trust (should) go out the window.

From a financial point-of-view, there are certain benefits that you can achieve through employing a spouse. Let’s take a look at some of them now;

Use up your Tax Allowance!

Almost everyone living in the UK is entitled to an Income Tax Allowance; “the amount of income you can receive each year, without having to pay tax on it”. For the majority of the working public, this figure currently stands at £11,000.

By employing a spouse, you can make sure that your partner is using up all of this non-taxable income. If they do a job for free, pay them! After-all, it’s money going into your household – that isn’t getting taxed. Just think; how much would it cost to employ a non-family member to do the same job?
 
Higher Rate Business – Split your profits

 On a similar note; directors of a business which pays a higher rate of tax can also benefit from taking on a spouse, by making them “more than just an employee.”

If your spouse were to become a shareholder in the company, for example, “you can pay yourselves a mixture of salary/bonuses, benefits, and make use of the £5,000 dividend tax free band, thereby reducing your overall tax bills quite considerably. Not only this, but once more this in more money going into your household.

However, employing a spouse is not as easy as this. Before doing so, you must make sure you are aware of all your duties with regards to the law.
 

Save on National Insurance costs

Rising to £3,000 in April, the employment allowance can be claimed through the payroll giving relief on Employers NI as along as a director only business pays their additional employee more than £8,060.  

Don’t get caught out!

It is important that your spouse is treated like a “normal” employee. Just because you are in a personal relationship with them, it doesn’t mean you can exploit them for your own gain.

The National Minimum Wage rules therefore still apply, and your spouse must actually be paid what they are owed (and are thus affordable to you). Just like with a normal employee, if your spouse is not involved in any other paid employment, a starter checklist form must be filled out.

To avoid any unwelcome visits/checks from HMRC; make sure that your spouse is employed to do a “proper” job within your organisation. 
 

Employing a spouse is a good idea

 All in all, employing a spouse can often be a worthwhile venture for your business. There are many tax benefits (some listed above), that can be realised from doing so.

However, it is essential that if you are thinking about taking on your husband/wife, you do things by-the-book. One quick tip; if you pay them in cash, you may struggle to justify your activities should HMRC come knocking.

Post by Brian

Post by Brian

 

If you would like to find out more information about employing a spouse – or employment in general – check out the payroll section of our website.

Alternatively, get in touch with us at Cooper Curtis today on 0845 303 1144 and we’d be happy to help…

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published

Changing your company's year end

Brian looks at how and why you would change your company's year end date. 

There is no straight answer to 'what's the best year end to have' as it depends from company to company. But I have outlined some scenarios where you would consider a change; 

  • The main reason for changing your year end is for the purpose of cash-flow and to defer paying corporation tax - Due 9 months and 1 day following a year end, corporation tax could be delayed by extending your year end.

  • Or in the opposite scenario, you could decide to shorten your year end if you have a rise in profits, and balance out the CT payments.

  • By extending a year end, you could delay a deadline for submitting accounts at companies house. Its currently £150 fine penalty for lateness rising to £1,500 for more than 6 months late!

  • To align it to the tax year. By changing it to the end of March, it will make admin easier and also predict any personal tax due. 

  • If a company is in a Group a change could be made to align your companies to the same year end for the purpose of reducing admin. 

 

How often can you switch your company year end?

  1. You can shorten your year end as many times as you like,.even by 1 day. In the first year, there must be a minimum of 6 months in the accounting period.
  2. You can lengthen your company year end to 18 months, (or more if co. in administration) but a company may only do this once in every 5 years.
  3. But be aware, you can only change a company's year end at any time before the 'current accounting year end's' deadline.

Contact Brian on 0845 303 1144 if you wish to discuss your options for changing your year end date. 

         Post by Brian

         Post by Brian

Our blogs are designed to give you simple,no jargon, easy to read, information. We appreciate you are short on time, so we try to focus on a topic we get asked about frequently from our recruitment clients to give you the facts only.

If there are any blogs that you would like to see from us or would like more information about a particular blog written, please let us know. We also appreciate any feedback on ways to improve our blogs. 

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content.

The content was correct at the time it was published.

What are millennials looking for in a role? How does this differ to Generation Z?

What is a millennial? 

Millennials are a group of people who have reached adulthood around 2000. Speaking as one myself, they have high expectations of technology, having always had use of the internet and generically speaking tend to adopt to new technology quickly compared to previous generations. 

According to *Deloitte's 2016 Millennial Survey, in general they express little loyalty to their current employers, and values overtake a need for leadership-skill development.

So what are the millennials looking for in a job role?

  • They choose organisations to work for that share their personal values
  • Flexible working, better work/life balance
  • Have a desire to succeed
  • Prefer a Flat structure over hierarchy

Generation Z (the new kids on the block)

The Generation Z are a group who are not aware of a world outside the internet. Born after 1995, they are used to getting everything instantly but still they're a social group, with their lives played out through social media.

Generation Z Career expectations?

Generally speaking, they want to make their hobby their job, they believe in their own network getting them opportunities over qualifications and like the millennials don't believe in a hierarchy at work. 

The fundamental elements remain the same as the millennials, with values and flexible working remaining high on the list. This doesn't mean however they do not want to be successful. 

 

Further reading;

* http://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/millennialsurvey.html 

 

Post By Caroline

Post By Caroline

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published.

Cooper Curtis at the Recruitment Agency Expo NEC

After the success of last year's exhibition, Cooper Curtis are thrilled to be exhibiting again at this year's Recruitment Agency Expo at Birmingham NEC on 28th and 29th September.

Come and say hello to Caroline and myself at stand D29 opposite Theatre 2 for freebies and information on how we can support your recruitment business. 

Entry to the show is free and there are plenty of useful seminars and recruitment suppliers attending over the two day event. 

We look forward to seeing you there!

Post by Brian

Post by Brian

Keen to simplify your paperwork processes? Cooper Curtis examines Receipt Bank & Expensify

Vs

When it comes to making your bookkeeping as streamlined as possible, there are new technologies popping up all the time. It is sometimes difficult to decide which one will be right for your business when they claim they are all singing all dancing. 

The main two 'firms of the future' applications we have encountered are 'Receipt Bank' and 'Expensify' which appear to be the market leaders at this present time. Although they are both apps to simply take a picture of a receipt, they slightly differ depending on what type of business you are. With both services having OCR detection technology, designed to eliminate time entering manual information. 

I have summarised the main features of the two applications below which may influence your decision.  If you do have any queries however, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

Receipt Bank

Set up in 2010 to relieve the administrative burden placed on small businesses Receipt Bank; 

  • Integrates with most cloud accounting such as Xero & Quickbooks
  • Is useful if you are a business processing a lot of purchase invoices and receipts
  • Takes pictures of your Invoices and receipts and submit through the app.
  • The receipts sit on the cloud
  • Offers a 14 day free trial

Conclusion

Easy to use app that can create various reports. Multi mode function allows you to take a picture of multiple invoices and receipts at once. It does take a while for the OCR detection to process the information once the picture has been taken, but I haven't encountered many hiccups with the result. I do think it is quicker to categorise the information yourself rather than wait for it to finish and double check all the information.

Overall if used consistently, this does reduce time a business can potentially spend on bookkeeping.

Vs

Expensify

As the name suggests this app is more geared towards expense reporting as opposed to sales and purchase receipts like Receipt Bank. It is; 

  • Good if you need your employees or contractors to send in a picture of their expenses. 
  • Need to reconcile company credit cards on a monthly basis
  • Require approvals for submitted expenses
  • Good if you require expense policy enforcement
  • Offers a 30 day free trial
  • Most users of Expensify are in the IT & Service Industries
  • Receipts are retained on the central cloud
  • Integrates with most Cloud and accounting packages

I find this app very user friendly, and facilitates several expenses reports to be creates at once as well as 'buik' adding expenses. As with Receipt Bank, I find the 'smartscan' facility does take a while to pull the information together, and sometimes it is easier to categorise photos instantly yourself. 

Conclusion

Both apps are very user friendly, With any of these apps, the onus is placed on the business owner to post up their receipts regularly. The advantage of course is a business gains a real time insight into how it is performing and their advisor can look at ways to enhance profitability. 

If you would like more information about bookkeeping solutions, contact Caroline on 0845 3031144 or email caroline@coopercurtis.co.uk. 

Post by Caroline

Post by Caroline

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published.

Cooper Curtis, a TEAM Service Provider

I am delighted to announce that Cooper Curtis has been accepted as a Recruitment Service Provider for TEAM, (The Employment Agent Movement) the UK's largest network of independent recruiters. 

We are looking forward to sharing industry knowledge with our fellow members and attending meetings through TEAM's regular networking events. 

We like TEAM's ethos 'nice people to do business with' because we like to think that's how our clients see us and is why I believe our new partnership will work well. 

To see Cooper Curtis on TEAM's website or to find out more about the benefits in becoming a member;

Post by Brian 

Post by Brian 

Could your business benefit from using pool cars?

 Are you thinking of purchasing a pool car rather than going down the expensive company car route? It is possible, but if these strict conditions are met a business can escape a taxable benefit for their employees (and employers NIC!).... 

1/ The Pool car is made available to and used by more than 1 employee.

2/ It is made available by reason of the employee’s employment.

3/ The car was not used by 1 employee at the exclusion of others.

4/ In the case of each of those employees, any private use of the car made by the employee was merely incidental to the employee's other use of the car in that year (60% as a rule of thumb) such as a short diversion to shops on way to, or from work premises.

5/ The car was not normally kept overnight on or in the vicinity of any residential premises where any of the employees was residing, except while being kept overnight on premises occupied by the person making the car available to them. (Eg setting off early to a business meeting.)

If any of the above conditions aren’t met, this will be classed as a company car and taxable benefit on each employee.

Do you have a query on pool cars? Contact Brian or Caroline on 0845 303 1144 or email info@coopercurtis.co.uk. 

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published.

Head in the clouds ?

Don't leave your head in the clouds, only your Accounts! 

You may already be aware as a business owner that regular digital accounts submissions from most business unless very small (TBC) will be mandatory from 2020. Are you still working from spreadsheets? Or even pen and paper? Or are you unsure if the cloud accounting solution you are currently using is the right one for you?

Now is the time to be thinking about change! 

When choosing the right cloud accounting solution for your business, you may want to know; 

  • Can i get a running report on how my business is performing?
  • Can I access my accounts info on my phone and tablet?
  • Can I print/email professional looking invoices?
  • Can I produce repeat or draft bills?
  • Will it save me money in the long run?
  • Will I get ongoing business performance support from my Accountant?

Cooper Curtis can get the right systems in place for your business, and provide business support through regular, in-year, face to face meetings.

Call 0845 303 1144 or email to arrange a free, no obligation consultation or to discuss how cloud accounting solutions can help your business grow.

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published.

Cooper Curtis Celebrates its 5th Anniversary in Warwickshire!

 

Cooper Curtis Accountants are delighted to celebrate their 5th Anniversary of trading in Warwickshire.

Since opening its doors in Leamington Spa in April 2011, the progressive accountancy practice has steadily grown and in 2015 moved into larger premises in the delightful Warwickshire village of Fenny Compton close to the Oxfordshire border.

Brian says, ‘When we started up, our offering to Clients was limited to End of Year Company Accounts and Taxation as well as Tax Returns, VAT, Bookkeeping and Payroll but what we are now offering Business Planning, Exit Planning and Tax Planning which are all proving very popular with Clients’.

Cooper Curtis are also specialists in working with Recruitment Companies with offices in Birmingham and Manchester covering the West Midlands and the North-West of England.

To arrange your free, no obligation consultation ring Brian on 01295 770844 or request a call back.

'Person with Significant Control' or 'PSC' Register

 

From the 6th April, ALL limited companies & LLPs will be required to hold and have available for inspection a register of people with significant control over the business. The Companies House Annual return will be abolished and details from the PSC register will need to be submitted every 12 months instead. 

 

'What constitutes significant control?'

A person defined as having control is someone who meets one or more of the following conditions.... 

  1. Direct or indirect ownership of 25% of the company's shares
  2. Direct or indirect control of 25% of  the limited company's voting rights. 

  3. Direct or indirect right to appoint or remove a majority of the board of the company of directors. 

  4. Has the right to exercise significant influence over the control of the company

  5. Has the right to exercise significant influence or control over activities a trust or firm which itself meets one or more of the first four conditions.  

'So what do you need to do next?'

Once you have identified every person with significant control, you must maintain the following information about each individual...

  1. Name

  2. Registered office address

  3. Nationality

  4. Date of Birth

  5. Usual residential address

  6. Date from which person became a registrable person or person with significant control in the company

  7. Nature of their control (%age of control) 

An updated 'Confirmation Statement' formerly the Annual return, must be submitted to Companies house every 12 months, and a register must be maintained from April 2016. Filing at Companies House will commence from  30 June 2016. 

What will happen if I fail to keep accurate information on a register?

Failure to provide accurate information when requested for an inspection is a criminal offence and you could find yourself with a hefty fine or even up to 2 years in prison!

If you would like more information on the Person with Significant Control 'or 'PSC' Register, please contact Brian on 0845 0303 1144 or email brian@coopercurtis.co.uk. 

Please note, all our content is for general guideline only, every case is different and we would recommend speaking to us before taking any action as a result of the content. The content was correct at the time it was published.