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September 28. 2020

Winter Economy Plan

Rishi Sunak announced his Winter Economy Plan on Thursday 24th September. Rishi’s support was based on the outlook that 'People want to see us focused on the here and now'. Two key updates for the self-employed are outlined below.
 
SEISS Grant


The SEISS grant will be extended with two additional grants, the first covering the period November to January and the second covering February to April. The grant will be based on 20% of your profit and to qualify for the grants your must have qualified for the previous grants. Also, you must be trading but be facing reduced demand due to Covid-19. 


Paying HMRC


Previously, the Treasury had given anyone with a July 2020 Payment on Account a 6-month extension, allowing this payment to be made in January 2021. The Chancellor has also announced a further extension for all individuals due to pay HMRC in January 2021 (including the above payment on Account). It appears this extension will be in the way of a 12-month payment plan with HMRC, running from February 2021 to January 2022. To qualify you must owe HMRC less than £30,000. Unlike the previous extension an individual will have to apply for this extension, however, no guidance has been issued on how to make the application yet.


Further updates and advice will be issued as we know more. 

 

July 29. 2020

CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT THING IN LIFE

There is no doubting that the last few months have been extremely tough, and as we move through the restart and recovery there will be more changes to come. Hopefully, you are back in the passenger seat, raring to go and let’s hope we move through the rest of 2020 in a more positive way.

The lockdown saw the driver training industry come to a halt and home-schooling became a reality for many, as did the growth in Tik Tok challenges and baking banana bread! Many took to keeping themselves busy and it was also great to hear about driving instructors putting their skills to great use, I mean there is no one better than a driving instructor to take on a driving role for a supermarket, courier or the NHS.

With the mix of getting back to your day job and making lessons as safe as possible, we know you will have a lot to think about now. We wanted to make sure you have not missed any support that is available to you, especially as things are ever-changing. We do know a lot of self-employed fell through the cracks of the Government support and the mini Budget on the 8th July was the last chance saloon for some freelance sectors. There has been a lot to take in over recent months so here are a few areas to recap:

SEISS SECOND GRANT

  • Based on 70% of your trading profits
  • Your business must have been adversely affected from 14th July
  • Applications for the second and final grant are due to go live on the 17th August
  • If parents and those who adopted, took time out of trading to care for children within the first 12 months of birth or 12 months of an adoption placement they will now be able to use either their 2017/2018 or both 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 self-assessments for the basis of their SEISS eligibility. All other eligibility criteria remain the same.

DEFER TAX PAYMENTS

  • HMRC automatically deferred the July payments that were due
  • You must pay by the 31st Jan 2021 if you deferred your July tax payment
  • Remember your tax bill for the 2019/2020 tax year is also due 31st Jan 2021

BOUNCE BACK LOAN

  • Provides access to borrowing that is between £2,000 and up to 25% of your turnover (up to a maximum of £50,000).
  • No repayments for 12 months
  • Make sure you have your 2019/2020 tax return done so the latest figures are included
  • Always seek financial advice prior to borrowing

TAX TIPS

You might not have done your 19/20 tax return just yet (don’t worry, you have until the 31st Jan 21 to file online) but we wanted to highlight a few things ahead of your 20/21 return and to help you give your business that self-care that it needs.

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is still on the horizon, MTD is HMRCs plan to mandate digital record keeping. COVID-19 and the support provided by HMRC has been priority over recent months, but we are monitoring Making Tax Digital updates. Small changes now will mean it is an easier transition when the time comes. If you are not used to keeping digital records or operating through software it is best to get comfortable ahead of the change. A bookkeeping routine is important, yes you will likely prefer to watch the latest Netflix release, but it will help you to understand your businesses cashflow. It is one of the most important financial management tasks so that you know the income and outgoings of your business. This way you know if you have any cash reserves, vitally important when you see a period of reduced income. The best way to put it: 

Both SEISS grants are taxable and need to be recorded as income on the 20/21 tax return, make sure you record the amounts you received on the dates you received them.

Do not forget to include all PPE expenses, that relate to your business, in your tax returns. You are unlikely to have ever purchased such items for your business before, but the costs of such items will quickly add up.

We always advise clients to have separate business and personal bank accounts, it will make your life easier in the long run. Especially when looking for transactions or if an HMRC investigation ever pops up. You might also want another account to set aside your savings for your tax liabilities, out of sight and out of mind hopefully means it is easier to keep that pot of funds available. 

There is no one size fits all approach to this recovery, do what is best for you and your business. Reach out for help when you need it, stay safe, be aware of scams and most importantly try not to panic. 


May 14. 2020

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The online service is now available for the SEISS. You will need to apply through your Government Gateway ID. HMRC have said if you cannot claim online, there will be an alternative way to claim, as yet we don’t know what this will be. If you are eligible, HMRC will give you a date from which you can complete your claim. We would advise you to use the Government Gateway to do this, using this online service is beneficial to access other tools such as pension forecasts and National Insurance contributions

As soon as you complete your claim you will be advised if it has been approved and you should receive your payment within 6 working days.
 
If you haven’t already checked your eligibility you can do so via this link https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference
 
To complete your claim, you will need the following information:

  • Self-Assessment UTR 
  • National Insurance number 
  • Government Gateway user ID and password - if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you check your eligibility online via the above link
  • bank account number and sort code you want the grant to be paid into 

You will also have to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.
 
As always be vigilant, if you receive texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, offering financial help or a tax refund and asking you to click on a link or to give personal information, it is a scam. You should email it to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and then delete it.
 
This process and the guidelines surrounding it are new and constantly evolving, we will continue to share relevant updates with you as information is released.



March 27. 2020

COVID-19: SUPPORT FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED

The Chancellor has announced support for self-employed individuals. The main points to note are:

  •  A taxable grant will be available equal to 80% of your annual profit averaged over three years, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month
  • To be able to claim this grant your annual profits must be below £50,000
  • The majority of your income must come from self-employment
  • You must have been trading before 5th April 2019 and filed at least 1 annual tax return
  • Your 2018/19 Tax Return, if not already submitted (normal submission deadline 31st January 2020) must be submitted within four weeks from today
  • HMRC hope to have the facility in place by June 2020
  • HMRC will contact all those eligible to make a claim directly
  • The claims will be back dated from the beginning of the lock-down and paid in a single lump sum 
HMRC are aiming to contact all eligible individuals by mid-May and process payments by early June. HMRC will confirm the amount that you are due to receive. HMRC have confirmed that you will need to have a Government Gateway ID to apply for the grant. If you do not already have one, you can register when HMRC contact you regarding your grant application. If you would prefer to register now, follow this link  https://www.gov.uk/personal-tax-account

In the meantime in addition to making a claim for the grant, you can claim Universal Credit, continue to work self-employed or seek employment in a PAYE role.

If you need any support during this difficult time do reach out to the support that is out there;

Your GP 

Stay safe!

March 13. 2020

Budget 2020

The Chancellor of the Exchequer presented his Budget on the 11th March 2020. Said to be a ‘people’s budget for the people’s government’ there was a key topic throughout, COVID–19. Mr Sunak stated the NHS will get ‘whatever it needs, whatever the cost’.

COVID – 19

The Budget announcements bring numerous temporary measures which are set to assist with the current worldwide pandemic. The measures have been put in place to help support those affected by COVID-19, whether that be as an individual or a business.

The chancellor also commented on those advised to self-isolate, even if they do not show symptoms, they are to receive statutory sick pay (SSP) if eligible.

Those who are not eligible for SSP, such as self-employed individuals, will see Employment Support Allowance (ESA) paid quicker with the qualifying number of sick days reduced from 8 to 1. This means that once you have got your sick note from 111 you can then contact the Department of Work & Pensions and begin the process of claiming ESA. Click here to find out more about ESA.

ESA is paid to those who are too sick to work, provided they meet certain conditions. It is worth £73.10 a week, or £57.90 for the under-25s.

If you do find yourself in a position where you need to access such benefits, we would always advise taking the medical advice from 111 and contacting the Department for Work & Pensions who can advise you fully on the processes you need to follow.

A 100% reduction in Business Rates for Small business’s was also introduced in the Budget, more interesting for a lot of very small business was a £3,000 grant which appears to be aimed at all small businesses. There is very little guidance available on this at the moment, we will follow up on this once information on who can apply and how to apply has been issued.

Finally, HMRC have been asked to assist taxpayers with payments to them, to that end a new team to deal with Time to Pay arrangements for business’s affected by Coronavirus has been set up. If you find your capital reserves are running low and you are worried about paying your next bill, we strongly recommend you call them on 0800 015 9559.

As Mr Sunak stated, ‘the current situation is temporary’, ‘life will return to normal’. However, ‘for a period, it is going to be tough’.

Will we see more money in our pockets?

The honest answer, probably not but the following are factors that provide an element of positivity. 

  • From the 1st April the National Insurance threshold is increasing from £8,632 to £9,500, meaning you can earn more profit before paying Class 4 National Insurance.
  • Fuel Duty will be frozen for the 10th consecutive year and there will also be a freeze in duty rates for beer, ciders and spirts. 
  • Another tax to be cut is VAT on digital books, newspapers and magazines.
  • The 5% rate of VAT on sanitary products - referred to as the "tampon tax" - will babolished from January. 
  • People can put a lot more into tax-free savings for children. The allowance for Junior ISA’s (Individual Savings Accounts) and Child Trust Funds will be increased from £4,368 to £9,000 in April. However, the typical amount saved is only about £1,000. 

The personal allowance will remain at £12,500 and there will be no changes to the tax rates. Additionally, for the self-employed there will be a slight increase in Class 2 payments, from £3.00 per week to £3.05.

Once thing we won’t need to brace ourselves for is the mammoth number of potholes in our roads. A massive £2.5bn is set to be invested within our local roads. Let’s see how that one pans out!

So, from supporting businesses, highlighting green priorities and supporting those in need it was a budget delivered in challenging times and one that saw some substantial spending commitments.

February 3. 2020

FBTC Accountancy Services receives Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award 2020

FBTC Accountancy Services are thrilled to have won the Feefo Platinum Trusted Service award. This is an independent seal of excellence that recognises businesses for delivering exceptional experiences, as rated by real customers. Feefo have given the Platinum Trusted Service award to FBTC as they have achieved Gold standard for three consecutive years.
 
Alan Gott, FBTC Manager, commented: ‘We greatly appreciate clients taking the time to leave us feedback. Here at FBTC we take pride in supporting clients to the best of our ability’.


Congratulating FBTC on winning this year’s award, Steph Heasman, Director of Customer Success at Feefo, commented: “The Trusted Service award has always been about recognising companies that go way beyond the norm in customer experience and generate great feedback from happy customers.  


Well done team!



January 21. 2020

Another positive year ahead for the Driver Training Industry

FBTC are excited to share another year’s analysis on the Driver Training Industry. The report focuses on the key areas of Driving Instructors’ workload, earnings and levels of job satisfaction. A continued trend from last year is the presence of a smarter working week and high levels of job satisfaction.  

The overall findings of this year’s survey show another positive year;


Read the full 2020 Driving Instructor Review here 2020 Annual UK Driving Instructor Review.pdf (401KB)

November 22. 2019

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

With 70 days go to file your 2018/2019 tax return, what are you waiting for? With plenty of fun and games to be had between now and the end of January don’t delay your tax return any more. You never know what could happen between now and the tax return filing deadline. Such as unforeseen circumstances to technical difficulties, to realising you don’t have all the required information or just getting caught up in the festivities! 
Last year 750,000 self-employed people missed the filing deadline and instantly received £100 penalty. HMRC received this massive amount of income from penalties and I am sure you would rather get some bargains in the January sales than pay for an unnecessary fine.
 
From those that missed the filing deadline there were some, let’s say creative, reasons reported to HMRC, which included;

  • My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me
  •  I’m too short to reach the post box
  •  I was just too busy – my first maid left, my second maid stole from me, and my third maid was very slow to learn
  • Our junior member of staff registered our client in Self-Assessment by mistake because they were not wearing their glasses
  •  My boiler had broken, and my fingers were too cold to typo

Having all the information is one thing, completing the return, using your allowances and paying the correct amount of tax is another. 
Angela MacDonald, HMRC Director General of Customer Services, said: “Help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time but it’s unfair to the majority of honest taxpayers when others make bogus claims."

So, what do you need to complete your tax return, aside from a little less procrastination:
It is always good to check your options and instructing an accountant to support you with your tax affairs isn’t a bad thing! Yes, you will have to pay for the service, but it is an allowable business expense. which is included within your total outgoings and deducted from your total income.
Did you know 2,616 taxpayers submitted their tax return on Christmas Day last year! Don’t be included in this figure this year, spend more time listening for sleigh bells and less time on your self-assessment. 

About FBTC Accountancy Services 
Covering the whole of the UK, FBTC provides service to more than 2,000 clients. Wrapped up in one £30 monthly fee, FBTC will: 

  • Self-employment registration 
  • Compilation of annual accounts 
  • Annual tax returns 
  • All communications with HM Revenue & Customs 
  • Access to making tax digital compliant software  
  • Tax and accountancy advice 

To contact the team for a no obligation chat click here and complete the enquiry form to the right.

 

October 1. 2019

FBTC will keep you OnBalance

FBTC Accountancy Services have now released their new bookkeeping software, which is included as part of the all-inclusive £30 monthly fee. All FBTC clients will be provided with the Making Tax Digital (MTD) compliant software, that will make bookkeeping easy!

The MTD compliant software allows you to add income and expenses with a click of a button, scan your receipts and submit business records directly to FBTC.

The accounting software is perfect for small businesses and FBTC have taken time to ensure it is right for their clients. Alan Gott, FBTC Manager is thrilled with the new software, ‘We have just started rolling the new software out to clients and it is great to receive such positive feedback already, it is definitely the highlight of 2019 for the team and our clients’.

The secure access system called OnBalance, is an extremely accessible system that allows users to access data anytime and anywhere. As it is cloud based software all you need is an internet connection to log in. Perfect when you are out and about running your business. You can keep records on a real time basis which will mean you save time when it comes to record keeping and juggling your work life balance.

As FBTC will take care of maintaining, updating and continuous improvement of the system you will always be running the latest and greatest version.

The further benefit of the software is that you can easily separate your transactions, for example if you have multiple trades and/or property income. Before FBTC invite you to start using the software they will set it up to include each of your trades meaning you can simply register, login and start recording transactions within minutes. Once you have entered transactions the handy dashboard will give you some of the key performance indicators of your business such as total turnover and expenses.

So, what else would make the completion of your tax return easier, other than a great accountant and first-class bookkeeping software? We think quick submission to your accountant is vitally important. With a click of a button you can send FBTC your data instantly. Using OnBalance with FBTC, will also give you MTD compliance as you are keeping digital records and using software to submit your records.

MTD, for those that are non-VAT registered, isn’t now set to be mandated until April 2021 at the earliest and HMRC do need to confirm an exact roadmap of how it will be enforced but FBTC are keeping abreast of the MTD updates as they are published and will keep you fully informed.

If you would like to know more about the software or joining FBTC Accountancy Services complete theSend us an enquiryform to your right or call us on 0344 984 2515.

February 13. 2019

Save your Valentine tax this year

Love is in the air, roses, wine and chocolates are everywhere and yet some of us are still thinking about tax. Although we would never give dating advice (trust me you really wouldn’t benefit), when it comes to tax, we really know our stuff. The Marriage Allowance is a little tax saving gift definitely worth having, a simple election could help you save around £238 in 2018/19, and while this may not seem like a lot, have you seen the price of roses, so every little helps.

I know we have made light of it here but please don’t read the above and think we are not serious, the days of huge tax savings are gone, so making as much of the little savings as you can is the best way to try and reduce you tax bill. If you or your partner aren’t making full use of your Personal Allowance, £11,850 in 2018/19, then this is something we would strongly recommend. The link below will take you to a HM Revenue and Customs website where you can make the election:

https://www.gov.uk/apply-marriage-allowance

If you are not sure about the election or would like to talk it over with someone please do call us, the team are here to help.