Monthly Archives: January 2018

Phew… January Nearly Over

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It’s been heads down all month but thankfully it’s nearly the 31st!Drummond Laurie Chartered Accountants

I’m sure you are always fully up to date with your tax compliance, but HMRC are used to hearing some strange excuses from the public for filing their tax returns late. Unsurprisingly, none of these reasons led to a successful appeal……….

tax4My dog ate my tax return…and all the reminders.

I couldn’t complete my tax return, because my husband left me and took our accountant with him. I am currently trying to find a new accountant.

My wife helps me with my tax return, but she had a headache for ten days.

I fell in with the wrong crowd.

I was in Australia.

What is a ‘reasonable excuse’?

If you miss the deadline you can appeal to HMRC against some penalties as long as you have a “reasonable excuse” for filing or paying late.

HMRC say that this must be something unexpected or outside your control such as your partner dying shortly before the tax return or payment deadline, having an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs, or your computer failing when you were preparing your online return. They also say service issues with HMRC’s website, a serious fire or postal delays may also be acceptable reasons. They are unlikely to class bounced cheques, insufficient funds, difficulty using the online system or the lack of a reminder letter as reasonable excuses.

HMRC issues automatic fixed penalties, interest and surcharges on late returns and overdue tax balances.

For more information on our tax and other services please get in touch, all details are on our website Drummond Laurie

 

Our priority…our clients!

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Drummond Laurie Chartered AccountantsWe always have a great break over the festive season knowing that when we return in January it’s heads down for one of our busiest months.  Our goal is to make sure that our clients receive the best possible service.  To do this, we believe that outstanding client care, combined with the highest quality advice, should be the rule and not the exception.

Our clients are always our priority, read more about our approach here, it’s certainly not rocket science and don’t just take our word for it, here’s what a couple of our clients have said:2017-10-03 12.36.48

“We have worked with David Wheeler and his team for many years – they continue to provide an excellent mix of personal service with a high level of professionalism across the board.”

“Ian and his team are always on hand to assist with any matters that crop up when running a family business. The service we have received has been excellent and I would be delighted to recommend them to my associates.”

To find out more and for an informal chat please contact Gillian Niven on 01324 441280 or email gillian.niven@drummondlaurie.co.uk

 

 

Auto Enrolment Review…but you may have to wait a while!

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The DWP’s long awaited review of aDrummond Laurie Chartered Accountantsuto enrolment finally landed on doormats a week before Christmas. For savers, and would-be savers, it brought some welcome Christmas cheer.

The two headline grabbing announcements were that auto enrolment would be extended to 18 year olds and that auto enrolment minimum contributions would be calculated on every pound of earnings up to £45,000pa. Currently, the first £5,876 of earnings is excluded.

pensionExtending auto enrolment to younger people is a complete no-brainer.  Currently, legislation only requires employers to automatically enrol those aged over 22, earning more than £10,000 a year or £192 a week. Those aged under 22, can opt in but very few choose to do so. This means that inertia, which auto enrolment harnesses so effectively for those over 22, currently works against young employees.

A survey of 500 16-21 year olds conducted by NOW Pensions revealed two thirds (66%) are not currently contributing to a pension. Despite this, 69% think being auto enrolled by their employer into a workplace pension before the age of 22 is a good idea to help them save for their retirement. This rises slightly to 70% amongst 18-21 year olds.

Of those surveyed, 64% say if they were auto enrolled they would remain in the scheme and wouldn’t opt out. This rises slightly to 66% amongst 18-21 year olds.

The message is clear – young people want to save for their future and auto enrolment would make it easy for them to do so.

The timetable for extending auto enrolment to 18 year olds is still to be decided. The government has said its aim is “mid 2020s” so they can assess the impact of increased contributions. We hope it’s sooner rather than later to give as many people as possible the chance to start saving.

Basing auto enrolment minimum contributions on every pound of earnings sounds like a small technical change but it’ll result in a huge improvement to savers’ pension pots .

t’s a complete nonsense that the first £5,876 of a worker’s salary isn’t included when calculating auto enrolment contributions. This lower band of earnings affects most auto enrolled savers but is particularly damaging for low paid and part time workers, the majority of whom are women. It means that for somebody earning £10,000, just £4,124 of their salary counts for the purposes of auto enrolment. So, when contributions increase to 8% of qualifying earnings in 2019, they will only be getting a contribution of just 3.3% of their total earnings.

This reform will mean that an 8% contribution will, for most people at least, mean 8%. But, with the upper earnings limit still in place, higher earners (currently those earning over £45,000) still won’t receive the full headline contribution. All savers should receive 8% so this upper band should also be reconsidered.

But, 8% still won’t be enough and the government can’t continue to bury its heads in the sand. A roadmap for increasing contributions beyond 8% needs to be set out, and this needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Nonetheless, basing pension contributions on every pound of earnings means that when we do begin to consider what the future looks like, we are starting from a much fairer base.

Drummond Laurie are helping clients with Auto Enrolment every day, if you need help with this please contact Gillian Niven on 01324 441280 or email gillian.niven@drummondlaurie.co.uk.

 

Resolutions for 2018!

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untitledDrummond Laurie Chartered AccountantsHappy New Year from everyone at Drummond Laurie and best wishes for a successful 2018. After such a turbulent 2016 in which we experienced the Brexit vote and a change of Prime Minister, we hoped for a more tranquil 2017. We should have known better! Theresa May called a general election which she surely now  regrets, finding her government propped up by the DUP. In Scotland we  are now likely to “boast” both the lowest and the highest rates of income tax in the UK, with 5 different tax codes inflicted on us by our SNP government similarly propped up by the tiny Green party. And through all of this we have seen the commencement of the Brexit negotiations which seem sure to provide us a rollercoaster ride as stage 2 talks get underway in early 2018.

Surprisingly to many, our economy has remained remarkably resilient throughout all of this turbulence. Unemployment is low and employment is at record high levels. The impact of the weak pound has resulted in inflation creeping back above 3% and, as a result,  we have seen the first increase in the bank base rate in over 10 years, albeit only going up to 0.5%. Economic growth has slowed with almost all forecaster suggestions it could slow further still in the coming years.

So what should business owners be focussed on as we head into a new year? As ever at this time of year it is important to look ahead and to plan for the twelve months ahead. Failing to plan is planning to fail! Budgets should be in place now for the year ahead which will hopefully recognise the risks and opportunities which lie in wait.  We always encourage our clients to identify their main business risks and to take steps to mitigate these before they become major issues. These might include some of the following:-

  • Over reliance on one key supplier – Take steps now to identify alternatives and try them out when things are going well rather than when you are suddenly put in a pressure situation.
  • Over reliance on a key member of staff – “Insure” yourself against the impact of losing this person by ensuring that their skills and knowledge are transferred to others within your team in a controlled way.
  • Over reliance on a particular customer – A more difficult risk to overcome as very few people will turn down orders from a good customer. However you can channel your sales and marketing efforts in a different direction to help reduce your exposure to one customer or one narrow sector.
  • Over reliance on one product – In today’s world where technology moves so quickly very few products are immune from being superseded. Devote time and resource to new product development/ sourcing, to ensure that your business cannot be easily “superseded” by one technical advancement.

Make it your new year resolution to address any risks in your business before they become major problems for you. Our team at Drummond Laurie are experienced at identifying such risks and advising clients on mitigating actions so if you are not already a client please get in touch to see what we can do for you.

David Wheeler

Partner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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