Avoid & Report Internet Scams

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Sensible words of warning from GOV.UK & HMRC this week.

Don’t give out private information (such as bank details or passwords), reply to text messages, download attachments or click on any links in emails if you’re not sure they’re genuine.

Misleading websites, emails & phone numbers

Some websites, emails or phone numbers can look like they’re part of an official government service or that they provide more help than they actually do.

This might mean you pay for services that you could get cheaper or for free if you used the official government service.  Search on gov.uk to find official government services and phone numbers – for example if you want to apply for a driving licence or a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

You can report a misleading website, email or phone number to Action Fraud or Google (if it appears as an advert in their search results).

HMRC phishing emails, texts and tax scams

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will never use texts or emails to:

  • tell you about a tax rebate or penalty
  • ask for personal or payment information

Check HMRC’s guidance on recognising scams if you’re not sure.

Forward suspicious text messages to 60599. Text messages will be charged at your network rate.

Forward suspicious emails to HMRC phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

Report a disclosure of personal details to HMRC

Email the HMRC security.custcon@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk if you think you’ve given any personal information in reply to a suspicious email or text.

Include brief details of what you disclosed (for example name, address, HMRC User ID, password) but don’t give your personal details in the email.

We’re happy to help, if we can, speak to your usual contact at Drummond Laurie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just in Time…

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Drummond Laurie Chartered Accountants Last Friday was a busy day for Margaret in the office before she went off on her maternity leave and we think she was hoping for a chance to put her feet up for a couple of weeks but her bump had other ideas! On Easter Sunday Mummy and Daddy welcomed the arrival of a beautiful a baby boy, Owen David John Brownlee who weighed in at 6lbs10oz.

What a beautiful a baby, congratulations Margaret & Neil.

Important Auto Enrolment Update

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Drummond Laurie Chartered AccountantsOn 6 April 2018, by law, the minimum amount employers have to pay into workplace pensions goes up to 2% of qualifying earnings, while staff will now contribute 3% – making a combined total minimum contribution of 5%.

Automatic enrolment has so far put more than nine million workers into workplace pension schemes.

All of these people are now on the road to saving for a better retirement, but it’s only the start.
Now that they’re saving for their future, the next step in automatic enrolment is for the amount staff pay into their pensions to increase, helping them to gradually adjust to saving money for their pension pot. Employers pay more in too, growing it even further. In fact, if they want to, employers can contribute more than the minimum amount they’re required to, meaning staff don’t need to pay in quite as much – as long as the total contribution is still at least 5%.

Employers should contact their pension provider and payroll team to check that arrangements are in place to pay in these new amounts from 6 April. We recommend that they write to staff to let them know about the increase in contributions,The Pensions Regulator has letter templates available to help.

Minimum contributions will increase again on 6 April 2019, to 3% for the employer and 5% for staff, making a combined total minimum amount of 8% of qualifying earnings. Rates will then stay at this level, unless the government makes changes to automatic enrolment in the future.

For more information on our Auto Enrolment service or any other services we offer please email Gillian.niven@drummondlaurie.co.ukor call Gillian on 01324 441280

National Minimum Wage & More

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Drummond Laurie Chartered AccountantsNational Minimum Wage and National Living Wage will increase on April 1st. Those aged over 25 on the National Living Wage will benefit from an increase of 4.4%, with hourly payments rising from £7.50 an hour to £7.83 an hour. Younger workers and apprentices will also benefit from similar improvements, with the new rates as follows:

  • 21-24 years old – £7.38 per hour
  • 18-20 years old – £5.90 per hour
  • Over compulsory school age – £4.20 per hour
  • Apprentice – £3.70 per hournat wage

1st April will also see the introduction of a new set of ‘family friendly’ pay rates. Increases will be made to the weekly rates of statutory maternity pay (SMP), statutory adoption pay (SAP), statutory paternity pay (SPP) and statutory shared parental pay (ShPP).  These rates will all rise from £140.98 per week to £145.18 per week and are seen as particularly important in providing added support to workers with families.With April on the horizon, you need to act quickly to ensure compliance – there is likely to be an increase in media coverage as the deadlines approach and employees will be well aware of their rights as a result. money

Coinciding with the next tax year of 6th April, statutory sick pay (SSP) will also rise from £89.35 a week to £92.05 a week. Having previously been described as ‘manifestly inadequate’ by the European Committee of Social Rights, this represents an attempt to increase the financial security of employees who will now have to earn at least £116 a week to be eligible for SSP and the family-friendly rates. Your clients should review and update any workplace policies which relate to these family-friendly pay rates ahead of the deadline.

There is likely to be added attention surrounding the incoming wage increases due to the release of the government’s latest ‘naming and shaming’ list of those employers who failed to pay staff minimum wage. The government is increasing enforcement in this area and substantial financial penalties can be issued to your clients if they fail to meet the new legal requirements.

For more information on this speak to your usual contact at Drummond Laurie or give us a call on 01324 441250.

Making Tax Digital

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Drummond Laurie Chartered Accountants

Making Tax Digital (MTD)  will be mandatory for VAT reporting from April 2019. VAT registered businesses with turnover above the VAT threshold will be required to maintain digital accounting records and use MTD compliant software to file their VAT returns, from the first VAT quarter starting on or after 1 April 2019. The current online VAT return will not be an option for such businesses after that date. Businesses with turnover below the VAT threshold who have registered voluntarily for VAT will not be required to comply with MTD requirements but can do so voluntarily. These businesses will be able to continue to use HMRC’s online portal.

Other taxes

The government has given an undertaking that MTD (electronic record keeping and quarterly reporting) will not be made mandatory for other taxes until the system is working well and not until April 2020 at the earliest.

Pilots

The pilot of MTD for VAT will start in April 2018.   We expect the government will make the final detailed requirements available to the software providers by April 2018 to allow the pilot to run as effectively as possible.  Whilst the pilot is in progress we will be keeping well informed of the developments and working alongside the software providers to provide us with all the information to support our clients.

However you currently keep your accounting records, we will be pleased to discuss your options with you and how you could benefit from better record keeping and financial information.  Please get in touch for an informal chat our contact details can be found here here

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Welcoming William

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Drummond Laurie Chartered Accountants

williamWe’re delighted to welcome William Main to Drummond Laurie this week as a Reporting Accountant within our outsourcing team.

William has worked in practice since leaving university and qualified with ACCA in 2017. During this time he has worked with a variety of businesses and has gained a wide range of experience during this time.  He’ll be working closely with clients in order to produce monthly management accounts whilst working to strict deadlines to ensure excellent client service.

Outside of work William enjoys going to football and rugby as well as running and fundraising for charities close to him. We look forward to working with William and we’re excited to have another runner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s snow going to stop us…

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Drummond Laurie Chartered Accountantssnow4This week we’ve been battered by weather from Siberia. As things worsened, we had various red warnings for blizzard-like conditions.

How are businesses supposed to deal with weather conditions that have not been seen for almost a decade?

Thankfully it’s rare, the last big freeze happened in 2010, when 20% of workers were unable to get to work, resulting in a £1.2bn hit to the UK economy.

Organisational responses to the kinds of disruption experienced this week should be part of a good business continuity plan. Where some employers still expect to see employees at the office no matter what, employment law and common sense suggest it is better not to risk staff health and safety.

We stayed safe at Drummond Laurie, although we had to close the office, a red weather warning meant it was unsafe to travel, most of our team are able to work from home, keep in touch with our clients and make sure nothing slips.  Our payroll and outsourcing teams were able to continue processing and submitting BACS ensuring employees and suppliers were paid on time.  Our accounts team are able to help with client queries and ensure any work needing done could still be carried out.

All that said we look forward to normality next week and returning to the office.

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Childcare Voucher Scheme Changes

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Drummond Laurie Chartered AccountantsIf you pay for childcare, using childcare vouchers can save many parents £1,000s a year.  These vouchers are available via a Government scheme, operated through employers and allow you to pay for childcare from your PRE-TAX salary.

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This benefit is provided through a salary sacrifice, which means you receive childcare vouchers in place of a portion of your gross salary.  The result being that a basic rate tax payer will save the tax and national insurance elements (combined 32%), on the value of the vouchers purchased.  Savings are applied per working parent, and for a basic rate taxpayer, each parent (where there employer offers a scheme), can purchase a maximum of £243 in vouchers each month.

However, this scheme will be closed to new entrants from 6th April 2018.  In many cases, this will mean that you are approaching the last chance you will have to join the existing scheme and purchase the vouchers.

From 6th April 2018, the existing scheme will be replaced, for new applicants, with the ‘Tax-Free Childcare Scheme’.  This scheme is managed by the government, rather than your employer, and the savings are applied per child.  For every £8 paid in by you, the government will pay in an extra £2, equivalent to 20% of childcare costs.   With this scheme, you can receive up to £2,000 per year, per child, towards your childcare costs.

There are advantages to both schemes, depending upon your level of childcare costs, however it is important to note that your child needs to be in registered childcare in order to benefit from either of these schemes.   You couldn’t, for example, use these vouchers to pay grandparents.

It may be worth checking, under the existing scheme, if you can start contributing in advance of the baby being born, as the vouchers are paid into an ‘online bank account’ for you to use at any time.

For more information please get in touch with us.

 

Forward Planning

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Drummond Laurie Chartered AccountantsForward-Planning-Whats-NextFor us January is always the busiest month of the year dealing with the personal tax deadline of 31st. It doesn’t stop there though, with just under two months to go until the end of the 2017/18 tax year it is worth considering if you have made full use of all available tax allowances;

  • Have you made full use of the £5,000 dividend 0% band? It is worth noting this is due to decrease to £2,000 from April 2018, increasing the tax liability for those with dividend income in excess of this amount.
  • For married couples or civil partners where one spouse earns below the personal allowance (£11,500) and the other is not a higher rate tax payer, have you elected to transfer 10% of your personal allowance?
  • For landlords the past few years have seen a number of changes, perhaps the biggest impact is the restriction of interest relief that came into effect in April 2017.
  • Have you made full use of your pension allowances, although the reliefs available have become more complex over the last few years, in general everyone could invest up to £40,000 into a pension, with unused allowances carried forward up to 3 years.

These are only a few examples of things to consider for more details please contact us via email adviser@drummondlaurie.co.uk or phone 01324 441250

Work with us, new opportunities now!

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Drummond Laurie Chartered Accountants2017-10-03 12.36.48Our people are our business  and we are very excited to be expanding our team again within Drummond Laurie.  We currently have two vacancies, Audit Senior and Accounts Assistant.

As a successful and fast growing independent firm of Accountants based in the central belt we are looking for talented people to join our strong team and to support an expanding client base. The roles accaoffer career progression as well as a competitive salary, and as a firm who strongly believes in the wellbeing of its employees,  generous benefits.chartered-acountants-logo

For more information on these vacancies please visit our careers page here

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