Latest news from HCA – January 2018

Happy New Year

May we wish all our clients, associates and followers a Happy New Year.

We hope that 2018 is a prosperous year for you and your best year yet.

If you want less pain with your accounts, bookkeeping or IT this year or want to get back some time because you have outsourced such activity in your business, then we would love to help you this year.

Self-Assessment 16/17 Deadline

A reminder that your Self-Assessment return for the last tax year 6th April 2016 to 5th April 2017 is now due and the online filing deadline is this month, 31st January 2018.

This is also the deadline date for making your payment for any tax due from this return.

If you are calculating the payment due prior to a formal notification from HMRC, then don’t forget that an additional payment on account for the next tax year may be applicable.

You can find out about the ways to pay and all the details by clicking here.

If you are running out of time for completing you 2016/17 return, then do not hesitate to contact us as soon as possible.

More hacking in the news – make sure you’re not impacted

In the last month, we have also read the various news stories of even more businesses being hacked or suffering a data breach.

Recently in the Telegraph, it was reported that almost half of UK businesses say they have suffered a data breach in the past 12 months and the average cost to a large enterprise is £20,000. The news article added that many companies are significantly underestimating the impact a breach would have on their business, with the expectation they will be back to normal within two days of a large cybersecurity breach.

Over the last year, we have seen a huge increase in the number of enquiries from business owners and individuals concerned about the security of their data.

Are you concerned?

If so, then do contact our IT-tech team, but here are 5 must consider actions to start with:

  1. Have reliable, up to date, Virus software and Firewall installed on ALL your devices, as well as any server. Ensure it is turned on and also run regular scans on your devices. Keep your software up to date once installed.
  2. Set up a daily back up of your data to another storage device or to the cloud. Consider an automated option so you don’t have to remember. However, also regularly test your back-ups.
  3. Check that your network and broadband connection are secure. Ensure there are no holes in your security allowing access into your systems.
  4. Be mindful when using a public hotspot or WIFI point. May be free, but….
  5. Invest in training your team or keep your own knowledge up to date. Know the latest techniques and tricks that hackers and fraudsters are using to access systems like yours. Know how to spot the obvious signs of a phishing attack. For example, being aware of downloading apps or downloading free software online, clicking on links in emails, placing a branded USB that was dropped in your car park into your PC…..

You may say that it is obvious that we would encourage you to invest in the protection of your data. However, please do seriously consider as it maybe you’re next? Like any investment, which may not be as much as you think, there are many statistics to prove that it is cheaper to set up systems to protect your data rather than face the costs, both direct and indirect (such as downtime), after such an event. Call us today for more details.

Auto-enrolment contribution increases

Do you have a workplace pension scheme in place to meet the auto-enrolment obligations as an employer?

A reminder that the minimum contributions under auto-enrolment are due to increase on 6th April 2018 (2% employer, 5% total) from their current levels of 1% employer contribution, 2% total contribution.

Have you budgeted for the increase? Have you a note to update your payroll software so that the increased deductions are made after this date?

You can read more about the increases this year and again in 2019 by clicking here

Are some things too good to be true?

Over the last year, there has been many ‘high profile’ press reports about celebrities having to pay back tax they thought they had saved by investing in tax schemes.

In many cases, individuals have been required to pay back the amount initially saved plus interest and sometimes penalties have been incurred. However, this is not saying that all tax schemes are dodgy and to be avoided.

However, if your risk aversion levels enable you to consider such options, then we encourage you to keep all eyes open and do your research, whilst taking advice from various sources.

HMRC are coming down extremely hard on individuals who are considered to be actively seeking tax avoidance.

As a starting point, ensure the scheme has been pre-approved by HMRC.

If you would like to discuss this further and would like signposting for specialist advice, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Capital allowances for Plant and Machinery

This is an area of much confusion and reported by HMRC as an area that often leads to errors in company accounts and personal self-assessment returns.

The depreciation of fixed assets charged in the accounts is not allowed as a deduction in computing taxable profits. Capital allowances may be given instead. Plant and machinery allowances give relief at prescribed rates for fixed assets that are plant and machinery.

In order to qualify for plant and machinery allowances you must:

  • be carrying on a qualifying activity
  • incur qualifying expenditure

If you would like to discuss this area further and consider any capital allowance matters, then please do not hesitate to call us on 01635 48200.