How our Web Portal benefits our clients

Web-based portals are increasingly familiar to our clients, since these portals are already commonplace in many industries, including banking and insurance. It’s not surprising that many clients now expect instant access to information via web-based portals in their accounting and tax matters as well.

Now that we have our Portal in place, the benefits to our clients are starting to flow.

There are many benefits to our Portal. Some of the most important are:
Instant, 24/7 access to key financial documents. Clients can upload and store their own important documents as well (e.g Mortgage Statements).

A permanent secure storage facility – allowing you to meet HMRC document retention rules. If you store your documents in the Portal, there is no need to back them up and you will never have to worry about transferring this data when you change your computer.

Encrypted message exchange which is much more secure than e-mail technology. When emails travel to their intended destinations, they traverse an untold number of servers and can be intercepted and viewed by anyone with the proper technological know-how and desire. This inherent security flaw, at present, may place confidential data at risk. For some time now we have used Adobe Document Cloud e-sign (formerly Echosign) to send out sensitive documents. We recommend clients send sensitive information to us via our Portal.

 

The Portal is one of many technologies which are improving the service that progressive, innovative accountants can offer their clients. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like more information on this and other new technologies.

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HMRC Tax Investigations Yielding Greater Returns

HMRC has boosted returns from its investment into tax investigations carried out by local compliance teams, which focus on individual taxpayers and small businesses (a new report from The 2020 Group has found). For every £1 spent by local compliance teams in 2013/14, £18 was collected in additional tax. This is up from £16 per £1 invested during the previous year.

In total, £8.9 billion in extra tax was collected via local compliance investigations in 2013/14, up from £7.8 billion in 2012/13.

This high return on investment means that HMRC is likely to continue to pour resources into tax investigations undertaken by these teams. A growing number of ‘everyday’ taxpayers, including more SMEs, are likely to find themselves under scrutiny as a result.

This increased efficiency serves as a reminder that HMRC is broadening its range of targets. HMRC is no longer focusing solely on high net worth individuals with money held offshore or traditional cash businesses. The attempt to increase revenue has led to a greater focus on ordinary taxpayers.

HMRC has launched a range of campaigns in recent years targeting everyday taxpayers. The ‘Second Incomes Campaign’, for instance, means  that private tutors and even online traders are amongst those under more intense scrutiny. Voluntary disclosure schemes have also been launched to target specific job sectors, with solicitors being one of the most recent targets.

The 31st January filing deadline typically triggers a wave of new tax investigations. HMRC’s increased efficiency means that taxpayers should be ever more diligent when completing self-assessment tax returns.

The new aggressive approach adopted by HMRC means it is much more likely that tax-payers may end up on the receiving end of a tax investigation.

Here at TaxAssist Accountants we give peace of mind to clients by offering an insurance policy to pay our fees if a client is selected for enquiry.

Nigel Lomax explains how the VAT Flat Rate scheme operates

The Flat Rate VAT scheme (FRS) is available to all small businesses. The FRS differs from standard VAT accounting as you pay a percentage of turnover rather than paying VAT on the difference between sales and purchases. So, while you continue to charge clients the standard 20% VAT rate, you can potentially give a smaller percentage to HM Revenue and Customs.

The FRS helps to simplify VAT calculations and record keeping. This is particularly helpful to smaller organisations that may not have the time to conduct their accounting in the traditional way. This is important bearing in mind the increasingly severe penalties that can be charged for errors. It shortens the process, removing the need to keep a record of VAT charged for each individual sale or that paid on purchases. However, you do still need to show a 20% VAT amount on each sales invoice.

It might also save you money. Example:

Standard VAT Calculation

Total Billings £50,000
Output VAT 20% £10,000
Total invoiced £60,000
VAT reclaimed through purchases £750 (this figure is arrived at by adding up the VAT on all your business costs)
Total payable to HMRC £9,250

With this scheme, you are acting as an unpaid tax-collector on the VAT generated by you business.

Flat Rate Scheme Calculation

Total Billings £50,000
Output VAT 20% £10,000
Total invoiced £60,000
Total payable to HMRC at 14.5% of total invoiced £8,700

In addition, while you are in your first year of vat registration you can benefit from a 1% reduction to your FRS rate.

If you make use of the scheme, you cannot reclaim VAT on purchases, except in certain circumstances. As a result, the FRS works best for people who have few expenses compared to their fee income. VAT on expenses can only be recovered if they are capital items costing £2,000 or more or if the assets are still within the business on the date of VAT registration.

I must credit http://www.contractoruk.com for their article which contains further information for IT Contractors

Please contact us if you need further advice. The FRS scheme means that it can make sense to voluntarily register to be VAT-Registered where your customers are VAT-registered.

The Shrewsbury Accountant – TaxAssist in Sundorne has summarised yesterday’s Autumn Statement

A summary of the Autumn Statement can be found by clicking on the link below

TaxAssist Accountants – Autumn Statement summary

The Shrewsbury Accountants, TaxAssist in Sundorne, explain the benefits of accounting in the cloud

New and established businesses can benefit greatly from using an on-line (cloud based) accounting packages.

In our experience, choosing to work on-line rather than installing software on a local PC gives the following major benefits:

  • Reduced cost –No need to purchase hardware or accounting software. And unlike the conventional accounting software, it requires absolutely no updates.
  • Ease of access – All you need is an Internet connection!
  • Security – Your data is safe online. No need to worry about PC failures, theft or fires.
  • Improves Business Performance – Keep on top of money owed to you, work with your accountant on current data.

Please have a look at our software brochure and 24 page guide by clicking the links below:

Online accounting brochure

TaxAssist Accountants Online Bookkeeping Guide

We can give you a free 60 day trial. Thereafter the software costs just 50p per day (plus VAT).

Please contact us for more details. No more worrying about that old PC running unsupported software!

The Shrewsbury Accountant, TaxAssist in Sundorne, explains when you will need to complete a tax return

I am grateful to Bob Edwards of Landmark Professional Development for producing this clear guide on when you are required to complete a personal tax return.

Please click on the link below to access it:

Filing check list

If you need further guidance, please do not hesitate to contact us

The Shrewsbury Accountant, TaxAssist in Sundorne, has summarised the Budget for local business owners

Please find below a link to our Budget Summary covering the key points of George Osborne’s fourth Budget that affect small business owners and taxpayers.

TaxAssist Accountants budget_summary_2013_21 March 2013

Some of the changes were mentioned in last December’s Autumn Statement and earlier Budgets, but there were also many new announcements. The main highlights of the Chancellor’s speech were:

  • From April 2014, all businesses and charities will be entitled to an Employment Allowance of £2,000 per year towards their employer National Insurance contributions (NICs) bill. This will particularly help small businesses who want to hire their first employee or expand their workforce
  • An increase in fuel duty of 1.89 pence per litre, originally planned for 1st September 2013, will be cancelled. This is great news for trades people and service providers who make home visits and are dependent on their vehicles
  • The Government had already pledged to increase the personal allowance to £10,000 by 2015/16, but today announced that this would be brought-forward a year and will now increase to £10,000 in 2014/15

We hope that this summary is easy to digest and proves useful.

A further article with reaction from Jo Nockells of our technical team is on our web-site here

If any of the areas discussed seem likely to have an impact on your personal or commercial plans, please do not hesitate to contact us.