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Do any of the following statistics apply to you?

It is that time of year again where it gives me great pleasure to announce the success we had from our November Will Aid Campaign.

Yet again in the month of November alone we have helped raise over a thousand pound for charity; contributing to help those less fortunate than ourselves, which is something the team here at Loftus Stowe are extremely proud of.

Which also means we have assisted eight individuals in ensuring that their assets are distributed how they wish but also guaranteeing that loved ones are looked after on their passing.

However, even with the success we have had, the statistics for individuals who actually have a will are worrying; and as a business who see the effects and upset caused by individuals not having one in place every day, we can’t stress enough how important they actually are.

For those of you reading this; whether be an existing client or not, do any of the following statistics apply to you?

Are you one of the 27 million (53%) out of the 51 million people living within the UK who do not currently have a will in place? That’s right over half of the UK’s current population have not secured their future.

Do you and your cohabitee make up part of the 70% of couples which have no will? Did you know that on death, the surviving partner would have no automatic right to inherit?

Are you one of the parents who haven’t protected their children(s) future? 57% percent of the parents out there have no will in place at all, whilst 31% of you have not named guardians for your children.

Even if you make up the 47% of the UKs population with a Will, you’ll be surprised to know that a quarter of you have had a change in circumstances (e.g. marriage, divorce, children) which has more than likely invalidated you most recent Will or means it will no longer reflect your wishes.

If so it may be crucial for you to take advantage of our discounted services in January to ensure that your families future is secured.

The discounted prices are also available on other legal services which we offer here at Loftus Stowe, from Lasting Power of Attorney’s, Discretionary Will Trusts and Court Registrations to Corporate Law and Shareholders Agreements.

For an extensive list of all the Legal Services we offer please visit the website here at http://loftusstowe.co.uk/legal-services/ or contact Ella on 01909 512 120 or ella@loftusstowe.com

Uber Decision: What are the tax implications?

It’s been all over the news (if you haven’t seen it, where have you been?!) since the tribunal agreed that Uber drivers are workers, meaning they should be entitled to basic worker rights. Uber have since suggested that they will appeal this decision.

Much of the media coverage regarding the recent Uber decision has focused on employment law, however, there are tax implications that need to be considered.

HMRC enforce the national minimum wage (NMW) and they are considering what course of action to take in regards to enforcing payments to drivers and the penalties to Uber.

But HMRCs involvement in Uber goes even further. HMRC focus on tackling false self-employment, therefore as Uber drivers are now classed as workers for employment law, does this mean they are employees for tax purposes?

Employees are a subset of workers, however, workers are not always employees. The employment law and tax tests which determine whether or not an individual is an employee, they are similar, but not the same.

But, what will happen if HMRC decides that Uber drivers are employees for tax? National Insurance contributions, expense claims and PAYE.

The drivers will currently pay NICs at the self-employed rate, however, if HMRC deem them to be employees, they will have to make higher contributions at the employee rate.

If the drivers are deemed employees, they will be entitled to claim a mileage allowance, however, it could be lower than the deductions they currently claim.

Uber would have to operate a PAYE on the payments to their drivers. Uber could end up being liable for employer’s contributions at 13.8%.

If you have a query about employment status, please contact us on 01909 512 120 or email info@loftusstowe.com

Are you looking for a way to retain staff without increasing wages?

Have you considered an employee share scheme as a way to reward staff? Why would you consider setting up a share scheme?

The main benefits of setting up a share scheme would be that shares may be awarded as remuneration for employees services, therefore employees may be paid bonuses in share form. This would then act as a performance incentive, as the higher the value of the shares the higher the additional profits the employee will receive.

Another important benefit of setting up a share scheme would be for the retention of staff. The majority of share schemes require the employee to have been with the company for a minimum period of three years before they can exercise the option to acquire shares.

There are various types of share incentive schemes and share option schemes currently available to consider. Below I will briefly outline four types of tax advantage share schemes.

1. Share Incentive Plans (SIPs)

A SIP is usually operated by a quoted UK company. The company will created a trust in which money is placed; the trustees will use this money to acquire shares. The trustees will then reward the acquired shares to the employees in the plan. At this point the shares remain property of the trust, they are simply allocate to the employees until the employees wish to withdraw them from the plan.

An employee can receive up to £3,600.00 of free shares per annum. This reward can be based on performance throughout the year; the shares would usually remain in the plan for a minimum period of three years.

The SIP also enables employees to purchase new shares and obtain income tax relief on the purchase. Shares purchased in this way are known as Partnership Shares.
If the employee does not withdraw the shares from the plan within five years from the date they were originally rewarded, no income tax or national insurance will be charged on the withdrawal amount.

All employees must be invited to join the scheme.

2. Savings related share option scheme

Savings related share option schemes are extremely easy to create and administer. An employee will make regular payments into a designated building society account throughout a selected contract period. This is known as an SAYE- a Save as you earn- account.

At the end of the selected period usually between 3 and 5 years, the employee will use the cash saved to purchase shares in the employer company. The price of these shares will have been fixed at the start of the contract.

No tax will be charged on the exercise of the shares.

All employees must be invited to join the scheme, however employees with less than five years’ service can be excluded.

3. Company share option plans (CSOP)

The company would grant the employee the right to acquire ordinary shares at a fixed price within a specific period of time. The price at which the shares are granted, must not be less than the market value of the shares at that time.

Employees will not be given free shares, the employee is simply taking up an offer to buy the shares at a specified price.

No income tax or NICs will be charged, if the option is exercised within 3 to 10 years of the date it was originally granted.

An attraction to a company share option plan is that the company can invite selected full time directors and full time or part time employees to participate.

4. Enterprise management Incentives (EMI)

EMI options are great for smaller companies to attract and retain their staff. The employee will be granted the right to acquire shares within the next 10 years at a fixed price. Within the next 10 years the employee will exercise the option to buy shares.

For a company to qualify it must have less than 250 full time employees and be permanently established in the UK.
If the option is granted within 10 years, income tax will only be chargeable if the shares were originally offered at a discount. After 10 years no income tax is chargeable on exercise of the shares.

The company can invite selected, full time employees to join the scheme.

For further guidance and advice, contact Holly on 01909 512 120 or holly@loftusstowe.com

Are you ready for 2017 employment law changes?

As the New Year draws closer, so do many major employment law changes that you need to prepare for.

One of the biggest events predicted for 2017 is that Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union will be triggered. This brings many of us to question two main things, what will happen mexicanpharmacy-onlinerx.com to UK employment legislation derived from Europe? And, what will happen to workers who are from the EU? Hopefully, answers flomax vs cialis for bph to these questions will become clearer in 2017.

In April 2017, National Minimum Wage will increase, along with National Living Wage (employees over 25). In addition, Statutory Maternity, Paternity, Adoption, Shared Parental and Sick Pay will increase in April 2017.

Although it is not taking place until 2018, employers should start making preparations for Data Protection changes. The EU General Data viagra vs cialis hardness Protection Regulation (DGPR) came into force in May 2016, however, it has two years to implement which means the latest date the UK will enforce the Regulation, is May 2018.

DGPR means employers should review their systems and processes when processing data, to ensure that they have sufficient systems in place and to ensure their data is kept safe. It is suggested that you appoint a Data Protection Officer, to respond to these changes, as there will be penalties of up to 4% of global turnover or 20 Million Euros.

The Apprenticeship Levy comes into force on almaximo sildenafil 50 mg para que sirve 6th April 2017. This means employers who have an annual pay bill of above £3m will pay 0.5% of their NIC pay bill for the year. The Government will then top up the funds by 10%, this will then be the total amount the employer has to spend on sildenafil over the counter apprenticeship training in England.

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For any help and guidance with these changes, please contact us on 01909 512 120 or info@loftusstowe.com

Festive Fun: What’s the worst that’ll happen?

It’s nearly Christmas, which means you are probably looking forward to your works Christmas party!

But, is your company vicariously liable for injuries and behaviours that have been caused after or during a work event?

A recent case (Bellman v Northampton Recruitment) was taken to the High Court after a company director assaulted a manager following their Christmas party. After the party, the pair along with a few other colleagues carried on drinking at a hotel before the assault happened.

The assault left the manager with serious brain injuries, leading to a claim being put in against the company, not the director. It was debated if, at the time the director carried out the assault, was he ‘acting in the course or scope of his employment’?

The answer is no. The judge ruled that as the assault did not happen during the Christmas party itself, it was in a private drinking session following, the company was not vicariously liable.

So, although it is all fun and cheers at this time of year, it’s important to keep in mind that if any irresponsible behaviour were to happen during your Christmas party, or any work event, your company could be held responsible.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015

Under The Modern Slavery Act 2015, large commercial companies with an annual turnover of around £36m, are required to publish a modern slavery statement for each financial year ending on or after 31 March 2016.

There are only a few days left for companies to publish their first statement, as the first statement must be published by the end of September.

Although going forward, there is no timeline for companies to publish their statement, the Government expects them to be published ‘as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of each financial year’ and they encourage companies to publish within six months of the end of the financial year.

For guidance on what should be in a statement, or if you have any questions, contact us on 01909 512 120 or email info@loftusstowe.com

Free Agent

 

Easy-to-use accounting software

Designed specifically for small businesses and freelancers FreeAgent makes it simple to stay on top of your day-to-day bookkeeping. At the same time working alongside our team of qualified accountants ensures you receive the best tax planning and business advice.

FreeAgent is completely web-based, so there’s nothing to download, update, or install on your computer, and you can access it from anywhere you have an internet connection. Your data is safely backed-up, and FreeAgent uses the same level of encryption to talk to your computer as banks use, they even store your data in a former nuclear bunker!

FreeAgent supports your bookkeeping and accounting:

  • Create professional-looking estimates and invoices, send then chase payment automatically
  • Easily reconcile your bank transactions with automated bank feeds into your FreeAgent account
  • Effortlessly manage expenses
  • Run monthly payroll and file RTI directly to HMRC
  • Manage projects, track time and generate timesheet reports
  • Submit your VAT return directly to HMRC through FreeAgent

FreeAgent is also optimised for mobile so you can access your accounts when you’re on the move. There’s nothing to download — just log into FreeAgent on your phone to get going.

FreeAgent gives you a real-time overview of your business finances making it easy for you to track your cashflow and other important financial aspects of your business in real-time.

There are no restrictions on the number of transactions you can process in FreeAgent. You can also choose to give access to as many people as necessary for your business. As your accountants, we’ll also have access which means that we can deliver instant, better and more relevant advice on an up-to-date set of figures.

Contact us on 01909 512 120 to arrange a free demonstration!

Employment Law: What’s changing?

Autumn is officially here, which means that HR practitioners are going to be busy getting to grips with the latest employment law changes. Updates and changes that you need to be aware of, include:

  1. National Minimum Wage

From 1st October 2016, National Minimum Wage rates are changing to the following:

  • £6.95 for 21 to 24 year olds;
  • £5.55 for 18 to 20 year olds;
  • £4.00 for under 18’s and no longer of compulsory school age;
  • £3.40 for apprentices.

The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rate for workers 25 and above are unaffected.

  1. English Language Requirement

It will become essential for workers in the public sector who are required to speak to members of the public, to be able to speak fluent English (in Wales it is English or Welsh).

Although there is no date confirmed, it’s anticipated that this will be introduced in October 2016.

  1. Illegal use of Foreign Workers

There is no set date yet, but new powers are to be introduced that allow employers to be served a closure notice if illegal working is suspected. Employers will initially be denied access to their premises for a maximum period of 48 hours, then a further order can be added to prohibit or restrict access to the employer’s premises for a period of up to 12 months.

  1. Visa Levy

The Government have indicated that in April 2017, they are to impose a visa levy on organisations that sponsor workers from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland. This is to reduce businesses relying on migrant workers.

  1. Apprenticeships

It’s planned that the money gathered from the apprenticeship levy will fund the cost of apprenticeship training and assessment. The levy will be set at 0.5% of the employer’s pay bill, will be charged to all large employers.

The levy is expected to come into force on 6 April 2017.

  1. Public Sector Exit Payments

The Government is yet to confirm a commencement date, but there will be a new cap £95,000 of public-sector exit payments.

Employees that earnt £80,000 per year or more, who return to work in the public sector within one year of them leaving, will repay the exit payment made to them.

Repayment amounts will be tapered depending on the length of time from leaving their role.

  1. Tax-free Childcare Scheme

In early 2017, the Government will introduce a scheme that funds 20% of the yearly childcare costs for parents that qualify, for each child aged under 12 (capped at £2,000 per child).

This will be for families where both parents work and each parent earns less than £100,00 per year, and a minimum weekly income of at least equivalent to 16 hours at the rate of the national minimum wage.

If you have any questions, contact us at 01909 512 120 or email info@loftusstowe.com

Vacancy: Business Administration Apprentice

As you may be aware, we are currently looking for a new Business Administration Apprentice.

The successful application will be making and reciving calls, meeting clients, handling correspondence, supporting our property management function and will have the opportunity to accompany property viewings.

If you are interested or know someone who may be, please share the vacancy which can be found here: https://www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeship/-10111

If you have any questions please contact Phillipa on 01909 512 120 or email phillipa@loftusstowe.com

 

Femi Ogunshakin Managing Director
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