Easy to read, accessible tips and strategies for small business owners
We offer a range of services that are designed to support our clients achieve their business and personal financial goals. Planning is at the root of our success as advisors. Planning will help you avoid missed filing obligations and ensure that you take advantage of all the options that exist to create and retain hard-won income and asset growth.
The services we offer
Uncertainty as the Brexit process unwinds is making planning difficult and the outlook for future business trading in the UK and wider markets unpredictable. There has never been a time where the need to keep a close eye on our level of business fitness is so relevant.
Mindful of this, we can offer you a complimentary risk assessment to see how vulnerable your business would seem to be and to discuss how we could help you improve your level of business fitness. In our opinion, we can always improve, and importantly, maintain a high level of business fitness to counter or reduce the impact of adverse trading conditions and to take advantage of more buoyant economic circumstances as they develop.
We all need to an eye on our tax affairs, and in particular, the options we have to plan for any significant changes in our personal or business circumstances. This would include a review of all the relevant options to save tax, NIC or VAT and a forward estimate of liabilities so you have the maximum time to make reserves to meet any future liabilities.
With this in mind, we can offer you an exploratory meeting to bring ourselves up-to-date with any recent changes in your circumstances, or future plans that may have an impact on your tax payments this year, and next year.
We are only required to pay the tax legislated for by government, and no more than that. Tax planning will ensure that you take advantage of all the allowances and reliefs to which you are entitled.
Once your company is formed, there are certain “housekeeping” functions that are required by Companies House to keep you the right side of the regulations. These include maintenance of registers that record shareholder and directors’ details, the submission of an annual return (now called a confirmation statement), the preparation and retention of board minutes to record and authorise dividend payments and other formal changes in shareholding and directorships, plus the usual filing of accounts in the correct format.
We can offer you a fixed fee service that will deal with all of these issues for you and keep you the right side of the multitude of filing regulations with which you are obliged to comply.
We can help you identify your investment and personal assets that at some future date may create a possible capital gains tax bill when they are sold.
To accomplish this, we can provide you with an annual review of these potential tax charges and together with advice that will aim to make the most of allowances and reliefs currently available. In this way you will always have a current estimate of any taxes payable when you sell.
And more importantly, you will have advice on file before you make any chargeable disposals. The very worst outcome as your advisors is that you tell us about a disposal after the contract for sale has been signed. We need to know before you sell chargeable assets, not before. Pretty much all capital gains tax planning is only effective if undertaken while you still own the assets.
Also, certain gifts count as a disposal for CGT purposes. All of these options will be considered as part of our annual fact-find and review.
We can identify if you or your family own assets that at some future date will create a possible inheritance tax bill.
To accomplish this, we can provide you with an annual review of these potential tax charges and advice that will aim to make the most of allowances and reliefs currently available. In this way you, and therefore your estate and future executors, will always have a current estimate of any taxes payable, if any.
More importantly, you will have advice on file before any IHT becomes due. The very worst outcome as your advisors is that we have to stand by and witness your family penalised, paying more IHT than was necessary when you depart this mortal coil.
Also, certain gifts may form part of your estate for IHT purposes. As part of our annual review we can keep a track of these potentially chargeable gifts and factor them into a comprehensive planning exercise.
All of these options will be considered as part of our annual fact-find and review.
We may have discussed on previous occasions how and when you would like to exit from your business commitments. We can now regularise this aspect of your business planning and offer you an annual review of your business exit plans. This will provide you with a number of planning opportunities.
Exit options may be a family or management arrangement, an outright sale or to close the business down.
Whatever your planning preference, an annual review would give us an opportunity to flex past choices and reconsider any new tax or other commercial opportunities that become available.
The report that we produce will form the blueprint for your actual business exit when the appropriate time arrives.
None of us want to consider planning for a time when we are no longer here to support our families and yet death is a reality, we all have to meet at some point. There is also the possibility that we may become less able to manage our personal affairs due to illness or some other incapacity.
Your Will and any estate and business exit planning should take care of matters should you die, what we would like you to consider today, is to create and update a plan that would help your family or advisors should you become unable to make decisions or take action due to a chronic illness or as the result of an accident.
Part of this planning could be to organise Powers of Attorney. In this way your personal finances and health can be delegated to a trusted family member or friend, and we can help you organise this.
What we can also do is to create and update annually, a formal guide that can be used by your chosen representative to maintain those daily chores that would normally require your active involvement.
For example, we all use a variety of software applications to manage our banking, online purchases, utility accounts and so on. How would your family take over management of these important tasks if you were unable to do so at short notice?
We all lead complex lives and it is surprising how much detail is required to be known in order to stand in someone’s shoes who is no longer capable of managing their own affairs.
The clear and outstanding benefit of this service is that it will help you brain dump all the information that will enable a smooth transition and take away some of the anxiety and stress that your family may have to face and cope with if you become incapacitated or die.
There is no prescriptive way to tackle this issue, which is why we would like to meet to discuss your options.
In many respects, clients that have complex and extensive personal financial arrangements have to manage as many if not more bank accounts and other records than a business if they want to keep themselves informed of their financial status and circumstances.
For example, would you find it useful to see on a regular basis a detailed analysis of your income and expenses, and an updated statement of your personal net worth?
We are one of the few firms who are providing this service for interested clients.
The benefits of the service include: reporting to aid your personal cash management, data retrieval for personal tax returns, spin off data to pick up movements in investments, data to qualify IHT gifts made out of income and evidence of other recordable transactions for IHT purposes, and most importantly, indicators to monitor personal solvency and net worth.
To provide this service we will need to agree on the degree of analysis required and the sources from which we would draw the underlying data. Once this is done, we would process transactions for you in a reliable software package or train you or someone that you trust to do this for you.
This service has a number of planning advantages for high net worth individuals who can use our reports to further bolster the effectiveness of personal financial planning and other planning initiatives.
Our practice, in tandem with all businesses that manage personal data, were required to meet the new General Data Protection Regulations from May 2018. And those regulations have not gone away.
If you are concerned that you are not compliant with the GDPR you are gambling that your security systems, firewalls etc, are keeping ne’er-do-wells at bay. Should this prove to be a false hope you should be aware that the Information Commissioners Office now have teeth to impose fines on those who play roulette with the personal data entrusted to them by customers, suppliers, staff and other business contacts.
Like to make a start on becoming compliant?
We can share the work that we have done to become GDPR compliant and help you achieve the same result.
Very few businesses are required to audit their accounts and as a result the underlying systems that underpin your record keeping rarely come up for review. Risks that we all take if we ignore this apparent omission are defective internal controls and systems that could open the doors to fraud.
Another compelling reason to consider this issue is the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (CFA). Since 30 September 2017, the new CFA ensures that companies and partnerships are criminally liable if they fail to prevent tax evasion by their employees or an external agent. This is true even if business owners were not aware of the tax evasion activity.
Other benefits of undertaking an annual business system review are to ensure compliance with NMW and NLW regulations, that proper records are being kept satisfying compliance with the various Taxes and Companies Acts, the control of expense payments and avoidance of fraudulent collusion with suppliers and customers.
Opportunities now exist to consider your place or residence for income tax and stamp duty purposes if you live and work in the border areas of England/Scotland or England/Wales.
If you are considering a relocation to a new home in the near future, or if you have plans to relocate your business, you should consider your planning options based on the income tax and stamp duty charged at different rates in England, Scotland and Wales.