Illegal? Looks like it might be!

I was going to think about the possible tax implications of the snap election especially when we start off with Philip Hammond giving a big hint that taxes are going to increase and then the Prime Minister confirming that the Conservatives are a party of low taxes but then I thought what's the point? Journalists are going to pick over every word coming out of every politician and, frankly, its all spin, conjecture and speculation until a new government is elected.
So I was left without a topic and was thinking about this when I saw just the back end of a news ticker running across the bottom of a television screen as I was waiting for my car to be serviced, it said "…death tax scrapped…" Immediately I guessed it was the new probate fees being dropped but had to wait until the ticker went around again until I saw confirmation.
Do these people live in the real world? Did it appear anywhere in the thought processes introducing the new probate fees, that an increase…

Date for the diary: 25 May 2017 seminar

Duncan and I, are holding a couple of seminars discussing how to use your tax allowances and reliefs. It seems odd that I haven't yet worked out how much tax could be saved if you used all the available allowances and reliefs and I'll probably do that as an opening to the seminar. Anyhow, on 25 May we'll be holding a client seminar at our offices in Uckfield. The seminar will be for higher rate tax payers and we'll run through some simple scenarios to give everyone easy to follow guidance on how to use their allowances and reliefs. Most allowances and reliefs are "use them or lose them" which means exactly what it says, if you don't use the relief then you can't save it up and use it next year (except for the IHT annual exemption - this is tax, there is always an exception!) The seminar is by invitation only, but is open to non-clients who feel they would benefit. A second seminar will take place either the day before or the day after in Seaford, (ex…

"Making Tax Digital should be put into cold storage"

When CCH publish an article with that heading I'm always going to take notice.
The treasury committee are looking at the Making Tax Digital (MTD) plans with some scepticism, and gave representatives from CIOT, ICAEW and ACCA a hard time yesterday even going so far, it seems, as to demand either a yes or no answer as to whether the rollout plans should be "put into cold storage", and they said yes!
The problems are the wooliness of guidance coming from HMRC, and this is on top of my deep-set concern, maybe even suspicion, of "why are we doing this?"
Current plans are that MTD is initially rolled out in April 2018 (less than a year away) but we still have no idea on how traders and landlords are going to be able to file their quarterly online reports with HMRC. Some of the big software houses are saying they're ready, but are they really? If we don't know the format needed by HMRC how can they say they are ready? I suspect its just marketing spiel and th…

At last, perhaps now people will listen!

Interesting to see this article on the BBC website discussing the use of trusts to avoid care fees. I've been on the receiving end of some disappointed and surprised looks when people ask for my opinion and I disagree with a very convincing seminar they've just attended, or a very nice man who's spent an hour or so with them allaying their fears that they're going to have to sell their home to pay for care home fees.
There is a big market on preying on people's fear, especially elderly people who are worried about care home fees. At the moment care home fees are means tested and if your assets exceed a certain amount, each local authority has slightly different thresholds, then you have to pay for your own care. The problem is that often the family home is the biggest asset and its value means care has to be self-funded and often that means running a charge against the home, which in turn means there isn't so much t…

Happy New Tax Year!

Happy new tax year! A new tax year is upon us and that means another set of annual tax allowances for us to use. In addition to the usual personal allowances and annual exemptions we now have a new allowance which seems not to have received much publicity. The exemption is snappily titled the “Annual tax free allowances on property and trading income” and, as the name suggests, is aimed at those people with property or trading income proposing to give them an extra £1,000 allowance. But things are rarely as simple as that, and that is the case here because you can’t deduct usual allowable expenditure if you claim the extra allowance. Maybe because most landlords and traders will claim their expenses in the usual way, the new allowance seems to have been disregarded almost straightaway but I think this is wrong. The property allowance is a tax exemption of up to £1,000 a year for individuals with income from property. If someone owns a property jointly with others, they are each eligible f…

New website and branding

Our new website and branding have finally gone live! After months of hard work the new website is up and running. You will have also noticed that our logo and stationery has changed and its all part of our evolution. Nothing stands still these days and we thought our existing branding had become a little stale and started to look the same as other accountancy practices (perish the thought) so we started again with a blank piece of paper. I hope you agree that the colours and images on the new website makes it look clean and fresh whilst at the same time being less formal. As is usual these days the website has to be designed to display properly on tablets and phones as well as PC’s and it does that very well indeed. The new logo doffs its cap to our history as a lot of people think its reminiscent of a previous logo and we’re happy to embrace that, we’re proud of our long history. In researching a new logo it was pointed out just how many accountants have blue as their primary colour…