TMC - Accountants and Business Advisers

Car trouble

Those of you who avidly read my blog (you really should get out more) may recall that in April 2012 I predicted that, as our cars were all becoming more environmentally friendly, the government would have to do something to keep up the levels of tax they receive from company car benefits.

The benefit rates for 2016-17 have been published and my crystal ball has been proved right.

If you bought a zero emission electric car in 2014 you would have paid zero tax on the benefit of having it as a company vehicle. In 2015-16 you would pay tax on a benefit equal to 5% of the list price, and in 2016-17 this goes up to 7%. Bearing in mind that these are generally not cheap cars for their size, even something like a Nissan Leaf will have a taxable benefit of around £1600.

For those of you who, like me, changed to low emission diesel cars, it is even worse. a diesel with 115g to119g CO2/KM emissions, which many mainstream models are, would have been in the 13% tax band for 2011/12. In the current year they are in the 21% band, a 61% tax increase in just 4 years.

It appears that the new pattern is to increase the charge on each emission band by 2% a year. (For the past five years it...

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| 25th May 2015, 11:17:38 | Posted by Kevin Gamble

Looking at all the numbers, not necessarily in the right order

As accountants, it is always assumed that our role begins and ends with the financial aspects of a business, be it for compliance reasons or to assist clients in the management of their trade or profession.

However, working with our clients we look behind the numbers. For example, an increase in sales might indicate that the business is successful, but how many companies simply set sales targets without thinking how they are going to achieve them?

Let’s take an typical scenario. XYZ Limited makes widgets. It sets a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of increasing sales by 20% and sets its sales team the task of achieving this, without any guidance.

We would say that setting a sales figure is not, on its own, a realistic KPI for this business. Where will the increase come from? We could break the 20% increase down into a much more achievable set of KPIs.

1 Pricing – can we achieve an inflationary increase by raising prices?
2 Will more meetings with customers lead to more sales, as we explain new and variant products?
3 Identifying new markets
4 Targeting new customers who currently use competitors’ products

Each of these could be set as a KPI – for example, ask the sales...

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| 21st February 2015, 14:17:58 | Posted by Kevin Gamble

Shared parental leave

From April 2015 there are new employment laws covering Shared Parental Leave.

In respect of babies expected on or after 5 April 2015 parents (including partners of the mother and adopters) will be able to share leave, subject to a limited right of objection from their employer.

Mothers take the first two weeks off work after the birth (four weeks if they do manual work) but after that they may return to work and give some or all of the remaining leave to the father/partner. They have to opt to give up their maternity pay and leave if they do this.

The employer will add up any maternity leave taken before the birth, plus the two or four weeks after the birth, and after deducting this from 52 weeks, the remainder will be available to share between the mother and father/partner.

Unlike normal maternity leave, either party can return to work sporadically, taking it in turns to look after the baby. Each parent may give a minimum of three leave requests to their employer. Continuous leave cannot be refused, but discontinuous leave, such as one week on, one week off etc may be refused by the employer. Notices requesting leave must be given to the employer at least eight weeks ...

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| 29th November 2014, 12:22:12 | Posted by Kevin Gamble

Holiday, Celebrate! (maybe not if you are an employer)

You may have seen the extensive coverage on several court cases recently where employees have claimed that they are entitled to extra holiday pay where they have worked regular overtime. The cases are going to a higher Court for appeal, but its worthwhile considering how the outcome will affect employers.

Its fairly clear that the extra holiday entitlement will only apply where overtime is intrinsically linked to the employee’s role. For example, one of the cases involved road repair teams who could only close roads to work on them overnight or at weekends. It would not include unusual or special duties.

It is unclear whether voluntary overtime would be included even if it is worked regularly.

Can employees apply for extra holiday retrospectively? Fortunately, it appears that a limit will apply to the current holiday year, and may be even less. The judge in the case set out a rather complicated scenario, but the net result is that in reality the extra claim must be made within 3 months of the overtime worked.

Employers should be looking at employment contracts, especially where workers do lots of habitual overtime, such as farm workers at harvest time, and see what expo...

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| 29th November 2014, 12:04:26 | Posted by Kevin Gamble

Don't get paranoid, but they are all out to get you!

Most of us in business are used to the dodgy e-mails from people purporting to be banks who are checking will close our accounts if we don’t click on a link, or ‘you have a tax refund due’ so just give us your bank details.

On average I get about 3 of these a day, and those are just the ones that get through the spam filter. Our cloud server provider tells me that they stop about 60 a day from reaching my inbox.

For the record, HMRC do not use e-mail for communicating with taxpayers, so any e-mail you receive claiming to be from HMRC will be fraudulent. You should not open it, and delete it from your e-mail account.

The ones from those claiming to be banks are so obviously fake, in most cases just look at the e-mail address it comes from and it has no connection to a bank. Usually, they are badly written as they are translated from other languages. Most banks have a department to forward these e-mails to, so that they can investigate and close down the offending e-mail accounts.

What I would like to bring to your attention is letters that look as though they are from a government department, but are actually a con. The latest one is supposed to be gathering statutory in...

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| 22nd November 2014, 11:20:06 | Posted by Kevin Gamble

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