Nicholsons welcomes Elizabeth Cheesebrough to the team

Nicholsons Chartered Accountants is delighted that Elizabeth Cheesebrough has joined the team based at the firm’s Lincoln office. Liz’s role within the team is as a Bookkeeper and Management Accountant.

After completing a very successful management career spanning over 23 years within the hospitality industry, working within most of the major cities of England and Wales, in 2014 Liz decided to have a career change and commenced her accountancy journey.

Studying AAT Foundation Certificate level 2 and Advanced Diploma level 3 at Grantham college whilst working within a family run accountancy practice to gain experience to assist her studies. She then worked within Credit control for a couple of large companies. Liz is now furthering her career by studying her AAT Professional Diploma level 4.

In her spare time, she enjoys walking her dog out in the countryside of the village that she lives in.

 

 


Lincoln City season update

A 1-0 away win against recently relegated Northampton Town, with Josh Vickers excelling in goal, was followed by a 4-1 home win over Swindon Town. A great start to the new season.

A tough away draw at local rivals Grimsby was followed by 2 home wins against Bury and Notts County, who promptly sacked their manager after the game.

After beating Port Vale 4-0, August finished with the Imps out of the EFL Cup having lost to Championship side Blackburn Rovers 4-1.

September started well with a 3-0 away win at Exeter City. However, a defeat in the Checkatrade Trophy to Mansfield and a home loss to Crawley, where Imps captain Lee Frecklington was sent off for a dangerous challenge, were setbacks.

2-1 wins at Macclesfield and at home to MK Dons, saw recent signing Jason Shackell scoring a last minute winner. The month finished with a comfortable 2-0 win at Cheltenham Town.

October was a mixed month. Starting with 1-0 losses away at promoted Tranmere and at Colchester. Home draws against Carlisle and Cambridge were interspersed with a 1-0 win at home to Crewe and a 6-2 win at Port Vale.

The Imps started November beating Forest Green 2-1 and Northampton 3-2 in the FA Cup with Bruno Andrade scoring a fantastic last minute winner, which was voted goal of the round nationally. Drawing 1-1 at home to Mansfield and away at Oldham finished a steady month.

December was a success with 4 out of 5 league wins against Stevenage, Morecambe, Newport County and Cambridge – the latter attracting over 2200 away fans sent Lincoln to the top of the table. Only a 1-0 loss to Crewe on Boxing Day holding them back.

Unfortunately, the team lost to Accrington Stanley on penalties to go out of the Checkatrade Trophy, the cup which we won at Wembley last year.

New signings are required to maintain the push for promotion, especially with last years top scorer Matt Green departed for Salford.

Optimism for 2019 is high with a FA Cup 3rd round tie against premiership Everton with 5500 supporters travelling to Merseyside.


On-line Tax Returns – deadline 31st January 2019

The big deadline for submitting your online tax returns is 31 January 2019

Failure to meet HMRC deadlines will result in penalty fines or extra interest charges, or both!

How do you know if you need to submit a tax return?

Most UK taxpayers have tax deducted from their weekly or monthly pay – that is called PAYE.

But around 10million people need to complete a self-assessment tax return and send it to the tax office or complete it online.

People with the following status are obliged to complete a self-assessment tax return.

  • You are self-employed, a business partner, or director of a limited company
  • You’re an employee or pensioner with an annual income of £100,000 or more
  • You have a pre-tax investment income of £10,000 or more
  • You are a minister of religion
  • You’re a trustee or representative of someone who has died
  • You’re a ‘name’ at the Lloyd’s of London insurance market

I don’t even know where to start – how do I get the relevant forms?

If you need to file a tax return the relevant paperwork will usually be sent to your home address. If not, you need to notify HMRC that you meet the criteria for self-assessment and they will then send you the forms.

People with the following status are also usually required to fill in and return the forms.

  • You have untaxed income from investment, land or property, or from overseas
  • You make capital gains above the annual exempt amount (£11,100 for 2015-16)
  • You were required to fill in a tax return last year
  • You’re a pensioner over 65 who gets reduced age-related allowance

Those who receive the self-assessment tax return forms from HMRC must return them by law.

This can be done by submitting a paperwork tax return by post or by submitting the forms on-line.

Paper tax returns

Individuals are required to give details of their income from various sources in this eight-page form.  It’s called a “self-assessment tax return” because people have to fill it in themselves and return it to HMRC.  They then work out your tax liability. The address you send it to is on the form itself.

 

Online tax returns

The digital forms are very similar to the paper ones but the process has a handful of advantages.

The key benefit is that you have an extended deadline which allows you three extra months to return the forms.

Another advantage is that your tax is calculated automatically as you fill in the return, and you get paid faster if the HMRC owes you money.

You also receive instant confirmation that your return has been filed.

The online service is also personalised so that as you answers questions, certain sections are removed if they don’t apply to you.

If you haven’t submitted your forms online before then you need to register in advance.

To sign in or register visit the “Self-Assessment tax return” section of HMRC’s website. 

Those who have to file their tax return can submit it by post or online

Will I get fined if I return them late, and how much?

If your tax return is between one day and three months late you will be usually be slapped with a £100 fine.

If it’s later than that your penalty will be even greater, but this can vary depending on just how late you are.

If you file your return more than three months late you can use a tool on the HMRC website to estimate how much your fine will be.

Can I appeal if I do get fined?

If your tax return forms are filed late you will receive a penalty letter.

Your appeal will only be successful if you what the HMRC class as a “reasonable excuse”.

For a comprehensive guide on how to challenge your penalty take a look at our handy guide.

If you believe you’ve been unfairly fined, you can have it overturned if you have a “reasonable excuse”

What if I’ve submitted my return but now I need to change it?

After you have filed your tax return you may need to alter it at some stage.

It can be updated within 12 months of the original deadline or you can write to HMRC for any changes after that.

How you update your tax return depends on how you filed it in the first place.

To change an online tax return log in in to your HMRC online account. 

For paper tax returns download a new tax return.

What if all this is too complicated for me?

This is where we come in! We can help you meet all your Tax Return filing obligations and look at ways to minimise your tax bill whilst doing so. We have many years of experience of this type of work and would be very pleased to help you.

Call our office today to speak to one of our experts – 01522 815100.

 

 


Get your business ready for 2019

What should you be doing over the next few months to strengthen your business and get it ready to take advantage of any upturn? The most profitable businesses we act for have two key things in common:

1.         They plan and budget ahead and monitor how they are doing monthly

2.         They understand that in business, as in life, unexpected situations arise and they need to have spare resources to protect themselves or to invest in a new opportunity.

So what should you be doing now to plan ahead?

It’s a good idea to set aside a half day for this activity and to think about where you want your business to be in twelve months, what your turnover and profit would be and write these down.

Remember, the easiest way to grow your business is keep your existing customers happy, so ask yourself “How are we doing in this area, what are our competitors doing, can we improve, how do we get recommendations from existing customers, how do we exceed customer expectations”?

Consider how you attract new customers to your business, what marketing do you need to do and who is going to do it?

Write an action plan and EVERY MONTH review how you are doing against the plan. Use the plan as your key indicator of how well you are doing towards your annual target.

What if something unexpected should occur?

Plans change, sometimes for the good and sometimes the other way. The first rule of business is always put some of your profit away for that unexpected opportunity or event.

How much should you have in reserve? This depends on a variety of things such as the volatility of your industry, market conditions and your own personal circumstances, but as a rule of thumb, think about what would happen if you lost your largest 5 customers?

What money would you need to have in reserve to go out and replace them, or if you have many smaller customers, what would happen if your suppliers went out of business – would you need to resource the product elsewhere? Essentially think about the risks you face that you cannot insure against.

If you need to talk to one of our experts who will be able to help and advise you, please call a member of our team today – Tel: 01522 815100

 


Beware the Inheritance Tax crackdown

You might not know what your estate’s worth, but HMRC is likely to double check.

When it comes to leaving an inheritance for others, it’s so important to be clear and accurate. Not only could any ambiguity lead to damaging family arguments over your Will, your loved ones could face all manner of headaches sorting through your financial affairs – and it may even lead to a costly penalty.

According to research by UHY Hacker Young,* over the 2017/18 tax year, HMRC investigated 5,400 estates of a deceased person – to challenge whether the stated value was lower than it should be, to avoid inheritance tax. That accounts to around one in every four estates that might be liable for inheritance tax.

The growing problem of inheritance tax

Inheritance tax is a deeply unpopular tax, which applies if the value of your estate is above a certain threshold.

In 2015/16, the latest figures available, the average inheritance tax bill was £179,000.** The government’s own projections show annual revenue will continue to rise.

Your estate is made up of everything you own, with the exception of your pensions. If its total value exceeds £325,000 (if you’re single or divorced) or £650,000 (if you’re married, in a civil partnership or widowed) everything above your threshold is taxed at 40%.

The government has started to roll out a main residence nil rate band, currently worth £125,000 a person, that can be added onto your threshold if you leave your home to a direct descendent. But the rules are complicated, and not everyone can benefit.

What is HMRC investigating?

When you die, the executor of your estate – usually a family member – will have to sort through your financial affairs and submit this information to HMRC. If your estate is above your threshold, they will receive a 40% tax bill. It needs to be paid within six months or interest is charged on top. And, usually, your family can’t inherit your estate until it’s settled.

HMRC’s extra investigations mainly centre on checking if the stated value of your property is actually accurate – and they’re prepared to challenge it. So if your family aren’t precise, they could face a larger bill. Should HMRC have reason to believe the estate was deliberately undervalued to avoid inheritance tax, they could issue a financial penalty.

Plan your legacy

Inheritance tax rules are complicated, but there are ways you can plan and address it – which can ease the burden on your family.

Speaking to a financial adviser can help you explore if your estate has a liability, and the steps you can take to tackle it. A great benefit is they’ll be able to present solutions tailored to your situation. This is a complicated issue, but an expert adviser can help you build the most appropriate plans.

* https://www.moneywise.co.uk/news/2018-09-17/inheritance-tax-avoidance-investigations-rise-hmrc-cracks-down-estate                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ** https://www.independent.co.uk/money/spend-save/inheritance-tax-british-pay-increase-cost-a8474526.html

Levels and bases of and reliefs from taxation are subject to change and their value depends on the individual circumstances of the investor. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate taxation & trust.

 


Essential planning for your business

If there are any clear themes emerging from the year, it is the importance of the political situation for the economy. Brexit, the US mid-term elections, China – what the politicians have to say is affecting the Euro in your pocket, pension pot and investment portfolio. With such uncertainty with the UK’s exit deal, January is probably the deadline for any agreement to meet the March 2019 deadline, assuming a deal is reached. Time is running out for all concerned.

For the Irish economy, the war of words means uncertainty. Investors dislike uncertainty, so the lack of political consensus is keeping investors from putting money into an otherwise healthy economy.

The government is preparing its contingency plans on the areas where they have direct responsibility and on measures that need to be taken on an East-West basis, such as customs and veterinary controls on ports and airports. This includes a “no return” policy of a border on the island of Ireland.

What should your business be doing to prepare for the different scenarios for 2019?

A risk management plan and a business impact analysis are now essential for business continuity.

By understanding potential risks to your business and finding ways to minimise their impacts, you will help your business recover quickly if an unwelcome Brexit occurs.

Your risk management plan should detail your strategy for dealing with risks specific to your business. It’s important to allocate some time, budget and resources for preparing a plan.

Ask “what if” questions and “Brainstorm” with employees, your financial adviser and most importantly your accountant to get different perspectives on the risks you may face.

Once you’ve identified risks relating to your business, you’ll need to analyse their likelihood and consequences and then come up with options for managing them. Talk to us about helping you come up with solutions and performing “What if” analysis on your business. We have the experience and tools to help you.

Be positive! 2019 can be the best ever year for your business! Talk to us! Tel 01522 815100


Nicholsons raised over £4,300 Charity

Over the last year Nicholsons Chartered Accountants has been proud to have supported the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance as their ‘Charity of the Year’; raising a total of £4,327.20 for such a fantastic cause.

It has been a busy year and the staff have participated in various fund-raising activities including cake baking, dress down days and a charity badminton event. Nicholsons Charity Ball was the main fund-raising event, which raised an amazing £7,000 and was split between the Lincs Air Ambulance and L.I.V.E.S

Gail Paton, a director at Nicholsons said “We have enjoyed supporting the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance and after our visit to the base earlier on in the year, it gave us a far better understanding of the work the team do and the critical care they provide. It also   highlighted the importance of keeping this vital service in the air.”

Gemma Shaw from Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance said, “We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Nicholsons and their efforts in the amazing fundraising they have hosted throughout the year. We are over-whelmed by the generosity of those who supported our charity. Your support ensures we can continue to provide a lifesaving service to those incidents and accidents where the skills on our helicopter can really make the difference between life and death.”

Each year the staff are given the opportunity to nominate their preferred charity to become the firm’s ‘Charity of the Year’. The firm’s 2018/19 charity will be St Barnabas Hospice, as voted for by the staff.  The team at Nicholsons are already planning to hold their next  Charity Ball.

 

 


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