New Lifetime ISA

The Lifetime Individual Savings Account (ISA) is a longer term tax-free account that receives a government bonus. The accounts will be available from today (6 April 2017). HMRC have produced a helpful guide on the account. Some of which is reproduced below:

Opening a Lifetime ISA

You can open a Lifetime ISA if you’re aged 18 or over but under 40.

As with other ISAs, you won’t pay tax on any interest, income or capital gains from cash or investments held within your Lifetime ISA.

Saving in a Lifetime ISA

You can save up to £4,000 each year in a Lifetime ISA. There’s no maximum monthly savings contribution, and you can continue to save in it until you reach 50. The account can stay open after then but you can’t make any more payments into it.

The £4,000 limit, if used, will form part of your overall annual ISA limit. From the tax year 2017 to 2018, the overall annual ISA limit will be £20,000.

Example – you could save:

£11,000 in a cash ISA

£2,000 in a stocks and shares ISA

£3,000 in an innovative finance ISA

£4,000 in a Lifetime ISA in one tax year.

Your Lifetime ISA won’t close when the tax year finishes. You’ll keep your savings on a tax-free basis for as long as you keep the money in your Lifetime ISA.

Lifetime ISAs can hold cash, stocks and shares qualifying investments, or a combination of both.

Government bonus

When you save into your Lifetime ISA, you’ll receive a government bonus of 25% of the money you put in, up to a maximum of £1,000 a year.

Withdrawals

You can withdraw the funds held in your Lifetime ISA before you’re 60, but you’ll have to pay a withdrawal charge of 25% of the amount you withdraw.

A withdrawal charge will not apply if you’re:

using it towards a first home

aged 60

terminally ill with less than 12 months to live.

If you die, your Lifetime ISA will end on the date of your death and there won’t be a withdrawal charge for withdrawing funds or assets from your account.

Transferring a Lifetime ISA

You can transfer your Lifetime ISA to another Lifetime ISA with a different provider without incurring a withdrawal charge.

If you transfer it to a different type of ISA, you’ll have to pay a withdrawal charge.

Saving for your first home

Your Lifetime ISA savings and the bonus can be used towards buying your first home, worth up to £450,000, without incurring a withdrawal charge. You must be buying your home with a mortgage.

You must use a conveyancer or solicitor to act for you in the purchase, and the funds must be paid direct to them by your Lifetime ISA provider.

If you’re buying with another first time buyer, and you each have a Lifetime ISA, you can both use your government bonus. You can also buy a house with someone who isn’t a first time buyer but they will not be able to use their Lifetime ISA without incurring a withdrawal charge.

Your Lifetime ISA must have been opened for at least 12 months before you can withdraw funds from it to buy your first home.

If you have a Help to Buy ISA, you can transfer those savings into your Lifetime ISA or you can continue to save into both – but you’ll only be able to use the government bonus from one to buy your first home.

You can transfer the balance in your Help to Buy ISA into your Lifetime ISA at any time if the amount is not more than £4,000.

In 2017/18 only, you can transfer the total balance of your Help to Buy ISA, as it stands on 5 April 2017, into your Lifetime ISA without affecting the £4,000 limit.

If you would like to discuss any of this further then please get in touch.  0116 2423400 or info@torrwaterfield.co.uk

Spring Budget 2017

I am sure that you have seen the headlines in the papers this morning about the Budget and for a detailed analysis please see the report on our website:

www.torrwaterfield.co.uk/news/budget-report.

The items that have caught my attention and I think are relevant to most people are as follows:

National Insurance for the self-employed

At present, if self-employed, you pay class 2 National Insurance of £145.60 for a complete year, and class 4 at 9% based on your level of profits.  The Government do not think that this is fair as employees pay National Insurance at 12%.  To level this position, class 2 National Insurance will be abolished from 06/04/2018 and the class 4 element will increase to 10% from that date, and to 11% from 06/04/2019, thus bringing the self-employed more in line with the employed.

Dividend changes again …

From 06/04/2016 broadly the first £5,000 of dividend income is taxed at 0 % (Dividend Allowance).  This will continue until 05/04/2018.  However, from 06/04/2018 the Dividend Allowance will reduce to £2,000.  This will mainly affect the family company shareholder and increase their tax liability as follows:

Basic rate taxpayer – additional tax of £225

Higher rate taxpayer – additional tax of £975

Additional rate taxpayer – additional tax of £1,143

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs)

 The overall limit is increasing from £15,240 to £20,000 on 06/04/2017.

Property and trading income allowances

Although this was mentioned last year it comes into play on 06/04/2017. It is as it says, so if you have property or trading income of £1,000 or less you will no longer need to declare this or pay tax on it.  This could cover small amounts of rent from Air ‘bnb’ activities or trading on ebay. 

New Childcare provisions

 If you are taking out new childcare provisions from 06/04/2017 then, instead of opting for a salary sacrifice scheme and receiving vouchers, for every 80 pence that you contribute the Government will contribute 20 pence. The maximum the Government will contribute will generally be £2,000.

Making Tax Digital

This will be introduced on 06/04/2018 for businesses, the self-employed and landlords who have profits chargeable to Income Tax and pay Class 4 National insurance Contributions where their turnover is in excess of the VAT Threshold, which will be £85,000 from 01/04/2017.

As this is a very new area please contact us for further information.

Salary Sacrifice

 From 06/04/2017 this is changing, but it is still beneficial for both the employer and employee to sacrifice salary in respect of employer provided pensions, childcare vouchers, workplace nurseries and cycle to work schemes. 

Construction Industry

The government are launching a consultation on 20 March 2017 to look at various areas, including the qualifying criteria for Gross Payment Status and options to combat VAT supply chain fraud in supplies of labour.

In addition to the above, certain other changes come into force on 06/04/2017 that have been mentioned in earlier Budgets namely:

Restrictions on residential property interest

Landlords will no longer be able to deduct all of their finance costs from their property income.

Inheritance Tax residence nil rate band

There will be an additional nil rate band for deaths on or after 06/04/2017 where an interest in a main residence passes to direct descendants.

As mentioned above I have only mentioned the areas that I believe will be most relevant to the majority of our clients but other areas can be found on our website.

Please contact us if you have a specific query. 0116 24243400

Julia Harrison, Tax ManagerJulia Harrison April 2012

Torr Waterfield’s 2017 charity of the year – Alzheimer’s Society

Every year we support a different charity and this year it is the Alzheimer’s Society.

I think most of us know friends or family that have been affected by dementia. Currently around 850,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed and of those, 42,000 are under 65. This total is predicted to rise to over 1,000,000 by 2021. Living with dementia has huge emotional, social, psychological and practical impacts on not only the sufferer but also on their family; one of the saddest things a person can do is watch their loved one become upset as they “disappear”.

The vast majority of causes at present cannot be cured, although there are some drug treatments available which may help slow down the symptoms. However with care and support someone who has been diagnosed with dementia can live well. The Alzheimer’s Society aims to raise £1 billion over the next 10 years in order to achieve their 3 main goals:-

Support and advice service– in whatever way is needed either face- to-face, telephone or online advice and by 2022 to reach out to everyone at time of diagnosis.

Increase public awareness – so that people with dementia are treated as equal members of society, ending the stigma associated with the condition.

Research – investing in the UK’s first dedicated Dementia Research Institute as well as in biomedical, prevention, assistive technology and care research.

So we want to help by raising as much money as we can and there will be lots of opportunities to help us support this national charity throughout the year – more details to follow later.

If you would like to know more please visit www.alzheimers.org.uk

Denise Burley, Accounts & Tax In_aid_of_Alzheimers_logo.jpg

Charities and Fundraising – New changes

The Fundraising Regulator fundraisingregulator.org.uk was established a year ago to oversee charity fundraising in England and Wales.  There are different rules for charities registered in Scotland.

The new body assumed responsibility for this area on 7 July 2016.

So far most people are unaware of its existence, but that should change as we proceed into 2017.  Generally the Code of Fundraising Practice will affect charities and anyone involved in their management.  The general public should however be aware of the new rules and there are schemes being drawn up to protect people from over eager charities.

The biggest effect on charities is that the Fundraising Regulator will be funded by a voluntary levy.  Charities with spending of over £100,000 on fundraising will be asked to pay between £150 and £15,000 annually, this being on a sliding scale with the top end only being relevant for a small number of very large charities; exempt charities will be charged a flat rate of £1,000.

Below the £100,000 threshold, a charity may choose to register and pay just £50.

Third party fundraising agencies and similar organisations may also sign up and pay between £100 and £1,200 annually.

Although, as already stated, this is a voluntary levy, it is important for charities to consider the message they are giving out by not being registered.  It may well influence potential donors if they feel that the charity is not abiding by the Code.  The government has also retained powers within the legislation to make the levy compulsory if the voluntary approach does not work!

Finally, the Regulator is working on a Fundraising Preference Service which should be launched this year.  This will enable individuals to register and then have control over how, or whether, charities contact them for fundraising purposes.  This is expected to work in a similar fashion to the existing Telephone Preference Service and the Mail Preference Service.

There is of course much more detail behind all of this and we will be happy to help. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss this further 0116 2423400

Neil Ford, Technical Manager Neil Ford April 2012

THE BENEFITS OF USING APPS

In today’s fast moving world we are all looking for ways to save time.  The majority of us carry some kind of hand held device, whether it is a tablet or simply a mobile phone on which we can organise our day to day lives.  We even provide our children with these devices to occupy them and give ourselves five minutes of peace and quiet!

Apps can be downloaded to hand held devices and are generally a cheap way to provide not only entertainment but also as a means to seek and manage information.  Where our children are happy to play games and line the pockets of the game creators of ‘Flappy Birds’ and ‘Candy Crush,’ perhaps we as adults are looking for something a little more informative and useful.

I monitor and manage important deadline dates for the clients of Torr Waterfield and I find the Companies House App an extremely useful business tool.  By searching for companies on this App I am able to instantly see information such as the following:

  • Company number
  • Date of incorporation
  • Registered Office address, along with a link to view the location on a map
  • The company accounts reference date
  • The date the last set of submitted accounts were made up to
  • The date the next set of accounts are due for submission
  • The date the last submitted annual return (now known as a confirmation statement) was made up to
  • The date the next annual return/ confirmation statement is due for submission
  • Nature of the business
  • Current and resigned company directors and secretaries and certain details about the company officers
  • History of submitted documents

This App is available to everyone, so if you think your business may find this company search facility useful then you may be interested to know that it can be downloaded for free.

As mentioned by my colleague Calum Ainge in his June 2016 blog, entitled Keep Up To Date And Download Our Free Tax App,’  the Torrwaterfield Tax App is also available free of charge and includes features such as key tax dates, tax tips, news, tax tables and it even has a tax calculator. app-phone

If you think that your business may benefit from the above Apps then all you need to do is either visit the App store or Google play and download your Apps for free.

Beth Judd, Accounts & Tax

Management Accounts

What are they and why are they useful?

As an accountant I love preparing accounts, as clients you might see them as a necessary evil, documents to be filed at Companies House or the basis for your tax bill.  They are so much more than that, however their disadvantage is that they are historical, are only stated in monetary terms and are highly regulated.

The big advantage of management accounts is that they are current and contain the information that you need to run your business.  Most management accounts are produced monthly or quarterly, the same accounting policies are used as the year end accounts BUT they are not in any specific formats; one of my clients prefers their management accounts in a graphical format and that’s absolutely fine, a snapshot of the sales and profits at a glance with the detailed figures behind to back it up.  You can have as much detail as you need.

We can help you prepare these accounts, identify key performance indicators such as breakeven point (the level of sales in units or £’s you need to make in order to break even) or debtor days (if you can improve this figure your bank balance will be much more healthy and it is easier to spot if a customer is taking longer than usual to pay you, a marker to watch).  They can be used to forecast the rest of the year, giving a heads up on that dreaded tax bill.  Can you afford that new bit of equipment?  Is that department or branch pulling its weight?  You can even publish some of it internally to incentivise managers and employees and make that extra push to beat the sales targets.

If you have set budgets for the coming year, you will need to measure actual performance against these; management accounts will give you the information to do that.  If your budget is unrealistic isn’t it better to know sooner rather than later and be able to make those crucial decisions in a timely way?

Of course the management accounts are only as good as the information that’s input into your accounts software or spreadsheets, but imagine that after a whole year of highly useful management accounts you also have the basis for the year-end financial accounts with no surprises from us.

That’s what I call win win!

Denise Burley- Accounts & Tax 

Any questions contact us ! 

New Dock centre hosts inaugural innovation seminar with Torr Waterfield to inspire Leicester businesses

Join us at Dock on Tuesday 15th October for a free seminar to encourage Leicester businesses to explore innovation as a potential route to future expansion and export.  ‘Supporting Leicester Innovation’ is the first major event to be hosted at Leicester new Dock with presentations by ourselves and colleagues from Pera Technology and Serjeants.

Darran Thacker, from UK and European patent attorneys Serjeants LLP, will give an introduction to intellectual property and how it can be used to support business development and growth, while Dr Mark Wareing of Pera Technology, will talk about how companies can access public and private finance to fund New Product Development. 

In addition, our own Tom Simpson will speak about practical solutions relating to taxation and accountancy including the lucrative tax reliefs available for Research and Development and the Government’s recently launched Patent Box initiative.

Dock, Leicester’s new hub for high-tech and innovation businesses, part of Pioneer Park on Exploration Drive, offers a range of workspaces including laboratory and workshops for up to 55 businesses, as well as conference and exhibition facilities. 

Tuesday 15th October from 8.30am until 10.00am with registration and a buffet breakfast from 8.00am onwards, followed by a tour of Dock’s new facilities.

To reserve a place, please call Serjeants on 0116 233 2626 or email mail@serjeants.co.uk. www.serjeants.co.uk