ISA Family grows to six….. From April

ISA Family grows to six…..

From April 2017 there will be a total of six ISAs available in the “ISA family”, but which one is for you? Below is a list of each of the ISAs available please speak to an independent financial adviser before deciding which option to take.
Cash ISA – best suited for short term cash needs aimed at those aged 16 and above. Maximum of £15,240 in 2016/17 and £20,000 in 2017/18.

Stocks and shares ISA – best suited to those investing for retirement aimed at those aged over 18. Maximum of £15,240 in 2016/17 and £20,000 in 2017/18
Junior ISA – under 18s only suitable for building up savings for a child, saving for university costs, house deposits, first car etc. Can convert into an adult ISA and can accept transfers from Child Trust Funds.

Innovative Finance ISA – suitable for income seekers willing to take risks, aimed at those aged 18 and above. Maximum of £15,240 in 2016/17 and £20,000 in 2017/18.

Help to Buy ISA – specifically for first time buyers looking to build up a deposit for a home and regular cash savers aged over 18. Maximum of £1,200 in first month and £200 month thereafter up to £12,000.

Lifetime ISA – for investors looking to save for the purchase of a first home or save for retirement. Withdrawals are tax free like other ISAs if used to purchase a first property or after the age of 60 otherwise there is a tax charge at 25%. Aimed at people aged 18 to 50, you have to be under 40 to open the account initially. This product will be new to the market from April 2017 and has a maximum limit of £4,000 (£5,000) including Government top up). Falls within overall £20,000 ISA limit for 2017/18.

If you would like to discuss ISAs please contact your usual ABG contact who would be happy to assist you and where necessary recommend a qualified IFA.

Arram Berlyn Gardner is not authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 but are able in certain circumstances to offer a limited range of investment services to clients because we are members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. We can provide these investment services if they are an incidental part of the professional services we have been engaged to provide.

Lifetime ISA – is it right for you?

Money put into the account can be saved until the age of 60 and can be used as retirement income or withdrawn to purchase your first property.

Elsewhere, annual ISA allowance limits remain frozen for another year in 2016/17. From April 2017 the total amount you can save tax-free in an ISA will increase from £15,240 to £20,000. Contributions to a lifetime ISA will sit within the overall annual ISA allowance limit.


Savings from a new lifetime ISA can be used as retirement income or to buy your first home. There are some things to be considered before setting up an account:

  • you can take out all of your lifetime ISA savings tax-free after the age of 60
  • money can be withdrawn at any time before you’re 60, subject to a 5% charge
  • withdrawing your money before the age of 60 will mean losing out on the annual 25% government  bonus ( which is up to £1,000)
  • savings can be used to purchase your first home up to £450,000
  • you can transfer savings from a Help to Buy ISA to a lifetime ISA, but can only use the bonus from one account.

ABG are pleased to announce today that we have been announced as the winners of the Acquisition International tax award 2016 for Best Full Service Tax Advisory Firm in London.

The Acquisition International 2016 Tax Awards are designed to commend those in the tax sector dedicated to providing exceptional service throughout the industry. These prestigious global awards recognise tax firms, teams and the rising stars of tomorrow in their continued success in uncertain and challenging economic conditions, demonstrating their strength and skills across key practice areas and sectors.

If you would like to learn more about our award please visit the Acquisition International website ( where you can access the full winners supplement, ABG’s award is listed on page 21.

Why ABG’s clients like our new mobile A

Why ABG’s clients like our new mobile ABG tax App

It’s now been 3 days since we launched our new iPhone and Android App. Since then it’s been downloaded free by clients and contacts across London.

The App has generated some fantastic feedback from users enjoying its many features for free. It’s also helping us get recognition for being a proactive firm of accountants that is prepared to reach out to its clients and contacts in a technologically sensible manner.

The 5 things that people are enjoying the most from our App are:

1. Mileage tracker
2. 15 + Free calculators from income tax to inflation it’s all there
3. Helpful, handy Tax sheets
4. Key accounting dates
5. Details of our free future seminars

So if you haven’t got your copy of the App yet it’s available right now for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Simply click on the link below which will take you to our dedicated App webpage.

Creating an expenses policy For many bus

Creating an expenses policy

For many businesses, employee travel and expenses represent a significant cost. A well-written expenses policy will help you to keep on top of that cost and prevent abuse of expense claims, in a way that is also fair to your staff. It will also allow you to demonstrate to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that you are complying with your legal obligations.

Here are some key areas to consider when creating your expenses policy.

Keep things simple, but flexible
Your policy should state clearly and in detail exactly which expenses can be claimed for mileage and other travel, accommodation, food and drink, client entertainment and so on. If the rules and amounts are simple they are more likely to be remembered, and staff will get used to following them and planning their business trips accordingly.

However, you should incorporate a level of flexibility. Hotels in London can be significantly more expensive than in other parts of the country, for instance, so your policy might include a London weighting to allow for this.

Make it fair to all parties
Clearly, you need to protect your business from extravagant or inappropriate expense claims by staff. But employees also need to be properly reimbursed for the costs they incur while working on your behalf. The aim of a good expenses policy is to ensure that no team member loses out as long as they act reasonably.

Best practice suggests that you should also ensure that the policy is applied universally so that senior managers have to follow similar rules to other staff.

Communicate the policy clearly
The policy should be written up and stored in a place where all staff can access it. It might be advisable to include your senior team members and staff who regularly claim expenses in setting the guidelines and descriptions. Not only will this ensure that everyone understands it and communicates it to their teams, they’re also more likely to buy into the policy.

You should also ensure that the policy is regularly updated to take account of new legislation and the changing nature of costs.

Build efficient processes
Staff can begrudge long delays in having their expenses paid, particularly for significant outlays such as rail fares or hotel bills which could lead to difficulties in their monthly cashflow, so ensure that your financial operation – whatever its size – is able to pay expenses promptly and accurately.

Important! Don’t forget…
VAT receipts – Your business can reclaim VAT on most employee expenses as long as you have properly documented receipts. Make sure your staff provide original or digital (scanned or photographed) receipts for all relevant expenditure.

The Bribery Act – Entertaining clients is not as straightforward as it used to be. Make staff aware that entertainment claims should include a valid business reason and the names and businesses of all attendees, to avoid falling foul of the Bribery Act 2010. Take legal advice if you are unsure.

If you would like specific advice about expenses or help with setting up processes, please contact us.

Dividend income tax hike It was bound to

Dividend income tax hike

It was bound to happen some time…

At present there are considerable savings in National Insurance contributions to be made if a minimal amount is paid as salary and any balance of a remuneration package is paid as dividends (particularly for shareholder directors of private limited companies).

From April 2016, the NIC status of dividends is not changing and therefore this strategy is still valid. Unfortunately, the income tax position of dividend income is changing and this may have a direct impact on the overall savings in NIC and income tax that can be achieved.

What’s changing?

From 6 April 2016, the way dividends are being taxed will change. The 10% tax credit is being abolished and each individual will have available a flat rate dividend allowance of £5,000. Any dividends received by an individual in excess of £5,000 will be taxed as follows:

7.5% if your dividend income is within the standard rate (20%) band
32.5% if your dividend income is within the higher rate (40%) band, and
38.1% if your dividend income is within the additional rate (45%) band
Without the tax credit, a dividend income of £30,000 received in 2016-17 would create the following, additional income tax liabilities.

A table of comparison is available on our website at

Based on these figures:

if your dividend income is within the standard rate band you would have extra tax to pay for 2016-17 of £1,875;
if your dividend income is within the higher rate band you would have extra tax to pay for 2016-17 of £625, and
if your dividend income is within the additional rate band you would have extra tax to pay for 2016-17 of £358.
As you can see, this new tax on dividends will impact standard rate tax payers the most. In all cases any tax liabilities for 2016-17 will be collected 31 January 2018. At the same time, HMRC will also add 50% of the tax liability to your first self assessment payment on account for 2017-18, also due 31 January 2018 with a further 50% due at the end of July 2018.

We advise all readers to take professional advice to see how these changes will affect their personal tax for 2016-17. You will not need to pay addition tax due until 31 January 2018, but there may be planning options that could be employed to lessen the blow.

Digital account timeline overview HMRC h

Digital account timeline overview

HMRC has revealed how it plans to introduce digital tax accounts over the course of the 2015/16 tax year.

First announced in Budget 2015, news that HMRC wants digital accounts to replace traditional annual tax accounts created much debate.

Now, further details of what this transitional process will look have been provided by HMRC:

July – September 2015 – business tax accounts, PAYE update services and married couple’s allowance
October – December 2015 – personal tax accounts for self-assessment and tax credits
January – March 2016 – calculating re-payments for national insurance and PAYE.

HMRC wants to introduce digital tax accounts in order to simplify the process for everyone involved.
Benefits of digital tax accounts

The cost benefits of HMRC running more of its processes through its own IT systems will be a 24% saving on its £800 million annual IT budget by 2020/21.

But HMRC also wants to stress a number of other key benefits to taxpayers:

view and manage their information
pay tax without having to provide HMRC information it already has
digital tax accounts can potentially be linked to business accounting software
simpler and clearer personalised support.

If you wish to discuss how we might be able to help with your tax and accounting affairs please contact us on 020 7330 0000.