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 http://www.abggroup.co.uk/blog-post/dividend-income-tax-hike-6-april-2016

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.

Six tips for a successful product launch

Six tips for a successful product launch

Whether you are launching a new product from an existing business, or your product is your new business, it is all too easy to get it wrong and fall at the first hurdle. According to some studies, as many as 65% of products launched by established companies fail, so it is vital to prepare properly when introducing something brand new into the marketplace.

Here are six tips for giving your brilliant idea the best chance of success…

1. Set product launch goals
It may seem obvious, but it is a common trap to launch a new product in a fairly haphazard way, without thinking clearly about what you’re trying to achieve. Consider what will constitute success for your product launch and set goals accordingly. You may want to take into account such things as product awareness, leads, affiliations or partnerships with third parties who will market your product, and, of course, sales.

2. Have a clear target market in mind
Very few products have universal appeal. Ask yourself: ‘Who will buy this?’ and ‘How much would they be willing to pay for it?’ Outline the profile of your ideal customer, or your most likely customer, and make sure that all your pricing, marketing and advertising efforts are geared towards them. It rarely pays to simply list the supposed benefits of a product and ‘blanket’ market, hoping for the best. And if you can’t answer those questions at all, it might be time to go back to the drawing board!

3. Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Once you have identified your target customer, ensure that you can justify why they should choose your product over a rival that already exists. What problem are you solving that they currently face? What need do they have that is currently unmet? Crystallise the benefits of your product by answering these questions, and make that the central message in your marketing.

4. Make sure the marketing message is clear
Confused customers don’t part with their money. Although you may understand the product and its benefits perfectly, are you sure that the same is true for the uninitiated? Try out your marketing messages on a layperson who knows nothing about the product you’ve been developing. Can they easily grasp what your product is for? If not, re-draft until they can, before your launch.

5. Make sure the product is ready
Although perfectionism is to be avoided if it prevents anything getting done – and at some point you do need to hit the button – you must equally make sure that your product is fully tested and ready to roll before you launch. The history of business is littered with examples of products that were launched before they were ready, with disastrous results.

6. Be prepared for success
You may spend so much time worrying about failure and working to get your launch right that you neglect to put the systems in place to cope should you have a runaway hit on your hands. Many businesses have run into logistical, staffing and cashflow difficulties because they suddenly find they have a deluge of orders that they can’t realistically meet. Look on the bright side, and make sure you’re ready for a winner!

We can advise on all areas of business life – not just on your accounts and tax position. Contact us to discuss how we can help you.

5 ways to make your business more produc

5 ways to make your business more productive

While it’s essential that government takes measures to improve the productivity of the economy as a whole, there are several ways business owners can improve the efficiency of their business:

introducing new technology such as cloud computing, accounting software and high-speed broadband

making your employees feel valued is crucial to maintaining a happy and productive workforce. Provide regular constructive feedback and introduce incentives

owners of small businesses don’t have the time or expertise to micromanage every task. Trust your teams and delegate the jobs that you are unable to do

think about the essential processes involved in running your business. How can these be improved?

investing in training will advance the skills of your employees and result in a more efficient and capable workforce.

If you would like to talk to us about improving the efficiency of your business please telephone us on 020 7330 0000.

Changes affecting non-domiciled taxpayer

Changes affecting non-domiciled taxpayers

In his July Budget announcement the Chancellor announced a number of important changes to the tax treatment of individuals who are resident but not domiciled in the UK. Such individuals currently benefit from a number of tax advantages such as exemption from UK inheritance tax (IHT) on assets situated outside the UK and in some cases only being taxed on overseas income and gains if those amounts are remitted to the UK.

From April 2017, IHT will be payable on all UK residential property owned by non-domiciles, regardless of their residence status for tax purposes, including property held indirectly through an offshore structure.

From April 2017, individuals who are born in the UK to parents who are domiciled here, will no longer be able to claim non-domicile status whilst they are resident in the UK.

The government will also legislate so that from April 2017 anybody who has been resident in the UK for more than 15 of the past 20 tax years will be deemed to be domiciled in the UK for all tax purposes. This is being reduced from the current 17 year deemed domicile rule for IHT.

If the Chancellor’s announcement has had an impact on your affairs please join us at our complimentary Non-domicile/Residency seminar on 17 September 2015, further details on our website.

Victor Dauppe, Tax Partner