Worried About Cash Flow? Follow These 3 Tips

Cash flow is the very life blood of a business. Even if you’re managing to turn a profit poor cash flow can scupper your company before you know it. And it’s the More »

Direct Recovery of Debts – is it One Step Too Far ?  

Taxation has always been jokingly referred to as “legalised theft” but the humorous aspect of this description is starting to look increasingly threadbare with the government’s latest move towards direct recovery of More »

Satellite to Digital TV: What to Expect

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      Business Tax services professionals warn employers to beware of PAYE penalties

In this age of fiscal discipline, controlling cash flow and bad debts is as vital to government finances as it is to businesses so it comes as no surprise that HMRC is in the process of introducing its Real Time Information (RTI) system to immediately pick up on employers who are either being just plain slapdash or are heading for serious financial trouble. All too often, the Exchequer either has had to wait for late PAYE payments or to wait at the head of the queue of creditors when companies went into liquidation. The total cost is substantial enough for HMRC to introduce this much tougher regime and one leading provider of business tax services, Baker Tilly, has been busy warning clients of what they need to do to avoid unnecessary penalties.

Make no mistake about it, those at the top of the business tax services industry insist that the taxman is determined to reverse a situation wherein he loses interest on late payers of PAYE into one where he earns interest from them and it doesn’t matter what the reason is; business tax services providers are making it clear that simple laziness or cash flow difficulties are not legitimate excuses and that the Revenue expects to be paid pretty much at the same time as employees.

Business tax services professionals say that the best way of avoiding automatic penalties and interest is to ensure that PAYE payments are made by the due date every month and that returns are also submitted on time. They remind employers that PAYE deductions should arrive at HMRC within 14 days of the end of each period i.e. by the 19th of the following month in the case of cheques while an extension until 22nd of the month is allowed for the arrival of cleared funds sent by BACS transfer. The same business tax services experts also stress that, where the 19th of the month falls on a weekend, it is not acceptable to wait until the beginning of the next week.

At least it looks as though HMRC is being reasonable and accepts that the lack of employer awareness and the inevitable glitches in the RTI system that seem to accompany any new change by the Revenue could lead to a major backlog of penalties and appeals to the tribunals. Accordingly, business tax services firms point to the fact that the RTI automatic penalty regime is being phased in gradually over a period of time. Moreover, a new generic notification service (GNS) is being introduced to forewarn employers of impending trouble.

Currently HMRC only charges penalties on an annual basis once it has seen how many late payments have occurred during the previous year. However, business tax services advisers are warning that, from April 2015, the system changes up a gear so that late payment penalties will be calculated on a quarterly basis with interest charges varying from 1% to 4% of the sums paid late with seriously late payers being slapped with an extra 5% or even 10%.

In view of the potential for enduring such harsh penalties it is no surprise to see accountants and other business tax services urging clients to not only pay on time but also to get into the habit of checking their tax account in the Liabilities and Payments Viewer or tax dashboard every month. This should help them ensure that all payments have been entered correctly and that any interest charges are accurate.

Finally, employers are urged by the business tax services experts not to overlook the fact that automatic penalties will also be applied in the event of late filing of PAYE returns from October 6th 2014 although, if the system works correctly, the GNS should forewarn employers of potential late filings.

If you need advice about PAYE regulations, or any aspect of taxation, Baker Tilly has a team of experts who specialise in business tax services ready to help you.






Worried About Cash Flow? Follow These 3 Tips

Cash flow is the very life blood of a business. Even if you’re managing to turn a profit poor cash flow can scupper your company before you know it. And it’s the issue of cash flow that keeps many business owners up at night.

Any business that is losing money hand over fist will find the cash pot empty, no matter what efforts are made. The real problem is those companies that are financially sound but suffer from cash flow problems. Fortunately, in most cases these businesses can be saved.

Back To Basics

It has to start right at the beginning. Too many people plunge in both feet first without a solid business model in place. If your basic model shows that the business should be profitable then you’re in a more secure place to address any cash flow issues you encounter. If your business plan wasn’t sound then it can be much harder, if not impossible, to salvage things.

Understand If Your Business Has Positive Or Negative Cash Flow

You would be surprised at the amount of business owners who don’t understand if their business is inherently cash flow positive or negative.
Here’s an example of a business that has positive flow. A take away. Here the payment for the goods are received instantly in the form of cash. The business owner then has a week to pay staff and a month to pay their rent, business rates and of course all the food items! Payment terms with suppliers are usually agreed in advance and so the owner of the business has cash coming in to meet his outgoings.
For negative cash flow let’s take another similar small business: a cleaning contractor working in the office sector. On completion of each job the company submits an invoice, expected to be paid within 30 days. The majority of expenses are wages for cleaners which, for argument’s sake, the company pays weekly. If several clients are late paying invoices the squeeze on cash flow needed to pay wages and cover other operating costs can be quick and possibly lethal.
If numbers and accounts aren’t your thing then be sure to employ the services of a good accountant or bookkeeper. They really are worth their weight in gold when it comes to the smooth running of a business.

Have Plans To Bridge The Cash Flow Gap

But what could the cleaning contractor do to make things better? Well for starters it would be more sound to pay employees monthly, to keep the outgoings more in-line with incoming revenue. They could also negotiate shorter payment terms of the invoice, say within 7 or 14 days, and include an incentive for this in terms of a discount for prompt payment.
Another aspect is to always have time set aside to chase debtors. For some business owners this may mean taking a couple of hours a week to make some firm phone calls and emails or having a member of staff who carries out this function. If that isn’t practical then it may be necessary to employ the services of a bookkeeper to do this for you.
If cash flow is still a problem then to save your business it may be necessary to consult with a firm of business accountants who can handle the issue for you. Money well spent if it keeps cash flow healthy.
If you’re concerned about cash flow in your business, or any other aspect of your company’s financial situation then HW Fisher’s team of expert accountants are here to help.

Direct Recovery of Debts – is it One Step Too Far ?  

Taxation has always been jokingly referred to as “legalised theft” but the humorous aspect of this description is starting to look increasingly threadbare with the government’s latest move towards direct recovery of seriously overdue tax by effectively dipping into taxpayers’ bank and building society accounts – a practice that is euphemistically described as “ Direct Recovery “. Now, one of the leading providers of UK tax services, Baker Tilly, who have been engaged in consultation over the proposed new powers, has come out with a sometimes withering critique of the proposals as presently constituted.


As part of the consultation process, HMRC has been detailing its preliminary ideas regarding the new power, Direct Recovery of Debts, and been inviting leading tax services experts to present their views on how the measure might best be implemented including what possible safeguards might be built in to ensure that debtors are not dealt with in an unbalanced, disproportionate way and suffer undue hardship as a result.


Those in the tax services industry seem particularly concerned as to whether such a power should be introduced in the first place and are questioning why this was not first discussed as part of the consultative process.


One of the reasons why HMRC appears to justify the introduction of such a draconian measure is the fact that similar powers are already widely used overseas. However, tax services professionals who also work internationally are aware of taxpayer resentment in many countries where direct collection already takes place and, also, of general acceptance in other countries of a form of direct debit system where taxpayers do not have to worry about actively paying tax bills that have been already agreed. The bottom line as far as the tax services community is concerned is that HMRC is notoriously prone to errors that are often widely publicised leading to scepticism and likely resentment amongst taxpayers at large.


Experts on tax services are likely to focus heavily on this ability of the taxman to get it wrong on so many occasions and will certainly insist on independent court approval at the very least ( in the same way as bailiffs have to obtain court orders before finally confiscating goods and property ).


The same tax services professionals, who generally speaking would probably prefer taxpayers’ bank accounts and ISAs etc. simply to be temporarily frozen rather than raided, are also likely to insist on sufficient safeguards being put in place to ensure that individual taxpayers do not suffer undue hardship as the result of direct recovery. In the case of individuals, this clearly means being deprived of sufficient resources for day to day subsistence while, in the case of businesses, HMRC would be urged not rely on historical data when deciding if direct recovery of funds would result in individual businesses getting into serious and even terminal cash flow difficulties.


In this latter respect, tax services specialists are likely to insist that ample regard is given to future financial projections and cash flow forecasts as well as the historical information.


The final possible area of contention according to the tax services lobby is the thorny subject of the taxman’s powers when it comes to assessing a taxpayer’s ability to pay an overdue tax demand. Tax services professionals are all too keenly aware of the existing limits to HMRC’s information gathering powers and are quite emphatic in opposing any open-ended access to taxpayer information that might transgress these well-established boundaries.


If you would like advice on any element of tax, Baker Tilly’s team of tax services experts would be delighted to discuss your requirements with you.

Satellite to Digital TV: What to Expect

Have you been using satellite TV for years, but feeling frustrated with the inflated price and the hassle of dealing with your dish? There’s definitely a different way to go, and it’s the way of the future: digital TV. Digital tv packages are made to let you pick exactly what you want to watch, and completely remove the inconvenience of dealing with a satellite dish. Here are some things you can expect if you choose to make the switch from satellite over to digital TV:


Lower cost

As soon as you get your dish taken out and switch to digital TV, you’ll notice that your monthly bills are a lot lower. This is because you’ll have a lot more freedom to choose the package you want, without paying for channels you never watch. Digital TV packages from Virgin Media are designed with your ideal choices in mind, and they allow you to pick exactly which package fits your lifestyle and budget so you’ll never be surprised when your monthly bill arrives.


With digital TV, unlike satellite, you don’t have to deal with any annoying equipment or devices. Digital TV is set up to be extremely user-friendly and give you great, reliable service. You won’t have your service going out in big storms like you would with satellite service. And you can often even add in a phone line to streamline your service and just get one bill per month. Easy and convenient – just like it should be.

Great selection

Chances are, you’ll never get bored with the selection of channels available on digital TV. There is simply something for every interest, taste and need! You can pick from great movie channels, shows for children, sports, special interest, and so much more. And you are free to create the ideal combination of channels for you and your family so you’ll always have something on that someone wants to watch.


With digital TV service, unlike satellite, you can actually bring your service with you when you leave home. This means that you can access your channels from a laptop or mobile tablet, not just your TV at home! This is the beauty of digital service. So don’t worry about how you entertain the kids on your next trip, because they’ll have all their favorite shows right at their fingertips. And you’ll have all of your options available right when you need them as well.