Accountancy Blog

Investing in small companies – what you need to know

A beginner’s guide to investing in small entities and the available tax reliefs for doing so.

Starting a business is rarely glamourous. Many of the globe-straddling behemoths of the business world had low key beginnings. Both Apple and Hewlett-Packard were famously started in their founder’s garages while the mighty Samsung began life as a grocery store in Korea in 1938.

Most of these household names needed investment in order to grow into the brands we know today.

Small businesses are an essential component of the economy and accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses in 2016. The government wants to encourage investment in this vital part of the economy and offers tax relief on certain kinds of investment. More…

Personal Tax planning

How individuals and families can save taxes in 2017/18.

The UK tax system provides reliefs and allowances to encourage you to spend or invest in certain ways. Using those reliefs as they are intended is the fiscal equivalent of obeying the Highway Code. If you divert from that code, by parking incorrectly, you would expect a penalty. The tax system also imposes penalties to discourage bad behaviour.

Tax planning involves making best use of tax reliefs while at the same time avoiding penalties for careless or unacceptable behaviour. More…

IR35 changes for the public sector

Important changes to public sector contractors working under IR35 legislation have taken effect for 2017/18.

Individuals who work through intermediaries, such as personal service companies, are no longer subject to IR35 rules if they work in the public sector.

Public sector organisations or agencies paying off-payroll workers are now responsible for deciding whether the work falls within IR35. They must deduct income tax and national insurance (NI) if they deem the worker an employee within IR35.

Under previous rules, intermediaries were responsible for calculating and paying the contractor’s income tax and NI owed to HMRC. More…

ISA rules misunderstood

More than half of adults don’t understand ISA rules, research by Opinium has found.

Key findings:

  • 1 in 5 knew that the ISA annual allowance is £20,000 for 2017/18
  • 24% knew that you can transfer money from previous tax years into a current ISA
  • 9% wrongly believed that you can only move money if your total balance is below the annual ISA allowance.


Digital skills shortage hampers growth

A lack of digital skills is affecting business productivity and growth, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

More than 4 in 5 (84%) firms say digital and IT skills are more important than 2 years ago, however 76% say they are facing a digital skill shortage.

Adverse effects of skills shortages include:

  • increased workload for existing staff(52%)
  • higher operating costs(29%)
  • difficulty meeting customer needs (28%).


The Gender pay gap and reporting

Employers with more than 250 staff are now required by law to report gender pay gaps, following the introduction of new legislation.

Employers must publish the following figures by April 2018:

  • their median gender pay gap – difference between midpoints in the ranges of men’s and women’s pay
  • their mean gender pay gap – difference between the average of men’s and women’s pay
  • the proportion of men and women in each quartile of the pay structure
  • the proportion of men and women receiving bonuses and the mean and median pay gap for bonuses.