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Loan Notes – A Seller’s Dilemma

Stress business woman

When you sell your company your buyer may wish to pay part in cash and part in loan notes to be paid off from future profits. The Loan Notes are known as Qualifying Corporate Bonds (QCB’s), the dilemma is whether to claim Entrepreneurs Tax at 10% now or pay full Capital Gains Tax later.

To obtain Entrepreneurs’ Relief on a disposal of the shares (the “old asset”) at the time of the exchange, the individual may make an election for the gain not to be deferred by TCGA92/S116 (10). The effect of an election is that the gain is brought into charge at the time of the exchange so that Entrepreneurs’ Relief can be claimed in order to benefit from the 10% rate – TCGA92/S169R (2).

In the absence of an election the gain is deferred and will be charged to CGT when it accrues under TCGA92/S116 (10) (b). It would be unusual for the qualifying conditions for Entrepreneurs’ Relief to be met at the later date when the gain comes into charge.

An election under this section, like the claim for Entrepreneurs’ Relief, must be made on or before the first anniversary of the 31 January following the tax year in which the relevant transaction takes place – TCGA92/S169R (4).

So would you claim the Entrepreneurs Tax Relief and pay 10% now or possibly pay 28% later?

You could try selling your shares in stages but that might not suit either you or your buyer?

steve@bicknells.net

5 Pitfalls to avoid with Entrepreneurs Tax Relief

Businessman With Gold Bar

If you sell or close your business, you may be able to claim Entrepreneurs’ Relief – this means that you only pay 10% Capital Gains Tax on any qualifying profits.

There’s no limit to how many times you can claim Entrepreneurs’ Relief, and you can claim up to £10 million of relief in total during your lifetime.

Companies

To claim Entrepreneurs’ Relief you must:

  • own at least 5% of the shares in the business for a year
  • be a director, partner or employee of the business

Sole traders

To claim Entrepreneurs’ Relief you must have been trading for at least a year.

Full details are on the HMRC Helpsheet HS275

But here are some pitfalls to avoid…….

  1. Entrepreneurs Tax Relief is not available to companies, so if your company sold the part of its business then that won’t qualify, it’s common for a buyer to want to buy the assets into a New Co but ask that the old company remains alive in case of future claim.
  2. Significant Non Trading Activity could be a problem too, some business contain investments and if these were more than 20% in terms of turnover, net assets, time spent by directors or profit it could mean that your business is not counted as a trading business
  3. Less than 5% share ownership this can be an issue where share options are granted and exercised before a sale
  4. Voting rights of classes of shares or when at an AGM votes are based on a show of hands
  5. Shares transferred to a non working spouse prior to sale to save tax – to qualify you have to be an employee/officer and hold the shares for a year

steve@bicknells.net

Grow Online, Expand Worldwide – initiative to help SME’s

Tablet

The government wants to make the UK the best place to start and grow a business. In the autumn it will launch a public campaign to celebrate GREAT British business success stories. The government wants to inspire other small businesses and point them towards the support that can help them grow. It will also launch a new strategy for how the whole of government will back them. This will set out a range of measures to continue helping budding entrepreneurs and existing businesses succeed.

If you are a business interested in the ‘Grow Online, Expand Worldwide’ campaign, please call 02070344848 and speak to a member of the Click:Connect:Sell team.

Just 33% of small to medium-sized companies have a digital presence and only 14% sell their products online. But research suggests that if UK SMEs fully adopted online technologies, they could increase annual turnover by £18.8 billion. Here in the UK we’re twice as likely as the OECD average to buy goods online.

UKTI’s ‘Grow Online, Expand Worldwide’ campaign includes local support for:

  • 4,000 aspiring web exporters through awareness raising sessions, a webinar campaign and international web workshops.
  • 1,200 web export ready businesses through e-commerce masterclasses.
  • 1,500 web exporters with bespoke one-to-one advice from experts, tailored website reviews and action planning to access web exporter vouchers – up to £3,000 matched funding.
  • 600 companies from the UK retail sector to sell online by helping them to list their products on the world’s leading online sales sites including Alibaba in China and Tejuri in the Gulf.

steve@bicknells.net

Save for Children but save tax where you can

Mother and daughter with piggy bank

Many parents, grandparents and other family members like to save for children but are you paying tax on the interest?

The £100 Rule

HMRC Form R85 is used to claim interest tax free but what you might not realise is that despite your child having a personal tax allowance from birth there is a maximum of £100 per year which can earned tax free in interest and dividends earned on parental/family gifts.

So for 2 parents that’s £200 plus grandparents have the same exemption, but if the interest exceeds the limit even by a small amount, the exemption is lost and whole amount of interest becomes taxable.

Junior ISA

Children can have an ISA in their name, the maximum annual contribution limit is £3,720 (2013/14) in cash or shares but the money will be locked in until the child is 18. The £100 rule doesn’t apply to ISA’s.

Pension

Yes, crazy as it might sound your baby can start a pension plan.

You can receive 20% tax relief even if you don’t pay tax. The maximum you can contribute is £3,600 gross – a payment of £2,880 to which the taxman adds £720. This is the case even for people who don’t pay tax, such as children and non-earning spouses.

steve@bicknells.net

The Perfect Corporate Video

Depending on which research you believe, including video within your campaign can increase click through rates by 300%. If you want to correspond with a company’s senior executives, you had better include a video link as 60% of them prefer receiving video to text. Yet click through only generates traffic. In order to be successful you really need to convert this into sales. That means generating compelling content. Whilst I could write a book on the subject, let’s break it down into three steps.

To find out more on video statistics, watch this:

Step 1: Know your audience

This is your starting point; it steers the whole production in a single, clear direction informing not only how the video looks and sounds, but also how it’s filmed, edited and presented.

In broadcast media it’s standard practice to have a profile of a typical viewer or listener. We give them a name, we know how old they are, where they live, how many kids they have, what car they drive, the newspaper they read and what other programmes they are watching.

You may think being too specific could lose you business; it won’t. The more specific you are the greater the clarity of your production.

Step 2: Know what outcome you want

It doesn’t take long in business to realise that nearly every marketing message your company puts out must have a clearly defined objective. If the aim is to make a sale then everything you do should point the viewer in that direction. If it’s to raise awareness you’ll need a mechanism for measuring that too.

Step 3: Know how you are going to get a response from your video

Now we have to determine how we’re going to achieve the final step – the all-important conversion. This is where a significant number of people are lost. Imagine promoting a holiday destination with an enticing video of the hotel. The pool looks inviting and there are lots of happy people saying what a great time they’ve had. The video ends on a call to action to visit the website to book. That’s another hoop, more typing and more effort. To increase conversions include directions in the video to a simple tracking link included in the email. Autoresponders such as Aweber and GetResponse allow you to manage your campaign.

Even with a compelling video, the maxims of email marketing still hold true – a captivating subject header, personalisation, call to action and tracking.

Alan Coote’s career spans 35 Years in Creative and Digital Media including the BBC, BAE Systems and numerous Independent broadcasters. He is the MD of 5 Digital and broadcasts weekly on the national business radio programme Let’s Talk Business. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlanCoote

Tax Break for Racehorses

Horse racing.

There are around 8,215 racehorse owners in the UK, ranging from gentry to plumbers united in their love of the sport.

But this is not an investment for the faint-hearted. You are unlikely to make a fortune and could end up losing a huge amount of money. The Racehorse Owners Association says that for every £100 of annual outlay (not including the purchase cost of the horse), a racehorse owner is likely to see a return of just £21.

As reported in the Telegraph (12th February 2013)

Some times it can pay off….

Rugby star Mike Tindall was branded an “idiot” by his wife Zara Phillips when he splashed out £12,000 on a racehorse.

But Mr Tindall is now looking far from stupid as his impulse purchase won last month’s Welsh National. Monbeg Dude, which Mr Tindall owns with four others, is now said to be worth more than £200,000.

VAT Tax Break for Racehorses

Following an agreement with the Thoroughbred Horseracing and Breeding Industry a scheme known as the VAT registration scheme for racehorse owners was introduced on 16 March 1993. If you meet the conditions of the scheme HMRC will accept that racehorse ownership is a business activity. You can therefore register for VAT and recover some of the VAT you are charged on your expenses as input tax.

Owners may include:

  • breeders;
  • dealers;
  • trainers; and
  • racing clubs.

You can apply for VAT registration under the scheme if you are registered as an owner at Weatherbys and you:

(a) own a horse or horses covered by a sponsorship agreement registered at Weatherbys; or

(b) own a horse or horses covered by a trainer’s sponsorship agreement registered at Weatherbys; or

(c) can show you have received, and will continue to receive, business income for example from appearance money or sponsored number cloths (SNC’s) from your horseracing activities.

You can recover as input tax the VAT you are charged on the purchase, training and upkeep of a racehorse and any overhead expenses used for the purpose of your business.

steve@bicknells.net

Why you should maximise borrowings on your Buy to Let

Investment House Meaning Investing In Real Estate

If you own a Buy to Let property as an individual rather than in a limited company it is worth maximising your borrowings against the Buy to Let because the interest will be a tax deductible expense.

It doesn’t matter how you borrow:

  • Mortgage on the Buy to Let
  • Personal Loan
  • Overdraft
  • Re-mortgage of your main residence to invest in your Buy to Let

The rules allowing this are covered in http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/bimmanual/bim45700.htm

So, for example, if you had a Buy to Let property with low borrowings against it and a mortgage on your main private residence, you could increase your borrowings on the Buy to Let and pay off your private residence mortgage.

But you need to be aware that the maximum you can borrow on the Buy to Let is the market value when it was first let.

Here is an example from Tax Cafe – How to save property tax

Property investors are often unsure whether their interest is deductible. This depends on how the money is used. Use it to buy investment property and the interest is tax deductible. Use it for personal reasons and the interest is not deductible.

There is an exception to this rule: you can generally remortgage an investment property up to its original purchase price and the interest will be tax deductible, whatever you use the money for. For example, let’s say you bought a buy-to-let for £100,000 and the current mortgage is £60,000. You can borrow up to another £40,000 (if the bank will let you!) and all the interest will be tax deductible, no matter how you use it.

You will need to keep detailed records of the borrowing and interest for your tax returns.

Alternatively you might focus on paying off your main residence mortgage first to leave the borrowings high on the Buy to Let.

steve@bicknells.net

Employee Shareholders – will your employees want shares?

Successful Businessman With A Contract In Hand

The Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 comes into force on 1st September 2013 and Section 31 makes changes to the Employment Rights Act 1996 inserting section 205A Employee Shareholders.

205A Employee shareholders
(1) An individual who is or becomes an employee of a company is an “employee shareholder” if—
(a) the company and the individual agree that the individual is to be an employee shareholder,
(b) in consideration of that agreement, the company issues or allots to the individual fully paid up shares in the company, or procures the issue or allotment to the individual of fully paid up shares in its parent undertaking, which have a value, on the day of issue or allotment, of no less than £2,000,
(c) the company gives the individual a written statement of the particulars of the status of employee shareholder and of the rights which attach to the shares referred to in paragraph (b) (“the employee shares”) (see subsection (5)), and (d) the individual gives no consideration other than by entering into the agreement.
(2) An employee who is an employee shareholder does not have—
(a) the right to make an application under section 63D (request to undertake study or training),
(b) the right to make an application under section 80F (request for flexible working),
(c) the right under section 94 not to be unfairly dismissed, or
(d) the right under section 135 to a redundancy payment.

Giving up employment rights might not sound like a good idea for employees but there are tax advantages for both the employee and employer:

  1. Dividends are not subject to PAYE or National Insurance
  2. Dividends would not be used as Pay in Auto Enrolment
  3. Capital Gains Tax Allowances should make most gains tax free
  4. The employer will benefit from cost savings on the sacrificed employment rights

 

steve@bicknells.net

Are you missing out on money you’re entitled to?

Pot of gold coins isolated on white

You could be missing out on money that is owed to you:

UK Benefits https://www.gov.uk/benefits-adviser

The benefits adviser checks if you’re eligible to claim:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Bereavement Payment
  • Carer’s Allowance *
  • Carer’s Credit
  • Child Benefit *
  • Child Tax Credit *
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance *
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • Housing Benefit *
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support *
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance *
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Pension Credit *
  • State Pension
  • Statutory Adoption Pay
  • Statutory Maternity Pay
  • Statutory Paternity Pay
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • War Widow’s or Widower’s Pension
  • Widowed Parents Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit *

(*) – For these benefits, you’ll also get an estimate of how much you might get.

Lost Pensions https://www.gov.uk/find-lost-pension

The Pension Service will help you track down any lost pensions, if you’re not retired you might be able to consolidate all your pensions to get a better return.

Unclaimed Assets and Forgotten Funds http://www.unclaimedassets.co.uk/

Assets are considered dormant when contact with the owner is lost – typically due to a name change after marriage or divorce, an unreported change of address or expired postal forwarding order, and incomplete or illegible records.

It’s important to note millions of family members remain unaware they’re entitled to collect unclaimed assets owed deceased relatives, who passed on without leaving updated financial records for their heirs.

The majority of this lost money comes from dormant bank accounts, orphan pensions, unknown windfalls, missing shares and abandoned dividends, forgotten life insurance policies, National Savings Certificates and Premium Bonds which have not been redeemed; but also included is £300 million in unclaimed National Lottery winnings!

Lost Savings and Bank Accounts http://www.mylostaccount.org.uk/

If you think you may have lost touch with your account or savings, this website will guide you through some simple steps to help reunite you with your money. This is a FREE service and is brought to you by the British Bankers’ Association, the Building Societies Association and National Savings and Investments.

steve@bicknells.net

Buy to Let is Back!

Mosaïque de logements

House prices are rising as confirmed by the Land Registry in their report 29 April 2013, the annual change is 0.9%, rent is increasing again after a drop in 2009 according to the English Housing Survey, in 2011 it went up 3% to a mean rent after housing benefit of £132 per week. So let’s see who the tenants are (English Housing Survey 2011):

social and private renting households receiving Housing Benefit
all
social
renters
all
private
renters
all
renters
percentages
age of household reference person
16 to 24 6.3 11.9 7.8
25 to 34 12.6 26.9 16.5
35 to 44 18.1 24.0 19.7
45 to 54 16.3 15.8 16.2
55 to 64 14.1 9.0 12.7
65 to 74 15.8 7.8 13.6
75 and over 16.7 4.4 13.4
marital status of household reference person
married1 16.9 18.4 17.3
cohabiting2 5.5 9.7 6.7
single 33.2 37.6 34.4
widowed3 17.1 7.5 14.5
divorced 20.9 17.0 19.8
separated5 6.4 9.9 7.3
household size
one 50.5 31.7 45.4
two 23.2 28.7 24.7
three 11.5 18.0 13.3
four 8.2 12.3 9.3
five 3.6 5.8 4.2
six or more 3.0 3.4 3.1
household type
couple, no dependent child(ren) 11.5 8.0 10.5
couple with dependent child(ren) 10.1 19.2 12.5
lone parent with dependent child(ren) 20.9 35.1 24.7
other multi-person household 7.1 6.0 6.8
one person 50.5 31.7 45.4
length of residence
less than 1 year 8.4 27.7 13.6
1 year, under 3 years 15.4 32.5 20.0
3 years, under 5 years 13.2 15.5 13.8
5 years, under 10 years 20.7 12.3 18.4
10 years, under 20 years 22.2 8.0 18.4
20 years or more 20.1 * 15.7
economic activity of
household reference person
full time work 2.7 13.1 5.5
part time work 9.5 18.1 11.9
retired 36.4 16.0 30.8
unemployed 13.8 17.4 14.8
full time education * * 1.5
other 36.4 32.9 35.5
total 2,395 890 3,285
£ per week
mean gross weekly income
of household reference person 206 237 215
(and partner)
sample 1,945 690 2,635

Yields are looking good, its possible to achieve 8% to 10%, take a look at the examples on http://investors.assetz.co.uk/property-listing.htm

Lending rates are low with Bank of England base rate stuck at 0.5%.

So we should see Buy to Let coming back into fashion with investors, with that in mind here are my top tips to minimise your tax:

1. Claim allowable expenses

  • Mortgage or Loan Interest (but not capital)
  • Repairs and maintenance (but not improvements)
  • Decorating
  • Gardening
  • Cleaning
  • Travel costs to and from your properties for lettings or meetings
  • Advertising costs
  • Agents fees
  • Buildings and contents insurance
  • Ground Rent
  • Accountants Fees
  • Rent insurance (if you claim the income will need to be declared)
  • Legal fees relating to eviction

2. If the property is furnished claim for Wear & Tear, you can claim 10% of the rent each year

3. Claim for repair and advertising expenses incurred in getting the property ready for renting

4. Consider how the property is owned for example your partner may pay less tax or if you own it 50/50 you could use their capital gains tax exemption on sale of the property

5. Consider whether owning the property within a limited company might be better, Corporation Tax is 20% for small companies in the UK which can make dividends more tax efficient than personal income.

6. Make sure any borrowings you have are on the Buy to Let so that you can claim tax relief on the interest

7. Claim the Energy Saving allowance  for energy saving work and save £1,500

steve@bicknells.net

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