Archive for December, 2017

HMRC self-assessment tax return deadline – are you risking £100 fine?

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

The deadline for online self-assessment tax returns is 31st January 2018.  If you miss it, you could be fined £100 by HMRC.

Who needs to fill in a tax return?

You need to file a tax return if you are:

– self-employed or work as a sole trader

– a company director

– employed and self-employed at the same time

– a partner in a business

– renting out a property to anyone

The tax return applies to the tax year April 2016 to April 2017 and you must submit one even if you don’t have to pay tax.  If you’re self-employed, you will be able to deduct allowable expenses such as:

– any office, property and equipment you use to run your business

– car or van and travel expenses

– some clothing expenses if essential for your work

– marketing costs including professional subscriptions

– some legal and financial costs of running your business

– any staff expenses incurred

And remember, you can earn £11,000 before you start paying any tax.  It’s called your Personal Allowance.  For the 2016-17 tax year, everyone gets the same personal allowance.  Your personal allowance can be even higher if you claim Marriage Allowance or Blind Person’s Allowance.

If you earn between £11,001 to £43,000 you will have to pay tax at the basic rate of 20%.

If you earn between £43,001 to £150,000 you will have to pay tax at the higher rate of 40%.

And it’s always worth checking if you are paying too much tax –  as thousands of people across the UK are paying more tax than they owe because it’s such a complicated topic.

Don’t let HMRC catch you out.  If you would like more help, please talk to one of our tax advisors at Tree Accountancy or email for further information.

Merry Christmas!

What could a cyberattack do to your business?

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Fact: Cyberattacks on SME’s often result in substantial financial loss.  Some attacks can even close a business for good.

This can include:

– theft of corporate information

– theft of bank details and payment cards

– theft of money

– loss of business or contracts

– disruption to trading

– loss of reputation as a secure business partner

– erosion of trust with trading partners

Furthermore, a study by Hiscox Insurers recently showed that less than half the businesses in the UK have protected themselves or made ‘crisis’ plans to deal with cyberattacks.  And clever criminals have realised that not only does a business’s data have a value, but so too does threatening a company’s ability to function.  They often encrypt your own data, and then charge you to get that same data back, and hackers can now use sophisticated software to disrupt company systems while demanding hefty ransom payments.

Government figures show that cyberattacks in the UK doubled in 2015, and the UK now accounts for one in every eight known cyberattacks across Europe.

So, the question becomes not ‘do you need advice and insurance against cyberattacks’? But which insurance package best suits your business?

For the vast majority of SME’s, this means protecting against data breaches and ransomware. If the company holds personal data, it is likely that the hackers will use that data to defraud and extort money, and costs to investigate a data breach are very expensive, even before factoring in third party claims.  It very quickly becomes a waking nightmare for the SME.

There is now another motivation for businesses to protect themselves – the General Data Protection Regulation.  The act comes in to force in 2018, and gives clients and customers the right to ask for their personal data to be erased, and increases the expectations placed on the businesses themselves.

“Under GDPR, businesses must understand what personal data they hold and where,” said director Nik Hynes, “and whether they have collected and processed that data properly, who they are sharing it with and who they are processing it for.  In the event of a cyberattack, they must establish the extent of the data breach and report it within 72 hours.

Could your business do this?

If not, talk to one of our experts at Tree Accountancy or email for further information.  Don’t get caught out.  Merry Christmas!

Small Gesture, Big Impact

Friday, December 1st, 2017

To round off a successful year in business, and as Christmas is just around the corner, wouldn’t it be good if you could boost staff morale, reduce your Corporate Tax bill and even offer incentives to join your business?

All in one small gesture.

Well you can.

Employers can now give their employees store vouchers up to the value of £50 each without paying any tax because the gift is covered by HMRC’s trivial gift exemption.

As long as the gift isn’t part of a reward for their work or performance – and it isn’t in the terms of their contract of employment, you won’t pay tax.

Perhaps, for example, you would like to buy all your staff a bottle of champagne as a festive thank you.  You might spend £45 on each bottle.  But what about the staff who don’t drink?  Well, the easy solution is to buy them gift vouchers to the same value.

Both gifts will be free of tax.

But you need to keep to the limit of £50 per member of staff.

If you’re unsure which tax exemptions you can take advantage of right now, please contact for an informal chat.  Merry Christmas!