Stop being a number and start being a priority – the importance of personal service

Who hasn’t been in this position – you call your bank / insurance company / or any service provider with a small question or query, and end up being passed around departments, with little to no hope of having your question answered. Frustrating? Absolutely, and to make it even worse you could be paying for that service. The initial love that helped you become their client has well and truly gone.

 

So what makes that experience so frustrating? Your service provider is missing one crucial factor – they’re not offering you a personal service. So how do we use this knowledge to deliver our award-winning accounting services?

 

It’s simple – we love contractors!

We really do, and helping them to take home as much of their contractor pay whilst keeping the taxman happy is at the forefront of everything we do. So how do we do this? We get to know you. The Intouch difference is that we offer personal service in the form of your own Personal Accountant who deals with all your accounting needs, and makes it their mission to understand exactly what you need from your Limited Company.

 

We respect you – we know that the level of trust you have in us as your chosen accountant is of the utmost importance. You trust us to keep you compliant whilst exploring every possible tax advantage available. That’s why respect is a core foundation in the personal service we provide.

 

We value our relationship – knowing that you’re satisfied with our service is why we do what we do. You’re far more likely to continue to stay with us if you feel valued, that’s why your Personal Accountant will take the time to get to know you. They begin this relationship with a detailed call when you first join us, then they’ll contact you at regular intervals to ensure you’re getting what you need. We want to know what makes you tick, your unique circumstances and why you do what you do.

 

Your time is precious and we don’t want to waste it – you’re busy either contracting or enjoying life – you don’t want to be chasing your accountant or wasting time trying to do their job for them. We get this, which is why we don’t make it hard for you to get in touch with your Personal Accountant, as you’ll have their direct line and email address from the second you become a client. They’ll only ever provide you with support and advice that’s unique to your personal circumstances.

 

Make personal service the number one thing you look for in an accountant

If you’re currently on the lookout for a contractor accountant, make sure personal service is at the top of your priorities list. Check whether you’ll have an account manager or call centre, as these two options will mean you’ll receive a basic level of service without the personal touch.

 

A Personal Accountant is without doubt the best option, as you’ll have that dedicated person on hand to offer tailored, expert support, based on your own goals.

 

Intouch – personal and professional

The personal service our accountants provide their clients is what we believe differentiates us from our competitors, as they really take the time to get to know you and your needs. They begin by building up a relationship and understanding what you want to get from contracting, then explain how they’re going to help you achieve your personal and professional goals.

 

With our unlimited all-inclusive monthly service you can ask your Personal Accountant any questions at any time. 24/7 access to our online portal gives you visibility of your accounts whenever you wish, and we assist with your quarterly VAT returns, year-end accounts, payroll returns and one self-assessment tax return.

 

In short through a mixture of technology, expertise and people we support you with your company’s financial duties, freeing you up to focus on getting your next client and growing your flourishing business.

 

Your success is our priority, so get in touch today to find out how we can support you.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

What you need to know about IR35

Seasoned contractors will be well rehearsed in the art of IR35, but if you’re new to the game it can be a bit confusing. So what is IR35, how does it affect you and what changes can you expect over the next couple years? In this blog, Patrick Gribben Head of Client Services at Intouch explains all.

 

What is IR35?

Contractors who operate through their own Limited Companies are entitled to certain tax relief schemes which permanent employees aren’t. To ensure those schemes are not abused, HMRC have devised a way of determining whether those who say they are self employed, truly are.

 

IR35 is a tax legislation which makes sure every contractor is taxed correctly, and each new contract a contractor accepts will either fall ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ IR35.

 

Why do contractors need to be aware of IR35?

In short, IR35 influences your take home pay so it’s really important that you understand how it affects you as a contractor. Our handy infographic displays the path contractors take when determining their IR35 status.

 

How does IR35 work?

Your contract is found ‘inside IR35’ – you are ‘deemed employed’ and will be taxed as such, paying income tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) as if you were employed. You are also no longer entitled to the same tax reliefs as those found ‘outside’.

 

Your contract is found ‘outside IR35’ –  (which is where contractors want to be) you are classed as truly self employed, and entitled to the various tax relief schemes.

 

Whilst this is the basics, there’s more to how your contract is determined. Download our free IR35 guide to fully understand in detail how your status is decided and which other factors play a part.

 

How the sector you work in can affect your IR35 status

At present it all depends on whether you contract for public or private sector clients:

 

Private: Your IR35 status is determined by you, meaning it’s your responsibility to ensure it’s correct. Even with a private contract you can still be found inside IR35, so make sure you understand what deems your contract outside.

 

Public: The rules used to match those for the Private sector, but April 2017 saw IR35 reforms introduced to all contractors working only in the public sector. Your IR35 status is now determined by your end client, meaning it’s their responsibility to determine whether you’re inside or outside of IR35. They must also carry the tax implications should they determine your status incorrectly. If found inside IR35, you’ll be taxed at source. Evidence suggests that this has had a negative impact on the industry, causing firms to insist their contractors trade under an Umbrella agreement to relieve the burden of payroll and other administrative duties. For this reason, some contractors have avoided Public Sector roles.

 

What’s happened recently and how have Limited Company contractors been affected?

The decision was made in the 2018 Autumn Budget that reforms for IR35 for the Private sector will be rolled out in April 2020, to bring the rules in line with the Public sector. Many contractors are concerned about how this will affect their contracting careers, but it’s worth remembering that there’s expert advisers out there who are on hand to help.

 

What can we expect to happen next?

From April 2020 all contractors IR35 status will no longer be their responsibility, and will only be determined by the client / agency / end hirer. More details of how this is likely to be implemented should be forthcoming in budget statements in 2019.

 

How can you prepare for April 2020?

When major legislation changes occur it’s important to understand how you’re personally affected, as such changes could influence the clients and agencies you choose to contract for. Get it wrong and your take home pay could be greatly affected.

 

Make sure you enlist the services of a contractor accountant who fully understands these changes, and is ahead of the game when it comes to guiding you and your IR35 status.

 

How Intouch Accounting can help

Here at Intouch our award-winning contractor accounting service includes unlimited IR35 contract reviews, advice, risk assessments and fee protection – giving you everything you need to contract confidently, knowing your IR35 status is in safe hands.

 

Got a new contract? Simply pass it over to your Personal Intouch Accountant and they’ll provide you with a detailed IR35 status report, highlighting any possible areas for concern.

We are the IR35 industry experts, so get in touch today.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

Financial Services – you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone!

So contracting has tickled your taste buds this January, congratulations on considering or continuing a career that offers so much more earning potential and flexibility than permanent employment!

If you’re new to contracting and on the hunt for an accountant, or have been contracting a while and looking to switch accountant, (make sure you stop by our service page to see what our award-winning all-inclusive service provides), it’s also a good time to consider which financial services you’ll need, both professionally and personally.

Which financial services should you consider?

Permanent employees can enjoy many potential benefits without even knowing they’re there; such as non-contributory pensions, health insurance and professional protection. These benefits are there with your best interests at heart, but never really needed your attention to manage or set-up, as your employer would have done it for you.

Now that you’re a Limited Company contractor it’s up to you to source, plan and manage those perks. So which should you consider?

Which services you need and when

When choosing financial services it’s worth considering what you need now to contract safely and securely, and which services you could potentially need in the future.

Services to consider now

For example, we’d strongly advise having insurance such as critical illness, income protection and life assurance cover prior to starting contracting. This makes sure you’re fully protected should the unexpected happen.

Services to consider once you’ve got going

Your contractor accountant is there to ensure you get the most from your take home pay and stay on the right side of the Taxman, so what’s the next step, and how do you make your money continue to work hard for you? It’s time to consider pensions, ISAs and investments, all of which a financial adviser can help you with.

Services to consider when thinking about property

Whether you’re a first time buyer, remortgaging, buying a property to let, or looking for protection and insurances, a financial adviser can advise you every step of the way.

For some contractors, mortgages can pose a difficulty as most lenders standard criteria isn’t met in the same way as it is for permanent employees. A financial adviser understands this and is able to source the right mortgage for you with a provider who accepts your unique circumstances.

Specialist financial advice for contractors

Brookson Financial is your one-stop shop for all of the above. They’ve been providing contractors and the self-employed expert advice for over 20 years, and understand exactly what your needs are, so no need for frustrating conversations about your finances!

As well as offering tailored advice Brookson Financial provide a free financial health check, designed to help you understand whether you’re using the best financial products for your personal circumstances, both now, and for any future plans. Any current areas of need are highlighted, and suggestions are made to help you get what you want from your money.

How Intouch Accounting can help

Having everything you need to contract smoothly and efficiently from a tax and accounting point of view is a must-have for any serious Limited Company contractor. With an award-winning service for a monthly fixed fee, our service provides you with a personal Contractor Accountant who’s on hand to offer you unlimited advice and support whenever you need it.

We keep you on the right side of the Taxman, providing unlimited IR35 reviews and advice, meaning you’re free to get on with contracting whilst we take care of all your accounting needs. And as an Intouch Accounting client you get exclusive access to Brookson’s services, meaning their team of experts will work closely with your Intouch Personal Accountant to ensure your best interests are first on our priority list. So less legwork and admin for you!

But don’t just take our word for it, here’s a selection of reviews from Intouch Accounting clients who have already made use of our unique relationship with Brookson Financial and their services:

 

 

For more information about the services we offer and how we can help you, get in touch with our team of experts today.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

Christmas party expenses: Tiny Tim can have his turkey, after all

If only Ebeneezer Scrooge had known a bit more about tax exemptions. These days, the cold-hearted miser who only begrudgingly closes his office on Christmas Day could have thrown his employees a proper knees-up at reduced cost thanks to an HMRC corporate tax relief exemption for festive entertaining costs. Not so much “Bah! Humbug!” as “Rockin’ around the Christmas tree!!”

 

What is the exemption?

The government offers a tax exemption for employers organising social functions and parties. The exemption runs on an annual basis, so although Christmas parties are often the biggest social events for companies, the exemption can be used for other festivities such as summer parties.

Although the relief is often described as an allowance, it is in fact a tax relief limit of £150 per employee. This allowance also applies to the smallest Limited Companies, so even if you’re a one-person band, you can still let your hair down and join in with the festivities. You worked hard in 2018, so you deserve to celebrate!

 

Qualifying for the exemption

There are certain rules that apply to the exemption. Let’s have a look at the requirements:

    • An annual event

The event must be something that happens once a year on a recurring basis. This means Christmas or summer parties are included in the definition, but a one-off such as an anniversary celebration is not.

  • In one location, open to all

 

The event must be open to all employees. If there are multiple locations within your organisation, an event at a single, central location will still be still exempt so long as it is open to everyone. Separate parties for different teams or departments are also permissible.

  • Costing no more than £150 per head

 

The combined cost of all events occurring during one year must cost no more than £150 per person. Where the cost goes over £150 then the functions that can best be designated to use the exemption will be exempt, while the other events will be taxable. The £150 limit includes VAT, transport costs and accommodation costs. The total expenditure is divided by the number of guests to calculate the cost per person.

  • Celebrating with non-employees

 

The event is required to be open to all directors and staff, but the exemption also applies to guests such as partners, family and children of directors and employees. For smaller companies, this means you can host a Christmas party where employees are in the minority and still be within the rules.If you exceed the £150 per person expenditure limit, the exemption will no longer apply and the full amount spent on the party will be taxed. Accordingly, it is wise to be careful about expenditure and check with an accountant to make sure you stay within the rules.

 

Cheers to the taxman

There are not many occasions when we feel warmth towards HMRC, but a Christmas party funded through tax exemptions is possibly one of those times. As a Limited Company Director, whatever you decide to do to celebrate the season – a full-blown party, a few drinks or a slap-up feast somewhere special – don’t forget to raise a glass to the taxman!

 

If you’re an Intouch client and you need help calculating your annual events expenses, or with any other tax matter, just contact your Personal Accountant.

If you’re not already with us and would like to find out more about how Intouch can help you contract through your Limited Company, just contact us on 01202 901 385.

 

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

All you need to know about Making Tax Digital

If you’re a regular to the Intouch blog, you might have read our recent article on what the Budget means for contractors. One topic we didn’t tackle in depth was the introduction of the government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) programme from April 2019, which is going to affect VAT registered contractors with a taxable turnover above the threshold.

 

As the government websites states, the MTD initiative forms a key part of its plans to ‘make it easier for individuals and businesses to get their tax right and keep on top of their affairs.’ Think you’ll be affected by the change? If so, here’s some information you might find useful:

 

Why the change?

Along with simplifying processes for individuals and businesses, the government wants HMRC to be one of the world’s most advanced tax administrations. MTD will lead to fundamental changes in our tax system, with the aim of reducing errors and making it more effective and efficient.

 

Who does it apply to?

The MTD scheme will apply to companies, LLPs, unincorporated businesses and charities that are VAT registered and have a taxable turnover above the VAT registration threshold, which currently stands at £85,000 per annum. If that’s you, you’ll have to store your tax records digitally (for VAT purposes only) and send HMRC VAT return information digitally via MTD ‘functional compatible software.’

Before the Budget, many people thought the Chancellor was going to slash the registration threshold to £43,000. This would have seen hundreds of thousands more small companies falling into the MTD for VAT scheme. However, Philip Hammond confirmed during his speech that the £85,000 threshold will remain in place until at least April 2022.

If you’re VAT registered but your taxable turnover falls below the threshold, it’s up to you whether or not to opt in and file your information digitally.

 

When exactly does it come into effect?

MTD for VAT will officially apply to VAT return periods beginning on or after 1 April next year. This date has been pushed back until October 2019 for a minority of small businesses with unique requirements.

 

What records should be digital?

HMRC has listed the details that should be stored digitally in your so-called ‘electronic account.’ These include:

  • Company name, address, VAT registration number and any accounting schemes you use
  • Time of supply (the date you must declare output tax on)
  • Value of supply (net value excluding VAT)
  • Rate of VAT charged

 

It’s more important than ever to make sure your digital records are correct, ahead of the changes that come into force in less than six months’ time.

There’s a lot to remember and prepare for, so if you’re a Limited Company contractor who’d rather relax and forget about MTD, why not get in touch with Intouch about becoming one of our clients? We’ll do it all for you, so you can concentrate on what you do best – providing a great service to your clients and earning money!

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

If you’re in the process of finding a suitable accountant, do you know what to look out for exactly? Our infographic helps you ask the right questions…

 

 

All you need to know about submitting your Self Assessment tax return

Many people don’t like to hear the ‘C’ word mentioned until at least December. However, if you’re self-employed, now’s the time to start thinking about the festive period, particularly with regards to submitting your Self-Assessment tax return (SATR). Here’s all you need to know:

 

What is a SATR?

Self Assessment tax return or SATR is the system by which HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) collect tax on your income.
Whereas tax is typically deducted automatically from wages, savings and pensions, if you’re self-employed, it’s your responsibility to declare taxable income and to notify HMRC that you need a tax return form. Fail to complete a return when necessary and you’ll receive a penalty.

 

Who needs to complete one?

If you can say yes to one or more of the below criteria for the last tax year (6 April 2017 to 5 April 2018), it’s highly likely you’ll need to complete a SATR:

You were self-employed and your income was over £1,000
You received over £2,500 from renting out property
You’re a partner in a partnership. The Partnership will have to file a return, too
You’re a company director
Your annual income was £100,000 or more
Your annual income was £50,000 or more, and you or your partner was in receipt of child benefit
You received over £2,500 in other untaxed income, such as commission or tips
You needed to claim expenses or reliefs, or you’re a trustee
You had Capital Gains Tax to pay, for instance if you sold shares or a second home
You had £10,000 or more in dividends or from other investments
You had income from abroad you needed to pay tax on

If HMRC send you a return to complete but you find none of the above apply to you, you should get in contact with HMRC as it may be an error.

 

What are the deadlines this year?

You have to submit returns for tax years, not calendar years. Meaning, this return will be to declare tax on income and gains from 6 April 2017 to 5 April 2018. The deadlines for submitting the returns are as follows.

5 October 2018 for registering for Self Assessment if you have never submitted a return before
31 October 2018 for submitting a paper tax return
31 January 2019 for submitting an online tax return (you need to submit your online return by 30 December 2018 if you want HMRC to automatically collect tax owed from your wages and pensions, however you must be eligible)
31 January 2019 for paying all of the tax you owe

 

What are the penalties?

If you need to file a return but it’s up to three months late, you’ll receive a penalty of £100, with this sum increasing the longer you leave it. If a partnership tax return is late, all partners will have to pay a penalty.

 

What if you make a mistake?

If you realise that you’ve made a mistake on your tax return, don’t fret – you’re able to make amendments after you’ve filed it. But the deadlines are as follows:

31 January 2019 for the 2016-17 tax year
31 January 2020 for the 2017-18 tax year

 

Partnering with Intouch

If you’re one of our clients, your dedicated Personal Accountant will have already been in touch to guide you through the process and make sure you know exactly what needs to be submitted.

We offer complimentary completion of a SATR for one employee as part of our comprehensive monthly services for contractors. If you want to find out about the many other features of this plan, or about the benefits of partnering with Intouch, call 01202 375758 today.

 

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

How to switch over to Intouch – Infographic

Are you thinking of switching over to Intouch from your current accountant? Then take a look at our infographic to see how easy it is…

 

Switching to Intouch

The importance of personal service

We’ve all been there: we call our bank, a service provider or company with a minor query, only to be passed through multiple departments and asked the same questions over and over again. We feel like we’re just a name in a long line of callers – and we can’t help but feel fed up and frustrated when we put the phone down.

In these situations, there’s one important thing missing: the personal touch. And when you’re paying for a service – for instance, from a Contractor Accountant – personal service is something you truly deserve.

Personal service is important because:

• It shows respect. In our opinion, adding a personal touch is part and parcel of offering a quality customer experience. After all, when you entrust in a company to provide a service (and you’re paying for the privilege), you don’t expect to be treated like ‘just another customer.’ You want to feel special – and you deserve to.

• It enhances relationships. You’re far more likely to be satisfied with a company that treats you as an individual – a company that understands your unique circumstances, and offers quality solutions based on your needs.

• It reduces time-wasting. Time’s precious when you’re a freelancer or contractor running your own company. By pairing with an accountant who’s taken the time to understand your unique needs, you can expect to receive expert, accurate advice and support almost straight away, whenever you need it. Less time wasted means a more efficient partnership.

 

Contractor accounts: what to look out for

If you’re just about to set up a Limited Company, or have decided it’s time to switch accountants, ensuring you’ll receive a personal service throughout your professional relationship should be one of your top priorities.

When searching around, an important thing to look out for is if you’ll be dealing with call centres and Account Managers, or if you’ll be paired up with your own, Personal Accountant. In all cases, the latter option is best.

A qualified, expert Personal Accountant will take time to familiarise themselves with your accounts and learn what you want to achieve financially from your contractor pay. They’ll be on hand to offer tailored support, based on your goals, whenever you need it.

 

Intouch: personal, professional

The team at Intouch prides itself on our personal approach to contractor accounting. In fact, it’s the one thing we think really differentiates us from all the other accounting companies – it’s our USP, so to speak.

Choose Intouch and you’ll be partnered with a dedicated Personal Accountant the moment you become one of our valued customers. Their first job will be to get to know you on a personal and professional level, which, in our eyes, is a crucial step in providing a high-quality service.

As soon as your Personal Accountant feels comfortable with the nature of your business and what you want to achieve, they’ll explain how they will help you to reach your goals.

A monthly fee entitles you to unlimited advice from a dedicated Personal Accountant, 24/7 access to our portal for day-to-day accounting tasks, and assistance with duties such as quarterly VAT returns, year-end accounts, payroll returns and self-assessment tax return.

Ultimately, your Personal Accountant is responsible for supporting you with the financial duties owning your own company brings. This means your time will be freed to focus on attracting new customers and growing your flourishing business.

We’ve gained a reputation for our unrivalled service and industry knowledge, and as testament to this have been voted the UK’s Best Small/Medium-sized Contractor Accountant by Contractor UK readers. Start your journey with us today by calling 01202 375 293.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

IR35 in the private sector – HMRC announces consultation

In last Autumn’s Budget, the government announced that it would consult on how to tackle non-compliance with IR35 rules in the private sector. On Friday, HMRC issued this eagerly-awaited consultation which they say “looks at improving the rules around ‘off-payroll’ working so contractors who work through their own company pay the right tax.”

At Intouch, we would suggest that HMRC learn from the negative feedback following the public sector reform and at the same time, remember that private sector and public sector hirers are different entities with different motivations and potential responses. They engage with their clients in different ways and often at different levels and as such we’d encourage HMRC not to view them as the same with respect to off-payroll rules and deemed employment. Input should be taken from across the industry with a view to tailoring a bespoke private sector solution that improves compliance whilst mitigating any potential administrative burdens.

The consultation timescales mean that any changes could be introduced as early as April 2019, although we’d urge HMRC to take the time to consider timings very carefully to avoid any negative impact to the UK economy as we move forward with Brexit.

Intouch will be responding to the consultation and we encourage all other interested parties to contribute; that means contractors as well as end-hirers who want to continue to have access to and support self-employed contractors. You can see the consultation and how to send your response here – you have until 10th August!

If you want to have your say but need to brush-up on your IR35 knowledge, check out our resources below:

Guide – Embracing IR35
Infographic – IR35; Don’t panic!
IR35 FAQs

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.