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Declaring dividends before 31 March


Directors of small limited companies have generally always withdrawn money from their companies on a monthly basis to ensure they have enough money to live on. This is usually done on in the form of a small salary topped up with dividends.
At the end of the financial year your accountant then calculates how much dividend can be declared and hopes it's enough to cover the amounts withdrawn throughout the year!

This isn't really the true nature of dividends. They are financial rewards which can only be declared if there are profits available after the calculation of estimated corporation tax. There are also compliance issues to be dealt with too.
With the advent of the new dividend tax allowance it has meant that interim as well as final dividends may need to be declared, if your financial year end falls outside of the tax year.

HMRC are clamping down on these procedures and with digital technology can now prove if dividends are taken and then declared retrospectively.

Read more here on how to protect yourselves:

  • Ensuring a proper paper trail for HMRC such as printing out a trial balance to show the company has made enough profit to declare an interim dividend;
  • Recording both interim and final declarations in the minutes of board and annual general meetings;
  • Completing dividend vouchers and distributing to each shareholder

These compliance procedures can often be overlooked by small companies but with recent case law where HMRC are reclassifying payments as employment it is essential you are covered or you could be looking at a large tax bill.

As we are also qualified Chartered Company Secretaries we can undertake these procedures for you to ensure you remain 100% compliant, so please just give us a call.

Suzie Brooks wins a Women in Business Award

Suzie Brooks of Brooks Accountants has won the Women in Business Award for “Financial Advisor of the Year” in the Downtown Lancashire in Business Awards.

Established in 2003 by Suzie, Brooks Accountants offers a forward thinking approach to accounting to a range of corporate businesses and SMEs across the UK. Utilising her vast experience in the business world, Suzie’s business offers much more than your standard accountancy practice, including business advice that help clients grow their organisations through strategic planning and the use of simple tools in key business areas.

Suzie commented, “I’m thrilled to have won this prestigious award. It is testament to our innovative approach with clients. We don’t just communicate with clients when tax returns are due, we work together on a regular basis to ensure clients have up to date information with which to make valuable business decisions. We take the time to get to know each client, where their business currently sits in their market sector, where they want to be in the next few years and then consider how this can be achieved. A range of clients have significantly grown their businesses over the years with our support.”

Another of Brooks Accountants services includes business support webinars. This has proved extremely popular with clients and prospects who have found the advice extremely beneficial. These cover a wide variety of topics including:

  • Understanding the numbers – What your accounts really mean and how to use them
  • How to set budgets and cash flow forecasts
  • Putting together business plans and projections
  • How to access finance

Suzie concluded, “I hope this accolade will enable organisations to see the value we can add to their business and how we can help them succeed through strategic financial planning and management.”

New data protection rules

It’s not exactly a riveting subject, but there are new data protection rules coming into effect that could affect many businesses.
You’ve probably already seen plenty of ‘stuff’ about GDPR, which stands for General Data Protection Regulation.

The new legislation comes into effect in May 2018 and it’s relevant to any UK business, small or large, that holds customer data. In other words, most businesses.
To help Britain’s smallest firms get their house in order, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has confirmed that its GDPR helpline will go live on November 1 2017.

You can find out more about it on the Business Advice website here.

Will the VAT man let you claim back the VAT from your company’s Christmas party?

The VAT man often gets a very bad press and most people would expect him to be totally bah humbug when it comes to having a wild time at the Christmas party, but hang on, this isn’t necessarily the case.

Providing entertainment for employees to reward them for good work or to help maintain staff morale should help your business and therefore it can be argued that you are spending the money for a business purpose.

VAT is reclaimable when it is incurred for a business purpose, so you can see how it is possible to claim the VAT back on your party, but there’s more to it.

Read More

Will the nasty taxman come knocking on your door soon?

HM Revenue are actively targeting small businesses

We’re all aware of the multi-national companies that seem to be able to avoid paying a fair amount of tax, but we don’t often hear of the other corporates who manage to be able to negotiate cushy arrangements with the tax man.
Large corporates have exceedingly deep pockets to pay for specialist legal and financial teams and are often more than a match for the Inland Revenue. Unfortunately this means that the softer target of small businesses are now beginning to experience the uncomfortable attentions of the tax man.Read More

Salary, dividends or something else?

Is there a more efficient way of taking income from your company?

For most Company Directors, taking a salary higher than the National Insurance threshold is not a particularly tax efficient way to receive renumeration from their company. Taking income as dividends has always been a better choice. However, from April 2016, dividends over £5,000 per annum are taxed at 7.5% for a basic rate tax payer and 32.5% for higher rate tax payers. This means that it’s worthwhile looking at other ways to receive income.

Read More

How will the proposed mortgage tax relief changes affect landlords?

If you own a buy to let residential property or a second home then the rules for claiming mortgage interest as a cost against your profit are changing.

When George Osborne announced this tax change in the summer 2015 budget, he implied that the extra tax would only hit higher-earning landlords.

Whilst it’s true that every mortgaged landlord who pays 40% or 45% tax will indeed pay much more under his proposals, some basic-rate taxpayers will also pay more tax. This is because the change will push them into the higher-rate bracket, even though they earn no additional income.

In fact, contrary to the Chancellor’s suggestion, the only buy-to-let investors who will not be hit are the very wealthy who buy property in cash and who don’t need a mortgage.

The future change is landlords’ inability to deduct the cost of their mortgage interest from their rental income profits. In other words, tax will be applied to the profit made before deducting the mortgage interest.

Read More