1. A big thank you to all of you – my business celebrated its 30th birthday in May 2017. 20 clients have been with me since the 1980’s, many more since the 1990’s with my newer clients joining this millennium.
Having left S4C in 1987, I started with an electronic typewriter and a dictating machine for letters. My first carphone came in 1989, the first computer costing £5,000 (Ouch!) in 1990. Texts, E-Mails, the internet, google, scanners and internet banking arrived to change the way we all do business.
The accountancy practice remains @ the core of the business, with the Probate qualification obtained in 2015 adding to the services offered to clients covering Probate, Inheritance Tax and will planning.
2. The severe changes to the VAT Flat Rate scheme could be very costly
to VAT registered businesses. Many clients will pay £2,000 - £3,000 more
VAT to HMRC each year.
3. 2017-2018 Tax allowances increased from £11,000 to £11,500 and the rate @ which income tax @ 40% is payable increased from £43,000 to £45,000.
4. Inheritance Tax new Residence Nil Rate Band
Good news on the Inheritance Tax front, with the introduction of the main residence nil rate band, meaning that an extra £100,000 per person can be left from the value of the residential home to children.
This effectively means that for a married couple who leave their house and estate to their children that up to £850,000 can now be left tax free.
Potentially this could save up to £200,000 @ 40% = £80,000 of Inheritance Tax.
However on the downside, individuals who have a discretionary trust within the will are unlikely to benefit as the gift is to a trust and not directly to the children. If you have such a will, typically set up around a decade ago, it needs to be reviewed.
5. Wills and Inheritance Tax Planning
In 2015 I passed an exam to become an Authorised Probate Practitioner and probate applications have been successfully submitted.
Whilst talking to clients, many have remarked that they need to either make or update their wills. This service is now available, involving a review of existing assets and Inheritance Tax calculations, with a new will drawn up with assistance from a solicitor specialising in wills, trusts and estates.
6. For those not of a retirement age, it is sensible to ensure that you have the maximum number of years to count towards your state pension – 35 years is the current figure. Either google “Check your state pension” or telephone 0345 3000 168. You can buy added years if there is a shortfall.
7. 2016-2017 Tax returns ; With the first returns now completed, a number of tax increases are coming into effect :
a. For company directors receiving part of their income as dividends, dividends of over £5,000 are now taxable, initially @ 7.5% for basic rate taxpayers, 32.5% for higher rate taxpayers. For a director receiving say £20,000 of dividends this results in £15,000 @ 7.5% being taxable, extra tax of £1,312, much more for higher dividends.
b. Landlords of furnished properties no longer have a 10% depreciation allowance. For 1 property this broadly results in additional tax of say £150 for a basic rate taxpayer, £300 for a higher rate taxpayer. Landlords with multiple furnished properties will see proportionately higher bills.
However landlords can now claim for new purchases including beds, carpets and kitchen appliances which may lessen the additional tax.
8. Decisions deferred by the Government due to the election announcement include:
a. The introduction of making tax digital which potentially means much more paperwork for small business owners / landlords with multiple properties. Further information will be provided when available post-election.
b. The cut in tax free dividends from £5,000 to £2,000 due from 6 April 2018.
9. Pensions and tax planning: For those fortunate to have access to large sums, please check the tax treatment before making final decisions. If you or your colleagues need specialist sums on approaching retirement with big pension funds, checking of annual allowances, unused allowances carried forward, lifetime allowances etc. or on working out carry forward relief please contact me.
10. Fake E Mails from the Inland Revenue continue to plague clients – over 10 of you have contacted me to check this year. Remain scam aware.
11. Mortgage Rates are very low. Rates of under 2% are now available for 2 year fixes. If you are contemplating mortgaging or re-mortgaging there are very good offers available.
12. On 9 June I will be back in the studios of BBC Radio Cymru at noon providing analysis of the Election results and their financial / economic consequences. I did a similar broadcast the day after Brexit. I was sitting in my office the day before Brexit pondering what to say as all opinion polls predicted a yes vote…..! Could be another interesting broadcast.