Month: July 2020 (page 1 of 2)

Appy Wednesday

We’re delighted to be involved in Appacus’ Appy Wednesday – our opportunity to introduce ourselves to the Appacus Community.

AccountancyManager is a multi award-winning ‘Onboarding and Practice Management Software’ built by accountants, for accountants.

Why AccountancyManager (AM)?

AM has focused on building a solution right from the onboarding process, which includes automatically populated LoEs, e-signing, document storage, AML ID and Credit checks and client portal, right through to task management and client communication via email and text. 

Our aim is to automate as many back-end processes as possible to alleviate the administrative burden.

To achieve this, you need to constantly be evolving…

Our development team is a busy bunch. They turn user feedback into features at an impressive speed – we’ve launched seven new releases in the last two months alone. All of our features are aimed at reducing your admin time to zero… because who has time for admin?

Here’s a quick round-up of the brand new features that have made us ‘appy in the last two months.

  • Bring your credit checks in-house

We’ve added in-system individual and company credit checks, making AM your one-stop-shop for onboarding new clients. 

  • Use multiple integrations

You can now use multiple integrations at once. For example, you can enable Xero and FreeAgent at the same time. It’s a great way to create a seamless practice management experience. Continue reading...

Wales reduces LTT rate

On 27 July, the Welsh government reduced the rate of Land Transaction Tax (LTT) following the cuts made to SDLT and LTT across the rest of the UK.

LTT is payable by the purchaser of residential or non-residential property occurring in Wales.

From 27 July 2020, the starting threshold for residential LTT rose from £180,000 to £250,000. This applies until 31 March 2021. The tax reduction does not apply to purchases of additional properties, including buy-to-let and second homes.

The Welsh government predicts that around 80% of homebuyers in Wales will pay no tax when purchasing their home, and that buyers of residential property who would have paid the main rates of LTT before 27 July will save £2,450 in tax.

Rebecca Evans, Welsh Minister for Finance, said:

‘These rates and thresholds have been set so they more closely reflect the property market in Wales and will ensure that we retain a progressive regime that expects those with the broadest shoulders to contribute a larger share in tax.’

Government announces review of business rates scheme

The government has published a call for evidence on the overhaul of the business rates system that applies in England.

The government announced at the 2020 Budget in March that it would conduct a review of the business rates system in England. It is seeking views from businesses, business representative organisations, local authorities, rating agents, others involved in the operation of the system and anyone interested in the business rates or wider tax system.

The call for evidence seeks views on how the business rates system currently works, issues to be addressed, ideas for change and a number of alternative taxes.

The government stated that it welcomes views on the multiplier and reliefs sections of the call for evidence by 18 September 2020, to inform an interim report in the autumn.

Treasury sets out next steps for Making Tax Digital

On 21 July, the Treasury set out the next steps in its plan to extend Making Tax Digital (MTD) to all businesses and those taxpayers that file self assessment returns.

Currently, businesses above the VAT threshold of £85,000 are required to comply with Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTD for VAT).

From April 2022, the initiative will be extended to all VAT-registered businesses including those with turnover below the VAT threshold. From April 2023 MTD will apply to taxpayers who file income tax self-assessment tax returns for business or property income over £10,000 annually.  

According to the Treasury, the MTD changes will affect the way that taxes are reported, not the level of tax that is collected. They will help to minimise avoidable mistakes, which cost the exchequer £8.5 billion in 2018/19.

Jesse Norman, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

‘We are setting out our next steps on MTD… as we bring the UK’s tax system into the 21st century.

‘MTD will make it easier for businesses to keep on top of their tax affairs. But it also has huge potential to improve the productivity of our economy, and its resilience in times of crisis.’

Chancellor asks OTS to review capital gains tax

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has asked the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) to carry out a thorough review of capital gains tax (CGT).

In a letter to the OTS, the Chancellor requested that the independent office review CGT and aspects of the taxation of chargeable gains in regard to individuals and small businesses.

Mr Sunak requested that the review identifies and offers advice on the opportunities to simplify the taxation of chargeable gains to ‘ensure the system is fit for purpose’.

In the letter, the Chancellor said that he would be interested in proposals from the OTS on the regime of allowances, exemptions, reliefs and the treatment of losses within CGT, in addition to the interaction of how gains are taxed compared to other types of income.

The OTS has published a call for evidence in the form of an online survey, which seeks views on CGT. The OTS wants to hear from businesses, individuals, professional advisers and representative bodies about which aspects of CGT are complex and difficult to get right, as well as suggestions on how the tax can be improved.

We’re diving into the world of podcasts

From Peter Crouch to Louis Theroux, everyone’s got a podcast these days and we’re excited to be joining them.*

We could wow you with our knowledge of 80’s pop music or gardening, but sticking to what we know best, we’ll be shining some light on the issues facing accountants and bookkeepers right now. 

Join our podcasts live – or listen later

Familiar faces from across the industry will join AM CEO, James Byrne. So bring a coffee and come armed with questions. We can’t predict the future, but together we can make it a bit less murky.

Tune in on Tuesday 28th July at 10am 

James will be joined by Matt Flanagan of Appacus (see what he did there?). Matt is a cloud accounting and technology specialist, who has spent the last six years supporting accountants in their transition to cloud accounting. His advice is based on three elements: Knowledge, Process and Commerciality – ensuring accounting firms and their clients are getting the most out of cloud accounting.

To watch live on Zoom, sign up here or listen later by downloading the session from your preferred podcast provider. We’ve saved our first podcast with Simon Chaplin, also known as ‘SocksUpSimon’, in case you missed it: watch it here.

* For clarification, Crouch and Theroux may not be on our podcasts. Continue reading...

Overclaimed COVID grants

Taxpayers who have received CJRS or SEISS grants are urged to doublecheck their entitlement as the 90 day period to inform HMRC of any overclaimed amounts is now law.

Finance Act 2020 includes legislation that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme and coronavirus business support grants are taxable. As well as including HMRC powers to recover grant payments to which the taxpayer is not entitled and penalty provisions.

HMRC has published guidance on how to repay overclaimed grants. This guidance confirms that the onus is on the taxpayer to notify HMRC if they have overclaimed a CJRS or SEISS grant and this must be done by 20 October 2020 or 90 days of receipt of the grant, whichever is the later.

Scottish government cuts LBTT to help home buyers

On 15 July, the Scottish government reduced the rate of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) following a similar reduction to the rate of residential Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the recent Summer Economic Update.

LBTT is payable by the purchaser in a land transaction occurring in Scotland. SDLT applies to land transactions in England and Northern Ireland.

The threshold at which residential LBTT is paid has been raised from £145,000 to £250,000 in order to help homebuyers following the coronavirus lockdown. Announcing the change, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said that 80% of homebuyers will be exempt from paying LBTT.

Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said:

‘Overall, increasing the LBTT threshold will help increase housing market activity, boost the construction sector and stimulate our economy.

‘Alongside this distinctive Scottish approach to raising the starting threshold for LBTT, I am also targeting further support in other areas. For example, we are injecting £50m into our First Home Fund, which provides first time buyers with up to £25,000 to buy a property. This will help an estimated 2,000 first time purchases.

‘To mitigate the immediate adverse impact on the housing market in Scotland as a result of the Chancellor’s announcement, we are now working at pace on the necessary legislation and to ensure Revenue Scotland is ready to collect and manage the tax.’ Continue reading...

Client Timeline: A full history and audit trail for every client

Although it doesn’t seem like it at a glance (due to the uncluttered interface) there’s a lot going on in AccountancyManager. Automated emails and texts to your clients, tasks being completed by different people and information and documents flowing in and out of your practice daily.

“The amount of client information that you can enter – including details of any communication that has occured – is extremely useful.” 

– Jennifer W, AccountancyManager review on Capterra

The overview pages for clients, tasks, time tracking and profitability give you high-level oversight, but what about tracking and recording your interactions with specific clients over time? That’s where the Client Timeline comes in. A much-appreciated feature as far as our existing users are concerned.

Record every interaction, change, document shared – and time spent

Client emails, texts and calls

The Client Timeline keeps a time-stamped record of every email and text your practice sends to your clients – and any reply emails and texts. Crucially, AccountancyManager will also record whether your client has opened your email. 

Whenever you have a meeting or impromptu call, you can also capture a summary of items covered by entering it into your client’s timeline. This keeps everyone in your practice on the same page. 

Screenshot from AccountancyManager

Changes to client details

All updates to the client’s details – whether made by a member of your team, your client or an integration – are tracked on the timeline. The entry will detail who made the change and whether the change was made by an integration like Companies House, Xero or FreeAgent. Your client can also change their details in their portal. Continue reading...

Chancellor unveils three-point plan for jobs

On 8 July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a three-point plan to support jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic when he delivered a Summer Economic Update to Parliament.

Mr Sunak confirmed the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will end as planned this October. The Chancellor said furloughing had been the right measure to protect jobs through the first phase of the crisis. The second phase will see a three-point plan to create jobs, support people to find jobs and to protect jobs.

The CJRS will be followed by a Job Retention Bonus, which will be introduced to help firms keep furloughed workers in employment. This will see UK employers will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021. To qualify for the payment, employees must earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (£520 per month) on average between the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the end of January 2021.

The Chancellor also launched a £2 billion Kickstart Scheme that will aim to create subsidised six-month work placements for young people aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit. Funding available for each placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer national insurance contributions (NICs) and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. Employers will be able to top this wage up. Continue reading...

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