Scam emails from ‘HM Revenue & Customs’

SCAM EmailsWe’ve had numerous clients contact us to ask about recent emails from ‘HMRC’ notifying them they are due a tax refund. Beware: these are not from HM Revenue & Customs and are a scam.

For example here is a recent one a client was sent:

 Dear Customer,

We have detected that you have paid too much in the past, due to an official error. Therefore, HMRC applied ESC B41 to issue a repayment to tax years which are now out of date under the strict statute.

Tax refund : £395,61

Please click here to access the secure web form.

Completed return amounts take 1 to 2 days to appear on your account.

From HMRC

As such we are doing a two part series on how to recognise legitimate communications from HMRC versus phishing/bogus emails and text messages.

In part one we will focus on how to tell if an email is fraudulent.

Firstly, always remember that HMRC will never ask you to provide personal or financial information. Additionally, HMRC emails will never:

  • notify you of a tax rebate
  • offer you a repayment
  • ask you to disclose personal information such as your full address, postcode, Unique Taxpayer Reference or details of your bank account
  • give a non HMRC personal email address to send a response to
  • ask for financial information unless you’ve given us prior consent and you have formally accepted the risks
  • have attachments, unless you have given prior consent and you have formally accepted the risks
  • provide a link to a secure log-in page or a form asking for information – instead we will ask you to log on to your online account to check for information
  • Say urgent action required.

Recognising a Bogus Email

Fraudulent emails may often contain spelling mistakes and poor grammar. Additionally, there are a number of things you can look out for to help you recognise a phishing/bogus email.

Incorrect ‘From’ address

Look out for a sender’s email address that is similar to, but not the same as, HMRC’s email addresses. Fraudsters often have email accounts with HMRC or revenue names in them (such as ‘refunds@hmrc.org.uk’). These email addresses are used to mislead you.

However be aware, fraudsters can falsify (spoof) the ‘from’ address to look like a legitimate HMRC address (for example ‘@hmrc.gov.uk’). If you’re not 100% sure that the message has come from us don’t open it. If you do open the email and you’re in doubt don’t click on any links or downloads.

Bogus websites

Fraudsters often include links to webpages that look like the homepage of the HMRC website. This is to trick you into disclosing personal/confidential information.  Bogus webpages often contain links to banks/building societies, or display fields and boxes requesting your personal information such as passwords, credit card or bank account details.

You should be aware that fraudsters sometimes include genuine links to HMRC web pages in their emails, this is to try and make their emails appear genuine.

Common greeting

Fraudsters often send high volumes of phishing emails in one go so even though they may have your email address, they seldom have your name. Be cautious of emails sent with a generic greeting such as ‘Dear Customer’.

Emails from HMRC will always use the name you’ve provided to us and include information on how to report phishing emails to HMRC.

Attachments

Be cautious of attachments as these could contain viruses designed to steal your personal information.

More Information

If you have received a phishing/bogus email related to HMRC, or you’re not sure if it’s genuine, you can read about how to report internet scams and phishing to HMRC using this link:

https://www.gov.uk/report-suspicious-emails-websites-phishing

 

Source:GOV.UK Daily Digest Bulletin, June 15, 2016

Help and Support from HMRC for Sole Traders

Help for sole tradersDid you know that HMRC provides lots of help and information online to help sole traders run their business successfully? Their online support includes webinars, e-learning, emails and videos for the self-employed.

Topics covered include

  • Getting started in business
  • Business expenses
  • Capital allowances

The live webinars last for an hour. You can ask questions during the presentation and get answers from the HMRC host.

You can see the full list of webinars with descriptions, dates, and links here.

We’re also here to help with any questions you might have about being a sole trader. Nine Ashes Bookkeeping is an independent accounting and bookkeeping firm based in Essex. We serve in and around the Brentwood, Chelmsford, Epping, Harlow, Ongar and Billericay areas.We specialise in providing accounting, bookkeeping and payroll services to small businesses.

To learn more about us and the services we provide please get in touch.

Employment allowance changes

TaxThe start of the 2016/2017 tax year brings with it new changes to employment allowance rules that will affect those companies where the only person on the payroll is a director.

Previously, ‘single director employee’ limited companies were eligible for employment allowance (enabling them not to pay the first £2,000 of employers national insurance). From April 2016 however all single director employee companies are no longer eligible for employment allowance.

What about two directors?

For now, if you have a second director on the payroll you will still be eligible for employment allowance should you meet the other qualifying conditions.

Rate changes

Those who are eligible for employment allowance will be happy to hear the rate has risen from £2,000 to £3,000 for the 2016/2017 tax year.

Tax planning

If you are a ‘single director employee’ limited company and need help with your tax planning for the 2016/2017 tax year, get in touch with us. We will be able to review your situation and provide tax planning ideas to help reduce the impact of not only the employment allowance changes but also the dividend tax changes that come into effect in the 2016/2017 tax year.

Bookkeeping and Accounting in Essex

Nine Ashes Bookkeeping is a local, independent bookkeeping and accounting firm which specialises in bookkeeping and accounts for small businesses. Based in Ingatestone, we have clients from across Essex and can help with a wide range of services including tax advice, bookkeeping, payroll and year end accounts production.

European Court Rules Travel Time to Work is Work

regulationThe European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that time spent travelling to and from first and last appointments by workers without fixed offices should count as working time. Presently this is not the case.

It could mean companies employing workers such as electricians, gas fitters, care workers and sales reps could be in breach of EU working time regulations.

You can read more about the ruling and the affect it could have on you as an employer on the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34210002

Payroll Services

Nine Ashes Bookkeeping provides payroll services to small businesses across Essex, focusing on areas such as Brentwood and Chelmsford. We offer a personalised, friendly service at affordable prices. We ensure your payroll complies with the ever changing regulations and all RTI submissions are submitted correctly and on time.

If you are looking for a payroll services provider located near Brentwood or Chelmsford in Essex, give Emily a call to find out more about our payroll services and how we can help you with your business.

National Living Wage: New Penalties to be Introduced

payrollThe Government announced this week a new package of measures to ensure employers pay their workers the National Minimum Wage the new National Living Wage. These include tougher penalties and disqualifying employers from being a company director for up to 15 years.

From April 2016, under the new Government plan, penalties for non-payment of the National Minimum Wage and the new National Living Wage will double from 100% of the amount owed to 200%, unless the arrears are paid within 14 days.

The maximum fine for non-payment will remain at £20,000 per worker. Anyone found guilty of deliberately not complying could be disqualified from being a company director for up to 15 years.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

“There is no excuse for employers flouting minimum wage rules and these announcements will ensure those who do try and cheat staff out of pay will feel the full force of the law.”

Currently the National Minimum Wage for adults (21 years and older) is £6.50, but this is set to raise to £6.70 in October 2015. Under the new system, workers aged 25 and over will be entitled to receive £7.20 an hour, rising to £9 an hour by the end of the decade.

Payroll Services in Essex

Worried about how this will affect your business?

Nine Ashes Bookkeeping provides payroll services to small businesses across Essex, focusing on areas such as Brentwood and Chelmsford. We offer a personalised, friendly service at affordable prices. We ensure your payroll complies with the ever changing regulations and all RTI submissions are submitted correctly and on time.

If you are looking for a payroll services provider located near Brentwood or Chelmsford in Essex, give Emily a call to find out more about our payroll services and how we can help you with your business.

 

 

Becoming an Employer: What to do when hiring an employee

Help Wanted SignEmploying staff for the first time can be exciting. However, it’s important employer’s following the following six key steps when hiring their first employee:

  1. Decide how much to pay. Make sure you pay your employee at least the National Minimum Wage.
  2. Check your prospective employee can legally work in the UK. You may have to do other employment checks as well.
  3. Apply for a DBS check (formally known as a CRB check) if you work in a field that requires one.
  4. Get employment insurance. You need employers’ liability insurance as soon as you become an employer.
  5. Send your new employee, in writing, details of the job, including terms and conditions. If you are employing someone for over a month you must give them a written statement of employment.
  6. Tell HMRC by registering as a new employer. You can do this up to four weeks before you pay your new employee.

Payroll Services in Essex

Becoming an employer involves a lot more than just hiring your first employee. PAYE, National Insurance, and RTI rules and regulations are all areas you will need to learn about.

If you rather not deal with the stress of it all, Nine Ashes Bookkeeping provides payroll services across Essex, focusing on the Brentwood, Chelmsford and Billericay areas. We offer a personalised, friendly service at affordable prices. We ensure your payroll complies with the ever changing regulations and all RTI submissions are submitted correctly and on time.

If you are looking for a payroll services provider located near Brentwood or Chelmsford in Essex, give Emily a call on 01277 823688, or email enquiries@nineashesbookkeeping.co.uk to find out more about our payroll services and how we can help you with your business.

 

Dividend Tax Reform: What Small Businesses Need to Know

The word Tax on a cork notice boardThe Chancellor George Osbourne announced in the summer budget a reform of the way dividends are taxed. This will have a direct impact on many small businesses in Essex.

Tax-free Dividend Allowance

From April 2016 the Dividend Tax Credit will be replaced by a new tax-free Dividend Allowance. The Dividend Allowance means that you won’t have to pay tax on the first £5,000 of your dividend income, no matter what non-dividend income you have.

The allowance is available to anyone who has dividend income.

Changes to headline rates 

Headline rates of dividend tax are also changing.

You’ll pay tax on any dividends you receive over £5,000 at the following rates:

  • 7.5% on dividend income within the basic rate band
  • 32.5% on dividend income within the higher rate band
  • 38.1% on dividend income within the additional rate band

This new system will mean that those with significant dividend income will pay more tax. Investors with modest income from shares, will see either a tax cut or no change in the amount of tax owed.

Dividends received by pension funds that are currently exempt from tax, and dividends received on shares held in an Individual Savings Account (ISA), will continue to be tax free.

From April 2016 you have to apply the new headline rates on the amount of dividends you actually receive, where the income is over £5,000 (excluding any dividend income paid within an ISA).

The Dividend Allowance will not reduce your total income for tax purposes. However, it will mean that you don’t have any tax to pay on the first £5,000 of dividend income you receive.

Dividends within your allowance will still count towards your basic or higher rate bands, and may therefore affect the rate of tax that you pay on dividends you receive in excess of the £5,000 allowance.

You can find some good working examples on the HMRC website.

Help for Essex businesses

Are you a small business based near or around the Brentwood, Chelmsford or Billericay areas and have questions on the dividend allowance and how it affects you? Get in touch to speak to our Chartered Accountant who can answer any questions you may have.

About Us

Nine Ashes Bookkeeping is a local, independent bookkeeping and accounting firm which specialises in bookkeeping and accounts for small businesses. Based in Ingatestone, we have clients from across Essex and can help with a wide range of services including tax advice, bookkeeping, payroll and year end accounts production.

Summer Budget 2015: Key points for businesses

Summer Budget 2015George Osborne delivered his summer budget speech this week. If you’re a small business in Essex, here is a summary of how it could affect you:

Corporation tax

The Chancellor has promised to cut corporation tax by 19% in 2017 and 18% by 2020.

Employment Allowance

National Insurance employment allowance for small firms is to be increased by 50% to £3,000 from 2016.

 National Living Wage

A new national living wage will be introduced for all workers aged over 25 starting at £7.20 an hour from April 2016, raising to £9 by 2020.

Dividends

The Chancellor set out plans to reform the taxation of dividends by replacing the dividend tax credit with a new tax-free allowance of £5,000 on dividend income. The rates of dividend tax will be set at 7.5%, 32.5% and 38.1%, equivalent to an increase of 7.5% where dividend income exceeds £5,000.

According to the Chancellor:

“Those who either pay themselves in dividends or have large shareholdings worth typically over £140,000 will pay more tax; 85% of those who receive dividends will see no change or be better off.”

Personal taxation

Personal allowance, the point at which people start paying tax, is to raise to £11,000 next year. The government says the personal allowance will raise to £12,500 by 2020, so that people working 30 hours a week on the minimum wage will not pay income tax.

Additionally, the point at which people start paying income tax at the 40p rate is to rise from £42,385 to £43,000 next year.

Rental property income

  • The amount of the rent a room relief will rise from £4,250 to £7,500 from April 2016. Small B&B establishments will also benefit as they can claim the relief too, provided the owners live on the premises.
  • From April 2016 wear and tear allowance will end to be replaced by a deduction for landlords when they actually spend the money. It remains to be seen whether the deduction for money spent will apply to all expenditure, including that on kitchen appliances such as ovens, and whether it will be subject to a “cap”.
  • From April 2017, tax relief on interest in property businesses (including single buy to lets) will be restricted so that by 2020, interest will not be an allowable expense in computing the profits of the business, but will attract tax relief at 20%.

Tax avoidance

£7.2bn to be raised from clampdown on tax avoidance and tax evasion with HMRC budget increased by £750m

Annual investment allowance

Annual investment allowance will be fixed permanently at £200,000 from January 2016

Help for Essex businesses

If you are you a business in or around the Chelmsford or Brentwood areas and aren’t sure how these new measures will affect you, why not get in touch. Nine Ashes Bookkeeping can help you with a wide range of services including tax advice, bookkeeping, payroll and year end accounts production. We’ll make sure your business only pays the tax it has to and takes full advantage of the tax relief and incentives available for small businesses.

Online Accountancy for Essex Businesses

Nine Ashes Bookkeeping, based in Ingatestone, has today announced that they have future-proofed their accounting software packages for their clients by moving to an award winning online accounting software package.

The company will now be using online accounting software company KashFlow, which enables accountants and their clients to easily access their own financial records at any time, whenever they have access to the internet.

Online accounting software is considered by many to be the way that the industry is heading because it enables businesses to keep a constant eye on their company’s financial position without having to install costly and bulky software direct onto their computers.

The system is easy to use, with continuous functionality development, and Nine Ashes Bookkeeping’s team of accountants can now talk to clients and update records in real time without having to wait for clients so send in reams of paper-work.

All the records held on the system are stored behind a state of the art encryption system that prevents data from being accessed or passed on without the user’s permission.

Speaking about the new contract Emily Young, Owner of Nine Ashes Bookkeeping, said;

“We wanted to find a product that was easy to use for our clients that haven’t had any accountancy training, but still enabled us as their accountants to extract the information we need to provide a quality service. We’ve found exactly that in KashFlow. The fact that we can access data live over the internet means we can be more pro-active in advising our clients.”

Managing Director of KashFlow, Duane Jackson said,

“Nine Ashes Bookkeeping have shown that they’re forward-thinking by being early adopters of online software. We’re looking forward to working with them to help small business and start ups in Ingatestone and the surrounding areas.”

Jackson continues,

“Our software is going to help Nine Ashes Bookkeeping to deliver on their aims of offering a high-level of service to all of their clients.”

KashFlow launched its flagship product, an online tool specifically designed to help owner-managers in small businesses manage their accounts, in mid 2005. Since that time it has quickly won a significant share of the valuable accounting software market along with launching a new direct-to-accountant division in late 2006.

In late 2007 KashFlow won a Business Software Satisfaction Award, judged entirely by customer feedback, for the category of web-based accounting, beating the likes of Sage and Netsuite.

More Information

If you are a small business based in the Chelmsford or Brentwood areas and want to learn more about Nine Ashes Bookkeeping’s services, please get in touch with us to arrange a free no obligation meeting to see how we can help your business grow and succeed.

Markets surge after General Election

British Currency and CalculatorThe London stock market and the pound surged this morning (Friday 08 May) as election results show a shock outright victory for Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party.

The General Election results erased the uncertainty for investors that a hung parliament had threatened to deliver. The main FTSE 100 stock market surged towards last month’s record high, while the sterling registered its biggest jump against the dollar since 2009. Market analysts said the pound had risen because the government’s agenda was likely to remain consistent following a Conservative’s win.

The Conservatives had campaigned on a largely pro-business platform – lowering the headline rate of corporation tax to 20% from 28% – a policy that has sat well with the City and big businesses.

Energy and banking companies led the rally with Centrica, the owner of British Gas and one of the UK’s main energy providers, one of the biggest risers.

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Latest News

7
Jul

Scam emails from ‘HM Revenue & Customs’

How to recognise legitimate communications from HMRC versus phishing/bogus emails and text messages…

1
Jul

Help and Support from HMRC for Sole Traders

Learn more about the online support HMRC provides sole traders – from webinars to videos they cover a wealth of topics to help the self-employed succeed…

15
Apr

Employment allowance changes

New employment allowance rules have come into affect – meaning many small limited companies are no longer eligible for the the £3,000 savings.