Accounting and Taxation advice in Hexham, Northumberland

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Thoughts Friday 4th December 2020

Hi folks,

Before we start, please note that the office will close earlier than usual this year, at 5pm on Tuesday 22 December, to allow staff to take advantage of the Christmas Covid arrangements.  We will re-open at 9am on Monday 4 January.

And now on to this week’s Thoughts:

Ordering Christmas presents online is a soulless thing even when you get it from little local businesses you love! You don’t even get to scribble an illegible note on a gift for people to either be irritated by or spend hours having the enjoyment of deciphering. So I decided I needed to cheer myself up and I have to say very basic jokes usually do it for me, so:


What is yellow and dangerous?>>>>>>> Shark infested custard

What is green and hairy and goes up and down?>>>>>>> A gooseberry in a lift...............

..........you get the picture.

They probably thoroughly entertain our 3 1/2 year old granddaughter but with somebody who is in her 6th decade and sports BA FCA you would probably expect something slightly more sophisticated before they get the giggles – but my humour gene never really grew up!

So when my husband came up with a new one:


What do you call a birdcage with an open door?>>>>>>> A polygon (Polly gone)

it was greeted with lots of chortling from yours truly!

Perhaps we could make a collection of these in the absence of the jokes in Christmas crackers and have a ‘Thoughts’ dedicated entirely to bad jokes?!

Christmas crackers aside I think the thing I most would like for Christmas, if I hadn’t decided to have a socially isolated one, would be a hug. It seems like an awfully long time since hugs were possible. Or even actually shaking hands with somebody - that would be fantastic. In fact in the post-Covid world I’m looking forward to handshaking and hugging but should be very pleased if air kissing gets consigned to the bin of history, it being an art that I never seem to have quite managed to master, it always seems to involve a nose or glasses collision.

A couple of completely non-Covid related distractions:

From an article in ‘The Times’ the other week saying that someone has done some research to say that women’s health is better in matriarchal societies!!! Apparently women’s blood pressure is higher in patriarchal societies.  Ladies, did we really need the academics to tell us that?

I thought these days that all scams were electronic but we recently received a beautifully handwritten letter addressed to my husband. Because he’s away such a lot it’s become my habit to open his post but, because it was so ornate, I hesitated before doing so. The decision was finally made to open it, however, because it was addressed to him at my company which is slightly unusual. Inside I found it to be a beautifully handwritten letter effectively offering him a Visa card. What is the world coming to?


And so to local restrictions and what you need to know.

Here is some definitive (!) guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know

There is also a lot of good stuff in here about how to deal with the Christmas bubble: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-a-christmas-bubble-with-friends-and-family/making-a-christmas-bubble-with-friends-and-family

 


Now the technical stuff:

The Office of Tax Simplification is suggesting the aligning of income and capital taxes which is rather what many people thought would be announced in the autumn budget but then didn’t happen.

Anomalies in the accounting treatment of Coronavirus support packages

There are some anomalies with the taxation of Government assistance of the self-employed under the coronavirus rescue packages. The self-employed income support scheme (SEISS) grant is definitely going to be taxed in the 2021 tax year which makes sense because that’s the year that people are going to lose their income. However, the local authority tourism grants will be taxed according to your year-end and when you received it.  Some people received their grant at the end of March or early April and before their year-end of 31st March or 5th April, so this means you’re likely to get taxed on it in 2019/20 even though the impact of the virus was hardly felt then. I think some assistance and clarification beyond the application of accounting standards and GAAP accounts would be useful here. Surely it’s sensible to tax these things in the year when the majority of people were feeling the pinch? As with SEISS, there could be an instruction from Government to ignore the accounting treatment and just tax in the year specified i.e. 2020/21.

Dates for your diary

  • SEISS grant 3 is now open for applications until 29th January 2021.  You can claim by following this link:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme
  • 14th December 2020 – the last day you can submit November 2020 Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) claims for November 2020.
  • January 2021 – the Government will review the terms of CJRS.  One change may be the reduction of the 80% of employee’s usual pay.
  • 31st January 2021 – Self-assessment tax return deadline for 2019/20.

 

Employee Covid-19 antigen tests
A temporary exemption has been granted so that if your employer pays for an employee to have a Covid-19 antigen test between 8th December 2020 and 5th April 2021 it will tax exempt.  Under current rules the test would have been a taxable benefit in kind on the employee.  The exemption does not apply to coronavirus antibody tests.  If you received your antigen test before 8th December HMRC will exercise some discretion and refrain from collecting any income tax or Class 1A National Insurance.

Annual Investment Allowance
The Government has extended the £1m annual investment allowance (AIA) until January 2022 - this is good news for qualifying capital expenditure.  It means that the fall in AIA to £200k will now happen on 1st January 2022 instead.

Crown Preference
On 1st December Crown Preference was implemented which grants the Government preferential treatment over most of the other creditors in insolvency procedures.  Taxes collected by businesses on behalf of other taxpayers, (e.g. VAT, PAYE, employee National Insurance, student loan deductions and Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) deductions), will be a secondary preferential creditor, meaning that recoveries in insolvency will be allocated to these HMRC debts ahead of many other creditors.  There are concerns that this could make future funding for small businesses more expensive or curtailed.


And finally….

A swearing survey conducted by Savoy Stewart across 100 companies and 14 sectors has found that workers in accounting, banking and finance used the most profanity during team meetings and video calls!  Not only was this sector the highest, it was the highest by a considerable margin with 1,000 swear words spoken and an average of 80 a week.  

Charites and the voluntary sector came last in the survey with only 57 curses and averaging only 5 words a week.

I have to say that I’m a little surprised as we have a very clean, (Covid secure and use of language!), office.  Personally I think we can blame the banks for bringing our sector into disrepute!

Perhaps I should qualify that with the background, (or part of it), to my daughter’s decision to be a vet in the North of England. Two of the reasons were too much TB testing in the South and that ‘bugger’ is a swear word as opposed to a Geordie term of affection - so perhaps the finance profession is not alone!

Until next time,
Tricia

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