Spring Budget 2017 – What it means for small businesses and the self-employed

We’ve all heard about the release of Philip Hammond’s Spring Budget for this year, and many of us will have tuned in to listen to the news summary about it, but how many of us understood what the contents of the budget actually mean for small business owners and the self-employed?

We’ve broken the budget down and highlighted the areas that will affect you and your business the most.

Business Rates
The high business rates were highly criticised and so the government has taken the following steps in an attempt to take some of the pressure off from the rates of smaller businesses.

  1. A fund of £300 million will be offered as a discretionary relief to small businesses that are the worst affected by the rates.
  2. Any business that is losing their small business rate relief will see their bill increase by no more than £50 a month.
  3. All pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 will get a £1,000 discount on the rates they pay.

Savings

From April 2018 the total tax paid by an employed worker and by one that has set up their own company is set to change. The chancellor plans to do this by reducing the tax-free dividend allowance for directors/shareholders. It will be reduced from £5,000 to £2,000. 

Tax
The chancellor has taken measures to benefit those in employment by scrapping the NIC Class 2 and raising the Class 4 national insurance contributions from 9% to 10% by April 2018. They are then due to rise to 11% in April 2019, which will raise £145 million a year by 2021-22. A self-employed person with profits over £16,250 will have to pay more as a result of these changes.

Economy

The UK economy is forecast to grow by 2% and at a faster and higher rate than was previously predicted. Although, this isn’t set to last, with Hammond outlining that growth will then fall to 1.8 in 2018 and 1.7 in 2019. Inflation is forecasted to be 2.4% and then 2% up to 2019.

We asked PFC Director, Alun Rogers, to shed some light on how this new budget will affect SME’s and freelancers –

“There’s no doubt that Philip Hammond has opted for some controversial changes in this 2017 budget, particularly in relation to national insurance contributions and business tax. There is also no doubt that it is already tough out there for SME’s and freelancers, and these rises in contributions certainly won’t help anything. That’s why we do everything we can to assist small businesses and the self-employed to source a range of suitable finance options when they struggle with unpaid invoices and cashflow issues amongst other financial issues relating to business.”

If you want to discuss what finance options we have available and how we may be able to help you and your business, then please do not hesitate to contact us here at PFC.

Don’t pay the penalty, pay the bill

Are you likely to have to pay a penalty to HMRC because you can’t afford to pay your corporation tax bill on time? If so, you aren’t alone, according to Funding Option business owners were unable to pay their tax bill on time in the 2014/15 tax year and the HMRC took 1.8 billion in late payment fees.

The same company has also estimated that the amount owed in late payment fees is likely to increase again for the 2016/17 tax year too.

The possible rise in the already-steep figure could be down to the rocky economy around the time of Brexit. 2016 wasn’t the most financially secure year for a lot of businesses due to the economic uncertainty which in turn may have a knock-on effect with some struggling to pay their tax bill again this year.

The HMRC state that you must pay your corporation tax 9 months and 1 day after the end of your accounting period which is normally at the end of the financial year. Some companies may have two accounting periods within the same tax year as accounting periods depend on when your business was set up.

What’s more, the HMRC has been clamping down on late corporation tax payments with not only penalties but the seizure of assets as well. This is causing cash-flow problems for many SME’s who have been hit with a penalty. That’s not all, over the past five years’ banks have been cutting SME’s overdrafts too, causing further cash flow problems for small businesses wishing to access finance to pay their tax bill.

So, what other options are there for businesses? Luckily, PFC provide a range of alternative funding routes for businesses to choose from:

Refinance Assets – This is a form of lending that allows you to borrow against your tangible assets, from vehicles to equipment, even IT and office furniture can be refinanced to provide essential capital.

Invoice Finance – A method that helps to improve cash flow by allowing you to borrow money against any unpaid invoices you may have. We work with the UK’s leading Invoice Discount funders, with expertise in all sectors. We can also offer funding against single invoices if you don’t want to commit to full invoice finance.

Tax Funding – An option that’s available to every type of business, whether it be self-assessment, corporation tax or partnership. This funding option is available in fixed terms from 6 to 12 months.

Whatever your needs, PFC can arrange five, six and seven figure funding for VAT and tax bills for sole traders up to multi-director businesses. With access to a panel of more than 30 lenders, PFC can provide access to finance where banks may fail. For more information visit: http://pfcfinance.co.uk/sme-finance/ or Contact us directly on: 01829 738 799.

Simple steps on how to file a HMRC tax return

We are fast approaching the deadline for online tax returns (31st of January) and many of us are getting that tax return dread.  If this is your first year, you’ll need to make sure you’re registered and you may need to allow an additional 20 days.  The paper method allows more time with a deadline of October.

To ease the dread of the tax return deadline, we have broken the return process into simple steps;

  1. Get Prepared

Before you start your tax return make sure you have all of the necessary information to hand and allow yourself enough time.  You’ll need…

  • Details of your income – which might include finding your P60 (if you earned more than £8,500), your P11D (which outlines details of expenses and benefits), and payslips. You’ll need a P45 if you’ve changed jobs within the year.
  • You will also need interest statements from banks and building societies, and details of pension contributions made – plus information about any Gift Aid donations.
  1. Filling in the return

Always check your personal details first, this can prevent costly mistakes.  Fill in all sections that apply to your circumstance.  The system will react to the information you put into it and will prompt you as to where to find the information it is requesting.

Take your time.  The HMRC’s system will highlight when it thinks you’ve made an error.  You can always save and return to at a later date.

  1. Pressing Send

Always make sure you have read everything through and haven’t left any gaps within the form.  When you are sure you have fully completed the form, press send and wait for the confirmation message on your screen and make a note of your confirmation reference.

  1. Help!

If you need help with your return, visit  Gov.uk/self-assessment-tax-returns or call the helpline on (0300) 200 3310.

If you’re worried you can’t afford your tax bill you should always still file your return.  The fines for late payment are a lot lower than the fines for late filing.

 If you need help paying your tax bill, PFC may be able to help.  Contact us on: 01829 738 799.

Remember; there are plenty of people out there on hand to help with filing your tax return, just make sure you don’t leave it too late!

Autumn Statement: What it means for individuals and businesses

The Chancellor of the Exchequer gave his Autumn Statement to Parliament on 23 November 2016, but what’s its impact on the UK’s economy and how does it affect the individual as well as UK businesses?

The UK economy is forecast to be the fastest growing major economy in 2016, but the Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast growth to slow and inflation to rise over the next two years.  Despite this; employment is set to rise continually over the next 5 years with half a million more people forecast to be in work by 2021.

For the individual

In 2017, fuel duty will remain frozen for the seventh successive year, saving drivers £130 a year on average.

To support savers, NS&I will offer a new three-year Investment Bond with an indicative rate of 2.2% from spring 2017. The bond will offer the flexibility to put away between £100 and £3,000 and be available to those aged 16 or over.

The Personal Allowance is the amount of income you can earn before you start paying income tax. It is currently £11,000, and will rise to £11,500 in 2017-18, and £12,500 by 2021. The point at which you pay the higher rate of income tax will increase from £43,000 this year, to £45,000 in 2017-18.  This is set to increase to £50,000 by 2021.

The National Living Wage for those aged 25 and over will increase in April 2017 from £7.20 per hour to £7.50 per hour. More will also be spent on clamping down on those who do not pay the national minimum wages.

For businesses

The main rate of corporation tax has already been cut from 28% in 2010 to 20%, and will be cut again to 17% by 2020, by far the lowest in the G20 and benefitting over 1 million businesses.

Rural rate relief will increase from 50 to 100% in April 2017, saving a business up to £2900 a year. This business rate relief is available to businesses in rural areas with a population under 3,000

A new penalty is being introduced for those helping someone else to use a tax avoidance scheme. Tax avoiders are hit with significant bills when HMRC defeats their avoidance scheme, this new penalty will ensure that those who help them will also face the consequences.

From April 2017, most salary sacrifice schemes will be subject to the same tax as cash income.  In salary sacrifice schemes, employees exchange some of their salary for a non-cash benefit in kind (such as a mobile phone). Both the employer and employee make a tax saving, because the benefit is taxed less than a salary or not taxed at all.

Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) will increase from 10% to 12%. IPT is a tax on insurers and it is up to them whether and how to pass on costs to customers.

In summary the Autumn Statement appears to have been designed to get people back in work to stimulate the economy and growth.  How well it will work remains to be seen and depends upon many other factors.  To see how these changes can affect your business or for financial assistance, get in contact with a member of our team.

Beat the January Tax Bill Blues

With the pressures of Christmas, it’s easy to forget about what might be due in January like filling out that all-important HMRC online tax return and paying any tax you owe for the year.

In the UK, 4.79 million people are registered as self-employed and are required to fill out a self-assessment tax form every year before the online deadline of 31st January. Many will have an idea as to what the figure will be, but a few may well realise the bill is unexpectedly higher than planned.

Either way, funding the January tax bill is proving to be an invaluable method of protecting cashflow for business owners.

PFC works with a panel of more than 30 lenders to offer customers fast and flexible access to finance. The team is able to assess an individual or businesses requirements and find a route to finance where other providers may fail. Some payments can even be processed in under 2 hours.

Customers can finance their tax bills over 6 or 12 months, providing essential budgetary advantages as they can spread the cost of paying the HMRC.

Get in contact if you would like to speak to one of our experienced consultants and understand how we can provide access to finance and help you beat the January blues.

Does your Company need Corporation Tax Funding?

Unlike other taxes where there can often be some leeway for late payments if a company gets into difficulty, when it comes to corporation tax, once the deadline passes, those surcharges and penalties start accruing and can have a massive impact. This can put many companies under pressure in the run up to the tax payment deadline and force them into difficult decisions when it comes to business development and ongoing operational performance.

While there are many ways for companies to reduce their overall corporation tax bill, there’s always something to pay at the end of the day. Finding a solution that spreads the cost over the rest of year can help relieve unwanted financial pressure, release valuable capital for further investment, and give your business the breathing space it needs to get over potentially difficult periods.

At PFC we provide tailored tax funding for businesses that allows them to meet their corporation tax liabilities whilst spreading repayments more equitably over a period of months. This reduces the impact of a potentially large one off payment to the Treasury and can have numerous benefits including:

  • Makes sure businesses avoid being late with corporation tax payments because funds, for whatever reason, are not available or tied up at that particular time.
  • It releases valuable capital that can be used for developing new avenues and making sure existing business strategies remain on track.
  • It can relieve short term cash flow problems by essentially extending your tax payment deadline and making sure your business has more money in the pot.
  • PFC offers a flexible way to cope with any tax funding issues. Our tax funding facility allows for tailored loans between £1,000 and £2.5 million paid back over a period of 6 to 12 months.
  • The change to a fixed monthly cost for your corporation tax bill means that you can better budget over the year. You can choose to do it as a one off solution for current problems or incorporate into your ongoing business strategy.
  • Access to fast track decisions at PFC means you don’t have to wait long for a decision and solutions can be agreed in around 48 hours.

How PFC works

We are a brokerage group with a vast amount of experience in the field of private loans for companies, helping them manage areas such as tax funding, subscription payments and insurance premiums among our other funding provisions. We do this by having a close working relationship with our private financers, providing competitive funding for businesses that need it.

Sourcing commercial funding that works for the business that is accessing it is a fine art and obtaining the right terms is something that takes a great deal of experience and industry know how. At PFC our focus is in finding the right solution that suits your business and not a one-size-fits-all proposition that fails to tick all your boxes. To find out more, contact our experienced and friendly team today.

The Unavoidable Truth

They say that there are only two things you can be sure of in life and they are death and taxes. The good news however is that there are measures that you can do in both cases that prolong life or reduce the impact of taxes on your business or personal cash flow.

Many will have the first in hand with ‘Dry January’ or various New Year resolutions to get fit, eat more healthily or give up smoking in an effort to live a healthier and hopefully longer life. When it comes to managing taxes, unfortunately you can’t put off the inevitable deadline of 31st January for self assessment tax returns, however there are plenty of options to consider if looking to secure funding and help manage the tax bill payment.

With a range of lenders making up PFC’s funding panel, no tax bill is too great or too small. In addition, there is a specialist team on hand to provide a quick decision making process and advise on the required levels of funding, your preferred terms and how repayments can be structured to allow you to budget for manageable repayments.

Arrangements can be made for payment to be made directly to HMRC or into an office account, typically within a week of the application. The repayments are in turn arranged in line with the liability so typically between 6 and 12 month terms for self-assessment tax funding.

Having the flexibility of a short term loan for tax liabilities allows you to spread the cost of the liability into manageable monthly payments to assist with the budgeting in the company, help ease cash flow and relieve the pressure of having to find a lump sum payment.

The short term, unsecured fixed rate loan facilities offered by PFC cover all types of tax funding including; Schedule D tax, corporation tax or capital gains tax to name a few. With the right tax funding support in place it can give individuals and businesses a new lease of life by removing the worry and freeing cash for other business priorities.

It’s also good to know that with your tax taken care of there’s a weight off your shoulders and a great stress relief. Maybe with this support you can take care of two of life’s certainties by better managing your tax and in turn potentially living a longer stress free life.