• JOHN H.F. KING

    CHARTERED CERTIFIED ACCOUNTANTS

    We are a small firm specialising in giving advice to small to medium sized owner managed businesses.

    We aim to ensure that all clients receive a friendly personalised service relevant to their needs.

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Accounts preparation for sole traders, partnerships and Limited Companies.
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Monthly, quarterly accounts prepared to help you maintain control over your business and to plan and prepare for the future.

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16-05-2018
Responding to a County Court claim

It is important that any correspondence received from the County Court is dealt with promptly. This should include taking proper legal advice when appropriate.

Usually, a creditor asks the County Court to make a county court judgment (CCJ) against a person who is refusing to pay their bill. The CCJ rules apply to court orders in England and Wales. There are different court system process in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Before starting CCJ proceedings, creditors are required to take certain steps including sending a warning letter about the debt, often referred to as a letter of claim.

A court claim for money can be responded to in one of the following ways:

  • paying the full amount;
  • paying only what you think you owe;
  • defending the claim (if you don’t think you owe any money or you’ve already paid). This can also include making a counterclaim.

The letter or email from the court will include the final date by which you must respond. If you are defending the claim or paying only what you think you owe you can request an additional 14 days to respond. If you agree to pay the full amount you can make the claimant an offer to pay in instalments. If the claimant doesn’t accept your offer, the court will decide how you pay.

It can be detrimental to have an unpaid CCJ registered on your credit records. We would advise that every effort is taken to ensure that does not happen and to resolve the issue before a CCJ is issued. If you are issued with a CCJ and don’t make payment, creditors can take further enforcement action to get the money they are owed.

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16-05-2018
When might you be due a tax refund?

HMRC has issued helpful guidance that explains when you might be due a tax refund and how to make a claim.

According to HMRC you may be able to claim a refund if you:

  • are employed and had too much tax taken from your pay;
  • have stopped work;
  • sent a tax return and paid too much tax;
  • have paid too much tax on pension payments;
  • bought a life annuity.

You may also qualify for tax rebates if you have spent money on your job such as fuel costs or work clothing, paid tax on savings interest or if you have income in one country and live in another.

Claims can be backdated for up to four years after the end of the tax year. This means that claims still be made for overpaid interest dating back as far as the 2014-15 tax year which ended on 5 April 2015. The deadline for making claims for the 2014-15 tax year is 5 April 2019.

Making a claim depends on a number of factors. For example, the annual reconciliation of PAYE for the tax year 2017-18 is under way. HMRC use salary and pension information to calculate if the correct amount of tax has been paid. Where the incorrect amount of tax has been paid, HMRC use the P800 form to inform taxpayers. HMRC expects to send all P800 forms by the end of September 2018 for those due a refund. The P800 will tell you how to apply for a refund or how to pay any tax underpaid. For earlier tax years a claim can usually be made online.

Planning note:

It is also possible to make a claim for overpaid tax during the current tax year, if for example you are made redundant or are leaving the UK to live abroad. If you need any assistance in making a claim for overpaid tax, we are here to help.

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16-05-2018
NMW and LW enforcement measures

A new press release has revealed that in 2017-18, HMRC investigators identified £15.6 million in back pay that is owed to over 200,000 of the UK’s lowest paid workers. This was an increase from £10.9 million for over 98,000 workers in the previous year. The launch of an online complaints service in January 2017 is thought to have been partially responsible for the increase as HMRC encourages underpaid workers to make a complaint online.

There are penalties for employers who don’t pay staff their legal entitlement. Employers who discover they’ve paid a worker below the correct minimum wage must pay any arrears immediately. If not, there are penalties for non-payment of up to 200% of the amount owed, unless the arrears are paid within 14 days. The maximum fine for non-payment can be up to £20,000 per employee. Employers who fail to pay may also face a 15-year ban from being a company director and being publicly named and shamed.

The latest National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) rates came into effect on 1 April 2018. The NLW is currently £7.83 for those aged 25 and over. The hourly rate of the NMW is £7.38 for 21-24 year olds. There are lower minimum wage rates for younger workers and apprentices.

HMRC investigates all complaints against employers failing to pay minimum wage rates. HMRC’s enforcement budget has been increased in recent years with more investigating officers in the field. HMRC also carries out spot checks and can launch an investigation if they receive a complaint from an employee.

Planning note:

It is important to remember that certain payments made by workers must not be included when the minimum wage is calculated such as items bought for work which aren’t refunded.

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