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Wishing you a Merry Christmas

22 December 2016 •

The offices will be closed during the Christmas week until 3rd January 2017.

We hope you have a prosperous New Year.

This year instead of sending cards we have made a donation to St Mungo's Broadway, who work to tackle the causes of homelessness.

Warrener Stewart deliver a presentation on property tax developments to estate agency client

12 December 2016 •

There have been many recent changes to property tax law; to help leading luxury real estate agent, Engel & Völkers’ staff appreciate how these changes could affect their clients, Warrener Stewart recently visited their offices on the Brompton Road.

The presentation, “The Evolution of Property Tax Planning” was delivered by Warrener Stewart’s tax director, Damian Talbot, and tax consultant, Felicity Butler. Two of Engel & Völkers’ management team attended Warrener Stewart’s event earlier in September and were keen to share this knowledge with their staff.

“We have had some very positive feedback from the delegates who came to listen to our presentation at Chelsea Football Stadium,” commented Damian Talbot. “Some of our clients, like Engel & Völkers, suggested holding joint marketing events involving their staff and/or clients. At Warrener Stewart, we are keen to try to think differently from traditional tax advisory firms and welcome any opportunity to organise joint marketing events with our clients.”

Engel & Völkers, established in 1977 in Hamburg, is the world leader in luxury real estate with 700 branded offices in 37 countries with more than 3,800 employees. Following his presentation to their staff, Damian said, “I was very impressed by the consultants and members of the management team I spoke to who had a real sense of commitment to their clients and how the tax legislation affects them.”

Anyone who is interested in hosting a joint marketing event or would like to arrange a presentation for their staff on “The Evolution of Property Tax Planning” should contact Warrener Stewart’s tax team on 020 7731 6163. 

2016 Autumn Statement Highlights

23 November 2016 •

Today’s Autumn Statement introduced very few new measures to the tax code. Here is a review of the headline announcements - and a reminder of the measures coming in from April 2017 and April 2018 are also highlighted below.

Measures introduced from April 2017

Income tax

The annual personal allowance is to increase to £11,500 from April 2017.

Employment taxation

From April 2017 salary sacrifice schemes will no longer be available.  Existing arrangements will be protected until April 2018 with some particular schemes being protected until April 2021.

These changes do not affect salary sacrifice schemes in place for Pensions, Childcare, Cycle to Work and ultra-low emission cars.

The National Insurance thresholds for Employers and Employees will be aligned from April 2017 so that Class 1 NICs become due on earnings in excess of £157pw.

Employee Shareholder Status (“ESS”) arrangements entered into after 1 December 2016 will not receive the favourable tax advantages previously available.

Property taxation

As previously announced a restriction on the tax-deductibility of mortgage interest payments for private landlords will be introduced from April 2017 and is to be phased in over four tax years up to 2020/21.

Savings

The ISA limit is to increase to £20,000 from April 2017.  In addition, the new Lifetime ISA is to be introduced for adults under 40 at 6 April 2017. Individuals will be able to save up to £4,000 per annum and receive a 25% bonus from the Government up to the age of 50.

Corporation Tax 

The corporation tax rate is set to fall to 19% from April 2017 onwards. In addition, new measures will come into effect from April 2017 onwards applicable to large corporations (i.e. those with profits in excess of £5M per year), restricting the deductibility of losses from earlier years and also the deductibility of interest costs that are allowable. 

Value Added Tax

A new 16.5% rate will be introduced to the VAT flat rate scheme from 1 April 2017 for those businesses with limited costs.

Non-UK Domiciliaries

As previously announced, from April 2017 long term UK residents who are not domiciled in the UK will assume a deemed UK domicile for Inheritance Tax purposes if they are resident in the UK for 15 of the last 20 years.

Inheritance Tax will also be charged on non-UK domiciled individuals who hold UK residential property indirectly through an offshore structure, such as a company or Trust.

Proposed measures from April 2018

Employment

It is proposed that from April 2018, Employers National Insurance contributions will be payable on termination payments where the amount exceeds £30,000.

National Insurance

From 2018, Class 2 NIC for self-employed will be abolished. There will be a consultation regarding voluntary Class 3 contributions and Class 4 NIC, which are paid by the self-employed, to consider how to build entitlement to the State Pension and other contributory benefits which used to be covered by the payment of Class 2 contributions.
 

If you would like to explore what the Autumn Statement could mean for you and your business, please call 020 7731 6163 to talk to one of our tax team. 

A Distinct Advantage for Warrener Stewart’s tax advisors

18 November 2016 •

Fulham based accountancy firm Warrener Stewart’s tax team now has three more qualified tax technicians following the success of their graduate tax trainees; Felicity Butler, Freddie Hollom and Ryan O’Connor in passing their Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) exams.

Following the latest round of ATT exams taken in May, Felicity Butler, passed both her final two papers with distinction. Out of the 1,878 candidates sitting the exams only 3% achieved a distinction for exceptional performance. Felicity has now passed all the qualifications needed to become a member of the ATT.

Having completed their final tax assessments in September 2016 and fulfilling the time criteria, fellow colleagues and tax technicians, Freddie Hollom and Ryan O’Connor, have also qualified  as members of the ATT.

“We are very pleased that our tax students have successfully passed their exams,” commented Damian Talbot, head of the tax department at Warrener Stewart, adding “and we are delighted that Felicity excelled in these final papers achieving a well-earned distinction, congratulations to them all!”

A new generation of accountants and tax advisors start their careers with Warrener Stewart

02 November 2016 • Warrener Stewart News

Warrener Stewart has welcomed four new recruits to their Fulham accountancy practice. Charlotte Northmore and James Shepherd join auditing and accounting, whilst Ellie Scanlan and Catherine Findlay are the latest additions to the tax team.

News-Staff-Image-2.jpg

(Pictured l-r: Charlotte Northmore, Catherine Findlay, James Shepherd and Ellie Scanlan)

For the three girls, this is their first job since graduating, having joined Warrener Stewart’s graduate trainee programme This provides them with an opportunity to gain valuable on-the–job training whilst undertaking their professional studies. Charlotte, who studied Accounting whilst at Kingston University, was keen to join a medium size accountancy practice to gain wider experience before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant.

Both the two new tax recruits, Ellie and Catherine, studied humanities based degrees; Ellie took a degree in History and Politics at Queen Mary, whilst Catherine studied International Relations and Politics at Richmond International University.

As for James, he joins Warrener Stewart as a qualified accountant following a four-year ACCA training programme with PwC whilst based in Guernsey. James takes up the position of assistant manager, working alongside the Principals to help small and medium sized enterprises develop and grow their businesses.

Commenting on the new recruits, Colin Edney, joint managing director said, “We are delighted to welcome four new arrivals to the team, all of whom appreciate that at Warrener Stewart we have a more in depth way of working alongside our clients. On the accountancy side Charlotte and James will provide a vital support role undertaking many of the technical aspects of auditing.

Equally, Ellie and Catherine will be a great support to the tax team. Their degrees have taught them keen analytical skills. These will prove invaluable when they are analysing complex information to allow the team to offer tax advice to businesses and private clients.”

US Tax Update: W-7 Renewal

19 October 2016 •

As a Certified Acceptance Agent, as recognised by the IRS, we are starting to receive numerous requests for W-7 renewals from existing US tax filers.  This change has got many people worried about their ITIN status and is even identified as a ‘hot topic’ on the IRS website.      

Due to the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (PATH) passed in 2015, any ITIN not used at least once in the last three years will effectively expire.  In other words, if you have not been filing 1040 NRs in the past 3 years your ITIN may become invalid starting January 2017.   

Additionally, the IRS will be issuing renewals for all ITINs issued before 2013 starting with ITINs middle digits of ‘78’ and ‘79’.  

If you believe that you may be facing a renewal please don’t hesitate to contact Warrener Stewart and we would be happy to assist you as Certified Acceptance Agents in completing a W-7 form, certification of overseas identification or any additional US tax related issues.

We estimate our cost for completing the process (excluding 1040NR completion) is £150 + VAT.

We are happy to complete the renewal process for both existing and new clients, so if you believe that you may be effected by the renewal please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Please see our dedicated webpage for further information

The Evolution of Property Tax Planning

30 September 2016 •

At Warrener Stewart, we work closely with clients in relation to their property portfolios and the tax consequences. Recently our tax director, Damian Talbot, invited several clients to listen to an overview regarding current tax issues facing property developers and investors.

To illustrate the effect taxes can have on property businesses, Damian outlined the key tax issues faced by property developers and investors during the growth of their property portfolios. This included reviewing the various evolutionary stages to developing a property portfolio and looking at the technical financial mechanisms that are involved in succeeding in property tax planning

The event was held near our Fulham offices at Chelsea Football Club’s home Stamford Bridge on 22nd September. Clients and staff at Warrener Stewart were afforded a unique insight not only into property tax planning, but a behind the scenes look at the Premier League club’s stadium.

“At Warrener Stewart we aim to help our clients get the best possible return on their property portfolio,” commented Damian Talbot. “There have been several changes recently that affect people with a portfolio of properties – be they a small owner-occupier developing their own residence, or those with a large property portfolio spanning multiple property sites. My presentation highlighted how, with Warrener Stewart’s tax teams’ help, developers can continue to prosper with our advice and efficient tax planning.”

Indeed, Séamus Kavanagh‎, CEO Badger Holdings Ltd, one of Warrener Stewart's clients, agreed commenting, "What a great event and venue. The points discussed were so relevant for today's property investors and were delivered in a meaningful but easy way to understand. Property tax can be a minefield and the points covered will be invaluable in helping us to guide and assist our own staff and clients in the future."

For further advice about property tax planning - whether you are a developer, investor or are just getting started, please contact Warrener Stewart on 020 7731 6163.

Warrener Stewart clocks up 150 miles on Cycle to Work Day

15 September 2016 • Warrener Stewart News

Knowing the team at Warrener Stewart are always up for a challenge, Nick Morgan, joint managing director of the Fulham based chartered accountants, encouraged several colleagues to join the National Cycle to Work Day which took place on September, 14th. 

WS-Bikes-for-web.jpg(Pictured l-r: Jon Last, Nick Morgan, Felicity Butler, Ashleigh Molton and Marcus Bullen) 

Between them the intrepid cyclists; Jon Last, Marcus Bullen, Felicity Butler, Ashleigh Molton, Charles Dessain and Nick, clocked up an impressive 150 miles cycling to and from work. For some of the younger members of the accountants in Fulham, their cycle journeys were relatively routine travelling in from Brixton and Balham compared to Jon and Nick’s epic journeys from darkest Surrey.

Nick rode 39 miles from South of Guildford over the North Downs, meeting up with colleague Jon in Esher to inject some much lacking pace and lead the final 16 miles to Fulham.

“As I left home the sun was just rising, making for an idyllic ride into work,” commented Nick. “It was “an interesting experience”, but probably not one I’ll do on a daily basis since the whole commute took me the best part of three hours and I only made it as far as Woking on the way home!”

Whilst Nick certainly had the longest journey, the prize for ingenuity and the shortest journey went to Charles Dessain. He ditched his normal bus ride and grabbed one of the Santander “Boris” bikes which were free for the day, to cycle from Hammersmith to Fulham. This still earned him the complimentary bacon roll which was part of Nick’s original offer!

A day in the life of accountancy trainee ... Victoria Dent

26 August 2016 • Warrener Stewart News

Each year Warrener Stewart recruits a graduate trainee who will continue to progress their career in accountancy through an internship. 

Recent employee, Victoria Dent shares her experience of working at the Fulham based accountants. 

What degree did you study for? 

Accounting and Finance at Oxford Brookes University 

Has this helped you in your chosen career? 

Yes, not only did it provide me with an understanding of what accountancy was but it also gave me an in-sight into what would be involved in becoming a Chartered Accountant.

What made you choose accountancy?

From a young age I have always run my own businesses and have had a keen interest in mathematics. Accountancy seemed like an obvious choice as I wanted to learn what was behind the numbers of successful businesses; something that once grasped would be invaluable in aiding the success of my own business.

What made you decide to start with Warrener Stewart?

I applied to join Warrener Stewart because they work with directly with business owners across a range of business sectors, from large estate agents to smaller retail clients. Working so closely with SME’s would afford me a unique insight into their business. Moreover, Warrener Stewart actively supported me whilst studying towards professional qualifications which was very important to me.

What is a typical day at Warrener Stewart for you?

Working within the audit team I assist audit managers in gathering evidence, performing tests and undertaking analysis of company information. At Warrener Stewart we spend a great deal of time interpreting a wide range of numbers to ensure we can offer the business owner the best possible advice that will continue the growth of their business. Alongside auditing, I also prepare financial statements and complete various ad hoc tasks in tax and other areas of accountancy.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Most definitely the professional relationships that we develop with clients; since few of our clients have a financial director they rely upon us for financial and business advice.

Equally, I enjoy the fact that I’m not solely based at our accountancy offices in Fulham, as an auditor I travel to different locations throughout London and the surrounding areas to conduct audits. Once an audit is finalised it is rewarding to receive positive feedback from the client that they are happy with the work undertaken and the way in which it was performed.

Can you outline your study/career path?  What qualifications are you studying for and when will you qualify?

I am studying towards the ICAEW ACA exams to become a chartered accountant. This involves sitting numerous exams as well as completing three years’ worth of accountancy experience. When I joined Warrener Stewart in January 2015 I already had 5 exemptions for the certificate level ACA exams because of the modules I studied at University.

Whilst working at Warrener Stewart I have passed four professional exams with the intention of sitting three more this year. If I pass the exams this summer I shall be a part-qualified accountant, with a further three to pass before I am fully qualified. I hope that by January 2018 I will have completed all my exams and be fully qualified Chartered Accountant.

What would be your advice to anyone wanting to start a career as a chartered accountant?

I would recommend paying attention to what is happening in the world of finance; employers are looking for candidates who are strong with numbers and have a commercial awareness. I would recommend looking at the financial statements for your favourite retail company or football team, read them and think about what those numbers are telling you about the entity’s performance.

Three is a magic number for Warrener Stewart directors - As they once again complete Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100

05 August 2016 • Warrener Stewart News

Hoping to beat their previous personal bests, Nick Morgan and Jon Last, from Fulham based accountants, Warrener Stewart, were amongst the 26,000 riders in the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 on Sunday 31st July. 

Pictured l-r Ricky Morgan, Marcus Bullen, Nick Morgan and Jon Last

Both have previously completed the closed road sportive around London and Surrey, firstly in 2014 and then again last year, 2015. This year they were joined by fellow accountants Marcus Bullen and Ricky Morgan, Nick’s son. Team Warrener Stewart all finished the course uninterrupted, despite long delays behind them due to serious accidents. 

“Whilst the route has remained largely the same, each year we have competed we have had to contend with a number of challenges, including Hurricane Bertha, punctures, injury and, sadly, again this year, avoiding serious incidents and road closures,” noted joint managing director, Nick Morgan. 

“However, we are pleased to say our times have got quicker! I was the slowest of Team Warrener Stewart, but managed to chop 45 minutes off last years’ time finishing in 5 hours and 50 mins. Jon also improved by 3 seconds (they all count !) with a faster time of 5 hours 22 mins 45 secs.  Marcus was just ahead at 5 hours 18 mins and Ricky was the fastest of us all in just 4 hours and 43 minutes – clearly good genes!”
 
This year the riders raised money for two charities, Shooting Star Chase, a leading children’s hospice charity, who will receive £1,750 and Cancer Research UK who benefit from £1,350. 

Stamp Duty Land Tax – Individuals

04 July 2016 • HMRC News, Tax Videos

 

As of 1 April 2016, those acquiring an additional property will need to be aware of higher rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax. Buyers are required to pay 3% on top of the normal bands which can be as high as 15%.

Conditions - There are four conditions for the higher rate to apply for individuals. These include the value of the interest, the number of interests owned including non-UK dwellings and whether the property is going to be a main residence, as the higher rate does not usually apply to replacing your home.

Pitfalls – There are certain pitfalls to try and avoid including:

  • Where a property is bought jointly, if one purchaser is subject to the higher rate tax, the entire transaction will be too. 
  • If the property is purchased by an individual, their spouse or civil partner are treated as a joint purchaser, and each of their interests in dwellings are combined, increasing the potential of the transaction being higher rate.

Multiple transactions - If two or more dwellings are purchased in a single or linked transaction, the buyer could be entitled to Multiple Dwellings Relief. This works out the mean consideration of each dwelling in the transaction and is subject to a minimum rate of tax of 1%. Where six or more dwellings are purchased in a single transaction, the purchaser can choose whether to apply the non-residential rates of SDLT.

Stamp Duty Land Tax - Companies

For Companies, Stamp Duty Land Tax is charged at 15% on residential properties costing more than £500,000.

Where a transaction would not trigger the 15% rate, it will still be subject to the additional 3% even if it is the only residential property that the company owns. There are no special exemptions from the higher rate for companies. This said, the higher rate does not apply to non-residential or mixed use properties, transactions with a consideration of less than £40,000 and caravans, houseboats and mobile homes.

Reliefs - There are SDLT reliefs available from the 15% rate for certain types of properties including rental properties or properties acquired for development, redevelopment or trading. There is no similar relief from the higher rate tax. Tax relief, however, can be clawed back if, for example, within 3 years the use of the property changes from the relief initially claimed or a connected person occupies the property.

Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings

This is a daily tax, paid annually, by Companies, at the beginning of the financial year for companies owning residential properties valued at over £500,000. The current valuation date is 1 April 2012 however this will move to 1 April 2017 for the next chargeable year. The charge is dependent on the value of the property, and a return needs to be filed and the tax paid annually by 30 April.

Reliefs - Like with Stamp Duty Land Tax, similar reliefs are available from the ATED charge, however the ATED reliefs are fully changeable. Some properties including hotels, care homes and prisons are not considered dwellings and are exempt.

Bowled over – Warrener Stewart treat staff to an evening of ten pin bowling

30 June 2016 • Warrener Stewart News

Rather than hitting the tiles after work, Warrener Stewart recently encouraged their staff to strike lucky and hit the pins!

Staff were treated to a night of ten pin bowling at a local American themed bowling alley. The company neatly divided into four teams each led by one of the four directors; Colin Edney, Gary Chapman, Nick Morgan and Jon Last.

The competition between the lanes was incredibly tense as several staff led with early strikes – including Alex Eagle who claimed to be a novice bowler; whilst others simply watched as their balls rolled into the gutter. It was a clean sweep for the winning team championed by Nick, with fellow team mates, Stuart Barbour, Francis Kershaw, Jack Moody, Ryan O’Connor and Victoria Dent.

Commenting on their win, Nick Morgan said; “It was a great evening – everybody thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Of course winning always helps!”

Pictures clockwise: l-r

  1. Half of the winning team; Stuart Barbour, Francis Kershaw and Jack Moody
  2. The other side of victory; Ryan O’Connor, Nick Morgan and Victoria Dent.
  3. Limbering up Jon Last and Charlie Dessain
  4. Bowlers in arms; Jon Last pictured with Colin Edney, Felicity Butler, Alex Eagle, Ashleigh Molton and Jack Moody.
  5. Top tips from Ryan Lane to Gary Chapman, assisted by Freddie Hollom and Sarah Libros
  6. Striking it lucky are Victoria Dent and Felicity Butler

The most frequently asked questions about US tax filing

20 May 2016 • Tax Videos, US Tax returns

 

Whilst many Americans living in the UK may be focused on the race for the White House, a more important date for them is looming – 15 June. This is the deadline for any US citizens living abroad when they must file their individual tax returns.

Head of tax at Warrener Stewart, Damian Talbot, who is both an EA (Enrolled Agent) and an Authorised Acceptance Agent has noted that recently they have been advising several new clients about their American tax liabilities.

“The number of enquiries about filing US tax returns has increased quite considerably in the past two months, ahead of the final deadline,” notes Damian. “We are qualified to advise on both US and UK tax affairs and find that many of our enquiries are based around these most frequently asked questions.”

A review of the most common questions we are asked about American tax liabilities

1. Do I need to file a 1040 if my income is below the Foreign Earned Income Exemption (FEIE)?

Yes. A US citizen is required to file a US tax return every year that their total income exceeds the standard deduction and exemption (for 2015 this is $10,300/£7,015). If the total income is from foreign earnings below the FEIE limit then it is likely there will be no tax to pay, however a tax return needs to be filed so that the income is reported and the exemption can be claimed as this is not an automatic relief.

2. Do I need to file an FBAR if all accounts individually are below the $10,000 threshold?

Potentially, Yes. The FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Reporting) is required if the maximum balance during the year of all your non US bank accounts COMBINED are over the $10,000 threshold. So if you hold 3 accounts, with maximum balances during the year of $4,000 year, you will need to file. It doesn’t matter if this figure relates to the same funds which have been moved around you accounts. The FBAR report must include all foreign bank accounts, not just those exceeding the $10,000 threshold.

3. Does my non US citizen spouse need to file?

Not necessarily. Like any other person a ‘non-resident alien’ spouse would need to file a US tax return if they received US source income. However being married to a US citizen does not impose any US filing compliance. The US spouse will simply need to file a ‘married filing separate’ tax return indicating that their spouse is a non-resident alien who is not required to file.

4. Is it too late to complete a US return for years I’ve missed?

No. You can still file for years that you’ve missed, it’s never too late. If you owe US tax then interest and penalties will continue to apply until submission/payment so the sooner your affairs are in order the better.

5. What is FATCA?

Many US citizens living in the UK are finding that their UK (and other non US) banks are sending them rather intimidating FACTA compliance packs asking them to disclose any connection to the US. This has come about due to the new FATCA regulations.

FATCA (the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act) has been introduced in the US and requires all banks and other foreign financial institutes to report information about the foreign bank accounts of their clients who are US citizens and/or residents. This is aimed to prevent tax evasion through the use of offshore accounts.

For a US citizen who has fallen behind on their US tax filing and foreign bank account reporting this can be very concerning. Not only is the compliance packs sent by the bank a long and confusing form, but it is also getting reported to the IRS who will be informed about accounts that have potentially not been disclosed.

This legislation has been brought in to catch the ‘big fish’ tax evaders not your average delinquent filer but it is another reason to get caught up with your US tax compliance sooner rather than later.

6. How much will it cost to get up to date with my US taxes?

It may not be as much as you think. Warrener Stewart provide a free initial consultation to discuss your position with you to help get your affairs in order (whether you decide to use our services or not). From this we will be able to provide you with a quote for the completion of you US tax return, FBAR reports and any streamlined procedures as applicable.

An evening of conversions for Warrener Stewart at The Rosslyn Park Floodlit 7’s

13 May 2016 • Warrener Stewart News

On a balmy evening, last Thursday, 5th May, Warrener Stewart treated guests to a spectacular evening of sevens rugby hosted at Rosslyn Park FC. Winners of the past five years, Harlequins were keen to try and retain the cup and faced strong opposition from sides including London Irish, Worcester Warriors and Rosslyn Park.

The hosts of the night, Rosslyn Park, fielded a strong team including one of the Warrener Stewart sponsored players, Harry Broadbent, to reach the final against Ramblin Jesters. Despite a valiant effort from the home side, the Jesters were crowned winners by 26-14.

“It was a perfect night,” noted Nick Morgan from Warrener Stewart who co-ordinated the event, “One which combined a great atmosphere at Rosslyn Park with plenty of lively chat, some amazing tries and some light refreshments!”

Pictures clockwise: l-r

  1. It’s a full house of Rebecca Ferguson of Gordon Dadds LLP, with Colin Edney from Warrener Stewart, joined by David Measures from Carla International, Francis Kershaw, Warrener Stewart, Alex Coote, David Collins Studio and Stephen Fuller also Gordon Dadds LLP.
  2. Damian Talbot from Warrener Stewart flanks Geoff Eden of Eden Architects, Jon Last, Warrener Stewart and Nick Smith, Maddox Homes.
  3. Keeping on side are Stuart Barbour, Warrener Stewart, with Lee Watts from Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward and Chris Sarsfield, Meaby & Co.
  4. Lining up are Rupert Bruce from MinMax Limited with Mark Radford, Templar Financial Planning and Ryan Lane, Warrener Stewart.
  5. Backs in waiting, Nick Morgan, Warrener Stewart lines up with Paul Marples, Stockbridge Estates and David Collins, Warrener Stewart.

Charity accounts - know your obligations

25 April 2016 • HMRC News

Recent research conducted by the Charity Commission into the quality of annual reports completed by smaller charities concluded that many smaller charities were not aware of their reporting obligations.

This observation and the commission’s recent research outlined on Gov.uk comes as no surprise to Warrener Stewart’s Gary Chapman, the Fulham based Chartered Accountants includes several charities as clients; “We work with a number of charities completing both audits and independent examinations, together with assisting with financial reporting. For the charity sector it is imperative to maintain clear and transparent financial records. We would be happy to hear from any charities who would like our assistance with their financial reporting obligations.”

The Charity Commission’s research revealed the following findings:

Small charities not up to scratch

The research showed that just under half of the annual report and accounts that were provided to the commission by small charities met a minimum, basic standard. Many small charities do not appear to be aware of their reporting obligations - 1 in 5 sent some other form of report, 1 in 6 did not send the commission any form of report at all, and several small charities only sent their annual report and accounts after the commission had provided further explanation of the requirements to them.

However those charities that use both the commission’s annual report and accounts templates showed a significant improvement on the others, with 71% producing reports and accounts of acceptable quality.

Larger charities are improving

The larger charities report shows their accounts are improving. It tells a more positive story, with over three quarters of charities producing sets of accounts that met a minimum basic standard in 2013-14, up from just over half in 2011-12. Looking at the 3 documents that make up a set of accounts:

90% of annual reports covered either the charity’s purposes and its activities to carry them out or its reserves policy: most included both

90% of independent scrutiny reports were of the correct type, either audit or independent examination, for the charity’s size

93% of accounts met a basic integrity standard and all of the charities that were required to prepare accruals accounts had done so

But some larger charities continue to produce accounts with major flaws

Charities continue to file sets of accounts with the commission with major flaws, such as a chairperson’s statement instead of an annual report, an accountant’s report instead of an independent examiner’s report, or accounts that don’t balance. They also file annual reports that look well-presented but are not transparent about what the charity does, or about how the trustees are dealing with financial risks shown in the accounts.

More charities are talking about the public benefit that their activities provide - but not nearly enough

The public benefit report showed that whilst the number of charities meeting the public benefit requirement has improved, just over 40% of charities in their 2013/14 annual reports compared to just over a quarter in 2011/12, the numbers still need to improve significantly. Meeting this requirement is more than just discussing a charity’s activities. It also requires an assessment of how a charity’s activities have led to benefit for its beneficiaries and a statement that the trustees have had regard to our guidance on public benefit.

Spring Budget 2016 Highlights

16 March 2016 • HMRC News

Today’s Budget Statement introduced a broad range of new measures and changes to the tax landscape.  The headline announcements - and a reminder of the measures coming in from April 2016, April 2017 and beyond - are highlighted below.

Measures introduced from April 2016

Property taxation

From 1 April 2016, the purchase of buy-to-let residential property will attract a 3% surcharge over and above the usual rates of SDLT on purchases of second homes (“additional residential properties”).
In addition, the 10% “wear & tear” allowance is also to be abolished from 6 April.
For commercial property, a new SDLT rate system is to be introduced from midnight tonight.  The first £150,000 will be at 0%; the next £100,000 at 2% and above £250,000 will be 5%.

Tax on Dividends

The major change to the taxation of dividends announced last year will come into effect from 6 April 2016.  The rates of tax applicable to dividend income will increase by 7.5% at all income levels, although this is mitigated to a certain extent by a new £5,000 tax-free allowance for dividends.

Reduction in Capital Gains Tax rates

From 6 April 2016, the rates of Capital Gains Tax will reduce from 18% to 10% for basic rate taxpayers, and from 28% to 20% for higher rate taxpayers.  It is important to highlight, however, that the old rates of 18% & 28% respectively will continue to apply to gains on residential property.  

Loans to participators

The tax payable by close companies on new loans or advances (made on or after 6 April 2016) will increase from 25% to 32.5%, in line will the new tax rate on dividends for higher rate taxpayers.

Pension Allowance

As previously announced the annual pension allowance is to remain at £40,000, however, for those earning more than £150,000 per annum, the pension allowance will be tapered down to a maximum of £10,000 for those earning £210,000 or more.

Entrepreneurs Relief for Investors

Entrepreneurs’ Relief is to be extended for long term investors who subscribe for new shares (after 17 March 2016) in unlisted trading companies and hold these for three years.  There is to be a separate lifetime allowance of £10M available.

Employee Share Schemes

A restriction has been introduced to the CGT exemption on the disposal of ESS shares, acquired after midnight tonight, to a lifetime exempt amount of £100,000.

Proposed measures from April 2017

Property taxation

A restriction on the tax-deductibility of mortgage interest payments for private landlords will be introduced from April 2017 and is to be phased in over four tax years up to 2020/21.

Savings

A new Lifetime ISA is to be introduced for adults under 40 at 6 April 2017.  Individuals will be able to save up to £4,000 per annum and receive a 25% bonus from the Government up to the age of 50.

Corporation Tax 

The corporation tax rate is set to fall to 19% from April 2017 onwards.

In addition, new measures will come into effect from April 2017 onwards applicable to large corporations (i.e. those with profits in excess of £5M per year), restricting the deductibility of losses from earlier years and also the deductibility of interest costs that are allowable. 

Measures for the future

Property taxation

From April 2019, where capital gains tax is due on the disposal of a residential property, payment of the tax will be due within 30 days of completion. This is a significant change from the current Self-Assessment system, under which individuals have up to 22 months until CGT is payable, depending on the time of year of the disposal.

Employment

It is proposed that from April 2018, Employers National Insurance contributions will be payable on termination payments where the amount exceeds £30,000.

National Insurance

From 2018 Class 2 NIC for self-employed will be abolished.  There will be a consultation regarding Class 4 NIC, which are also paid by the self-employed, to consider how to build entitlement to the State Pension and other contributory benefits which used to be covered by the payment of Class 2 contributions.

Corporation Tax

The corporation tax rate is set to fall to 17% from April 2020.  It was previously announced that corporation tax would reduce to 18% from April 2020.

If you would like to explore what today’s Budget Statement could mean for you and your business, please call 020 7731 6163 to talk to one of our tax team. 

 

Taking a family stroll to new limits!

15 February 2016 • Warrener Stewart News

Whilst most families were enjoying the early spring sunshine this Valentine’s Day, two Warrener Stewart families were fighting it out on the Thames tow path, running the Craven Cottage 10k race. The race, now in its third year, follows the river from Craven Cottage (famous home of Fulham FC) up to Hammersmith Bridge and Barnes, then back via Putney Bridge.

Craven-Cottage-10k-Feb-2016.pngleft-right, Mike Collins & Jane Collins (David's Dad & Mum), Nick Morgan, Ricky Morgan & David Collins.

The race is run in support of the Fulham FC Foundation and all proceeds used to support their projects that use the power of sport and education to build better lives for people in the local community

Nick Morgan, Joint managing director of Fulham based chartered accountants, Warrener Stewart, was joined by his son Ricky. Team Morgan raced the ‘taxing team’ of Nick’s tax colleague, David Collins who’d enlisted his sprightly parents; Mike & Jane Collins.

“With a bitter wind blowing up the Thames, it made for a very cold start,” noted Nick. “However, once we got into it, things quickly warmed up. I am pleased to say that I drifted round just under the hour in 59mins 49s, finishing 118th – just cracked the hour, but no cigar!”

It was a very respectable showing all round with Nick’s son Ricky, finishing 8th in just 40 minutes; whilst David, just a quarter minute behind, came 9th.  

“I thoroughly enjoyed the event” commented Nick. “But I may need to pass the Vets baton to Mike, David's Dad, for future races since he ran an impressive 53 minutes, whilst his Mum Jane also completed the course in just over the hour.”

Warrener Stewart support local girls football team

08 February 2016 • Warrener Stewart News

The popularity of girls playing football has grown, with female football now the biggest female team sport in the UK.  Grass roots support is vital for the many teams who compete at local level.  One team who are about to have the opportunity of a life time is Teddington Athletic FC’s Girls U15, when they fly out to Tampa, Florida. 

Tampa_footie_team_800x530.jpgWhilst only recently formed in 2013, the girls’ team has gone from strength to strength with the help of many sponsors, including breast cancer charity CoppaFeel! In a bid to give something back to their sponsors the girls are busy raising money to fund their tour to Tampa where they will be hosted by Tampa Bay United, the area’s largest soccer club. Their aim is to give a percentage of the funds raised to the charity to raise awareness of breast cancer in young women.

To help them reach their goals, Warrener Stewart has kindly agreed to donate money to the girls once in a lifetime football tour. Commenting on the donation, joint managing director, Nick Morgan said; “One of our long standing clients, Martin Fairn, joint founder of key-staff performance improvement and management company, Gazing Performance, approached us to help his daughter’s team. We wanted to help them give as much to the charity as possible so were happy to support them; this is such a wonderful opportunity for them to see how sport can be a great way of developing better international links and fulfilling a lifelong ambition.”

Full marks for Warrener Stewart’s tax advisors in recent exams

28 January 2016 • Warrener Stewart News

In the latest round of the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) exams taken in November, Warrener Stewart had four candidates sit these professional tax exams; (l-r) Ryan O’Connor, Felicity Butler, Ashleigh Molton and Freddie Hollom.ATT-Students-(1).jpg

The ATT is the oldest examination board concerned solely with tax compliance, passing one of the stages of these exams demonstrates a professional standard and deep understanding of tax compliance issues in the UK.

“I’m pleased to announce that all our tax students passed their various stages,” commented Damian Talbot, head of the tax department at Warrener Stewart. “Felicity who took her first exam even achieved a distinction for coming in the top 10%; whilst Freddie, Ashleigh and Ryan successfully passed their outstanding stages leaving them just a final assessment to complete before qualifying.”

“In addition to these passes, we will soon have another Chartered Tax Advisor in the tax team following Daniela Tripksa hard work passing her final CTA exam. This allows her to apply for her Chartered Institute of Taxation (CTA) qualification,” continues Damian.

The taste of sweet success

06 January 2016 • Warrener Stewart News

Figures released from Companies House showed that 2014 was a record year for people taking the leap to start their own businesses, with 581,173 companies registered alone in 2014. As London based chartered accountants, Warrener Stewart can testify, enquires from start-up businesses has doubled in the past 18 months.

Many of their new clients are keen to start a new business based around some of the simplest of ideas. Indeed, inspired by an already successful pudding maker, one client saw an opportunity with their own take on chilled, potted deserts. Together with a handful of local associates and investors, Fulham based chef Julian Dyer, founded Pots & Co, turning to Warrener Stewart for their accountancy and financial advice to help develop the company’s foundations. Pots & Co has gone from little pots to large contracts in just under three years.

Having already secured distribution with Waitrose, Tesco and Selfridges, the Acton based pudding maker recently won a contract to supply their handmade puddings to British Airways and Delta Airlines. This latest contracts will help increase Pots & Co’s revenue from £2.7m to £8m.

“Pots & Co is a great success story,” notes joint managing director, Nick Morgan. “When we first started working with Julian and his team back in 2013 they had a handful of contracts, a few part time staff and were just embarking on their journey. It is fantastic to see how Julian and his colleagues have taken this company from an embryonic stage to a thriving business in such a short space of time. It is also gratifying to know that we have been able to assist directly by providing constructive assistance and advice in various areas, often needed in rapid response, as is often the way with such new ventures!”

 

The sky’s the limit!

05 January 2016 • Warrener Stewart News

Warrener Stewart are already feeling the pressure in 2016 as long standing client Tony Addinall goes sky high to raise money for Shooting Star Chase.

Last Autumn, Tony, Chairman of Badger Holdings Limited, made a tandem skydive from 15,000ft in aid of the children’s hospice. Over the past few years several of Warrener Stewart’s intrepid members, including joint managing director, Nick Morgan, have run, cycled and tackled muddy obstacles to raise money for the same Surrey based charity.

“I have done many sponsored events with Tony and his colleagues over the years, which is how I got connected with Shooting Star initially,” commented Nick. “Tony is always very competitive and has really raised the bar this time, literally!   We’ll have to come up with something equally spectacular to rival this! Or perhaps not?”

“Warrener Stewart understands our business; they give us more than any other Accountancy service we have ever received in the past. They are extremely commercially aware and very current when it comes to changes in tax policy. ”
Diana Hoare - Anderson Hoare