01785 243276 admin@howardsca.co.uk

 At Howards our expert team is available to help you whenever you need it. With nearly 20 years’ experience our firm is the best choice for local advice on business, accounting, tax, and payroll issues. As a successful Stafford firm of accountants, we add value by sharing best practice and advice with those who need it.

Here are some of the most pressing questions that our team of nearly 50 consultants, directors, managers, seniors, semi-seniors and trainees have been presented. If you have a question that you feel others will benefit from knowing the answer, please contact us and we will take a look.

Q: What records will I need to ensure my claim to the small business grant was correct?

Firstly, if you are in receipt of the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant, you will not be able to claim the small business grant claim as well.                    

As there are few exceptions for the small business grant to be invalid. (These include car parks/spaces a liquidated  dissolved company prior to 11 March 2020 and any property occupied for private use which can be inherited which can include private stables, beach huts and moorings). You should not need to keep any additional records to those that you would have previously kept. For example if you rent business premises, such as a serviced office or shop premises, then the rental agreement and records showing you have made payments will suffice.

Don’t forget any grant will qualify as part of your De Minimis State Aid allowance.


Q: AS A LARGER BUSINESS i puT IN A FORECAST OF MY profits for this year and have a rather large corporation tax bill to pay. Given that my profits have slumped during the coronavirus crisis, will I be overpaying tax and if so what should I do about it?

UK businesses overpaid £9bn in corporation tax last year. This is a 12.4% increase on the previous year. Could you have been one of them? Moreover, the CT you pay this year is even more likely to have been overpaid, given the slumping profits during lockdown.

Many larger businesses are required to pay CT based on forecast profits for the forthcoming year and are thus likely to overpay if profits suddenly fall. If you made estimates of your profits prior to lockdown, you may well have overpaid, you should revise your estimate and adjust your payments. In addition, any losses you make this year can be carried back to reduce liabilities- so you should be claiming a refund.

With CT instalment payments there is no system for overpayments to be refunded automatically. So if you don’t proactively claim a refund, HMRC could hold on to your money. It might be best to file your year end tax return as soon as possible as this will speed up the process of reclaiming an overpayment. Where the tax return has not been submitted the process becomes more tortuous.

Q: I have just started self-employment, when do I need to notify HM Revenue & Customs of this?

Currently you only need to notify HMRC you are self-employed if your earnings from self-employment exceed £1,000.00 in the tax year.

If you exceed this figure, then to avoid a potential penalty you will have to register your self-employment no later than 5 October after the commencement of your second year of trading.

For example if you started self-employment the 1 August 2020, you will have to 5 October 2021 to notify HMRC.

q: What records do I need to keep to ensure my claim to the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is correct?

There are 2 grants made under the SEISS and for both of them to apply you will have to demonstrate you will were adversely affected financially by COVID 19.

Whilst the same criteria applies to each grant, the timing of eligibility does have a bearing on which grants you can apply for. The first grant covers the period from March 2020 to 13 July 2020. The second grant covers the period from 14 July 2020 until the 19 October 2020.

Whilst health matters and a reduction in your work could lead to you being financially impacted. Don’t forget that if you have had an increase in costs due to the pandemic, then this would also lead to you having a valid claim. Such additional costs could include having to buy protective equipment to ensure you can trade following social distance rules.

The records we would recommend you keep are –

  • Shielding letters – If you have had to shield or haven’t been able to work as you have had caring responsibilities due to COVID 19.
  • Any NHS correspondence or a record of the dates if you have been incapacitated or have had to self-isolate due to COVID 19 and unable to work.
  • Bank statements, business accounts which show a downturn in your turnover.
  • Confirmation of any coronavirus related business loans received.
  • Emails/letters if you have any work cancelled/delayed, or payment has been delayed.
  • Dates that your business was closed due to lockdown restrictions.
  • Invoices/receipts of all protective equipment purchased.

Finally don’t forget the grants are treated as income for tax purposes and will need to be included as such in your tax returns for the accounting period in which they were received.

Q: I have reached 60 and have just taken early retirement. How will this affect how much state pension I will receive?

 It all depends on your National Insurance record. For you to receive a state pension you need to have qualifying contributions for at least 10 years up to a maximum of 35 years. These contributions can come from National Insurance paid or credited whilst you worked, credits if you were un-employed and signed on or if you were ill, a parent or a carer.

Q: I am late in notifying HMRC that I have to register for VAT, what are the consequences?

If your registration for VAT is late, (that is 30 days after you exceeded the VAT threshold), you could end up with a failure to notify penalty.

These penalties are based on the reason for the delay, (known as your behaviour), how you help HMRC with resolving the problem and the amount of tax due.

For example, if you had been ill when the 30 days period expired, and you immediately registered when you were well again, you would not incur a penalty as you would be able to demonstrate you had a reasonable excuse.

If you don’t have a reasonable excuse, then dependent on why you had failed to register you are looking at a minimum penalty of 30% based on the tax you owe. However all is not lost, for example if the reason for delay was non-deliberate, you notify HMRC within 12 months of tax becoming due, and you fully co-operate with HMRC you would end up with no penalty to pay.


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