I must have been into thousands of gents’ loos in my life but I have never seen anything like the ones at Barton Grange Garden Centre.
They were almost too good to use.
Such a shame that only men can view them.
And before anyone asks, I was very careful not to be seen using a camera in the gents.
HMRC’s latest advice contained in Employer Bulletin Issue 44 (April 2013) is, quite frankly, as clear as mud.
Most of our client’s pay HMRC using the Faster Payments and I had assumed that the money was received the same day as it was paid.
The Faster Payments website states
The service allows customers to make payments over the phone or through online banking all day, every day, and be assured that they reach their destination almost at the touch of a button.
That’s great but HMRC don’t seem to agree!
In fact HMRC, in the example below, suggest that a payment made on Wednesday 22 isn’t credited until Thursday 22 (whichever day that is!). I’m not certain if they do agree that the money will be credited on Wednesday 22 or they disagree and it will not be credited until the following day, i.e. Thursday 23
HMRC, ever keen to extract as much in penalties as possible, then add, rather unhelpfully
Late payment penalties are wholly avoidable by allowing enough time for cleared payments to reach us by the payment deadline.
If you’re struggling to begin to use RTI, don’t worry you’re not alone. I have had a number of people ask for help because they seem to be going round and round in circles with HMRC!
The main problem, I believe, is that HMRC simply provide too much information about RTI. Click on the HMRC website and you’ll find pages and pages of advice written by people who already understand RTI and have forgotten that the vast majority of business owners didn’t start up in business to save HMRC time and money.
So, in an attempt to simplify the process I have listed what you need to do to put yourself in a position to start to operate RTI:
- Make sure you have a PAYE scheme. HMRC describe this as “registering your business with HMRC” to use PAYE for Employers.
- If you already have a scheme find your PAYE Reference and Accounts Office Reference. They are shown on the front of your Payslip Booklet. New users will receive the details from HMRC in the post.
- Register your business with the Government Gateway. It’s possible that you’ve already registered, so don’t register again. Find your details!
- Register for Online PAYE.
- If you think you’ve already registered for Online PAYE enter your details as an existing user and see if PAYE is listed as a service you can use. If it is and it doesn’t have “Activate Service” next to it you’re ready to start to use RTI.
- If “Activate service” is entered after PAYE you haven’t registered for Online PAYE.
- Click on activate service and enter your PAYE Reference and Accounts Office Reference.
- HMRC will send you an activation code through the post within about ten days.
- When you receive it, log on to the HMRC site and enter the code. You’re then ready to start to use RTI.
If you receive a letter like this one from Peter Chalklen FML of Thornes Lane, Wakefield telling you he
has some very good news for you because your name has been chosen as someone who qualifies for membership of this select group of potential Prize Winners
don’t take any notice of it and don’t whatever you do give FML your debit/credit card details on the Prize Draw Eligibility Acceptance Certificate because hidden away in the small print is a fee of £10, which FML will charge you to “defray the cost of the Prize Draw Participation”.
Whenever I receive good news such as this I always think it’s too good to be true anyway, especially if you’re asked to pay £10 up front to be eligible for the draw.
I was just going to shred the letter, certificate and pre-printed envelope but then I had a thought – why not send the letter and certificate back to FML in the pre-printed but not pre-paid envelope without completing any of the details on the certificate.
That way FML will have to pay the postage and a £1 handling fee to collect the letter.
And if enough people do it FML will not profit from the people who mistakenly fall for this particular “offer”.
Real Time Information 2013-14
A week tomorrow (Saturday, April 6th) is the start of a new tax year, 2013-14, which means new tax allowances and new NICs (National Insurance contributions) along with Real Time Information (RTI) and a thousand and one other amendments to the tax system. Does anyone really believe the Government is committed to simplifying the tax system? Yesterday’s publication of the Finance Bill (629 pages with a further 552 pages of explanatory notes) is a pretty good indicator of how tax is being simplified!
Fortunately most people, including business owners, can safely ignore the vast majority of the 2013/14 changes, unless you’re an accountant that is! And assuming, if you are in business, that you do have a good accountant who will make sure you don’t fall foul of any of the new rules.
One set of changes, however, which most businesses cannot ignore are the new rules relating to PAYE and NICs. Finding the details isn’t easy but if you want all the information in one place I would recommend HMRC’s PAYE and NICs rates and limits for 2013-14.
Admittedly, it doesn’t include NIC rates for the self employed nor does it tell you the optimum salary to pay yourself if you’re a director of your own company but it’s worth keeping a copy for future reference.
2013-14 is going to be a challenging year for small businesses who operate PAYE. Making sure you have the basic information correct for your employees will make it easier.
And finally, if it all does prove too much, just contact us and we’ll help you solve your problems.
After considerable pressure, HMRC have relented (slightly) over the RTI reporting rules for small businesses.
Until 5 October 2013, employers with fewer than 50 employees, who find it difficult to report every payment to employees at the time of payment, may send information to HMRC by the date of their regular payroll run but no later than the end of the tax month (5th).
N.B this isn’t a deferral in the date RTI starts, it’s (in HMRC’s words)
to enable small businesses to adapt their processes or change their arrangements with their payroll service supplier so that they can comply with the new legislation.
It’s very easy to overlook one of the key requirements of operating RTI – the need to register for Online PAYE with HMRC.
RTI returns will be submitted electronically to HMRC which means that you have to submit an application to register for Online PAYE.
Applying and being issued with a PAYE scheme isn’t the same as registering for PAYE Online.
To register you’ll need your
- Government Gateway account details (If you don’t have a Government Gateway account one will be created for you as part of the registration process)
- Your PAYE reference
- Your Accounts Office reference
Registration is fairly easy but the system will not operate until you have received and entered your activation code from HMRC, which will be sent to you in the post. There is some evidence that codes are taking longer to arrive than normal (about seven working days). So, the sooner you do it the better.
If you’re aged between 18 and 30 and you’re thinking of going into business you should take a look at Start-Up Loans , a government backed scheme to fund and mentor young entrepreneurs.
Chaired by James Caan, the former star of the BBC TV show Dragon’s Den the scheme offers loans (the average loan is about £2,500) and mentoring to would-be entrepreneurs. Strangely, the scheme is only available to start up businesses where the owner(s) live in England.
I came across the scheme last week when I was reading the Gateway , a business and careers newspaper for students.
The article mentioned
60% of all private sector jobs and 50% of public sector output is provided by SMEs. The creation of new small businesses is vital to Britain’s financial health and job creation……
What a shame that last week’s Budget didn’t reflect this
The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.
Epictetus, Greek philosopher AD 55-135
I am currently reading ADAPT by Tim Harford.
The author isn’t an accountant so when he lists double entry bookkeeping as a perennial solution in economic evolution, comparing it to photosynthesis, pairs of eyes and mothers’ milk in biological evolution I think it’s worthy of comment!
His argument centres on the fact that there are billions of solutions to business problems some of which are only short lived, some survive longer but very few last in the long term.
Double entry bookkeeping has survived because it’s the only way of recording business transactions accurately. Don’t worry, accounts programs use double entry bookkeeping (you just don’t always see the other entry!). More importantly, the reports produced from double entry records are correct.
Using spreadsheets to record your business transactions may be easy but there is no guarantee that they are correct. Drawing up your own reports is even riskier.
Learning how to use the (appropriate) accounts program may be more difficult but it will give you accurate information as a base for your business decisions.
And don’t forget that double entry bookkeeping has been around for more than 500 years. The first spreadsheets appeared in the late 1970s!