Happy New Year From Black & White!
December 30, 2014
As 2014 draws to a close I can’t help reflecting on a challenging year for Black & White. Anyone who has recently gone through a house move and large-scale building work will be able to sympathise with us! Not only have we moved into new offices and completed major building work, but we’ve also trained our new team – a bit like having a new baby on top of all this upheaval!
That said it’s been an exciting year. All these developments show how far we’ve come in 15 years. Back in 2000, when Black & White was established, I was working out of my home office with just a handful of clients. Now we have a small team of six providing an excellent service to our growing client base. If you’ve been on this journey with me, thank you for your support.
Bespoke Accounting Tax Tools App
This expansion has resulted in some amazing times. It’s wonderful to have such a fantastic new team, and this has meant we have attracted lots of fabulous new clients. We’ve been able to offer our older clients more value too, such as our very own bespoke app for the iPhone – launched this year. If you haven’t downloaded this yet, have a look at it here, it includes a salary and VAT calculator, tax tables and more; better still it’s free!
Bookkeeping And Payroll Services
Looking ahead to 2015, as we find that HMRC are investigating more and more companies and individuals, we are planning to expand our bookkeeping and payroll services. Many clients want the security of knowing that this element of their business and finances is in professional hands, ensuring that paperwork is up-to-date and in order should the taxman call.
Opportunities For Sponsorship
We have been fortunate that many of our clients come from recommendations and word of mouth, but with our expansion we are looking for new opportunities to promote our services in the local area. Therefore we are keen to find local events or teams that are interested in sponsorship. If you, or someone you know, are looking for sponsorship, please get in touch.
Charitable Work And Volunteering
You may be aware that in the past I have volunteered overseas on projects that needed help from a qualified accountant. It is immensely rewarding to use my skills to help others and see the benefit they derive from specialist support. My last trip was 3 years ago to Cambodia where I worked with the Sam Veasna Centre for Wildlife Conservation; so I’m now looking for a new project I can get involved with. If you know of any that would benefit from the help of a qualified accountant for up to 3 weeks, please do get in touch.
Supporting charities that are close to our hearts has been part of the Black & White ethos since the beginning. Currently we sponsor 15 orphaned children in Zambia to attend school through The Butterfly Tree. We work very closely with this charity as they are one of the few where all money donated goes to the orphan. We have had great success with some of our previous orphans, and wish our current children all the best for the year ahead.
As is traditional at this time of year, many people and businesses write their New Year’s Resolutions. My business resolutions are linked to our expansion and growth, but also combine the desire to give something back that underlines Black & White’s charitable work. So top of my list of New Year’s Resolutions is to continue the work we are currently doing and find a new project for 2015.
If you can help me with my resolution please email me email@example.com
To all our clients, associates and the team: Happy New Year!
December 19, 2014
We would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous 2015. As in previous years we will not be sending Christmas Cards, but will instead be making a donation to our favoured charity http://www.thebutterflytree.org.uk/
Do you have a Second Income?
December 18, 2014
HMRC’s second income campaign encourages anyone who is employed and may have a second income to “come clean” and make a voluntary disclosure. If you do not make the disclosure and HMRC finds out about the second income at a later date you could face higher penalties and criminal prosecution.
Disclosure is made to HMRC using the Second Incomes Notification form. You then have four months to disclose and pay what you owe. Further information can be found on HMRC’s website at https://www.gov.uk/secondincomes
Among the examples HMRC have listed are consultancy work, taxi driving,hairdressing, buying and selling on Ebay and at car boot sales etc.
If you think this may apply to you or would like help and advice in completing the disclosure forms to ensure that you claim any expenses or allowances that are available to you please contact Wendy or Karen on 0800 140 4644.
Apple Apps VAT Changes in Europe & MOSS
Apple Apps VAT Changes in Europe
If you are a registered iTunes Connect member you will have received an email yesterday about changes to VAT in Europe. From 01 January 2015 Apple will charge VAT on Apps at the rate relevant to the country the customer is in, rather than a flat rate throughout Europe.
How does this affect you?
For the apps that you sell directly through Apple there are no changes for you as a seller at all. You will still receive the same amount of money from Apple, and the VAT rules for this income remains the same.
How does the affect your customers?
Currently Apps sold in Europe are filtered through Luxembourg, which has a VAT rate of only 3%. From 01 January 2015 customers will be charged the relevant rate of VAT for the country that they live in, so for the UK this will be 20%.
You do not have to do anything about the VAT, in this instance Apple is the seller and they are responsible for dealing with this.
Why has this been done?
This is not a cunning ploy for Apple to get more money from your customers. This has been introduced by the government to prevent large corporation routing sales through countries with low VAT and tax rates.
What about iTunes purchases?
The UK budget laws for enactment cover all digital downloads. At the present time Apple will not be applying the new VAT rules to iTunes, however, we expect to see this change very soon.
MOSS (Mini One Stop Shop)
Over recent months you may also have heard about the new MOSS system that HMRC have introduced. This again comes into force from 01 January 2015 and relates to suppliers of electronically supplied services throughout Europe.
If you sell your Apps through Apple then you don’t need to worry about this, as they are the seller and therefore it is their responsibility to deal with the VAT.
If however you sell Mac Apps outside of the App Store then this may be relevant to you.
If you have any questions, or you sell Mac Apps outside of the App Store, then please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll be happy to help.
Did you know that we have our very own App, which include current tax rates and calculators. It’s free, so why not download it from the App Store and be sure to rate it if you find it useful. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/black-white-accounting-tax/id881393479?mt=8
Autumn Statement – Anything For You?
December 11, 2014
What was in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement for those SMEs we represent here at Black & White? Not a great deal, were you expecting much with the General Election only months away? But there were a few crumbs that could make business easier for some.
Review Of Business Rates
I know that many of you will welcome the planned review of business rates, although new proposals will not be ready until 2016. In the meantime the Chancellor will be extending the current small business rate relief scheme that exempts businesses with a rateable value of £6,000 and offers tapered relief for those valued up to £12,000. This may only be a short term measure, so we hope that the review of business rates overall will help level the playing field, allowing many small businesses to invest in growth.
In a move to encourage small business owners to take on apprentices, employers will be exempt from NI contributions when hiring apprentices under 25 years of age. This change will take affect from April 2016, so if you are considering hiring an apprentice, now’s the time to start looking into apprenticeship schemes, further information can be found on the National Apprenticeship Service’s website.
Of course the main headline from last Wednesday was Stamp Duty. Good news if you’re moving home and the house is worth less than £973k, finally HMRC have recognised that the stamp duty bands were unfair, and they are now staggered.
What does this actually mean? From 4 December: –
- No stamp duty for the first £125,000
- 2% will be paid between £125,001 and £250,000
- 5% is paid for the portion between £250,001 and £925,000
- 10% is paid on the portion between £925,001 and £1,500,000
- 12% is paid above £1,500,001
What does this mean in reality?
If you purchase a house under the new system for £350,000, you will now only pay £7,500 whereas under the old system you would pay £10,500.
Already exchanged but not completed? Then you can choose which system you would like to use.
From 06 April 2014 your personal allowance will increase from £10,000 to £10,600
The 40% tax band will increase to £42,385 (currently £41,865)
From April you can put £15,240 in to your ISA annually.
From 01 May 2015 air passenger duty will be abolished for under 12’s (and for under 16’s the following year) – this is great news for those of you with children.
So a mixed bag. Some incentives and promises for SMEs, and some real savings for some individuals – particularly those of us buying and selling property. If you would like to discuss any of the above with a member of the Black & White team call 0800 140 4644.
Charities We Support
The Butterfly Tree
The Butterfly Tree supports rural communities in Zambia. It is a UK charity that is run entirely by volunteers, meaning all the money goes directly to the cause.
We have been sponsoring 5 children through the Orphan Sponsorship Programme since 2007. In March 2012 Wendy was lucky enough to meet them when she went to do some voluntary work in Zambia, with The Butterfly Tree.
Artfully AWARE (AfA) is an international not for profit organization that connects communities, collaborates with local partners and generates positive change in people’s lives through advocacy events and innovative community development projects.
We are currently working with Artfully AWARE UK on a number of projects, as well as running their finance function.
Sam Veasna Centre for Wildlife Conservation (SVC)
SVC manages wildlife viewing trips with exclusive access to Wildlife Conservation Society sites across Cambodia. SVC was established by WCS to provide an alternative sustainable livelihood from ecotourism for the local communities at the sites that WCS prioritises for conservation.
In July 2011 Wendy spent 3 weeks working with the Sam Veasna Centre organising their finance system, training the finance staff and setting up templates for budget reporting and cash flows.
We feel that giving something back is an important part of business and are always interested in hearing about organisations that we may be able to help. If you have a project that you would like us to get involved in please get in touch.