Managing Absence

Sickness absence costs businesses a small fortune. The CBI statistics for 2005 suggest the costs are in the region of £495 a year in direct costs for every worker employed. Indirect costs are probably considerably more.

To help employers manage absence HMRC have provided links on their website to the Health and Safety Executive’s free guidance and toolkit for small and medium sized businesses to enable them to set up policies and procedures to monitor and manage absence.

To read the advice and download the ‘toolkit’ visit the links below.

Internet Links: HMRC stop press HSE guidance HSE toolkit

Cash Accounting Limit Raised

HMRC have announced that the threshold for the Cash Accounting Scheme will be more than doubled from £660,000 to £1,350,000 from 1 April 2007.

The Cash Accounting Scheme allows eligible businesses to defer paying their VAT over until they have received payment from their customers instead of accounting for and paying VAT when they issue and receive invoices.

John Healey MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

“Doubling the threshold of the Cash Accounting Scheme will allow more than 50,000 businesses to significantly improve their cashflow. We know that small businesses are the engine for the UK’s economy, so it is only right that we look to improve the climate for them.”

Please get in touch if you would like to know more about the Cash Accounting Scheme.

Internet Link: Press release

Local Businesses Find all they Need at the Touch of a Button

Local businesses and budding entrepreneurs from across the Midlands can now access all the expert business advice they need in one place.

Sutton Coldfield based accountants and business advisers Weatherer Bailey Bragg LLP have just launched a brand new website which features free on-line advice sheets, HMRC forms and a range of calculators for any growing business.

Patrick Bragg, senior partner from Weatherer Bailey Bragg LLP, comments: “Professional services unfortunately still has a reputation of being difficult to approach. While anyone is welcome to visit us for an informal chat face to face, we felt that putting as much of our advice as possible on-line would encourage business people to read the facts and figures and not bury their head in the sand. This can help them adhere to all the relevant rules and regulations, and can help them arrange their finances most beneficially.

“Whether you are running an established business, or looking to start up in business for the first time, our new website contains all the relevant information.”

Information sheets now available cover all areas of starting a business, general business, tax and pensions. The automatic on-line calculators help you work out a whole range of calculations including: gross profit, inheritance tax and car benefit values.

Increased Maternity Pay

HMRC have updated their guidance on Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) due to women whose babies are due on or after 1 April 2007. The important date is when the baby is due not when the baby is born. The changes are significant and include:

  • an increase in the maximum number of weeks SMP payable from 26 to 39. There is no change to the number of weeks paid at the earnings related rate being the first six weeks.
  • introducing keeping in touch days (KIT). Women can do some work during their SMP payment period and can be paid for the work done without losing entitlement to SMP.
  • increasing the notice period for women wishing to change their return to work date from 28 days to 8 weeks.
  • increasing the leave entitlement for all pregnant women to 52 weeks regardless of the length of service.

Please get in touch if we can give you further advice on these or other payroll issues.

Internet Link: Employers Bulletin 25

VAT Fuel Scale Charges

HMRC have produced some of the tables but not the final VAT fuel scale charges which are due to come into effect on 1 May 2007. Businesses will have to use the new scale charges from the start of their first VAT accounting period beginning on or after this date. HMRC are announcing the change early to allow businesses time to familiarise themselves with the new charging structure and make any necessary IT system changes.

The existing system, which is based on the engine size and fuel type of a car, will be replaced by a VAT fuel scale charge based solely on the CO2 emissions of the car. The new table, which mirrors that used for benefit in kind purposes, will have 21 bands with 5g/km of CO2 increments. HMRC have published an outline of the table but have not as yet put any amounts in the table which will be finalised following Budget 2007.

HMRC state that this change is not intended as a revenue raising measure and that the change to a CO2 based system should be revenue neutral overall.

We have also included a link which will enable you to check the CO2 emissions of most cars.

Internet Links: HMRC Brief and CO2 emissions data