National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage Rates 2019-20

The National Living Wage is applicable to all employees aged 25 and over.  The rate increased to £8.21 from 1st April 2019.  The National Minimum Wage applies to all other employees under 25.  The table below summarises the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage rates for the year commencing on 1 April 2019 and these are the minimum hourly rates that employees are entitled to by law:

Date 25 and over 21 – 24 18 – 20 Under 18 Apprentice
1 April 2019 £8.21 £7.70 £6.15 £4.35 £3.90

The apprentice rate applies to apprentices under the age of 19, or to those aged 19 and over but in their first year of apprenticeship.

Note that the above rates do not apply to the self-employed.

Budget Update – October 2018

As always there were many scare stories before the Budget but thankfully most of those didn’t materialise…for now anyway. Here is our round up of the key tax announcements affecting individuals, small businesses and landlords.  Overall, we think small businesses can breathe a huge sigh of relief as many of the mooted tax changes won’t take place, at least for another couple of years and possibly not at all for the smallest of businesses.

Personal Tax

The Chancellor left the best news until the end but we’ll start with it.  A year earlier than the Conservative manifesto commitment, from April 2019 the personal allowance will increase to £12,500 (from the current level of £11,850) and the higher rate threshold will increase to £50,000 (from £46,350).  These thresholds will remain the same in 2019-20 and 2020-21 and increase in line with CPI thereafter.  The increased thresholds from April 2019 represent an annual tax saving of £130 for a typical basic rate taxpayer and £860 for those earning £50,000 to £100,000. Continue reading

What do I need to consider when choosing an accountant?

Anyone can call themselves an ‘Accountant’ or ‘Tax Advisor’ as these terms are unregulated.  Even HMRC do not currently require any specific qualifications for a person to become a tax ‘agent’.  This means that it is up to the client to ensure that they choose an accountant or tax advisor who is professional, technically able and with strong ethical standards.

The first thing to look out for is whether they have a professional qualification and belong to a professional supervisory body.  Many of the stronger qualifications require years of studying and experience with a commitment to maintain and refresh that knowledge regularly if they are to keep the right to that qualification. If an accountant has any qualifications this should be obvious from their business stationery and/or website.  There are all sorts of accountancy bodies and various initials that you will come across but it is essential to look for a qualification and membership of one of the following professional bodies:  Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW), Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) or the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).  Membership of these bodies can be identified with the ACA, ACCA or CIMA initials after the accountant’s name.Continue reading