|MARTIN LEVIN & CO|
|Taxation Practitioners Accountants & Auditors||
Hours: 10am to 5pm Mon-Fri
0203 345 0192
|Previous Newsletters: 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2005|
NEWSLETTER FOR AUTUMN/WINTER 2004
Filing of self-assessment tax returns
As usual these were successfully filed for virtually all clients by July 31. A different format was adopted this year, based upon the Software program that we have used for many years.
Tax Credits As if the problems of the previous year(s) was not enough, this misnomer has been extended into other areas (such as Pensioners). The information needed for this is based upon a past tax return, so unless your tax affairs are up to date, you cannot complete the claim form to receive any extra money that the government publicly announces “is yours”. It is a misnomer because they are actually welfare payments, not tax payments. As before, failure to claim within a time-limit, can mean “use it, or lose it”. Looking back, it does seem that the changes made to the tax system over the past seven years or so have become complex, and nit-picking. Tax Rate bands (including a Savings Band, and a Dividend Band) have complicated proceedings. We have seen family tax relief eliminated. Witness: Married Couples Allowance (except for the “elderly”), Child Tax Allowance, Mortgage Interest Relief, have all been taken away. Erosion of those tax reliefs started under one colour of government, and were further dismantled under another.
After 1 July, our time has been freed to attend to our other matters, such as the preparation of Financial Accounts with Accounting Dates ending April 30, May 31, etc. The early clients have always benefited by economical fees. Those clients who have still to send data in will of course still get the high service that we extend to all clients. They will not, however, benefit from the lower charge-out rate that the “early birds” have experienced.
Flood disaster in Cornwall – On 16 August 2004, Boscastle in Cornwall was, as you might recall, flooded disastrously. Our Practice has looked after a client family for some time. They had started this Hotel in a tourist area within the previous year and this was to be their first full summer season. I had, as I usually do, visited them personally, and witnessed the “blood, sweat and tears” that the whole family had put in. When you want to take your next UK holiday break, and visit that delightful county, why not book with them? Ask me for more details of the Hotel, etc.
Tax Changes –looking back at last year’s newsletter, I note how accurate my observations were. We have become inundated by scores of tax changes. Perhaps THE most important underlying potential minefield is:
Long Term Care Fees – the Government has put pressure on people needing this, to sell their properties/assets. Great care is now needed, as tax planning to preserve wealth, can work against clients. Please contact us for more info.
Limited Companies The 2002 Budget produced some positive National Insurance (and tax) savings. This surprised both Companies House and the Revenue. In December 2003, the Chancellor introduced new rules to counteract the advantages – but not all of them. The tax savings have indeed been reduced, but, according to the circumstances, it can still be of benefit to “go limited”. The extra compliance costs have to be considered, as not everyone can handle the extra effort needed. We will explain on a more personal front if you contact us.
The Web Site now has around 3,000 “hits” a year. Please visit it, send us an e-mail so that we can record your own E-mail address for greater efficiency. Back issues of these Newsletters are available on the Website. Indeed the WebSite incorporates a section of “Tax Hints” and other useful information to keep YOU ahead of the game in the rapidly changing world of tax. Click here for Tax Tips
Incoming Post –those “picky” people of the Royal Mail have enough flak heaped on them. However, they do seem to be extra spiteful in weighing items of post, and refusing to deliver them if there aren’t sufficient postage paid on them. Unless we can see the Names and addresses of our senders, we do not have the time to go to the Sorting Office to retrieve them.
Telephone calls - (office hours, please) Returning clients’ calls at 12 Noon and at 4pm when I am away “on call” has proved to be highly successful. What with a WebSite, LandLine, E-Mail, and a Mobile number, no one can accuse us of not being contactable.