Tax Tip

With the increases in corporation tax and the reduction in national insurance rates there are fewer tax incentives to become a limited company.

However there are other reasons for becoming a limited company:
• To appear bigger
• Required by a customer or other for commercial reasons
• Limited liability
• Reasons to remain a sole trader
• Simplicity
• Privacy (your accounts are not in the public domain)
• May be more tax efficient if you have expensive taste in company cars

Obviously we can do some detailed calculations for you

Tax Tip – gifts for staff

Trivial benefits are small gifts or other perks that a company can give to staff and directors tax free subject to certain conditions.

  • Maximum £50 per gift. If the cost is over £50 then THE WHOLE cost is taxable, not just the amount over £50
  • Not cash or a voucher
  • Not a reward for work or performance
  • Not a part of their employment contract
  • Maximum £300 per year for directors

Trivial benefits don’t need to be reported on P11Ds as they are not subject to tax or national insurance.

This is a nice way to look after your team and is separate to employee entertaining.

Rest is not a reward

It’s something I read on Twitter that got me thinking. Far too often we talk about “deserving a rest” but we don’t earn rest.

Rest is fundamental to a good performance. When I coach athletes or do my own triathlon training we build in time for recover each week and after each large event. In the business world these are often called evenings and weekends.

If you are working most evenings or weekends you are probably not giving your mind time to recover so take a break. Not because you deserve it but because you need it! And because your clients need you to function at your best too.

Top athletes allow their bodies to recover and you should too.

Budget Announcements 3 March 2021

The budget was primarily about

  • Support for Covid
  • Fixing the deficit
  • Rebuilding after Covid


The furlough scheme will be extended to the end of September.

May/June – 80% with no employer contributions or NI

July – Employers to contribute 10%

Aug/Sept – Employers to contribute 20%

2.SEISS (self-employment income support scheme)

4th grant will cover Feb-April

5th grant will cover May-July for those most affected by Covid. Claims open July

80% of earnings. Calculations can now be based on 2019/20 tax returns for both grants provided that they were submitted by 2/3/21. This may bring support for an additional 600,000 people.

Turnover test: if turnover fell by <30% then only 30% grant (rather than 80%) is available

3.Universal credit

The £20/week uplift will continue for a further 6 months


The apprentice incentive payment will double to £3,000 for new hires of any age

5. Restart grants

Non-essential retail businesses will receive up to £6,000

Hospitality and leisure businesses will receive up to £18,000

Local authorities will have an additional £425M for discretionary business grants bringing this to £2.025B

6.National Living Wage (formerly minimum wage)

Increases to £8.91

7.Cultural Recovery Fund

£30M additional funding bringing this to £1.87M

£2.8M to support the UK and Ireland’s bid to host the 2030 World Cup

£25M to help grassroots football

8.Domestic violence support

Extra £19M. This problem has been highlighted during lockdown

9.Recovery Loans Scheme

These will replace the BBIL and CBILs which will end soon

Loans from £25,000 – £10M through to the end of this year.

Government will guarantee 80%

10.Business rates

100% business rates holiday will continue to the end of June

2/3 reduction for the following 9 months up to a value of £2M per business.

Eligible businesses will receive a 75% reduction next year

11. Reduced rate of VAT for hospitality and tourism

The VAT reduction to 5% will continue until September. From 1 October it will increase to 12.5% until March and will return to the full 20% from April 2022

12.Stamp Duty

There will be a tapered extension of the Stamp Duty holiday until 30 September. Remember that you must complete by this date to take advantage.

Those buying homes under £500,000 will have 3 months to complete

Those buying homes under £250,000 will have until September

The cut in stamp duty has had an inflationary impact on house prices

13.Mortgage guarantee

Government will offer lenders a guarantee to encourage them to provide 95% mortgages.

14.Tax thresholds

The personal allowance has been increased to £12,570 and the higher rate kicks in at £50,270. These are frozen until April 2026 so more people will gradually pay tax at higher levels

IHT, CGT and pensions lifetime allowance are also frozen until 2026

VAT threshold stays at £85k for two years

15.Taxpayer Protection Force

A new £100M team of 1,250 staff will crack down on Covid fraudsters

16.Corporation tax

From April 2023 corporation tax will increase from 19% to 25%!

There will be a Small Profits Rate of 19% for a business with profits of £50,000 or less so that 70% of businesses (1.4M) are unaffected.

There will be a taper from £50,000 t0 £250,000 profit so only 10% of companies will pay the full rate.

Loss allowances will be more generous so companies can carry back losses of £2M for 3 years and claim tax refunds of up to £760k on losses

17.Super Deduction

For the next two years companies investing in new equipment can reduce their tax bill with a super deduction of 130% of the cost. This will encourage companies to invest sooner. (130% x 19% current CT rate =24.7% so approximately the same as 100% x 25% when CT rates increase in two years time)

Worth £25B over two years

18. Alcohol and fuel duty

Increases are cancelled so these will remain the same

19.Help to grow

Executive development programme delivered through business schools over 12 weeks from June. Practical curriculum, 1:1 business mentor, peer-learning sessions and alumni network. 30,000 places over 3 years. 90% subsidised so cost to participants is £750

Free online advice and 50% off software worth up to £5,000 that will help businesses:

  • Build customer relationships and increase sales
  • Make the most of selling online
  • Manage their accounts and finances digitally

Must be purchasing the software for the first time.

Available to UK businesses that have been operating >1 year and have 5-249 employees.

Full details to follow in the Summer

20.Visa changes

Fast track for high-skilled workers including researchers, engineers, scientists, and tech sector.

New unsponsored points-based visa for science, research and tech

Expanding UK’s Global Entrepreneur Programme for scale-ups and entrepreneurs

21.EMI and R&D relief

Consultations our today

22.Future Fund

Scale-up funding for innovative technology businesses

Companies with high R&D intensity that are aiming to raise at least £20M funding

23.Capital Gains tax

Annual exempt amount is frozen.

24.Eight freeport locations

  1. Thames
  2. Liverpool City Region
  3. Solent
  4. East Midlands
  5. Freeport East (Felixstowe and Harwich)
  6. Plymouth and South Devon
  7. Humber
  8. Teeside

This is all the information that we have for now

  • We will update this blog as we receive and digest further general information
  • We will contact clients directly where we believe that they need to take action.

How to separate amicably

… with the help of a shareholders’ agreement.

A shareholders’ agreement is a bit like a pre-nuptial contract. I always encourage businesses with more than one director/shareholder to get one drawn up and, if they can’t afford the legal fees initially, to at least discuss and document the important parts.

It’s all very well going into business with a friend but I really want them to remain friends when the business has ended.

The agreement includes details of how the company should be run and how each director shareholder will be remunerated.
• What if one wants to work part time while the other is full time?
• What if one is out meeting and greeting and bringing in new clients while the other is in the back office fulfilling all the ‘work’ or operations of the business?
• What if one invests cash instead of labour?
• What if one has a long term illness and has to be carried in the business for a year?

It should also contain details of how the relationship should end.
• Can a minority shareholder be forced to sell out because the majority has found a buyer?
• Can a minority shareholder be tagged onto a sell out by the majority rather than be left with a partner they didn’t choose?
• Can shares be part of a divorce settlement so that a divorced spouse becomes involved in running the business?
• Can shares be inherited if one shareholder dies or will the company buy them back?
• How will the business be valued if one or more directors decide to go their separate ways?
• Can shares be sold to third parties or must they be offered to existing shareholders first?

If you don’t already have a shareholders’ agreement in place consider getting one drawn up now.

Is work-life balance really achievable?


I started, grew and finally sold my first business all while working just an average of 25 hours a week. Some weeks were more but others were less. Here’s what I focused on to do it:

1.   Make it a priority otherwise you’ll drift into overwork habits.
2.   Focus on the non-work option. Mine was 2 small kids – see my Balanced 10 Talk.
3.   Focus while in work – see my articles on Pomodoro Technique etc.
4.   Say no to the wrong type of work – learn about marketing avatars in my books and courses.
5.   Set your prices to ensure that you cover your business and living costs – see my pricing articles and webinars.
6.   Systemise for maximum efficiency – see Scale Up Blueprint talk and course.
7.   Automate where possible.
8.   Delegate to free up your time.

Entering awards

Last month was awards season (congratulations to all the winners and finalists) and, as I often get asked to judge accountancy awards, I thought I’d share some hints for those thinking of entering next year.

  1. Just like in exams you need to RTQ, read the question, and answer what is actually being asked.
  2. Evidence your claims. If you say something you should have evidence to support it.
  3. Do not just cut and paste your marketing blurb or let the marketing department fill in the application. Judges need facts not spin.
  4. If you have the money it is worth using an experienced copywriter who will be able to use appealing words. But do make sure they follow points 2 and 3.
  5. If you don’t enter you’ll never know if you might have won.

Being there

As you may know I do a lot on social media. Whilst I may not follow the advice of experts I do get business this way, and last year I was ranked 4th in ICAEW’s “social media influencer” table.

Here’s my talk on how to use social media to punch above your weight

But the thing that you must do is BE THERE. People often ask for referrals online and I love to be able to recommend experts that I have worked with. It is very frustrating as it creates a negative impression when that expert does not pick up the referral for a week or more. If you can’t be online every day then do set up notifications.

Caffeine pill or freshly brewed coffee?

Plenty of people are dependent on caffeine so why don’t they take caffeine pills? They are legal after all. They don’t even drink instant coffee that can be made in … an instant. 

Instead they prefer to pay exorbitant amounts and wait ages for a barista to perform their dark art. And, even to me, a tea drinker, it is an art. Some of the best baristas even manage a performance up to the standards of Tom Cruise behind the bar in Cocktail (if you’re too young to remember then the trailer is here *heads-up to turn the sound down if you have little ones around*).

So then it’s not just the caffeine what are they paying for? It’s the added value of the taste and even the experience of the performance.

If you want to earn higher prices then what can you add over and above the purely functional?