Know your obligations as a residential property landlord

April 19, 2018

There are many obligations, which as a landlord of residential property, you are liable to carry out. This blog will focus on discussing two core obligations, that as an expert in property and taxation, I encourage you to carry out.

Landlord Registration

All local councils have a landlord registration department and before you rent out any residential property, you should register with the appropriate council. Details can be found on your local council’s website. There are additional requirements for HMOs (House in Multiple Occupancy).

The Scottish Government is currently undertaking a consultation exercise, seeking views on expanding the information provided by those who apply to be a registered landlord and on changes to the current application fee structure. Meetings are being held throughout the country, with one being held on 11 May 2018 in Kilmarnock. To reserve a place you can contact the Landlord Registration team at housing@east-ayrshire.gov.uk.

For more information on the consultation exercise and events in other locations across Scotland please see consult.gov.scot/landlord-registration/registration-fee.

Taxation

Many people I have spoken to don’t realise that they have to declare their property rental income to HMRC and pay the resultant tax. The amount of tax depends on the level of the profit and your personal circumstances.

Profit is calculated as income less allowable expenses* and you need to declare this to HMRC via a self assessment tax return if you have income of:

  • £2,500 or more after allowable expenses, or
  • £10,000 or more before expenses;

If your income is under these limits then you must still advise HMRC by writing to them.

Generally, property income should be declared by the person whose name is on the title deeds. If title is held jointly by married couples or civil partners living together the income will automatically be split 50:50 unless a formal election is submitted to HMRC. If title is held jointly by any other people, the income is split in the same proportions as the ownership.

*Expenses you can deduct include:

  • General maintenance and repairs – but not improvements
  • Mortgage interest – changes to the level of relief to be phased in over the next 4 years
  • Council tax, gas, electricity, insurance
  • Maintenance contracts for heating systems etc.
  • Letting agent’s fees and management fees, tenancy renewal fees
  • Landlord registration fees
  • Telephone calls – the proportion relating to the letting activity
  • Motor expenses – the proportion relating to the letting activity
  • Replacement of domestic items
  • Accountancy fees

It is vital that you consider your circumstances in relation to both of these areas. It will make arranging your finances and cash flow much simpler in the long-term, and importantly ensures you are complying with the current rules.

If you are unsure about what this means for you, or would like to discuss any of these points further, please get in touch with me here, or:

karen.morrison@campbelldallas.co.uk
01563 536 319

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice. This is based on our understanding in April 2018. Laws and tax rules may change in the future. Campbell Dallas is not responsible for content contained on 3rd party sites.

The benefits of woodland should not be ignored

April 17, 2018

As of 1 April 2019 forestry will become fully devolved to the Scottish Parliament following the passing of the recent Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill. The support provided for the forestry sector and integration with other existing land uses will be covered in the new Scottish Forestry Strategy being prepared by the Scottish Government.

Forestry is high up the agenda for the Scottish Government mainly due to climate change targets. It is estimated the Scottish forestry sector is worth over £1bn to the economy and supports over 25,000 jobs. Indeed the Scottish Government has committed to increase the annual tree planting target from 10,000 hectares per annum to 15,000 hectares per annum by 2025.

There are attractive funding incentives available to landowners which have been put in place to help achieve these ambitious targets. With these funding incentives the land can still qualify for Basic Payment. There is also a Timber Transport Fund of £7m, which seeks to support sustainable timber transport in Rural Scotland. This funding highlights a strong commitment being made from the Government to kick-start this sector. Other developments have also emerged through compliance with the Woodland Carbon Code which provides the opportunity for forestry owners to sell the rights of carbon captured by newly planted trees.

There has been a resurgence in the demand for wood used for wood burners and there continues to be ongoing investment in biomass technology that benefits from renewable heat incentive payments. This ensures that woodlands which were not financially worth being actively managed previously have become a possible income source for farmers.

Existing undermanaged woodlands could be brought back into production to produce an income stream for farmers. Farmers can use woodlands and forestry to diversify their financial risk as direct support for farming is likely to be reduced.

The benefits of commercial woodlands for flood mitigation, rural employment, shelter for livestock and carbon fixation are being increasingly championed and in general woodlands support overall biodiversity.

Timber prices have risen in the past few years and one factor of this is the drop in value of the sterling. The Government’s pledge to raise new housing supply will also boost the timber prices. The low interest rates has led investors to consider non cash, long term and low risk investments such as commercial forestry as alternative investments.

We have seen a rise in the number of discussions with clients about planting trees, felling trees, selling forestry land or buying land to create a forestry business and discussing the tax implications of forestry in general.

As a reminder the key tax points to consider are:

  • It is generally advantageous to have the forestry business in a VAT registered entity.
  • When buying and selling forestry land check if it has been opted for VAT purposes and consider the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) implications.
  • Income realised through the sale of timber is exempt from income tax. Grants are tax free, with the exception of payments made in compensation for agricultural income foregone.
  • There is no tax relief for losses or capital purchases.
  • There is no capital gains tax liability on the gain in value of commercial tree crops. Any gain on disposal of the woodland is split between trees and land. The element relating to trees is tax free and the element relating to land is taxable.
  • There is no inheritance tax on death if forestry is held for two years and commercially managed.

Forestry must be commercially managed when considering it as long term investment, perhaps as an Inheritance Tax (IHT) asset protection strategy. The forestry business should also have maintenance costs, a forestry management plan and either its own set of financial statements or its own enterprise accounts within a larger business to qualify for tax reliefs.

The combination of a number of factors has seen a renewed interest in commercial woodland operations. Actively managed commercial woodland on farms creates financial benefits when managed alongside the existing land uses. In addition, the benefits of woodland supporting overall biodiversity should not be ignored.

If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please contact me:

01738 441 888
Ian.Craig@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in April 2018. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Construction sector failures likely to escalate without cash flow intervention

April 16, 2018

Scotland’s construction industry is facing an unprecedented sequence of problems that are likely to trigger further business failures, particularly amongst smaller supply chain contractors, according to one of Scotland’s leading Restructuring experts.

Derek Forsyth, Head of Recovery at Campbell Dallas, is warning that the ‘Big 4’ of issues – a marked fall in major public infrastructure projects, prolonged severe weather, the collapse of a first-tier contractor and persistent economic uncertainty – is affecting order books and compounding cash flow problems across the industry.

He said: “This is probably the most challenging period I have known for the construction sector.  The industry is beset with an endemic cash flow issue that has never really been resolved.  Businesses will retain cash for as long as possible, which tends to affect smaller companies trading from one job to another.  Coupled with fewer contracts and the wider economic and weather issues, many companies are facing a very tough time.

He added: “The Carillion collapse once again exposed the vulnerability of smaller firms down the supply chain to the failure of the principal contractor.  Given that payment can routinely take several months, sometimes 6 months or longer, it is unsurprising that banks are unwilling to increase borrowings when payment terms and compliance are so uncertain.  Perhaps the banks need help from Government to ease the cash flow problem.

Derek Forsyth continued: “There is a pressing need for intervention to ensure that smaller businesses are paid in a timely manner.  One option could be to have an independent body that could be charged with managing a Construction Cash Flow facility, initially for publicly financed projects.  Scotland’s construction industry is a vital part of the economy, and much could be done to inject structure and greater certainty into the payments process, in turn helping prevent so many failures.  It is clearly evident that margins are sustainably tight, and the tenders process continues to support this situation, keeping profit levels depressed”.

For contracting companies concerned about their cash flow, Campbell Dallas has prepared some guidance on how to manage their contracts more effectively:

  1. Know the forensic detail on numbers to ensure long term profitable work
  2. Walk away from deals that will only enhance short term cash flow
  3. Ensure all terms and conditions are documented and legally binding
  4. Agree and manage any variations in the contracts
  5. Invest resources to ensure payments are made to plan
  6. Manage own sub-contractors efficiently and fairly
  7. Maintain good banking relationships
  8. Keep projects on budget

Derek Forsyth concluded: “It is important that key stakeholders involved in Scotland’s construction industry work together to ease these problems and provide support to any businesses affected by badly managed contracts and a lack of cash.  Companies may have plenty of orders but until changes are made to the cash flow culture and system, companies should remember that winning work does not mean staying in business.”

Murdoch MacLennan, Head of Banking advisory services at Campbell Dallas, also added: “There are specialist funders to the sector who provide facilities that can ease cashflow.  However, ultimately to make it all work, the main contractor needs to be able to pay their sub-contractors.”

Scotland’s construction industry has an annual turnover approaching £15 billion and employs around 175,000 people.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this news article please contact:

Derek Forsyth
0141 886 6644
derek.forsyth@campbelldallas.co.uk

This information should not be regarded as financial advice. This is based on our understanding in April 2018. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

New agricultural wage rates in Scotland

April 12, 2018

From 1 April 2017 the Scottish Government aligned the agricultural wages review to fall in line with the national minimum wage and national living wage changes. The new rates are published annually on 1 April, after review by the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board.

Detailed below are the changes to agricultural wage rates in Scotland from 1 April 2018:

  • The minimum hourly rate has increased to £7.83 for all agricultural workers, irrespective of age or duty.
  • Overtime must be paid to an employee who works more than 8 hours a day or 48 hours a week for the first 26 consecutive weeks and 8 hours a day or 39 hours a week thereafter.  The overtime rate will be 1.5 times the agreed hourly rate.
  • An additional sum of £1.20 per hour can be paid to workers with appropriate qualifications.
  • A minimum hourly rate of £5.00 for workers who undertake an SCQF level 4/5 or equivalent in agriculture.
  • The dog allowance has increased to £6.00 per week for each dog up to a maximum of 4.

If an employer wishes to pay more to a worker employed on particular duties then they can do so, however, they cannot pay less than the minimum stated above.

Another consideration for employers is the yearly holiday entitlement. This runs from 1 January to 31 December and it depends on the number of days worked by the employee. Where the number of days worked varies from week to week, the average number of days worked per week over a 12 week period should be calculated. Please see below the holiday entitlement: 

No. of days worked per week No. of days holiday per year
1 8
2 13
3 18
4 23
5 28
6 33
7 38

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me:

01738 441 888
gillian.campbell@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in April 2018. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Businesses urged to review EMI schemes in light of HMRC announcement

April 9, 2018

On 4 April 2018, HMRC announced that there is to be a temporary expiration of EU State Aid approval for EMI Schemes, which came into effect at 11pm on Friday 6 April 2018. At this time, the length of the delay is unknown.

Whilst any options granted before this deadline will remain unaffected, an important point of note is that those granted after this date, and prior to State Aid approval being received, may not be eligible for the tax advantages that would usually be afforded to EMI options and may as a result be taxed as unapproved (and non-tax advantaged) share options.

HMRC has advised that any companies planning to grant EMI options should postpone until a further announcement is made.

If you are planning to grant EMI options or you are in the midst of putting a scheme in place in the near future, contact our Tax team for guidance or to discuss the implications of this announcement.

A copy of the full HMRC announcement can be found here.

This information should not be regarded as financial advice. This is based on our understanding in April 2018. Laws and tax rules may change in the future. Campbell Dallas is not responsible for content contained on 3rd party sites.

Scottish businesses wasting millions on poor VAT management

April 3, 2018

Partner and our head of VAT, Veronica Donnelly, has warned that Scotland’s owner managed businesses are struggling to manage VAT, a problem that is costing Scotland’s economy millions of pounds of lost revenue.

Veronica is one of the UK’s leading experts in VAT and is urging Scotland’s owner managed businesses to place VAT at the top of the financial agenda, and do a thorough review of how they currently manage VAT.

She said: “Very few businesses have the systems and expertise to manage an increasingly complex and onerous tax. The VAT system now has so many variations for products, sectors and situations it is no wonder business owners are finding it difficult to manage. Poor VAT management can seriously limit investment, curtail expansion and restrict the ability of businesses to create employment opportunities, particularly for young people. In the worst case, failing to manage VAT efficiently can cause serious cash flow problems and threaten the viability of the business.

She added: “We are encouraging Scotland’s owner managed businesses to undertake a comprehensive review of VAT. It could save their companies a great deal of money and be the most cost-effective investment they have made in the business for many years.”

HMRC estimates that Scotland’s contribution to VAT receipts is nearly £10 billion for 2016-17, or 8.3% of all UK VAT receipts. The Office for National Statistics estimates that across the UK, VAT will raise over £120 billion in 2016-17, or 16.9% of all receipts, equivalent to £4500 per household. The estimate for 2017-18 is nearly £126 billion. VAT is the third largest source of government revenue after income tax and national insurance.

VAT was launched in the UK on 1st April 1973, three months after the UK joined the European Union on 1st January and replaced the Purchase Tax which had been the principal tax on luxury goods since 1940.

If you are concerned about VAT and require guidance use this link to arrange a call back and a member of our team will be in touch.

This information should not be regarded as financial advice. This is based on our understanding in April 2018. Laws and tax rules may change in the future. Campbell Dallas is not responsible for content contained on 3rd party sites.

Don’t leave UK farming out in the cold

March 27, 2018

As an accountant I know about formal arrangements; the ones which involve paperwork. I am also aware of many more informal ones that make everyone’s life run a bit more smoothly such as, “Will I pop down with the teleporter to help out and you could give me a hand with that other job that needs two tractors”.  A few weeks ago Central Scotland ground to a halt for three snow days. Many of the farmers where I live were out clearing roads, driveways and school playgrounds. Of course farmers are not obliged to do this, but they do it because they know the local people, it is their local community, they care about their environment and it contributes to the general smooth running of people’s lives. Often people forget that farming doesn’t stop when the snow comes and actually for livestock farmers in particular, excessive snowfall and low temperatures makes their job a lot harder.

On the Saturday at the local supermarket many of my neighbours were comparing the empty shelves to Soviet rationing. Indeed, there was no milk or bread and very little fruit or vegetables. This was a reminder to many people of what farmers actually do. It wasn’t because the cows weren’t getting milked, it was simply that the milk couldn’t get transported from the farms to the processing plants and then onto the supermarkets. I suspect this reminder will be short lived. Continuous education is essential when it comes to sharing the good work the farming industry does. I also couldn’t help but think clearing roads for no reward was a brilliant example of “public goods for public money”.

We are hearing a lot about “public goods for public money” in the context of Brexit and the future of agricultural support.  To my mind these are just words and currently serve no practical application to planning your business. What I would say is that there is little mention of food production and the direction of travel is definitely environmental, with the new buzz words being “natural capital”. Of course environmental doesn’t necessarily mean farming butterflies. Perhaps it would be an idea to open peoples’ minds (farmers and non-farmers) to the different definitions of environmental, in the context of good commercial farming practices. I expect the environmental enhancements likely to be incentivised in the future are:

  • Soil fertility
  • Managing run off
  • Water quality
  • Filtration systems
  • Managing peatland to create carbon sinks
  • Woodland management

It can be easy to see these enhancements as a distraction to the core purpose of food production but l guess it comes down to how much the financial incentive is and how the incentive is given. Financial incentives are not always in the form of subsidy. An alternative could be tax incentives. Ultimately if these activities are to co-exist with food production, the reward for changing behaviours needs to be attractive enough to make them happen. Similar to renewables – who would have solar panels without the feed-in tariff?

The best people to make these things happen are farmers & land managers. It is important the politicians do not lose sight of this because commercial farming makes the countryside what it is, creates the public goods people want access to, which in turn drives the leisure & tourism sectors. It is a complex ecosystem of business & commerce and the farming industry needs to continue educating consumers about what public goods are, so that public money can follow it. If we cannot articulate a public good then attracting public money will be challenging.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

01738 441 888
ian.craig@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in March 2018. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

 

Are you ready for Gender Pay Gap reporting?

March 23, 2018

If you’re an employer with 250 employees or more you will now need to publish your gender pay gap data annually. New Government legislation requires employers with 250 or more employees to publish statutory calculations every year showing how large the pay gap is between their male and female employees.

The figures must be calculated using a specific reference date – this is called the “snapshot date”.  The snapshot date each year is

  • 31 March for public sector organisations
  • 5 April for businesses and charities

What do I need to do?

  • Employers must publish their gender pay gap data and a written statement on their company website and report their data to Government online using the gender pay gap reporting service www.gov.uk/report-gender-pay-gap-data 
  • An employer must comply with the regulations for any year where they have a ‘headcount’ of 250 or more employees on the snapshot date but employers close to the employee threshold may consider the advantages of publishing.
  • The regulations apply the same definition of employee as the Equality Act 2010. This is a broad definition which includes zero hours’ workers, apprentices and some self-employed people.
  • There are six calculations to carry out, and the results must be published on the employer’s website and the Government website within 12 months. Where applicable, they must be confirmed by an appropriate person, such as a Chief Executive.
  • Gender pay reporting is a different requirement to carrying out an equal pay audit.
  • Employers have the option to provide a narrative with their calculations. This should generally explain the reasons for the results and give details about actions that are being taken to reduce or eliminate the gender pay gap.
  • While the regulations for the public, private and voluntary sectors are near identical, and the calculations are directly comparable, the public sector regulations also take into account the public sector equality duty.

Employers need to remember that gender pay gap reporting is now an annual requirement and progress on closing the gap will be expected every year.  Whilst there is no financial penalty for not publishing, the Equality and Human Rights Commission will be able to issue court orders to those employers who do not report on time and failing to publish will be considered unlawful.  The media interest is likely to be high in relation to companies that miss the deadline.

For further information please refer to:

www.gov.uk/government/news/gender-pay-gap-reporting

www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5768

This information should not be regarded as financial advice. This is based on our understanding in March 2018. Laws and tax rules may change in the future. Campbell Dallas is not responsible for content contained on 3rd party sites.

Changes to Intangible Regime are tangibly close

March 19, 2018

“The intangible represents the real power of the universe. It is the seed of the tangible.” Bruce Lee

HM Treasury have been pondering the tax treatment of the intangible and published a consultation document on the corporate Intangible Fixed Assets regime on 19 February.

The document notes the “growing importance of intellectual property to the productivity of modern businesses” and feels that “it is now the right time for a more comprehensive review of the regime”.

Value and impact of Goodwill

The most significant recent change in this area was in the Finance Act 2015, where the previously available deduction for the amortisation of acquired goodwill (where the trade and assets of a business are acquired for more than the fair value of the assets, then the balance is effectively goodwill) was denied from 8 July 2015. This has meant that purchasers of business have been more likely to buy shares (to help the tax position of vendors) as the upside of the goodwill deduction on a trade and assets deal was no longer available to them. The Government has asked for views on the impact this has had on businesses, and suggest in the document that there is a feeling that this deduction puts the UK regime at a competitive disadvantage to most other regimes. Whilst noting the relief was expensive, there appears to be some appetite for reintroducing it, which should be welcomed, as it is felt this would enable more transaction activity to take place.

New v old

At present, assets which existed at 1 April 2002 are not subject to the same regime as newer assets, and it is proposed that this distinction is abolished. This may result in tax relief being available for the amortisation of such assets where this was not previously the case.

Degrouping

Another point which the Government is seeking to address is what seems to be an unfair distinction between tangible and intangible assets in certain circumstances. Picture a structure with a holding company with a property used in the business, and a trading subsidiary. The property can be passed down to the subsidiary without a tax charge arising due to the group relationship (yay!). However, in the past if the subsidiary then left the group within six years, then what is called a degrouping charge arose, such that the initial transaction was in effect treated as having occurred at market value (boo!). If the Substantial Shareholding Exemption applies (which it does in our imaginary example), the degrouping charge is however effectively exempt due to that Exemption (yay again!).

Using the same facts as above, but replacing the property with an intangible asset (such as a patent or trademark), the Exemption does not cover the degrouping charge under the intangibles regime (boo!). The discussion paper seeks views on how to address this anomaly (the obvious suggestion being to change to the rules governing tangible assets).

Unwanted election

At present, tax relief for intangibles (where available) either follows the amortisation in the accounts or alternatively an election can be made for a fixed annual deduction of 4% of cost on a straight line basis. The consultation does not seem keen to increase this rate to match higher overseas rates, and indeed seems to question whether or not relief should be given at all for assets which are not decreasing in value. Views are sought on this.

Why consult?

The purpose of the consultation is to seek to make UK businesses more likely to invest in intangibles, to make the UK more attractive to mobile businesses and also a more attractive place for multinationals to own their IP, presumably all with a view to increasing tax revenues. However, there is an awareness that all these lovely extra tax reliefs come at a cost, and a question is raised as to whether the tax relief could in some way be aligned to a requirement for the IP to generate income. This sounds like it may involve an additional compliance burden, and it will be interesting to see how this develops.

The discussion paper is open for comments until 11 May 2018. Some of these changes could have significant impact on the structuring of transactions, and it is hoped that certainty is achieved as soon as possible thereafter, such that the tangible seeds of the changes can grow.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

0141 886 6644
craig.coyle@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as career or financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in March 2018. Information may change in the future.  Campbell Dallas is not responsible for content contained on 3rd party sites.

Spring Statement 2018: what you need to know

March 16, 2018

Philip Hammond delivered his Spring Statement on Tuesday 13 March. There was no red briefcase, no red book, and no tax changes as he delivered the statement in a speech lasting less than half the length of any of his previous statements.

The chancellor unveiled the latest economic forecasts alongside a raft of consultations.

Upcoming changes from April 2018

Auto Enrolment
From 6 April 2018, the minimum employer contribution towards an employee’s workplace pension will increase from 1% to 2%. These contributions are usually mandatory for workers aged between 22 and state pension age earning more than £10,000 a year. For more information see page 10 of our guide here.

National Living Wage & National Minimum Wage
National minimum wage rates for all ages and apprentices are increasing from 1 April 2018. For 18 to 20 year olds and 21 to 24 year olds it will be the largest increase in a decade. For more information see page 10 of our guide here.

Click here to read our guide for full details on all of the announcements.

The information in this article should not be regarded as financial advice. This is based on our understanding in March 2018. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week 2018

March 9, 2018

This week (5-9 March 2018) celebrates apprenticeships in Scotland and across the UK.

At Campbell Dallas we developed a fully integrated apprenticeship & trainee programme nearly a decade ago and were one of the first in Scotland to implement it. We have young people completing apprenticeships in accounting (as you’d expect), learning & development, facilities management and office administration. Across the firm in Scotland we have 73 people completing either an apprenticeship or on the job training.

Apprenticeship Week 2018 imageAs a firm the benefits are two-fold; we have the opportunity to develop young people and help them pursue a lifetime career, whilst fostering a strong supply of educated professionals into our profession and others.

This week I caught up with two of our apprentices to find out why they chose an apprenticeship and how their journey is helping shape them. Fern is a Learning & Development Apprentice and Heather is an Accountancy Apprentice. Both of them joined the firm straight from school.

Why choose an apprenticeship?

Fern: My school was very university and college forward and did not promote modern apprenticeships as much as they did with university and college, but the idea of going on to do further education for 5 or so years did not appeal to me. I knew I wanted to gain work experience, but I also knew I wanted to receive a qualification at the end of it and that is why a modern apprenticeship was for me.

Heather: I chose an apprenticeship as I was able to gain invaluable business experience that I wouldn’t be able to get from university. This apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to work towards my professional qualifications whilst using the skills, qualities and knowledge I have developed through working at Campbell Dallas.

What has your experience been like?

Fern: So far, my experience of being an apprentice and getting to work for Campbell Dallas has been everything and more. The working environment of Campbell Dallas is refreshing and I enjoy coming in to work every day. Getting to work alongside my team and others is the best part about this whole experience. Even though I haven’t been an apprentice for that long I have loved every minute of it and I would recommend a modern apprenticeship to any school leaver who is not 100% about going to university or college. It has been the most rewarding experience so far.

Heather: My overall experience so far has been great. I have enjoyed gaining knowledge and experience working in an accountancy firm and using this to help me with my exams. I have also liked working with other trainees as I am able to see how this apprenticeship has helped to boost their careers.

What support do you value the most?

Fern: When I am not 100% sure about something I don’t worry about it because I know David will be there to help me and even when David is not there to help me out, Lauren or Jennifer are able to help me along the way which I value a lot. Without my team my experience so far would have not of been as amazing as it has been.

Heather: I value the support I have from my manager and team members as they are always happy to help me, as well as the support I have from my teachers and other trainees. It is ideal to work alongside qualified accountants as it helps to motivate me to my goal of becoming a fully qualified accountant.

 

If you are interested in finding out more about the different types of apprenticeships & training that we offer, read a little more about them here, or contact me at:

0141 886 6644
david.whitson-black@campbelldallas.co.uk

 

Additional resources:

Association of Accounting Technicians – www.aat.org.uk
Kaplan – www.kaplan.co.uk
Skills Development Scotland – www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as career or financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in March 2018. Information may change in the future.  Campbell Dallas is not responsible for content contained on 3rd party sites.

Auto Enrolment 6 years on: The Pensions Regulator checks

February 28, 2018

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has now begun carrying out spot checks on employers across the UK to make sure that they are complying with their workplace pensions duties and are providing staff with the workplace pensions that they are entitled to by law.

According to TPR these inspections help them to understand any challenges employers are facing, and whether it needs to make any changes to its guidance. This also enables them to identify employers who fail to meet their duties, and take enforcement action where necessary.

Auto enrolment has been a great success so far, with more than seven million people now saving into a workplace pension. It is important employers continue to make contributions into their employee’s pensions and these spot checks make sure ongoing compliance is being maintained.

As well as investigating any non-compliance, these inspections will also help shine a light on employer behaviour and allow TPR to see different types of employers’ schemes in practice and also identify best practice that others can learn from.

The Pensions Regulator have confirmed that they will continue with their checks over the coming months, generally sending a statutory notice to the employers they have selected ahead of their visits.

Get the process right

TPR is concerned that some employers are not following the correct procedures and during the course of their inspections have seen a number of instances of employers agreeing to opt staff out of a workplace pension before they have been enrolled. This is not in accordance with the auto enrolment rules. According to TPR:

‘Some employers claimed they were unaware as to the formality of their duties or the process they needed to follow, and had simply been trying to do their staff a favour by offering them the option of opting out up-front. But whether their motivation was genuine, or whether they were simply trying to get out of paying their staff the pension contributions they were due, the result was the same – they were in breach of their legal duties. Eligible staff need to be enrolled first, and can then opt out. One of the cornerstones of automatic enrolment is capitalising on inertia, and it has proved very successful so far, in helping people who might never have saved for retirement before.’

Auto enrolment for new employers

Under auto enrolment legislation employers have to enrol qualifying employees into a workplace pension. Duties include paying contributions on behalf of the employee. The process of auto enrolment has been phased in from October 2012, when the largest employers had to comply with the rules. However, the rules are set to change and new employers will have to comply with their automatic enrolment legal duties, as soon as they employ their first member of staff.

For more information on auto enrolment and your obligations, please contact your usual Campbell Dallas advisor.

Kickstart debuts in Scotland with cash for new entrepreneurs

February 26, 2018

Scotland’s next generation of entrepreneurs are being urged to enter a competition that offers substantial cash and mentoring support, and which has just launched in Scotland for the first time.

The KickStart project, which is open to 18 to 25-years-old entrepreneurs, offers the winner a grant of £10,000 along with £10,000 worth of mentoring and accountancy advice, whilst two runners-up will each receive £5,000 worth of mentoring and advice.

The competition, which launched in 2013 by Baldwins, is now being rolled out in Scotland by Campbell Dallas & Springfords.

Chris Horne, Managing PartnerChris Horne, Managing partner at Campbell Dallas, said: “KickStart offers a generous package of cash and advice to young Scots’ entrepreneurs with an exciting business or innovative idea.”

“Scotland is famed for its young entrepreneurial talent but with so much economic uncertainty at present it is essential that we support the next generation of entrepreneurs as they build their businesses.   We hope as many new Scots’ entrepreneurs will take up the challenge and showcase their talent, and their ideas, on a national stage.”

The awards are not restricted to any sector and everyone who enters will have the invaluable experience of preparing a business plan. Ten entrepreneurs will be interviewed about their ideas, with three being invited to present to more than 400 people at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham on Thursday, November 15.

Kickstart-2017-103_2Last year, 19-year-olds Harry Smith and Jack Cornes won the top prize for their concept of wall-climbing painting robots, with the investment enabling them to develop an investor-ready prototype.

David Baldwin, Director at Baldwins, has overseen the Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur project since its inception.

He added: “The KickStart programme has developed an enviable reputation for developing talented home-grown entrepreneurs, and the growing standard of entries that we receive year-on-year shows us that there is still more to come.”

The deadline to apply for the Awards is Friday, August 31; to enter click here.

Could you benefit from farmers’ averaging relief?

February 21, 2018

Farmers’ averaging relief is a government incentive to assist farmers and market gardeners to smooth fluctuating profits, by averaging profits over a period and being taxable on that average.

From 2016/17 new rules were introduced for farmers’ averaging relief with the relief being extended to cover either a two year or a five year averaging period. The Government has suggested that over 29,000 farmers can benefit from the changes, saving an average of £950 a year.

The relief is available to sole traders or partners but not limited companies and is not available in the year a business commences or ceases.

For two year averaging there must also be a difference of more than 25% between the years being averaged. For five year averaging there must be more than 25% between the latest year and the average of the previous four years.

Farmers’ averaging relief can be particularly beneficial where:

  • There are unused personal allowances in a particular tax year
  • There is a loss
  • Profit is being taxed at higher rates and this is unusual
  • There are one off other income sources or claims for other reliefs in the year

Any claims for averaging are included in Self-Assessment Tax Returns and have time restrictions. Claims must be made within 22 months after the end of the latest year of assessment being averaged.

If you think you may benefit from an averaging claim, or want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog, please get in touch with me here, or:

01224 623 111
zenga.lawrie@campbelldallas.co.uk

 

Helpful links: www.gov.uk/government/publications/farmers-and-market-gardeners-hs224-self-assessment-helpsheet/hs224-farmers-and-market-gardeners-2017

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in February 2018. Laws and tax rules may change in the future. Campbell Dallas is not responsible for content contained on 3rd party sites.

How to best protect reimbursement of Practice rental costs

February 16, 2018

The Campbell Dallas dental team are busy completing the annual GP234 form on behalf of our many dental clients who offer NHS services. The form has a filing deadline of 28 February 2018 to ensure receipt of the four quarterly payments due for financial year 2018/2019.

On the face of it, this is not the most onerous of tasks given the only disclosure is a percentage figure based on a simple arithmetical calculation but scratch below the surface and you will quickly discover a series of technical details to be taken into account.

Making sure the numbers add up

The form reports a Practice’s NHS earnings as a percentage of total Practice earnings. Please take care when filling in as there are clear guidelines from Practitioner Services as to what should be included either by way of NHS earnings or total Practice earnings. For example, are you comfortable with how to treat private work carried out on an NHS patient? How do you treat the various NHS allowances? Where do you include retail sales or any grant receipts?

Late submission

The filing deadline is 28 February 2018 to ensure full receipt of the Practice entitlement for 2018/2019. If you submit one day late you lose the first quarter payment, with no hope of an appeal. There are also subsequent staggered dates for late filing after which subsequent quarter payments will also be forfeited.

Counter signing

Those already familiar with the form will be aware both the designated dentist and Practice accountant need to sign the form. As a point of particular interest, the form is sent to ‘Practitioner and Counter Fraud Services’ and therein lies the alert – counter fraud. Whilst the GP234 form has been in existence for only a relatively short time, I’m surprised there has been little by way of audit, so far, to vouch authenticity of the prior submitted claim for percentage NHS earnings. The roll out of the auditing process is perhaps long overdue and is likely to cause complexity when it arrives.

By counter signing the form, your accountant is also exposing themselves to a possible future accusation of fraud if they have not carried out sufficient background checks on the Practice data before signing off. If notice of an intended audit arrived in the post tomorrow, would your records support the percentage calculation enough to withstand scrutiny? That’s the true test.

The mechanics

As a firm, we have spent appropriate time to make sure we fully understand the mechanics of the calculation and as a result our many dental clients are fully protected if the news of an impending audit arrives. If an accountant simply accepts a suggested percentage NHS figure without proper verification, both parties risk future consequences.

If you have any concerns about your annual GP234 form please get in touch:

01786 460 030

roy.hogg@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in February 2018. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Important Tax Changes for Commercial Leases in Scotland

February 9, 2018

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) replaced Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in Scotland for land transactions in Scotland, including the grant of commercial and agricultural leases, from 1 April 2015.

The LBTT rules for leases are significantly different to the SDLT rules. In particular, if you are the tenant under an agricultural or commercial lease and if you submitted an LBTT return to Revenue Scotland when you took out your lease, you need to submit additional LBTT returns to Revenue Scotland every three years during the currency of your lease, to cover changes during the previous three years.

There is no three year review process for leases taken out before 1 April 2015, which remain within the Stamp Duty Land Tax system unless and until they are varied or extended, which may bring them into the LBTT regime.

Revenue Scotland will shortly start to issue reminders for the first batch of three yearly lease reviews which fall due on or after 1 April 2018, that being the third anniversary of the introduction of LBTT. Revenue Scotland aims, but cannot guarantee, to issue reminders around three months in advance of when the review return is due, which is thirty days after the third anniversary of taking out the lease

If the rent payable under the lease and/or the term of the lease have been increased during the first three years, additional LBTT may be due, while if the rent and/or term have decreased, an LBTT repayment may be due.

If there have been no changes during the review period, while no additional LBTT will be due, a return is still needed.

A penalty of up to £1,000 may be charged for a late return even if no tax is due. Higher penalties, linked to the tax payable, may be charged where a return is late and tax is due.

If you don’t receive a reminder, the return still needs to be made on time. Revenue Scotland will not accept the absence or non-receipt of a reminder as an excuse for late filing

In addition to the three yearly review return, you also need to submit an additional LBTT return to Revenue Scotland if you assign your lease to someone else or if the lease comes to an end. These requirements have been in place since the introduction of LBTT on 1 April 2015.

The application of LBTT to leases is a complex and involved subject. If you need further information or advice on three year review returns or on other LBTT related issues, Campbell Dallas has extensive experience of advising clients in this area.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

01738 441 888
colin.mchardy@campbelldallas.co.uk

 

Helpful links: www.revenue.scot/land-buildings-transaction-tax/leases

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in February 2018. Laws and tax rules may change in the future. Campbell Dallas is not responsible for content contained on 3rd party sites.

Could R&D Tax Relief apply to you?

January 18, 2018

During the 2017 Autumn Budget, the Government outlined a long term vision for investment in UK science and innovation by announcing a £2.3 billion investment in Research & Development.

This investment is intended to contribute towards a Government target of UK Research and Development becoming 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

The announcement means that companies can continue to claim Research & Development tax credits. These tax credits provide generous corporation tax relief to companies who incur qualifying revenue expenditure on Research and Development.

What constitutes as Research and Development?

For tax purposes, HMRC define Research and Development as work on a project that seeks to achieve an advance in a field of science and technology.

The research and development must be relevant to the firm’s trade and companies that incur qualifying revenue expenditure are entitled to claim a corporation tax deduction.

Examples of Qualifying Revenue Expenditure includes (but is not limited to):

  • The Costs of Employing Staff who are directly engaged to work on qualifying Research & Development Activities.
  • Consumables and Materials that are used in R&D work.

Corporation Tax Deduction

Small and Medium sized enterprises (SME)

Small and Medium sized companies can claim Research and Development tax relief on qualifying revenue expenditure at a rate of 230%.

These companies are defined as those with fewer than 500 employees, having a turnover of not more than €100 million and/or assets of more than €86 million.

If an SME company makes an R&D tax relief claim and is loss making, the company can surrender the tax relief for a repayable tax credit which is equal to 14.5% of the enhanced deduction (or the unrelieved loss if lower).

Large Companies

Large companies (those who are not within the definition of small and medium-sized companies) could claim R&D enhanced deduction of 130% from any taxable profits. This scheme expired on 1 April 2016 and was replaced by the Research and Development Enhanced Credit Scheme (RDEC).

RDEC Scheme

The RDEC scheme provides large companies with a tax credit akin to a grant which can be used to offset corporation tax or certain other liabilities. These companies can claim a payable tax credit of 12% (increased from 11% with effect from 1 January 2018) of the enhanced deduction.

The increase in the tax rate for RDEC companies is the second since the scheme was introduced by the Government in April 2013. This rate increase is particularly prevalent for large companies, as the corporation tax rate has reduced to 19% with effect from 1 April 2017.

This increase in the RDEC rate will enable companies claiming under the RDEC scheme to invest more in qualifying expenditure. This is an encouraging measure although it should be noted that there was a desire from the SME community for their rate to be increased, in order to allow the benefit for tax paying companies to be on a par with the decreasing corporate tax rate.

Please note that the RDEC is a standalone credit that is brought into account as a receipt in calculating taxable profits.

Pitfalls

It should be noted that claiming for R&D tax credits can be a difficult and time consuming task, as the legislation and reporting requirements are strenuous.

There are various aspects to an R&D claim that should be considered by prospective claimants:

  • Eligibility
  • Grants
  • Subcontracting Costs
  • Going Concern
  • Unpaid PAYE/NIC/VAT Liabilities

R&D reports must be submitted to HMRC in the correct format and match specific criteria that is outlined by HMRC guidance. If the report is not in the criteria that is outlined, you are at risk of submitting an inaccurate claim.

What does this mean for you?

According to the statistics released in 2017, there was a 19% increase in the total number of R&D tax credit claims made in the 2015/16 tax year.  The advantages of applying for R&D Tax Relief are significant and if you think you are eligible, please contact Campbell Dallas for further assistance.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me:

0141 886 6644
mark.pryce@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in January 2018. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Carillion liquidation – could you be affected?

January 16, 2018

On 15 January 2018, the court appointed the Official Receiver as liquidators of:

  • Carillion Plc
  • Carillion Construction Limited
  • Carillion Services Limited
  • Planned Maintenance Engineering Limited
  • Carillion Integrated Services Limited
  • Carillion Services 2006 Limited
  • Employees, customers and suppliers can visit a dedicated website page with further information.

If you think you may be affected by this, and as a result require advice or guidance, whether it be on how best to get in touch or deal with the liquidator, or if you think it may place you or your business in financial difficulty, please get in touch and our team will be able to provide the best advice to assist you.

Campbell Dallas Glasgow staff. Derek Forsyth.Derek Forsyth

Head of Business Recovery & Insolvency

derek.forsyth@campbelldallas.co.uk | 0141 886 6644

 


Blair_WebsiteBlair Milne

Partner, Business Recovery & Insolvency

blair.milne@campbelldallas.co.uk | 0141 886 6644

Making Tax Digital for rural businesses

January 15, 2018

As we approach the 31 January filing deadline for annual self-assessment tax returns, it is worth remembering that full implementation of the forthcoming Making Tax Digital (MTD) regime by HMRC will potentially mean the end of the annual tax return for millions of people.

The MTD vision set out by HMRC is to make the tax system for businesses operate much more closely to “real time” with quarterly reporting, as opposed to the current system of reporting information on tax returns and paying liabilities long after the end of the tax year. Due to various delays such as a lack of developed software capable of dealing with MTD on both sides and the snap general election in June 2017, the plans for the implementation of the MTD regime have been pushed back from the original timetable; some of the most difficult elements have been deferred until “at least” April 2020. MTD will radically change the administration of the UK tax system.

By way of a recap, under MTD most rural businesses, self-employed and landlords will be required to keep track of their financial affairs digitally. They will be required to use digital tools, such as software or apps to keep records of their income and expenditure and get more organised and into the habit of keeping proper books and records as they go along.

The idea of quarterly reporting is intended to provide HMRC with an accurate snapshot of the business trading performance, with summary details submitted throughout the year of turnover and expenses. However, without the usual accounting adjustments (accruals, prepayments, stock and tax allowances being amongst others) being added in to the mix; there is a real concern that the actual position will be very different in reality. The inclusion of quarterly stock figures in particular for farming businesses will be time consuming. The seasonal nature of farming means that quarterly updates are unlikely to provide meaningful business management information or figures from which a tax liability can be accurately estimated.

For rural businesses the poor internet connection speeds and lack of broadband infrastructure in rural areas have been cited as reasons for a phased introduction of the MTD plans.

The main initial focus is now on VAT only under MTD which will now be compulsory from April 2019 onward for all businesses above the VAT threshold of £85,000. If you have a VAT registered business and currently operate a manual bookkeeping system now is the time to consider moving to computerised records. It is also assumed that the previous announcements on MTD quarterly reporting for direct tax will largely remain in place from April 2020 onward. Further announcements on both are expected.

There is a temptation to put MTD to the back of our minds following the revised implementation timetable, however, change is on the horizon and businesses need to be digitally ready when the time comes. All rural businesses must now start to move over to a fully compliant digital record keeping system whether it is based on Cloud Accounting or desktop software applications. It will take several years to plan, design, implement and test new systems so that they are fit for purpose. Time is now of the essence as the countdown to MTD continues.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me:

01738 441 888
john.gold@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in January 2018. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Why options might be the right option for your business

January 4, 2018

Recruitment and retention of staff is always an issue for businesses, and this is increasingly the case in a labour market with relatively low unemployment and where Brexit may cause further restrictions in the availability of staff. Indeed, the marginally higher tax cost to potential candidates of living in Scotland may also make it more difficult to recruit.

When you are looking for, say a new manager in your business, it can be difficult to identify quality candidates or to persuade them to move to your company.

Obviously paying a higher salary can be persuasive in these circumstances, but this has immediate financial implications in terms of the payroll cost (and also perhaps an increased fee payable to the recruitment consultant). Other soft benefits such as pension and health insurance can be considered, but again these have an immediate cost which will be suffered even if the new recruit proves to not be as high a performer as you had hoped for, or moves elsewhere for a higher salary in due course.

Share options are a way to help with recruitment and retention of key individuals, with the upfront cost being limited to professional fees. The most tax advantageous kind of share options are Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI). An EMI option scheme would enable you to offer a share in the business to potential recruits (or existing staff) such that they are keen to come and work with you (and stay with you for the long term) to grow the value of the company.

Options would generally be capable of exercise only on a future sale of the company. A value is agreed for the option, which will be at a discount to the value of the company. Imagine the company is worth £1m. Options could be given over 5% at a price of say £10,000. This value is agreed with HMRC in advance. If the company is then sold for £2m in future, the employee exercises their options, and then sells their shares. They would receive £100,000 (being 5% of £2m), less the £10,000 option price. They would pay tax at 10% on their gain. The current shareholder would receive £1.9m, which is £900,000 more than his or her shares were worth before taking on the new manager.

There is no tax to pay on the issue of the options, only on exercise, and so no need for the company to fund anything other than the professional fee cost.

Options can include performance conditions such that they can only be exercised if the employee hits certain performance targets. This would help to ensure that the growth in value in our example above is due (at least in part) to the performance of the manager rather than it being his or her good fortune to be employed at the time. They can also be structured such that the employee does not share in the historic value of the company.

If you would like to offer options to new recruits or to help retain and motivate existing staff, please speak to your Campbell Dallas contact who will refer you to a member of our Tax Consultancy Group team. The team have significant experience of agreeing valuations with HMRC and tailoring option schemes to suit the requirements of our clients.

0141 886 6644
craig.coyle@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in January 2018. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Scottish Draft Budget 2018-2019

December 15, 2017

Scotland’s Finance Minister Derek Mackay announced Scotland’s Draft Budget 2018-2019 on 14 December. Within the Budget there were no surprises regarding Scottish income tax bands diverging from those across the rest of the UK, with several more bands added. Following on from the UK Government’s Stamp Duty announcements in November, Mackay also made some changes to the Scottish Land & Buildings Transaction Tax levels.

All of the announcements made are subject to Parliamentary approval over the next few weeks.

Read our updated Scottish & UK Budget summary here.

If you would like to discuss any of these matters please contact your usual Campbell Dallas advisor or call us on 0141 886 6644.

The information in this article should not be regarded as financial advice. This is based on our understanding in December 2017. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Find out about other updates on the Scottish Government’s website here.

 

Agricultural wages – rates and holiday entitlement

December 15, 2017

As the holiday year for agricultural employees is about to come to an end, employees need to have taken their full holiday entitlement by 31 December. Generally agricultural employees are not entitled to be paid extra for statutory holidays that they have not taken. The holiday entitlement varies depending on the number of days worked per week but for a standard five day week, an agricultural employee is entitled to 28 days holiday per year plus Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. If the number of days worked varies from week to week, the average number of days per week, over a 12 week period, will be used for the calculation.

The minimum hourly rate that each employee is entitled to depends on certain criteria. This rate is generally £7.50, however if an employer wishes to pay more than this rate, they can. Modern apprentices have a different rate and if employees are studying a Level 2 modern apprenticeship they are entitled to be paid a minimum of £4.14 per hour. This is only for the first 12 months of employment with the same employer and thereafter the minimum hourly rate goes up to £7.50.

The rate also varies if the employee holds certain agricultural or horticultural qualifications (SVQ Level 3, NC, HNC or HND) they are entitled to be paid an additional £1.14 per hour above the standard minimum of £7.50.  This increase also applies to employees who hold a Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship, issued by Lantra, but only if the employee has been with the same employer for more than 26 weeks.

For any hours worked as overtime, this is calculated by multiplying the overtime hours at a minimum rate of £11.25 (time and a half of the standard hourly minimum). The overtime hours are established depending on how long the employee has worked for the employer. For the first 26 weeks of employment, overtime will be calculated for any hours worked in excess of 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week. For employees who have been in the same employment for over 26 weeks overtime will be paid on any hours worked in excess of 8 hours per day or 39 hours per week. It is either paid because the hours worked exceed 8 hours per day or 39 hours for a week but not both.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me:

01738 441 888
sandra.guthrie@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in December 2017.

Autumn Budget 2017 Highlights

November 24, 2017

Following the Chancellor’s Budget announcements on Wednesday, our experts have brought together some highlights as a summary of the key points that may affect you and your business.

Individual/personal taxes

  • Personal allowance – increased to £11,850 in April 2018 from £11,500 (England, Wales and NI only)
    • The response to this in the forthcoming Scottish Budget in December will be interesting. The Scottish Government is currently consulting on changes to income tax rates and bands, which are devolved to Holyrood.  Experience from last year suggests that the increase in the personal allowance may be mirrored, but the increase in the level at which higher rate tax is paid is less likely to be matched.  However, it may be that the Scottish Government does something more fundamental in this area – this is highly unlikely to be a tax cut, particularly for higher earners! Based on current tax rules Scottish tax payers earning a £60k salary will pay at least £600 more tax p.a. than their counterparts in the rest of the UK. This will also throw focus on to the difference between income which is taxed at devolved rates, and dividends which continue to be taxed at UK rates (along with capital gains).  A significant change may lead to taxpayers wanting to consider their structure, and in some cases residence.
  • Taxing gains on UK immovable propertyRow of houses_UK
    • The government announced that from April 2019 tax will be charged on gains made by non-residents on disposals of all types of UK real estate, extending existing rules that apply only to residential property. The measure will expand the tax base of both the corporation tax and capital gains tax regimes. Indirect disposal rules will apply in certain cases involving the sale of a ‘property rich’ entity. Properties will be rebased from April 2019 so that only gains accruing thereafter should be taxed under the new rules. This measure is intended to more closely align the tax treatment on non-resident owners of UK real estate with that of UK residents, and reduce the incentive to hold UK property through offshore structures, often in low tax or no tax jurisdictions. Although the core features of the provisions are stated to be fixed, a consultation was launched on Budget Day and comments are sought by 16 February 2018. Non-resident investors should consider the potential impact for them of this fundamental change.
  • Investment and growth
    • The government is concerned that companies should not be discouraged from seeking external investment because that would lead to the dilution of individual shareholders below the 5% threshold for entrepreneurs’ relief purposes. They will consult on a new mechanism to allow individuals to retain the benefit of the relief on gains accrued up to the point of the new investment.

Business taxes

  • R&D tax credits – being allocated a further £2.3 billion for investment in R&D and increasing the main R&D tax credit to 12%
    • This is a welcome increase in the credit which large companies can claim on qualifying expenditure from the current level of 11%.  Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a similar increase in the (admittedly more generous) provisions for SMEs.  The increase is effective for expenditure incurred on or after 1 January 2018, and so care will need to be taken by companies with a year end other than 31 December around this.  R&D can be claimed by companies which innovate, and is not limited to the more cutting edge hi-tech companies which the name perhaps suggests.  Companies which think they may benefit from the relief should speak to their Campbell Dallas contact.
  • Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) allowance doubled to £2mTeam coworking
    • This increase is only relevant where the amount above the current limit of £1m for individuals is invested in “knowledge intensive companies”.  This is a category of company created by previous changes to the EIS rules, and given certain preferential treatment at that time.  These companies will also now benefit from being able to receive an increased amount of EIS investment per annum of £10m.  There is also some relaxation in how “old” the company can be and still qualify for EIS status.  In order to be a knowledge intensive company there will be a number of tests, including some around the amount of costs incurred on R&D/innovation and the number of employees with higher education qualifications engaged in R&D.  The intention here is to enable these businesses to access more funds to grow from external investors.  The difficulty with such businesses for the UK economy is that they are often acquired by larger tech companies (often from the US) with deep pockets before they grow into large businesses in the UK.  How effective this measure is in dealing with the problem remains to be seen.
  • Corporation tax – remains at 19%
    • The main rate remains at 19% despite wide rumours of a cut to 15%.
  • Corporation tax – indexation allowance
    • For company held properties; indexation allowance is being frozen up to 1 January 2018. This measure is most likely to hit long term property investors who currently benefit from inflation based increases to the base cost of their investments on the ultimate disposal of their land and buildings.
  • North Sea oil and gas industry – corporation tax changes to encourage fresh investment North Sea Oil Rig
    • Where oilfields are transferred to new owners post 1 November 2018, the new owners will now be able to claim tax relief for costs of shutting down the oilfield, decommissioning and clean-up costs. This should make it more attractive to invest in older oilfields where there is still some remaining energy production capacity by passing the corporation tax history from the old to the new owners.
  • Income tax is being applied to royalties on UK sales paid to low tax jurisdictions from 2019
    • This is a measure targeted at multinationals who deliver digital content, and hold their intangibles in low tax regimes.  Withholding tax will be applied to the royalties paid on use of those intangibles insofar as they relate to UK sales.  The Government realises that this is something of a patch, and that further international cooperation and pressure is required in order to remedy the perceived avoidance by such companies.  They have set out a position paper to this effect, and state they will be looking to work with other jurisdictions to achieve this.
  • Employer tax – IR35
    • Off-payroll working rules for the public sector were reformed in April 2017. According to the Government, early indications suggest they believe public sector tax compliance is improving as a result and therefore a possible next step would be to extend the reforms to the private sector. Such measures are intended to counteract individuals who effectively work as employees even if they choose to structure their work through a company by taxing them as employees. A consultation will now take place in 2018. Extending the public sector rules to all companies is likely to increase the pressure on SMEs from a legal, operational and compliance perspective.

VAT/Indirect taxes

  • VAT threshold for small businesses frozen for two years at £85,000VAT
    • This could be a warning of a reduction of the threshold in two years’ time. 83% of those polled by VAT Partner Veronica Donnelly agreed this was an indication of exactly that.
  • Making Tax Digital (MTD) regime
    • There were no major announcements or changes to the proposed MTD regime which makes electronic record keeping mandatory for VAT from April 2019. A reduction in the VAT threshold at some point in late 2019 timed to coincide with widening the scope of MTD to smaller business seems highly likely.

If you would like to discuss any of these matters please contact your usual Campbell Dallas advisor or call us on 0141 886 6644.

View a copy of our Budget summary here.

The information in this article should not be regarded as financial advice. This is based on our understanding in November 2017. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

How Minimum Unit Pricing could impact the drinks sector

November 17, 2017

This week the UK Supreme Court has backed the Scottish legislation to implement minimum unit pricing (“MUP”) for alcohol after a five year legal battle. The Health Secretary, Shona Robison, is now expected to confirm the timescales and the Scottish Government’s next steps. Before the new legislation can be put into place, a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment is required by Parliament and a consultation on the proposed level of 50p for the MUP is expected.

But how will this new legislation affect a drinks sector business?

To assess this we need to understand why the Government chose to use MUP and what Scotland’s position is in relation to the rest of the UK.

What’s behind Minimum Unit Pricing?

The Government’s aim of introducing MUP and thereby increasing the cost of alcohol is to reduce excessive alcohol consumption and ultimately reduce alcohol-related health and social issues. A study by the University of Sheffield indicated that increasing the price of alcohol would significantly reduce the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions, and that MUP in particular would target the price of cheap alcohol sold in large volumes, commonly consumed by those with excessive drinking problems. Whilst an increase in VAT or duty on alcohol would also increase the total price; VAT increases would have a greater effect on more expensive alcohol (as opposed to large cheap quantities).

Alcohol duty has not been devolved to the Scottish Government and the creation of MUP could be an effective method to increase the costs of alcohol in an effort to reduce consumption. It should be noted that MUP is not a tax and therefore the benefit of any increase in price is retained within the drinks industry supply chain and/or retailers.

What’s the likely impact on a drinks sector business?

MUP could have a positive impact on the margin across the drinks industry supply chain for sales in Scotland, which is under significant pressure at the lower price point due to increasing duty and VAT charges. The increased price of drinks imposed by MUP will solely benefit the retailer/supply chain, and will not be returned to Government as VAT or duty charges. There will, however, be increased pressure on volumes and bottle sizes sold in Scotland and other countries that follow suit, as consumers are likely to favour smaller sizes in response to the price increase caused by MUP.

The impact of MUP is likely to vary significantly across businesses in the drinks industry depending on the distribution of potentially increased margins across the supply chain and the price point of products. The effects of the new legislation looks to be significant for products where prices are either directly affected by MUP or where prices are in excess of, but close to MUP for the product type. The introduction of MUP may have a fundamental impact on the positioning of those products, potentially resulting in a significant change in market share.

What’s the position of Scotland relative to the UK?

Scotland now stands as the first country in the UK to introduce MUP. England had previously considered MUP, however, in 2013 decided not to implement it but to keep it under review. Scotland, however, may have set a precedent for changes to come as MUP is also being considered in Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as in the Republic of Ireland. Following the UK Supreme Court ruling it will be interesting to see whether the UK Government will propose MUP for England and/or an increase on alcohol duty for the UK as a whole.

If there is a significant difference in pricing between the various UK regions there may be an element of cross border alcohol tourism – which would impact vendors closer to the English/Scottish border.

Campbell Dallas has a dedicated Brewing & Distilling team with extensive experience of business planning and operational/financial modelling in the drinks sector. We can assist you in providing key summaries across a range of scenarios to facilitate decision making and establish alternative plans.

If you are in the drinks industry, supply chain or retail, or have an interest in the impact of alcohol pricing and would like more information or assistance get in touch with me:

0141 886 6644
harro.leusink@campbelldallas.co.uk

Harro is Corporate Finance Manager and a member of the Brewing & Distilling sector team at Campbell Dallas. He has recently been involved in the disposal of a family owned whisky distillery and has experience in commercial finance, fundraising and operational/financial modelling in the drinks industry.

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in November 2017. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Is your family business working for you?

November 14, 2017

Focus on direction & management and bottom-line performance

In the pursuit of prosperity, and for some, survival, the impact of strong direction and management on bottom line performance is evident. With commercial demands increasing at staggering pace, it is vital to empower management as a force for positive bottom-line impact in a business to:

  • Isolate the true and proportionate causes of any shortfall
  • Distinguish realities from theories
  • Rescue the controllable from the inevitable
  • Deny the background noise of ‘ the economy’ or ‘market’ taking control over future prosperity

How do you even know if your management team is delivering? Ask yourself some simple, key questions:

  • Are you on target?
  • Are you reaching potential and do you know what that potential is?
  • What’s stopping you reaching your potential?
  • Could it be your structure, leadership or management requires to be re-visited?

Performance management, applied in control analysis and action, constitutes one of the highest standards in management development, yielding some of the most dramatic results.

Examples include:

  • Sales results in customer spend and conversion;
  • Profit results in cost and added value
  • Business retention results in customers and sales
  • Human resource results in staff retention and development
  • Growth results in investment and innovation

Whatever your market, direction and management should remain top in the control stakes, since that control exists on the three levels of strategy, initiative and response. Even when it appears “external” factors are calling the shots, it falls on direction and management to set and review strategy, initiate contingencies, and respond to wider elements.

Such is the potential for management impact on total performance, assessing and appointing management, is effectively buying control analysis and action.

To empower direction and management you can get help with various tools including;  management planning models, board-level snapshot reviews, and fast track analysis and action projects.

Aim for management performance with impact and value … earning profit; agreeing a non-profit mission and purpose, providing employment, leaving a legacy, and reaching full potential.

Consider for your business, where interventions are called for to make direction and management a force for positive bottom-line impact and ensure that your family business is working for you.

Billy Andrew is a consultant at Family Business Solutions, who will be guest presenters at the next Campbell Dallas event for family businesses at our Stirling office on 22 November.

Please click here to register for this free event.

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in November 2017. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

The Farmhouse: an asset worth treating right

November 3, 2017

The farmhouse is the centre of most things in a working farm.  At times it can be the office, home, canteen, workshop extension and boardroom.  For an accountant it can be a complex area covering many different areas of tax.  For farmers, understanding the different areas should help maximise savings and reduce tax where possible.

Income Tax

For sole traders and partnerships the running costs of the farmhouse will be an expense of the business.  These costs will normally be reflected in the annual accounts as expenditure or property improvements.  A private use proportion of expenditure will be disallowed in the income tax computation.  There is no statutory percentage, although the commonly accepted basis is two-thirds private, one-third business.  Different methods of apportionment can apply depending on circumstances, such as there being more than one farmhouse in a business.

VAT

Confusingly the VAT treatment of expenditure on the farmhouse differs from Income Tax.  Purchase or input VAT can be reclaimed on expenditure such as property repairs or improvement.  The maximum claim possible is 70% of the VAT.  There is no set percentage and the level of reclaim should be calculated on a “just and reasonable basis”.   For major renovations, expert help should be sought with a consistent and methodical approach used.

Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwelling (ATED)

Farmhouses owned by Limited Companies or a mixed partnership that includes a corporate entity should consider if ATED applies to them.  This legislation was brought in to target wealthy foreign owners of UK residential property, but has resulted in a form filling exercise for many.  It is only farmhouses with a value at 31 March 2017 greater than £500,000 that are caught.  A return must be completed claiming relief from ATED, however be careful of the rules.  In certain circumstances relief is not available, such as when the farmhouse is on separate title from the agricultural land.

Inheritance Tax

There are many tax cases and legislation concerning the farmhouse so a short article can only provide a few pointers.   Agricultural Property Relief (APR) is a relief from Inheritance Tax and assets qualifying will get either 100% or 50% relief.   The loss of APR on an asset can mean Inheritance Tax is payable at 40% on the death of the owner.

One common APR restriction is the farmhouse is not occupied for the purposes of agriculture at the point of gift or owner’s death.  Often changes are made with the best of intentions.  For example an elderly family member may retire from the partnership due to ill health or incapacity, but continue to reside in the farmhouse.  On the death of the owner the farmhouse is not being used for the purpose of agriculture, so it cannot qualify for APR.

Another concern is where the property owner leaves the farmhouse due to ill health.  The farmhouse is left empty with the family awaiting the possible return.  Where the farmhouse is empty for many months followed by the death of the owner a claim for APR can be denied.  HMRC can and will argue that the property was not occupied for the purpose of agriculture on the owner’s death.  This is where a good adviser can help the family put things in place to help protect the position.

Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS)

The ownership of a farmhouse outright or even part ownership through a partnership will be counted as a residence for the purpose of ADS.  Where an owner purchases a second dwelling costing more than £40,000 the ADS is applied.  ADS is a 3% charge of the purchase price and is payable together with any Land and Business Transaction Tax due.

Capital Gains Tax

When a farmhouse is sold or gifted, Capital Gains Tax will apply.  This is another complex area with lots of opportunities to tax plan and get it wrong.  Where an owner has resided in the property there is normally no Capital Gains Tax liability as the property would be their principal private residence.  It is more complex where the property is owned by a partnership, but occupied by only one partner.

The above is only a brief summary of some basic tax and VAT points for the farmhouse.  Expert advice can help in most situations.  It is often too late once the tax or VAT enquiry commences or the death of a family member results in a large and unexpected Inheritance Tax bill.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

01738 441 888
andrew.ritchie@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in November 2017. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Are you exit ready?

October 31, 2017

For entrepreneurs, selling a business successfully can be a significant life event. In addition to the sense of achievement this brings, realising value built up over years of hard work can provide them with the means to pursue other cherished business and personal goals. However, in our experience, that value can be eroded materially if exit readiness is not considered carefully at an early stage, being at least a full year before any potential sale.

Whilst this article focuses on tax considerations, early planning is essential more generally to identify and carry out any actions needed to ensure that the business is an attractive commercial proposition. As regards tax, the business’s own position can affect the price that a purchaser is willing to pay for it; whilst the holding structure and availability of tax reliefs can affect the amount of tax suffered by the sellers on that price.

Tax position of the business

Often, an exit is achieved by selling the company carrying on the business. In that case, the purchaser will wish to understand and investigate the company’s affairs. It will typically engage professional advisers to carry out due diligence on key areas, including tax. Where issues are identified, the price may be reduced or deferred in part until the matter is resolved with the tax authorities. Normally, the sellers will also have to give warranties and indemnities to protect the purchaser if further liabilities are discovered after the sale has completed.

We recommend that an early review is carried out to identify and resolve any such matters before the sales process begins. That assists in preserving value, simplifying the sale and presenting the business as well managed and controlled. The review should also consider the availability of any tax assets (e.g. tax losses, R&D tax relief or capital allowances) which may increase the value of the company.

Holding structure and availability of reliefs

 As far as possible, the business and the way it is owned should be structured to be tax efficient for the entrepreneur when the ultimate sale takes place.

In that regard, we encounter holding structures which would result in multiple layers of tax when returning sales proceeds to the ultimate owners. With early action, it can be possible to restructure and simplify the position to avoid unnecessary tax charges.

Tax reliefs have been introduced to incentivise the establishment and growth of new businesses. However, they are subject to detailed conditions and their availability should not be assumed without checking the position.

For instance, many business owners will be aware of Entrepreneurs’ Relief which, when available and claimed, provides for a lower 10% rate of capital gains tax, subject to a lifetime limit of £10m of qualifying gains. We have seen a number of cases where the expected relief would not in fact have been available because of a failure to satisfy the conditions relating to the owner, the shareholding and/or the company’s tax status. Since, typically, these conditions require to be met throughout the year before the sale takes place, it can be too late to rectify the position if this is identified during the sales process. However, if the sales process is deferred or aborted, value can be lost if economic conditions change before the business is sold at a later stage.

Given the above, we strongly recommend that exit readiness is considered at least a year, but preferably longer, before any potential sale and monitored thereafter. Whilst not all business owners will be working towards a clearly defined exit timetable, this should still be considered given the potential for an exit to be triggered by a change in plans or circumstances, such as an unsolicited approach.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

0141 886 6644
aileen.gates@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in October 2017.

Hungry buyers and tax fears driving business sales

October 24, 2017

I’ve been taking a look back at recent deal flow, up to and during the Summer, for clues as to what’s possibly driving the upturn in business sales that I am seeing across the board.

There has been a marked upturn in sales of businesses as business owners mindful that there may be changes to Entrepreneurs Relief, combined with a healthy pool of potential buyers looking to invest in Scottish companies are helping to maintain a strong market.

Interestingly, deal making remains buoyant despite the disruption that is likely as Britain enters Brexit negotiations. The short term prospect of Scottish independence would appear to be fading, so that is also probably a key factor encouraging strong demand from buyers to acquire businesses based in Scotland. Sectors drawing most interest of late have included business services and healthcare.

We are seeing a number of unsolicited approaches being made directly by buyers to business owners, which is another sign of a strong market. The buyers are both trade and mid-market PE houses, and are not just based in the UK, but also in Europe and the US, the latter helped by the fall in the value of Sterling. Buyers are doing their homework, will look to develop a relationship with the business owners, and are often willing to pay a premium for having exclusivity on the deal.

This is a healthy deals market, and business owners wanting to exit should really bring forward their plans, and invest time to ensure that their businesses are presented in the best light.   Entrepreneurs Relief remains with us, but a government review is underway, and for a Chancellor looking for cash at every turn, it could become a relic of corporate tax history.

Growing demand for strategic planning to drive growth and sales

There is a significant move towards strategic planning as boards and shareholders are increasingly investing in planning to improve performance and maximise the appeal of their business.

While the ultimate goal might be a business sale, the strategic planning process can also be used to ensure the business is ‘investor ready’ as well as generating better returns from trading.  However, becoming more ‘strategic’ can also create challenges for the owner managers as they grapple with cultural and organisational changes as the business grows and moves from being an owner managed SME into a small corporate.

These changes are an essential part of the business evolving to a more corporate structure run by a senior management team with the processes and infrastructure needed to take it to the next level. Becoming more investor attractive does not mean being less entrepreneurial, it just means the entrepreneur is being supported in all the key areas that need addressing in a growing business.

The MBO is looking good as PE houses hunt deals

Looking ahead for the next few months into early 2018 we are likely to see more management buyout (MBO) activity. This is going to be driven by PE houses like Maven, NVM, YFM, and Mobeus, who have all recently raised buyout funds as a result of recent rule changes, which meant VCT funds could no longer be used to invest in MBOs.

The buyout funds are now in place and these PE houses are out looking for new opportunities, actively marketing themselves, meeting companies and seeking to back entrepreneurial management teams with their funds and expertise.

Happily Oil and Gas is showing some early signs of recovery, but transactions in this sector are challenging to progress and complete. A sharp upturn in the sector is highly unlikely, rather a more gradual improvement in M&A is more likely.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

0141 886 6644
graham.cunning@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in October 2017.

Campbell Dallas Joins the Baldwins Group

October 3, 2017

Scottish accountancy firm Campbell Dallas has joined Baldwins, a market leading accounting, tax and advisory firm which is part of the CogitalGroup, an international business services group. Since the launch of CogitalGroup in December last year the group has been growing rapidly.

The deal will see all Campbell Dallas partners transfer across to Baldwins and the Campbell Dallas trading name will be retained.

Campbell Dallas Managing Partner Chris Horne said; “Joining Baldwins will allow us to increase our investment in the business, in particular technology, and continue to grow our market share. We are firmly focused on the owner managed business and entrepreneurial market, which is also the area of focus for Baldwins and the wider CogitalGroup, so there is a great deal of common ground in terms of strategy and culture.

“Going forward it will be very much ‘business as usual’ and we remain firmly committed to our four guiding principles for managing the business – happy staff, quality advice and service, happy clients and financial strength, but with our business now enhanced by the scale, investment capacity and specialisations within Baldwins and the CogitalGroup and the added benefits of being part of an international group.”

David Baldwin, a director at Baldwins, added; “Joining forces with Campbell Dallas will lead to further growth for both businesses. We are delighted to welcome Campbell Dallas to the Group. Campbell Dallas is widely regarded for its focus on the SME sector, and is an entrepreneurial, growth-oriented business.  We very much look forward to working together to grow the newly enlarged business”.

Reducing construction waste in your business with Zero Waste Scotland

September 21, 2017

With the UK government supporting over £500 billion in infrastructure projects, with half to be completed before 2020, there is more pressure than ever on the construction sector to deliver.

This pressure is increased due to constraints in labour, resources, and compliance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Additionally, the Asian infrastructure market is set to expand at an even faster rate, making resources for construction use volatile in both price and availability. The Construction Products Association have reported that 88% of contractors and manufacturers have seen price rises in the past year alone for construction products in the UK. As price becomes more volatile and resources become scarce, UK SMEs need a way to reduce their exposure, future proof their business and continue to meet client expectations.

Reducing material waste and integrating this with project management is becoming a focal point of many in the construction sector to help alleviate this pressure. The construction sector is the largest consumer of resources, making up 50% of Scotland’s total waste – 15% of raw materials end up in the skip, and many in landfill.

Managing the waste from an infrastructure project starts early on in the process, with emphasis on design responsibility. However, waste management spreads out over the entire construction value chain, all the way to on-site construction. For many SMEs, time pressures, uncertainty of cost savings, and access to finance understandably prevent businesses from reducing material costs on their own.

To allow SMEs to explore waste management solutions, Zero Waste Scotland (supported by the Scottish Government) have outlined support for construction businesses; ranging from direct impartial technical advice, tools and guides, and financial support with funds and loans.

For more information, or to find out what support is available for your business, contact Zero Waste Scotland:

www.resourceefficientscotland.com
0808 808 2268

The information in this blog has been supplied by Beyond Green in September 2017. It should be viewed as general guidance only and is not intended to replace professional advice.

Campbell Dallas turnover rises 17% to £14m

September 15, 2017

Independent accountancy firm Campbell Dallas has reported a marked increase in turnover of £14m for the year end to May 2017, a 17% uplift on 2016 (£11.9m), and over 40% increase on 2012 (£9.7m).

Managing Partner Chris Horne said that the growth was in line with expectations as the business continued to work to a five-year growth plan, commenting:

Chris Horne, Managing Partner “We have continued to invest strongly to maintain a high-quality working environment for our colleagues who continue to deliver outstanding service to our clients.  We have four guiding principles for managing the business – happy staff, quality advice and service, happy clients and financial strength.  These core principles underpin, and are driving our strong financial and business performance.  It is very encouraging that over 80% of our growth has been organic.  The acquisitions should make a very positive impact next year.”

During the last year, Campbell Dallas acquired Kilmarnock-based White & Co and most recently in July, Perth-based Bell & Company joined the business.  Bell & Company was a long established and well respected local firm and their agricultural and rural expertise enhances Campbell Dallas’ strength in that sector.

The last year saw strong performances by the Corporate Finance, Restructuring, Tax and Family Business units, with the firm involved in a growing number of high profile deals and new business wins.

The last year also saw Campbell Dallas invest nearly £2m in its IT systems, offices and development of staff, including a £500k commitment to the recruitment and training of apprentices, a programme that has attracted considerable praise from the business and political communities.  The firm also maintained its commitment to sustainability and community by acquiring electric pool cars for staff use, installing solar panels and by raising £50,000 through the Campbell Dallas Foundation, which encourages staff to raise funds and volunteer for their preferred local causes.

Chris Horne added: “We were very pleased to be voted ‘Firm of the Year’ at the Scottish Accountancy & Finance Awards for the third successive year.  We have made significant progress developing the business and creating an exciting and rewarding environment for our staff.  The next five years hold great promise for Campbell Dallas as we look to expand our client base and reach across Scotland.”

The Debt Arrangement Scheme – If Carlsberg did payment plans!

September 12, 2017

Following the Bank of England’s warning that consumer borrowing over the last year has been soaring, and lenders face action for irresponsible lending, there is a growing risk of a tsunami of consumer indebtedness once again sweeping across the UK.  Unsustainable debt causes major problems and misery for individuals and their families, and is a costly burden to society.

Everyone is better off if bankruptcy can be avoided.  We consider an effective debt management solution – the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) – that could provide help to many more people looking to find a way out of their debt problems.

The Debt Arrangement Scheme, which is implemented via a Debt Repayment Programme, may be the answer for those who aren’t necessarily insolvent but who need some breathing space when it comes to their debts.

DAS is a statutory, government backed scheme which if approved, protects debtors from their creditors by taking action for recovery of the debt, whilst also freezing interest and charges.  It affords those in debt a reasonable period to repay their debts back in full.

In some cases, those who are unable to meet their monthly contractual obligations jump feet first into insolvency, just to get the creditors off their back, stop the constant phone calls and sometimes, the astronomical interest that is applied.  Consumers get trapped in a debt cycle, paying minimum payments that often only cover the interest on the loan.  This is never a good move.

Any debt advisor knows that they must provide anyone who approaches them with the best advice for their individual circumstances and in some cases, insolvency is not always the most appropriate.

DAS is a statutory repayment programme therefore assets are not considered, so property and other assets, such as a car or furniture, are protected.  Campbell Dallas always ensures that each person who approaches us for advice is aware of ALL their options and given the information they require in order to make an informed choice.

DAS is recognised as a statutory scheme across Scotland, and most of the larger creditors such as banks, HMRC and councils have dedicated teams who deal with those customers taking part in the scheme.

Most people have heard of bankruptcy however in most cases, those in debt decide to struggle on, fearing insolvency is their only other option.  They worry about losing their home or their jobs, and are unaware of DAS because it is never explained to them.

There are 2 types of DAS products available, DAS and Business DAS.

An individual DAS helps individuals, couples, sole traders and the self-employed whereas Business DAS helps partnerships, trusts or unincorporated bodies.

How does it work?

  • You must seek money advice from a DAS approved money advisor, like ourselves.
  • Your surplus income is worked out using the Common Financial Tool, which is used to assess household income and expenditure across all statutory debt solutions in Scotland.
  • Your creditors are given time to consider the proposal.
  • Interest and charges are frozen as long as the programme is approved.
  • You pay what you can reasonably afford to a Payment Distributor each month and they pay it to your creditors on a pro rata basis.
  • Your plan will last until all creditors have been paid in full, however this must be within a reasonable timescale, usually no more than 5 years for Business DAS and 10 years for DAS.

Nicola Standen is a Manager and adviser in the Personal Debt team at Campbell Dallas.  She can be contacted at: nicola.standen@campbelldallas.co.uk

For more information on personal debt solutions provided by Campbell Dallas go to www.dontfretaboutdebt.net

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in September 2017. Laws and tax rules may change.

Is self-employment right for you?

September 11, 2017

The recent Taylor review into working and employment practices has put the spotlight on the growing number of self-employed workers in the UK.  While much of the focus has been on the reduced job protection and lack of employment rights faced by the self-employed, there are also important benefits for those who take this path.

Business Expenses

If you are self-employed you can deduct expenses from your business income for example, travel, telephone, insurance, use of home as office and employment costs.  You may also be entitled to capital allowances on eligible capital expenditure and interest on loans taken out to finance the business.

In contrast, employees can only deduct work-related expenses when they are wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred in the performance of their employment – usually limited to business travel and professional subscriptions.

National Insurance (NI)

Highlighted by the Chancellor’s abortive attempt to raise Class 4 National Insurance, there is a discrepancy between the amount of NI paid by the self-employed and employed.  The self-employed currently pay weekly Class 2 NI of £2.85 and Class 4 NI at 9% on profits between £8,164 and £45,000 and 2% on profits above this.

However, the employed pay Class 1 NI at the higher-rate of 12% between £8,160 and £45,000 (2% above this).  The employer also pays Class 1 secondary NI at 13.8% which increases their wage bill and feasibly decreases the amount payable to the employee.

Following Philip Hammond’s U-turn and given the current minority government, it appears attempts to equalise the amount of NI paid by the employed and self-employed are on the back-burner for now.

Tax Compliance

A disadvantage of self-employment is the administrative burden of keeping business records, submitting accounts and tax returns alongside the associated cost of professional advisers.

Being self-employed can also result in the need to register for VAT if you make taxable supplies exceeding £85,000 per year.  VAT returns need to be submitted and amounts due paid to HMRC quarterly.

From a cash flow perspective you will pay income tax annually on 31 January and 31 July rather than have tax deducted at source under PAYE.  This can be advantageous from a cash flow perspective however you will need to ensure enough is set aside to pay the tax when due.

Loss of Employment Rights versus Flexibility

Another important consideration is the trade-off between the flexibility of choosing how and when you work against losing access to employment rights; particularly the rights to statutory sick or maternity/paternity pay.

By going alone you gain the ability to maximise your income and grow your business and can potentially employ family members to pay a wage utilising their personal allowance and reducing your taxable income.  Conversely, you lose access to colleagues’ expertise you may have had and are also at greater risk, for example of being sued personally if you carry-out defective work.

Whether self-employment is the best option for you, will depend on your personal circumstances and future intentions and should be discussed with a professional tax adviser.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me:

0141 886 6644
aileen.gates@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in September 2017. Laws and tax rules may change.

VAT explained: farmhouse expenditure and fuel scale charges

September 8, 2017

It has been agreed by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for several years now, to allow 70% of input VAT to be reclaimed on expenditure related to a farmhouse provided the following conditions are met:

  • The property must be a typical working farmhouse
  • The business must be that of a full-time farming activity
  • The work done must be in repair and/or maintenance of the farmhouse

Where farming is not the full-time activity of the business, or the farmhouse would be considered primarily a family home rather than a working farmhouse, the 70% allowance would not be applicable.

Where this could be misconstrued is when the work done is deemed to be an alteration, extension or improvement in nature, and HMRC would review these circumstances on a case by case basis. In the majority of such cases, HMRC would generally not allow the business to reclaim more than 40% of the VAT on the expenditure. For example, if there is work done to extend a property, and the extension created office space which would otherwise not be available for the farming business, the 70% VAT reclaim would be considered appropriate. However if the extension created additional bedrooms and hence no additional benefits for the farming business, the percentage of VAT that could be reclaimed is likely to be low.

The same rules apply for farm cottages as long as these are occupied by someone who works at the farming business full-time and the occupier is not charged rent for living there. If a cottage is part-owned by a full-time worker, there will be restrictions on the amount of VAT you are able to reclaim, which would again likely be treated on a case by case basis.

VAT Fuel Scale Charges

VAT Fuel Scale Charges (FSC) are used to work out how much VAT on fuel you should pay back if you use a business car for private purposes. This excludes commercial vehicles, such as pick ups, where the VAT can usually be reclaimed in full. If using the FSC, you should reclaim the VAT on all fuel purchases and put the FSC adjustment through on each VAT return period.

The FSC is calculated based on the CO2 emissions of your vehicle and you can generate your FSC here. It will take you through three short questions:

  • Which period do you want to calculate the FSC for? (e.g. 2016/17, 2017/18)
  • What accounting period would you like to calculate it for? (e.g. monthly or quarterly depending on the frequency of your VAT returns)
  • What is your car’s CO2 emissions band? (This is found in your vehicle log book or can be checked online here )

The FSC is generated and it is the VAT element which should be used as the overall adjustment. You should increase box 1 on your VAT return by the VAT amount and box 6 by the ‘basic charge’. This may have to be a manual adjustment, or if you have an accounting package there may be a function you can use to post the adjustment. In accounting terms, your motor expenses increase by the VAT element of the FSC.

However, you should always assess whether it is worthwhile to put through the FSC. For example, if the VAT being reclaimed on fuel each VAT period is less than the VAT charged on the FSC itself, it would not be beneficial to use, and you should instead not reclaim any of the VAT on the fuel purchased.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me:

01738 441 888
amy.weatherup@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in September 2017. Laws and tax rules may change.

Partner Aileen Gates wins Women’s Award

September 1, 2017

At the inaugural Scottish Women’s Awards held on Wednesday 30 August, Partner and Head of Tax Aileen Gates won the Women’s Award for services to Accountancy and Finance.

The purpose of the awards is to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of women across all sectors in Scotland. At a black tie event at the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow, the finalists were celebrated for their amazing breadth of talent, dedication, hard work and success across the country.

Open nominations were received from the public to draw up a finalist list, with winners announced on the night.

Guests at the event commented on the inspirational night for women and the huge array of talent represented in one room.

Accepting her award, Aileen explained she had taken a table of ‘strong women and rising stars’ at Campbell Dallas to motivate and inspire women across the profession and highlighted that Campbell Dallas provides a flexible and supportive working environment for all staff that enables talent to flourish.

Aileen Gates is a Partner and also heads up the firm’s Tax Consultancy Group. She has a background in law and qualified with the Chartered Institute of Tax. Aileen provides bespoke solutions for many Campbell Dallas clients. She is a regular columnist for Business Women Scotland advising on business issues across the sectors and is a regular speaker at conferences and events.

Campbell Dallas appoints specialist Tax Director

August 22, 2017

Stephen Dodds, a specialist in tax advisory work for owner managed businesses, has joined Campbell Dallas as a Tax Director within the firm’s Tax Consultancy Group.

Stephen, who is a CA, a Chartered Tax Adviser and a former solicitor, has over 16 years of experience advising businesses on M&A, tax due diligence, optimising tax reliefs and managing tax risks, succession, exit planning and readiness, employee incentives, share schemes, and personal tax issues.

Stephen Dodds. Campbell Dallas staff portrait, Glasgow office.He previously worked as a tax specialist for two of the Big 4 accountancy firms and a leading law firm, where he advised owner managed businesses, high net worth individuals, multinational listed groups, private equity funds and their investee companies. He has a particular expertise in real estate matters, having been a member of the Scottish Property Federation’s Tax Committee.

Commenting on his appointment, Aileen Gates, Campbell Dallas’ Head of Tax, said: “Stephen has an excellent reputation for his detailed knowledge of the tax issues faced by businesses and their owners, and is a key addition to our team.”

Forestry sector provides some attractive tax incentives

August 10, 2017

The Scottish Government has recently committed to increase the annual tree planting target from 10,000 hectares to 15,000 hectares by 2025. There are attractive funding incentives available to landowners through the Scottish Rural Development Programme and the Forestry Commission which have been put in place to help achieve these ambitious targets. With these funding incentives the land can still qualify for Basic Payment. Also announced earlier this year is a Timber Transport Fund of £7m, which seeks to support sustainable timber transport in Rural Scotland. This funding highlights a strong commitment being made from the Government to kick start this sector. Other developments have also emerged through compliance with the Woodland Carbon Code which provides the opportunity for forestry owners to sell the rights of carbon captured by newly planted trees. There continues to be ongoing investment in biomass technology that benefits from renewable heat incentive payments.

All of these incentives are pushing forestry up the agenda. We have seen a rise in the number of discussions about planting trees, felling trees, selling forestry land or buying land to create a forestry business and discussing the tax implications of forestry in general.

As a reminder the key tax points to consider are:

  • It is generally advantageous to have the forestry business in a VAT registered entity.
  • When buying and selling forestry land check if it has been opted for VAT purposes and consider the Land and Business Transaction Tax (LBTT) implications.
  • Income realised through the sale of timber is exempt from income tax. Grants are tax free, with the exception of payments made in compensation for agricultural income foregone.
  • There is no tax relief for losses or capital purchases.
  • There is no capital gains tax liability on the gain in value of commercial tree crops. Any gain on disposal of the woodland is split between trees and land. The element relating to trees is tax free and the element relating to land is taxable.
  • No inheritance tax on death if held for two years and commercially managed.

Forestry must be commercially managed when considering it as long term investment, perhaps as an Inheritance Tax (IHT) asset protection strategy. The forestry business should have maintenance costs, a forestry management plan and either its own set of financial statements or its own enterprise accounts within a larger business.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

01738 441 888
ian.craig@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in August 2017. Laws and tax rules may change.

A New Tax Order – without Spreadsheets

August 10, 2017

As a Chartered Accountant, it may surprise you to know I am not a fan of spreadsheets. These horribly complex, fidgety things, inevitably contain annoying error messages or formula issues. Printing them never seems to quite work out first time round and presentation can be somewhat inconsistent. Armed with my magnifying glass I stress over finding that inevitable wee nasty hingmy lurking in one of the cells.

As a Tax Advisor, my view on spreadsheets is worse given their somewhat dangerous, uncontrolled properties. The reliability of spreadsheets depends on the skill of the original designer. So flexible are they in nature, even the simplest examples can morph into monsters over time. There are countless examples of infamous spreadsheet errors prompting profit warnings, plunging share prices and unforeseen tax liabilities.

Digital accounting will be mandatory in the Making Tax Digital ‘MTD’ regime. As with the demise of manual/paper record keeping and despite HMRC’s promise to let spreadsheets link up quarterly with HMRC digital accounts, using spreadsheets for tax will surely become a thing of the past. Given that the latest apps now offer a systematic way to manage processes from source data through to final tax return in a reasonably straightforward fashion across all business sizes, this seems inevitable.

Software suppliers are developing drill down features allowing the user to click through from the submitted figures in a tax return all the way back to original invoices. This is achieved via a series of Application Programming Interfaces ‘API’s’, opening doors between different financial technology products. These seamlessly produce the controls, quality, accuracy, efficiency and auditability features accountants love so much and which spreadsheets will simply not be tolerated to deliver.

Let’s embrace the new tax order without spreadsheets – and enjoy a world of smooth and efficient processes.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

0141 886 6644
mark.pryce@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in August 2017. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

MTD remains clear destination point

August 10, 2017

The Making Tax Digital (MTD) regime was heralded over the past few years by the Government as a key element in its plans to invest £1.3bn in transforming HMRC into “one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world”. Back in December 2015, HMRC launched its roadmap towards an online digital tax system starting in April 2018 with the aim of being fully online by 2020. The ultimate MTD vision being to make the tax system for businesses operate much more closely to “real time”, as opposed to the current system of reporting information on tax returns and paying liabilities long after the end of the tax year. The rush towards the original 2018 start date had the accounting and tax profession up in arms and crying out in dismay. Most external commentators pointed to a lack of developed software capable of dealing with MTD on both sides, together with the limited time available to test the new systems as key barriers to successful implementation. Significant IT and data security concerns held up access to the early pilot projects for those agents and volunteer taxpayers who had signed up as initial guinea pigs to the project. Nevertheless, it appeared that HMRC were pushing on relentlessly, ignoring the warning signs and passing over the controversy. Then with total surprise, Theresa May called a snap election for June 2017. Everything suddenly ground to a halt. The draft MTD legislation amongst other major tax measures was cut from the Finance Act 2017, before that legislation was pushed through Parliament ahead of its dissolution for the election period. MTD it seemed had been put into cold storage until the Conservatives would surely win a landslide majority and then the game would be back on again within the same timetable. Of course, the anticipated result was different and subsequently, for various reasons in the new hung parliament, the Chancellor announced that whilst plans for the MTD regime will still proceed; some of the most difficult elements would be deferred until “at least” April 2020.

By way of a recap, under MTD most businesses, self-employed and landlords will be required to keep track of their financial affairs digitally. They will be required to use digital tools, such as software or apps to keep records of their income and expenditure. The original consultation suggested that MTD will help to reduce the tax gap and contribute £945m to the exchequer by 2020/21. Ministers reported a higher tax contribution resulting from MTD as a result of HMRC having greater ability to identify evasion by criminals and getting to grips better with a renewed focus on tax avoidance. There are numerous examples, especially in Australia, South America and Scandinavia of other countries overseas who, after an initially difficult period of trial and implementation, have made a real success of digitising their tax system and are now able to claim that their taxpayers now regard their versions of MTD as a way of life and as the norm.

If you listen to HMRC, MTD is all about having a simplified tax system where bureaucratic form filing is eradicated, time delays are eliminated, with taxpayers, having self-service access to digital accounts accessing a ‘real time’ update of their tax position in a jovial manner. Smart phone and tablet apps will get taxpayers more organised and into the habit of keeping proper books and records as they go along. The carrot for business is to know the latest performance picture, to save time by using technology tools, to save hassle by managing all tax affairs online and to get the opportunity to plan forward and budget better by operating near real time calculations of tax owed. On the other hand, the threat of points based penalties akin to the motoring offences system of strikes and incremental fines for non-compliance is set out as the stick.

The idea of quarterly reporting is intended to provide HMRC with an accurate snapshot of the business trading performance, with summary details submitted throughout the year of turnover and expenses. However, without the usual accounting adjustments (accruals, prepayments, stock and tax allowances being amongst others) being added in to the mix; there is a real concern that the actual position will be very different in reality.

So what has changed post-election? HMRC’s plans to allow self-service access to digital personal and business tax accounts for individuals and businesses respectively remains the same, as will the prospect of allowing Agent access to these online. HMRC still plan to make better use of third party data in the tax reporting process, albeit this appears lower down their priority list. However, the key effect is that the earliest mandatory quarterly reporting of income taxes is now from April 2020.

The main initial focus is now on VAT under MTD which will now be compulsory from April 2019 onwards for all businesses above the VAT threshold of £85K. It is also assumed that the previous announcements on MTD quarterly reporting for Corporation Tax will largely remain in place from April 2020. Further changes and announcements on both are expected following further public consultation. We can expect a further flurry of lengthy documents from HMRC and another huge response level as happened back in late 2016 last time round.

Given all the work which has been put in to date by Government and HMRC, in my opinion it is inevitable that a full blown MTD system with mandatory digital record keeping will be in place within the next three to five years. As a result, I would recommend that all businesses start to move over to a fully compliant digital record keeping system; whether it is based on Cloud Accounting or desktop software applications. It will take several years to plan, design, implement and test new systems so that they are fit for purpose. Time is now of the essence as the countdown clock to MTD re-starts.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

0141 886 6644
mark.pryce@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in August 2017. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Campbell Dallas Now Largest Accountancy Firm in Perthshire with Acquisition of Bell & Company

June 29, 2017

Fast-growing independent accountancy firm Campbell Dallas has acquired Perth-based Bell & Company, a long-established independent firm specialising in owner managed businesses and private clients.

The deal will see 20 staff and 1 Partner transfer to Campbell Dallas, and adds over £1m of fee income per annum. Campbell Dallas, which recently opened a new £1m office in the centre of Perth, is now the largest accountancy firm in Perthshire.  Total staffing in the newly enlarged Perth office has increased to 5 partners and 56 staff, including 9 trainees.

Founded in 1945, Bell & Company provides a broad range of business and tax advisory services alongside robust compliance services.  The firm represents many well-known local owner managed businesses, and has developed a strong presence in the rural and farming community.

Andy Ritchie, Head of Campbell Dallas’ Perth office, said the acquisition was a natural fit for both firms, and would provide clients access to a much greater range of services and expertise: “Bell & Company is a highly respected local firm and we are delighted to welcome the business to Campbell Dallas. Our existing Perth office is well-established, but this acquisition provides us with the scale to expand the enlarged business and we will be recruiting further over the coming months.”

Charlie Carnegie, Bell & Company’s Managing Partner added: “Joining Campbell Dallas presents an exciting opportunity for our clients and staff as we can now offer a full range of advisory services together with specialist technical knowledge in areas such as tax, VAT, corporate finance and re-structuring. It will be ‘business as usual’ for our clients, many of whom have been with Bell & Company for several decades, but they will now have the resources of a much larger practice at their disposal.”

Chris Horne, Managing Partner at Campbell Dallas said “This is a solid step forward for the firm in achieving its planned growth target. Perthshire and Tayside has a wide variety of high quality businesses that we think would benefit from our entrepreneurial approach to client service.  There is also the rapid regeneration of Dundee Waterfront that is attracting local and national entrepreneurs who will need access to our full range of accountancy services.”

Scotland’s Accountancy Firm of the Year 2017, for a third year in a row

June 15, 2017

Campbell Dallas is delighted to have, once again, won “Accountancy Firm of the Year” at the Scottish Accountancy & Finance Awards 2017, held on 14 June. This is the third year in a row that we have won this prestigious award – a great achievement recognising our continued success and growth.

The firm was praised by the judges for its leadership role, innovation and boldness within the profession and an increase in fee income of more than a third during the last five years. The firm was also credited for its impressive, organic growth and continued investment in staff and offices, recently opening a new £1m office in Perth.

Ian Williams, ChairmanIan Williams, Chairman at Campbell Dallas, who collected the award on behalf of the firm on the night said: “It is very rewarding to be acknowledged by our profession for our achievements in building a progressive and growing firm. Winning the top award three years in a row is a great result, and a huge credit to all our staff who work hard to provide our clients with outstanding service and advice. We have exciting plans to develop the business further and to extend our reach and range of services in Scotland.”

Revenue Scotland Devolved Tax Specialist joins Campbell Dallas

May 25, 2017

Firm wins merit award for best tax practice in a devolved administration

Campbell Dallas has appointed Revenue Scotland’s former Head of Tax Operations and Compliance, Colin McHardy, who will lead the firm’s devolved tax service. Colin is a technical specialist in devolved taxes who also has extensive experience of drafting tax legislation and guidance.

Devolved taxes are of increasing importance as businesses and taxpayers tackle the different tax systems now evolving across the UK.

The firm’s investment in tax has just been acknowledged after it collected a merit award for ‘Best tax practice in a devolved administration’ at Tolley’s 2017 UK Tax Awards. The judges highlighted Campbell Dallas’ expertise in devolved taxes, and the investment made by the firm to ensure clients can navigate an increasingly complex tax system.

Devolved taxes in Scotland currently include land and buildings transaction tax (LBTT) and Scottish landfill tax (SLfT) with air departure tax (ADT) scheduled to come into operation from April 2018. Colin McHardy says this is an area which is growing in both scope and importance, commenting:

“The remit of Revenue Scotland is set to grow as it is charged with implementing new tax laws and recovering tax due from businesses and taxpayers.  Many businesses and individuals have operations, employees and investments in Scotland, England and overseas.  It is crucial that clients are aware of their obligations, plan ahead to ensure their tax is managed in an efficient and timeous manner and avoid penalties for non-compliance, because the obligation remains on the taxpayer to get it right”.

The Campbell Dallas tax practice has contributed expert advice to tax committees that make regular representation to the Scottish Government and Revenue Scotland. The firm is also developing a regular programme of workshops on devolved taxes across Scotland.

aileen gatesAileen Gates, Campbell Dallas’ Head of Tax added: “We are delighted to welcome Colin to the firm and to our expanding tax team. Devolved Taxation is already important, but it is going to become even more so during the next few years. Colin’s expertise and understanding of this complex area will be invaluable to our clients. Being recognised at the UK Tolley Tax Awards for our expertise in devolved tax is also a great result for Campbell Dallas, and reflects our ambition to be one of the top tax firms in Scotland.”

Campbell Dallas targets £50k with new charity foundation

May 16, 2017

Independent accountancy firm Campbell Dallas and its staff expect to raise more than £50k this year following the launch of the Campbell Dallas Charity Foundation that matches pound for pound money staff raise for their favorite causes.

The Foundation was established in 2016 to promote awareness of the problems in society and encourage staff to support the charities that tackle these challenges.

The firm appointed 20 Foundation ambassadors who encourage involvement in fund-raising projects and facilitate the support of the firm.  Each member of staff is also entitled to 2 day’s leave for volunteering in support of charitable projects.

In the last year 25 different charities have benefited, including the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice, Bobath, CHAS and RSABI (the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Society).  The latest is the Beatson Cancer Charity, which received more than £6k after 25 members of the team completed the Glasgow Kiltwalk.

Much of the Foundation’s work is at local office level and touches local charities and support groups within reach of each of their offices. On a national scale the Foundation works with nationwide charity and support groups to maximise their impact.

Partner and Head of the Charity Foundation, David Hunter says the Foundation has been an important focus for the firm and staff: “By encouraging and supporting staff to help people that are in need the culture of the firm has also benefited.  There is a strong, internal culture of community and it is important that staff know we support those that support others.  Staff have responded really well, particularly to the idea that they can raise funds for the charity of their choice.  Everyone benefits as a result.”

Will tax become just in time?

May 15, 2017

Back in the early 1970s Toyota pioneered the concept of Just in Time manufacturing, or JIT.  JIT aimed to synchronise the manufacturing process with customer orders, thus reducing manufacturing costs and waste whilst also markedly improving customer service. JIT is now an established philosophy and methodology that has transformed the whole supply chain from supplier to customer.

‘Making Tax Digital’ (MTD), the flagship tax policy being developed by HMRC would appear to be modelled on JIT principles.  If we consider that HMRC is simply a tax recovery business, then it makes enormous sense for HMRC to maximise early receipt of cash from customers.  Making Tax Digital is possibly a strategic move towards a JIT tax recovery framework that will ultimately see HMRC seeking close to real time recovery of tax.

Currently, incorporated businesses have up to 9 months following the year end to pay any corporation tax due.  This is a significant cash flow advantage for a business, but means HMRC is denied any tax owing for up to 21 months. The vision for MTD is to see the end of reporting information on tax returns and paying liabilities long after the end of the tax year. Taxpayers will soon be required to update HMRC quarterly via a digital tax account.

The new system will require businesses to use digital tools, such as software or apps to keep records of their income and expenditure, however an annual digital submission will still be needed in addition to the quarterly reporting.  It will be important to introduce real time tax planning to ensure businesses maximise tax reliefs in a timely manner.

The new system applies to most unincorporated businesses and landlords from 2018, with businesses below the VAT registration threshold joining in April 2019.  In 2019-20 it will extend to all businesses, self-employed people and landlords with annual turnover above £10,000 and by 2020 will expand to include Corporation Tax.

Real time tax reporting is heading our way – and it could be swiftly followed by real time payment of tax.  Making Tax Digital is a seismic change to the tax system.  Make sure you plan ahead to minimise the impact and cost of the new tax order.

Planning for the long-term

April 10, 2017

It is difficult to get excited about pensions. Planning for an investment that you will not see until retirement is not high on everyone’s priority list. It is usually a decision to be put off for another day, but for our farming clients we often see first-hand the merits of long term financial planning; whether it is a pension or an alternative investment. If mother and father can retire from the family farm with the financial support of pension income, then it generally leads to a smooth succession and happy retirement.

In stark contrast where there has been no provision for retirement the farming business is often the main source of income in retirement. This reliance on the farm for income can put a financial strain on the business. The older generation may feel a need to continue working and contributing longer than they may wish or are physically able. A frustration can unfold in the younger generation who feel they are unable to take over the farming business without the involvement of their parents and financial drain.

The increase in land price may provide the comfort of a retirement nest egg. Capital growth is fine if you intend to cash in at some stage. If the intention is to pass the farm down to the next generation then the price of land is of little use. The income return from farming is very low, perhaps averaging 2% of capital value. Relying on income from farming as a way to support retirement is not great financial planning.

The key message in planning for retirement is to start early. This can make your pension scheme contributions affordable and provides a longer period for the investment to grow. It is estimated that 25% of children born this year will live to over 100. As life expectancy grows the retirement “pot” needs to be larger, which is another reason to start contributing and investing early.

There are tax advantages when contributing to a pension scheme. Tax relief is given on personal contributions to a pension scheme. For a basic rate tax payer the cost of investing £100 is £80 and for a 40% taxpayer the cost of investing £100 is only £60. Whilst invested in a pension scheme, your contributions grow free of tax. Most people are now able to access their pension savings from age 55 (57 from 2018) and there are 3 key ways to do this:

1. Buy an annuity, which guarantees a fixed income for life
2. Take 25% of your pension savings tax free and/or drawdown an income each year
3. Take all of your pension savings in cash (liable for tax)

For more information and further options see pensionwise.gov.uk

Recent changes in legislation have made it possible to pass your pension fund on death without losing the fund or suffering high rates of tax. Regardless of the tax advantages I do believe that more farming businesses should consider how they finance the retirement of the family. The investment options are more varied and complex than they were 30 or 40 years ago, but the principal of long-term investment is unchanged.

You could always adopt an alternative strategy to investment planning. A high risk strategy is to rely on a lottery win. One Aberdeenshire farmer was asked what he would do if he won the lottery. After a pause to consider the options he replied “just keep farming until I had none left”.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

01738 441 888
andrew.ritchie@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in April 2017. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

The Apprenticeship Levy: what you need to know

April 6, 2017

The objective behind the measure is to fund and encourage new apprenticeships through the introduction of a levy on all employers with a UK payroll bill in excess of £3m per annum, regardless of whether apprentices are employed. It is anticipated to raise approximately £3b a year over the next five years.

Business impact
From 5 April 2017, employers with a UK payroll bill in excess of £3m will be charged a levy of 0.5% of their full UK payroll bill. Each employer will receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment, the intention being that the levy will only be payable on pay bills in excess of £3m a year. The “UK payroll bill” will be based on total employee earnings subject to Class 1 secondary NICs. Any cash payment made by an employer to an employee is likely to be earnings for NIC purposes. This includes salaries, bonuses and vouchers. It does not include the reimbursement of genuine business expenses or dividends paid.

The levy will be payable on a monthly basis through PAYE (Pay as You Earn) and will be payable alongside income tax and National Insurance. Therefore, if the UK payroll bill changes, the levy payable will reflect such changes.

In order to reduce the burden of implementing these changes, HMRC will work closely alongside employers and payroll service providers.

The levy payment will then be ring-fenced in the form of an electronic voucher that can be used to acquire training from 1 May 2017 from recognised providers. Any unused vouchers will expire after 24 months. Note that the voucher system will not be available in Scotland and funding will continue to be through Skills Development Scotland.

All employers with a UK payroll bill over £3m will be required to pay the levy, regardless of whether they subsequently re-claim voucher funds to purchase apprenticeship training.

Apprenticeship Levy payments are a deductible expense for Corporation Tax.

Based on proposed funding rules, the levy can be claimed back and spent on apprenticeship training for all employees at all levels and ages, including graduates who may be eligible for Level 6 or 7 apprenticeship programmes.

Connected businesses
Connected companies may be liable to the apprenticeship levy if the combined UK payroll bill exceeds £3m. Where several employers are connected as a group, they will only be able to use one £15,000 levy allowance. The definition of connected companies and charities is based on the definition in the Employment Allowance rule. Companies are connected for the purpose of claiming the Employment Allowance if:

• a company has control of another company
• they are under the control of the same person or people, for example companies linked in a group

The term ‘control’ is given the same meaning as in sections 450 and 451 of the Corporation Tax Act 2010. This is where a person has or is entitled to acquire the greater part of the share capital or voting power in a company, or in the event of a distribution of the company’s income the greater part of the amount distributed, or in the event of distribution of assets the greater part of the company’s assets.

Where the company is part of a group of connected employers, the group must decide what proportion of the levy allowance each employer in the group will be entitled to. This decision must be made at the beginning of the tax year and will be fixed for that tax year, unless a correction is necessary because the total amount of the levy allowance claimed across the group exceeds £15,000. Each employer in the group will then calculate what they have to pay through the same processes set out above, but using only their portion of the £15,000 levy allowance.

Further information
Technical information with worked examples is available in the Apprenticeship Levy manual.

Nadia Sohail
0141 886 6644
nadia.sohail@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in April 2017.

Campbell Dallas chooses electric

April 3, 2017

To coincide with changes to Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) for cars first registered on or after 1st April 2017, independent accountancy firm Campbell Dallas is highlighting the green business benefits of ‘thinking electric’ after acquiring two electric cars for pooled staff use.

The new VED rates could see the tax on some cars, including hybrids, rising by more than 2,000%. However, zero emission electric vehicles costing less than £40,000 will remain tax free, and could also qualify for a government grant of up to £4,500.

Veronica Donnelly of Campbell Dallas Glasgow takes delivery of a new electric car.

Veronica Donnelly, VAT Partner, charging one of the new vehicles

Campbell Dallas has acquired two electric cars which staff can use for business travel. The firm has installed an electric charger at its Glasgow offices, and will shortly be adding a charger at its new office in Perth followed by a second in Glasgow. It is hoped that staff will take advantage of the pooled cars and as demand rises the scheme will be rolled out further across its 5 offices.

Last year the firm also installed 300 solar panels on the roof of its Glasgow offices, producing enough green energy to drive a company BMW i3 nearly ten times around the world – or 250,000 miles. The investment in electric vehicles and solar panels is a core part of the firm’s desire to place sustainability at the heart of its corporate culture.

Chris Horne, Managing Partner, said: “Our staff and clients are very supportive of our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint by investing in electric cars and by generating our own power.  We are planning to expand our fleet so that by the end of the year each office has at least one electric car.”

Making Tax Digital – what does this mean for GDPs?

April 3, 2017

Having spent over 25 years looking after GDPs, I’ve long since learned to take most matters in my stride – the fast approaching introduction of Making Tax Digital (MTD) by HMRC however, is a real cause of concern for the profession and many UK taxpayers.

So what is MTD? – if you listen to HMRC, it’s a simplified tax system where bureaucratic form filing is eradicated, time delays are eliminated, with all taxpayers, including GDPs, having access to digital accounts providing a ‘real time’ update of their tax position. In addition, one of the key aims of MTD is for all accounting records to be kept digitally, meaning an end for paper systems and manual books – so what’s there to fear in all of this?

Let’s consider the reality. The concept of MTD was first issued as a consultation document early 2016, inviting feedback from all interested parties. Consistent feedback from all taxation regulatory bodies was concern over the timing of introduction – put quite simply, matters were being rushed by HMRC. What was HMRC’s response – carry on regardless, and so we have the first warning bell.

Whether we like it or not, MTD will roll out from April 2018 – if you are a self-employed dentist (sole trader or in partnership) this affects you. Quarterly reporting will be done digitally via software or an app but are you (or your software provider) ready? In addition to the quarterly reporting, there will be a final year-end submission which equates to the annual trading accounts and overall tax return position taken together. The quarterly reporting is intended to provide HMRC with an accurate snapshot of the business trading performance – will you be comfortable reporting to HMRC without prior clearance from your accountant?

We anticipate additional work and cost for GDPs, with initial costs for relevant software and training. Whilst financial penalties are unlikely for the first 12 months, this amnesty will then stop as HMRC favour financial penalties as a means of ensuring compliance. Interestingly, MTD provisions include the opportunity to make voluntary quarterly tax payments on a PAYG (Pay As You Go) basis – how long before voluntary becomes mandatory?

Putting this into context, many feel MTD has been rushed out. The testing process will not be complete until January 2019 but MTD starts April 2018. GDPs will need pro-active support as MTD becomes a reality. Importantly, at Campbell Dallas we already have plans in place to ensure our GDP clients are fully supported during the forthcoming transition period.

If you would like further guidance on how to start moving across to a digital platform, please get in touch with me here, or:

01786 460 030
roy.hogg@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in April 2017.

Annual Allowance tapering: beware the impact on 2018 tax bills

April 3, 2017

The reduction in the Annual Allowance (AA) limit (i.e. the maximum pension benefits that can accrue tax penalty) for those with an income of over £150,000 came into effect on 6 April 2016 meaning the first tax year affected will be 2016/17.

The majority of GPs in Scotland ‘earn’ less than £150,000 per annum but the £150,000 limit is based on an ‘adjusted income’ figure which is calculated by taking taxable income from all sources plus the employer’s share of a GP’s NHS pension growth in the year.

Whilst higher earning GPs (with high pensionable profits) have been aware for a few years of the potential for an additional tax charge on their pension growth in a year exceeding the AA limit, this has not been the case for most GPs.

However, GPs with significant other income (e.g. investment income such as dividends, bank interest or property rents) could find that their Annual Allowance limit is reduced from the current level of £40,000 to the minimum of £10,000 due to the new ‘tapering’ provisions. This would mean that some part-time GPs with below average pensionable profits could potentially face an unexpected tax charge, simply due to their unearned income reducing the AA limit.

Any additional tax charge will mean an increase in the tax payable in January 2018, albeit the final amount will likely not be known until the summer of 2018. There will also be a knock on impact to the assessment of ‘Payments on Account’ due on 31st January and July for the following tax year (2017/18).

For those GPs potentially impacted by this change, they should speak to their IFA regarding their options. This could include ceasing added years contracts, reducing income from outside posts (e.g. ‘Out of Hours’) and opting out of the NHS scheme for a period before opting back in.

In terms of meeting such additional tax liabilities, any GPs potentially impacted should start to put aside extra funds although there is the option for GPs to elect for the NHS pension scheme to pay some of the tax on their behalf.

Neil Morrison

01738 441 888

neil.morrison@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in April 2017.

Ardgowan Distillery launches £17 million investors fundraising drive

March 22, 2017

The Campbell Dallas Corporate Finance team, led by Harro Leusink, has been appointed to advise on a £ 17 million funding drive for a new distillery with historic links to King Robert the Bruce.

The Ardgowan Distillery, located 30 miles west of Glasgow, secured planning permission from Inverclyde Council earlier this month and is now seeking investors to bring their ambitious vision to life.

Ardgowan Distillery aerial view from west

Ardgowan Distillery aerial view from west

The project has raised over £500,000 seed capital to date, and the new distillers are advancing their proposals to build a world-class lowland malt whisky distillery and visitor attraction on the historic Ardgowan Estate.

Construction is scheduled to start later this year, with plans to be operational in 2019.

Commenting on the appointment, Ardgowan Distillery chairman and former Macallan managing director Willie Phillips said:

“I think the Ardgowan Distillery is a terrific commercial proposition and Campbell Dallas is the right firm to assist us with this fundraising – they have a strong track record of advising on funding as well as an excellent understanding of the brewing and distilling sector.

“We are planning to build an outstanding distillery of significant scale to make a lowland single malt that will have a distinctive taste and flavour given its proximity to the sea. Our flagship will be a premium seven year old single malt, which I anticipate will establish Ardgowan as a single malt of great character.

“We already have a senior management team in place with proven experience in project delivery, and have brought on board former Bruachladdich and Diageo veterans Gordon Wright and Michael Egan in commercial and product engineering advisory roles.

“Initial production will be around 200,000 litres of pure alcohol (LPA) and this will rise to over 800,000 LPA at full production. The distillery will be scalable with the option to expand production to 1.6m LPA with limited additional investment,” Willie concludes.

Murdoch Maclennan Campbell Dallas Chartered Accountants Partner

Murdoch MacLennan, Campbell Dallas

Commenting on the appointment Murdoch MacLennan, Partner, and Head of Brewing & Distilling at Campbell Dallas said:

“We are delighted to be advising the Ardgowan Distillery in raising further funds. Whisky distilleries are a well-recognised investment opportunity which can achieve strong capital returns and dividend distribution in the medium to long term.

“The Ardgowan Estate, where the distillery will be located, is within easy commuting distance from Glasgow and has tremendous historic connections going back hundreds of years. There is a good water supply and the distillery and visitor centre will be a natural step on a malt whisky route to Campbeltown and the island distilleries.

“The first spirit will be produced in 2019 and the total funding requirement is approximately £17m, which will cover the construction, commissioning and the first three years’ production costs.

“In common with other investments of this type, the distillery is anticipating a mixture of equity, debt funding and public grant support

“Investment will qualify for EIS tax relief for UK investors, and the Ardgowan Distillery will appeal to high net worth individuals, family offices, overseas investors and companies within the whisky supply chain,” Murdoch concludes.

The new distillery will resurrect the name of the Ardgowan Distillery, which was founded in 1896 and located in Baker Street, Greenock. After a few years of whisky production, the distillery was used to make grain spirt and industrial alcohol until it was destroyed in the May Blitz of 1941.

Countdown to beat new business taxes

March 14, 2017

Businesses have until April 1st before new business taxes outlined in the Autumn Statement last year come into force, a leading business tax specialist is warning.

Late last year the UK Government unveiled some 400 pages of new complex tax law, with many of the new taxes being applied from April 1st.

“Businesses don’t have long to make significant tax savings by effectively spending now to save later’” says Mark Pryce a tax partner with Campbell Dallas speaking at a March 14th tax planning event for clients.

He added: “Business taxes are broadly rising, and reliefs and incentives are contracting, with some set to disappear completely. Some of the new business taxes will include reduced relief on capital expenditure and increased taxes for employee benefits. Fortunately, Entrepreneurs Relief remains relatively untouched, which is important as it encourages the creation and growth of new businesses. Businesses with surplus cash have most to gain, but it is important that any tax saving decisions should not jeopardise cash flow, which is the most common reason for trading problems.”

Mark Pryce said that businesses still have enough time to obtain tax savings, including bringing forward company pension contributions before corporation tax rates fall; reviewing the funding of cars used by their Directors and employees (e.g. low emission / electric vehicles can attract the largest savings; taking advantage of 100% allowances for costs of converting disused property under the Business Premises Renovation Scheme before it closes down; utilising the entitlement to 100% annual investment allowance on capex up to £200k; maximising R&D tax credits claims on innovative activities before it is changed and importantly get locked into lower tax on employee perks before they rise.

Scottish regulation update: Independent medical clinics

March 14, 2017

If you are medically qualified and provide care services in Scotland outside of hospital premises, then you or your employer need to register with Healthcare Improvement Scotland as an independent clinic. This is a mandatory requirement. Registration must be in place by 1 April 2017 or you risk prosecution for operating an unregistered clinic, which could result in a penalty comprising a fine of up to £5000 and/or up to three months imprisonment.

Read more about the changes which were brought in from April 2016 here.

The registration process can take some time so the sooner you apply the better. If you have not started the registration process you need to take action now. If you are in doubt as to whether or not you should be registered, please contact us on 0141 886 6644. Our specialist Aesthetic team can discuss your business and if you should be registered.

Veronica Donnelly
0141 886 6644
veronica.donnelly@campbelldallas.co.uk

 

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in March 2017.

Campbell Dallas comment on #Budget17

March 9, 2017

Fraser Campbell, Partner and Head of Family Businesses at Campbell Dallas joined a select panel of Scottish business people and commentators at this year’s Herald Budget Briefing in Glasgow city centre, hosted by Iain Macwhirter.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MARCH 09: panellists L-R Graham Murray (Partner, Wright Johnston & Mackenzie LLP), Fraser Campbell (Partner, Campbell Dallas), Iain Macwhirter (Political commentator for The Herald), Professor Ronald MacDonald (Research Professor of Macroeconomics and International Finance (Economics), University of Glasgow - Adam Smith Business School) and Peter Smyth (Head of Public Affairs, Indigo) pose for a photograph at The Herald Budget Briefing Event 2017 at 200 SVS on March 09, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jamie Simpson/Herald & Times) - JS

(L-R) Graham Murray, Fraser Campbell, Iain Macwhirter, Ronald MacDonald and Peter Smyth. Picture: Jamie Simpson

Following a breakdown of the Budget into three key areas; the economy, personal taxation and business taxation the panel proceeded to take each in turn and discuss their deeper insights and answer comments from the audience.

Key themes included further debate over the definition of employed v self-employed; consumer spending bolstering economic growth; what that means for overall growth; and all against the backdrop of an impending Brexit.

Commenting, Fraser said “This a narrow technical budget looking at tidying up some perceived loop holes and inequalities and is very much a “placeholder” for the new main Budget in Autumn 2017 after the Brexit process has started”.

This year’s first Budget certainly contained no big shocks and provided a fairly upbeat message, much needed given the uncertain times ahead.

Read our Budget Summary here.

The 2017/18 Tax Card is available here.

@CampbellDallas on Twitter

Campbell Dallas on LinkedIn

Campbell Dallas reaps dividend of continued investment

February 28, 2017

£1m investment in new Perth office

Next week Campbell Dallas opens a new, larger office in Perth, with the expansion representing an investment of over £1m in the city.

The new office will comfortably accommodate the current complement of 40 staff and partners and there are plans to increase staffing to around 50 over the next two years. Campbell Dallas is already the largest accountancy firm in the Perth area.

The new office opening is marked by the release of the latest set of accounts, reporting a robust year with turnover rising to just under £12m, and staff numbers up to over 200. A programme of continued investment has been key to a successful year.

In the latest set of accounts to 31 May 2016, performance was in line with expectations as the firm continued to focus on creating a high-quality working environment for staff and on delivering outstanding service to clients.

Commenting, Chairman Ian Williams said: “2016 was a solid year for us and we are continuing to win increasing amounts of work across the business this year, with Healthcare, Rural and Family Business sectors performing particularly well. Major transactions during the year included; advice to Innis & Gunn on their acquisition of Inveralmond Distillery; fund-raising for fast-growing technology business, Traveltek, acquisition support to Morris & Spottiswood in the purchase of Lled Construction and several high profile administrations. There has been a marked increase in demand for our tax expertise, particularly in specialist areas such as VAT, international tax and business tax. We also acquired an established accountancy firm in Kilmarnock at the tail end of the year, providing us with a base from which to further develop our business in the Ayrshire market.

Ian Williams added: “Investing for the future has steered our strategy in the last two years, and we will continue with a high investment ratio. Examples include a commitment to a new IT infrastructure that will ensure Campbell Dallas is at the forefront of technology in the accountancy market. We also committed a further £250k to the recruitment of trainees as supporting the next generation of talent, which is one of the hallmarks of the Campbell Dallas approach to people development, which I’m delighted was recognised by our Investors in Young People Gold accreditation.

“The success of our overall strategy is probably best measured by growth in the business – more than 400 new clients have chosen Campbell Dallas during this last year.  We were delighted to win three top awards at the 2016 Scottish Accountancy Awards – Firm of the Year (second year running) with the Corporate Finance Team and Restructuring Team both taking home awards on the night.”

The firm has implemented an active sustainability and corporate citizenship programme. In 2016 one of the largest roof top solar panel arrays in Scotland and launched the Campbell Dallas Foundation that helps staff undertake charitable giving, volunteering and fund raising. The Foundation aims to create a supportive environment that encourages staff to do good for others.

HMRC plans to restrict VAT-free adapted vehicles

February 24, 2017

From 1 April 2017, HMRC will put restrictions in place to limit the availability of “VAT-free” adapted motor vehicles for eligible disabled people. Whilst this is perhaps a niche market, it could prove costly to dealerships that don’t take into account the new rules.

These restrictions have been a long time coming, as it follows a sector wide consultation carried out in 2014, and what HMRC views as being abuse of the relief. It was found that some people were purchasing numerous adapted vehicles in a single year, removing the adaptations and then selling the cars on for a profit. Whilst the original intention was to restrict sales of these vehicles to one car every three years per eligible person, the most recent guidance from HMRC confirms that the relevant VAT legislation doesn’t impose any specific limit on the number of vehicles that can be supplied to the same disabled customer. This may still change before 1 April 2017 however, and regardless, HMRC will expect the supplier to question eligible purchasers of these vehicles where frequent purchases are being made, including where you are aware of these going through other dealerships. Additional records will need to be kept of such discussions, as well as any supporting documentation or certificates obtained to support zero-rating of the sale of an adapted car. HMRC may issue penalties to dealerships that knowingly accept false declarations from disabled persons, or don’t confirm the reasons behind multiple VAT free vehicle purchases.

The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group has recently published a press release over its concerns regarding the restrictions, however its proposed solution is to increase data produced by the dealerships, so if taken forward could increase the compliance required of the dealership by HMRC.

Ultimately, it will be the dealership that HMRC will assess for any VAT they view as being lost due to abuse of the scheme, so it is in your interest to ensure the correct practices are in place.

Jennifer Lockhart
0141 886 6644
jennifer.lockhart@campbelldallas.co.uk

 

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in February 2017.

Image: Irina Borsuchenko/Shutterstock, Inc.

Are you ready for FRS 102/105?

February 20, 2017

It’s an exciting time for sure, as extra changes to accounting regulations to make things simpler and better are now upon us.

In 2016 we saw ‘larger’ entities move to reporting under FRS 102 and now smaller and micro entities must embrace the changes for themselves.

So more section numbers and acronyms, but what does it all actually mean?  How might it affect your accounts?

The simple answer to all of the above is that it will depend on the nature of your business BUT it’s crucial that you take this seriously and discuss it with your accountant as soon as possible.

In all cases there will be some minor restatement of accounts and in certain cases there may be considerable changes to the way you have accounted for certain items in your accounts.

If we look at FRS 102A, areas you should start to think about include:

  • investment property
  • goodwill
  • amortisation of intangible assets
  • revaluation of assets
  • non market rate loans
  • holiday pay
  • deferred tax

The output of some of these changes could considerably alter your year-end results.

This may affect how your customers, suppliers, bankers, credit insurers, HMRC, Companies House and other stakeholders view your business, but it’s not all bad news. Some of the changes may be enhancing and may even save you tax.

FRS105 is aimed at micro entities; generally entities who turnover less than £632k and have fewer than 10 employees.  If this is you, then you may wish to skip 105 and adopt 102A. Before you decide on this course of action, discuss it with your accountant.

Why might you stick with 105 accounts? Well, they’re far less onerous than 102A, but that may be the wrong option if you’re a growing entity and will inevitably move to FRS 102A in due course anyway.

So what do you need to do?

You should speak to your accountant as soon as possible to determine how you may be affected. It’s that simple!

The sooner you plan for transition, the sooner you can get back to working on growing your business.

Richard Patterson
0141 886 6644
richard.patterson@campbelldallas.co.uk

 

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in February 2017.

 

Investing in passion – the petrolhead investor

February 16, 2017

I was watching the Discovery Channel’s coverage of the Barrett Jackson classic car auction from Scottsdale Arizona the other week, and the vast volume of cars going through the auction got me thinking about the popularity of this sector. One of several big players in the US auction market, they hold 4 auctions a year across America, each lasting for around a week. This equates to the sale of over 7,200 cars a year, most of which are sold with “no reserve”. Attendance at these auctions isn’t restricted to your stereotypical classic car anoraks either, this year attracted celebrities in Justin Bieber, Steven Tyler and Burt Reynolds.

Okay, this was an American auction and you would expect an element of OTT, but how does this enthusiasm for collector and classic cars translate over to the UK? The answer is very well. Crowds flock in their thousands to Goodwood’s Revival and Festival of Speed to celebrate cars of yester-year, not to mention the plethora of car shows taking place on any given weekend around the UK during the summer months.

When people mention classic or collector cars, people immediately think of either pre-war cars or “well-established” classic cars such as Jaguar E-type’s, Jensen Interceptor’s, Austin Healey 3000’s or Lotus Elan’s. However, that is not necessarily always the case.

Collector cars are a generational thing. More often than not the enthusiasts of these cars will put on the rose tinted spectacles and buy the aspirational cars of their youth. For the baby boomer generation this would be the well-established classics mentioned above. For 90’s kids such as myself this may be Escort RS Cosworth’s, Lancia Delta Integrale’s, or TVR Cerbera’s. How long before this moves on a generation and we see a collector car market emerging for pioneering electric cars like the current model Tesla’s – could this even stretch to the Nissan Leaf or the G-Wizz? Surely not…

That said, even now we are seeing relatively contemporary models fall into the collector car bracket. For these cars, limited numbers is key. In 2016, RM Sotheby’s sold a 1995 Porsche 993 GT2 for £1.8m. This represents a return of over 800% on the original cost. This isn’t just restricted to “pie in the sky” cars either. Relatively attainable contemporary limited production BMW’s such as the E46 generation M3 CSL and the Z3 M Coupes have also seen values skyrocket in the last 5 years.

At a time when the interest base rates are 0.25% and with the inherent uncertainties in financial markets at the moment, why not invest in cars? Classified as wasting assets, any capital appreciation in classic cars is exempt for capital gains tax purposes. What are the downsides to ownership? At worst, you would get the enjoyment of a special interest car for a few years; at best you get the latter and a decent return on your investment. Like any investment, of course there are pitfalls, but the sector popularity, if nothing else, is understandable.

David Samborek
0141 886 6644
david.samborek@campbelldallas.co.uk

 

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in February 2017.

Image: Sergey Kohl/Shutterstock, Inc.

50 Days To Beat New April Business Taxes

February 15, 2017

Businesses have just 50 days to make significant tax savings before new taxes outlined in the autumn statement last year come into force.

Late last year the UK Government unveiled some 400 pages of new complex tax law, with many of the new taxes being applied from April 6th.

Businesses have a narrow window of 50 days in which to make significant tax savings and minimise the impact by effectively spending now to save later. The 2017 business tax landscape will see reduced reliefs on capital expenditure and an increase in taxes through extensive reforms to employee benefits.

Businesses with surplus cash have most to gain, but it is important that any tax saving decisions should not jeopardise cash flow, which is the most common reason for trading problems.  Business taxes are broadly rising, and reliefs and incentives are contracting, with some set to disappear completely. Fortunately, Entrepreneurs Relief remains relatively untouched, which is important as it encourages the creation and growth of new businesses.

Businesses still have enough time to implement tax savings, including bringing forward company pension contributions before corporation tax rates fall; purchasing electric vehicles (100% capital allowances); taking advantage of 100% allowances under the business premises renovation scheme; maximising 100% annual investment allowance up to £200k; maximise R&D tax credits before they change and lock into lower tax rates on employee perks before they rise.

Mark Pryce
0141 886 6644
mark.pryce@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in February 2017.

6 Deals in 6 Weeks for the Corporate Finance Team

February 13, 2017

The Campbell Dallas Corporate Finance team has reported a brisk start to 2017 after advising on 6 transactions in a similar number of weeks.

The deals involved due diligence and lead advisory work on five acquisitions and one sale, with Campbell Dallas acting for corporates, business owners and private equity firms.  The deals were in a variety of sectors including new media, manufacturing, healthcare and business services – both in Scotland and the wider UK, including an overseas purchaser in a sale.

Deals included, acquisition of Neva by Fleet Alliance; acquisition of Stevenswood by Polyframe; and the sale of Peach Digital to Webedia.

Graham Cunning

Graham Cunning, Head of Corporate Finance

Commenting, Graham Cunning, Head of Corporate Finance with Campbell Dallas said: “We finished 2016 on a high and started off 2017 at a similar level with a variety of high profile and interesting deals.  The team has not only advised on the deal structures, but also on tax and VAT issues, which makes for complex and interesting assignments.

He added: “Despite the unexpected events of 2016 and the continuing political and economic uncertainty, the environment for deal making remains favourable, so it is still a good time to sell or for investment, which augurs well for the remainder of the year”.

Is the “gig economy” facing an Uber problem?

February 6, 2017

The recent Uber employment tribunal decision has once again brought into focus the subject HMRC classify as “false self-employment”. This particular case only involved two individuals, but the potential repercussions could have significant direct tax and VAT implications for Uber and others operating in the ‘gig economy’. Since the Uber decision was announced there have been a number of similar rulings with further cases to be heard. On a wider scale, the case also once more brought into focus the employment status of those operating via their own companies and the impact of rule changes on these individuals and also the companies who engage them.

Uber Tribunal
Uber has always treated their individual drivers as self-employed rather than employed which means that Uber have no subsequent employer national insurance liabilities. In addition the VAT liability falls on the self-employed individuals, the vast majority of whom earn below the £83,000 registration threshold, so VAT receipts are minimal.

Conservative estimates total the number of Uber drivers in the UK at around 42,000, however this number is quickly increasing. Following the decision, it is HMRC’s intention to classify all drivers as having the same employment status. When we consider that employers national insurance is charged at a rate of 13.8% on all weekly earnings in excess of £165 and the fact that for VAT purposes the income will be deemed to be Uber’s, the potential tax amount at stake is enormous.

On a wider scale, research by Citizens Advice indicates as many as 460,000 people could potentially be deemed by HMRC to engage in “false self-employment”.

A historic check
HMRC first took action against the perceived “false self-employment” when they introduced the IR35 legislation back in April 2000. As a result, if an individual operating via a personal service company (‘PSC’) is deemed to have an employment relation with the contracting company then the income received by the PSC from that engagement is subject to PAYE and NIC. The liability falls on the PSC not the contracting company. A number of factors are considered when determining the employment status including control, financial risk, integration and mutuality of obligation – with no one factor necessarily decisive.

As always various solutions were devised to get round the IR35 rules. Managed Service Companies came and went as legislation was introduced to counteract them. However, HMRC has always held the view that the system wasn’t operating as planned and that the IR35 legislation in practice had failed to act as a deterrent to “false self-employment”.

Therefore, over the past few years there has been a number of legislative changes aimed at reforming the system. We take a look below at the major changes and who they impact:

1. Onshore Intermediaries legislation – April 2014
There was initially a good deal of confusion with regards to how widely this legislation applied. Any temporary worker operating through an employment intermediary is deemed to be employed for tax and NI purposes unless they can demonstrate they are not subject to Supervision, Direction or Control (‘SDC’). The SDC definition is very widely drafted and hence very difficult not to be caught by.

However, importantly PSC’s were not caught by the legislation, as they do not meet all the conditions. The main target was agency staff. Agencies also now need to submit quarterly electronic returns detailing payments made to those not on agency payroll, which flags up to HMRC those operating via PSC’s or Umbrella companies.

2. Travel expenses of workers providing services through intermediaries – April 2016
Umbrella Companies are another form of intermediary company. They treat the IR35 legislation as applying and pay individuals salary only, with the relevant PAYE and NI deductions. The Umbrella Company carries out all the administration with the individual paying them a small fee for their services.

However, individuals employed via an Umbrella company, rather than via an Agency, had a major advantage – the ability to deduct travel expenses on the basis they operated at a temporary workplace. As a result the take home pay for the individual employed via the Umbrella Company was greater than their Agency counterpart.

HMRC felt this to be unfair so introduced legislation removing the ability to claim travel expenses. A temporary worker employed by an intermediary is no longer deemed to be providing their services at a temporary office if under the SDC of the end client. This in effect caught all but a very small number of individuals.

What of those operating via a PSC and not under IR35? Most operating in this manner will argue they are not caught by SDC and whether this is the case or not in practice this specific piece of legislation is unlikely to intervene.

With the tax benefits removed from Umbrella Companies their future role remains unclear. Already we are aware of a number of agencies who will no longer take on an individual operating via an Umbrella Company and the Umbrella Company operators themselves are now marketing alternative payroll solutions.

3. Taxation of Dividends – April 2016
Whilst the legislation above may not apply to PSC’s the dividend tax changes specifically targeted them. From April 2016, the classic PSC remuneration strategy of paying an individual a salary up to the personal allowance level and then dividends up to the higher rate threshold will result in an additional tax liability of around £2,000 per annum.

4. Off–payroll appointments in the public sector – April 2017
The application of this legislation seems certain to cause much dispute in the years to come. Once again PSC’s are targeted and importantly there is a responsibility shift from the PSC to the contracting company. The public body will need to determine whether tax and NI should be deducted and are also responsible for the collection; they then pay the PSC the net amount.

HMRC have announced they are developing a ‘simple and straightforward digital tool’ to determine whether the rules apply, which is certain to be controversial. If we consider that the current employed/self-employed test is based on years of case law, the idea that a simple HMRC tool can suitably deal with this matter seems implausible. More cynical commentators have already suggested that the details will be entered into the digital tool and the answer will always be that the individual in question is employed. HMRC may of course point out that in practice those operating PSC’s under the current rules always appear to come up with a self-employed conclusion!

Moving forward
It is widely anticipated that if HMRC deem the public sector changes to be a success they will seek to apply these rules to the private sector as well. As noted above it seems unlikely that the implementation will be smooth, particularly in relation to the digital tool; therefore any changes would appear unlikely to be imminent.

• Employers
Where in the past the risk has always been perceived to be with the PSC, the public sector rules have started to shift this safeguard. Therefore moving forward employers will need to take care and be aware of how the ever changing rules apply to them and the underlying risks.

PSC’s
As things stand PSC’s are still governed by the IR35 legislation, providing they engage with the private sector. However, the change to the dividend regime has already began to remove certain benefits associated with the structure.

With Uber set to appeal the tribunal decision this particular case will likely run in the courts for the foreseeable future as neither party will back down due to the amounts at stake. Of more immediate concern to employers and those operating via PSC’s are the public sector changes and whether they are expanded to cover the private sector.

Campbell Dallas has a specialist team dealing with the issues mentioned above. If you are an employer or operate via a personal service company and would like more information on how the rules may impact your business, please get in touch.

Douglas Forbes
0141 886 6644
douglas.forbes@campbelldallas.co.uk

 

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in January 2017.

Campbell Dallas advises Fleet Alliance on 7 figure acquisition

January 25, 2017

Campbell Dallas have worked closely with long-standing client, Fleet Alliance, a vehicle leasing company, as they acquired Neva Consultants.

The Glasgow based company has now completed its first major acquisition in a seven-figure deal giving them a controlling stake in Neva Consultants, an Essex based fleet management firm. Having worked together for the last 10 years, sharing the same IT platform and back-office systems, the two companies also share the same cultural values and business outlook.

The Campbell Dallas team worked with Fleet Alliance, to advise on pre and post transactional areas. Specifically performing a financial and tax due diligence process within a short timeframe and determining the optimal group and deal structure.

Martin Brown, MD of Fleet Alliance said, “The Campbell Dallas business advisory, tax consulting and corporate finance teams have done an excellent job assisting us in acquiring a controlling interest in Neva Consultants. They worked together as a team to provide us with all-round, commercial advice in relation to significant issues for Fleet Alliance in preparation of the transaction, and in relation to financial and operational aspects post transaction.”

Fleet Alliance now stand to increase turnover by a third, to £10 million with a UK presence and staff numbers increasing to around 100.

Martin continued, “The Campbell Dallas Corporate Finance team proved themselves to be both clever and commercial throughout, providing pragmatic solutions and focusing on the key issues important to Fleet Alliance. Their good working relationship with parties on both sides of the transaction assisted in its speedy completion.”

Family Business Centre Stage in January

January 19, 2017

In the run up to The Herald Family Business Awards, I noticed some parallels between many of the business families I work with in Scotland, and a well-known business family in the United States.  This particular family business will continue to attract substantial interest and give rise to discussions on issues that will interest and affect Scotland’s family businesses.

The head of the family and business empire is a man in his 70s.  This ties with many family businesses here in Scotland established by the ‘baby boomer’ generation in the 1950s and 60s to support their families in face of massive structural changes in the industrial base and employment.  Many of these baby boomer founders are still at the helm of their families and businesses, with successive generations also involved in the business.

As social attitudes and behaviours evolved in the latter half of the 20th century it became common for family businesses to have “splinter” branches arising from failed marriages. To be in a third marriage is, I would suggest, somewhat less common here in Scotland.  Where the wealth base is limited, the fracturing of families can have a significant impact on business performance and the long term prosperity of the family.

There will have been some impact on the US family’s wider wealth and prosperity as a result of these marital break-ups, albeit the overall impact is likely to have been less severe than I would typically see within my client base.

Retirement doesn’t come easy to the baby boomer founder.  Having spent a life focused almost entirely on business and family, they often lack enough external interests. It is frequently easier to keep working than retire or develop new passions.  Avoiding retirement is also a way of ensuring that children in the business are monitored and family harmony is maintained.  Succession is the single most difficult issue faced by all families in business and the point at which most family businesses either fail entirely, or break up.

The US family is about to enter a period of either four or eight years of “forced retirement” through the founder being required to place all decisions relating to business activities at arms length while he takes up another leadership role.

This is an unusual situation and presents an interesting case study on the management and sustainability of family business.  Will the senior family member be able to keep focus on the new day job without dipping back into the family business, despite publicly stating that is his intention?  Will the children take the business in a direction approved by the founder?  What will happen after the four or eight years of forced retirement – will life be returned to normal or will retirement become permanent?

Future events and issues will change matters for the family, and indeed all of us, over the next four or eight years.  On a micro, family level, the dynamics at play are fascinating to those of us looking in from the outside.  I doubt we will ever know the true extent of the impact of the forced retirement on the family and their business.  It will not stop the speculation though!

Even if Scotland’s business families do not have the unique challenges that our US family is about to face, the question of succession management is still the biggest issue that families in business face.  The simple act of talking about the issues is a big hurdle for many families to overcome.  When business is all consuming and when it is easier to suffer in silence in order to keep harmony, families have a tremendous capacity to “just do nothing” about succession.

Doing nothing is the worst choice.  Time and natural events inevitably intervene and can severely erode the family’s capacity to cope with change through a time of crisis.  It is better to plan and act while the sun is shining, not when the storm is in full spate.

If you recognise this issue but don’t know what to do next, seek counsel from the various family business networks in Scotland, or speak to a professional formally qualified to advise families in business.

Jumpstart joins our “Best of Breed” portfolio

January 12, 2017

We have added Jumpstart, the R&D tax credit specialist, to our portfolio of third party ‘Best of Breed’ suppliers of specialist business services.

The partnership with Jumpstart provides Campbell Dallas clients with seamless access to specialist advice on the complex tax credit and management issues that companies have to tackle when investing in R&D. Since launching in Scotland, Jumpstart has helped Scottish businesses recover £84.9m of tax credits.

The service from Jumpstart will be marketed under the Campbell Dallas ‘Commercial Services’ brand, which provides clients with access to expert advice from selected independent specialists. Other services currently available under the Commercial Services brand include Insurance, Health and Safety and HR.

Commenting on the new partnership with Jumpstart, Chris Horne, Managing Partner at Campbell Dallas said: “We have been working informally with Jumpstart for a number of years, and are delighted with the cash flow benefits they have produced for our clients. This new partnership formalises our collaboration and we are delighted to now be offering Jumpstart’s expertise within our ‘Best of Breed’ portfolio.”

Brian Williamson, Managing Director of Jumpstart added “This agreement builds on the success of our current relationship, and takes us to the next level of co-operation. Our joint aim is to provide businesses with access to the highest possible levels of service, knowledge and expertise in this very specialised area of technical consultancy. We have already generated £750,000 in tax relief for Campbell Dallas clients, and plan to double that this year.”

IFS Inheritance Tax Clampdown

January 6, 2017

The Institute for Financial Studies issued a briefing note on 5 January 2017 entitled “Inheritances and inequality across and within generations”.

The note identifies that today’s elderly have more to bequeath than their predecessors, due to rising house prices, and that it will be more difficult for today’s young adults to accumulate wealth of their own due to a variety of economic factors.  The conclusion drawn is that inherited wealth will play an increasingly important role in the lifetime resources of younger generations.

The note goes on to point out the implications of this for social mobility – current pensioners with the highest lifetime incomes are also those who have inherited most in the course of their lives.  87% of people born in the 1970s and in the top income quintile expected to receive an inheritance, compared to 58% in the bottom income quintile.

This led to a discussion by Paul Johnson, the IFS director, on Inheritance Tax.  In the absence of any planning or reliefs, Inheritance Tax will of course reduce any wealth being passed down a generation on death by 40%.  He stated that on Inheritance Tax “there are some really absurdly obvious loopholes in it that one might want to sort out”.  In their Green Budget in 2015, the IFS proposed the abolition of Business and Agricultural Property Relief, as well as the lengthening of the period in which a gift will be a Potentially Exempt Transfer from 7 to 15 years.

Business Property Relief (BPR)

BPR and its farming cousin Agricultural Property Relief (‘APR’) provide an exemption from IHT for certain assets.  The main focus for entrepreneurs is that shares in an unlisted company will generally be exempt from IHT.  It is easy to point out a certain inequity in this.

Mr Smith owns a window manufacturing company (having found the widget manufacturing market to be crowded out, he moved on to the next item in the dictionary).  The company is worth £10m, and he is close to concluding a sale for this amount.  Mr Smith is fatally killed in a freak accident by a falling meteorite (he doesn’t live near a bus route).  No Inheritance Tax is paid in relation to his shares, and his daughter to whom he leaves the shares completes the share sale the following day.  No capital gains tax is due as her base cost in the shares is market value on the date of her father’s death.

In an alternate reality, Mr Smith narrowly avoids the meteor and completes the sale.  Capital gains tax of c.£1m is payable.  The next day, giddy with his new found fortune, he goes bungee jumping and is run over by a bus on the way home.  Inheritance tax is payable on the £9m of cash which he leaves to his daughter at 40%.  The date of signing of the deal has reduced the amount inherited from £10m to £5.4m.

The tax rules are functioning here to encourage entrepreneurs to retain their shares until death if they wish to optimise the tax position.  This does not seem either fiscally or socially healthy.  However, it is arguable that what is unfair is the existence of the tax and not the existence of the relief.

Inheritance Tax Planning

Mr Johnson also noted that “The problem with inheritance tax is that it is very hard to make it work for the really wealthy. It is the middlingly wealthy who end up paying it because it is pretty easy, if you can give money away during your life, or use trusts and so on, for people who have got serious money not to pay the full 40%”

The key here is that Inheritance Tax is a tax where planning opportunities continue to exist, and not exclusively for the very wealthy.  Planning need not be expensive, certainly compared to the 40% tax burden which will arise in its absence.  We would advise the “middlingly wealthy” to be engaged in a discussion with a tax specialist on how they can seek to legitimately minimise the loss of wealth to future generations of their family.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

0141 886 6644
craig.coyle@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in January 2017. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

It’s been a most wonderful year [life]

December 22, 2016

People say “don’t look back”, as if looking back on something is bad. But for me, looking back is something I’m incredibly proud to do at this time of the year; because looking back helps me look forward. Like the engines of a space rocket surging into space, looking back is what propels me forward.

2016 has been jam-packed with great things for Campbell Dallas. It’s been a year of change and really making tangible the growth of our firm. As I write this, it’s also just shy of 40 years since the Dallas side of Campbell Dallas was formed. Most of our staff are under 40, meaning most of them weren’t even alive at the time Bob Dallas started out. Unfortunately I was!

A mere 12 months ago our numbers were looking pretty good. We were sitting at 170 staff, 19 partners, 4 offices and an £11m turnover. Now these numbers are sitting at 210 staff, 21 partners, 5 offices and we are heading towards £14m turnover.

Just because I haven’t thrown enough numbers at you, this year we also had 67 students go through exams while working with us. Students are doing various qualifications such as AAT, ACCA and CTA; amongst others. Campbell Dallas is an award winning training firm accredited to the highest standard by both ACCA and ICAS – something I’m very proud of.

For me, investing in the next generation of accountants is part of a successful firm. This year, Investors in Young People awarded us gold status saying, “This represents a true commitment to the training and development of young people and demonstrates Campbell Dallas LLP as an employer of choice for young people. This is a fantastic achievement, and testament to your effective practices around Youth Employment.”

2016 saw us winning the hat-trick at the Scottish Accountancy and Finance Awards; Firm of the Year, Corporate Finance Team of the Year and Restructuring Team of the Year. The best part of the award ceremony was being able to stand beside my colleagues on stage. A special thanks to Graham, Ali and Gerry for being with me for the CF award.

business insider best accountancy firm in Scotland 2016 - campbell dallas

L-R: Gerry McLaughlin, Graham Cunning, Me and Alastair Woodburn receiving the Corporate Finance Team of the Year award.

We expanded our office locations this year when we bought W White & Co of Kilmarnock. The Kilmarnock office came online with us in September and brings with it new people who are full of new ideas and enthusiasm. I look forward to 2017 as they fully integrate and feel the Campbell Dallas love.

Campbell Dallas aquisition of White & Co, Kilmarnock. Pic shows Chris Horne (Managing Partner of Campbell Dallas) with Bill White and Donald Boyd and Nicola Campbell in the Kilmarnock office. Copyright Ashley Coombes/Epic Scotland 2016© Free for editorial use image, please credit: Ashley Coombes

L-R: Nicola Campbell, Me, Bill White and Donald Boyd on the day we incorporated W White & Co into Campbell Dallas

But in 2016 we are a firm of leaders and not all are accountants. Our support functions keep the firm running and we’ve expanded across facilities, marketing and administration too. New people and new ideas are part of propelling us forward together and developing our culture.

Being an attractive place to work is something we’ve worked hard on this year too. We’ve always been a flexible employer and we advocate flexible working and then we make it a reality. We have staff at all levels working hours and days that fit into their lives outside of work. Life isn’t confined to out with the 9-5, and vica versa. Being flexible helps us to develop a happy staff culture; it’s not your fault if the commute into work was extra busy today and you ended up being 15 minutes late. We’ve also made sure that what people get back is fair too and we are a living wage employer.

Success isn’t just about getting bigger, making more money or employing more staff. It’s also about what our firm stands for and what the bedrock of our culture is. In 2016 we formed the Campbell Dallas Foundation. Someone else who definitely was alive 40 years ago, my partner David Hunter, has always had a close affinity with helping others. This has always been part of our DNA, so it was a natural course to take in setting up the Foundation. The ethos is simple – support a range of causes that are dear to the people of Campbell Dallas. Since July funds from the Foundation have matched staff fundraising across all of our offices for 18 different good causes.

In January we installed one of Glasgow’s biggest rooftop solar arrays and to date we have offset over 25 tonnes of CO2 – despite the bad weather.

All in all it has been a year to be proud of and that pride should extend to every person who works here. Now it’s time to look forward to 2017. I look forward with hope and optimism.

Season’s greetings and best wishes to you and yours for the coming year.

Chris Horne, Managing Partner
0141 886 6644
chris.horne@campbelldallas.co.uk

Post-Brexit Bounce?

December 22, 2016

We’re well and truly into the post-Brexit period and as Corporate Finance Partner at Campbell Dallas I’ve been looking back at Q3 deal flow. Although it’s still too early to call, this is the 1st quarter post Brexit vote, and may help to start identify what the next two years or so may hold for the Scottish & UK deals market.

Our CF team has never been busier; indeed from September in particular there has been a significant upturn. So rather than Brexit slowing deal flow, we’ve actually been experiencing the opposite. And it’s not just an increase in the volume of deals, we’re seeing more non-Scottish and foreign buyers and investors actively seeking opportunities and closing deals we’re advising on here in Scotland.

What we do know is that the post Brexit fall in Sterling is a boon when it comes to foreign buyers accessing the UK market. But we also know that quality Scottish businesses with a proven business model, good growth prospects, and a clear competitive advantage remain attractive to trade and institutional buyers.

So if there is a storm to come, then I think quality businesses will weather it. They’ve faced change and uncertainty before, and I’m sure that whatever Brexit eventually brings, they’ll find a way to be resilient, adapt and take advantage of any change.

My fellow Corporate Partner, Chris Horne agrees, “I’ve heard some comments that deals have been falling over as a result of the Brexit vote, but we’ve seen a sustained increase in M&A activity, really since early summer, and our deal pipeline is showing no sign of reducing. The reality is that while there’s been a lot of talk about Brexit, until the negotiations start in earnest, no-one really knows how it will affect companies and deal making”.

I’m also noticing a trend in trade bidders from south of the border, the US and elsewhere making unsolicited enquires to companies we’ve been hired to advise. The post Brexit quarter, and the subsequent period, has held up very nicely, and we don’t see any evidence of this slowing down in 2017. Investment in the UK in our experience isn’t being stunted as much as some commentators previously forecast.

It will take some time for the Brexit fog to clear but I don’t think this will be anytime soon, and in the meantime I think our Corporate Finance team will remain very busy advising and supporting our clients.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

0141 886 6644
graham.cunning@campbelldallas.co.uk

 

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in December 2016.

Voice recognition and driverless cars

December 16, 2016

I was a non-believer, a cynic you may say, when it came to the subject of connected and driverless cars. Why would you want to pass on the pleasure of driving to the latest and greatest microchip? Even the first electric car I fell in love with came unstuck when it came to range anxiety, charging points and most importantly, maxing out at 124 miles per hour – and they called it a super car?!

Toy robots_web

You call this a super car? Where do I plug it in?

I’ve watched the nonsense of driverless cars, including a tragic incident in the US with a test driver in the last year. So what has changed? Well a friend of mine gave me a present at the weekend. Not one I had any desire for, yet it is magic. I have to add this is not product placement, however the little £44.99 Amazon Echo Dot has shown me the light when it comes to home automation. And with home automation the most expensive item at the home is the car. I’ve been able to call up 40 million songs without touching a tablet or smart phone. It is not just the gimmick of voice recognition; it does genuinely tell me the time, date, weather and even (I kid you not) do my 12 year old son’s chemistry homework “Alexa what is the chemical sign for platinum?” You get the picture.

Yes it is a bit crude and perhaps it will be on the scrap heap quicker than the 1970s Teasmade that was the pioneer to the connected Nespresso machine; however I now see in my lifetime robotics being able to take on tasks like clear the dishes, do the ironing and make a cup of tea. So where do cars come in? Well Amazon are ahead of the game in that they have collaborated with BMW and built the connected car functionality of the latest generation BMWs. You can yell at the device to ‘heat up the car’ and it does so.  Home, and hence vehicle, automation is here to stay – I’ve seen it first hand and I’m away to ask Alexa what the best route to the office is tomorrow.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

0141 886 6644
donald.boyd@campbelldallas.co.uk

Higher earners in Scotland to pay more tax #ScotBudget

December 16, 2016

Yesterday’s #ScotBudget deployed the new Scottish tax powers. However given the range of tax powers they have, it was the proverbial drop in the ocean. Mark Pryce, Tax Partner at Campbell Dallas noted, “Unsurprisingly, however, it was only one of the powers which was actually unleashed.”

Mark Pryce Campbell Dallas

Mark Pryce, Tax Partner

The Scottish Government chose to pin back the band at which Scottish taxpayers start to pay the higher rate of tax at 40% with only a small inflationary rise to £43,430; whereas the rest of the UK will be at £45,000 from 6 April 2017; rising to £50,000 by the end of the UK Parliament. This leaves Scottish higher rate taxpayers £314 worse off next year than their counterparts.

Further admin hassle for UK business

The planned change also places more emphasis on all UK employers to identify their Scottish resident employees. There is now a much bigger financial impact on the Scottish economy than before and going forward Scottish taxpayers will now have to get different PAYE treatment. It is estimated that the proposal will affect over 400,000 individual taxpayers.

This Scottish Government divergence on income taxes could herald the start of further changes and an extra burden for Scottish and UK businesses. Indeed there remains further scope for different bands and rates to be introduced in next year’s #ScotBudget; provided yesterday’s proposed changes get pushed through the Scottish Parliament in the Spring. However, laid on top of 400 more pages of UK Finance Act 2017 new tax legislation, this merely adds a further considerable administrative headache for employers to contend with.

Mark added, “Is it enough of an increase to start a “brain drain” of Scottish talent to other parts of the UK? Probably not, well not yet anyway.” However some higher rate Scottish taxpayers may be starting to feel slightly aggrieved and a little uneasy at their net take home pay being out of kilter with their English colleagues.

Making tax digital: coming to a rural business near you soon…

December 12, 2016

Making tax digital was a bold aspiration set out by the Government in last year’s budget. The vision is to make the tax system for businesses operate much more closely to “real time”, as opposed to the current system of reporting information on tax returns and paying liabilities long after the end of the tax year. In this blog I will explore how this might be implemented within rural businesses from what we know so far. The Government’s consultation findings won’t be reported on until early 2017.

From 2018, the proposal is that most businesses, self employed and landlords will be required to keep track of their affairs digitally and update HMRC at least quarterly via their digital tax account. Businesses will be required to use digital tools, such as software or apps to keep records of their income and expenditure. These measures will not apply to individuals in employment or pensioners unless they have secondary income of more than £10,000 per annum from self employment or property. A consultation period has been running throughout 2016, and to say the proposals have been controversial would be an understatement. The consultation suggests that making tax digital will help to reduce the tax gap and contribute £945m to the exchequer by 2020/21.

As the pace of technology continues to develop and become part of every day life I think it is right to pursue a digital agenda. Paper is disappearing, more businesses are transacting online, and there has been a significant reduction in the use of cash in the economy due to the rise of smart and contactless payment methods. Once the digital tax regime has bedded down we will wonder how we coped under the old system. But a change to our tax system of the magnitude proposed should not be compressed into an arbitrary timetable. There are so many things that have to be put in place, not to mention the poor internet connection speeds and lack of broadband infrastructure in rural areas.

There is a feeling it’s a one size fits all approach, the scope covering businesses with many millions of turnover to businesses with profits below the tax threshold. For rural businesses quarterly digital updates do not line up well with the overall objectives of cost savings and certainty around tax liabilities. The seasonal nature of farming means that quarterly updates are unlikely to provide meaningful business management information or figures from which a tax liability can be accurately estimated. Estates and some family businesses can have complex ownership structures and very diverse activities. It would be difficult and expensive to fit such an economic unit or individual entities into a quarterly reporting framework.

Looking more widely at rural businesses, many individuals are self employed as rural employment opportunities are more limited, and some are essentially lifestyle businesses. It has been challenged throughout the consultation process if a digital solution is appropriate in these cases, and whilst I have no doubt digital will be the destination, perhaps a more phased and proportionate implementation would provide a better long term result. Any transition to a new system takes time, and in order to gather high quality data in the scale being suggested requires a sensible timetable to ensure it’s achieved.

HMRC have already confirmed data will be transmitted via a secure, encrypted system, with businesses and individuals requiring to build in further measures to keep data secure going forward. The consultation period closed on 7 November, and we must wait until after Christmas to hear the outcomes from the consultation process and governments final plans. More updates to follow….

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

01738 441 888
ian.craig@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in December 2016. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

What impact might Brexit have on rural businesses?

December 6, 2016

After the unexpected Brexit result, many people in the farming sector are considering what impact this is going to have on them. Could this be a positive springboard for change, or will it have negative consequences?

My view is that the short term economic impact of Brexit has been largely positive for farming so far. The devaluation of sterling has increased the cost of food imports coming into UK and increased the subsidy income. I suspect the low value of the pound against the Euro will be here for some time. There are so many unknowns with Brexit and we’ll likely see the worldwide financial markets will remain cautious over the UK economy for some time.

Another positive change brought about by Brexit was the drop in interest rates. A quarter percentage point reduction is not going to make huge savings, but those expanding can secure fixed rate borrowing at very low rates. Land has traditionally been a safe asset and for this reason banks are generally supportive of farmers expanding and buying land. I don’t foresee agricultural land dropping in value, despite the poor prices across most sectors.

So has Brexit been good news for farming? Short term yes, but long term the concern is over what level of support will come from the newly re-formed UK Government. The news that the current CAP regime will remain in place until 2020 was expected. To replace the various schemes throughout the UK would be too difficult a task to undertake. The uncertainty is what comes after 2020. In Scotland, I believe a large part of the political divide sees farmers as wealthy landowners. At a UK political level agriculture may be low down the agenda and the reality is farming no longer represents a large part of the UK economy. Contrary to popular opinion I would expect a large reduction in subsidy and it would be a good idea for businesses to plan for that.

As an industry we now have an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and plan for what we want farming subsidies to look like after 2020. An area based system is unlikely to serve the industry well, because:

1) The UK public are unlikely to support an area based subsidy. Generally the public are not aware of how much farmers receive in subsidies or how the CAP system works. I believe the public perception is that other countries in the EU are getting subsidy payments so “our” farmers are entitled to it. As an industry we need to be prepared for more scrutiny and publicity and therefore not blindly lobby for more of the same, or a subsidy system mirroring our European neighbours.

2) An area based subsidy system creates inefficiency in farming. I appreciate that farming in some parts of the UK would be impossible without subsidy. But for many farming businesses subsidy only hinders the drive for efficiency and profit, encouraging businesses to act in irrational ways. It has also played a part in restricting structural change in farming and land ownership. I can only comment on the Scottish system, but here the CAP regime has encouraged landowners to retain land, often to claim subsidy for little farming activity.

3) The environmental benefits delivered by farmers must be separated from food production. The message needs to be delivered that the environmental measures have a cost to the farmer for giving up time, profit and often land. Ideally the environmental measures should be largely optional for farmers, leaving the Government to decide on how much they want to encourage and pay to deliver environmental policy.

There will be many competing interests starting to lobby Government on farm subsidies post 2020. It is important that we as an industry start to establish a clear vision of what we want. To do this we should ignore the current area based system, and instead look towards a system which is largely optional, rewards environmental measures. Of utmost importance, we need to ensure we secure the support of the UK public.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

01738 441 888
andrew.ritchie@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in December 2016. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Do you know about Mineral Extraction Allowances?

December 1, 2016

We have recently had significant success advising on Mineral Extraction Allowances (MEAs) claims. This highly lucrative tax incentive is available for capital expenditure incurred in connection with mineral extraction; typically in the mining and/or quarrying industries.

Given the specialist nature and huge complexity of the MEA regime, it’s likely that many companies are failing to spot this opportunity. A few companies have simply overlooked the relief as it tends not to be widely publicised. Some potential claimants are even unaware that they are in fact carrying on qualifying activities. Whilst the claimant must be carrying on a “mineral extraction trade” we have come across some situations where the mining or quarrying company has still managed to access the relief; despite not owning the land.

MEAs are particularly valuable given that the conditions for qualifying expenditure cover expenditure which would typically not qualify for any type of UK corporation tax deduction. For example, infrastructure capital expenditure on the construction of roads and tunnels, site restoration costs and similar items do tend to qualify for MEAs.

On some occasions we have identified that even although MEAs were not available on the full amount of the capex spend, we were still able to help unlock valuable capital allowance claims on processing, plant, machinery and fixtures.

We are currently helping our clients to reduce their tax bills, where their activities include sand & gravel extraction, hard rock mining and in the field of geothermal energy. Our team have strong experience of pulling together large MEA claims. Our clients in this sector have been delighted with our proactive approach in this highly specialist area.

To find out if your company may qualify for MEA tax relief, or to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

0141 886 6644
mark.pryce@campbelldallas.co.uk

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in December 2016. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Spend to save company tax before April 2017

November 25, 2016

Wednesday’s Autumn Statement got me thinking. What should your business be doing in the short and medium term to obtain the benefit of existing tax incentives which are disappearing? And what is round the corner that you should be planning for?

CORPORATES

Corporation tax rate cut from 20% to 19% in April 2017, then to 17% in 2020

It’s maybe too obvious but don’t overlook this in your forecast models. A lower rate of tax is great, however expense deductions are worth more now than in just over three years. Consider whether to accelerate expenditure on medium term projects.

Whilst there is an upside for companies with large deferred tax balances, those with DT assets may suffer a one-off P&L hit when the 17% is enacted.

Use your tax losses

The rules on utilising corporation tax losses are becoming more flexible. For some there will be immediate relief against profits from other sources for post 1 April 2017 losses. For some larger companies there could be a major restriction as brought forward loss relief will be capped.

Review your debt profile!

Corporation tax relief on interest payments will be restricted after 1 April 2017 for some larger companies. International groups will be hit hardest – firstly in their heads; the new rules are complex and difficult to navigate. Secondly, in their pockets; there is a widely held view that this measure is likely to be a major upwards driver of the effective tax rates for global businesses which traditionally debt fund local operations via intra group loans.

Research & Development tax credits

The current system has fairly generous tax relief which acts as a major incentive to innovate for all types of business; small to large.

It was announced that this is under review – it could mean more generous relief for larger corporates but the impact on SMEs is not known. If your business has substantial R&D activities, act now and claim your entitlement and be prepared for a new regime coming into effect over the next few years.

Capex

For those in the business of buying (or producing) energy saving products of building energy efficient infrastructure – some incredibly good tax incentives are on offer. This was further enhanced by commitments to offer 100% tax first year allowances on ultra low emission (electric cars) charging points, in addition to existing tax incentives for ultra low emission  vehicles (100% FYAs) already available, and a low Benefit in Kind regime for employees provided with such vehicles for private use by their companies.

Business Premises Renovation Allowances (BPRA)

This scheme offers 100% relief on costs of converting disused property in certain (nationwide) postcodes. Many areas in Scotland are covered. The scheme ends in March 2017 and there was no indication by the Chancellor this will be extended.

OTHER BUSINESSES

Incorporate or not?

With company rates being drastically reduced there are some significant tax benefits for many businesses as well as certain protections against commercial risk to consider.

Whilst the upside is the lower CT rate, businesses need to be aware that in some circumstances funds can be locked away for several years. For those businesses reinvesting in capex and building up capital however, this can be highly attractive; with the added tax incentive of achieving a lower (via Entrepreneurs’ Relief) 10% capital gains tax rate on disposal of the business at a later date.  A welcome bonus to reward hard efforts of entrepreneurs!  And there was no tinkering with Entrepreneurs’ Relief announced in the Autumn Statement; perhaps a positive indication that it’s most likely this relief will be around for quite some time yet.

There will be significant changes to the Partnership tax rules on a number of fronts, particularly in the way profits share is allocated to the partners. This is likely to be another reason many businesses may seek the certainty and in some instances relative simplicity of the corporate tax regime instead. We will know more shortly when the new legislation is finally published.

Share ownership incentives

Put simply, these could be on the way out. They were in flavour with the previous Chancellor but appear to be out of fashion with the new Conservative regime. For those considering implementing an Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI) share scheme it might be worth progressing with this sooner rather than later, or you may find it will disappear at some point soon.

ALL BUSINESSES

Review your employee benefits

The tax impact of alternative to cash salary tax efficient arrangements is changing. Whilst the Government do like pensions and electric cars, gym memberships and mobile phone salary sacrifice options will be gone over the next year or so.

There have been major changes to PAYE Settlement Agreements (simplified in some cases) and to the tax rules on termination payments which have continued to cause large scale confusion over the years. HMRC expect employers to get their employer tax compliance absolutely spot on; and in my experience they deal harshly with those who overlook their obligations and get it wrong.

Finally,

Prepare for “Making Tax Digital”

The announcement has now been delayed to January 2017 despite several Government promises. This is likely to have a massive impact on all businesses, not only in software development costs, but in business disruption; particularly if as expected a quarterly reporting regime is introduced in 2018 to 2020. Watch this space!

 

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog please get in touch with me here, or:

0141 886 6644
mark.pryce@campbelldallas.co.uk

 

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in November 2016. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Autumn Statement – our key stand-outs

November 24, 2016

The new Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, presented his first Autumn Statement, against the backdrop of Brexit, Trump and under the direction of a new Conservative regime.

Our experts at Campbell Dallas were on tenterhooks in anticipation of what many thought would be a very interesting Statement. Indeed, it did not fail on that front.

Below we set out some of the key stand-outs from Hammond’s first (and last) Autumn Statement.

  1. This will be the last Autumn Statement as we know it. From 2018 there will be a Spring Statement and the main Budget will take place in the autumn. To ready for this, it has been confirmed that in 2017 there will be two Budgets; both a spring and an autumn one.
  2. Salary sacrifice for BIK (Benefits in Kind), for the likes of mobile phone contracts and gym memberships will be scrapped. However pensions, childcare, low emission cars, and cycle to work schemes will be exempt, so there are still tax saving incentives available for businesses in these areas. Note that there are phase out timescales for the benefits affected.
  3. Commit to cut Corporation tax to 17% by 2020, but not as low as 15% as previously proposed by George Osborne. This is still an incredibly low rate, well below that of many other major countries (more than half the current US rate) and a huge business tax break for multinationals contemplating locating their activities in the UK.
  4. It was announced that an estimated £2b will be raised from a clamp down on Tax Avoidance schemes. This is perhaps the price to pay for a low corporation tax rate and a lower capital gains tax rate of 20% for individuals. We are seeing that there has been not only a complete clamp down on so called aggressive planning structures, but a wider tightening of the general tax compliance regime by HMRC and a harder line taken in genuinely commercial situations.
  5. Insurance Premium Tax will increase from 10% to 12% by June 2017, having an impact on the consumer cost of insurances (car, home, buildings, etc).
  6. The higher rate tax threshold will rise to £50K by the end of this Parliament as planned. Note that the Scottish Government have set their own higher rate tax threshold and it cannot be anticipated that they will raise it beyond more inflationary increases from the current £43,000 threshold.
  7. More money for devolved parliaments for infrastructure projects, with an extra £800m for Scotland.
  8. More complexity in the R&D tax credits regime, although there is a promise to build on the existing above the line regime (RDEC).
  9. £1bn funding for upgrading digital infrastructure, including 5G mobile. A huge opportunity for many of our Scottish based tech companies.

Our experts are always available to discuss any concerns or thoughts. Speak to your usual contact, or your nearest office.

 

The information in this news item should not be regarded as financial advice.  This is based on our understanding in November 2016. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Tax can fund expansion of craft brewing & distilling

November 15, 2016

The expansion of Scotland’s buoyant craft brewing and distilling sector is being curtailed because attractive tax and investment incentives that can finance growth and brand development are being over-looked.

Murdoch MacLennan, a finance industry veteran and head of our Brewing & Distilling sector, says that businesses can get distracted by the production process rather than focus on creating, funding, building and protecting high value brands.

“Scotland’s craft and micro brewing and distilling industry is thriving and creating outstanding products, but valuable tax and investment incentives are often being overlooked” says Murdoch.

“If tax management is used tactically rather than reactively, valuable savings can fund cash flow and allow a business to invest in R&D, technology, brands, sales and marketing. Craft brewing is booming globally, but it is exceptionally difficult to move from being a micro business to building a valuable national, or international brand.”

“Cash flow and working capital are crucial in the early years, and we need to help more entrepreneurs to use the tax system incentives to fund growth. For example, certain investments will attract 100 per cent tax relief, which coupled with grants and incentives means that many of these businesses are missing out on valuable cashflow.”

He added: “In the medium to longer term, success in the brewing and distilling industry is determined by building a strong, protected brand able to command a premium, however the product is sold to the consumer. Strong brands also tend to become acquisition targets, and hence offer more potential for an exit to a bigger business, and we are starting to see more evidence of these outcomes.”

An example of a company in the sector which has built a distinctive brand is Innis & Gunn.

Innis & Gunn has maximised available tax incentives such as R&D and reinvested the cash saved in building its brand. The strength of that brand both nationally and internationally (70 per cent of their turnover comes from overseas) has enabled the company to expand and raise further funds for expansion. Last year just under £3m was raised through a Mini Bond, helping fund the acquisition of the Inveralmond Brewery.

 

Chairman Tony Hunt says:

“The power of the Innis & Gunn brand is central to the success of the business, and is a key component in attracting investors to our Innis & Gunn community.”

 

Our brewing and distilling team has expertise in Tax, VAT, R&D grants, duty, export regulations and IP.

Innis & Gunn are currently crowdfunding to support the expansion of their award-winning Beer Kitchens. Find out more about their crowdfunding here.

Murdoch MacLennan
0141 886 6644
Murdoch.maclennan@campbelldallas.co.uk

Campbell Dallas advises Traveltek on securing £5.3m funding

October 19, 2016

Traveltek, the fast-growing creator of bespoke booking systems for many of the world’s leading travel, cruise and hotel businesses, has secured £5.3m funding from the specialist private equity fund manager, YFM Equity Partners (YFM), to help finance a major global expansion programme.

Traveltek provides travel retailers, agents and wholesalers with the technology to sell an extensive range of hotels, flights, cruises and ancillary travel services in one seamless transaction.  The company has a rapidly expanding client base of household travel trade names including Hay’s Travel, Trailfinders, Co-operative Travel, the Flight Centre, Emirates and Barrhead Travel.

The business has grown from a start-up in 2002 to employing nearly 100 staff and turning over £4.3m.  The company processes many millions of lines of data every day, and its systems underpin the day-to-day booking operations of a growing number of travel trade businesses across the world.

traveltekblue

The investment will help expand the international office network from four to 12 offices and increase staff numbers from 100 to c. 200 during the next three years.  Significant investment will also be made in the development of the next generation of bookings software technology, systems and processes.

The new offices to be opened will include Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Dubai, joining Traveltek’s existing offices in Miami, Sydney and Hyderabad in India, which is a development centre.

Commenting on the investment and the strategy for growth, Traveltek Group Managing Director Kenny Picken said: “We are delighted to have secured the backing of YFM Equity Partners, which has an excellent understanding of this market and the growth potential of Traveltek.  The business is already in a strong position as the booking systems supplier of choice for many of the major travel trade businesses.  We can now leverage that position and develop Traveltek into a major global technology business and invest in the latest technology, new infrastructure, business systems, business development and new talent.”

“We had excellent advice from Campbell Dallas Corporate Finance, our advisors in the deal and huge support from our lawyers Bellwether Green where both firms worked extremely hard in the process.”

Chris Horne, Managing Partner at Campbell Dallas, Chartered Accountants and corporate finance adviser to Traveltek said: “Traveltek is a great Scottish success story, and has the potential, with this investment, to become a major international player in the travel bookings technology market.  We are delighted to have helped advise the business on its fund-raising, and to have worked with YFM on this deal.”

Liquidations of Stirling based windows and soft furnishings businesses

October 17, 2016

A long-established Stirling-based window and door manufacturer, Guardian Systems (Scotland) Ltd, and an associate company, Guardian Soft Furnishings Ltd, which supplied soft furnishings, have been placed in liquidation with the loss of 44 jobs.

Founded in 1993, Guardian Systems (Scotland) manufactured and supplied custom-made windows, doors, conservatories and associated products for the residential and commercial market. Based in Springkerse Industrial Estate in Stirling, the business is highly regarded across the Central Belt for the quality of its products and customer service.

Guardian Systems (Scotland) was trading strongly at the start of the year, and had a turnover close to £1.5m, but witnessed a fall in orders during the summer. Despite the best efforts of the Directors, this led to major cash flow problems and unsustainable losses, leading to a decision to place the company in liquidation, resulting in the loss of 27 jobs.

An associate company, Guardian Soft Furnishings Ltd, which supplied soft furnishings and fabrics to retail and commercial clients, has also been placed in liquidation. Guardian Soft Furnishings had an extensive client base across the Central Belt, and supplied hotels and commercial premises, in addition to residential clients. The liquidation has led to the loss of 17 jobs.

Derek Forsyth, Head of Restructuring and Insolvency at Campbell Dallas said: “Guardian Systems (Scotland) and Guardian Soft Furnishings were well-known in their markets, and had good quality clients. It is unfortunate that a number of factors created significant problems that ultimately caused both businesses to be placed in liquidation. We are marketing assets for sale and would encourage interested parties to make contact with us as soon as possible.”

Campbell Dallas will provide every possible support to the employees affected by the closure, including advice on how to file a claim with the Redundancy Payments Office.

Interested parties should contact Derek Forsyth on 0141 886 6644.

Campbell Dallas opens Kilmarnock office with Acquisition of White & Co

October 8, 2016

Campbell Dallas has made a strategic move to expand its business in Ayrshire and the South of Scotland with the acquisition of the established Kilmarnock firm of W White & Co.

The deal will see 14 staff transfer with immediate effect, including founder Bill White, who becomes a consultant. The firm will gain around £1m additional turnover, and the new Kilmarnock office will provide us with a permanent base from which to develop the exciting Ayrshire market.

Founded in 1981, White & Co has become one of Ayrshire’s leading independent firms with a diverse and high quality owner managed business client base. The firm provided a broad range of business advisory, tax, management accounting, fund-raising and insolvency services, and had developed a strong presence in the construction, engineering, medical, retail, insolvency and debt recovery markets.

Campbell Dallas aquisition of White & Co, Kilmarnock. Pic shows Chris Horne (Managing Partner of Campbell Dallas) with Bill White + Donald Boyd and Nicola Campbell in the Kilmarnock office. Copyright Ashley Coombes/Epic Scotland 2016© Free for editorial use image, please credit: Ashley Coombes

L-R: Chris Horne, Nicola Campbell, Bill White and Donald Boyd

Chris Horne, Campbell Dallas’ Managing Partner said the acquisition was great news for the staff and clients of both firms: “Bill and I are very pleased with this deal – it allows his team and clients to benefit from our services and industry expertise, and it gives Campbell Dallas an excellent gateway into Ayrshire and the South of Scotland. Ayrshire is an area the firm is keen to develop further and my fellow Partner, Donald Boyd, has advised a good number of existing clients within the area for many years. There is a band of really high quality businesses in this market, and we think there is demand for our entrepreneurial approach to advising clients. We will ensure that there is a strong ‘continuity of service’ for Bill’s clients and staff, and we will invest in the office to ensure there is a smooth and easy transition. From the clients’ view this can only be a good thing.”

Bill White added: “Joining Campbell Dallas is the best possible outcome for our clients and staff. It means we can offer a wider range of advisory services and in-depth technical knowledge in areas such as Tax, VAT and corporate finance, plus offer industry knowledge in a wide range of industry sectors including agriculture, brewing and distilling, dental, professional services and food and drink. It was very important to us that it would be ‘business as usual’ for our clients, many of whom we have served for 20 or more years, and Campbell Dallas shares the same ethos and focus on delivering quality advice. I am delighted that we have partnered with Campbell Dallas, and look forward to helping to develop the newly enlarged firm.”

We’ve become a nation of pay-as-you-go consumers

October 7, 2016

First it was the monthly credit card bills. Next I blame Orange and Vodafone for giving away seemingly ‘free phones’ which you essentially rented through your monthly bill. More recently, our Millennials have been transfixed by the ‘Pay-As-You-Go’ culture of Netflix, Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music (the list goes on). Back in the day we 70’s kids actually purchased music or bought a DVD or even, so seemingly archaic, went out and rented a VHS tape from our local video store. As a finance professional I’ve watched the definition of wealth transitioning from what you have saved in the bank, to what comes into the Bank account each month. I guess there is no other industry better at realising this switch than the motor trade.

We budget monthly and we buy everything monthly. For that reason, the actual cost of an item has become irrelevant. What is the cost of an album these days? What is the cost of a seven part box set? Who knows? All we know is that someone out there is making money off of our monthly payments. So why even bother with list prices of vehicles?

It was only last year I was in conversation with a salesman on the floor of a Jaguar Dealership who succinctly summed it up, saying that people don’t ‘buy cars’ any more, they ‘buy monthly payments’. This has been evidenced by the boom in PCP over the years, in that consumers are less bothered about the list price but rather what they are having to take out their net pay every month.

Where does this stop? We’re moving into more and more riskier areas, particularly with the advent of Personal Contract Hire. I do question whether the man in the street really understands the contractual nature of the transaction they are getting into? It also plays heavily on the residual value of the vehicles where it has been increasingly difficult to predict. In some instances, for a lower monthly payment, you can acquire a new vehicle versus a used vehicle.

Whether we like it or not the monthly payment culture is here to stay, so the trade has to keep getting more and more innovative in ways in which they can sell to consumers. Not doing so will end up with a monthly payment being run through a “checkingmonthlypayment.com” price comparison website and will this then be the death of the car showroom. This has been predicted in the past, but given the product is frankly too good today, the consumer increasingly doesn’t want to view vehicles in a showroom. The punter will rely on recommendations from friends and family.

So where do we go from here? I think it will be enhanced package deals, including insurance, servicing, road tax which the fleet market has excelled in over the years. With the advent of alternative fueled vehicles, it may be that the use of the charging sockets around the country and the installation of a personal charging socket at your home and office is inclusive. This would float the boat of many a millennial striving for that fixed financial certainty as they genuflect at the altar of Jobs, Wozniak and Musk. Elon Musk, now there’s a thought automotive industry…

donald.boyd@campbelldallas.co.uk

126 year old Scottish car dealership looking for buyer

September 27, 2016

James Haugh (Castle Douglas) Ltd,one of Scotland’s oldest car dealerships, has gone into liquidation and is seeking a buyer. Campbell Dallas Restructuring Partner, Blair Milne, is looking to sell the business and assets.

James Haugh (Castle Douglas) Ltd is a prominent and much-valued car dealership and service centre that has served the South of Scotland for well over a century. Unfortunately, in recent years the rise of internet sales has seriously affected trade and margins, and the business was not sustainable.

The dealership was founded in 1890 hiring out horse-drawn carriages and was one of the first to offer a petrol driven car for public hire in 1909. The main business was in both new and used Vauxhalls, but also in selling a wide range of other used vehicles. Servicing, fleet contract work, mobility servicing, repairs and MOTs were offered too.

It was run by six generations of the family, was an approved Vauxhall Service Centre since 1962 and had a turnover of £1million.

Blair Milne adds, ‘We are marketing the business and extensive assets for sale with immediate effect, with the hope that if a deal can be secured swiftly, a buyer has the opportunity to start trading again. The business had a very wide and loyal customer base, so the liquidation offers a good opportunity for a motor trade business or entrepreneur wanting to enter this market.’

‘We are compiling the list of assets, which includes the garage on King Street, offices, a large yard and moveable assets including motor vehicles, ramps, diagnostic equipment and tooling.

Alternatively, the site could also offer considerable potential for property development, possibly residential.’

Contact from those in the motoring trade, entrepreneurs or property developers should be made as soon as possible by contacting Blair Milne on 0141 886 6644.

The time to buy is now

August 29, 2016

With interest rates at an historic low, and a raft of tax incentives that encourage investment, there has never been a better time to buy, rather than borrow, business assets.

Leasing has long been considered good business practice – cash is king and leasing frees up cash flow and working capital. Certainly, leasing is important, but in the current climate, owner managers should be considering buying their assets before an attractive window of opportunity to make substantial tax savings closes.

For businesses needing to borrow, with interest rates in touching distance of zero there is currently a great opportunity to negotiate low cost loans to fund purchases. The capital used can then be applied to leverage tax savings from investment incentives such as the Annual Investment Allowance, which provides 100% relief up to £200k. With Corporation Tax set to fall from its current 20% to 17% in 2020, there is a further tax incentive to buy rather than lease, and offset the purchase against tax.

For businesses renting commercial premises, they should now consider buying rather than renting, particularly smaller premises. The Land and Buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland is zero up to the value of £150k on the purchase of commercial premises, and rates relief adds a further incentive for owner occupation.

Other specific reliefs for capital expenditure include BPRA (Business Premises Renovation Allowance), ECAs (Enhanced Capital Allowances for energy saving technologies) and the purchase of zero emission company cars.

If a business owner is looking to sell, it is important that the tax cost on exit is minimised by ensuring the structure of the shareholdings or group will allow for Entrepreneurs’ Relief or the Substantial Shareholdings Exemption to apply.

Low interest rates and compelling tax incentives are in alignment, creating a rare moment in time where buying can be the best way of saving tax, and yet still be investing in your business!

craig.coyle@campbelldallas.co.uk

A “clean” drive to the land of AFVs & honey

July 13, 2016

I occasionally do the school run and amongst the raft of white 4×4’s, botox and lattes, AFVs (Alternative Fuel Vehicles) have become much more common.  At first it was a mad parent with a Renault Twizzy (not very practical!), but that’s upgraded to a BMW i3 or a Tesla Model S.  However, more mainstream has been the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV with its promise of a mind blowing energy consumption but with the practicality of having a petrol cap for emergencies.

It’s a changing landscape out there. Battery technology improvements from milk floats of the past through to the customer complaints of a poor range of hybrid options to the whole of the Nevada desert pimped out in battery cells.

At April 2016 AFV’s accounted for 3.3% of the car market and whether we like it or not, they’re here to stay.  We’re seeing many more manufacturers displaying new plug-in hybrids over the coming months, with the new Mercedes E Class plug-in hybrid model and the Volkswagen plug-in hybrid version of its Tiguan SUV.

This is just the beginning. We have witnessed the future as “range anxiety” reduces.  We have seen this with the Nissan Leaf updating its battery to a 150 mile range, BMW’s i3 to 195 miles and there’s the Tesla Model 3 coming over the hill to take the mid-size executive market by storm; with a promised 210 mile range.

At the moment there’s the appeal of lower tax bands. However, I can’t see this continuing for the future, as the Government is heavily reliant on the tax provided by the current fleet market.

It’s not quite the end for the age of diesel. The popularity of oil burners will continue, provided the range figures remain in excess of 600 to 700 miles after filling up, which compares to AFV’s at around 200 miles.

Nevertheless, AFV’s are the way forward and will continue to get more user friendly, go further on a single charge and provide green motoring (without the need to resort to cheat devices).  If we look at the June 2016 SMT registration figures, they are up 21.3% so perhaps we’re all becoming Norwegian in our outlook on the green agenda!

Payment processing exemption

July 8, 2016

The ECJ (European Court of Justice) has provided its judgement in the cases concerning the VAT liability of card handling charged for the NEC and Bookit (part of the Odeon Group).

The ECJ has acknowledged that while the activities of NEC and Bookit, including preparation and submission of the settlement file, were essential for the transfer of monies to occur, they fell short of the services required to meet the VAT exemption.

This decision is likely to have an impact on those who are charging credit and debit card handling charges and who are treating these as exempt. HMRC will be looking at those businesses which have treated separate charges as exempt from VAT and could look to assess for an underpayment of VAT for the last four years.

I would recommend anyone who is relying on VAT exemption for similar payment processing services to review their position.

Expanding our Corporate Finance Team

June 30, 2016

Building on a successful 2015 and after winning Corporate Finance Team of the Year 2016, we’ve recently expanded the Corporate Finance team with the addition of Harro Leusink and Nicola Todd. Following this move I believe the team is ideally placed for the future.

As Chris Horne (Managing Partner of Campbell Dallas and Head of Corporate Finance) has said:

“Following a very strong 2015 the team has a strong pipeline of work for the period ahead. We are delighted to have recruited a Corporate Finance Manager externally and Corporate Finance Executive internally to allow us to continue to deliver the high quality service our clients expect of Campbell Dallas.”

Our Corporate Finance team is based at the firm’s head office in Glasgow, but we continue to work nationwide in support of clients at our other  offices in Perth, Stirling and Aberdeen. The team also has strong relationships with Scottish and London-based private equity houses.

Here’s a glimpse at the newest members of the team:

Harro Leusink, Corporate Finance Manager
Harro Leusink started his accountancy career in a big four firm in The Netherlands. After moving to Scotland in 2009 he has specialised in Corporate Finance and has worked on various projects, including acquisitions, disposals and post-transaction care on secondment for a major deal in the Scotch whisky sector. Harro has significant experience in managing advisory and transactional assignments said: “I am delighted to have joined one of the leading, independent Corporate Finance groups in Scotland and I am looking forward to working with the team on helping their clients’ businesses grow and maximise value.”

Nicola Todd, Corporate Finance Executive
Nicola Todd joined the team from Campbell Dallas’ Business Advisory Services department following her recent ACCA qualification. She brings with her, experience in supporting SME clients in a wide range of sectors with reporting, financial modelling and fundraising to the team.

Campbell Dallas Triple Award Win at #SAF Awards 2016

June 17, 2016

Campbell Dallas are delighted to have scooped a triple win at the prestigious annual Scottish Accountancy & Finance Awards 2016.

The firm won Large Accountancy Firm of the Year, Corporate Finance Team of the Year and Restructuring Team of the Year.

The judging panel praised Campbell Dallas for our terrific year, where we demonstrated fast paced growth in staff and turnover, leadership in the profession, outstanding investment in staff development, innovation and first-class client solutions.

Managing Partner Chris Horne said: “These awards are testament to our staff across all offices; in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Perth and Stirling, who deliver outstanding service to their clients and each other. The judges commented on our commitment to our people development and to the clever client solutions that are a feature of our business. Our fee income is growing strongly and we are continuing to invest heavily in our staff, including the recruitment this autumn of a further 15 apprentice accountants.”

Thank you to all of our clients who helped make this year’s awards win possible. We will continue to deliver an advisory rich service to help all of our clients achieve their key growth objectives.

New International Tax Regime Threat to O&G Sector

June 10, 2016

The new international tax regime being adopted across the world presents a serious risk to the regeneration of the oil and gas sector, and must be considered by delegates to the Offshore Technology Conference next week, a leading tax expert at Campbell Dallas is warning.

New OECD tax rules regarding Base Erosion and Profits Shifting (BEPS) assesses businesses on the location of their economic activity. This is a major shift in tax rules and is accompanied by a new requirement for businesses to disclose activities in each jurisdiction.

With the global oil and gas sector undergoing massive restructuring, it is likely that changes to corporate structures will trigger international tax liabilities.  These changes will affect multinationals in particular, and those that fail to comply will suffer major penalties or worse, time draining investigations by HMRC and other national tax authorities.

Ian Williams, Chairman and international tax expert, based at our Aberdeen office is concerned that in the rush to cut costs, businesses could overlook this new regime: “Restructuring creates a ‘trail’ of liabilities that need to be disclosed in line with the new international tax order.  When a business is focused on cost cutting and survival, it often loses sight of its tax liabilities.  It is important that delegates to OTC ensure international tax is considered during discussions on restructuring”.

He added: “Companies will need to be more transparent, publish their tax strategy, demonstrate compliance, and be open to public scrutiny on matters which were previously confidential ”.

“Tax planning opportunities on a major scale will virtually be absent with commonly used cross-border tax structures no longer offering any meaningful cost savings on the effective tax rates (ETRs) in each market. It has never been easier for a tax authority to analyse the performance of a business in each of its locations”.

“Effective use of technology, local knowledge and a new range of systems and processes will help businesses comply.  If businesses do not want to be caught out by international tax they must ensure they are fully aware of the new rules, none more so than for companies undergoing restructuring.”

Blair Milne appointed Recovery & Insolvency Partner

June 6, 2016

Blair Milne has been appointed as a new Partner in the firm’s Business Recovery and Insolvency Practice.

Blair Milne has more than 20 years insolvency experience and has worked on many high profile cases, including Muirfield Contracts and The Arches. He has extensive knowledge of the issues facing the construction, leisure, hotel and retail sectors, and is highly regarded for his ability to maintain trading and secure a sale of a business post-appointment.

He also provides debt management and restructuring advice to companies, individuals and unincorporated businesses facing financial distress.

Commenting on his appointment, Blair Milne said: “I am delighted to have become a Partner in one of Scotland’s most progressive accountancy firms. I joined Campbell Dallas ten years ago, and the firm has been hugely supportive of my development, providing me with exposure to some very challenging and exciting engagements as well as a very rewarding career path”.

Derek Forsyth, Head of Business Recovery and Insolvency at Campbell Dallas added: “Blair is widely known and respected in the restructuring and insolvency market, and we are delighted to welcome him as a partner in Campbell Dallas. He has extensive experience in this sector and his appointment reflects the important contribution he has made to our practice, and to the continuing growth of the firm”.

Campbell Dallas invests £250k on 2016 Apprentices

April 22, 2016

Campbell Dallas, the leading independent accountancy firm, is to invest £250k on the recruitment and development of 15 apprenticeship accountants this year.  At present we have 50 staff currently under training contracts with the firm.
Campbell Dallas is one of the largest providers of accountancy apprenticeships in Scotland, and has focused on developing and retaining young talent in response to a major shortage of skilled young people across the accountancy profession.

iiyp_500x140In recognition of the firm’s commitment to young talent, the firm has now been awarded the highest level of Investors in Young People Accreditation, the only
people management standard that focuses on an employer’s recruitment and retention of young people.

“The accountancy profession is struggling to attract, develop and retain young people, and is losing too many to competing sectors offering graduate programmes, such as financial services.  Attracting university trainees is a major problem for the long term sustainability of the profession and will impact on succession planning in the near future.  Three years ago we set a strategy to focus on attracting and training school leavers, and I am pleased to say it has been very successful for the apprentices and for the firm” said Chris Horne, Managing Partner of Campbell Dallas.

“Since we began the apprenticeship programme we calculate that the firm has invested well over £1 million in employing, training, and development of staff.  In return we are growing our own talent, and ensuring our clients have consistency and continuity of service.  It is a model that is working for our firm, and could benefit the profession in Scotland if adopted on a wider basis.”

 

Chancellor’s Budget Highlights Widening Tax Policy Gap

March 22, 2016

The Herald and Sunday Herald Budget Briefing Event 2016 -JS. Photo by Jamie SimpsonFraser Campbell, senior Partner and Head of Family Businesses at Campbell Dallas, was a key speaker at a recent Budget Briefing event for businesses in Glasgow. Organised by The Herald, one of the most talked about issues was the widening tax policy gap between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Fraser said: “We have had discussions with clients worried about the direction of travel in Scotland, both in terms of personal taxation, and other major changes such as the Scottish land and buildings transaction tax, and the fact that Scotland will not be able to adjust corporation tax rates.  What does that mean for businesses that may want to take advantage of some of the lower tax regime south of Border? There is a lot of uncertainty and uncertainty leads to different investment decisions. Doing business in Scotland has always been different, but the gap is widening.  The overall strategy of the Westminster government is not clear however, the budget appeared to be an advert to come and invest in the UK, and was good news for smaller businesses.  Looking ahead, it remains to be seen if that advert applies to Scotland.”

Download the Summary 2016

Download the Tax Card 2016

 

 

2016 Budget Summary

March 17, 2016

George Osborne presented his 8th Budget on Wednesday 16 March 2016. In his opening comments, Osborne stated that he would focus on the long term, and “put the next generation first” to help make the UK “fit for the future”.

Our team of experts at Campbell Dallas have produced a summary of the main changes announced in the budget speech. This will quickly bring you up to speed on the key areas of taxation including, business and corporate, employment, personal and capital.

Downloads

2016 Budget Summary

2016 Tax Card

If you have any questions about how these changes might impact you, do not hesitate to contact us for advice.

Movement on long running ‘postal services’ dispute

March 15, 2016

The Upper Tribunal (UT) has ruled that Zipvit Limited was not entitled to reclaim VAT that it argued was “embedded” within postal services provided by Royal Mail.

Zipvit supplies vitamins and minerals by mail order and used Royal Mail’s Mailmedia services to dispatch those goods. It is common knowledge that Royal Mail treated these supplies as exempt from VAT, however, the European Court of Justice decided in TNT Post UK Ltd (C-357/07) that postal services which were individually negotiated were not exempt from VAT – meaning Royal Mail’s Mailmedia services should have been subject to VAT.

Zipvit submitted a claim to HMRC – which was rejected – for the VAT they believed was embedded in the charges. Crucially, no VAT invoice was ever provided by Royal Mail and the UT concluded that they had priced their services on the incorrect assumption that they were exempt from VAT. As such, Zipvit had not borne the cost of VAT and under the circumstances HMRC were not obliged to accept alternative evidence in the absence of the invoices.

This is the lead case in a long running ‘postal services’ dispute and will be a blow to many others who have submitted protective claims. Given the values at stake, we expect Zipfit will seek leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Campbell Dallas advises on GT4 Group’s acquisition of TPL Labels

January 15, 2016

Campbell Dallas’ Corporate Finance team was delighted to act agt4_logo_blks lead advisers on completion of the acquisition of TPL labels for longstanding client GT4 Group. The deal was backed with funding provided by the Scottish Loan Fund (SLF) managed by Maven CapitalPartners.

TPL Labels is a pressure sensitive label manufacturer headquartered in East Kilbride and this strategic acquisition by GT4 Group will extend the breadth of the Group’s services providing its clients with a “one stop shop” for all their labelling requirements, avoiding the need to use several manufacturers.

Ian Johnstone, Chairman of GT4 said, “The Campbell Dallas Corporate Finance team played an important role in advising Gavin Watson and the GT4 Group throughout our acquisition of TPL Labels Limited. Having built the business up over the last decade, I appreciated the attention to detail and level of understanding of the issues associated with an owner-managed business. Chris, Gerry and the team delivered on their promises, structured the deal in the most effective way and led the process from start to finish. I would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Campbell Dallas to any business who need assistance in raising additional capital, writing detailed financial business plans, or providing advice throughout the acquisition process.”

Managing Partner, and Head of Corporate Finance, Chris Horne commented “Mid-Chris Horne partner at campbell dallas chartered accountantsmarket Scottish transaction activity continues to present good opportunities for both vendors and prospective acquirers with multiple sources of funding available from both private equity and those corporates with balance sheets able to support a suitable quantum of structured debt. We have a strong pipeline for the coming year and expect this recent busy spell to continue over the next six to nine months”.

Farms under cash flow pressure should consider government debt scheme

January 14, 2016

Scotland’s farmers are dealing with an unprecedented range of business, legislative and financial problems that are putting many under unsustainable cash flow pressure.

Whether a dairy farm is dealing with a crippling milk price well below the cost of production, a livestock farm selling for little or no margin or a cereal farm selling at a loss, many farms are struggling for cash flow. In addition, the Basic Payment Entitlement (BPE) is now expected to be delayed, removing another line of revenue that played a key role shoring up cash flow.

Despite these problems, the bills continue to be presented, creditors can become increasingly agitated, and the Courts fill up with citations.  For a farm trying to remain in business but struggling to find short term cash, the future can easily look bleak.

Campbell Dallas is urging Scotland’s farming community to become more aware of the Debt Arrangement Scheme, and the role it can play to help farms gain control of their cash flow problems and protect the business, allowing vital time in which to undertake planning.

The Debt Arrangement Scheme, which stems from the Debt Arrangement Scheme Scotland Act 2004, is backed by the Scottish Government and governed by the Accountant in Bankruptcy.  It was previously available only to Scottish individuals but has now been made available to businesses and partnerships.  Very few farmers are aware of the scheme, and whilst it is not a long term solution if the problems are overwhelming, it does put a short term break on cash flow pressures.

Andy Ritchie, Partner and farming specialist explains how the scheme works: “This Scheme allows a farm to repay its debts at an affordable rate while preventing creditors taking any further action, meaning the assets of the business are protected.  It is particularly applicable to those farms struggling to maintain monthly contractual payments.

“The Debt Arrangement Scheme Scotland Act 2004, is not a form of insolvency, however, it is governed by the Accountant in Bankruptcy.  It allows debtors to repay their debts, in full, over an extended period of time which is dependent on their disposable income.  Once the scheme is approved creditors must freeze their interest and charges and cannot take any further action as long as the monthly payments are maintained.

“If circumstances change for the worse, for example, a farmer suffers ill health and is struggling to maintain payments to the scheme, a payment break of up to 6 months can be requested.  If and when the farming industry improves and there is an increase in disposable income the farm can increase payments to reduce the term of the scheme and if it has a good year and the funds to pay debts off in full then the scheme can be settled early.

“If a creditor objects to the scheme a Fair and Reasonable test is applied by the Accountant in Bankruptcy who administers the scheme.  This test is based on specific criteria, for example the length of the term, the method and frequency of payments, the percentage of debt that the objecting creditor holds and comments made by the money adviser putting the case forward.  It is very rare for this test to be failed.

“For farmers worried about their cash flow and their future, DAS is well worth considering and it could help them protect their business so they are in a position to take advantage of any upturn in their market.”

Campbell Dallas is offering an initial free consultation on DAS for any farm business interested in finding out more information. Contact a member of our DAS team on 0141 886 6644 or speak to our Agricultural specialist, Andy Ritchie.

2016 The year of the exit says CF Partner, Graham Cunning

January 5, 2016

graham cunning 2016 could be the ideal year in which to exit from a business with conditions for a sale set to be amongst the most favourable for many years.

Low interest rates, entrepreneurs relief at 10% up to £10m sale value, stable business confidence, larger corporates with cash piles for acquisitions and investors keen to back growing businesses are combining to create a positive environment for exits, says Graham Cunning, Corporate Finance Partner.

However, Cunning warned that these favourable conditions may not last for long, with interest rates likely to edge higher and uncertainty over the future of Entrepreneurs Relief.

“Entrepreneurs Relief rewards business owners for their hard work and fortunately remains in place, so we would urge anyone thinking of an exit to consider the benefits of bringing forward their planning before it is changed. There is a real appetite in the VC, Angel and Private Equity (PE) houses for opportunities to invest in quality businesses with a strong position in their markets and potential for good growth. These conditions will not remain for ever, so 2016 could be an ideal year for an exit, whether as trade sales, employee or management buyout, or partial sales of equity.”

During the year Campbell Dallas has advised on 15 deals with a combined value of more than £100m. These include the sale of First Hose to GS-Hydro, sale of Blyth Utilities to Energy Asset Group, acquisition of TPL labels by GT4 Group and the acquisition of HLC (Wood Products) by SCH Group. The firm is winning an increasing amount of lead advisory work, acting for business owners, banks and PE houses, and our 2016 deals pipeline is our busiest ever.

However, in relation to the Oil and Gas sector Cunning added: “Oil and Gas is the one sector that remains very subdued and there is unlikely to be a recovery in deal flow until the final quarter at the earliest. That said, despite the oil price crash, there is still an active M&A market in the Oil and Gas sector for quality businesses. However, despite the downturn there are still plenty of well-resourced oil & gas corporates that are focussing on executing their acquisition strategies, so business owners wanting to sell may wish to take advantage of that opportunity.”

New Year Chill Threat for North East Hospitality Sector

January 5, 2016

North East hospitality businesses – hotels, bars, restaurants and clubs Derek-Forsyth– face a very difficult first quarter of 2016 with the risk that a large number could close due to a major drop in consumer spending, Derek Forsyth, Business Recovery Partner is warning

There are just over 900 hospitality businesses (businesses with licenses, excluding retail) trading in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire.  Even a 10% closure rate would result in over 90 businesses ceasing to trade.

Derek has extensive experience in this sector and is warning that many businesses will face serious cash flow and very difficult trading in the first three months of the year as consumer spending contracts, but costs remain stable.

He said: “Once the festive period is over business and income traditionally drops rapidly in January, however operational costs such as rent and overheads remain, leading to serious cash flow problems.  The North East has already suffered significant job losses during the last two years, but given numerous forecasts of further restructuring in the oil and gas sector, with downstream businesses likely to be affected, we could see a significant impact on the hospitality and leisure sector.

“It is very important that business owners plan ahead and ensure they are on top of their outgoings, whilst also trying to maximise and maintain their income.  Quick wins include re-negotiating rent, searching for better deals on insurance and telecoms, reviewing staffing and shift patterns, and collaborating with other businesses on joint promotions.  To help businesses tackle the problems we have launched a ‘Hospitality Helpline’ that will offer a quick telephone consultancy on the key issues.  Good advice now could be the difference between survival and closure.”

Business owners can call the Campbell Dallas Hospitality Helpline on 07551 153 612, or call into the firm’s new larger Aberdeen premises at 23 Carden Place.

The British Hospitality Association estimates that hospitality is the UK’s fourth largest employer, supports 180,000 businesses employing 3 million people, 44% of whom are under the age of 30.