Monthly Archives: March 2016

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Get to grips with your company accounts

The figures released by Companies House show that between April and December 2015 more than 140,000 penalties were issued to businesses.

In comparison the whole of the 2014/15 financial year saw nearly 179,000 penalties issued, totalling fines of around £84 million.

Late filing penalties were initially introduced more than 20 years ago to encourage directors to file their accounts and report on time.

All companies – large or small, trading or non-trading – must send their annual accounts at the end of their financial year.

If accounts are late a penalty is automatically imposed, starting at £150 for a private company whose accounts are not more than one month late, up to £1,500 if they are more than six months late.

Public companies are subject to much higher fines of £750 for accounts that are not more than one month late and up to £7,500 if it is more than six months beyond the deadline.

Businesses can appeal against penalties and so far this year around 24,000 appeals have been lodged, of which 4,427 were not collected due to discretion and 641 that were cancelled outright.

David Macdonald, managing partner at Worthing-based accountants The Martlet, said: “Every business in the UK, whether trading or not, must submit their annual accounts on time. Failing to provide them to Companies House will lead to an automatic penalty, which will only grow larger with time.

“While there is always the possibility to appeal, the majority of penalties are not cancelled and any appeal will place an additional financial and administrative burden on your business. Often the easiest option is to appoint a professional who can help you collate your accounts and submit them on time.”

If you would like assistance completing your annual company accounts, please contact us.

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Call for transparency in SME lending

It follows a campaign by Growth Street – a provider of finance to small businesses – which states that unlike in consumer lending, there is no requirement to advertise an annual percentage rate (APR) to enable businesses to compare deals.

As the Chief Executive of Growth Street explained, commercial finance offered to limited companies was outside the scope of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and so goes unregulated.

David Macdonald, managing partner at the Worthing-based Martlet Partnership, said: “Clearly more needs to be done to help small companies because these are the businesses of tomorrow.

“Obtaining finance is crucial for SMEs if they are to grow and improve the UK’s productivity and contribute to the economic recovery, so I would like to see more information made available for firms wishing to grow and create jobs. If SMEs are misled, it could have an effect on their profitability, growth prospects, and employment.

“At The Martlet, we are passionate about helping small businesses and would be delighted to discuss the services we can offer to corporate clients.”

If your SME requires advice about obtaining finance, please contact us.

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Don’t ignore the Taxman’s demands, says The Martlet Partnership

APNs were introduced in 2014 to recover disputed tax and HMRC can issue notices to demand tax that it believes it is owed.

Taxpayers who receive an APN have 90 days to pay HMRC the outstanding tax, but can only receive the amount back if they can prove in a tribunal that the disputed amount is not due.

David Macdonald, managing partner at The Martlet, said: “Ignoring an APN and hoping it will go away is simply not an option. Failing to pay within the 90 days will only lead to more significant penalties being issued on top of the tax owed.

Figures from 2014 and 2015 show that HMRC have an 80 per cent success rate when APN cases go to court.

“While HMRC does have a high success rate, in around 20 per cent of cases people have been able to prove that the amount of tax due is either less or doesn’t exist at all and they have had their money refunded.”

David added that careful tax planning could help to eliminate the chance of ever receiving an APN and encouraged businesses and individuals to seek professional help if they were unsure about their own financial affairs.

If you would like to know more about The Martlet range of tax compliance and planning services, please contact us.

Contact Us

The Martlet Partnership LLP
Martlet House
E1 Yeoman Gate
Yeoman Way
West Sussex
BN13 3QZ

Tel.: +44 (0) 1903 600555
Fax.: +44 (0) 1903 600828