Author Archives: Peggy Nightingale

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Furlough claims

It has come to our attention that a number of our clients who are potentially eligible to make a claim under the more flexible furlough arrangements, are not making their claims.

To put it in simple terms, if you as a business owner/company director were unable to work the full 150 working hours during the month of February, you should be eligible for a furlough claim providing that there is a lack of work due to Covid.

Claims have to be made promptly and the closing date is 14 March. We may have to set up arrangements with HMRC in order to make the claim.

Therefore, if you believe you may be eligible under these criteria, please contact us as soon as possible.

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Congratulations to our Daniel White for passing his Advanced Bookkeeping exam – Level 3 AAT with 98%!

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Late filing penalty update

Recently, HMRC announced that Self Assessment customers will not be charged the initial 5% late payment penalty if they pay their tax or make a Time to Pay arrangement by 1‌‌ April.

The payment deadline for Self Assessment is 31 January and interest will be charged from 1 February on any amounts outstanding. The deadline has not changed, but this year, because of the impact of COVID 19, HMRC is giving taxpayers more time to pay or set up a payment plan. 

Payment plans or payments in full must be in place by midnight on 1‌‌ April to avoid a late payment penalty.

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Managing partners meet to discuss state of their nations

At UK200Group, we hold ad hoc drop in calls for Managing Partner members of the Group. Drop in calls are a safe space for those partners to discuss issues and celebrate wins in their firms, skilfully led by our chair, David Macdonald (The Martlet Partnership).

Built on our foundation of openness and transparency, these calls seek to facilitate business focussed discussions on issues affecting firms. Our most recent call was held in January 2021; a brief overview can be found below. 

As courts are open, civil matters are being held via video. Consequently, legal firms are making headway through litigated matters – and as the residential property market is buoyant, instructions remain a steady stream in this area. Meantime, firms are recruiting staff in all disciplines and levels to support this continued growth. 

In the world of accountancy, international work remains constant – with Brexit necessitating an increase in advisory work surrounding, for example, VAT. Also, transactional, corporate finance, compliance, and audit work remains steady. Similarly, recruitment has remained constant at both junior and senior levels. 

Helen Spencer (Managing Partner at WR Partners) was on hand to reflect: “This year has presented unprecedented challenges for all of us – clients and team members alike. It has been an honour to witness how we have all risen to those challenges and most will be ending the financial year safe in the knowledge that we have out-performed all expectations.” 

Many firms continue to win new clients – testament to our members’ commitment to quality – and firms are continuingly to utilize our member only enquiries service to utilize their colleague’s skills in other firms amongst the group. 

Our Chair, David Macdonald (The Martlet Partnership) was on hand to comment: “All in all, despite the on-going COVID-19 crisis, members are working harder than ever to care for their existing clients, win new clients and to bring new recruits on board within their firms.”

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Recent court ruling and its possible impact on businesses

Isobel Horswell of UK200Group business partner Ntegrity, and Marketing Taskforce member discusses the recent court ruling and it’s possible impact on businesses. 

Many policyholders will have been celebrating after the Supreme Court ruling on insurance contract wordings went substantially in their favour.  While this may offer hope to SME’s, the ruling may not be the solution for all situations for a number of reasons:

• Policies have slightly different wordings and only a selection of specific examples were considered.  You need to read your policy carefully and speak to your broker to see if it covers you for losses arising from Covid.  

• For a claim to be accepted, policyholders need to show that they have suffered a loss and quantify it.  This will be easier to prove for some industries than others.  A number of government grants (CBILS, SEISS, rates relief, local authority to name a few) will have helped tide many over and SMEs may need their accountants to help crunch the figures.  

Hospitality, leisure and manufacturing operations that have had to close for long periods or substantially curtail their business operations will have significant reductions in turnover, and profit, compared to the previous years.  

It may be less clear cut for professional services firms, such as accountants and lawyers, who have adapted to allow staff to work from home, incurring some costs but often with little reduction in turnover. Anecdotally, we’ve heard that many accountants have been far busier than expected helping clients with Brexit and Covid related matters.

It is worth noting that claims will be met from Insurers reserves but all policyholders, including those substantially unaffected by Covid, could see premium increases in future years as Insurers recover their losses.

In conclusion, this is only the first step for many policyholders and there may be more work to be carried out before any cash arrives in your bank account.

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Better late than never!

Today HMRC has finally announced that Self Assessment “customers” will not receive a penalty for filing their 2019-20 tax return late, as long as they file online by 28‌‌ ‌February. They are still encouraging tax payers who have not yet filed to do so by 31‌‌ ‌January, if possible.

If you have a liability you still need to pay your Self Assessment tax bill by 31‌‌ ‌January. Interest will be charged from 1‌‌ ‌February on any outstanding liabilities.

We will still be working hard to notify our clients who have tax to pay so that you can do so in time.

You can pay online, or through your bank, or by post before you file.

If you cannot afford to pay by 31‌‌ ‌January, you may be able to set up an affordable plan and pay in monthly instalments. But you will need to file your 2019-20 tax return before setting up a time to pay arrangement.

It’s great news in these difficult times – a shame it wasn’t announced at the start of the month but better late than never!

Please contact us if you would like further information

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Working hard in Worthing, West Sussex to try and get more support financial for SMEs

We are deeply concerned about the plight of the smaller businesses across the UK including the c. 3m self-employed directors of limited companies, who are not eligible for the government’s existing grants, and are have therefore been excluded from the financial support measures thus far during COVID-19.

And this is one of the reasons that we are working ‘behind the scenes’ to try and influence the government to look at introducing more support for SMEs.

To provide some practical input to support the government and to try and help the ‘excluded’ to get support, the UK200Group, of which The Martlet Partnership LLP is a member, produced a document outlining a practical and fair set of measures for the government’s consideration. We call this the Business Owners Support Scheme (BOSS) and I attach a copy for your information/link to copy, below.

News in recent days suggests that the government is considering additional support. Clearly this news is very welcome but no guarantee that additional support will be forthcoming.

Ever focused on how we can help, we have written to other local business groups and Sir Peter Bottomley, our MP, to try and get the government to look at extending support along the lines of our proposed schemes.

We urge all small businesses owners to focus on the practical things they can and should be doing right now. We have produced a handy and practical checklist of The 5 Key things that SMEs should do in January. You can dowload the checklist below.

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The 5 Key Things SMEs should do in January

It’s been almost a year since the first lockdown and arguably, we are all getting used to staying at home, remote working and the restrictions being placed on all aspects of our lives. 

But that doesn’t make it easier, if anything, we are weary as the pandemic and its wider impact on our lives continues. It can be overwhelming to keep on top of the key things that we need to be doing as business owners.   

This is why we have produced a handy and practical checklist of The 5 Key things that SMEs should do in January .  

You can download your copy of the checklist here.

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Congratulations to our Phil Bazley for passing his FR Financial Reporting exam!

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Congratulations to our Jarrad Gilbertson for passing his ACCA – Strategic Business Reporting (SBR) exam!

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