Yesterday lunchtime I had the greatest pleasure to speak to the sixth form of the BSB. The hosted me at a 'Round-table' session to talk about my career, my qualifications and the good and bad points about my business. Of course the good points are being my own boss, managing my own time and having interesting and varied work to do which I love. The bad points are being away from my family for weeks at a time while I lecture. But all in all it is a great job and I love it! Thanks for hosting me BSB and I hope the students enjoyed it! Thanks also to the ICAEW, STEP and CIOT for providing literature, pens, mints, cables and socks (!!) as little presents for the students!
I love talking abut change and it is so incredible that the tiniest of changes can make such a transformation to your life for both good and bad. I was inspired this morning by and article the Financial Times stating that the Government was going to lose a fortune because the Corporation Tax rate had dropped by a tiny 1%. HMRC calculated the impact to be £5.8Billion in the first year and then compounding this, rising to £6.2b in the second year. A shadow minister Liam Byrne described the measure as a 'handout to the wealthiest companies in Britain'. You can read the article here.
Let's flip this and apply it to your life. Let's say you make a little change that saves you £3.50 a day. It might be ditching the Starbucks on the way to work or bringing your own lunch. Over a year you would save just short of £1,000. Incredible! Never underestimate the transformative changes that can be made from tiny amendments done on a regular basis.
Exciting news! On Tuesday the membership committee of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners approved my application from affiliate member to full member which means now I can have TEP after my name and not STEP affiliate. Very exciting and delighted to have been approved!
We all do it... Sainsbury, Tesco, Boots... we whip out not only our credit card but also our loyalty card at the till when paying for our goods. Its just a 'thing'. I am not sure when it started but most people in the UK now have at least one loyalty card.
Did you know that your loyalty points are worth on average £122 per person per annum in the UK? Save them up for a few years and you could have a significant asset in your estate.
Only 7% of us know that we can pass these on, and less than 5% include them in our wills.
Firstly you would need to check whether they were able to be redeemed after death. If so include them in your will...
Christmas... all that 'quality time' together with your spouse; managing the excitement of the children, in-laws and other relatives visiting (or you being required to trek to them) is bad enough. But add the pressure of New Year, the expectation to be somewhere (and to be someone) fabulous... and marriages can be put under immense pressure. Relationships that were already straining, can break.
That is why officially on 7 January, Monday this week- the day most of us trudge back to work with the mince pie pounds on our hips the only remnant of our Christmas- has been labelled 'Divorce Day' by UK solicitors .
However, separating this week is not a good idea financially, if there are assets to distribute between you. Although the family home is usually exempt from capital gains tax, there may be other assets that are not.
If there are assets which would be the subject of a financial order in a divorce such as a second home, shares or other such assets, there may end up being a capital gains tax shock of up to 28% on divorce.
This is because in the UK, transfers between spouses are free of capital gains tax, but only while they are living together. Once they are separated, they have the tax year of separation to distribute the assets. After 5 April of the year of separation, any distribution between the couple will be a chargeable disposal. This disposal will be at market value even if no consideration is given for the asset by the spouse.
So... if you separate on 6 April, you have a full year to sort out your marital finances. If you separate on 7 January, 'Divorce Day' you have but 12 weeks...
To read more about this, please see my article on divorce published in the UK Tax Adviser magazine.
If you need help with a divorce, Just family Law can assist.
Ok... you would be forgiven for thinking that this is an oxymoron... but the process of sitting down to study can be easy and automatic. It is just a matter of two things.... making it an automated habit, and making it a part of who you are.
Making it an automated habit, I will return to in a future blog, but for now, read this to be like brushing your teeth... do you think about whether you are going to do this every time you do it? Or do you just find yourself in front of the bathroom mirror toothbrush in hand without having given it much though? When something becomes habitual, it is easy. You don't have to give it any thought... it just happens.
Furthermore, studies have shown that we behave according to who we think we are rather than what we decide to do. For example, if you see yourself as a musician, you will be much more likely to practice your music, than if you see yourself as a non musician who wants to get better at the guitar. This is because if a 'musician' is a part of who you view yourself to be, you will act consistently with your view of yourself and practicing will become natural.
How does this link to studying? You need to establish who you want to be, what your values are and then think about how you can get there. You want to be an accountant, a tax adviser, or a trust practitioner ... you need to assume this into your identity. You ARE a trainee tax adviser, trainee accountant, trainee solicitor... that is why you are studying tax. It might not happen overnight, but by being consistent with your habits and internalising your role inside yourself, it will eventually become easy.
In the BBC news recently there was talk of a pudding tax...
There is already a sugar tax but this is limited to fizzy drinks containing more than 5g of sugar per 100m (18p tax per litre) and more than 8g of sugar per 100m (24p tax per litre). The idea of a pudding tax was created by England's Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies, who before Christmas said there needed to be more taxes on unhealthy products, as she was "not yet convinced industry could be relied on to act voluntarily".
Whether the Government should intervene in a 'Big Brother' fashion to stop sugar consumption is not the topic of this blog. But whether to stop sugar consumption? In my opinion the answer is an absolute resounding 'yes'!
Sugar has a direct link with obesity. Obesity has a direct link with poor health, amongst other problems. When you have more than 1 in 5 FIVE year olds overweight or obese when starting school, we know something needs to change.
I have read a great deal on the subject, and I cut sugar out of my diet as much as possible from March 2018. From a history of suffering from 3-4 migraines every 6 weeks, after I cut sugar, they virtually disappeared. I lost weight, gained energy and my skin improved. If you are interested in the subject of how sugar affects us, please read Gary Taubes' most excellent book on the topic, or look at Sarah Wilson's website "I quit sugar".
Do we need a pudding tax? Sugar is a drug. It's addictive, and as with all addictive substances, without either a huge carrot or a huge stick, we won't change.
January... a time for breaking New Year's resolutions, curling up in front of the fire with a hot chocolate, and looking forward to a time when you don't need to spend 15 minutes de-icing the car before you can drive to work. It is also the time when your thoughts need to turn to tax. In the UK, unless you chose to submit your tax return on paper, the deadline for submission AND for payment of income taxes is 31 January every year. If it is the first year that you need to submit a self assessment, you will not only have to register for self assessment (which can take weeks), but you will also need to pay not only the tax due for the previous tax year, but half the tax due for the current tax year too... a cash flow disaster for some. So by all means do snuggle up and drink that hot chocolate, but also remember to start thinking about your self-assessment return, and make the necessary arrangements now- to avoid the £100 flat fine if the return is any later than midnight on 31 January 2019.
2019 is going to be a fabulous year and what better way to start than to get notice of my latest article published on New Year's day? Here is a link so you can read it.
It is about a court case in Summer 2018 between a 'lap/pole-dancer' Gemma Daniels (GD) and HMRC. GD claimed all her clothing, dry-cleaning of same, hair appointments, fake tans, nail extensions, facials and eyelash extensions were deductible business expenses. I was fascinated by the case, having learnt myself, and taught my students for years. that any item serving a dual purpose, was not a deductible expenses for either self-employed or employed workers. Gemma successfully argued that her negligee's and underwear were not 'normal' attire but more part of a costume for a show, which I completely 'get'. How she managed to argue that her hair, tans, nails, and eyelashes had no dual purpose, I am not so sure... and her perfume? Don't get me started...! Enjoy the read 😊
Good morning and welcome to 2019. So many exciting projects this year... watch this space! But first and foremost, I'd like to say a huge GOOD LUCK to all my Society of Trust and Estate Practitioner (STEP) 'UK Tax for International Clients' students. I know you will be nervous for your results but I have everything crossed for you. Remember, there is absolutely nothing you can do to influence the results now, and if worse comes to worse, you will be in an extremely strong position to re-take again this year. Make sure you use your lecturers for anything you are unsure of. That's what we are here for and we are more than happy to help you. Happy Thursday and welcome to 2019! 👊