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tax briefcase

The normal rules for sales to consumers in the UK from a supplier outside the European Union (eg – Jersey or the USA) are that the UK VAT must be paid by the consumer when the goods are collected.

For example, an item with a value of £100 imported from the USA would incur a £20 VAT charge when collected by the end consumer.

However, there is an exception to this rule

An item with a value up to £18 has historically been allowed to be imported into the UK VAT free. This arrangement was historically put in place to allow perishable foodstuffs through with no delay, but in more recent times this has been used by importers of CD’s and DVD’s (often based in Jersey) to give a competitive edge over UK retailers who have to charge 20% more in the form of VAT.

From the 1st Nov 2011, the UK government reduced this amount to £15 and is continuing to review this situation so watch out for further changes.

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups. Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or contact Jacinta Smith on 01277 365447

Accountant RomfordTransform AccountingEssex Accountants

question mark

Starting a new business can often be both and exciting and daunting experience. Whatever your business is going to be, one thing that must be dealt with as soon as possible are the administration and accounting.

Regardless of whether this is your first experience of being self-employed, or another new venture, it is essential to select the right accounting partner to help develop your successful business.

Transform Accounting specialise in helping new start-up businesses. We offer a series of packages with low cost monthly payment terms that enable accounting charges to be spread out evenly during the year. These packages mean that we are able to deliver start up services such as new limited company creation, companies house registration and appropriate tax registrations. We can also give advice regarding appropriate company structures (sole trader or limited company) and also help and guidance on record keeping, invoicing and the filing of tax and VAT returns.

Transform Accounting pride themselves on being approachable, low cost and supportive of new business owners, whatever their level of financial experience.

How to Choose An Accountant For Your New Business?

At Transform Accounting, we often meet clients who have been dissatisfied with their previous accountant, but are often surprised at just how long it can take before the client looks for a replacement.

The most common complaints we hear are;

–          Calls not returned

–          Length of time taken to respond to a question

–          Excessive or unexpected charges

–          Missed Filing Deadlines incurring penalties

–          Accountant not very approachable or friendly when advice is wanted

In addition to these, we also see many clients who were unsure as to whether their accounts and tax returns had been properly reviewed by a suitably qualified accountant to ensure tax payments were kept as low as possible.

Many clients we meet also stick with their existing accountant for fear that a change would be too much hassle. In reality, this change should not cause the client too much hassle and most good accountants will help to handle this switchover on your behalf.

So, what should you look for in a good accountant?

Firstly, a good accountant will be able to give you good advice to ensure that you do not pay too much tax. In many cases, the fees of the accountants are actually offset by paying a lower amount of tax. Be sure to choose an accountant who has up to date tax knowledge and qualifications, and one who will be able to give appropriate advice rather than just making a basic filing.

Secondly, a good accountant should prevent any last minute panics by making sure that you have timely reminders about when your tax and VAT returns are due, and should work with you to make sure that everything is filed in plenty of time. Remember, there are no downsides to making a return promptly and no advantages to filing at the last minute. Some accountants will even offer discounts to their fees for making a filing in the middle of the tax year rather than their busy period at the end of the year.

Thirdly – find an accountant who you are comfortable with. Some web based services can appear to offer the cheapest fees, but they will usually offer virtually no advice, certainly no face to face contact and you may find your return is handled by an unqualified office junior.  It is common practice for the cheapest web based services to e mail you a series of spread sheets for the client to complete, and then these are just processed and electronic tax filings are made.

Some clients may prefer a local, one or two man (or woman) qualified accountant who can provide a more personal service such as Transform Accounting, whilst others may prefer to visit a high street practice with multiple accountants and a wider range of services, but possibly higher fees due to higher overheads.

Whichever you decide is best for you, it is essential to find an accountant that you feel comfortable with and who can provide you with the appropriate financial and tax advice for your situation or business.

Finally, ask to be put in touch with other clients who are able to provide references  regarding the service they receive from their accountants.

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups. Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or contact Jacinta Smith on 01277 365447

Accountant Ongar Transform AccountingEssex Accountants

The Transform Accounting blog is usually about;

–          The latest finance news,

–          Hints and tips to help you pay less tax or save money,

–          Accounting guides for small business owners,

–          Articles about the world of investing,

But we also like to blog about some more light hearted items with a finance theme.

At Transform Accounting, we love a top 10 list as much as anybody.

To follow on from our series about our top 10 finance books, we now turn our attention to movies with a finance theme.

We will be counting down from 10 to 1, giving some movie reviews of our favourite 10 finance movies. All are worth checking out and those at the top of the list are a must see.

If you want to read more reviews, or view the movie trailers for free, we recommend Internet Movie Database at www.imdb.com

Here is the sixth in a series of ten movie recommendations. Be sure to check back for the rest of the series.

 

6 – Margin Call (2011)

Margin Call features a star-studded cast including Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore and UK actor Paul Bettany.

It is set in the aggressive world of investment banking on the eve of impending financial disaster when a young risk analyst discovers that the highly leveraged trading positions of the bank have left it exposed to a potential and imminent collapse.

What follows is a long night of panicked double checking and escalation to senior management before the decision is made to do anything, ethical or otherwise to save the bank by unleashing a firestorm in the financial world. This brings on moral and ethical issues for the traders who have to sacrifice both their clients and their own future careers to offload the toxic assets held by the bank as quickly as possible to anyone who will take them.

Margin Call is a truly fascinating insight into the world of investment banking during the time of chaos and financial collapse. The plotline was clearly inspired by the recent financial meltdown and in particular Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns and AIG.

Accountant Epping Transform AccountingEssex Accountant

pound sign

If you are lucky enough to have friends or family or friends who live outside of the UK who send you gifts for Christmas or Birthdays, then it is quite possible that you may have experienced a delay in receiving your gift, or even have had to pay a VAT charge before they are released by customs.

The reason for this is that there is a threshold as to the maximum value for such a gift before UK VAT is charged.

Every year on the 1st January, the UK reviews the level where this threshold is set.

For 2013, the UK limit has been revised to £36.

This means that any gift with a declared value of £36 or less will incur no UK VAT charge and should be delivered smoothly whilst gifts with a declared value greater than £36 may require UK VAT to be paid and the delivery may be held up until this payment is made.

For those lucky enough to have friends or family living in European Union countries such as Spain or Ireland, there is no such restriction so encourage these generous folks to send you expensive presents !

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups. Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or contact Jacinta Smith on 01277 365447

Accountant BrentwoodTransform AccountingEssex Accountants

Wall Street - Money Never Sleeps

The Transform Accounting blog is usually about;

–          The latest finance news,

–          Hints and tips to help you pay less tax or save money,

–          Accounting guides for small business owners,

–          Articles about the world of investing,

But we also like to blog about some more light hearted items with a finance theme.

At Transform Accounting, we love a top 10 list as much as anybody.

To follow on from our series about our top 10 finance books, we now turn our attention to movies  with a finance theme.

We will be counting down from 10 to 1, giving some movie reviews of our favourite 10 finance movies. All are worth checking out and those at the top of the list are a must see.

If you want to read more reviews, or view the movie trailers for free, we recommend Internet Movie Database at www.imdb.com

Here is the seventh in a series of ten movie recommendations. Be sure to check back for the rest of the series.

7 – Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps (2010)

The sequel to the Oscar winning 1987 Oliver Stone  movie “Wall Street”, Money Never Sleeps never quite reaches the heights of the original, but is a worthy successor and answers the question, “what ever happened to Gordon Gecko?”

The movie starts in 2001, when Gordon Gecko, played by Michael Douglas is released from prison after serving 8 years for insider trading, with no one there to meet him at the prison gates. The movie then cuts forward seven years, and Gordon Gecko is seen promoting his book “Is Greed Good?”

Played out to the background of the impending financial meltdown, “Wall Street Money Never Sleeps”, is a modern morality tale.
Is Gecko really a reformed character or will he revert back to his old ways when the opportunity presents itself?

Highly recommended.

Harlow AccountantTransform AccountingEssex Accountant

tax return

tax return

January is the time of year when our attentions are may be focused on our new year resolutions such as getting fitter, losing weight or maybe paying off the credit card bill after Christmas.

Unfortunately for many, January is also the time of year when the annual self-assessment tax return can be put off no longer.  Some even resort to panic as the deadline and penalties for failing to file approach.

But there is an alternative to this stress.

Employ an accountant to make your tax filing on your behalf.

There are many advantages to this approach.

Firstly, a good accountant will be able to give you good advice to ensure that you do not pay too much tax. In many cases, the fees of the accountants are actually offset by paying a lower amount of tax. Be sure to choose an accountant who has up to date tax knowledge and qualifications, and one who will be able to give appropriate advice rather than just making a basic filing.

Secondly, a good accountant should prevent any last minute panics by making sure that you have timely reminders about when your returns are due, and should work with you to make sure that everything is filed in plenty of time. Remember, there are no downsides to making a return promptly and no advantages to filing at the last minute. Some accountants will even offer discounts to their fees for making a filing in the middle of the tax year rather than their busy period at the end of the year.

Thirdly – find an accountant who you are comfortable with. Some web based services can appear to offer the cheapest fees, but they will usually offer virtually no advice, certainly no face to face contact and you may find your return is handled by an unqualified office junior.  It is common practice for the cheapest web based services to e mail you a series of spread sheets for the client to complete, and then these are just processed and electronic tax filings are made.

Some clients may prefer a local, one or two man (or woman) qualified accountant who can provide a more personal service such as Transform Accounting, whilst others may prefer to visit a high street practice with multiple accountants and a wider range of services, but possibly higher fees due to higher overheads.

Whichever you decide is best for you, it is essential to find an accountant that you feel comfortable with and who can provide you with the appropriate financial and tax advice for your situation or business.

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups. Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or contact Jacinta Smith on 01277 365447

Accountant LoughtonTransform AccountingAccountant Essex

Top 10 Finance Movies – 8 – Other People’s Money (1991)

Other Peoples Money Movie Poster

The Transform Accounting blog is usually about;

–        The latest finance news,

–        Hints and tips to help you pay less tax or save money,

–        Accounting guides for small business owners,

–        Articles about the world of investing,

But we also like to blog about some more light hearted items with a finance theme.

At Transform Accounting, we love a top 10 list as much as anybody.

To follow on from our series about our top 10 finance books, we now turn our attention to movies with a finance theme.

We will be counting down from 10 to 1, giving some movie reviews of our favourite 10 finance movies. All are worth checking out and those at the top of the list are a must see.

If you want to read more reviews, or view the movie trailers for free, we recommend Internet Movie Database at www.imdb.com

Here is the eighth in a series of ten movie recommendations. Be sure to check back for the rest of the series.

8 – Other People’s Money (1991)

“Other People’s Money” is the tale of corporate raider “Larry the Liquidator” brilliantly played by Danny De Vito, and his attempt to take over and close down “New England Wire & Cable” – a long established family firm at the centre of a small New England town.

The movie follows the financial themes of the 1980’s of infamous corporate raiders and asset strippers, identifying undervalued companies whose break-up value exceeded their stock market values.

These companies would be purchased using borrowed money, delisted from the stock market, often closed down and their assets sold, resulting in the stockholders making a profit, the corporate raiders becoming very rich and the employees of the company looking for a new job.

Other People’s Money tells the tale of the benevolent managing director played by Gregory Peck, and his Lawyer stepdaughter Kate played by Penelope Ann Miller, trying to resist the takeover from Larry the Liquidator, and thus preserve their company, their jobs and their way of life.

Whilst following a serious plot, Larry the Liquidators romantic interest in Kate also provides for some light hearted moments and results in a highly entertaining movie.

It might be 20 years old now, but Danny DeVito is still great – check out “Other Peoples Money”.

Tax ReturnsTransform AccountingSmall Business Accountants

Check Out the Transform Accounting Top 10 Finance Books – Crime Corruption and Incompetence

taxreturn

The final day for filing a self-assessment tax return for the 2011-12 tax year is 31st January.

Care to know what the penalties are for missing the filing?

–          An initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay

–          If your return still isn’t filed after an additional 3 months, an additional penalty of £10 a day until the tax return is filed

–          If the return still isn’t filed after 6 months, a further penalty of £300 or 5% of the tax due (whichever is the greater)

–          If the return still isn’t filed after 12 months, a further additional penalty of £300 or 5 % of the tax due (whichever is the greater)

Remember, the penalties are for failing to file a return – they still apply even if you owe no tax or the taxman owes you money.

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups. Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or contact Jacinta Smith on 01277 365447

Writtle AccountantTransform AccountingEssex Accountants

Top 10 Finance Movies – Number 9 – Enron – The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)

Enron Movie Poster

The Transform Accounting blog is usually about;

–        The latest finance news,

–        Hints and tips to help you pay less tax or save money,

–        Accounting guides for small business owners,

–        Articles about the world of investing,

But we also like to blog about some more light hearted items with a finance theme.

At Transform Accounting, we love a top 10 list as much as anybody.

To follow on from our series about our top 10 finance books, we now turn our attention to movies with a finance theme.

We will be counting down from 10 to 1, giving some movie reviews of our favourite 10 finance movies. All are worth checking out and those at the top of the list are a must see.

If you want to read more reviews, or view the movie trailers for free, we recommend Internet Movie Database at www.imdb.com

Here is the ninth in a series of ten movie recommendations. Be sure to check back for the rest of the series.

9 – Enron – The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)

“Enron – The Smartest Guys in the Room” tells the story of the 2001 collapse of the Texas based energy trading company – Enron Corporation.

The movie is filmed in a documentary style and sets out the aggressive results at all costs culture of the firm that famously graded their employees and each year sacked the bottom 15% performers. Despite this, Enron was the employer of choice for the highest educated and most highly ambitious business school graduates of the late 1990s and early 2000’s.

We get to see profiles of a number of now infamous senior executive including company founder and chairman Kenneth Lay, its CEO Jeffrey Skilling and its Finance Director Andrew Fastow – all since either disgraced or in prison.

The films details how a combination of mark to market accounting allowing future profits to be booked immediately, offshore companies and a bull market brought about by the dot com bubble allowed Enron to grow at an incredible rate and to declare ever increasing profits, even though they were all false profits. The incompetence and complicity of auditors and accountants Arthur Anderson allowed the senior staff at Enron to grow fabulously wealthy before it all came crashing down with the shareholders losing everything. This affair led Arthur Anderson – previously the fifth largest accountancy firm in the world, with such a damaged reputation that they voluntarily gave up their license to trade as accountants and closed the company.

“Enron – The Smartest Guys in the Room” is a brilliantly made movie that watches more like a crime investigation than a political or business documentary.

Tax ReturnsTransform AccountingEssex Accountants

Check Out the Transform Accounting Top 10 Finance Books – Crime Corruption and Incompetence

tax return

Are you one of the 10.6 million UK citizens who should be submitting a personal self-assessment tax return?

If so, then you have very little time left to get your return in for the 2011-12 tax year.

The deadline for submitting these tax returns electronically is 31st January.

Miss the deadline and it’s an automatic £100 fine, even if no tax is due.

 

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups. Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or contact Jacinta Smith on 01277 365447

 

Accountant LoughtonTransform AccountingEssex Accountants