Archive for November, 2012


Monday, November 26th, 2012

The Craigavon Business Forum’s next meeting is on Friday 30 November at 7.45am in the CIDO Innovation centre at Carn.

We are really pleased to be having someone along from Craigavon Borough Council to talk about their vision for Craigavon, how they can help local businesses and what opportunities there are for local businesses. There will be time for questions after also.

The Forum is aimed at business owners and key decision makers in the greater Craigavon area. It is an opportunity to network and learn from other business owners and speakers. We are keen to attract new members, so if you are interested, please contact me by email at .


Friday, November 16th, 2012

HMRC’s success in obtaining tax arrears from a wide range of business sectors within selected geographical areas has encouraged them to announce another 5 taskforces for “intensive bursts of targeted activity”.

They expect to recover more than £19.5 million from the following areas:

The legal profession in London (yes, the accountancy and tax professions are expecting to be on the list in the future!)

  • Grocery and retail in South Wales, North Wales, NW England and SW England
  • Hair and beauty in the North East
  • Restaurants in the South East and Solent
  • The Motor trade in Scotland

So far Northern Ireland has escaped these task forces but we can’t help feeling it’s only a matter of time!



Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Business record checks (BRCs) involve someone from HMRC visiting you to look at your business records so that, if necessary, they can point out areas of improvement (only the most cynical would suggest that they were also used to identify cases for launching a full-blown investigation).

The BRC programme came to an abrupt halt at the start of this year, so as to give HMRC the chance to refocus the operations. They now say they will be ready to relaunch BRCs soon after 5 April 2013. Hopefully they will take a less aggressive stance, and of course we can help here if you are ever selected. Please let us know if you would like us to check that your business records are robust enough to withstand any HMRC perusal under this initiative.

Seminar Success ‘The Four Ways To Grow Your Business’

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
Pictured at the McCleary & Company Seminar at the Discovery Centre, Lurgan on 13th November 2012

McCleary & Company held their fourth and final seminar of 2012 at the Discovery Centre, Oxford Island, Lurgan on 13th November.

In excess of 30 local business people attended this event that explored the ‘Four Ways To Grow Your Business’.  Feedback was excellent with participants rating the value of the event at an average of 9 out of 10.
We are currently finalising our planned events for 2013, if you think you may be interested in attending, either register on the website for our monthly newsletter or keep an eye on our website.


Monday, November 12th, 2012

You may be delighted if HMRC use this unit to look after your tax, as it means you have substantial assets. However, according to HMRC it also means that you are more likely to be inclined to seriously consider a variety of ways of reducing your tax bill!

Cases looked after by HNWU are regarded as higher risk. Each taxpayer undergoes a risk assessment exercise annually, with low risk scores resulting in far less chance of selection for an enquiry. HMRC claims to provide a HNWI with a tailored service through proactive engagement, with a single point of contact and a holistic approach to their tax affairs. As most HNWIs will have a tax agent, that approach seems of little consequence.

HMRC expected to collect an extra £100 million of tax each year through their HNWU, but in fact doubled that in 2011/12.

HMRC Receives List of UK Residents with HSBC Accounts in Jersey

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

This week HMRC has received a detailed list of the names, addresses and account balances of every British client with an account held in Jersey with HSBC.

 According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the list identifies 4,388 British people holding £699 million in offshore current accounts, with an average amount held of £337,000.

 One investment manager has more than £6 million in his account, whilst a greengrocer in the East End is understood to have more than £80,000. The report can be accessed via this link.

 A spokesman for HMRC has confirmed receipt of the data and said the department is studying it.

 Practical advice

If you have an undeclared account in Jersey with HSBC and wish to tell HMRC, the advice from our Team is as follows:

  • Encourage you to make an unprompted disclosure to HMRC. Unprompted disclosures attract lower financial penalties on any additional tax found to be due.
  • Have your accountant call the HMRC Campaigns Voluntary Disclosure Team (CVDT) on 0845 601 5041. The helpline is available Monday to Friday between 8am – 6.30pm.
  • Alternatively, have your accountant write to the HMRC CVDT at Holland House, 20 Oxford Road, Bournemouth, Dorset BH8 8DZ.

 The CVDT will ask for basic details including the name and address, date of birth, Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) and National Insurance Number. A disclosure record and payment reference number will then be allocated and a disclosure form issued.

 The disclosure form has to be returned to the CVDT within three months of the date of issue, in order to qualify for a lower penalty.


The importance of making an unprompted disclosure not only minimises penalty terms, but also reduces the genuine threat of prosecution in the worst cases.

 HMRC has a target to achieve an additional 1,000 evasion related prosecutions per year from 2014/15. In the first six months of this tax year, HMRC has already prosecuted 202 individuals against a target of 565 for 2012/13. 24 of the 202 prosecutions were for direct tax evasion.

 The risk of prosecution reduces significantly if a full and accurate unprompted disclosure is made before HMRC prompts an admission.


Sunday, November 11th, 2012


If so… apply for the SEED First Time Exporters Development Programme!

This Programme is all about helping inexperienced/first time exporters to move from talking about exporting to actually doing it. If you have an interest in exploring business opportunities in export markets – Republic of Ireland, GB or further afield – this programme could be for you!

 Who should be interested in the Programme?

This Programme is aimed at owners/managers of micro businesses (10 employees or less) who:

  • Have little / no export experience
  • Wish to explore the scope for identifying, winning and retaining potential customers in the Republic of Ireland, GB or further afield.
  • Are prepared to invest the necessary time and effort to making export sales a reality for their businesses.

All businesses must be located within the SEED council areas of Ards, Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon, Down and Newry & Mourne.

 What does the Programme involve?

  • A series of practical skills development workshops that will enhance both your skills and your confidence in the field of export business.
  • Tailored export mentoring where you will be allocated an experienced mentor whose role will be to fast-track your exporting efforts.
  • Sales prospecting – we will actively seek to identify and target specific potential customers for you in ROI, GB or further afield … and will seek to put you in front of them during the course of the Programme.

The Programme will be highly results-focused… and is all about moving you from talking about exporting to actually doing it!


Who is funding the Programme?

The Programme is funded by SOUTH EAST ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (SEED) GROUP OF COUNCILS, Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland. Full Circle Management Solutions Ltd is delivering the Programme on behalf of the funders.


How much will it cost?

The Programme is massively subsidised by the funders. The cost to you is therefore only … £50+VAT!!!


How do I apply?

Follow the link below.


Friday, November 9th, 2012

We always look to maximise your tax breaks if you use your home for business, as they can be considerable (with care). For example, if there is non-exclusive business use of a room in your home, there is a claim which can be made for a proportion of the running costs; this does not automatically result in a restriction to the valuable CGT exemption on sale of the main private residence. This is because a claim for, say, 90% business use of one room means that the room was not used exclusively for business purposes and accordingly no loss of CGT relief applies.

Sometimes it is simpler to make an expenses claim based on a round-sum allowance for the general business use of the home, which would certainly eliminate any restriction of the CGT exemption. The above situation is hardly likely to arise where, for example, the business you carry out at your home address is that of a dentist, doctor, vet or architect, i.e. plenty of activity in terms of patients, customers or clients visiting you. Indeed there may be separate buildings used solely for business use.

As you may imagine, in such a case there are all sorts of clever things which can be done to maximise the CGT residence exemption on a sale and at the same time ensure that the gain which is taxable suffers tax at only 10%, because it qualifies for entrepreneurs’ relief. Planning is essential to achieve this result.


Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

In today’s economy, difficulties with cash flow are quite frequent as customers take longer to pay their bills and banks tighten credit facilities. As a result, many business owners find themselves in a reactive cycle when it comes to matters of cash flow. Each month, managers strive to keep their cash flow profitable while costs such as payroll, material purchases and other overheads are deducted. Sometimes this goal is extremely difficult to achieve, causing stress levels to rise. Here are several tips for maintaining a positive cash flow in your business:

Managing Costs

In protecting your bottom line, you not only need to focus on increasing your income, you also need to reduce your expenses. The key to achieving a positive cash flow is to understand your costs and review these carefully on a monthly basis.

Create a sales forecast

Though it may prove difficult to begin with, running sales forecasting in your business will allow you to develop a good understanding of how sales will stack up month to month. Make sure to forecast by month, category and what revenue you anticipate based on your firm’s sales history.

Manage Debtors Actively

Make a detailed spreadsheet of “aging” debtors to identify the clients who owe money and the length of time they have been a debtor. Don’t hesitate to follow up on overdue accounts thereafter, beginning with the largest amounts due. Consider asking if there is anything you can do to help the client pay – for example, allow them to settle their bill in instalments.

Reward Early Payers

You can reward customers who pay early. Consider offering a discount to customers that pay in a short period of time, designated by you, or to a customer who pays cash. It can also be good practice to introduce new initiatives, such as asking customers to pay a percentage up front (or ideally, pay 100% of the bill up front).

Encourage Repeat Business

Encourage customers to come back to you again and again. Consider offering loyalty programs, special offers and so forth.


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