A huge thank you to everyone who took part in our annual charity golf competition held to raise funds for the Multiple Sclerosis South West therapy centre.

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There are quite a number of rules and regulations regarding “Independent” or Self Employed workers.  

A distinction is drawn between a Contract of Service (Employment) and a Contract of Services (Self Employment or Independent Contractor).  For a Contract of Services to exist the Company sets the task to be performed and it is for the Contractor to determine how the task is performed.  

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The 2016/17 tax year has seen the introduction of 

• £5,000 Dividend Nil Rate: - commonly called the Dividend tax allowance. Remember this can only be used against dividend income – not savings income. This replaces the tax credit, which previously covered the basic rate income tax liability for dividends.

• The Personal Savings Allowance, which may be £1,000, £500 or nil. All basic rate taxpayers, being individuals without any income chargeable to tax at the higher or additional rates or the dividend upper or dividend additional rates, are entitled to a £1,000 allowance. This allowance can only be used against savings income which includes interest, accrued income profits, gains from certain life insurance contracts and income from certain purchased life annuities.

The Personal Allowance is £11,000 for 2016/17, but it interacts with both the Dividend Tax Allowance and the Personal Savings Allowance. The taxpayer may choose the order of using the Personal Allowance where there is more than one class of income i.e. earned income, dividend income and savings income in order to achieve “the greatest reduction in the taxpayer’s liability to income tax”.

Income tax is generally now not deducted from interest paid by banks and building societies to individuals (since 6th April 2016). It is expected only 5% of savers are likely to pay income tax on interest received in 2016/17. People receiving relatively small dividends are not likely to be liable to income tax on the dividends.

However, if you are able to ensure you receive £5,000 dividend income and £1,000 savings income (interest received) whilst remaining a basic rate income tax payer then you can maximise your income after tax.

We can assist small business owners with planning their affairs to maximise their income where the circumstances permit. Please contact us sooner rather than later however, as six months of the fiscal year have already passed. 


The Government has a published objective of having nearly all cars and vans in use on UK roads with zero tailpipe CO2 emissions by 2050. This means that nearly all new cars and vans sold in the UK will need to have that level of emissions by 2040.

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After many years on the periphery we’re very proud to announce that for the first time ever we’ve been placed among the accountancy sector’s elite after being named in the UK profession’s Top 50.

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It’s often said by professional in all walks of life – from accountants & solicitors to doctors and even plumbers & electricians – that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. This phrase was never more apparent than with a recent case which came across my desk.

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Most of us use technology much more now than we ever have done before and with it becoming so much a part of our lives there is a real possibility that we may become complacent about guarding against the potential risks from internet or mobile phone based fraud.

Here are 5 things that you should bear in mind to try and stay as safe as possible when using on-line facilities.

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Right now business confidence in the South West is at an all-time low as company owners and executives absorb the ramifications of Brexit and its potential impact on their operations.

There are, however, a whole raft of compliance rules and regulations on the horizon which business owners must meet head-on in order to minimise any potential negative impacts to their livelihoods.

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Much has been written in the press about the new flat rate state pension. This only applies to:

• Men born on or after 6 April 1951

• Women born on or after 6 April 1953

Thus, pensioners who reached pension age on or after 6 April 2016 are already on the new scheme.

The flat rate has initially been set at £155.65 but few new pensioners will be receiving this sum.

Why is this?

There are several reasons why the actual sum received is different to the flat rate but the main ones are:

• If you had been “contracted out” of the state pension scheme via an employment pension

• Whether you had additional entitlement under the old scheme

• Whether you have the appropriate number of contribution years (currently 35)

What should I do?

If you are approaching retirement age or if you are unsure of your contribution record, you can apply for a state pension forecast on line or by downloading the appropriate form from the HMRC website. By answering a few simple questions, you can receive an indication of your eventual entitlement.

If you have gaps in your National Insurance record, you may still be able to qualify for a full state pension by making voluntary contributions to cover those gaps. A state pension forecast will highlight any problems.

Alternatively, the completion of a pension forecast is one of the many areas in which Thomas Westcott can assist. If you would like further information on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact your local office.

All small companies with accounting periods commencing on or after 1 January 2016 which have not adopted micro entity accounts will have to implement Financial Reporting Standard 102 (FRS 102).  FRS 102 supersedes all previous accounting standards.

The top 5 changes are considered below and in all cases the changes will need to be examined in relation to the current year and associated restatement of the comparative figures.  This will typically mean considering these changes as at the yearend, the prior year end and also the year end prior to this to ensure the figures are shown on a like for like basis.  

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