Dramatic changes to the way in which people can draw their pension benefits took effect from April this year. Brought in under the Government’s ‘Pension Freedom’ initiative, the new rules are designed to give control and choice to owners of personal or money purchase pensions. 

The prior restriction of an annual cap on pension withdrawals has been replaced with unlimited access to your pension fund after age 55, subject of course to income tax once you have exhausted the first 25% which remains tax free. Careful planning is advised to ensure that your future financial security is not compromised by exercising this freedom. The new rules, however, have much wider ramifications than just making sure your pension lasts. A number of other changes, including remodeling the taxation of pension death benefits, are now causing many people to rethink not only their pension planning but their entire retirement strategy. 

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In his Summer 2015 Budget the Chancellor announced significant changes to the way in which company dividends are to be taxed with effect from 6 April 2016. 

The changes will affect both investors and the proprietors of owner managed businesses operated through limited companies.

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As we know, a Members’ Voluntary Liquidation (MVL) can be a useful procedure for directors who wish to exit their business and make use of Entrepreneurs Relief, subject to certain conditions being met. The tax savings can often run into tens of thousands of pounds, against a relatively low cost for the actual winding-up procedure.

An MVL is used as a typical exit strategy where a business is sold or the directors are looking to retire. However, we also see it used for disincorporation purposes to gain a tax advantage. It has been long established that directors cannot benefit from Entrepreneurs Relief and start up a phoenix company the next day essentially doing the same trade. However, it is possible for the directors to continue as sole traders or within a partnership. This is likely to change!

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One of the topics looked at during our series of workshops were the new SORPs, however on 18th June a new consultation was opened on proposed changes to the new SORPs.

The new SORP (FRSSE) will be withdrawn for accounting periods commencing on or after 1st January 2016, after just one year of existence, due to the FRSSE itself being withdrawn from that date. The new consultation looks at what will happen as a result, with a final new version expected to be ready by March 2016.

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Click Here to read our summary of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement.

The November issue of Taking Account is now available.

Click here to read about more about our merger with Butterworth Jones, implications of the Summer Business Tax Changes, Cloud Accounting and much more. 

Many charities are actively considering whether to convert their unincorporated charity to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (“CIO”). For many, it is the incorporated status of the new entity which most appeals. A CIO is not a limited company; it is not registered at Companies House. It is a form of incorporated charity regulated solely by the Charity Commission (“CC”). 

An unincorporated charity is not a legal entity, so the powers of holding property, liability exposure and similar rest with the Trustees; they are never passed onto the entity. 

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As Chancellor George Osborne prepares to deliver his Autumn Statement the South West’s leading independent firm of accountants is holding a series of briefings for business owners covering important issues such as tax changes, cloud accounting and insolvency.

The free to attend Breakfast Business Briefings, which are being organised by Thomas Westcott Chartered Accountants, take place across Devon and will include detailed presentations and question and answer sessions.

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Changes to the Gift Aid Declaration forms, sponsor form and guidance have been made by HM Revenue and Customs to make it easier for people to understand their tax obligations when they make donations to a charity or Community Amateur Sports Club. Please follow the link below for an update on the guidance. 


The UK accounting framework is changing, and we are in the process of dealing with the biggest change to financial reporting here in the UK for 40 years. Financial Reporting Standard (“FRS”) 102 will be the accounting standard that will have the most impact for SME’s here in the UK, with the exception of the very smallest of companies.

What changes are being ushered in by FRS 102? And in particular, what aspects of FRS 102 will impact on manufacturing businesses?

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