Posts Tagged ‘accountancy’

Bigger houses for parents: the solution to young people’s financial woes?

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Parents of young adults are increasingly opting to buy larger properties in order to accommodate their children, who are finding themselves unable to purchase or rent their own home.

Over a fifth of parents who moved home in the last six months reportedly decided to acquire a larger house, a reason stated being that their adult children struggling to make ends meet would then have the option of staying with them.

Many of these parents have resigned themselves to the fact that their children may be staying with them, at least periodically, up until their late twenties.

A number of factors are said to contribute to young people’s widespread inability to become fully independent of their parents. These include:

  • house prices, whose rise outstrips wage growth in many parts of the country, especially the south
  • large amounts of student debt
  • fewer opportunities, and more stringent requirements, for young people attempting to secure employment.

The research comes from the Royal Mail, who questioned users of its mail forwarding service about their new homes. Around 13,000 homeowners were quizzed between October last year and April this year.

21 per cent of respondents stated that their children’s problems with full independence – their lack of money, or of simply being unable to find a property of their own – was a factor in their decision to search for a larger abode.

Andrea Martin, Royal Mail’s managing director of data services, said: ‘It is interesting to see so many people buying larger properties in the expectation that their children will be living with them longer into adulthood.

‘Alongside this, patience is proving a virtue in the housebuying market with people prepared to sit it out to find the right home for them.’

Sir Jon Cunliffe called for action to be taken to stabilise the housing market, saying that it would be ‘dangerous to ignore the momentum that has built up in the UK housing market’.

The Royal Mail’s data also shows that two out of every five parents who have helped their children to buy property are concerned about their own finances later in life.

And the report raised concerns over the possible emotional stress inflicted upon aging parents as they continue to work to accommodate their children into their twenties.

The Office for National Statistics has released figures showing that 3.3 million aged 20- to 34 years old lived with their parents in 2013 – the highest number since it started keeping records in 1996.

 

The worst excuses for not paying minimum wage

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Minimum wage exists for a good reason – it’s the baseline rate that all employers are required to pay their staff, and as such, at least in theory, it guarantees a certain standard of living for the working people of Britain.

But in some cases, the wage is simply not being paid – and part of HMRC’s remit is to enforce the standard.

The public body recently released some of the worst excuses they have been given by employers who fail to pay the full amount. We can presume that they have done this in order to demonstrate to businesses that there exists no good reason to deny workers a fair, living wage – and we are doing our bit to spread this information by sharing some of those excuses here.

  • An employer gave this excuse: ‘When the national minimum wage goes up I do increase the amount I pay a little, even if the total pay is still below. I don’t think its right to ignore the rises.’ This person may not have ignored the law outright, but neither did he make much effort to follow it.
  • ‘I don’t think my workers know anything about the national minimum wage because they don’t speak English.’ Rights are of course granted even to those who don’t know they exist.
  • In the same vein: ‘It wasn’t a conscious decision to say “I’m not going to pay this,” but I’ve never really considered doing it because I’ve not had people come to me and say, “I’m not getting paid enough” or, “Is this the minimum wage?”‘ Workers may not know their rights, or they may simply fear losing their jobs if they cause a fuss. The law does not apply only to those who have the clout to ask for a raise.
  • Another employer told HMRC: ‘I know I am paying them too little, but they are happy to work for this amount because they are getting experience.’ Workers must be paid the minimum wage except in select circumstances, for example, as part of a formal course of education.

‘Most employers are honest and pay their staff the correct rate,’ said Jennie Granger, director general of enforcement and compliance at HMRC. ‘But this research shows that some still view the national minimum wage as a choice and will even try these crazy excuses to avoid paying workers what they are due.’

Last year, HMRC forced back-pay of £4 mn to workers who had not received their wages in full. The minimum wage is currently £6.31 an hour for those over 21.

3 Tips For Keeping The Taxman Happy

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Paying corporation tax is a necessary but unpleasant aspect of doing business. Few of us relish having to deal with the tax authorities at all – even if everything is in order, undergoing audits and filling out reports can be major drains on your company’s productivity and time.

However, you can take steps to hopefully dissuade the tax authorities from prying too much – they tend to keep an eye on entities that have experienced irregularities in the past, and so staying in their good books will allow you to focus more on keeping your business running uninterrupted in future.

Keep track of your incomings and outgoings

At the end of the tax year, you need to be able to present HMRC with a fairly detailed account of your expenditure and income for the year.

Rather than trying to pull all of this together at the last moment, make an effort to track expenses throughout the year. You might like to scan or photograph invoices and the like and save them, if you’re willing to go through them all as the new calendar year begins. Or you can enter amounts as you go along into a spreadsheet or even a mobile app.

Save for your tax bill

Make sure that you’re putting an appropriate amount of money aside so that you’re not caught out when it’s time to pay. Delays, extensions and partial payments aren’t unusual, but they will cause you to fall out of favour with HMRC.

Ask early for an extension

There are many perfectly understandable reasons for not being able to make your payment. Perhaps you had an unexpected expenditure, or lost a lot of business because of circumstances beyond your control.

If you’re fairly certain you won’t be able to pay the full amount before the deadline, HMRC’s Business Payment Support Service needs to know as soon as possible.

Some form of payment plan can be set up, but the earlier this is arranged the better, as missing the deadline without notice will mean you incur penalties and interest. And it may be some years before the tax authorities are willing to fully trust you again, rather than hound you.

Some of this advice will sound obvious, as it is just common sense ways to prepare for the end of the tax year, and ensuring that you pay what you owe on time. However, you can think of this post as a non-exhaustive checklist. With the deadline for online returns (31st January) approaching, the time to get everything in order is now!