Spotting Scammers: Protecting your Business from Fraudulent Activity

Spotting Scammers: Protecting your Business from Fraudulent Activity

Scams and fraudulent activity are notoriously hard to spot – that is, after all, why they work so well. Scammers are malicious, quick to adapt and are always coming up with new ways to pose as trusted organisations, concealing their real agenda from their victims. Here at Your Finance Team, we have recently seen growing numbers of our clients contacting us to help determine whether communications they have received are legitimate or fraudulent. Worryingly, many of these have turned out to be the latter. Despite every effort from the government and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), vast numbers of scammers are still at large and can pose a real risk to you and your business if you are not aware of the red flags to look out for. Tips for Spotting a Scam 1. Offers and Threats Usually, scam communications will use either an offer or a threat to encourage engagement. For example, the latest HMRC scam plays on the economic struggles caused by the COVID 19 pandemic – it offers tax rebates to individuals and businesses to aid them during these difficult times. This email or text comes with a clickable link that then requires you to input your personal details to receive your rebate. Any communication that is offering or threatening something unexpected is likely to be fraudulent, and any interaction should be avoided. 2. Personal Details One overarching rule for spotting a scam is the attempted data collection of personal details. Legitimate organisations, like the HMRC, will never ask for your personal information or the details of your business via email or text, something that...
How to be Most Effective When Working from Home

How to be Most Effective When Working from Home

Working from home is a position in which many of us have unexpectedly found ourselves in. Some of us have relocated to dining room tables; others are holed-up in spare bedrooms, laptops balanced on piles of books; some are juggling meetings and childcare all at once. Quiet, calm offices with tidy desks are a distant memory and, for now, it looks like they may stay that way for some time! Here at Your Finance Team, we know how difficult working from home can be and have therefore set out a few simple steps to help you maximise your working from home effectiveness as we navigate this final part (hopefully!) of the pandemic.  Routine is Key Setting and maintaining a routine that works for you is key to maximising your effectiveness when working from home. Things like waking up at the same time each day, dressing in work-appropriate attire, leaving time for coffee and breakfast before sitting down to work will ensure that you are in the right mindset to be productive and will set you up for a successful day.  Workspace To begin with, working in your home can feel quite alien. You’re bringing all the stresses of our working life into your safe space, which is why it’s a good idea to designate just a small area of your home to work. Try picking a space that is away from rooms you would usually relax in (living rooms, bedrooms) and one that is free from as many distractions as possible. Doing this allows you to maintain some semblance of work-life balance and will enable you to work effectively...
Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Finance Director

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Finance Director

As your business grows, so will the need for effective financial management. You may already have hired a bookkeeper to keep the basics in check, but as your business continues to prosper, you may feel that you need a more substantial service. This next step could be the hiring of a Virtual Finance Director – someone who will manage your finances with the knowledge, expertise and experience you would expect from a loyal, full-time member of staff, in your offices or remotely, but for a fraction of the price. We’ve rounded up a plethora of benefits that could come from hiring a Virtual Finance Director if you are considering this as your next step: 1. All-Seeing, All-Knowing The primary role of a Virtual Finance Director is to oversee all financial activity with an objective, unbiased eye. This means having someone on your team who can actively monitor your finances and report back to you with clear, detailed information that will help to inform positive business decisions. Having access to a consistent, real-time overview of your financial situation at all times via a Virtual Finance Director can help you to understand your business and move forwards in the most profitable way. And you won’t have to break the bank to do it. 2. Affordable Access to Experience and Expertise Choosing to hire a Virtual Finance Director means that you’ll be working with a fully qualified accountant with years of valuable experience in senior financial leadership. While hiring someone full-time with a similar status can be expensive, going Virtual means that you’ll only have to pay for the time you need...
Late Filing Penalties – A Move to Points System Proposed

Late Filing Penalties – A Move to Points System Proposed

A move from fines to points system A move to a points system rather than fines from 2019 is being proposed. This is in an attempt to focus Treasury attention on serious tax avoidance offences. Rather than on punishing small taxpayers who’ve made mistakes. The present system has been to impose a £100 fine on all self-assessment tax payers when they miss the 31 January deadline. This sum increases as further deadlines are passed without payment. The second deadline is the end of April. In the 2016/17 tax year 840,000 individuals failed to meet the deadline, many of whom appealed against the fine for reasons including illness and hardship. From 2019 The proposed new points system, which would come into effect in 2019, would have a sliding scale based on the number of times an individual or business needs to report to HMRC. For example, individuals paying annually via the self-assessment system would incur a fine after just two points. While those paying quarterly can accrue four points. A benefit of this system is that sustained compliance with the tax regime after a failure will return the points accumulated back to nil. So if you miss filing, but then comply with deadlines for the next annual filing period, your ‘earned’ points will be wiped off your record. For further information please contact us  at Your Finance...
HMRC Ways To Pay Your Tax Bill

HMRC Ways To Pay Your Tax Bill

HMRC ceased to accept payments via credit cards HMRC stopped accepting credit card payments for tax bills from 13 January 2018. Self Assessment tax payments In 2016, more than 800,000 of us paid our self assessment bill by credit card. Allowing us to benefit from the period of extra grace this gave us to dig up the cash and for some, being able to spread the cost over several months by only paying off the minimum charge. Only personal credit cards are covered by the ban. Debit card payments are still possible, although they confer none of the benefits of credit cards. Those with corporate and business credit cards can also still pay. Why the change? New legislation around credit card surcharges which came into effect in the summer of 2017 has caused the knock-on effect that led to this ban. Organisations can no longer charge a fee to those paying with credit cards, but they must still pay the processing fees for credit card payments. HMRC would have been in a difficult position of charging back the processing fees to the public purse. Alternative payment methods are: debit cards, direct debits, online (BACs) or telephone banking services provided by...
Entrepreneur’s Relief – One of the Best Kept Secrets

Entrepreneur’s Relief – One of the Best Kept Secrets

Entrepreneur’s Relief Since April 2008, Entrepreneur’s Relief (ER) has been one of the best kept secrets of British business life. Perhaps the way that successive governments have handled Entrepreneur’s Relief explains why this excellent scheme is not as well recognised, or as used, as it should be by the business community. The Benefits of Entrepreneur’s Relief Qualifying businesses can save between 8% and 18% Capital Gains tax. Each individual’s qualifying amounts are subject to a lifetime limit which is related to business period. Businesses disposed of between: April 2008 to 5 April 2010 up to £1 million 6 April 2010 to 22 June 2010 up to 2 million 23 June 2010 to 5 April 2011 up to £5 million or after 6 April 2011 up to £10 million. Spouses or civil partners working in the same business are classed as separate individuals. Therefore claim individually. Because each person is entitled the full amount of Entrepreneurs’ Relief, this makes the benefit doubly attractive. Especially to family firms. It’s clearly an attractive benefit, so how do you ensure you qualify? Qualifying for Entrepreneur’s Relief Qualifying conditions for this benefit must be maintained throughout a 12 month qualifying period. This can be before the date of disposal or before the date the business ceased trading. Both individuals and some qualifying trustees of settlements can claim the relief. But, it’s not available to personal representatives of the deceased nor in relation to trusts where the entire trust is a discretionary settlement. The relief must be claimed, in writing, by the first anniversary of the 3rd January following the end of the tax year...

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