The History of Saint & Co. – Part One

Looking back on over 130 years of excellenceThe History of Saint & Co. - Part One

Every business has a story, and every story has to start somewhere. Ours begins with our founder John Jackson Saint.

John Jackson was an accountant, businessman, and public servant, who was born in 1861, and died in 1918. He lived a busy and eventful life, typified by an entrepreneurial spirit and can-do attitude.

When he was just 20-years-old, he moved from Haltwhistle to Carlisle in 1881, and within three years he had qualified as a chartered accountant and had set up his own business. Working from 10 Bank Street, this savvy young man must have known this prime location in the town’s financial district would win him customers. By 1886, he appeared to capitalise on new bankruptcy laws, and in May of that year, he was named in the Carlisle Patriot as a trustee of the estate of a bankrupt firm of builders.

As his business developed, his personal life blossomed too. In 1888 he married Charlotte Boustead, the daughter of a butcher and hotelier, who was 10 years his senior. The following year, they welcomed their first child, a son named John Boustead Saint. Both he and his younger brother, Roland Cyril, who was born in 1892, would go on to become partners in the family firm.

A Life Led in Public

A fledgling business and a young family would be enough to keep most 29-year-olds busy nowadays but, like his Methodist prayer leader father, John Jackson was keen to become involved in public life.

In 1890, having lived in the Border City for just nine years, he won a closely-fought election to represent Botchergate on Carlisle City Council. He was made an alderman (a senior member of the council) eight years later.

His obituary, printed in the Carlisle Journal in October 1918, gives a clear insight into his political leanings. It said:

“…Besides being a busy man professionally, he took an active interest in public affairs…

“He was chairman of the Markets and Tolls Committee, frequently intervening in debates on financial matters. For some time also he was one of the city representatives on the County Council.

“In politics Mr Saint was a strong Conservative, and was for many years chairman of the Carlisle Conservative Club as well as vice-president of the Conservative Association…”

A Growing Business and Personal TroublesThe History of Saint & Co. - Part One

Despite his apparently hectic life during the late 1880s and the early 1890s, John Jackson Saint & Co appears to have gone from strength to strength. Not only did the family have two servants living with them at 4 Cavendish Place, John Jackson had lofty aspirations to relocate and expand his prosperous business.

On July 8, 1892 he published an advert in The Carlisle Journal appealing for tenders to build a new office building in Lowther Street. And within a few short years, John Jackson Saint & Co occupied all four floors of the new building, remaining there for many years. Today the inscription over the door still reads JJS 1892.

However, his life was not without personal difficulties. In 1895, his wife gave birth to a daughter, Charlotte Gladys, who was disabled, and the following year the couple lost their infant son Samuel Aldrick. It must have been a bitter blow.

A Chapter ClosesThe History of Saint & Co. - Part One

During the 1890s, John Jackson was in partnership with accountants Arthur Ebenezer Slater Cook and Francis James Livesey and, according to official records, they ran branches in Carlisle, London, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston and Workington.

But by 1902 the partnership had been dissolved and John Jackson Saint was in sole charge of his own company.

When he died on October 13, 1918, following a period of illness, tributes appeared in newspapers beyond Cumbria. The Leeds Intelligencer said he was a man “who was known throughout the north of England.”

Despite John Jackson Saint’s death, his name lived on during a new era for the accountancy firm. With his sons, John Boustead and Roland, at the helm following their service in The Great War, the business continued to grow and prosper.

Reporting VAT online – aren’t we doing that already?

The Government recently announced the delay of Making Tax Digital for Business (MTDfB) to 2020 at the earliest but that quarterly VAT reporting, using the new system will be mandatory from 2019.

Surely we are doing that already you might say. However, currently businesses are only required to complete 9 boxes when they submit their quarterly, monthly, or annual VAT return online. Under the latest proposal for MTDfB the business will be required to submit the detailed transaction data supporting the output tax and input tax figures on a quarterly basis. This will therefore require those businesses affected to keep their accounting records digitally from the 2019 start date.

These changes won’t affect business that are not VAT registered such as buy to let landlords for whom MTDfB will not apply until 2020 at the earliest, and even then only if their gross rental income exceeds the VAT registration threshold.

In preparation for the new reporting requirements we recommend that you review your accounting systems and if necessary  speak to us about using a package such as Xero which will enable you to report under the new rules.  If you update your system now then the chances of errors once the new rules are in will be minimised.

Changing your company car? What about a hybrid next?

hybrid car

The next Finance Bill will include legislation to reduce significantly the taxable benefit on the provision of low CO2 emission cars from April 2020.

From 2020 there will be a 2% benefit in kind for company cars that emit no CO2 such as electric and hydrogen powered cars. At the same time the system for taxing hybrid company cars will also be significantly changed. For example a hybrid car emitting less than 50g CO2 per kilometer will also have a 2% P11d benefit provided it has a range on its electric motor of at least 130 miles. For example a BMW i3 hybrid costing £30,980 has a range of 181 miles so will qualify for the 2% benefit rate resulting in a taxable benefit of just £620 a year. Such a vehicle would also qualify for a 100% first year allowance which means that the £30,980 cost of the company car would be deducted in full against business profits.

Contact us if you would like to discuss the tax implications of your next business vehicle.

Is your company carrying out research and development?

Research & Development

Many companies are still missing out on valuable tax breaks for expenditure on research and development (R&D).  Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have recently updated their guidance on claiming R&D tax credit relief and have reminded companies that it is possible to obtain advance assurance that the R&D activities are eligible to make a claim.

If you are a Small or Medium Enterprise (SME), broadly with fewer than 500 full-time employees and either an annual turnover below 100 million euros or a balance sheet total under 86 million euros, then the tax relief is 230% of the amount spent on R&D. So if your company spent £100,000 on R&D then the profits would be reduced by a further £130,000.

In many cases this enhanced deduction will create or increase a loss which can be set off against other profits or carried forward against future profits. However it is also possible to obtain “cash back” from HMRC at the rate of 14.5%. So if the £130,000 tax relief above has the effect of turning a £50,000 profit into an £80,000 loss then HMRC would refund £11,600 in tax to the company rather than have to wait until future profits are made.n order to make a claim for R&D tax relief the R&D project must seek to achieve an advance in overall knowledge or capability in a field of science or technology through the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty.

Contact us if you think that some of the work being carried out by your company’s technical staff might qualify as R&D and we can help you make a claim for this generous tax relief.

Part Time Accounts Technician vacancy at our Millom Office

We are seeking a part time Accounts Technician for our Millom Office.

The ideal candidate will be conscientious, self-motivated and have significant accountancy practice experience. The role will involve all areas of accounts preparation for both incorporated and unincorporated businesses, preparation of VAT returns and other taxation matters as required. The candidate will also be IT literate, having a working knowledge of Microsoft Office and accountancy software.

To apply please email your C.V. to Ian Scott  by 30 September 2017.

 

Going for Xero Gold

 

Going for Xero Gold

We have some good news to share: Saint & Co. was recently awarded Xero Gold Partner status.

So, what exactly does this mean for both us and you?

Well, Xero awards several different status levels, ranging from Partner to Platinum Partner, with Bronze, Silver, and Gold in between. Each level achieved is an indication that certain criteria has been fulfilled, particularly the number of clients subscribed to use Xero.

Our Journey to Gold Champions

Using Xero was a deliberate and careful decision. It wasn’t something we rushed into. We carefully examined a number of solutions for our clients, before working closely with Xero for around a year to determine if their platform met the needs of our existing clients.

Over the past 12 months, our partner, Carlisle Accountant, Stuart Farrer – who was heavily involved with introducing Xero to the company – gave up time to attend workshops and travel to observe what other firms were doing well. Thanks to his dedication and input, and the hard work of our team in general, we have managed to convert over 350 clients to Xero’s cloud accounting software.

Retaining Our Status, and Aiming Higher

Growing to that number of subscriptions has directly contributed to achieving the gold status level, but it can change on a monthly basis. Part of the criteria also refers to the number of staff we have certified to use Xero, so we’ve spent even more time and resource training our team to make the most of Xero and its features.

We want to ensure that our clients will receive an answer to almost any query when it comes to using Xero and that being on the cloud complements their day-to-day business activities.

And with the platinum status in our sights, we need to retain our high standards of customer care, and our dedication to learning and improving.

What Can Xero Do For You?

When we introduce you and your business to Xero, you’ll have the opportunity to streamline your accounting processes. You’ll have 24-hour access to review your financial information via your own dedicated real-time dashboard, allowing both you and us as your accountant to make faster, better decisions.

Instead of dropping off documents or emailing information, you’ll enjoy a modern and up-to-date accounting system that will improve financial management and decision making within your organisation.

What’s Next for Saint and Xero?

Thanks to our newly acquired gold status, some of our partners have been invited to special Xero events, giving them a fresh perspective on the platform and an opportunity to expand their knowledge; something that we can then pass directly onto our clients.

Stuart and Michelle will also be attending Xerocon London in October. It’ll be yet another chance to enhance their understanding of Xero and its accounting system.

And we’ve also been running our own Xero client events (with lunch!). Our last one saw around 50 clients, many of whom weren’t on Xero at the time, attend and learn how cloud accounting could boost their business.

Learn More About Xero

If you’d like to learn more about how Xero can improve your accounting and financial management, chat with one of our friendly team members.

Simply fill out our contact form, or call us on: 01228 534371

Woodland Creation Grant

woodland

If you are thinking of planting a new forest, whether using currently owned marginal land, or the purchase of land for this specific purpose, now is as good a time as any to look into the grant funding availability.

In England, depending on the size of forest, the net income could be around £1,900 per hectare over 10 years, particularly if deer fencing and native broadleaf supplements are taken up. In Scotland, the net income could be even more, perhaps £2,350 per hectare over 7 years, if Central Scotland Green Network Funding is achieved in addition to the standard Woodland Creation Grant. Larger forests will no doubt benefit from “economy of scale”, and it is suggested a minimum area would be 25 to 30 hectares to make them viable, however, for marginal land or shelter belts, this is not unachievable.

It ought to be noted that there will be an initial cash deficit in both countries of £2,500 to £3,000 per hectare as the grant funding is only claimable/receivable after a successful application and the woodland has been planted. Initial ongoing costs up to around year 5 will also need to be considered too.

The tax benefits of forestry are also quite generous, not only from a Capital Gains Tax perspective, but also from a long term income tax perspective too.

If you are interested in looking into this further, there are a number of specialist land agents and woodland consultants around the country, with practical knowledge from planting right through to harvesting and marketing. An initial site visit to assess the land and its capabilities will no doubt be beneficial, and should give an overview of specific anticipated planting densities and general cash flow in your own circumstances. If you would like to visit a forest to see first-hand the processes of creation, thinning and harvesting, or to talk it through, then please contact us at advice@saint.co.uk and we will be happy to suggest forestry land agents who you may wish to contact.

Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund application deadline extended to 30th September 2017

The Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund 2015 was set up for those affected directly or indirectly by storm damage and flooding in December 2015.

Cumbria Community Foundation said that the Fund “has supported more than 3,000 households and helped communities rebuild after the floods.   Over £9 million has been awarded in total, with more than £2.5 million being invested in resistance and resilience measures for both households and communities, to help minimise the extent of damage in the future.

Cumbria Community Foundation have advised that the deadline for applications to the Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund 2015 has been extended to 30 September 2017 and are encouraging households to apply to the Fund by the same date as all district councils who are providing the Property Level Resistance (PLR) grants have extended their deadline to 30 September.

Priorities for grant making are:

  • Individuals and families suffering hardship as a result of the storms and floods
  • Community relief and ‘community rebuilding’ projects

For further details or to apply visit www.cumbriafoundation.org.

New Tax-Free Childcare Scheme

New Tax-Free Childcare Scheme

At the end of April 2017, the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme was launched by the government. The government has started inviting parents to apply for Tax-Free Childcare beginning with parents of the youngest children and parents of disabled children.

This may be of interest to you as:

  • if you are an employer, you may be asked questions about the new scheme by your employees
  • you may be interested in using the scheme yourself, particularly if you are self-employed, as this is the first childcare scheme providing a tax break for the self-employed.

What is Tax-Free Childcare?

Eligible parents will open an online childcare account. When a parent pays into the account, the government will pay in an extra 25%. So if £80 is paid into the account, the government will automatically add £20. The maximum government payments are £2,000 per child per year. This means annual childcare costs of £10,000 per child can be met by £8,000 of payments by the parents and £2,000 by the government.

For a disabled child, the maximum top-up payments are £4,000.

How much parents pay into their Tax-Free Childcare account, and when, is up to them.

Who can qualify for Tax-Free Childcare?

Parents need to be ‘working parents’ paying for ‘registered childcare’ for children under 12 (or under 17 for disabled children). If parents are not living together, the qualifying parent depends upon with whom the child usually lives.

The main criteria for a parent are:

  • earns on average at least £120 a week
  • earns less than £100,000 a year
  • not receiving other support for childcare such as Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit.

The self-employed parent can average self-employment income across the year to meet the minimum income requirement.

If the parent has a partner, he/she also needs to be working and satisfy the criteria above.

It is possible for an individual who is not the parent to qualify if the child usually lives with them. The income criteria would apply to that individual (and their partner).

Partners are people who are:

  • married or in a civil partnership, and live together in the same household, or
  • a couple who live together as if they are married or in a civil partnership.

Registered childcare

Only childcare providers registered or approved by a UK regulator can sign up to receive Tax-Free Childcare payments. HMRC has written to childcare providers, asking them to sign up online for Tax-Free Childcare. Parents will be able to check online who is registered for the Tax-Free Childcare scheme.

Parents will send payments online from their Tax-Free Childcare account to the bank account of the registered childcare provider. Therefore when a provider receives a payment from a parent, this will include both their payment and the government contribution.

What if you have an Employer Supported Childcare scheme?

As an employer, you may have set up and still run an Employer Supported Childcare scheme. Employer supported childcare, commonly by way of childcare vouchers, has provided tax and national insurance efficient benefits for many employers and employees. Many schemes have been set up under a salary sacrifice arrangement. The employee receives a childcare voucher which, within certain limits, provides income tax and national insurance savings.

An employee cannot benefit from both an Employer Supported Childcare scheme and the Tax-Free Childcare scheme. However, employees are free to choose between the schemes if already in an Employer Supported Childcare scheme or join such a scheme before April 2018.

This choice is, of course, dependent on you continuing to offer a scheme. If you do continue to run a scheme, your employees will need to decide what to do. There are winners and losers when the two schemes are compared. For some, this will be a difficult choice to make.

The government has provided a ‘childcare calculator’ which provides an estimate of the financial support parents may be able to receive after they have answered a number of questions on their childcare costs and income. The calculator is available at www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator

Your childcare voucher provider should also be able to supply information to your employees to help them decide what is best for them.

30 hours free childcare (please note that this applies to England only)

The government is introducing an extension to the current schemes available in England for free childcare for three and four-year-olds. The current scheme provides 570 hours of free early education or childcare over 38 weeks of the year (typically taken as 15 hours a week over 38 weeks). It is available for all three and four-year-olds. The 30 hours scheme potentially extends the entitlement to an additional 570 hours. However, not all children will be entitled to receive the extra hours. The criteria for the extension are similar to the criteria that apply for the Tax-Free Childcare scheme – for example the requirement for parents to be working and not earning above £100,000 a year.

The scheme will begin in September 2017 but eligible parents can apply for the Tax-Free Childcare and the 30 hours schemes through one online application. See the link below.

New government website – Childcare Choices

The government has recently launched a website – Childcare Choices – which guides parents through the various ways help is, or will be available. Please see: www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

The childcare calculator which has been referred to above in the section ‘what if you have an Employer Supported Childcare scheme?’ is also useful.

Currently, parents with a child under four on 31 August 2017 or disabled can apply through the Childcare Choices site. Parents will be able to apply for all their children at the same time when their youngest child becomes eligible.

Other parents can request to receive an email from the government as to when they are able to apply. The link is also available on the Childcare Choices site. All eligible parents will be able to join the scheme by the end of 2017.

Information sheets for employees

If you would like to provide information to your employees about Tax-Free Childcare we can supply you with an information sheet. Please contact us and we will supply you with a digital version.

We hope you find this information useful. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Motor racing sponsorship was tax deductible

Motor racing sponsorship was tax deductible

In order for an expense to be deductible against business profits, it must be incurred “wholly and exclusively” for the purposes of the trade.

In a recent tax case, a hotel owner near Silverstone sponsored his granddaughter’s career as a racing driver by making payments through his company. The argument was that this would promote the motorsport credentials of the hotel, rebranded as Silverstone Hotel. The granddaughter was well known in motor racing circles and her endorsement of the hotel was designed to promote the company’s business.

HMRC sought to disallow the expense on the grounds that there was a “duality of purpose” and consequently not incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the hotel trade. However the Tax Tribunal allowed the company’s appeal and consequently, the payment was tax deductible.