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Industry Updates

Chancellor unveils three-point plan for jobs
Chancellor unveils three-point plan for jobs

On 8 July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a three-point plan to support jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic when he delivered a Summer Economic Update to Parliament. Mr Sunak confirmed the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will end as planned this October. The Chancellor said furloughing had been the right measure to protect ...

Stamp duty temporarily reduced
Stamp duty temporarily reduced

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a temporary cut in the rate of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in order to boost confidence in the flagging housing market in his Summer Economic Update. Property transactions fell by 50% in May this year and house prices have fallen for the first time in eight years. In response, the ...

Flexible furloughing starts on job retention scheme
Flexible furloughing starts on job retention scheme

On 1 July, changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) saw flexible furloughing introduced, so employees will no longer have to be furloughed for a minimum period of three weeks. Following the change the CJRS has more flexibility to allow claims on a pro rata basis. Employers will be able to permit employees to ...

Late payment crisis has worsened during Coronavirus lockdown
Late payment crisis has worsened during Coronavirus lockdown

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found that the UK’s late payment crisis has worsened during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. 62% of small businesses have been subject to late or frozen payments during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research carried out by the FSB. Just 10% of small firms have agreed changes to payment ...

Government expands aid for start-ups and innovators
Government expands aid for start-ups and innovators

The government has expanded its COVID-19 support for start-ups and innovative companies with the launch of a new fund. On 27 June the government announced the Sustainable Innovation Fund (SIF), which is aimed at helping businesses to keep ‘cutting edge’ projects and ideas alive during the pandemic. The SIF will make almost £200 million available ...

Bank of England increases stimulus package for UK economy
Bank of England increases stimulus package for UK economy

On 18 June, the Bank of England increased the stock of purchases of UK government bonds by an additional £100 billion to help boost the UK economy following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The £100 billion in additional quantitative easing funds takes the total to £745 billion. The MPC also voted to cut the cost of ...

MPs open inquiry into £155 billion of tax reliefs
MPs open inquiry into £155 billion of tax reliefs

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has opened an inquiry into the UK’s management of £155 billion of tax relief. The inquiry follows the February publication of a National Audit Office (NAO) report that identified over 300 such tax interventions, totalling £155 billion per year. The NAO raised concerns about the effectiveness of management of tax ...

UK sets out post-Brexit tariff regime
UK sets out post-Brexit tariff regime

The UK government published its plans for a new import tariff regime following the end of the Brexit transition period. Following its departure from the EU, the UK has the ability to set its own rules and charges. The scheme includes the abolition of tariffs on imports worth over £30 billion, although economists say the ...

Changes to insolvency and company law going through Parliament
Changes to insolvency and company law going through Parliament

The government is making changes to insolvency and company law as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill outlines that struggling companies will be given extra time to consider rescue plans presented to them. As part of the changes, companies will have 20 business days to consider a rescue plan, ...

COVID-19: delay to VAT reverse charge on construction services
COVID-19: delay to VAT reverse charge on construction services

On 5 June 2020, HMRC announced a five-month delay to the introduction of the domestic VAT reverse charge for construction services, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector. The change will now apply from 1 March 2021 and will overhaul the way VAT is payable on building and construction invoices as ...

Chancellor announces changes to Job Retention Scheme
Chancellor announces changes to Job Retention Scheme

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced changes to the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS), which will be slowly wound down between July and October. The changes mean businesses will be able to bring furloughed employees back on a part-time basis from 1 July. Furloughed staff will continue to get 80% of their salary until the ...

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme goes live
Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme goes live

On 26 May 2020, HMRC opened up its Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rebate claim service. Eligible employers are able to recoup up to two weeks’ worth of SSP payments made to employees off work for COVID-19-related reasons since 13 March 2020 (16 March 2020 if the employee was shielding). This is an ongoing scheme for ...

FCA confirms further support for consumer credit customers
FCA confirms further support for consumer credit customers

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed further support for users of certain consumer credit products if they are experiencing temporary payment difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic. The measures outline the options firms will provide for credit card, revolving credit and personal loan customers who are coming to the end of a payment freeze. ...

Loan size increased to £200 million under large business interruption scheme
Loan size increased to £200 million under large business interruption scheme

Several changes to the CLBILS scheme have taken effect from 26 May. The government has extended the maximum loan size available through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) from £50 million to £200 million. However, companies borrowing more than £50 million through the CLBILS will be subject to restrictions on dividend payments, senior pay and ...

Future Fund launches to give start-ups coronavirus support
Future Fund launches to give start-ups coronavirus support

On 20 May 2020, the government launched its Future Fund package, which aims to support start-up businesses not eligible for other COVID-19 rescue measures. The Future Fund offers government loans of between £125,000 and £5 million to UK-incorporated companies, provided private investors at least match the funding supplied by the state. The package is aimed ...

Private sector off-payroll reforms given go ahead for April 2021
Private sector off-payroll reforms given go ahead for April 2021

The introduction of off-payroll rules to the private sector will go ahead as planned next April after an attempt to delay them failed in the House of Commons. The reforms of the off-payroll rules to the private sector, which are known as IR35 and have applied to the public sector since 2017, was reviewed earlier ...

HMRC extends late reporting deadline for CGT
HMRC extends late reporting deadline for CGT

HMRC has confirmed it will not charge penalties for the late reporting of capital gains tax (CGT) on disposals of UK residential property by UK residents made by 31 July 2020. On 6 April changes were made so that if a UK resident sells a residential property in the UK, they now have 30 days ...

Government borrowing could rise to £300 billion
Government borrowing could rise to £300 billion

The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) has suggested that government borrowing may rise to £300 billion in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The think tank has been working to estimate the cost of the COVID-19 crisis to the government’s finances, and has incorporated official data from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). ...

Government launches support finding tool for business
Government launches support finding tool for business

The UK government launched an online platform to help businesses access financial support during the COVID-19 crisis. The Coronavirus Business Support Finder Tool will guide businesses through the range of loans, tax reliefs and cash grants to combat the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 lockdown. The tool asks business owners to fill out a ...

HMRC releases guidance for self-employed scheme
HMRC releases guidance for self-employed scheme

HMRC has released guidance on the COVID-19 Self-employment Income Support Scheme. Under the scheme, self-employed individuals will be able to claim a taxable grant based on an average of their earnings over the past three years. To be eligible, workers must have filed all relevant income tax self assessment returns; have traded in the 2018/19 ...

Government launches small business micro loan scheme
Government launches small business micro loan scheme

On 4 May 2020 the government launched a micro loan scheme for small businesses as it continues to try and mitigate the economic damage caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. The Bounce Back Loan Scheme allows small businesses adversely affected by COVID-19 to apply for up to £50,000, with the government guaranteeing 100% of the ...

New tests and new car benefit percentages
New tests and new car benefit percentages

As part of its drive to encourage green motoring, the government has introduced a new emissions test, as well as new car benefit percentages. The scale of charges for working out the taxable benefit for an employee who has use of an employer provided car is computed by reference to bands of CO2 emissions multiplied ...

Get ready for 30-day returns and payments for residential property gains
Get ready for 30-day returns and payments for residential property gains

Legislation has been enacted to change reporting obligations for residential property gains chargeable on UK resident individuals, trustees and personal representatives. Also introduced is a requirement to make a payment on account of the associated capital gains tax (CGT) liability. For disposals made on or after 6 April 2020: a standalone tax return is required ...

OBR predicts UK economy will shrink by over a third
OBR predicts UK economy will shrink by over a third

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has warned that the UK economy could shrink by 35% this quarter due to the COVID-19 crisis. The OBR said that the outcome was modelled on an assumption that the current lockdown would last for three months. It stated that a three-month lockdown followed by three months of partial ...

HMRC urges businesses using VAT deferral to cancel direct debits
HMRC urges businesses using VAT deferral to cancel direct debits

Businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and are seeking to make use of the VAT deferral have been urged to cancel their direct debits ‘as soon as they can’. Businesses are advised to contact their bank to cancel their direct debits as soon as possible. UK VAT-registered businesses with a VAT payment ...

Lenders relax evidence requirements for business interruption loan scheme applications
Lenders relax evidence requirements for business interruption loan scheme applications

On 27 April 2020 the UK’s seven largest small business lenders announced they had relaxed their evidence requirements for applications to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). The lenders will use their own information when processing and approving applications, rather than relying on businesses providing forecasts and business plans. In a joint statement, the ...

HMRC delays introduction of off-payroll rules to private sector
HMRC delays introduction of off-payroll rules to private sector

HMRC has delayed the introduction of off-payroll rules to the private sector as part of its measures to support businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. The reforms will shift the responsibility for assessing employment status to the organisations employing individuals. The rules would have applied to contractors working for medium and large organisations in the private ...

Job Retention Scheme goes live
Job Retention Scheme goes live

On 20 April 2020 the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme went live for applications. The scheme allows businesses to furlough their employees, with the government paying 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is open for four months and was backdated from 1 March 2020 to the ...

Regulators request delay in corporate reporting
Regulators request delay in corporate reporting

Financial regulators have requested a moratorium on corporate financial reports for at least two weeks. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been communicating with the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) about a package of measures to ‘reinforce trust in the reporting system’. These will be aimed at ensuring companies and ...

Chancellor unveils help for self-employed workers
Chancellor unveils help for self-employed workers

On 26 March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a scheme to help self-employed workers who have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Under the scheme, the government will pay self-employed people a taxable grant based on an average of their earnings over the past three years. The grant will cover up to 80% of earnings, up ...

Chancellor’s business support packages for coronavirus pandemic
Chancellor’s business support packages for coronavirus pandemic

On 17 March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a £330 billion package of support for the UK economy as it combats the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures dwarf the £12 billion made available in the 2020 Budget. The package includes an increase in government-backed loans, higher cash grants, widened business rates relief for some sectors and mortgage ...

Rise in contactless card payment limit
Rise in contactless card payment limit

From 1 April the spending limit for contactless card payments rose from £30 to £45. The decision to increase the payment limit was reached following consultation between the retail sector and the finance and payments industry, and echoes similar increases in other European countries. UK Finance stated that the change had been under consideration before ...

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