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HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is understood to be sending out “Employer Compliance Check Questionnaires” without notifying agents, which could land businesses in trouble if the wrong information is provided.

The questionnaires are understood to be a replacement or substitute for a PAYE audit, which would typically require a visit from HMRC to ensure that a business’s payroll is compliant and being managed correctly.

The series of questions include:

  • What does the business do?
  • Where is the work carried out?
  • What are the names of Directors, how are they paid and what are their responsibilities?
  • Who prepares the payroll?
  • Which payroll package is used?
  • How many employees does the company have?
  • Are employees paid below the national minimum wage? If so why?
  • How many workers are paid off-payroll?

The questionnaire is also understood to go into some detail about the expenses of the business including details of staff entertaining, work travel and loans to staff or directors.

Alongside the questionnaire, many employers are also asked to provide policies and documents, as well as key data about the business.

This new style of compliance checks should not be taken lightly and anyone who receives one should contact the person who manages their payroll to ensure the correct information is provided.

Failing to complete the questionnaire or providing incorrect information could lead to additional investigations or a financial penalty.

 

 

Most pension savers are unsure if they are saving enough to afford the lifestyle they want in retirement, research from the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) shows.

A survey of 1,500 UK adults found that 80% have no idea if they're saving the right amount for retirement.

In addition, just over half (51%) wrongly think the government's minimum contribution level for auto-enrolment is the recommended pension savings level.

Auto-enrolment requires employers and employees to make a combined pension contribution of at least 5% of the employee's earnings in 2018/19, rising to 8% in April 2019.

While this helps provide a minimum amount of savings to live on, it is below the ideal amount for savers who want to maintain a comfortable lifestyle in retirement.

The PLSA has recommended introducing retirement income targets for savers in the UK, a measure which 74% of people say would make their retirement planning easier.

Nigel Peaple, director of policy and research at the PLSA, said:

"With future generations unlikely to have the same levels of property wealth, or final salary pensions, as current retirees do, it's vital more is done to ensure people can cover the costs of later life."

We can help you plan for a comfortable retirement.

 

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has called for the government to delay the rollout of its Making Tax Digital (MTD) scheme.

From April 2019, VAT-registered businesses will be required to maintain digital records for VAT and submit digital returns.

To do so, these businesses will need to have MTD-compatible software in place that can connect to HMRC systems using an Application Programming Interface.

However, research from the BCC shows that with 10 months until its introduction, 24% of firms have never heard of MTD and only 10% say they ‘know a lot of details' about it.

Mike Spicer, director of economics and research at the BCC, said:

"We are concerned that far too many firms still aren't clear on what MTD is, or what it means for their operations.

"With just months to go before the deadline, these knowledge gaps could make the timeline for change unworkable for many firms."

The change is set to come in shortly after the UK is due to leave the EU in March 2019, leading to further concerns that HMRC will lack the resources to support firms through both MTD and Brexit.

HMRC has already delayed MTD for individuals until further notice in order to free up capacity for Brexit, but said that MTD for all businesses would go ahead in April 2020 as planned.

Get in touch to discuss your preparation for MTD.

 

 

Businesses stand to benefit from an economic boost worth £2.72 billion if the England football team make it to the World Cup final in Moscow on 15 July 2018.

Research from VoucherCodes suggests owners of shops, bars, restaurants, cafes and clubs around the country have already banked £1.33 billion from the Three Lions roaring into the quarter-finals.

It said shop owners were the biggest winners so far, with 86% of fans stocking up on food and drink before watching England's first 4 matches at home.

The figure is tipped to more than double should Gareth Southgate's young team make it to the final, although they must get past Sweden in the last-eight and either Croatia or Russia in the semi-final.

Jimmy New, director of marketing at VoucherCodes, said:

"The 2018 World Cup looks set to be a big one in the UK, not only for fans but for British retailers too with a huge £1.33 billion estimated to be put through the tills to celebrate the occasion."

The Bank of England also noted that England's World Cup success was boosting the UK economy.

Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England, added:

"The underlying picture now appears to be one of gently rising household spending, and then there is the World Cup.

"Without wishing to tempt fate, England's recent sporting success on the football field has probably added to that feel-good factor among England-supporting consumers."

Get in touch to discuss your business.

 

Half of employers are struggling to find skilled candidates when recruiting, according to research.

A survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that in June 2018, 50% of employers are concerned about finding sufficient candidates for permanent roles.

This is an increase of 8 percentage points since the same research was conducted in June 2017.

At the same time, economic confidence among employers is growing steadily, as 32% said they felt more positive about the future of the UK economy - an increase of 2 percentage points on the previous month.

The REC claims employers have the potential to grow, but are being "held back" by a shortage of skilled workers. 
Tom Hadley, director of policy at the REC, said:

"It is encouraging to see employers continue to feel more optimistic about the UK economy which has translated in to having a positive impact on hiring intentions for both permanent and temporary staff.

"We want the UK jobs market to remain a success story but we must act now to address looming challenges that will impact on both demand and supply of staff."

Talk to us about your business.