How to spot a scam and avoid becoming a victim of fraud

How to spot a scam and avoid becoming a victim of fraud

15.6.2021 | Tax

How to spot a scam and avoid becoming a victim of fraud

Andrew Diver, Head of Taxation at Beatons Group, advises how to protect yourself from fraud.

Scams appear to be on the rise, especially those claiming to be from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

According to HMRC, it responded to more than 1.1million referrals of suspicious contact from the public in the last 12 months, up to April 2021.

Of these, more than 570,000 were offering false tax rebates.

Criminals often target the most vulnerable in society – with Age UK reporting 43% of people aged 65 or over have been the target of scammers.

However, it is something everyone – from individuals to businesses – should be aware of.

Here, Andrew Diver, Head of Taxation at Beatons Group, gives advice on how to protect yourself from fraud.

How to identify a scam
Scammers have become more sophisticated over the years, with many now mimicking government messages to appear authentic.

HMRC is among the most popular organisations scammers claim to be, using its credibility to dupe people into handing over their hard-earned cash.

However, there are a few things to look out for – if a call, email or text is unexpected, offers a refund, grant or tax rebate, asks for personal information like bank details or asks to transfer money, it could be a scam.

If you receive a call, HMRC will only ever ask you about a claim or payment you already know about and will never leave a voicemail threatening legal action.

Ultimately, it is better to be suspicious of a message and wrong than trust it and open yourself up to fraud.

What to do if you suspect a call is bogus
Above all, never give out your personal or financial details to anyone you cannot prove is genuine.

If you cannot verify the identity of the caller, do not speak to them.

Do not click on any links or reply to any texts you think may be scams or pay them any money.

If the call is genuine, a real organisation will not mind you double-checking.

The best way to do that is to contact the company directly on a known email or telephone number.

Do not interact with the messages at all – don’t even confirm personal information is accurate as this could also be used by fraudsters.

You can then report the suspicious incidents to Action Fraud on its website at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 1232040.

Kickstart your business

Kickstart your business

1.6.2021 | Tax

Kickstart your business

Stephanie Hammond, director at Beatons Group, looks at how the scheme works and how to make the most of it.

Companies are now looking to get back to business with the coronavirus appearing to be in retreat in the UK.

Many sectors, however, especially the hospitality industry, are finding it difficult to recruit new staff.

Additional factors, such as Brexit, have put other industries in the same boat, with the Financial Times recently reporting the haulage and logistics sectors are facing a recruitment crisis.

To help maintain recruitment levels and get more young people back into work, the government has launched the Kickstart Scheme.

What is the Kickstart Scheme?
The Kickstart Scheme provides money to employers to create new jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds on universal credit who are at risk of being unemployed long-term.

Essentially, the government will pay 100% of the national minimum wage, or living wage depending on the employees’ age, for 25 hours a week.

These funds, which also cover an employer’s national insurance contribution and workplace pensions, will continue for six months.

The idea is to help companies recruit quickly as the UK reopens and give life chances and valuable experience to young people hit hard by the pandemic.

The hope is young people given a chance for employment through the scheme will then be recruited full time.

What do I get if I apply for the scheme?
As well as the Kickstart Scheme covering a young person’s wages, when a business is accepted on the scheme, they will immediately receive £1,500 of funding per job created.

This money will be used on set up costs and to support the young worker with training, allowing them to develop as an employee.

The funds could also be used to pay for a new uniform, IT and software or necessary equipment they need.

However, the Department of Work and Pensions may ask for records to show where the money has been spent.

How do I apply?
Businesses can apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant online or through a Kickstart gateway, a company already working with the scheme.

A Kickstart gateway can be any organisation – from local authorities to charities and trade bodies – that will act as an intermediary and can apply for funding on your behalf.

Click here to apply online.

If you need further advice, visit beatons.co.uk

 

Off-payroll working – and how changes in law could affect you

Off-payroll working – and how changes in law could affect you

19.5.2021 | Tax

Off-payroll working – and how changes in law could affect you

Ramifications across all sectors, including transport and logistics. 

Off-payroll working has become headline news recently, with change in the IR35 laws set to affect businesses and workers across the country.

From now on, large and medium-sized businesses will have to treat their off-payroll workers as if they were on-payroll, so by law have to offer sickness and holiday benefits.

It is a changeset to affect industries of all types – from logistics and freight to clerical workers and teachers.

Here, Andrew Diver, Head of Tax at Beatons group, gives his insight into how the rule changes could affect you.

What is IR35?
Essentially, IR35 is the off-payroll working rules set by the Government, introduced in 2000 to combat what is known as ‘disguised’ employment.

‘Disguised’ employment is where employees are paid as a client, via an intermediary such as their own limited company, so they can avoid paying income tax and National Insurance.

The IR35 rules were brought in to combat this.

How have the rules changed?
Earlier this year, changes were made to the IR35 rules for the private sector.

From now on, medium and large businesses will need to check all off-payroll contractors using the Check Employment Status Tool (CEST) to determine whether the contractor should be treated as an employee and PAYE deducted before payment is made to the contractor.

The rules do not apply to small businesses unless they are owned by a larger parent company.

The big change is that the onus is now on the company engaging the worker is legally obliged to check the IR35 status. Previously, where a business contracted with another company, it was the contractor’s companies obligations to consider whether PAYE would apply.

It means for firms working with several contractors; a check will have to be submitted for each by the employer.

If companies do not abide by the new rules, they could face a hefty fine.

How to avoid getting a fine
From April 2021, large and medium-sized businesses are responsible for determining whether a worker is an employee or contractor.

Businesses should review all their relationships with contractors and consultants.

To identify the employment status of a worker, the HMRC has created the CEST online tool to help out. The difficulty still arises for businesses that many of the questions in the CEST tool are subjective, and the tool itself can produce a response which states that, based on the answers, the position is inconclusive.

Be careful to maintain an audit trail as you go – as long as you stay within the rules and have evidence to back you up, you should avoid a penalty.

If you need further advice, visit beatons.co.uk

 

How to make the most of the Recovery Loan Scheme

How to make the most of the Recovery Loan Scheme

4.5.2021 | Tax

How to make the most of the Recovery Loan Scheme

Nick Marshall, director at Beatons Group, explores what financial help is available for businesses in the government’s new Recovery Loan Scheme.

As the vaccine rollout maintains its quick pace and cases of COVID-19 continue to fall, businesses across the UK are now looking to the future.

From haulage to hotels, most companies have found the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns a challenging time, with many having to put staff on furlough or cut down on their spending costs to help them weather the storm.

What is it?
The Recovery Loan Scheme has been set up to give businesses access to loans to help them recover after the pandemic.

This new scheme should not be confused with the government’s earlier bounce back scheme – as the size of the loan is much higher, as are the interest rates.

It also requires extensive checks for a borrower’s financial viability and demands for personal guarantees.

However, for larger companies who have been hit hard by lockdown, this scheme may help them hit the ground running and help them plan ahead.

Who can apply?
The government’s loan scheme is on offer for any business that trades in the UK.

To qualify, a business must show they would have been viable had it not been for COVID-19 and that the pandemic has adversely impacted them.

Businesses must also show they are not in collective insolvency proceedings unless within the scope of the Northern Ireland protocol where different eligibility rules apply.

Businesses who received a loan through a previous loan scheme are still eligible to access loans under the new scheme.

Firms from any sector can apply – apart from banks, building societies, insurers, public sector bodies and state-funded primary schools.

How much can a business borrow?
Loans and overdrafts from £25,001 to £10million are available per business, with invoice finance and asset finance of between £1,000 and £10million also available per company.

However, personal guarantees will not be taken on facilities up to £250,000, and a borrower’s principal private residence cannot be taken as security.

Unlike the previous bounce back scheme, the take-up of this scheme has so far been sluggish, with the Financial Times reporting it could be down to the more stringent checks and higher interest charges than other pandemic loans.

However, for a business looking to rehire staff or need help with cash flow, this scheme still offers a good way to secure funding for the future.
For more information about Beatons Group, visit beatons.co.uk

Ever Given Lessons

Ever Given Lessons

21.4.2021 | Tax

Ever Given Lessons

Stephanie Hammond, director at Beatons Group, explores the ripple effect and impact of the logistics sector’s biggest mishap. 

Drama of Ever Given shows how challenging the logistics sector can be.

The unprecedented six-day shutdown of the Suez Canal and the subsequent impoundment of The Ever Given shows the enormous challenges the logistics sector faces every day.

The Ever Given became lodged diagonally in the globally important waterway on March 23, blocking the canal completely and halting billions in maritime commerce and trade.

Here, Stephanie Hammond, Director at Beatons group, explores the difficulties the industry overcomes on a daily basis and how one mishap can end up costing billions.

A knife-edge

Aerial photographs of the Ever Given showed how important the thin stretch of water between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea is to the world.

To think that just one ship, albeit a very large one, could cause so much disruption shows the fine line logistics companies often have to navigate to ensure goods get where they need to be.

It shows the precision in which the logistic sector is run – and how an error can be very costly.

Seized

Now the Ever Given has been moved and the canal back to full operation, the litigation starts.

The Suez Canal Authority, part of the Egyptian government, has seized the vessel and is demanding compensation of £666m from the Ever Given’s protection and indemnity insurer, UK Club.

It is understood that negotiations are still ongoing.

The amount will likely take into account the salvage operation, costs of stalled canal traffic and lost transit fees for the week that the Ever Given blocked the canal.
Litigation could be complex since the vessel is owned by a Japanese firm, operated by a Taiwanese shipper, and flagged in Panama.
It is said that the court order will help the canal authority reclaim the costs it incurred from the blockage. Loss of revenue from transit fees, which start at more than £70,000 per ship, ran to almost £11m a day.

The canal operator is also seeking compensation for repairs to damage caused when the Ever Given hit the right hand-bank of the waterway, along with costs related to dredging and salvage work.

Impact

The incident added strain to an industry already under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic, sparking fears for delayed goods, shortages and rising costs.

UK port operators warned British businesses to brace for disruption as they faced a surge of ships arriving at once, threatening to overwhelm their ability to handle so much traffic.
The Ever Given incident has made clear the scale of the logistics sector, the challenges it faces and how one mishap thousands of miles away can impact lives and businesses around the globe.

For more information on Beatons Group, visit beatons.co.uk

Image: Ever Given, credit Adam Howlett, Prominent PR

Chancellor claims super-deduction will help boost economy

Chancellor claims super-deduction will help boost economy

7.4.2021 | Tax

Super-deduction to help boost the economy

Andrew Diver of Beatons Group explains how the tax break will impact the freight and logistics sector.

Last month the Chancellor set out his vision for the UK’s road to recovery as the country begins to slowly unlock.

One of the key announcements in his budget, and one that could have a huge impact on freight and logistics in the east, is the introduction of the new super-deduction tax break.

Here, Andrew Diver, Head of Tax at Beatons Group, explains what super-deduction is and the role it could play in kickstarting the economy, post-pandemic.

What is the super-deduction?
Essentially, the super-deduction will give businesses the opportunity to deduct 130% of the cost of purchasing assets, such as trucks, plant and machinery, against their profits.

For example, with corporation tax currently at 19%, buying an asset of £100,000 would result in a £130,000 deduction against tax – reducing the liability by £24,700.

The Government hopes the new scheme will encourage firms to invest in productivity-enhancing trucks, plant and machinery now, helping them grow in the future.

When and how does the super-deduction apply?
The super-deduction applies to ‘qualifying assets’ and will last until March 31, 2023.

The Government says most tangible assets used during the course of business are considered as plant and machinery – so the term encompasses a lot.

Examples of machinery that would be included in the super-deduction would be items such as lorries, tractors, cranes, and vans as well as office and computer equipment.

This will benefit companies looking to update their vehicle fleets as well as firms that have increased their staff numbers and need new IT equipment.

The super-deduction would also help companies that now look to get more of their staff back into the office after lockdown but need to invest in equipment to do so, such as COVID screens.

Who can apply for a super-deduction?
The super-deduction is on offer to any business that pays corporation tax.

This means most businesses – from giants like Amazon to small firms just starting out – can take advantage of the scheme.

If a company is eligible for a super-deduction, there is no limit to the level of purchases permitted under the scheme.

Unfortunately, sole traders and partnerships will not be eligible for this relief.

However, they could benefit from the annual investment allowance on qualifying asset purchases, which would still be a 100% deduction.

If you have any questions regarding the new rules and how they might impact your business, please get in touch with Beatons Group on 01473 659777 or info@beatons.co.uk

For more information about Beatons Group, click here.