Your time is now
At the recent Scottish Conference in Edinburgh, I made a very bullish statement to the gathered throng of bookkeepers: "This is your time". Not quite the Gettysburgh Address I'll grant you, but I certainly felt a Lincoln-esque moment coming on.
Quite simply; the years of pushing the ICB water relentlessly up the proverbial hill finally seems to be paying off. Bookkeepers are being taken seriously; their place in the financial machine is finally being recognised. But now the big one. The government is simplifying tax for the UK's smallest businesses - which could be either you, your employers, your clients, or your potential clients.
Simplified Tax for small businesses - have your say.
Those of you who have attended ICB seminars or the London Bookkeepers Summit will know that ICB has for some time been part of discussions on how to simplify the Tax system for small businesses Government has now put forward its long anticipated proposals.
From April 2013, the Government proposes to introduce a voluntary cash basis Tax system for small businesses along with simplified arrangements for some business expenses. This will affect:
- Most self-employed people, particularly those whose earnings come from their own work
- The Office for Tax Simplification (OTS) proposed that small businesses with receipts of up to £30,000 should be able to use the scheme
- The Government would like to explore a higher threshold so that small businesses with receipts of less than £77,000 would be eligible, and they could continue to use it until their receipts rise to more than £150,000 in any year.
This is big news for ICB bookkeepers, not only because it will affect you in your own taxes but because it will affect many of your clients and will allow you to look after their whole business affairs and Tax.
- No need to understand rules designed for larger businesses
- No need to pay tax until cash is received
- No need to keep complicated records (for example, stock, debtors and creditors), over and above those needed to run a business effectively
- No need to understand capital allowances
- No need to keep detailed records for certain key expenses - use a standard rate instead.
ICB would like to put together a proper, thought-out response. This is where you come in. The Government's proposal can be found at Simplified Tax.pdf . Please take time to read it and then let me have any comments that you feel are helpful and might assist ICB in contributing to the debate. This is really important.
How much do you earn?
At a time when politicians are squabbling over what they earn and how much Tax they pay (or more pertinently, avoid) it would appear that HM Treasury (HMT) is about to delve deeper into what bookkeepers earn for their toils.
HMT has just released its commissioning note for this year's annual return. Every year the Money Laundering Supervisors have to outline what they have done in the previous twelve months to ensure that their supervised population has adhered to the Money Laundering regulations (MLR). We have to list how many members we supervise; how many we have contacted in the course of our MLR activity; how many we have visited; how many we have disciplined. All relatively easy, thanks to the hard work of Ray Cross, our director of compliance, and you all for completing the MLR8 Annual Return, which provides most of the information that we need to supply.
However, this year they have asked what income members derive from their services. So, from now on, we shall need to ask you to divulge your income, which must be an accurate reflection of what you earn from bookkeeping. We are awaiting clarification but I believe we can do this within bands. Watch this space.
Now for the good news
You can now wave goodbye to those handwritten MLR8s. The ground breaking online return is now available and should be used as soon as possible. Access it via the main MLR page bookkeepers.org.uk/mlr
The new system replaces the MLR1, 2 and 3 paper-based Risk Assessment and Due Diligence forms. You will still need to gather the same information about each client, but now you will simply complete the process online. Once you have filled in all the information, the system will calculate for you the risk posed by each client. If you agree with the assessment, you just click the Finish button and it is automatically stored for you - and automatically populates the online MLR8. If you disagree with the risk rating that the system suggests, you can override it and put your own risk rating. There is a box to explain why you have reached this decision.
So no more MLR8s . A complete set of explanatory notes is available at www.bookkeepers.org.uk/mlr
Ask not what your Institute can do for you......
Could you give some of your time and, most of all, your experience to assist ICB in its development of policy and direction? Then why not:
Apply for election to the ICB Advisory Council
Take part in ICB's anonymous Annual Members Survey
Five members of the fifteen-strong Council are retiring by rotation and are seeking re-election and a further seat is currently open following a resignation. All six seats will be filled by open, online election, in which all fully paid up members of ICB are eligible to vote. Associates, Members or Fellows of ICB, who have been members of good standing for a minimum of two years, are eligible to put their names forward as a candidate. Each candidate must provide a current CV and details of why he or she feels that they deserve a place on Council. Additionally each candidate must have two other ICB members who are willing to support the application.
Closing date for nominations is 30 April. A full list of candidates will be carried in the May issue of InVoice and every member will have the opportunity to place their vote for the person they feel best deserves a place on Council. Results will be published in the June issue of InVoice.