The deadline for renewing tax credits is the 31st July and for the periods of June and July the tax credits helplines are very busy. Payments will be stopped if tax credits are not renewed by the deadline of 31st July. HMRC are asking employers to encourage their employees to renew their claim for tax credits as soon as possible and using the online method.
Renewing online is easy and is less time consuming, any employee can do this once they have received their renewal pack. The renewal packs are being sent out by HMRC from April to June. It only takes on average 6 minutes to renew using the online method. In 2015 around 750,000 renewed their tax credits using the online service. Employees need to report any changes in their circumstances, example, changes to working hours, income etc. Anyone that cannot renew online can seek support through the tax credits helpline.
Employers can help encourage their employees to renew their tax credits by a number of methods:
• Asking their employees to check their renewal packs and to ensure all data is correct and up to date and renewing online
• By ensuring all the employees payment details and personal details through payroll have been reported to HMRC by Real Time Information
• Employers could include a note on the employees' payslips from April to July mentioning renewing tax credits and the deadline date
• If there is a business/company newsletter that it can be mentioned regarding renewing tax credits and the deadline date
The Pension Tracing Service have launched a new DWP website to help people find their lost pension saving. Currently there is an estimated £400 million in unclaimed pension savings. The new website has been designed to help people locate their hard earned savings for their retirement fund.
The wider pension reforms are creating a dynamic market where people have greater freedom and flexibility over their savings. The DWP expect the reforms will increase demand for the Pension Tracing Service. The free online service is simple to use and provides trace results immediately. Individuals enter their former employers’ details into the online database and are provided with contact details for pension schemes they may have paid into.
The new DWP website enables people to search a database of more than 320,000 pension scheme administrators. https://www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details
Auto-enrolment brings both new challenges and new opportunities.
When I talk to smaller practitioners I am no longer surprised when they tell me that they struggle to attract their ideal clients. They may have a steady flow of new clients through their website, referrals or networking. But all too often these new clients aren't willing to pay the fees accountants want to charge. And these new clients aren't often likely to want more than the bare basics of the service available.
Is this ringing any bells?
The first thing to stress is that if you want things to be different it is you who will have to do something different first. If you carry on doing what you have always done, you should expect nothing better than you've always got.
Perhaps you have decided on your preferred solution as regards auto-enrolment. If you are able to discuss and explain the options with employers you may find that you are one step ahead of the competition. Would you rather be taking on new clients who have already decided how to address their auto-enrolment obligations or those who need your help in making the crucial decisions?
Here are five simple steps you need to take if you want to attract your ideal clients:
On 17th May you can learn more about this and how to stand out from your rivals to attract clients who are happy to pay you a premium for that special something only you can deliver. That's just one of the topics I will be addressing during the accountants' breakthrough webinar.
You will hear from myself and Patrick McLoughlin of Accounting for Growth, the practice growth specialists. Patrick will explain the 4 core competencies you must master to attract a consistent flow of ideal clients.
We are collaborating on this new project which starts with this 60 minute Free Webinar, from 11am, May 17th. It's the first of a series that will form the Accountants' Breakthrough Programme.
Register now by clicking on this link to ensure that you qualify for founder member status and special privileges even if you cannot make the launch webinar on 17 May.
Mark Lee FCA can be reached through his website: www.bookmarklee.co.uk.
As automatic enrolment is a requirement that all employers must comply with and with compliance rates of all sizes of employers remaining high (in the high nineties) there are a number of employers that are not complying. According to The Pensions Regulator's (TPR) latest quarterly compliance and enforcement bulletin the amount of Escalating Penalty Notices that are issued is rising.
An Escalating Penalty Notice (EPN) can be issued by The Pensions Regulator to help employer compliance with their automatic enrolment duties and is one of the statutory powers of the TPR. Employers risk a fine that increases daily if they do not regard a 28 day warning notice. On an EPN the date is specified that the employer must comply with certain duties or can be penalised with a fine that increases daily. For employers with 1 to 4 employees the fine is £50 per day and for employers with 5 to 49 employees the fine is £500 per day. If an employer ignores the EPN it may lead to additional costs that could have been avoided.
The Pensions Regulator's Press Release for the First Quarter of 2016 shows the headline figures below and can be found at http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/doc-library/research-analysis.aspx#s16191
• 3,057 Compliance Notices issued - totalling 7,834 to date
• 806 Fixed Penalty Notices issued - totalling 2,234 from 2012 to date
• 96 Escalating Penalty Notices issued this quarter - totalling 127 to date