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Welcome to the Clayton & Brewill autumn newsletter

As the leaves start to fall we are into the usual busy period ahead of the tax return period - the 31 October deadline for paper returns is fast-approaching! We've a reminder on this in the issue below plus lots of advice for business owners, including an explanation of the new dividend tax and a reminder to plan any capital expenditure carefully to maximise your tax reliefs. The first quarter of 2016 will see thousands of SMEs hit their auto-enrolment 'staging' dates. If this rings a bell you aren't too late to start planning - Chloe shares some advice below.

Many of you will have one or more properties that you rent out. We explain the implications of the pending changes to tax for landlords and remind you of the deposit protection rules. 

For more information on any of the topics included in this issue - or any other personal or company accounts and tax query, please contact us on the usual number, 0115 950 3044, or or by email.

Dividends vs salary - what's the best option?

jack moore of clayton & brewill

As an owner of a limited company you are no doubt used to paying yourself (and any other shareholding directors) through a mix of salary, dividends, and perhaps a bonus, with the salary element being paid at a level that sits just below that which would trigger employer and national insurance contributions.

The changes to how dividends are taxed mean, however, that the majority of small business owners will end up paying more tax.

So does a ‘high dividend / low salary’ strategy remain the most tax-efficient method of remuneration? Jack Moore investigates.

Find out more

Entrepreneurs Relief explained

If you reach the stage when you consider selling or gifting all or part of your business, there is a valuable tax relief known as Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER). ER can reduce your capital gains tax liability to 10% - but you need to plan ahead, advises Neil South.

Find out more about Entreprenuers Relief 

Planning some capital expenditure?

If the answer is "yes", it is important to note that the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) will fall permanently to £200,000 on 1 January 2016. The AIA is currently £500,000, so the timing of your expenditure could be crucial to your tax bill, as Amanda Stefanetti explains. 

Read Amanda's advice

Self-assessment - 31 October deadline for paper returns

If you are submitting your self-assessment tax return on paper, you need to make sure it is with HMRC by 31 October. There's lots of information to pull together for the self-assessment form and the key is to be organised: get your paperwork together and work through it in a methodical fashion. And remember, if you do get stuck, we will be happy to help you through.

Find out about our personal tax services

Landlords: beware tax changes and the deposit rules

tax changes for landlords

If you rent out a property with a mortgage against it, you'll know you can offset the cost of the interest against your tax bill. However this is soon all set to change, and you will no longer be able to count finance costs as a business expense - meaning you may see your tax bill leap. Find out more

Don't forget that you must - by law - make sure you protect all tenant deposits, including those taken before April 2007. Contact Catherine Sharp to find out more.

Workplace pensions: advice if you are staging in early 2016

speeding train to depict the unstoppable force of auto-enrolment

More than 100,000 SMEs will have to tackle the new workplace pension rules in the first quarter of 2016. So, if you are feeling daunted by auto-enrolment, you can rest assured you are not alone! Our auto-enrolment expert Chloe Hughes explains how to meet the pensions deadline.

Tax investigations insurance: it isn't too late to renew!

HMRC is aiming to raise over £25 billion this year through more aggressive compliance activity - including tax investigations. The costs of an enquiry can run into thousands of pounds and last, on average, for 19 months. Smaller businesses are being subjected to benchmarking, with recent campaigns focusing on doctors, plumbers, electricians, landlords, and online traders.

If you haven't already renewed your fee protection insurance then we urge you to take action. The renewal date was 1 October but if you contact us before the end of the month we can make sure you are protected! Click here to email Michele Skelton or call 0115 950 3044

No more tax relief on the purchase of goodwill

One of the less-publicised changes made by Chancellor George Osborne in his Summer Budget was the removal of tax relief on the purchase of "goodwill".

The change was made with immediate effect from 8 July and affects anyone considering acquiring a business's client list or existing contracts, as Yvonne Jackson explains.

Read more

Lord's Taverners Christmas Lunch: 11 December 2015

lord's taverners logo

Clayton & Brewill's Neil South is involved with organising the East Midlands region Christmas Lunch, which will take place at Nottingham's Crowne Plaza hotel on 11 December, with guest speakers Austin Healey and Geoff Miller. Tickets cost £40 - or £36 if you book before the end of October - and all proceeds go towards giving disadvantaged and disabled young people a sporting chance. To find out more or to book tickets please contact Neil by email or on 0115 950 3044.