What HMRC Know About You !

Don’t worry we’ll make sure you don’t get into trouble!

You may or may not know that…

HMRChave significantly increased the number of tax investigations they carry out.

Not only that…

HMRC’s “breakthrough” computer system, a new, powerful weapon against fraud, tax evasion and avoidance, will ensure that even the most determined are caught eventually.

The system is called as ‘Connect’, and was designed by defence contractor BAE Systems. Although it cost HMRC £45m back in 2010, it has already delivered £1.4bn of additional tax revenues.

So given all of this we thought it would be helpful for you to have the information contained in this article to save you from getting into bother with HMRC.

We think it best to be prudent because…

You may never have had an HMRC tax investigation, but given the government have put HMRC under pressure to collect more tax revenues than ever before, the chances are the even the most careful of Self-Employed/MD Owners will come under HMRCs microscope at some point.

Connect computer power

“6 out of 10 tax inquiries use this system”

The HMRCs powerful tax inquiries computer system is called ‘Connect’.

It’s a very appropriate name because…

HMRC has unrivalled wealth of information about people living in Britain, due in part to its many connections with other databases, such as the Land Registry, Companies House and the Electoral Roll. “HMRC has more data than the British Library”

Not only that…

The HMRC website is one of the world’s biggest websites at peak filing time.

‘Connect’ has access to such comprehensive data that it allows investigators to spot anomalies.

HMRC’s powerful IT system allows Tax Inspectors to build up literally dozens of connections for any one individual. Creating a unique profile about that persons circumstances.

It also makes it much easier for HMRC to check up on individuals’ tax return

HMRC gets information from other organisations
The tax authority’s access to Land Registry and DVLA data means it knows how much someone has spent on their house and can see vehicles registered to each address.

So, if someone has bought a high value vehicle, but lives in a modest flat that might not fit with that individual’s financial affairs.

Maybe an individual owns some properties in their name, but has not declared any income, that would be a warning sign.

The Inland Revenue can easily build up a picture of someone’s financial worth and means that if someone is only declaring £20,000 a year, but is living a £100,000 lifestyle, HMRC can call on that individual to pay more.

What goes ‘on the web’ stays ‘on the web’

HMRC also grabs seemingly harmless information from social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

If someone is constantly putting up pictures of expensive holidays and flashy cars on Facebook, but is paying minimal tax, then that could trigger an investigation.

HMRC also obtains information from less obvious sources, such as adverts on noticeboards, in newsagents or even stories in local newspapers.

“All media is a valuable source of information for HMRC”

“Fear and guilt on TV, Radio and Billboards”
The tax authorities advertising campaigns are designed to make tax evaders feel rotten about cheating the Exchequer when times are hard.

Ad campaigns emphasise that “the net is closing in“. The latest adverts warn tax cheats to declare all their income “before it is too late”.

There’s More…
Apart from powerful computing systems, and the ability to gather huge amounts of electronic information, the tax authorities also use these tactics……..

Mystery Shoppers…
Tax inspectors also now operate undercover, in disguise, and in teams to root out suspicious behaviour.

Informers and tip-offs…
Embittered divorcees and disgruntled former employees are among HMRC’s sources of useful information.

Overseas property owners….
Higher-rate taxpayers with properties abroad are among those targeted by the 200-strong HMRC affluence unit. This affluence unit has been set a target of raising an extra £560m over the next four years.
As well as overseas property, other investigations involve commodity traders and people holding offshore accounts.

Offshore bank accounts….
In-line with the above, International borders are increasingly meaningless for tax authorities pursuit of outstanding taxes.

Property raid…
In certain circumstances, inspectors now have the power to raid the homes of people they suspect of not paying tax.

Raids last year were 155% up on the previous year. These property searches, tend to focus on individuals who run their businesses from home

Fake numbers….
The “chi squared” test is another tool sometimes used by tax inspectors to check the reliability of reported figures, including restaurants’ sales figures. This test, also known as ‘Benford’s Law’, is a means of testing the randomness of figures.

Basically if numbers are made up, or appear to have some honest anomalies, there is a very good chance that HMRC will spot it and investigate.

So what is the answer?

How can you make sure that peace of mind is never far away?

It goes without saying that instructing a quality accountant is a must.

However HMRCs powers have increased significantly over the past couple of years, and that is set to continue. So even with a good accountant on your side, an investigation can be very stressful, intimidating and take up so much of your valuable time.

What will you do if HMRC decide to investigate your affairs?

We recommend taking out ‘protection insurance’.

We offer our clients insurance against the accountancy/legal costs of HMRC investigations.

We will provide up to £75,000 (through our insurer) in respect of fees incurred by us attending meetings with HMRC or responding to correspondence from HMRC when you are subject to an HMRC check, enquiry, visit, meeting or dispute.

For full terms and conditions, in addition to guidance and advice please about your tax affairs contact us at info@oandk.co.uk, call 020 8686 7756 or visit our website www.oandk.co.uk

Best Wishes and Success

“We Walk the Social Enterprise Walk”

OandK_logo

“We Walk the Social Enterprise Walk”

Here’s how we take Social Responsibility seriously……

Owadally & King have the pleasure of being a sponsor of Young Start-up Talent in Croydon 2015. We love getting involved with community based projects in Croydon as we believe in giving back to our community and to those less fortunate than ourselves.

Inspired by a seminar he attended, our partner Simon Maddox showed the global charity International Needs UK how it could enable businesses to give back to projects the charity supports. O&K are leading by example;

  • By giving life-saving vaccinations every time we complete an Annual Return for a client
  • By giving new school uniforms to third world schools every time we finalise a company Tax Return.
  • And by giving an African family a sustainable source of food and an income, in the form of chickens, every time we win a new client at O&K.

So far we have donated, 118 Child Immunisations, 478 School uniforms, 660 Chickens (33 families)

We wanted to make a real difference to our local community too, so when an innovative CIC Enterprise Cube came to us, having been let down by another firm, not only did we solve their accountancy issues within 24 hours, but we also got involved in their community work.

Enterprise Cube CIC runs business start-up training courses for the residents of Housing Associations. The courses are free to delegates, because they are paid for by the Housing Associations and give their tenants (many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds) the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to set up their own business.

Young Start-up Talent is a community based project helping 16-25 year olds with an entrepreneurial flair for business to make their dreams become a reality.

The judging will be ‘Dragons Den’ style pitch and the panel are made up of Local business leaders. The judges of the project will get to star in a video of the pitches, which will then be presented to the audience at the grand final which in the past has included heads of schools, politicians, teachers, local business leaders and the families.

This project has grown since its launch in 2010, there is a prize fund of £50,000 worth of products and services to help the winner start up their own business, and we are always looking at ways of helping entrepreneurs get their businesses up and running and we just had to be sponsors of this year’s Young Start-up Talent.

 natalie

Enough about us here is a little bit about the last winner of the Brighton 2014 competition and her business idea. 24 year old Natalie Evans wowed the judges with her company 42juice, which produces fresh organic juices made up of 100% raw, cold pressed fresh fruit and vegetables to provide instant nutrients and vitamins, 42juice offers cleanse and detox packages. Since winning the prize fund Natalie has appeared in The Sunday Times magazine and in Cosmopolitan. Natalie recently opened a shop in Market Square in The Lanes, Brighton and we wish her and all the other winners a bright and profitable future.

Success at The London Business Show – Olympia

What a success!
Our team worked very hard in the build up to The London Business Show Olympia and this hard work certainly paid off

Our Business Success Planning Workshops were fully booked well in advance, and proved to be one of the most popular seminars at the show.

Our ‘One Page Business Success Plan’ seems to have captured peoples attention, as did our ‘Head Start’ package for people wishing to start their own business.

Visitors were also asking about our Business Success Clubs, and of course the wide range of Accountancy and Tax Advice services that we provide.

We have also decided to give start up businesses a helping hand.

We have devised a business ‘Head Start’ package, designed to support new businesses in their first year, in the following ways:
‘Head Start’ Advice
Practical ‘down to earth’ advice, with everything new businesses need to know about
setting up a business.

First Years Financial Return
Comprehensive help with first self-assessment tax return or the first set of Annual Accounts.

‘Unlimited’ Practical Advice
Access to our advice all year!, by phone or email 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday to Friday

VAT Advice
Help with the first VAT return.(if VAT registered)

Access to our Business Advice Clinic
Held on the 1st Friday of each month in Central London

Marketing and ‘Growth’ Advice
A one hour consultation with a Marketing and Business Growth Coach

Quarterly ‘Start Up’ Success Booklets
Full of useful hints, tips and techniques delivered to an inbox each quarter

Business Success Clubs
10% off membership to this exclusive group of ‘like minded’ business people.
(Whether you are a start up, SME or just want more direction)

All this for only £47.50 + VAT per month

For more information, or to speak with one of our Client Managers, just CLICK HERE

A Newbie on the Block

Starting at Owadally and King was daunting as I was returning to work after a career break to care for my son. I have now been here for 6 months and things are going well. I am settling into my role as an Administrator/Receptionist and enjoy the interesting and challenging work; two days are never the same.

Everyone here is friendly and gave me a warm welcome when I started and that has continued. It’s not all work, work, work; I had my first team outing at the end of April which saw us heading to London for high afternoon tea at Rubens at the Palace, and I must say I enjoyed every sandwich and every bite of the delicious cakes; we will also be going out to the theatre sometime in October to catch a show.

Lisa

I am busy with the all aspects of administration including the Practice Social Media activities, so if you would like to follow us on Twitter CLICK HERE, or even ‘like’ our Facebook Page by CLICKING HERE.

So to sum up my first 6 months here at Owadally and King, all I can say is I’m having a great time and am enjoying every day so long may it continue.

Success at The Business Show – London Excel

Our One Page Business Success Planning Workshop was a great success as all 14 sessions were oversubscribed. During the two days of the Business Show Exhibition at London Excel over 350 business people attended our seminars.

At times it was standing room only as we set out to explain how it is vital to link personal goals with any business objectives, whilst at the same time providing MD/Owners with useful business growth tips and techniques they could use for their own business straightaway.

One Page Business Success Plans

Our Business Planning Workshop

We also received a significant number of enquiries from people thinking about setting up their own business. Our ‘Headstart’ package, created specifically for start-up businesses, was launched at the show.

We also held a FREE Business Card Draw, with the lucky winner receiving membership of our next Business Success Club, the value of which is £725.00 plus VAT.

One Page Business Success Plan

A fully booked workshop

Due to the success of our first exhibition appearance in London, we will be exhibiting and conducting these unique workshop sessions again, this time at the London Business Show at Olympia on 27th and 28th November 2014. You can book your place HERE as the sessions will once again be oversubscribed. See you in November !

“I WAS GETTING STALE – But this changed my life “

Please see below an article that was recently published on Steve Pipes website Steve is a highly regarded and respected strategist to the accountancy profession. As a keynote speaker, seminar leader and webinar presenter Steve has trained thousands of accountants over the years. He is the Founder and Head of Research for AVN, an association of over 200 pro-active UK accountancy firms, His many awards include being named the “UK Entrepreneur of the Year” by Accountancy Age magazine, and as the Best Contributor to accountingweb.co.uk.

Here’s the article…

“I was getting stale… but this has changed my life”

That’s how Simon Maddox described the impact becoming “socially responsible” has had on him and his practice when I interviewed him the other day. And it’s making a real difference commercially too. Simon is partner in two partner Owadally & King (‘O&K’), a Croydon based general practice with a total team of 17 people and a strong focus on tax. A few years ago he wrote down his goal as being to retire to the Yorkshire Dales by 2016. Now he is not so sure, as he is enjoying practice more than ever before.

What changed?

In late 2011 Simon heard about the initial plans for www.accountantschangingtheworld.com, and they resonated with his values as a man of faith. So much so, in fact, that it started him on a journey that has resulted in O&K making a profound difference:

► Globally to the lives of those living in poor and underprivileged parts of the world
► Locally to budding entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds
► And also to the future of their local community, by helping its young people launch their careers It has also helped O&K in striving to achieve a balance between assisting wealthy, high end clients as well as those less fortunate.

International impact

Inspired by the way Accountants Changing The World worked with www.b1g1.com, Simon showed the global charity International Needs http://www.ineeds.org.uk how it could enable people and businesses to give to the projects the charity supports.And, leading by example, O&K now does exactly that through International Needs by automatically:
► Giving life-saving vaccinations every time it completes an annual return for a client

► Giving life-enhancing books to third world schools every time it finalises a set of accounts

► And giving an African family a sustainable source of food and an income, in the form of chickens, every time it wins a new client. But that is only the start.

Local impact on budding entrepreneurs

“We wanted to make a real difference locally too”, explained Simon. “So when an innovative CIC came to us, having been let down by another firm, not only did we get to solve their accountancy issue within 24 hours, but we also got involved in their community work.”

Enterprise Cube CIC www.enterprisecube.org runs business start-up training courses for the residents of Housing Associations.

Enterprise CubeThe courses are free to delegates, because they are paid for by the Housing Associations, and give their tenants (many of whom are from very disadvantaged backgrounds) the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to set up their own businesses.
“Housing Associations are so keen to get involved, that it is difficult keeping up with demand” says Simon. “But it is really worth it, because the calibre and potential of some of the businesses we have helped to start is amazing. For example, one of the businesses I now mentor is a hat maker, and one of her hats was recently seen on the Graham Norton show being worn by the singer Paloma Faith”.

O&K help out in six main ways:

Mentoring – Currently Simon is mentoring two fledgling entrepreneurs who have been through Enterprise Cube’s training programme
Lecturing – Providing some of the basic book-keeping and understanding accounts elements of the training programme
Drop in Centre – On the first Friday of every month Simon takes his laptop and works remotely from Enterprise Cube’s offices. And every single entrepreneur who has been through the training programme knows that they can drop in on those days without an appointment and get instant free help from him.
Business Jam Events – Once a month Enterprise Cube invites experts from three different marketing firms, three law firms and three HR firms to sit in a room together for an evening and provide free advice to anybody who wants it. “They used to invite three accountancy firms as well. But now they tend to ask us to provide three members of staff, because we work really hard to pitch our advice at the right level – ie not so simple as to be condescending, but not so complex as to be off-putting”
Dragons Den style panels, but with a difference – The difference is that the panel is designed to be supportive, and every business that presents to the panel leaves with either some funding, some constructive advice or even, in some cases, a local government / housing association contract, since the leaders of the Council and Housing Association are also on the panel!
Strategic advice to the CIC itself – As trusted and committed partners, O&K are now helping the CIC to develop its strategy for growth so that it can meet the huge demand for its services.

Local impact on young people

hive_logo“We  have also now started working with
The  Hive-Croydon, initially as sponsors.
They deliver  Croydon’s Children’s University
and Routes, an employability skills programme for young people. And that is also really exciting as it helps children aged 5-19, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to get an even better education that lays the foundation for a successful life and career.”

Impact on the practice

Simon was really keen to stress that “we categorically aren’t doing this for the money, and we never try to sell any of our services to any of the entrepreneurs we help.”
“But the really interesting thing is that, once people get to trust us, they tend to take the initiative in asking us to become their accountants on commercial terms. It’s a slow burn, but it really does work that way.” In fact, the benefits of giving in the way they do include:

► The three charities/CICs they work most closely with have all appointed O&K as their accountants
► As have some of the businesses they have helped. “Interestingly, the most recent drop in centre day resulted in us picking up three new clients. Two at £250 each, and one at £1500. So the slow burn is really beginning to spiral now”
► And the O&K team are energised. “I have been amazed at how quickly and fully the team have taken to it. They now really understand and are excited by the fact that business is not all about take, take, take. That in turn is improving service levels, productivity and job satisfaction across the firm”.
But perhaps the greatest benefit of all is what lies behind Simon’s assertion that “this has changed my life”.
“If I’m honest” he told me “I was getting a bit stale. But now I really look forward to coming to work. It’s so fulfilling knowing that we are part of something that is making a real difference”.

“And we’re not just helping to solve ‘easy’ problems, either. We are helping to solve some of society’s most intractable problems, because some of the people helped have been former gang members, drug addicts or homeless.”

“Who would have thought that as accountants we can make a difference in those sorts of areas. But I can tell you we can. And we are. In fact, it’s now why I get up in the morning.”

For more fascinating insight and articles into how accountants are changing the world then Click Here for Steve Pipes website.

Or Click Here for you free copy of ‘Stress Proof Your Business and Your Life’ written for us by Steve Pipe and Elisabeth Wilson.

‘The view from the new kid on the block’

by Li Khabo our new Audit and Accounts Senior

Starting a new job is always unnerving, and I admittedly haven’t had lots of practice in it despite my advanced years but either way the biggest fear is that you never know what to expect. I started at O & K accountants on the 25th of June (6 weeks ago) as part of the Audit & Accounts team and I am loving every minute of it.

From the first day, everyone had that warm welcoming look which makes you have that “I’m in the right place” feeling. My workstation was ready for me from the word go and I was offered a cup of tea (I’m thinking, NICE!, I could get used to this, but I also thought this could be a ploy to ease me in gently). I am happy to report that 6 weeks on the cups of tea have kept coming.

The work has so far been both interesting and stimulating. I’ve been involved in 5 audits so far including one for a charity started by a world famous footballer and prolific striker who has been the bane of defenders the world over for years . The charity was started for the benefit of building a free hospital in his home country. I have had to put aside my loyalty to Arsenal FC and acknowledge that this is a good cause that needs to be encouraged and supported, despite the years of pain this particular striker inflicted on mine and other teams who came up against him.

O&K Sponsors at Sutton United FC   It’s not all work at O & K it seems; the company is one of the
proud sponsors of Sutton United FC.
We’ve hence had the opportunity to watch some pre-season
friendlies against Arsenal one week and Chelsea on
another week.

Despite those comfy corporate hospitality seats at Sutton United, my allegiance remains with my beloved Arsenal FC (sorry Sutton United!!), so I was delighted when the Gunners won 4-3, and I think it should have been more, but that’s for another day.

This sums up my 6 weeks at O & K so far. Back in the office, I have had all the help I need to settle into my role as an Audit and Accounts Senior. Both Farook and Simon have taken a moment every week so far to ask how I am getting along and what I am working on. This makes me feel like I not just another employee.

This is my view as the latest member to join the O & K Team.