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With 2020 now in full swing, Clarke Nicklin’s Financial Planning Partner, Scott Herbert, takes stock of his 30 year career, of which he celebrates 25 years as a Financial Planner and shares some words of wisdom...

“How different things were in 1995 when I was first appointed as a Representative of Refuge Assurance, now The Royal London. My first Financial Advisory role involved not only providing financial advice, but also the collection of the monthly contributions from clients houses in inner city Manchester.

Although the advice and the products at this point were basic, this gave me the insight and drive to forge a career path as an Adviser.

It was the financial planning side that I took to heart and I enjoyed both meeting and helping people achieve financial security.

Back in the 90’s things were very different to the 2020’s, with most financial institutions relying on commission from product sales which was later to be abolished in favour of transparent agreed fees. Advisors were also able to provide advice without formal qualifications. This led me on a path to study in my spare time and pass eleven separate professional qualifications from three separate bodies; The Chartered Institute of Bankers, Pension Management Institute and the Chartered Insurance Institute.

I have enjoyed several advisory roles over the last 30 years working for household names including NatWest Bank and LV. However the proudest role of my career is with Clarke Nicklin Financial Planning starting 14 years ago.

Clarke Nicklin Financial Planning was established with the aim of providing fee based Independent Financial advice, well before this was made mandatory by the financial regulator. I was very fortunate to have met Andrew Baggott, my business Partner then, and still today. He had the same vision of building a first class advisory business and together with a loyal team of financial professionals this has been achieved.

I do get asked why I started as a Financial Planner and there are many reasons . The main reason being I enjoy meeting and helping people and I am proud to count many clients as both clients and friends. I have met so many wonderful people and travelled all corners of the UK to advise and guide clients in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and even as far as Cambodia!

I can honestly say that I would not change my role as a Financial Planner for any other role, I am so grateful and blessed for the last 25 years. I look back with pride how I have made a difference to people’s lives and hopefully can continue to do so for the next 25 years health permitting!

My wife may not forgive me If I forgot to mention another landmark anniversary next year, our 25th Silver Wedding Anniversary. I have been so fortunate to have such a supportive wife throughout my career and three amazing teenage children. PS; not forgetting four dogs!! All the best for the next decade”.

Scott can advise on a range of services for individuals, business owners, and corporate decision makers. If you would like more information please contact us on 0161 495 4700 or visit our www.cnfp.co.uk.

It takes a lot of planning to start a new business from scratch. You may have to pay up front for some goods and services before you form the company to trade from.

Once your company is VAT registered you can claim back VAT incurred on those pre-incorporation costs, if there is a direct link between the costs and the future sales made by the company. But there are four other conditions to be aware of:

• Any goods acquired either to sell or use in the business must have been purchased no more than four years before the VAT registration date, and they must still be held on that day
• Services must have been incurred no more than six months before the VAT registration date
• The goods or services must be supplied to a person who becomes a director, employee or shareholder (not necessarily all three!) of the company when it is formed
• The company must reimburse the individual for those costs, or undertake to pay the costs directly

Talk to us at an early stage of your new business and we can help you reclaim all the VAT which is due.

To help your employees get to work, you could subsidise their travel on a local public bus service, lay on a works bus, or provide a cycle to work scheme.

The cycling option not only keeps your workers fit, but it allows them to acquire a desirable bike, even one with a super carbon fibre frame.

The employer buys the bicycles and associated safety equipment to lend to employees; alternatively, it contracts with a specialist bicycle hire firm which provides the bikes directly to the employees.

After a period of at least 12 months, the employee has the option to purchase the bike at a significant discount. When the price paid by an employee is within a range of values agreed by HMRC, there is no taxable benefit for the employee on acquiring the bike, and no tax to pay.

There should be a consumer hire agreement in place with each employee who takes advantage of the scheme. If the bicycle costs over £1,000, that consumer hire agreement has to be made by a company authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FCA approved), but if that is in place there is no limit to the value of the bicycle offered.

The cycle to work scheme is frequently provided as part of a salary sacrifice arrangement, where the employee forgoes an amount of salary in return for the bicycle.

These salary sacrifice arrangements can still save tax and NIC for both the employee and the employer.

Selling electronic services, such as ebooks to non-business customers in other EU countries, can cause complications for VAT.

The rule for e-services is that you should account for VAT at the rate due where your customer is based. The rate of VAT due on digital publications has been reduced in many EU countries this year, so check out the appropriate VAT rates published on gov.uk.

You should report and pay the VAT charged through the VAT MOSS system accessed through HMRC’s online VAT service. However, since 1 January 2019, if you sell less than £8,188 per year of electronic services across EU borders you don’t have to charge VAT at the local rate for your customer and you don’t have to worry about VAT MOSS reporting.

When the UK leaves the EU and if no other arrangements are then in place (nodeal Brexit) the VAT MOSS exemption will immediately fall away as the UK will be a non-EU country. Many UK businesses which have used the turnover exemption from VAT MOSS from 1 January 2019 will be pulled back into that regime.

If your business is still registered for VAT MOSS, that registration will be cancelled automatically from the day after the UK leaves the EU, unless other arrangements have been put in place to extend that system to non-EU countries.

Where you continue to make sales of electronic services to non-business customers in EU countries after the UK leaves the EU, you will have to re-register for VAT MOSS as a non-EU business in an EU country (i.e. not in the UK).

Have you dabbled in cryptoassets such as Bitcoin and Litecoin? Buying and selling amounts of any cryptoasset is treated just like dealing in shares or bonds, so if you make a large gain you need to declare that on your tax return.

A gain or loss is made whenever a cryptoasset is exchanged for another one, or given away, or surrendered for payment made in a legal currency, such as US dollars or pounds sterling.

Transactions in cryptoassets made by UK-resident taxpayers must be calculated and reported in sterling, which means both the buy and sell value has to be stated in sterling. Thus, the gain will incorporate an amount of exchange gain or loss as well as the change in value of the underlying asset.

Where the volume of transactions is very large, you may be considered to be trading in the cryptoassets, and your profits or losses should be subject to Income Tax. However, HMRC will resist that approach.

HMRC has written to cryptocurrency exchanges that do business in the UK, asking for customer data and transaction histories. If you have used a UK firm to acquire cryptocurrencies, HMRC may already have details of all your cryptoasset transactions.

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Clarke Nicklin House, Brooks Drive, Cheadle Royal Business Park, Cheadle, Cheshire, SK8 3TD. Registered Number OC309225.
The firm is registered to carry on audit work in the UK & Ireland. Details about our audit registration can be viewed at www.auditregister.org.uk under reference number C001178544. The professional rules applicable are the Audit Regulations and Guidance which can be found at www.icaew.com/regulations, and the International Standards on Auditing (UK and Ireland) which can be found at www.frc.org.uk/apb/publications/isa.cfm.