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What is a limited company?

Limited companies are an entity of their own, meaning a distinction needs to be drawn between the company’s finances and those of the owner.

Shareowners may be individual people or (more…)

HMRC to replace local offices with regional centres

HMRC is intending to rid 170 tax offices throughout the UK and replace them with 13 regional centres. The move is due to a restructure with plans to decrease the budget by millions of pounds.

A recent report in the Daily Telegraph revealed that the plan will see regions throughout the country with no tax office to seek help from, and will probably result in thousands of staff being subjected to redundancy.

The newspaper said that the cuts are likely to mean that south-west England will be without a tax office, with East Anglia having little, if any presence, at all.

An HMRC spokesman said:

“We will inform our staff about the future direction of our estate. We have been clear for some time that this will mean fewer, but larger and more modern offices that will help us to deliver better services to our customers and bring in more tax revenue for public services.”

The changes have come at a time when HMRC is faced with criticism for lack of customer service. MPs said in a recent report that the tax body’s history of answering phone calls could even have affected tax collection.

The lack of local offices is not good news for SMEs who have sought tax support in the past. The new centres will be available for assistance but businesses may need to lean on their accountant for additional support. Fortunately, experienced accountants in the Wirral will be available for that very purpose.

Is it time to switch your business bank account?

Most business owners open a bank account when they set up their firm, but very few take the time to consider moving their account. Often, it simply does not cross their mind to do so, which is a shame because, potentially, changing business accounts has (more…)

Tax fraud needs more focus, not avoidance says CloT

There needs to be a higher emphasis on combatting tax fraud at a time when HM Revenue and Customs is looking to tighten the tax gap – that is the CIoT’s verdict after recent tax numbers were released last week.

The figures show a shortfall that has been reduced from 6.8 per cent to (more…)

Why businesses need to be aware of hackers

Business owners face many challenges, and new ones are emerging all of the time. One of the latest issues is hackers and cyber attacks.

What do we mean by cyber attacks?

In this case, we’re talking about hacking and cyber attacks where companies and suppliers you use have had their websites and databases attacked. We cover how to protect your firm from direct data theft in last week’s article.

How cyber attacks could affect your business

When a supplier you use is hacked, it makes your company more vulnerable to attack. Generally, what happens during these attacks is that a team of criminals steal the account details of a service supplier’s customers.

If you are a customer of the company that is attacked, that means that your account details, potentially including your bank account info and passwords, could be in the hands of criminals. The hackers now have the potential to use that information to access your bank account or company credit card and steal money from you. If that happens, it can cripple your cash flow and wipe out your profits.

Protecting yourself from these attacks

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make you less vulnerable when these attacks happen. Here are the most important ones.

Keep a close eye on your accounts

It is important to keep your accounts up to date. Ideally, do your accounts every day. Doing so allows you to know how much money you should have in your bank account and what charges should be on your debit and credit cards.

This gives you the chance to check your bank and card statements on a daily basis. Doing this allows you to pick up any false transactions as early as possible. This makes a huge difference when it comes to getting that money back and preventing your firm from being a victim of further fraud.

Use different passwords

It is very important to use different passwords for every account you have. If you use the same password to sign into your electric company account as you do for your bank account, you are going to be very vulnerable.

When your electricity company is hacked, criminals can take your bank account details and try to access your bank account using the password. If you have used the same or a similar password, they will be able to get in and steal money directly from your bank account.

To give some idea of the scale of the issue, in 2014, there was an average of five major cyber attacks every month, with social media accounts, phone companies, electronic payment companies and retailer firms all being attacked. Therefore, it makes sense to put safeguards in place if you have not already done so.