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There are now less than six months until the UK leaves the EU, and we still don’t know the terms of the withdrawal agreement. It is possible that the UK will leave the EU without a deal, which would have wide implications for many UK businesses.

Whichever side of the leave or remain fence you stand, it is now essential that businesses prepare for the potential disruption which Brexit could bring.

The European Commission has published detailed notices to advise businesses of the effects of the UK leaving the EU. These notices cover topics from e-commerce to VAT, and are available in English on https/ec.europa.eu.

The UK Government’s guidance on how to prepare for a no deal Brexit can be found on gov.uk. This guidance suggests that there may be disruption to supply chains due to congestion at ports.

Some large businesses are starting to stockpile goods and raw materials in the UK, to cover for two to three months of disruption. Certain manufacturers are bringing forward their planned annual shut-down from Summer to Easter 2019, to avoid unplanned stoppages to production lines should parts fail to arrive on time.

Smaller businesses also need to prepare. Examine your supply chain to identify the risks which delays in delivery would pose to your business. How much stock can you hold of materials and finished goods?

Your suppliers won’t want to stockpile goods which they are not certain of selling. If you will need particular products delivered or printed in April or May 2019, get your order in early so the items needed for your business are reserved.

We can help you model the effects on your cashflow and profits which disruption to supply chains could impose on your business, but the time to start planning is now.

Last Thursday Clarke Nicklin organised the seventh Stockport Business Awards held at the iconic Stockport Town Hall. Over 350 people attended the black tie awards dinner to celebrate the success and achievements of the region’s finest.

TV presenter, Jenny Powell, hosted the awards for the second year running and did a fantastic job of keeping the excited crowd quiet and engaged for those all-important moments. SignPost Stockport for Carers were this year’s Charity Partner and raised over £4000 in the charity raffle to help support carers in the community.

Andrew Baggott, Managing Partner of Clarke Nicklin commented; “Yet again the night was a resounding success. The room was extremely vibrant and positive, with the Stockport business community celebrating some amazing winners and shortlisted companies. Each year we continue to find, and are able to highlight the great businesses that Stockport has to offer.”

The winners of this Year’s Stockport Business Awards are:

Best Food & Drink Business – Sponsored by Clarke Nicklin Chartered Accountants
Almond pubs

Best Creative Agency – Sponsored by Marketing Stockport
Sammon Media

Excellence in CSR – Sponsored by CDL
Stockport Homes

The Innovation Award – Sponsored by Stockport Council & Stockport Economic Alliance
Starkey Technologies

Most Promising Young Business -Sponsored by Clarke Nicklin Chartered Accountants
Tramp Hair Boutique

Best Not-for-Profit Organisation – Sponsored by Ashcroft Creative Design
Seashell Trust

Employer of the Year – Sponsored by Life Leisure
Rowlinson Knitwear

International Business of the Year – Sponsored by Clarke Nicklin Financial Planning
Practical Publishing

Business Person of the Year – Sponsored by Handelsbanken
Chris Appleyard – Pioneer

Business of the Year (up to £1m) – sponsored by Orbit Developments
Agapanthus Interiors

Business of the Year (£1-5m) – sponsored by Gorvins Solicitors
Grassroots Recruitment

Business of the Year (over £5m) – sponsored by Clarke Nicklin Chartered Accountants
Glossop Cartons

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Congratulations to all the winners.

If you would like any more information about the awards, or if you would be interested in sponsoring or entering next year’s awards please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You may have borrowed assets or money from your company with the intention of repaying or making good the cost to the company in the future. If you make this repayment by 6 July following the end of the tax year in which you received use of the asset or money, no benefit-in-kind tax charge will apply for that tax year.

The taxable benefits which can be effectively cancelled by this repayment mechanism are: non-cash vouchers, cars, vans, fuel for cars or vans, accommodation, credit tokens, and all benefits treated as earnings. It doesn’t apply to interest payable on loans.

Where these benefits are ‘payrolled’ monthly, to avoid a benefit charge, the reimbursement must be made by 5 April, or 1 June in the case of reimbursement for private fuel.

Where a loan is advanced to an employee or director, there is no tax charge for the individual (but there may be for the company) if the amount outstanding at any point in the tax year doesn’t exceed £10,000. If a greater amount is borrowed, the tax charge can be avoided if the employee is required to pay interest on the loan at a rate equal to or greater than the official rate (currently 2.5%).

This interest must actually be paid to the company, not just accrued in the accounts. It makes sense to pay any interest due on loans before 6 July 2018, so an accurate form P11D can be completed and submitted by that date.

If your family receives Child Benefit and you are a high earner (£50,000 or more per year), you need to pay a special tax charge to claw back some or all of the Child Benefit received.

It is your responsibility to tell HMRC that you need to pay the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC), as HMRC’s computer systems can’t match up claimants for Child Benefit and their high-earning partners or spouses. HMRC did write to a number of taxpayers in 2013 to tell them about the HICBC, but your family’s circumstances may have changed since then.

In order to assess how much of the HICBC you need to pay, HMRC will ask you to complete a self-assessment tax return. If you are sent a notice to complete a tax return, don’t ignore it as penalties will mount up if the return is not submitted on time. Note: it is your own income, as the higher earner, which is taxed to claw back the Child Benefit, not the income of the person who receives the Child Benefit.

That person can elect to stop receiving Child Benefit by contacting the Child Benefit office by phone or post, or by accessing their personal tax account at www.gov.uk/personal-tax-account. The benefit claim will remain live so the payments can recommence, or be paid for earlier periods if the child still qualifies.

It is important to make a claim for Child Benefit for every child, as it is that claim which triggers the issue of a National Insurance number when the child reaches the age of 15 years and 9 months. The Child Benefit claimant also has their own National Insurance record updated with NI credits for years in which they are not earning and the child is aged under 12.

The VAT annual accounting scheme seems like a good idea, as you don’t have to submit quarterly VAT returns. Instead you pay your VAT by monthly or quarterly instalments during the year, and make a final balancing payment with a single VAT return for the whole accounting year.

If you choose to pay monthly instalments, these will be set at 1/10th of your previous year’s VAT liability. Nine monthly payments are made (starting in the fourth month of your VAT year), plus a balancing amount for the year paid in the second month of the next year.

However, the discipline of reviewing your accounts every quarter is lost. When you don’t have time to monitor your accounts, the final balancing payment may be a lot more than you expect.

When you use the VAT annual accounting scheme, you have two months to submit the annual VAT return after the end of the accounting year. If that return is late, HMRC will send you an estimated VAT bill which may be less than the true liability. If insufficient VAT is paid, penalties will be due.

Annual accounting can suit businesses which have regular predictable income; those with very variable income can end up paying too much or too little VAT.

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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.