Welcome to BPU's Winter Newsletter 2022

In this issue:

  • Next BPU Event - Football's coming to BPU!
  • What's New for Businesses in Wales
  • BPU Staff News - Welcome to New Graduates, Staff Charity Fundraisers
  • Tax Update - Autumn Statement, MTD Latest & Tax Return Deadline Date
  • BPU's IFA Ian Sinclair - Fighting Pensions Scams and Financial Fraud 

Footballs Coming Home- The BPU Corporate Cup !

The Football World Cup may be over but BPU is kicking off with some sporting action of its own by hosting its very first BPU football corporate cup charity event.

BPU is hosting the football tournament to raise money for Cardiff City FC Foundation. If you would like to get involved in the football fever - enter a team into our BPU Charity Football Tournament.

Taking place at the Cardiff City House of Sport on Thursday 9th February 2023, BPU and Cardiff City FC Foundation is looking for companies to enter five-a-side football teams to go head-to-head to win the BPU Corporate Cup.

On the pitch teams can expect a day of round robin group stages and cup knock outs with each team playing at least four games of football.

Off the pitch teams will be able to watch and support other teams in the tournament before heading back to Cardiff City Stadium for a Tournament Presentation, curry buffet, some well-earned drinks and a chance to network.

This is going to be a fantastic event and BPU are hoping to raise as much money as possible for Cardiff City FC Foundation. 

The cost to enter a five-a-side team (up to 7 players to include subs) is £350+VAT and includes the following:

  • Welcome reception at Cardiff City Stadium to include light refreshments
  • Knock Out Football Tournament for up to 7 players at Cardiff City House of Sport
  • Cardiff City FC Foundation referees
  • Full use of House of Sport Futsal courts and changing rooms
  • Presentation and trophy for the winning team
  • Post-match reception/networking event to include curry buffet for all team players
  • Team profile and company logo on social media and marketing materials

Please note that places are limited for this tournament so team places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. We have some spaces left so please get in touch so you don't miss out.

To enter email louisew@bpuaccountants.co.uk

What's New for Businesses in Wales

Businesses in Wales to Benefit from £460m New Rates Support

All businesses in Wales will benefit from new rates support to help with the effects of rising costs including the impacts of high inflation and surging energy costs.

The Welsh Government are planning to announce in their forthcoming Budget a package of support worth more than £460m over the next two financial years.

The new rates support package is in addition to the permanent relief schemes from the Welsh Government which are already providing £240m of relief to ratepayers across Wales this year.

The non-domestic rates multiplier has been frozen for 2023-24, at a cost of more than £200m over the next two years. This ensures there will again be no inflationary increase in the amount of rates businesses and other ratepayers are paying.

A further £113m will be provided over the next two years to provide transitional relief for all ratepayers whose bills increase by more than £300 following the UK-wide revaluation exercise, which takes effect on 1 April 2023.

An additional £140m will support businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors. Eligible ratepayers will receive 75% non-domestic rates relief for 2023‑24, a rise from the 50% relief provided in 2022-23.

The above was announced last week by The Welsh Government and we will keep you updated with further information on all of the above as it is released.

New Rules for Holiday Lets in Wales

New rules are set to be introduced on the 1st April 2023 which will determine whether property owners can continue to claim small business rates relief.

The Welsh Government Rules from 1 April 2023 are as follows:

If your property is in Wales, it will be rated as a self-catering property and valued for business rates and, in most cases, not pay rates or council tax if it’s both:

  • Available to let for short periods for at least 252 days in total over the current and previous tax years
  • Let for at least 182 days in the last 12 months

Although the new rules will come into affect on the 1st April 2023 information about the property letting during 2022/23 will be looked at to determine whether the above has been adhered to.

So if your property has not been let for at least 182 days to date, you have until the 31st March 2023 to meet this criteria before the new rules are set on the 1st April 2023.

If a property does not meet the new eligibility rules for the 2022/23 operating year, the property will be moved out of Business Rates and into the Council Tax Valuation list from 1 April 2023.

For further information on any of the above contact:

Huw Palin, Director
Email: huwp@bpuaccountants.co.uk

BPU Staff News

New Graduates Join BPU Training Programme

BPU has welcomed two new graduates to the team as part of the firm’s ongoing support of young people wanting to train in the industry. BPU continues to invest in its graduates under its graduate recruitment scheme. The firm assists recruits to study and qualify as Chartered accountants while they work.

The training programme has been running for over 16 years and BPU has continued to make a significant investment in the scheme, as previous graduates have worked their way up to the top level.

Managing Director Huw Palin of BPU Accountants said: “We are delighted to welcome Patrick and Anisha to the firm. As one of the few independent Chartered accountancy firms left in South Wales, we are proud to continue to offer this type of training programme, one that some of the directors completed 16 years ago.”

“We have strong links with local Universities and other establishments which means we can attract the best new trainees who prefer to gain experience working with local and varied businesses.”

“Taking on new graduates every year shows our commitment to building a solid team; through investing in our people we continue to help develop the accountants of the future."

Graduate Anisha Begam, aged 21 from Cardiff joins BPU having studied a degree in Accounting and Finance at Cardiff University. BPU's training programme provides the perfect opportunity for Anisha to learn on the job and study to qualify as a Chartered Accountant.

Speaking about her appointment, she said: “BPU attracted me as it is a growing business that provides many services besides accountancy, I am able to learn about other fields besides accounts including tax, VAT and accountancy software packages. I am really enjoying the work and being part of a lovely team of people."

Patrick Walters, 21 from Llanelli, also studied Accounting and Finance at Cardiff University.

Patrick added: “I am very proud to have joined a leading firm straight out of University, BPU want you to learn quickly and develop the skills early on which you require to be a great accountant. I have already been out to clients and am really enjoying the mix of sectors that I have been ale to work in."

BPU's Newest Chartered Accountant– Congratulations Sarah!

Congratulations to BPUs Sarah Pocock on passing all of her exams and becoming a Chartered Accountant. Joining BPU at 21, Sarah now 24 has completed the three year BPU Chartered Accountancy Training Programme and passed with flying colours.

Sarah said: “I found the programme and support from BPU amazing throughout my 3 year training programme. Studying at the University of South Wales as well as the time given to me by BPU was imperative in the success of my exams. Working full time while doing the exams is a great way to qualify as you are applying the knowledge from your study to real life scenario’s and seeing how they are implemented in practise."

She added: “I feel so relieved to have finished all the exams and am now Chartered – it is the best feeling ever! I am excited to dedicate all my time to work now and continue to learn through experience.”

All of your colleagues are so happy that all your hard work has paid off Sarah - congratulations and enjoy celebrating over Christmas.

BPU Staff Raising More Money for Charities

Well done to the BPU team together we raised £150 for Breast Cancer Now and £120 for Save the Children.

Tax Update

Martin Knight BPU Director 

Reflecting on the Autumn Statement

Last month saw Chancellor Jeremy Hunt present his first Autumn Statement. The announcement marked the end of a volatile period that began with previous Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng's disastrous Mini Budget in September, which ended with him replaced by Mr Hunt who promptly rolled back most of his predecessor's measures.

As the dust settles on the Autumn Statement, we take a look at what it means for businesses and families across the UK.

Frozen thresholds

The Chancellor announced that both the income tax personal allowance and higher rate thresholds will be frozen for a further two years until April 2028. In addition, basic national insurance and inheritance tax (IHT) thresholds have also been frozen until April 2028.

The threshold for the top 45% additional rate of income tax was cut to £125,140 from £150,000. The Dividend Allowance will be reduced from £2,000 to £1,000 next year and £500 from April 2024, while the capital gains tax (CGT) exemption will be reduced from £12,300 to £6,000 next year and then to £3,000 from April 2024.

Energy prices

As well as increasing the personal tax burden, the Chancellor also increased the windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas firms. This was increased from 25% to 35% and extended until March 2028.

There will also be a new 'temporary' tax on companies that generate electricity, which will apply from January. As energy prices continue to drive inflation, the Chancellor confirmed that the Energy Price Guarantee will be extended for a year from April 2023. However, the level at which typical bills are capped will increase to £3,000 a year from £2,500.

Falling living standards

As the Chancellor finished his statement, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) published a grim forecast for the UK economy.

The OBR says that despite the new support with energy bills, living standards are going to fall by 7% over the next two years, which will wipe out eight years of growth. It said that while the Chancellor's fiscal support over the next two years cushions the blow of higher energy prices, the economy will still fall into recession.

For a full report on everything raised in the Autumn statement please click.

Our Report provides an overview of the key announcements arising and what is most likely to have an impact upon your business and your personal finances.

MTD for ITSA Delayed for Two More Years

In a written statement, the Treasury has announced that Making Tax Digital for income tax self assessment (MTD for ITSA) will be delayed for two more years until April 2026.

MTD for ITSA was due to take effect from April 2024 and would've required all self-employed individuals and landlords with income over £10,000 to report earnings quarterly through the MTD for ITSA system.

However, Victoria Atkins, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, confirmed that the mandation of MTD for ITSA will now be introduced from April 2026, with businesses, self-employed individuals and landlords with income over £50,000 required to join first. From April 2027, those with income over £30,000 will be mandated to join, the Treasury said.

The Treasury also stated that the government will not extend MTD for ITSA to general partnerships in 2025, saying that the government 'remains committed to introducing MTD for ITSA for partnerships at a later date'.

Don't Forget to File On Time!

Self assessment taxpayers have until 31 January 2023 to submit their online return for the 2021/22 tax year.

According to HMRC, more than 66,000 taxpayers beat the clock and filed their tax return on 6 April – the first day of the new tax year.

HMRC is now encouraging others to complete their return as soon as they can, so they know what they owe and can budget to make the payment by 31 January 2023. This also means that if a repayment is due, it can be claimed back sooner.

The self assessment cycle

Under the self assessment regime an individual is responsible for ensuring that their tax liability is calculated, and any tax owing is paid on time.

Late filing penalties

For those that fail to file their returns on time there is an automatic £100 penalty (even if there is no tax to pay or the tax due has already been paid).

The full penalty of £100 will always be due if your return is filed late even if there is no tax outstanding.

Additional penalties can be charged as follows:

  • over three months late – a £10 daily penalty up to a maximum of £900
  • over six months late – an additional £300 or 5% of the tax due if higher
  • over 12 months late – a further £300 or a further 5% of the tax due if higher. In particularly serious cases there is a penalty of up to 100% of the tax due.


HMRC may enquire into any return by giving written notice. In most cases the time limit for HMRC is within 12 months following the filing date.

The main purpose of an enquiry is to identify any errors on, or omissions from, a tax return which result in an understatement of tax due. Please note however that the opening of an enquiry does not mean that a return is incorrect.

If there is an enquiry, we will also receive a letter from HMRC which will detail the information regarded as necessary by them to check the return. If such an eventuality arises we will contact you to discuss the contents of the letter.

Keeping records

HMRC wants to ensure that underlying records to the return exist if they decide to enquire into the return.

Records are required of income, expenditure and reliefs claimed. For most types of income this means keeping the documentation given to the taxpayer by the person making the payment. If expenses are claimed records are required to support the claim.

We can prepare your tax return on your behalf and advise on the appropriate tax payments to make.

If there is an enquiry into your tax return, we will assist you in answering any queries HMRC may have. Please get in touch with us for help or advice and get any information we need to complete your tax return to us as soon as possible.

For advice on any of the above please contact your usual BPU advisor or get in touch with me directly.

Martin Knight Director
BPU Chartered Accountants
Email: martink@bpuaccountants.co.uk
Call: 029 20734100

Fighting Pensions Scams and Financial Fraud

The launch of a new scam-fighting plan by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has highlighted the heightened dangers of fraud and scams during the cost-of-living crisis. The pressures caused by the crisis leave savers vulnerable while people's need to make the most of their money in the current climate can also create multiple opportunities for fraudsters.

Being targeted by fraudsters can be distressing, while sorting it out can be time-consuming, as well as taking a toll on finances. Here, we highlight the steps necessary for protection against fraud and scams.

Scam-fighting plan

The TPR launched its scam-fighting plan with a warning that the cost-of-living crisis may leave savers more vulnerable to scammers. The regulator says that some will be tempted to access their pension savings early to cover essential household bills or be attracted by fake investments offering high returns that never materialise.

In response the TPR is aiming to make savers aware of the risk of scams and encourage pension schemes to adopt higher standards of protection for savers' pots.

It also wants to secure the intelligence necessary to pursue and punish criminals. 

Pledge to combat pension scams

The TPR has already been running a pledge campaign since 2020. This has seen more than 500 organisations and schemes make the pledge or self-certify that they meet the campaign's scam-beating standards. 

TPR estimates that around 16 million pension pots are now better protected thanks to the campaign.

Protecting your pension

It is crucial that pension savers know who they are dealing with, so checking the FCA Register is imperative. Dealing with an authorised firm like ourselves, gives access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which can hold firms to account and give financial protection.

Changing tactics

The issues around pensions scam also help shine a light on the need for people to protect themselves from fraud and scams in the current economic climate.

The fraud prevention body Cifas says fraudsters are using trends caused by the cost-of-living crisis to change their tactics. It has seen an increase in criminals posing as energy companies claiming they can offer a better deal, or as supermarkets offering money-off vouchers.

Scammers have also been using the energy rebate scheme to try and trick people into handing over their banking details.

Protecting personal information

The key to protection from the scam is by keeping the lid tightly sealed on all personal information. If lost, personal information can be used to fraudulently apply for loans, goods or services. It can also be used to take over or using an existing product, not necessarily just open new ones.

This means safeguarding sign-on credentials and passwords for online banking, retailers and other websites that may store financial information. Password managers can be a great way of creating strong passwords and keeping track of them.

Also, when looking for websites make sure the URL is correct and that it has https at the start, or a little padlock – these mean it should be secure.

It is also prudent to keep settings on the highest privacy level on all social media accounts.

Shred documents

Although most identity theft happens online it is still important to be careful with letters and other documents. Bills, statements and invoices often have names, addresses and account details on them. It is good practice to shred any document with your personal details on it rather than risk someone finding it in the bin or on a landfill site.

Watch out for red flags

According to the Information Commissioner's Office, there are a number of red flags that will alert you to someone else using your identity. If bank statements dry up, you start to receive letters or demands for debts that aren't yours or you are turned down for financial products such as credit cards or a loan, despite having a good rating, these could all be red flags.

Report any suspicious activity on your account – even if you are not certain it is the result of fraud – to your bank, to Action Fraud and Cifas.

Everyone is a potential target for fraudsters and scammers, so always check before you respond to messages, even if they appear genuine at first sight. Be careful to protect both your pension and your personal details. If in any doubt, please do get in touch.

Ian Sinclair DipPFS
Independent Financial Adviser
BPU Financial Solutions Ltd
T: 02920 734100
E: ians@bpufinancialsolutions.co.uk
W: www.bpufinancialsolutions.co.uk

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