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Shipshape: Winter 2020

Simon Robinson’s Viewpoint

White Knuckle Ride

In all of my professional career, I don’t think I’ve ever known a year of such dramatic change. When I look back at the different missives I’ve written over the past 12 months, it’s incredible just how much and how fast events, the economy and the latest government advice have changed.

It truly has been a rollercoaster and probably one many of us won’t ever want to ride again. For some, there have fortunately been more ups than downs. As I write, there has been a tiny ray of light from the positive news on vaccine breakthroughs. Despite the latest forecast of the UK economy’s shrinkage this year (by 11.3%) fewer jobs are now predicted to be lost than was first indicated in the summer. Also the Chancellor has announced £100 billion of capital spending aimed at kickstarting growth and supporting jobs.

Given our specialism in the sector, it’s been good to see that the film and television production industry has been able to continue working during the second lockdown. Our financial services clients have also been very busy and we focus on the work our expert FS team does with them on page 8. For other sectors, though, restrictions brought in to stem the pandemic have proved incredibly tough and we hope that this is recognised.

Stand together

One of the positives to emerge from the crisis is the unprecedented level of government financial support. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’s extension till March, a beefed up and extended Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, extensions too for applications to the government- backed loans, plus instalment plans to ease paying back deferred tax payments are just some recent examples. You can find a summary of the latest support measures in the magazine. Also see our summary of the Chancellor’s recent Spending Review here.

Do make the most of any support you’re entitled to in these tough times, and if you need any advice or guidance on this please get in touch with us. Please be careful though: in this tough economy, cases of fraud attacks on businesses and individuals are sadly on the rise. If you have any doubts about the authenticity of any HMRC request, contact us before paying.

Don’t forget

As well as deferral of tax payments which will be falling due soon, the government also postponed some significant pieces of legislation till 2021. While there was much relief at the time, these developments haven’t gone away and businesses should be mindful that they’re coming around again.

The off-payroll working (IR35) changes and the new VAT reverse charge arrangements (both explained in this issue) are all due in the spring. If you received the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme grant, check out this article to understand when you’ll need to pay the tax on this – it may be sooner than you think.

The price you pay

In response to the government’s financial support during the pandemic, there has been much speculation around how the Treasury will replenish its depleted coffers. One train of thought which seems to be gathering traction (particularly after the Chancellor ordered a review) is that capital gains tax (CGT) may rise.

Whilst we’ve been here before on CGT, it does make sense to review your assets and any timetable you had to divest them. Similarly, it’s sensible to be familiar with the latest tax relief levels on pensions and gifting in relation to inheritance tax (we’ve covered both in the magazine), so you can make the most of the reliefs currently available.

Europe – the final countdown

And if all that wasn’t enough, the government still has Brexit very much on its agenda. While we all knew this was happening at the end of this year, the pandemic has obviously diverted much attention away from preparations. With so little time now left, and a deal not yet finalised (as I write), it’s important businesses do what they can to get ready. We have a comprehensive guide to key considerations to help and have specialists both within Shipleys and in our international association – AGN – who can support you.

Merry Christmas everyone

2020 isn’t ending in a way anyone imagined. One thing it has shown, though, is people’s adaptability and resilience during immense disruption. I’ve been particularly impressed by how my Shipleys colleagues have adapted to the various changes and developments. For now, our teams are mainly working from home, however, our offices are open and have Covid-secure measures in place for those whose personal circumstances make home working a challenge.

Our systems and operations continue to work well and include facilities for online meetings and calls to enable us to deliver timely advice when our clients need it.

It’s been such a challenging year and the future is still unclear but, as I’ve said before, we remain resolute in our passion to help clients thrive. We are here to help you.

On behalf of everyone at Shipleys I wish you good health, prosperity and happiness in 2021.

Simon

Read our Winter 2020/1 Shipshape

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