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Merry Christmas!

The KSA team would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year! We hope you all have a relaxing and peaceful break. 

We will close at 5:00 pm tomorrow afternoon (23rd December 2014) and will re-open at 9:00 am on Monday 29th December 2014.

Over New Year, we will be closed from 5:00 pm on 31st December 2014 until 9:00 am on Monday 5th January 2015. 

Once again, hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. 

Rent Quarter Day – 25th December

Landlords are preparing to issue their invoices for the December rent quarter day (25th) during the mad rush over the festive period. Many retailers are relying on Christmas shopping to deliver the profits they need. 

Business rates are still staggeringly high for small retailers, along with expensive rent costs. If your business is struggling, you may be able to negotiate monthly instead of quarterly payments (with little or no penalties) which would help ease pressure. 

Even if there is interest charged on the overdue rent, it may still be the best solution to keep the business afloat. 

It also may be possible to ask for a rent concession if, for example, you’re a retailer in a shopping centre and the landlord owns the whole building. The landlord won’t want a centre full of empty shops so they will want to keep you and the other retailers happy. You will need up to date accounts and proof of your financial problems.

Visit our retailer rescue page for more information on how a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) can benefit your business.

HMRC can demand security payments for tax

If HMRC believes a company is likely to fall behind on VAT, PAYE or NIC payments, then they can demand security, usually as a cash payment or bond. In the past, these have been issued to phoenix companies to ensure they pay their debt before trading in the new company. 

Since 2012, HMRC have had extra powers to demand security payments and if companies don’t pay in full, they can be taken to court and fined. A recent case in November of this year showed HMRC demanding a security payment of £70,000 from two directors and a secretary from a Berkshire-based company. 

HMRC can hold on to this payment for up to two years and treat it like a deposit, using it to cover any overdue debts. 

This seems to be happening more with trading companies, therefore it is important that directors are aware of these security demands. If your company is struggling financially and there is likely to be a problem with paying tax in the future, a Time to Pay deal (TTP) may be the best solution. If HMRC agrees to this, they will no longer need security which will of course ease financial pressure significantly.  

If there are already problems, a hefty security payment could force a company into administration or liquidation so it is vital to seek help from a turnaround or insolvency practitioner before it’s too late. Call us on 0800 9700539 and we can talk you through all the available options to help save your business. 

Are you eligible for R&D tax credits?

Research and Development Tax Credits is a type of tax relief that many SMEs don’t actually know about! 

It’s a government-backed scheme aimed at any UK company that designs or creates innovative products or conducts research. If money has been spent on developing a new product, even if the project failed, the company may be eligible in claiming back tax. 

You can claim R&D tax refunds even if your company is in arrears with HMRC and it can be used of offset the total liability.  

For more information and to see if you’re eligible, have a look at our R&D Tax Credit page.

Could Livingston go into administration again?

The Almondvale football club could be at risk of going into administration after it was revealed a former director is trying to get the bank accounts frozen. 

Ged Nixon is reportedly owed £300,000 from the club and is asking the Court of Session in Edinburgh to authorise an ‘Arrestment of Funds Order’. If the bank accounts are frozen, the club won’t be able to pay salaries and the club may be forced into administration.

The Scottish football club has been in administration twice before (back in 2004 and 2009) and failed to pay tax to HMRC on one occasion. This led to five points being deducted by the Scottish Professional Football League. 

The Court of Session meeting is to take place tomorrow (Wednesday 10th December). 

If the club goes into administration, administrators would take control of the business and protect the club against any legal action. There will then be enough time for either a restructuring strategy to be prepared or a potential buyer to be found. Any football club in the League that goes into administration will have points deducted. 

Manchester Opening Event Review

Thank you to everyone that attended our evening seminar and drinks to mark the opening of our Manchester office. Sorry you couldn't make it to the others!  

We had 44 people in attendance which, considering Manchester United were playing at home and the first round of Christmas parties was underway, we consider a good result!   

Previously we would have purely turnaround subjects at these seminars but this time Keith Steven was joined by professionals talking about Insurance products for distressed businesses and the mis-selling of interest rate swaps by the banks.

We heard from Jane Shelmerdine of JLT Specialty ( our hosts) about how companies often pay for insurance they simply don't need.  This could be such things as falling tree cover on their business premises when there isn't a tree to be found in the industrial estate!  

Alison Loveday from Berg, fresh from her Panorama appearance, gave us an insight into how they are helping SMEs claim money from the banks involved in the mis-selling scandal of interest rate swaps. We were informed that about 60,000 SMEs are thought to have taken out some sort of hedging finance product in the years before and during the financial crisis.   A fair proportion of these businesses we know did not understand what they were buying and were pressured into these deals.  It was also revealed that many cases have been settled but are subject to strict gagging orders.  So, if you know of a business that has suffered from mis-selling then there can be redress.

Keith Steven of KSA Group pointed out how we have come across swap mis-selling cases in companies we have  restructured and gave us insightful analysis of how next year may pan out for distressed businesses and those of us that can help them.

A special thanks goes to the organisers, Amanda Eckersley, our new regional manager, and Jonathan Reeves our event coordinator and of course the speakers at the event.  See you again in 2015 as we will be holding another similar event in London and Manchester.

Proposals to help SMEs combat late payment

Business Minister Matthew Hancock has revealed new proposals to help SMEs avoid late payers, giving them the opportunity to compare the payment practices of large businesses.

All large and listed businesses will have to report quarterly and publish details of their payment procedures, including information about the average pay time and the proportion of invoices paid beyond terms. 

For small companies, late payment can put immense pressure on cashflow, therefore these proposals are a welcoming change. SMEs will be able to choose their customers by how good they are at paying on time, with the hope that future late payments can be avoided. 

These proposals are part of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill which is currently going through parliament. 

Hancock said, “Tackling late payment is at the heart of our drive to help small businesses. Coming from a small business background, I know just how critical late payment can be for small firms’ cashflow. We know that small businesses are often reluctant to risk losing business by using the redress measures we’ve put in place, so we want to tackle the underlying culture by increasing transparency on payment practices and performance.”

"The measures we are consulting on will make it clear to small businesses and consumers alike which large businesses behave properly, and those that think they can ride roughshod over their suppliers.” 

The consultation paper (‘Duty to Report on Payment Practices and Policies’) has been published here on the government website. If you wish to respond, you can email tolatepayment@bis.gsi.gov.uk using the subject line ‘Duty to Report Consultation’. 



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