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Latest news, guides and client briefings from the team at Hall Morrice.

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Business planning can keep property developers on solid foundations despite shaky trading ground Business planning can keep property developers on solid foundations despite shaky trading groundBy Shona Duncan, senior tax managerWith only a matter of weeks to go until the UK’s exit from the European Union, the ramifications of our departure continue to be subject to much deliberation, hypotheses and conjecture. Read more »

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ICAS Top 100 Young CAs Profile: Peter Cowan ICAS Top 100 Young CAs Profile: Peter CowanPeter Cowan, named at one of the ICAS Top 100 Young CAs 2019, shares his thoughts on his career and what it takes to be a leading CA.NamePeter CowanPositionSenior Audit and Accounts Analyst When did you join Hall Morrice?I joined the fun in June 2015.What does your role involve?My time is split between preparing companies’ and individuals' year end accounts and auditing larger companies, as well as preparing tax computations for clients. Read more »

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Mind the gap – partnership approach could ease post-Brexit dentist skill shortage Mind the gap – partnership approach could ease post-Brexit dentist skill shortageBy Lorna Jackson, senior managerAlmost a third of EEA qualified dental professionals working in the UK are considering leaving, with Brexit uncertainty blamed as the main reason, research by from the General Dental Council (GDC) indicates.Therefore, it’s an obvious time for dental practices to look at bolstering their teams. Bringing in a new partner could be an attractive option to retain - and incentivise – professionals and deliver many other benefits.A new partner can support overheads and manage the business during a time away; they can motivate and help grow the business; and generate new ideas, as well as bringing capital investment.If bringing in a partner does appeal, be sure to carry out careful due diligence before making any offers. Read more »

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Collaboration is key to innovation Collaboration is key to innovationBy Andy Bell, corporate tax managerThe north east is a region of invention and has produced some of the world’s greatest innovators. Read more »

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Deadline day is looming for self-assessment Deadline day is looming for self-assessmentBy Shona Duncan, senior tax managerBusiness confidence in Aberdeen and the surrounding area has taken a battering as a result of the downturn in North Sea oil production, with many businesses directly and indirectly involved in the energy sector facing very challenging economic times.But, as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention and many innovators are finding new customers for their skills outwith traditional oil and gas markets. Read more »

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There are no shortcuts to finding an exit There are no shortcuts to finding an exitBy Derek Petrie, director of audit and accountsAberdeen and the north east has faced some challenging economic times as a result of the energy sector’s most recent slump. Read more »

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ICAS Top 100 Young CAs Profile: Richard Stephenson ICAS Top 100 Young CAs Profile: Richard StephensonRichard Stephenson, named at one of the ICAS Top 100 Young CAs 2019, shares his thoughts on his career and what it takes to be a leading CA.NameRichard StephensonPositionSenior ManagerWhen did you join Hall Morrice?February 2015What does your role involve?Managing a mixed portfolio of over 130 clients, providing business advisory, VAT, accounts and audit services. Read more »

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Sell, sell, sell…how turning a profit on your possessions can impact on tax liabilities Sell, sell, sell…how turning a profit on your possessions can impact on tax liabilitiesBy Andrew Laurie, tax managerHave you ever sold an item on an online auction site like eBay? Read more »

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Restoring public trust – or more red tape for charities? Restoring public trust – or more red tape for charities?By Lorna JacksonIt’s been billed as a move that will improve public trust and confidence in the third sector – but will the Scottish Government’s transform charity law place unnecessary burdens on grassroots volunteers?A consultation on the biggest shake-up of charity law in Scotland in over a decade proposes a number of new regulations, including charities being struck off if they repeatedly fail to publish their accounts.There is absolutely nothing wrong with this suggestion, but I can see that it would result in volunteers - many of them already stretched – facing up to additional regulations.Over many years we have established ourselves as one of the leading accountancy firms for charities and community organisations, with a real depth of understanding of the third sector.Many of these organisations don’t start out with charitable status: they decide to go down that route as their groups grow and evolve.If the proposals in the consultation do reach fruition, I would be advising, more than ever, to give careful consideration as to whether charitable status is the right option.I agree that in order to increase public confidence in the activities of charities there needs to be greater transparency: a survey by Scottish charity regulator OSCR last year showed 88% of people would be more trusting if they could see how much of their donation went directly to good causes.But the impact of the proposed changes is that grassroots volunteers would need to ensure their organisation follows legislation to the absolute letter – or their activities and all the good they do in communities would cease.It is already very difficult for many local community groups to find volunteers that are willing to take on specialist roles such as that of treasurer. Read more »

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Our graduate programme is the best possible start to an accountancy career Our graduate programme is the best possible start to an accountancy careerBy Shonagh Fraser, PartnerIf you are due to graduate from university in 2020, then our graduate programme could be right for you. Read more »

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ICAS Top 100 Young CAs Profile: Melanie Clark ICAS Top 100 Young CAs Profile: Melanie ClarkMelanie Clark, named at one of the ICAS Top 100 Young CAs 2019, shares her thoughts on her career and what it takes to be a leading CA.NameMelanie ClarkPositionAssistant Director – Hall Morrice Corporate FinanceWhen did you join Hall Morrice?We set up HMCF in April 2017What does your role involve?HMCF covers a wide range of CF services, from running a sale process for a company whose shareholders wish sell all or part of the company, to providing financial due diligence to Private Equity Houses, and on to building financial models to assist companies with their forecasts.What made you want to become an accountant?Since university, I knew I wanted to work in corporate finance as it was the aspect of finance that interested me the most.What do you enjoy most about your job?I enjoy building client relationships. Read more »

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Too much room at the inn? Too much room at the inn?By Rhys Jones, manager business advisoryScottish government ministers say there will be no compulsion for local authorities to implement a so-called tourist tax, but in a climate where councils are facing the squeeze on budgets, it could be eyed as a means to raise revenue to help balance the books.With the number of beds continuing to rise in Aberdeen as new hotel openings come on stream, it remains a challenging time for the hospitality businesses.So, the spectre of the tourism visitor levy (TVL), and how this might affect the value of visiting a region to visitors, may quite rightly be viewed as frightening.The process to introduce the tourist tax in Edinburgh is going through the motions.It may not be on the table here in the Aberdeen region, but cash strapped councils could be waiting to see how it rolls out.There can be no ruling out that other areas could look on it as a method to generate income in the future.Concern of having to foot extra costs to visit an area could impact on a region’s attractiveness to holiday makers.We don’t have a crystal ball to predict the future but it’s always important to be aware of the potential threats that might be looming on the horizon.That’s why we recommend taking steps to ensure your tax position is optimised. Read more »

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Clock is ticking on scheme pays deadline Clock is ticking on scheme pays deadlineBy Shona Duncan, senior tax managerIn recent years the government has introduced pension annual allowance and in circumstances where income exceeds £100,000 this can be tapered to a maximum of £10,000. Read more »

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Be outstanding in the field of farm diversification Be outstanding in the field of farm diversificationBy Derek Mair, partnerClay pigeon shooting, brewing, cheese shops, camping barns, golf driving ranges, renewable power and riding centres – farm diversification comes in many different forms.Diversification has a crucial role to play in the modern agriculture and rural business sector and is an increasingly likely consideration to future-proof businesses from market and economic changes.Getting the right structure for the diversified business could help preserve important Inheritance Tax reliefs.The right advice allows opportunities to maximise the reliefs available when there is a mix of trading activities within the business.Additional thought must be taken around setting up the new diversified enterprise as a separate entity because of the financial implications of such a move.Agricultural property can qualify for relief from inheritance tax at 100% or 50%, both on death and in respect of lifetime transfers. Read more »

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Trio of staff from Hall Morrice named among 2019’s Top 100 Young CAs Trio of staff from Hall Morrice named among 2019’s Top 100 Young CAsThree talented young accountants from Hall Morrice LLP have been recognised as some of the brightest in the industry after being named in 2019’s Top 100 Young CAs list. Read more »

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Top of the Shops – Helping Independent Retailers Survive on the High Street Top of the Shops – Helping Independent Retailers Survive on the High StreetBy Louise Smith, senior managerWith an estimated 7,500 stores bringing down the shutters in 2018 and as many as 175,000 retail jobs expected to be lost in 2019, the High Street is not a happy place.Online shopping – often more convenient and cheaper than bricks and mortar stores – is shouldering a significant amount of the blame.But, in reality, there are many reasons why the High Street is struggling. Read more »

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EMI Share Option Scheme Explained EMI Share Option Scheme ExplainedBy Andrew Laurie, tax managerEnterprise Management Incentive (EMI) is a share option scheme that is perfect for small and growing companies.It’s well worth considering the benefits that EMI could bring to your business.Research shows that companies that offer employees share incentives are more likely to outperform those that do not.EMI share options are a cost-effective and tax efficient way to retain and motivate your team, incentivising them to drive your business growth and profit.Here’s what you need to know.What is EMI?Growing companies can face more challenges when it comes to encouraging staff to remain with the company and work towards its growth compared to their larger counterparts.HMRC recognises that staff recruitment and retention can be harder for smaller companies to achieve because they cannot offer the same breadth of rewards as larger companies, so have provided the EMI share option scheme to assist.The scheme enables employees to participate in the growth of a company without having to ‘buy’ shares initially. Read more »

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Small Business Tax – What You Need to Know Small Business Tax – What You Need to KnowBy Andrew Laurie, tax managerAt the onset businesses may find they are making losses with all the start up cost but with growth that loss can soon turn into a profit, and it’s almost inevitable that you will have to start paying taxes. Read more »

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Flying Solo – Is a One-Man Limited Company Right For You? Flying Solo – Is a One-Man Limited Company Right For You?By Shona Duncan, senior tax managerWhen working in a specialised sector – such as the oil and gas industry here in Aberdeen - opportunities for work and the nature of employment contracts are diverse. Read more »

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How Forgotten Bank Accounts are Helping the Third Sector Flourish How Forgotten Bank Accounts are Helping the Third Sector FlourishBy Lorna Jackson, senior managerPicture the scene. Read more »

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Diversification: The Changing Face of the Energy Mix Diversification: The Changing Face of the Energy MixBy Derek Petrie, director, audit and accountsThe effects of the slump in North Sea production – and the associated drop in the price of oil – continue to reverberate across the Granite City. Read more »

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MTD for Farming Businesses: The Changes and Challenges Ahead MTD for Farming Businesses: The Changes and Challenges AheadBy Derek Petrie, director, audit and accountsThe move to Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDV) has proved to be a testing time for those in business as they face up to taxation in a digital age. Read more »

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Planning for the End of the Tax Year – Are You Prepared? Planning for the End of the Tax Year – Are You Prepared?By Shona Duncan, senior tax managerThe tax year ends on April 5, and with just a few weeks to go, time is flying by. Read more »

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HMRC Investigations: Steer Clear of a Taxing Situation HMRC Investigations: Steer Clear of a Taxing SituationBy Shona Duncan, senior tax managerA tax investigation is costly, time-consuming and, if you’ll pardon the pun, taxing. Read more »

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The Move to Payrolling Benefits – Have You Registered Yet? The Move to Payrolling Benefits – Have You Registered Yet?By Shona Duncan, senior tax managerIf you are an employer, you are probably all too familiar with the red tape that comes with reporting taxes. Read more »

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Start-ups: Navigating through the tax maze Start-ups: Navigating through the tax mazeBy Shona Duncan, senior tax managerEstablishing your own start-up is an exciting time: your dreams are finally being realised and you’re doing the job you love. Read more »

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Andy turns up the heat on London Marathon Andy turns up the heat on London MarathonAfter completing the 2018 London Marathon in record-breaking temperatures, accountant Andy Bell is once again pulling on his running shoes to show that the 26.2-mile route is far from too hot to handle.Although he managed to complete the course in sweltering 23.2C temperatures, Andy was disappointed that the heat contributed to a slower than anticipated finishing time in his debut marathon.So, when his chosen charity – MS Society – asked if he would once again join the MS Superstars Team to pound the streets of the capital on April 28, Hall Morrice corporate tax manager Andy didn’t have to think twice.“I finished in around five hours last year, which was about an hour slower than I had hoped. Read more »

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Making Tax Digital for VAT April 2019 – What you need to know Making Tax Digital for VAT April 2019 – What you need to knowWhether you’re new to the world of business or have been active for a while, a revolution in taxation is happening right now in the UK that you need to know about: Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV). Read more »

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Community-spirited Hall Morrice joins Scottish Ambulance Service defibrillator register Community-spirited Hall Morrice joins Scottish Ambulance Service defibrillator registerAs a firm that has been rooted in Aberdeen for over 40 years, Hall Morrice is proud to be a part of the local community. Read more »

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Tax and holiday lettings: what landlords need to know Tax and holiday lettings: what landlords need to knowBy Andrew Laurie, tax managerWith the increase in popularity of online hospitality websites such as Airbnb, it is very tempting for property owners to rent out a room or even a whole property as holiday accommodation, rather than as a long-term let to regular tenants.The yield on holiday lets is often much higher than long-term rental agreements, so it’s understandable that more and more property owners are now embracing this new and fast-growing market.However, landlords are not always aware of the tax issues they might run into, especially if the turnover generated by the venture goes beyond stipulated tax thresholds. Read more »

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Planning is key to a profitable exit Planning is key to a profitable exitBy Andrew Laurie, tax managerThe cyclical nature of the oil and gas industry – the highs when production is flowing and the lows when the North Sea is in downturn – is well documented here in the north east. Read more »

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Rising Star award for Hall Morrice Corporate Finance assistant director Hall Morrice Corporate Finance assistant director Melanie Gilmour has been named the brightest future business talent in north east Scotland. Read more »

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Without planning ahead, tax increases could drive company car owners round the bend Without planning ahead, tax increases could drive company car owners round the bendBy Shona Duncan, Senior Tax Manager at Hall Morrice LLPWhether you see yourself in a Kia Picanto or a Porsche Panamera, the allure of a company car is strong for many businesspeople. Read more »

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Accountant of the Year award for Melanie Gilmour of HMCF Corporate finance specialist Melanie Gilmour has been crowned Accountant of the Year in the Scottish Accountancy and Finance Awards.The accolade for Melanie, assistant director of Hall Morrice Corporate Finance, comes just days after the 29-year-old was named as one to watch in a list of 2018’s Top 100 Young CAs and announced as a finalist in the Rising Star category of the Northern Star Business Awards.Melanie helped to establish HMCF in April last year along with managing director and corporate finance veteran Tom Faichnie. Read more »

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Accountants from Hall Morrice are named as ones to watch in Top 100 Young CAs 2018 Two of our chartered accountants have been named as ones to watch after making it onto a list of 2018’s Top 100 Young CAs. Read more »

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Andy adds up the miles in London Marathon challenge as thank-you to MS Society As a corporate tax manager with Hall Morrice, Andy Bell is used to working with complex figures on a day to day basis. Read more »

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Don’t overlook your company’s greatest asset Don’t overlook your company’s greatest asset By Shonagh Fraser, partner Hall Morrice LLP New machinery that will reduce downtime; the latest IT software that will allow your firm to comply with HMRC reporting; replacing the aging office pool car with a more fuel-efficient model. Read more »

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Get your business in shape for 2018 Get your business in shape for 2018 by making some simple new year resolutions.New year, new you…Hall Morrice partner Derek Mair believes businesses owners should be making pledges to get their companies looking lean in 2018 with some easy to implement new year resolutions.Lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking…new year is a time when we love to make resolutions to get fit and healthy. Read more »

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Hall Morrice creates new senior manager post in response to growing demand for tax services Aberdeen-based chartered accounts Hall Morrice has created a new senior management post in response to a growing client demand for taxation services. Read more »

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Hall Morrice creates new corporate finance division in response to projected uplift in deals activity Aberdeen chartered accountants Hall Morrice has launched a new corporate finance division as part of its strategy to prepare for the north east's economic recovery.The independent firm has made two key appointments to lead the new team, which will largely focus on working with corporate entities and private equity houses seeking to invest in oilfield services companies. Read more »

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Companies House Changes The Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act contains a number of measures which will be implemented from 6 April 2016 onwards and which together represent significant change for companies.All companies will be affected in some way, as the Act changes the legal requirements, including what is filed at Companies House.Implementation Dates Implementation Date Measure April 2016 Director Disputes Registered office disputes PSC registers need to be kept by companies and LLPs PSC Protection Regime June 2016 Confirmation statement PSCs to start being filed with Companies House Company registers Statement of capital changes October 2016 Corporate directors abolished with limited exceptions 1. Read more »

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Aberdeen accountancy firm Hall Morrice recruits record number of graduates to join its team Hall Morrice has recruited a record-breaking number of graduates and placement students to join its ranks.Aberdeen-based accountancy firm Hall Morrice has recruited a record number of graduates to its ranks. Read more »