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HMRC will be cracking down on tax advisors behind tax avoidance schemes

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HMRC will be cracking down on tax advisors behind tax avoidance schemes

Tax avoidance has frequently been in the headlines, with large organisations and well-known names often being implicated. The government is now taking steps to deter not only those that engage in the practice, but also the advisers that help them to do so.

HMRC will be cracking down on tax advisors behind tax avoidance schemes

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The true cost of tax avoidance

Strictly speaking tax avoidance is not illegal, because it involves sticking to the letter if not the spirit of the law, yet the practice costs the UK taxpayer £4bn in lost revenue each year. That is nearly as much as the £5.1bn lost annually due to the criminal act of tax evasion. In addition, even when HMRC successfully challenges cases of tax avoidance, those who either advised on, or facilitated the implementation of the tax avoidance schemes, face no consequences under the current law. To rectify this situation, the government is now setting its sights on IFAs and other professionals, in proposals currently open to public consultation.

Penalising the “enablers”

Under the new rules, IFAs found to be benefiting from fees or commissions earned by promoting or marketing tax avoidance schemes, could face financial penalties of up to £3000 or the full value of the avoided tax, whichever is higher. Other professional engaged at any stage of the process would also be penalised. For example, a promoter who puts together a tax avoidance scheme and has it added to the many products available to IFAs through their financial adviser software, could, if the scheme was successfully challenged by HMRC, face penalties alongside the IFA, and any other professionals that enabled the end client to exploit the scheme.

The idea behind the proposals, which are currently at the public consultation stage, is that advisers would be deterred from the practice. IFAs might instead use software such as that offered by intelliflo.com, to advise their clients on tax practices in line with the spirit of UK tax rules.

The new proposals, published by the Government in early August, have been largely welcomed. However, Vicky Johnson, president of the Association of Revenue and Customs, has suggested that, for the proposed policy changes to work, the consultation needed to include addressing the issue of pay and reward, for those tasked with implementing it.

The proposal also suggests naming and shaming IFAs involved in the practice, as a further deterrent.

Reviews

Getting it right – 5 web application testing tips for success

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Getting it right - 5 web application testing tips for success

Productivity software is increasingly moving away from being installed on in-house servers and desktops to being accessed from the cloud and the web. This puts greater emphasis on network connectivity and also on the quality of web applications, which need to be up to scratch and able to serve the needs of multiple users.

Getting it right - 5 web application testing tips for success

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In turn, this means that the testing of web applications is vitally important. Here are some key items to consider when undertaking the test process.

1 Make security a priority

Running software from the web naturally raises issues surrounding security. It is important for testers to ensure that the application itself is secure and safe from common attacks such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting; in addition, data must be properly protected, such as by encryption, when it is in transit and being stored.

2 Automate repetitive tasks

Any website testing service will need to carry out the same testing over and over as the application develops. Rather than using human testers, this can be better done using an automated process that reduces the chance of errors and oversights.

3 Check dependencies

By its very nature, software on the web is subject to dependencies with other technologies. Multimedia content, for example, may use Flash or HTML5 and it is vital that this works correctly. Testing services such as https://www.bugfinders.com/ therefore need to check that these technologies work and in different versions. There is also a security implication, as an app could be made vulnerable by a bug in a platform it depends on.

4 Use multiple browsers

One of the issues with web-based software is that there are several different browsers available and it is impossible to know which one users are running. Testers therefore need to check that a web application works not just on different browsers, such as Firefox, Chrome and Edge, but also that it works with different versions.

5 Interaction with other apps

In addition to catering to different browsers, there are a whole range of other possible configuration issues; for example, common plug-ins and extensions may cause compatibility issues. If an application relies on third-party apps such as chat services and video players to deliver part of its content, it is also important that this interaction is thoroughly tested.

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Why aren’t millennials using credit cards like Gen X?

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Why arenot millennials using credit cards like Gen

Often touted as irresponsible and only concerned with “living in the now”, it may come as a surprise that young people are cutting back on the use of credit cards. In fact, studies have found that card use for millennials is lower than ever.

Why arenot millennials using credit cards like Gen

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Less credit

Loved by Generation X, credit card use has done nothing but go up since plastic credit cards first arrived on the mass market in the 1950s. However, new data from the US-based Survey of Consumer Finances has found that millennials are using cards much less. This could be due to a number of reasons, namely a less rosy future than Generation X could expect with fewer jobs, less affordable housing and more unpredictable economies. The debt students leave university with is also substantial and may well prevent millennials from wanting to make things worse. Young people are also increasingly distrustful of banks that offer huge credit limits after an increased dissatisfaction with banks following the global recession.

The flipside

Whilst it’s great news that young people are staying within their limit by paying for things with money they actually have in the bank, they may be unwittingly making life harder in the long run. Those who have never had a credit card simply won’t have the positive credit rating needed to get a mortgage as they will be unable to demonstrate they can handle debt. The best thing for those who don’t want any debt is to apply for a card with a low limit and use it for the odd payment, paying it back in full each month.

When debt becomes too much

The tendency to avoid debt does not apply to all millennials, especially in the UK, where newly graduated students are frequently leaving university with tens of thousands of pounds of debt. Those who also have personal loans and large credit card debt may be asking Is an IVA for me? An IVA means you can avoid bankruptcy and allows you to pay all your debts back in one low, manageable payment over a longer period of time.

It’s warming news that millennials are using credit cards less than the generation before them, but it’s also a sign that the status quo is changing, and banks will need to respond to this accordingly.

Reviews

Has Brexit Been Beneficial for Landlords and Buy-To-Let Schemes?

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Has Brexit Been Beneficial for Landlords and Buy-To-Let Schemes

The housing market is facing uncertain times post brexit. In the grand scheme of things we’re still in the early days, with many months of negotiations needed before the UK formally withdraws from the EU and as such, this level of uncertainty means that the future of the housing market is currently looking very changeable.

Has Brexit Been Beneficial for Landlords and Buy-To-Let Schemes

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Concern Surrounding Interest Rates

Interest rates naturally have a distinct effect on the housing market. The Bank of England recently cut rates in response to the leave vote, but there are still concerns that rates may soar in the future. A large increase in interest rates would put a strain on the finances of landlords who are hoping to widen their portfolios, however flats to rent in Gloucester may be more difficult to find, as rental demand increases with landlords reaping the rewards of unaffordable mortgages.

Value of Sterling

As we have already seen, predictions surrounding the fall of sterling have been proven. If sterling was to see any further reduction in value, foreign investment in London property may fall away. Whether this would be a blessing or a curse on the wider market however is currently the subject of much debate. Buyers are nervous and as the Sunday Express reports a reduction of turnover in housing is expected, meaning brexit could be a useful negotiating point when it comes to purchasing property for a good price.

Housing Stock

The uncertainty about the future is arguably the most damaging aspect for the property market. Investment has certainly reduced since the referendum was called, however when properties are limited in supply prices increase. As this also translates to the rental market, individuals looking to rent gloucester flats through TGRES may increase and as such, landlords could benefit greatly from this. Lenders may also start to offer a range of tempting buy-to-let rates.

Individual Spending

As the referendum approached, the Treasury warned that leaving the EU could cost households £4000 each year in reduced income. It is currently unclear whether this will prove to be the case, however there is the potential for concern surrounding the ability of tenants to pay increasing rents. However landlords who keep on top of new developments and closely watch the market should still find plenty of opportunities in this post-brexit environment.

Reviews

Tips for Optimising Online Membership Management

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Tips for Optimising Online Membership Management

Subscriptions and membership models are increasingly seen as the route to increased engagement for non-commercial sites such as schools, voluntary organisations and associations. A potential route to profitability for internet-based businesses, special interest blogs and niche sites.

Tips for Optimising Online Membership Management

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A recent piece on the Entrepreneur site, emphasised the importance of the subscription model in building committed users. It’s certainly a way of doing business that is seeing huge growth, as internet users sign up for fee-based services. This kind of arrangement suits small and medium–sized users because it effectively outsources a lot of the maintenance and system administration that you have to deal with if you buy a software application.

Many people also want to use this model to monetise the value in a blog, or an enthusiasts‘ site. Schools and not-for-profit organisations can also find it a vital part of building their community.

But all of those subscriptions need managing, and membership management systems represent one solution for those looking to simplify and streamline the task of running online membership and subscriptions.

Think About Where You Want to Go

There’s quite a lot to think about before you get a membership management system. For example, do want to sell things, and if so what? Are they physical products, or items that you download, or tickets to events? Do you want to charge for page views, or for a newsletter, or for streamed content? All of these factors will influence the type of e-commerce you integrate into your membership model and web site.

Not having a clear idea of how you want to develop the site, can lead to decisions that don’t allow you enough flexibility later.

Keep up with Your Membership

One of the key concerns will be to hang on to members you’ve already engaged with via the membership management system. It’s essential to keep up to date with developments in technology, because your existing members may love your site but hate the way they can’t access it on their mobiles. So they’ll drift away to a similar site that they may not love as much, but which they can access on their phone. Or they may simply not renew their subscription.

Online membership offers great opportunities – just make sure you have the technology and advice that will help you manage it efficiently.

Reviews

Needs For Back Office Recruitment Solutions – Industry Explained

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Office Recruitment Solutions

Back office recruitment solutions aim to deliver the right candidates for the tasks that support a client business. This is a distinct enterprise from front office recruitment, which requires candidates capable of performing the business of the client; that is, candidates whose exceptional skills ensure that they are suited to act as ambassadors for the client in its own business dealings. Continue reading