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2021 Review – Looking Back At A Very Different Year

It goes without saying that 2021 has been far from the average year. There can’t be an individual or organisation unaffected by the global pandemic in some way, however small.

For some, restrictions and downtime have provided the perfect opportunity to change direction completely, or positively transform the way they run their business. Others have been severely tested, and we’ve all dealt with new and unusual challenges.

So we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on the last 12 months.

Covid-19

January, February and March were spent in lockdown, with non-essential retail and hospitality closed. Pubs didn’t open for indoor dining until May. This was obviously a huge strain on many businesses and their suppliers, many of whom had no choice but to change the way they operated completely. Restaurants resumed their takeaway offerings and shops boosted their online presence.

However, support was still needed, and we were able to advise clients on the most effective ways to keep moving forwards.

  • We helped clients put staff on furlough and flexible furlough as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which ran for an astonishing 18 months. The scheme supported 11.6 million jobs in sectors that simply couldn’t operate, such as travel. It ended on 30th September.
  • Also ending on 30th September this year was the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme for individuals and those in business partnerships. The scheme offered 5 grants in total over a period of 18 months. An average trading profit was calculated from previous tax years, and for the most adversely affected businesses, 80% of this amount was awarded. Controversially, if you were not self-employed in the 2018/19 tax year and so did not submit a 2018/19 tax return showing self-employed income, you were not eligible for the first 3 grants. When the 4th grant became available, we were able to advise this group on how to get the support they needed.
  • We assisted small and medium sized businesses apply for business support grants and loans offered at local authority level
  • We have been advising and assisting those who deferred VAT payments in 2020, helping them to set up online payments in June to spread the payments over small, interest free instalments, or by contacting HMRC on their behalf and deferring payments from March to June. 

Tax Legislation in 2021

The ongoing pandemic and the economic challenges it continues to create have affected tax legislation quite significantly over the past 12 months. 

  • On 1st October the VAT rate for Hospitality and Tourism businesses was raised from 5% (where it had been since July 2020) to 12.5%, and there were calls to lock it in at that rate permanently. It is due to return to 20% in April 2022.
  • The time period to file private company accounts was reduced back to 9 months from 12 months, having been granted the extension in 2020.
  • In October’s budget it was announced that the reporting and payment window for Capital Gains Tax from private property sales was to double from 30 days to 60 days. It is reported that the 30 day deadline provided the Exchequer with an increased revenue of £935 million during tax year 2020-21. 
  • In October, the Stamp Duty ‘nil rate band’ returned to its normal at £125,000. It had been at £250,000 since July 2021, and at £500,000 for the 12 months before that. This ‘holiday’ led to many more sales which generated income for many sectors, but some argued it wasn’t necessary as sales would naturally increase due to significant changes in personal circumstances created by the pandemic.

The Team at Turner Warran

Alice Lawson

This year we celebrated Alice Lawson’s 10th year as part of the Turner Warran team. She joined us in 2011, qualified as a MAAT in 2013, and this year became a Certified Chartered Accountant! We’re really proud of the knowledge and service she offers our clients, many of whom she has come to know well thanks to her long-term commitment to the business.

Callum Newton

And we hope Callum’s going to stay for 10 years too! Accounts Trainee Callum Newton joined the firm as an apprentice accountant in September 2019 just after his A-levels, and this year he has achieved his Level 3 AAT qualification. Working and studying at the same time isn’t easy, and we are very proud of him and the excellent contribution he’s making to our business. Turner Warran continues to support apprentices to reach their goal of becoming qualified accountants. 

Local News and Activity

We’ve all missed sport over the last couple of years, but in 2021, it started making a slow return. As sponsors of Brigg Town Football Club, we were really pleased the club, and the whole Northern Counties East League, was able to start returning to some semblance of normality. The Zebras have had a lot of success so far this season – currently 3rd out of the 21 clubs in Division 1. The club has also spent a lot of time and effort renovating their function room at the club. It looks great – well worth a booking for a big meeting or family party if you’re in the Brigg area.

Once the golf courses opened again, we continued to sponsor David Edwards, famous for his trick golf shows and fantastic commentary worldwide, as he hosts his charity invitational tournaments at our award-winning local course Forest Pines.

What To Expect From 2022

With the UK Government debt standing at £2.2 trillion in August this year, there is clearly pressure on the Chancellor to try and claw some of this back. Yet he also made promises in his manifesto before the pandemic. Some of these have been and will be broken, as the pandemic continues to cause economic uncertainty.

These are the changes that will have the biggest impact this year:

  • Rates for dividend tax and National Insurance will increase by 1.25%, affecting employees, employers, and the self-employed. This increase will formally become the Health and Social Care Levy which will be introduced in April 2023.
  • The National Minimum Wage will increase from £8.91 to £9.50 an hour, a rise of 6.6%, in April 2022
  • All VAT registered businesses, regardless of their turnover, will need to comply with Making Tax Digital from April 2022. We’ve already helped lots of clients move over to this digital system, and look forward to continuing to do so.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

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