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Confirmation Bias

Most business people these days have too much information and not enough time. We don’t have the time to weigh up every facet of every decision. This tends to encourage us to take shortcuts where we can. As such, we often go into a meeting or a negotiation with an idea as to what the outcome might be.

This is known as confirmation bias. It is our natural tendency to seek out information or to look at things in a way that confirms our preconceptions.

Helping Customers to Pay You on Time

You’ve done the work. You’ve invoiced the customer 60 days ago. You are still waiting to get paid 30 days after payment was due. It’s time to chase for payment.

It’s never easy chasing customers for payment. However, this is business and you are entitled to be paid for the work that you have done. Unless your company is a bank, you are not in the business of providing credit for your customers. So what should you do?

More Money for NHS and an End to Austerity?

As previously announced, these were the main themes of the Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s third budget but what we were waiting to hear was where the extra money was going to come from? Had he found a “Magic Money Tree”, or would tax and borrowing have to increase? 

Personal Allowance and Higher Rate Limit Increased Early

The Government’s manifesto pledge back in 2015 was that the personal allowance would rise to £12,500 in 2020 and the higher rate tax threshold to £50,000. However, the Chancellor has decided to bring forward these increases one year early from 2019/20, taking an estimated 1 million taxpayers out of higher rate tax.

More Rates Relief for Small Businesses

There has been much lobbying from the small business sector to reduce business rates to enable traditional retailers, in particular, to compete with internet traders.

VAT Registration Limit Continues to be Frozen

The VAT registration limit normally increases in line with inflation each year. However, It was announced last year that the limit would be frozen at £85,000 until 1 April 2020. It has now been announced that the limit will now remain at the same level until 2022. The deregistration limit will remain at £83,000.

Annual Investment Allowance Increased to £1 Million

The Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) which provides businesses with a 100% write off against profits when they acquire plant and machinery has been temporarily increased from £200,000 to £1 million for two years from 1 January 2019. This will again mean that the timing of expenditure will be critical. It may be advantageous to delay expenditure until after 1 January 2019 to get the full benefit in certain circumstances.

Capital Gains Tax Entrepreneurs' Relief Changes

The Chancellor has announced that the minimum qualifying period for Capital Gains Tax entrepreneurs’ relief will be increased from 12 months to 24 months for disposals on or after 6 April 2019.

IR35 "Off-Payroll" Rules to be Extended to Private Sector

Very controversially, the Government have decided to extend the rules for personal service companies in the public sector to workers in the private sector from April 2020.

No Changes in Tax Rates

The basic rate of income tax and higher rate remain at 20% and 40% respectively, and the 45% additional rate continues to apply to income over £150,000.

There had been rumours that the dividend rate might be increased, but dividends continue to be taxed at 7.5%, 32.5% and then 38.1% depending upon whether the dividends fall into the basic rate band, higher rate band or the additional rate. Note that only the first £2,000 of dividend income is now tax-free.

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