Cyber security risks for charities & not-for-profit

Cyber security risks for charities & not-for-profit

Cyber security risks for charities & not-for-profit

Charities need to be aware of the risk of significant fines of up to £500,000 which can be issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Credit card numbers, bank account details, names and addresses, national insurance numbers and dates of birth are some of the key ‘ingredients’ for identity theft; hence the stringent fines for failure to comply with the Data Protection Act.

Charity fines totalling £270,000

In the last few years the British Pregnancy Advice Service and Norwood Ravenswood have been fined £200,000 and £70,000 for not taking care of personal data, respectively. In addition, the ICO has issued enforcement notices to Asperger’s Children & Carers Together and Wheelbase Motor Project who both lost unencrypted hard drives. The notices required the charities to implement encryption and other security measures. Breaches like this can be very disruptive, take up a lot of management time and cause damage to reputations.

Cyber security measures your charity should implement

Best practice is for charities to do at least the following 3 things:

1. Encrypt laptops and portable hard drives

2. Provide cyber security training and assessments of understanding to all staff

3. Implement an Information Security Management System (ISMS). An ISMS defines roles and responsibilities and helps identity and mitigate risk.

Hawsons have a proven solution

Hawsons can help with all aspects of cyber security including advice on encryption, staff training and the provision of an SMS which is used by over 70 charities.

More from our charity experts

You can find all of our latest charity sector news and newsletters here.

If you are looking for advice in a particular area, please get in touch with your usual Hawsons contact.

Alternatively, we offer all new clients a free initial meeting to have a discussion about their own personal circumstances – find out more or book your free initial meeting here. We have offices in Sheffield, Doncaster and Northampton.

Things to consider when choosing a payroll provider

Things to consider when choosing a payroll provider

Things to consider when choosing a payroll provider

Whether you are a small or large business owner, you may have considered outsourcing your payroll matters. There are various reasons why companies often initially process payroll themselves. Indeed, some companies consider in-house processing to be a more cost-effective and efficient method.

However, for a lot of companies, this is usually not the case. In fact, there are several benefits that can be obtained through outsourcing your payroll.

Dealing with the payroll in-house is often a time consuming and resource demanding job, requiring awareness of constantly changing HMRC requirements and meeting detailed legislation and strict deadlines. When considering the time spent completing your payroll and taking into account the penalties for mistakes and missed deadlines, in-house processing may become a more costly solution.

Additionally, with the recent onset of auto enrolment and compulsory workplace pension schemes, the compliance obligation on employers has significantly increased. Many businesses are asking our IFAs in Hawsons Wealth Management to deal with the pension obligations and are also asking us to operate their payroll. This enables us to provide an integrated service and helps to ensure the compliance obligations are met.

How flexible is their service?

Different businesses have different needs, so it is important that your payroll provider can offer a flexible service tailored to the specific needs of your business. Additionally, your needs may alter over time, especially when experiencing growth and change – you don’t want to have to look for a new payroll provider, you want to have the option to adjust your agreement and package when necessary. Are they willing to be flexible on time scale and deadlines? For example, if you provide the information later than normal, will they still manage to process the payroll on time?

Are they willing to fix their prices?

Ensure that the price is a reasonable and affordable solution, which fits within your budget. Find a service that is tailored to your needs. It is also important that you choose a payroll provider who sets a fixed price; to ensure that there are no hidden charges and that the final bill is as you expected.

How responsive are they?

It is crucial that you have a point of contact with the payroll provider who is easily accessible and responsive to your needs. Ideally, your payroll provider should be proactive and constantly looking for ways to manage your payroll matters more effectively.

What experience do they have?

As HMRC requirements are constantly changing with more obligations on the employer, it is crucial you use third party providers who have specialists who are used to these obligations. It is their responsibility to make you aware of the ever-changing legislation so you can feel at ease knowing that your business is compliant with all new legislation, so having a wealth of experience is essential. Without experience, your provider could be prone to making mistakes, which can quickly become expensive. A consideration that you must take into account is who will be in charge of your account once you have agreed to outsource your payroll. It is a common criticism of payroll providers that they outsource or ‘pass down’ the payroll matters. Ideally, you should look for a provider where all staff dealing with payroll have years of experience.

Do they have the necessary expertise?

Given the increased compliance and burden of Real Time Information (RTI) and Auto Enrolment, it is crucial that your payroll provider has the necessary expertise to ensure you comply with new legislation.

More from our payroll experts

You can find all of our latest payroll articles here.

If you are looking for advice in a particular area, please get in touch with your usual Hawsons contact.

Alternatively, you can request a free initial payroll quote online here.

Free initial meeting

Scott Sanderson

Partner, Sheffield

0114 266 7141
Changes to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)

Changes to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)

Changes to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)

The government has announced that it will implement a package of improvements to the CIS. The stated aim of the changes is to reduce the administrative and related cost burden on construction businesses. The measures should result in more subcontracting businesses being able to achieve and maintain gross payment status so improving their cashflow. These changes are to be implemented in stages.

From 6 April 2015 the following amendments will be made to the system:

  • The requirement for a contractor to make a return to HMRC even if the contractor has not made any payments in a tax month will be removed. Contractors may make a voluntary nil return but will no longer be obliged to do so.
  • The requirements for joint ventures to gain gross payment status will be relaxed where one member already has this status and that firm or company has a right to at least 50% of the assets or the income or holds at least 50% of the shares or the voting power in the joint venture.
  • Earlier repayments can be made to liquidators in insolvency proceedings. Currently where a subcontractor is a company, no repayment of any amount deducted and paid over to HMRC by a contractor can be made to the subcontractor until after the end of the tax year in which the deduction was made. These rules will be amended so that in certain cases where the amount deducted by the contractor is excessive, a repayment can be made during the tax year.

From 6 April 2016 further changes are proposed:

  • Mandatory online filing of CIS returns will be introduced with the offer of alternative filing arrangements for those unable to access an online channel by reason of age, disability, remote location or religious objection.
  • The directors’ self assessment filing requirements will be removed from the initial and annual compliance tests.
  • The threshold for the turnover test will be reduced to £100,000 in multiple directorship situations.

From 6 April 2017 mandatory online verification of subcontractors will be introduced.

More from our tax experts

You can find all of our latest tax articles and tax resources here.

If you are looking for advice in a particular area, please get in touch with your usual Hawsons contact.

Alternatively, we offer all new clients a free initial meeting to have a discussion about their own personal circumstances – find out more or book your free initial meeting here. We have offices in Sheffield, Doncaster and Northampton.

HMRC introduces solicitors’ tax campaign

HMRC introduces solicitors’ tax campaign

HMRC introduces solicitors’ tax campaign

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are warning solicitors that they must bring their tax affairs up-to-date, or face tougher penalties.Solicitors are the latest professionals to be targeted by HMRC’s Tax Campaign, which launched in 2011. Previous campaigns have included medical professionals, landlords and online traders.

Improved settlement terms

The Solicitors’ Tax Campaign voluntary disclosure is an opportunity for solicitors to come forward and pay any outstanding tax that they owe.

Solicitors have until 9 March 2015 to notify HMRC about their participation in the campaign, and then have until 9 June 2015 to disclose and pay any tax they owe.

If you have nothing to disclose and pay to HMRC you do not need to use the Solicitors’ Tax Campaign.

However, for solicitors that do have tax debts, by voluntarily coming forward you are likely to save money as you can take advantage of improved settlement terms offered by HMRC.

HMRC has confirmed that solicitors who voluntarily disclose will be charged a penalty of up to 20% of the tax owed, depending on circumstances.

Tougher penalties

Caroline Addison, Head of Campaigns at HMRC said: “Those who make a deliberate decision not to pay the taxes due could face a penalty of 100% or more of the tax due, or even a criminal prosecution.”

“Take this chance to come forward and put things right in a straightforward way and on the best possible terms. It will be easier and cheaper for you to come to us than for us to come to you.”

More from our legal sector experts

You can find all of our latest legal sector news and newsletters here.

If you are looking for advice in a particular area, please get in touch with your usual Hawsons contact.

Alternatively, we offer all new clients a free initial meeting to have a discussion about their own personal circumstances – find out more or book your free initial meeting here. We have offices in Sheffield, Doncaster and Northampton.

Simon Bladen Partner

Simon Bladen is the partner responsible for looking after the firm’s legal clients and has worked at Hawsons throughout his career. For more information or advice on anything covered in this article, please contact Simon on [email protected] or 0114 226 7141.[/author_info]

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RTI penalties on the horizon

RTI penalties on the horizon

RTI penalties on the horizon

Earlier this year, HMRC laid out their timetable for various changes to the PAYE compliance system:

  • April 2014 – in-year interest on any in-year payments not made by the due date – this is already happening, although HMRC are not writing to affected businesses. Instead, the interest charge can be seen on the relevant tax ‘dashboard’.
  • October 2014 – automatic in-year late filing penalties (see below).
  • April 2015 – automatic in-year late payment penalties. Once again, the requirement to pay PAYE on time and penalties for not doing so is not new. However, the way that HMRC impose penalties for late payment has been very ad hoc and this is set to change.
RTI late filing penalties

The new penalties will apply to late RTI returns if a person fails, during a tax month, to make a return on or before the filing date. They cannot be liable to more than one penalty per tax month.

Employers can also be liable to one or more penalties in respect of extended failures i.e. a failure to make a return on or before the filing date which continues after the end of the period of three months beginning with the day after the filing date. This is 5% of any liability to make payments which would have been shown in the return in question.

Operation for 2014/15

HMRC have confirmed that employers with fewer than 50 employees as of 6 October 2014, or a new employer, will only face automated in-year penalties for late real-time PAYE returns from 6 March 2015.

Other employers who brought all their submissions for the period 6 April – 5 October 2014 up to date by 5 October will not face any in-year late filing penalties for that period.

Once the penalty system begins an employer who, during a tax month, fails to make a return on or before the filing date will be liable to a penalty as follows:

  • 1-9 employees – £100
  • 10-49 employees – £200
  • 50-249 employees – £300 and
  • 250 or more employees – £400

HMRC will send penalty notices by post each quarter in July, October, January and April.

More from our payroll experts

You can find all of our latest payroll articles here.

If you are looking for advice in a particular area, please get in touch with your usual Hawsons contact.

Alternatively, you can request a free initial payroll quote online here.

Stephen Charles partner

Stephen Charles is a tax partner at the firm, specialising in corporate and business taxation. For more details and advice, please contact Stephen on [email protected] or 0114 266 7141.[/author_info]