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Tax free income for life ?

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Many business owners restrict their remuneration to avoid higher rates of tax. Consequently, cash builds up within the company. They could be missing an opportunity to set up a tax free dividend stream for life ! An investment into a Venture Capital Trust...

The 'problem' of Company cash

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  It may be a good problem to have but … what can you do with excess cash held by a company?  You may have considered increased salary and/or dividend or further pension contributions. Where do you turn when you have exhausted those...

Minimum Wage Rates - October 2016

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The National Minimum Wage rates are updated each October. The National Living Wage is updated in April. New rates from 1st October 2016 are as follows. £7.20 for workers 25 and over £6.95 for workers aged 21 - 24 £5.55 18-20 yrs ...

Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts

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Draft regulations have been published to deal with Exclusivity Terms in ‘zero hours’ employment contracts. The effect of the regulations will be to prevent employers from including provisions to preclude employees from undertaking work under...

Fit for Work ? A New Service from 1st October 2015

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Launched today, 1st October 2015, Fit for Work is a government-funded initiative designed to support employees with health conditions and sickness absence. It provides free advice via its Website and via its telephone advice line  0800 032 6235 ....

New National Minimum Wage Rates from 1st October 2015

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The National Minimum Wage rates are updated each October. New rates come into effect today (1st October 2015) as follows. £6.70 for workers 21 and over £5.30 18-20 yrs £3.87 for 16-17 yrs, who are above school leaving age but...

Facing a Tax Bill.. Could a VCT Help You?

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Investment into a Venture Capital Trust offers a number of tax incentives which could help you  reduce your income tax bill. Perhaps you recognise one of these scenarios: “I would like to draw more profit out of my company but I don’t want...

Pension Freedom - What is it all About?

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New options for taking benefits from a defined contribution (money purchase) pension scheme came into effect from 6th April. The freedom applies to everyone from age 55.  What should you consider? The first step is to think about your personal...

Could Mediation Help Your Business?

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A Strategic Approach to Dispute Resolution in Business Companies and businesses involved in any kind of commercial dispute will benefit from a clear-headed and strategic approach to dispute resolution. Commercial mediation is often the right choice, and...

Chancel Repair Liability...

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… still  a concern for property owners ! There has been a good deal of press coverage about ‘chancel repair liability’. It has a long and complicated history and is now regarded by many as something of an anachronism.  It can...

Entrepreneurs Relief on Value of Goodwill...

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The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement included the announcement that Entrepreneurs’ Relief will no longer be available on a disposal of ‘the reputation and customer relationships associated with a business’  –  ie the...

Pension Changes April 2015

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The proposed changes to pensions from April 2015 – Defined Benefit (DB) pensions The Chancellor has expressed his intentions to allow members of DB pension schemes more freedom of choice in their retirement benefit options, via transfer to defined...

Overtime and Holiday Pay

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The UK Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has recently ruled that employees’ holiday pay should reflect non-guaranteed overtime. For employers who regularly ask staff to work extra hours, the bill in future could be significant. But the critical words...

Could You Claim a Tax Refund?

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Did you pay a heavy tax bill this year?   Would you like to get some of it back? Changes in taxation have seen increasing numbers into the higher rate tax brackets. The effective rate  of tax is increased further as other allowances are...

Flooding - Are You at Risk?

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The Environment Agency has recently published new maps allowing members of the public to discover more information about the risk of flooding to their property – a useful tool to anyone who currently owns or is thinking of buying a property. The maps...

Land Registry Fees Reduced by 50%

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From 17 th March 2014 the Land Registry fees will be reduced by 50% for certain applications delivered by electronic means, these include:  the fee payable by the purchaser on registering a transfer of the whole of a registered title; the fee on...

I Cant Afford to go to Court

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Litigation is not for the faint-hearted. It can be time-consuming, stressful and expensive. Yet surely you have a right of access to the courts to make your claim or enforce your rights? With the decline of legal aid, other means of helping clients have...

Disclosure & Barring Service

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The DBS was formed by the merger of the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority established under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 . DBS launches its new online update service on 17th June 2013.Applicants will be able to...

Risk Management and Succession

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Managing risk You are in business for a variety of reasons but first and foremost to make a profit.  Without profit there is no reason to continue and no opportunity to invest, adapt and grow the business.  As a business owner/manager ...

Unlocking the Value in Your Home

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The term ‘capital rich, income poor’ describes the position of many people in their later years.  There is value locked up in the home but there is little income and little in the way of savings.For many people their most valuable asset is...

RPI is dead? Long live RPI!

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Today, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced its decision not to proceed with its recent proposal to recommend an “improvement” in the calculation of the Retail Prices Index (RPI). The RPI uses a number of formulae, one of which is...

Wills Dont Have to be Dull

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(A light-hearted look at Wills,  Lasting Powers of Attorney and matters financial) As a firm we are passionate about helping people to understand the usefulness of these vitally important documents. We recently gave a presentation to a large and...

Tax Efficient Life Cover for Small Business Owners

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Relevant Life Assurance As an owner or director of a Limited company there are now additional benefits available that could save up to 50% of the cost of providing life cover for both yourself as Director and to your employees. The true cost of providing...

Music in the Workplace

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Music in the workplace is common and increasingly easy to access with the options of streaming online material as well as the more traditional radio and CD options. If music is ‘broadcast’ to (ie played within the hearing of) customers or...

Commercialisation of IP Rights

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Commercialisation of Intellectual Property rights In many cases, the first thought will be to start a business to exploit the rights to your intellectual property. But those whose talents lie in creative and innovative fields do not always have the...

What IP Do You Own? (5)

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Trade secrets and confidential information During the course of its operations a business is likely to develop and acquire a good deal of valuable experience and information. This confidential information may well form a very significant part of a...

What IP Do You Own? (4)

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Patents An invention can be protected by registration of a patent at the Intellectual Property Office. The invention must be new, inventive, capable of being made or used in some kind of industry. An invention is not new if it is already in the public...

What IP Do You Own? (3)

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Design rights Your business may be in design and/or technology. Registering the design will protect its appearance against copying. There are registered designs for clothing, jewellery, sports equipment, mobile phones, vehicles, household goods, toys...

What IP Do You Own? (2)

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Copyright In the course of your business, you will have produced written material (eg your stationery, brochures, product support material etc). That may include diagrams, illustrations, photographs. You may have ventured into audio or video recordings...

What IP Do You Own? (1)

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Trademarks A large part of the value of any business is in its Intellectual Property rights. It may start with the name of the business which may then be used in registering a company, registering a domain name, designing a logo and business stationery....

European Court of Human Rights

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Reforms to the European Court of Human Rights were agreed at the Council of Europe Conference in Brighton. Changes to the Convention, promoted by the UK Government, introduce into the Convention the principles of ‘ subsidiarity ‘ (  the...

Lexcel Accreditation

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SWLaw is accredited to the  Lexcel  practice management standard. The standard promotes excellence in client care and case management as well as effective risk management. Accreditation follows an independent assessment and is awarded to practices...

Reforming Employment Relations

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Vince Cable, Secretary of State, in a speech to the Engineering Employers’ Federation, has set out plans “to radically reform (sic!) employment relations” safeguarding workers’ rights while deregulating to reduce the onerous and...

Car Repair Code of Practice

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The Office of Fair Trading has today approved the Motor Industry Service and Repair Code. Key features and benefits of the Motor Industry Service and Repair Code are: -Comprehensive monitoring of member garages, including inspection visits by independent...

NHS Employers Conference

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Speaking at the NHS Employers annual conference yesterday (16th Nov) Andrew Lansley, Secretary of State for Health, promised a shift of power from Westminster to clinicians and managers: there would be freedom from central interference and micro-management....

Church Suspends Camp Legal Action

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Surely I am not alone in allowing myself a wry smile at this BBC News website headline? I know there are some quaint outfits used in the court room – colourful robes and extravagant wigs – but a “camp legal action”…?...

DEFRA's IT Probems...

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The  Western Morning News  reports today that DEFRA’s new computer system is “causing chaos to records on cattle tested for bovine tuberculosis” and that this is leading to the incorrect imposition of movement restrictions. ...

Message In A Bottle

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The  message in a bottle  (‘MIAB’) scheme is intended to save the emergency services time in dealing with an accident or illness. The idea is to make it easy for emergency services to find essential information about  medication,...

Unregulated Will Writers and Others

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The  first report of the Legal Ombudsman  is published today. An important issue that is highlighted is that the Legal Ombudsman service can deal only with complaints against qualified lawyers. The great majority of legal services can be provided...

Jailed For Contempt in Court

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A personal injury claimant who was found to have lied and exaggerated the extent of his disability has been handed a 9 month jail term at the High Court by Sir Anthony May. Graham Loveday was found guilty of contempt of court. He was caught out by...

Open Public Services

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Open Public Services White Paper ‘John Lewis’ public services are firmly on the agenda with the Prime Minister’s publication on 11th July of the  Open Public Services White Paper . To quote from the White Paper: ” In the...

Trade Marks and Passing Off

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Schutz v Delta Containers [2011] EWHC 1712 (Ch) In a judgment handed down on 5th July in the Chancery Division, Mr Justice Briggs found in favour of the claimant company and awarded an injunction to restrain the defendant company from infringing its...

Victims of Crime

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“The system is based on process and managing it, rather than the needs of victims and witnesses.” This quotation comes from, Louise Casey, Commissioner for victims of crime. Process, rather than needs and outcomes, seems to have been the...

Jurors and Contempt of Court

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In the recent, well-publicised, case of HM Attorney General v Fraill & Anor [2011] EWCH 1629 (Admin), the Divisional Court found a juror, Joanne Fraill, guilty of contempt of court after she admitted communicating by Facebook and email with one of the...

"The Killing Wards"

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Sunday Times Magazine feature by Tim Rayment ​ It is a given that there will always be shortages within the NHS. Advances in medicine, new procedures, increased longevity will all combine to ensure that no budget is enough to meet everyone’s...

SWLaw News

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Eric Cowsill Solicitors and PFS Asset Management Ltd are continuing to adapt in what is a rapidly changing marketplace for professional services. The two practices have been brought together under the brand of SWLaw. The legal practice has been incorporated...