Member Since: 14th Jan 2006
29th Jul 2011
Finding the right accountant
As they say up North: 'Nout beats experience.'
20th Jun 2011
Equity release schemes.
Good reply, WhichTyler, and helpful too. I've got no friends or relatives! And I'm a member of Dignitas (of Switzerland - the express dispatch service!) It's just that having ended up buying and living in a large modern house in the New Forest, Hampshire, I feel as though I, rather than others such the government, ought to use the money tied up in the assets. There again, I don't want to be ripped off by the 'always-advertising' equality release companies. Maybe, like you say, sell up and then rent and spend the proceeds - usefully or recklessly!
21st Apr 2011
To Red Leader and the Welsh Dragon: the point of contention in the reference was the disclosure that the employee who was employed in the particular financial services business had been disciplined for an act or acts of sex discrimination. For the former employer not to mention this might have exposed him to liability from the new employer as it was/is a material fact. However, mentioning it exposed the employer to a legal claim but, as the Welsh Dragon rightly says, as it was true and not an untrue or malicious statement, the employer was clear by the Court of liability - but only after a great deal of expense and worry. As members will know, it is obligatory for an employer to supply a reference for an employee moving to a new employer in the financial services industry.
20th Apr 2011
Charging is the least of your problems.
Whether you charge for giving a reference or not is immaterial as is the amount you might charge if you decide to do so.
What you need to think about is what you might put in the reference. Whether or not you make a charge makes no difference if, at a later date, the person who relies on the reference send you a claim because what you wrote amounts to a negligent mis-statement at common law.
As I said, it makes no difference whether you charge for a reference or supply one voluntarily: Chaudry v Prabhakar  1 WLR 29. The same applies if you inadvertedly say something (accountancy advice, maybe)to someone at a social event and that person then relies upon it and subsequently suffers a loss.
My next door neighbour (financial services business) supplied a reference for one of his employees who moved to a new employee. The employee didn't get the job as a result of the contents of the reference that was sent. My neighbour was sued for one and half million Pounds. Fortunately, his barrister was a part-time judge and represented him well by winning the case but at a cost of some £80,000. During the year in which it took for the case to come to court, my neighbour lost two stones in weight. Keep this in mind when you are asked for a reference or write one!
14th Mar 2011
Tax-free redundancy payments.
If the director is an employee, you can make a redundancy payment to him of up to £30,000 free of tax: ss.401 and 403, Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003. You can choose to use the statutory scheme or use a common law contractual one instead. Basically, you need to be aware that you can enhance the weekly pay rates used for the redundancy payment in line with the statutory scheme that is based on three age groups (i.e. under the age of 22 years; 22-40; and over 41. You can disregard the statutory limit on a week's pay (currently £400): s.227, Employment Rights Act 1996. ).
You'll need to be aware too that before dismissing the director for the reason of redundancy, you'll need to inform him and consult with him about the proposed redundancy so as to satisfy the procedural requirements of a dismissal otherwise he could, potentially, make a claim for unfair dismissal against the company.
If you dismissed him without a fair reason or notice, you could thereafter make a tax-free payment to him in recompense in respect of breach of contract. Note that any amounts within the £30,000 payment must not be for any period of paid work or for anything that is considered 'an emolument of the employment: s.62, ITEPA 2003.
The director could also just resign because he knows that the owners of the company want to close the business. Thereafte, as a complete surprise to him, you'd make an ex-gratia payment to him as a gift '... for doing the right thing,' and that payment would be a tax-free gift: per Special Commissioner Gammie in Resolute Management Services Limited v The Commissioners for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (2008), 10 April 2008.
2nd Mar 2011
Charities; tax; registration.
Thank you to the two members who kindly took the time to reply to my query. Both provided really good and useful information. I'll be taking up Chris Smail offer to telephone him and chat about this problem. This forum is definitely very useful!
2nd Feb 2011
The reason why some employers conduct interviews with their staff members who have been absent from work because of sickness is to make sure that they comply with any statutory provisions of the Equality Act 2010. That is to say, has any particular employee suffered a disability and might require a reasonable adjustment to be made to her or his working environment? (The provisions used to be in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 until it was repealed upon the coming into force of the Equality ACt 2010).
Likewise, the reason that some employers require employees to tell them if they are sexually involved with a colleague (of opposite or same gender) is that they need to avoid claims against them for sexual discrimination or harassment (or by either of the employees themselves making such claims against each other).
An employer can insist on certain reasonable things such as the way employees dress (by having a dress code). Employees need to be aware that they have a fiduciary duty (that's particularly important for senior employees such as directors to observe and they can be sued for a breach) towards their employers and, for other employees, a duty of fidelity.
The statutory provisions in the Equality Act 2010 - that now contains all the anti-discrimination strands - require both employers and employees to be careful about what they say least it offends or harrasses others as well as being careful (or thoughtful) about how they act towards others. This is relevant when interacting with someone of the opposite gender, a person with a disability, or with regard to a person's age, or a person's sexuality, or their ethnic origin (e.g. Welsh), or if a person's is pregnant, on maternity leave. The moral is: don't act until you've thought first; don't speak until you've done the same. Basically, it's a matter of retraining your brain to eradicate the prejudiced and bigotted thoughts you've grown up with. I mean, I don't like ginger-haired people but would I say that...? Obviously not!
14th Jan 2011
Two-year limit to claim unfair dismissal.
The effect that the Coalition Government's proposal to increase the time limit an employee has to be employed by an employer before the employee can make a claim for unfair dismissal from one year to two years is likely to be that labour market mobility will be reduced.
Fewer skilled and experienced workers who have been continously employed by their present employers for a year or more are going to risk moving to another employer and being dismissed with a week's or a month's notice if their faces don't fit or they don't get on with their new colleagues.
As for the Welsh Dragon's suggestion that the new two-year limit will make it easier for employers to dismiss their workers who get pregnant or want to take maternity leave, doing that would lead not just to a claim against them for automatically unfair dismissal but sex discrimination too. It would be a breach of the EU Framework Equal Treatment at Directive (2000/78/EC) that has been transposed into the domestic law of the UK that is a Member State of the EU.
The purpose of the change is to make it cheaper and easier for employers to sack workers whom they have employed for two years or less in that these workers would have no right to make claims for unfair dismissal. All that employers need to do to dismiss successfully is to give the workers the correct period of contractual notice together with any contractual and statutory benefits (e.g. accrued holiday pay) to which they are entitled.
Incidentally, if the government does decide to increase the limit from one year to two, it is likely to be challenged by female workers who tend to take breaks from their employment to have children and would be more affected than male workers (who take far less career breaks than women) when attempting to re-enter the jobs market and would need to be employed for at least two years before they gained the same statutory right to claim unfair dismissal as men had.
In 1985 the two-year limit was chosen in order to reduce the burdens on business. However, in the case of ex. p Seymour-Smith (1994), the House of Lords said that there was no evidence that the two-year qualifying period increased the availability of jobs than did the previous one-year period.
9th Dec 2010
Laptops - they're all Chinese to me.
All the laptops I've looked at recently to buy are made in China. When I've picked them up and turned them over to check country of manufacturer, when viewing laptops at PC World or elsewhere, the alarms have gone off. Rather embarrassing!
But who would want to buy goods manufacturerd in Red China, that's a totalitarian one-party Communist State? (To say nothing of the poor manufacturing quality.) Isn't it time that the UK and other Western countries stopped giving its work to other countries and employed our own people (and their own people) to make our (and their) own products?
Will work in services industries, such as accountancy, be outsourced next - maybe to countries like India?
18th Nov 2010
I wrote a novel a while ago and saw the cover image (a photo) I wanted on the website of a jeans manufacturer in Australia who owed the copyright. I merely asked them if I could use their photo as the basis for the cover and they said 'Yes.' To see the cover, go to www.amazon.co.uk and type in Power Without The Glory by Carl Marks, 3rd ed. At over £20 it's too expensive for accountants to buy and, anyway, at 600 plus pages you'd never get any work done if you tried to read it!