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west yorkshire

0 In Stories from an Accountant

Bob The Builder (A CIS Story)

Account-ant Bob The Builder (a CIS Story)

Bob The Builder, can he fix it? Bob the Builder….. Yes he can.

Bob is a Sole trader builder based in Bradford. He mainly building houses and extensions, one house at a time for individuals. Sometimes he employs Wendy to do a spot of bricklaying, cash in hand…..

“Hold your horses there Bob my friend” says Rachel from Account-ant. You could be sailing right into a fine from HMRC.

You see, HMRC wanted to tighten up the controls over taxation in the Construction Industry because it has been notorious for tax dodging, cash in hand jobs, for many years. They wanted to reclaim that lost tax income… so made some changes!

In Summary the changes are to how Sub-Contractors are paid by main Contractors. How the VAT on subcontractors materials invoices is treated has also changed. 

Bob’s heard the confusing term “reverse charge VAT” and doesn’t have a Scooby Doo what it means!  “Well, Bob” says Rachel from Account-ant “from March 2021 Contractors must pay VAT over to HMRC on behalf of a VAT registered subbie”

Another change that HMRC made was that Contractors must pay 20% per month for registered subcontractors and 30% for non registered subcontractors straight to HMRC via their PAYE. 

HMRC keep all these on record and then match them up to subcontractors returns when they submit their yearly tax return. 

Rachel Account-ant

This is why it’s super important to keep all your records, as any discrepancies could be picked up and potentially lead to fines being levied against them. 

From a Contractors point of view too, as paying HMRC the 20% / 30% you must fill in a return even if you’ve had no subcontractors. If you fail to do this then you’ll receive £100 fine for every month missed.

You can dispute the charges but let’s try to not even be in that situation in the first place eh?! 

So in summary:-

Contractors deduct 20% or 30% from their subcontractors payments and pay it straight over to HMRC.

Contractors deduct VAT from subcontractor payments and pay it over to HMRC.

Subcontractor register with HMRC, you receive 20% less than you’d expect, but it reduces your overall tax bill to pay at the end of the year. 

I hope this helps you all. If you need to have a chat and a piece of my bottomless cake, give me a call.

0 In Stories from an Accountant

Holiday, (on the business) Celebrate?!

Account-ant - Holiday, (on the business) Celebrate?!

As the October Half term approaches your thoughts may be turning towards a little getaway with friends and family. Be that jetting off for some Autumn sunshine (Vitamin D is very important!), staycation or just little day trips.

Our happy place is Scotland, the Highlands to be exact. So much so that we got married there and the retirement dream is to run a small “The Shining”-esk hotel. We ALMOST took the leap a few years back, but that’s another story.

As a self employed person you may dread holidays to some degree. After all, who’s going to pick up the slack and you don’t get paid holidays like your employed friends.

Your mind starts whirring and, ding, a light blub moment hits you…. Surely my holiday can be a “Business” Trip (and therefore tax deductible).

Rachel Account-ant

Well…. Hold your horses there matey. Although we would all LOVE for that to be the case, it’s not.

However, there are some instances where you can team up business with pleasure and save yourself a little cash.

For instance, say you need to fly abroad for business but your family are bugging you for a holiday. They can tag along. The business can pay for your tickets BUT not your family’s fares.

But what about connecting flights? For instance, you have business in China and you and your family have always wanted to go to Australia. You could claim your flight to China and the equivalent cost of a return flight from China. However you would most definitely need to keep evidence of what the return leg would have cost at the time of booking your outward journey.

Now you might think this is an extreme example for most “ordinary” folk but I do know people who have taken advantage of this opportunity.

“How about day trips?” I hear you say. You would need to keep proof of a genuine business reason for the trip.

For instance, you are a Carpet Fitter based in Halifax. Your family is going to Flamingoland for a day trip so you tee it up with some quotes near Malton. Well that’s fine but is it realistic? Are you really going to take a small job on such a distance from your home? If yes, then you could claim your travel cost, but if you’re just doing it to get around a loophole, don’t bother. If you get an inspection from HMRC, it will be disallowed AND trigger a more in depth look into your affairs.

OK, last example for you. You’re a Mortgage Broker in Thornton who regularly travels for work. Hotel stays are a regular occurrence. Could someone tag along on a trip and stay in your room? Yes. As long as having that person along with you did not change the ordinary costs of the trip.

For instance, you usually stay in a Premier Inn and get a breakfast on your business trips but your companion suggests something a little more upmarket. Well you would only be able to claim the Premier Inn equivalent as tax deductible and keep evidence of this!

I hope this Blog has cleared up some of your questions! Still got questions? Well count me in! No questions too big, no questions too small! Please do get in touch should you need any help at all.

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Oh Baby, But I’m Self Employed!

Oh Baby, But I'm Self Employed - Account-ant

Trigger Warning:  This Blog is about Maternity Leave and Self Employment.  

Maternity can be a tough subject for some people and I sincerely do not wish to upset or distress anyone.

I’ve been asked about Maternity Cover, Childcare and how to get Leave whilst Self employed a few times recently, so I thought it was about time to pop it in a blog post.

So in my usual style…..Meet Katie. 

Katie and her partner wanted a child for a long time and decided to take a break from family planning for a while.

Katie is a florist who worked for a chain of florists, and was an employee.

About 6 months ago an amazing opportunity came up to buy a business. 

Obviously, the initial set up costs were large (making a sizeable dent in the savings), but her shop is in a great location and she should recoup quickly.

2 months ago Katie had a rough day, she was feeling a bit off and thought she might just be a bit run down…

Days turned into a week, the week turned into a month….SURPRISE! 

What Katie had been waiting for, for so long, was now about to happen! Time to Celebrate…..

But wait… Katie is self employed now…

How on Earth does she take Maternity Leave? Does it even Exist? What about childcare?

Rachel Account-ant

Katie and her partner asked me to look into everything, in order to dot the I’s and cross the T’s before the arrival of their bundle of joy.

Firstly… congratulations and secondly… this is a bit sexist, however…

If you are female and carrying the baby, then you can apply for Maternity Allowance

If you are Male or Female, your partner is pregnant, and you are self employed, you DO NOT get Paternity Leave (bummer!). 

Maternity Allowance

This payment comes straight from the Government and what you can gets depends on how long you have been self employed.


  • Have been self employed for 26 weeks of the 66 weeks before the due date
  • AND earned at least £30 per week for 13 of the 26 weeks. 
  • AND you must be paying Class 2 for at least 13 weeks of your pregnancy

Read that again and let it sink in.

You will need to submit a form called CA5601 which can be found here: –

Your other option would be to wait for your self assessment and pay NIC then. However, with the birth looming, it’s best to apply and get those payments rolling. Then you’re way more likely to receive Maternity Allowance.

How Much?

You can get lots more detail on the website, but in essence you’ll get £151.97 per week or 90% of your average weekly earnings – whichever is lower for 39 weeks.

Applying for Maternity

Once you’ve reached 26 weeks you need to apply for maternity allowance.

Go to and fill in an MA1 claim.

You’ll need

  • Proof of income (your SA302 tax self assessment print out)
  • MATB1 Certificate from your Midwife (showing proof of due date)

Once submitted it will take a few weeks to receive a yay or nay.  You can appeal if it’s not a desired response.

Argh – I don’t have an SA302!

Katie started her business 6 months ago (so in the last tax year), so will need to complete her self assessment BEFORE applying for Maternity Allowance.

If you’re reading this and you started your business in THIS tax year (i.e. after 6th April 2021), you’ll need records of your expenses and income from the start of your business to date.

Child Benefit

You are entitled to £21.15 per week for your first child and £14 per week for any subsequent kiddos.

If you don’t have children yet, this may seem like a lot, but disposable nappies and 3am spending sprees cost a lot… I personally remember buying cool baby grows at 3am, whilst watching Glow (Glamourous Ladies of Wrestling) on Netflix, when our child was a week old 😊.


You’ll have heard that childcare is REALLY expensive, but it doesn’t really register until after you’ve had your first child, and start to look around at options.  

At the time of writing, it was roughly £50 per day, before any tax benefits are taken off.

If you earn more than minimum wage through employment or self employment, you will be entitled to tax free childcare, but, if you have a partner, they must be employed or self employed and earning more than minimum wage, OR be a student. 

If only one of you is working or earning less than minimum wage, then you will not get tax free childcare.

You may be entitled to other benefits, but Account-ant is in no way an expert in this matter.

When your child turns 3, your free hours kick in for the term after their birthday.  At the time of writing, this was 15 hours if one person is employed (and earning more than min wage) or 30 hours if both partners are working for more than minimum wage.

Parents living apart would need to look at the government website or Citizens Advice Bureau for more information.

I really hope this blog has waylaid some of the worries that may come from being self employed and about to embark on one helluva rollercoaster (also known as parenthood). Enjoy every second. It is surprising how fast it can go!

As a Mother of a toddler myself, I understand how much work it can be, and I will always be there for anyone that needs a sounding board on work vs children.  Give me a shout and we’ll have a cuppa!

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Denholme – Is it a Village? Is it a Town?

Denholme - Is it a Village? Is it a Town? - Account-ant

Denholme – Is it a Village? Is it a Town? Who knows!!! But it’s full of small independent Business owners!

I thought now was a good time to pay homage to the village we’ve called home since 2008… Denholme.  

Denholme means “a flat in the hillside” in old Norse, which is very accurate.  Some of the streets can be impassable in the winter but it’s so great being surrounded by the hills and the fields.

Denholme is a really small town… or is it a village?? Can’t quite put my finger on that one. So a Town / Village which, when you mention it to people, they either say “yeah, I know Denholme” (much to our surprise) or “Blimey, it’s a bit cold up there” 😊

And legend would suggest that it IS in fact, three coats colder! …

And it actually is! Officially!

Rachel Account-ant

Denholme originally had over 50…yes, 50! Commercial Properties – including 8 pubs…well after a hard day in the Mill, you need to unwind somehow.

I’ve also come to realise that West Yorkshire is extremely entrepreneurial and perhaps this stems from this history.  All these small family run Businesses spawned generations of self employment go-getters and “doing it” for yourself is just in the DNA!

If you get chatting to someone from Denholme, 7/10 times it turns out that they’re self employed or at the very least, work for a small family run Business – huzzah!  

So how did we end up in Denholme….a potted history!

When James and I met, way back in 2006 I was living in the big smoke (Manchester) and James was living in a little village near Harrogate.

We tore through tires and travelled many, many miles in the first few months.  James introduced me to climbing stiles and wearing walking boots (which I called “country stuff”), whilst I introduced him to the mega busy Trafford Centre and multiple lane roundabouts.

It was a true Country Mouse meets City Mouse situation.

Fast forward to 2007 and we decided to move over the Pennines to Keighley… because it’s equal distances from our families.

We loved the fact that it was so green, despite being a town centre…hills for miles and lots of places and spaces to go.

We loved our time in Keighley and still visit a lot… mainly to the “Donnies” (aka McDonalds but that’s another story involving toddler nap times 😉), but also to visit Cliffe Castle.  It’s an awesome park and museum and we enjoy it as much as our little one does.

We started looking for permanent bricks, and found a house in Denholme where the promotional picture for the house… was a single lamb… in a field… my brain worked overtime and imagined the house backing / facing a lush green space, filled with farm animals. 

Ultimately, that wasn’t the case BUT….we did love Denholme.

Lots of green spaces and a handful of useful little shops and Businesses, we were sold.  

Eventually we found our home and then our forever home in this tiny Town come Village.

Most peeps say hello when they walk past you in the park. If you’re lucky, at some point, you’ll end up with a flock of sheep in your garden or chickens tearing down your road (both happened and we have photos of the sheep).

There is even a Gala Day which is great fun for the kids with a parade, fair and performances.  My claim to fame – in 2019 my son and I landed a picture in the local newspaper on one of the floats!!

I get a bit excited about Gala Day as it’s not something that happens in a big city….I can’t wait for it to return each year and it really brings everyone together.

It may be two coats colder and the winters ARE brutal, but the people are warm and friendly, and the air is so fresh our lilac tree grows lichen (which, according to the green thumbed, is a good thing).

Denholme, this one’s for you!

Oh, and if you are thinking of moving here, our top tip is buy a 4 wheel drive….you’ll need it when it snows!

p.s. Denholme is a Town… has a Town Council 😉