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Optimum Newsletter – January 2021

by Michael Blaken

Published on 26th January 2021
Winter scene good time for business and legal planning

In the depths of winter, with Coronavirus continuing to take its toll on our lives and the economy, spring may seem a long way off. We are also post-Brexit, which itself is bringing changes. And, of course, we are at the start of a new year. Could there be a better time for doing some planning?

In this edition of Nuntium, we look at end-of-year tax planning, the importance of having a business lasting power of attorney, and (if you are in construction) getting ready for the VAT reverse charge.

The team are all here, continuing to work hard for our clients, so do get in touch if you need any audit, accountancy, tax or legal advice.

Have you been accessing Covid finance support?
End of year tax planning is essential!

Businesses accessing Government financial support during the ongoing Covid crisis should make end of year tax planning a priority.

Sole traders and partnerships in particular should take steps between now and the end of the financial year to identify their likely tax exposure. Grants such as the one-off £10,000 available for small businesses with premises, and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme for sole traders and partners may result in larger than usual tax bills falling due next year.

This could be at a time when cashflow is tight and all business support has ended. You could find more tax planning advice here or why not ask us to help?

We will review your tax situation and assist you with planning. We may be able to help reduce your overall liability, and at the very least you will know what you will have to pay, leaving plenty of time to save.

Benefits of taking out a business
lasting power of attorney

We may have heard of lasting powers of attorney for our personal affairs, but – if you run a business – have you considered the importance of taking out an LPA for your organisation?

Just as an individual’s health and welfare, or property and financial affairs LPA allows you to appoint attorneys to manage your affairs should you become incapacitated, a business lasting power of attorney offers that same protection to your business.

Without an LPA, a business is at risk. Bank accounts may be frozen, paying creditors or suppliers may be impossible, and staff may not be paid. Can day-to-day actions go ahead if the only signatory on all the relevant accounts and documentation is the business owner’s?

A business LPA is an essential part of any crisis planning for a company or organisation, just as a continuity plan ensures a business keeps operating in the event of a natural disaster, such as fire or flood.

There are many sound reasons for drawing up a business LPA – so why not talk to the Optimum legal team about an LPA for your business or find out more here.

House-buying during the pandemic:
what you need to know

When the end of the first lockdown came, the housing market exploded due to pent up demand. People took the opportunity to house hunt and to move, and this frenetic activity has continued ever since.

Even now the market remains buoyant, with activity partly fuelled by the Chancellor’s introduction of a holiday on Stamp Duty Land Tax.

The volume of movement has even meant many conveyancing firms are turning away business. We are pleased to say that this is not the case at Optimum. We continue to take instructions, and are using our specialist knowledge and expertise to drive forward the buying and selling process for our clients.

Urgency can lead to a temptation to cut corners, but this way disaster lies. Buying a house is probably the most expensive purchase you will ever make, so it is important to understand everything it entails.

To make things a little simpler, why not take a look at our guide to the house-buying process.

And if you need help with any area of property law, please contact us.

Protect your loved ones by making a will

The last 12 months, more than any other, have been about community and family, and supporting one another, against the backdrop of the Coronavirus pandemic.

What better way to support your loved ones than by leaving a will. It means that, when you die, they have one less stress to worry about.

However, before you draft your will there are some important considerations (you can read more about these here), such as who you want to appoint as your executors and, if you have children, who you would like to be their guardians.

We can guide you through the process and draw up a will for you that brings you peace of mind and helps your loved ones.

Get ready for the
VAT Reverse Charge

Despite a delay of several months, the domestic VAT Reverse Charge for construction is on course to be introduced on March 1 and businesses need to prepare now.

The VAT reverse charge applies to all businesses registered for VAT that are in the construction sector, irrespective of size. It means the UK customer who receives supplies of construction services must account for the VAT due on these supplies on their VAT return, as opposed to the UK supplier doing so. This follows similar measures introduced in other sectors, and is an attempt to remove the scope for VAT fraudsters.

If you are affected, there are many implications, not least adapting your accounting system to deal with VAT and introducing measures to combat any negative impact on your cashflow.

You can find more information here, or or why not talk to the Optimum accountancy team.

Doing our bit to help the community

We’re proud our team take time to support a different charity each year, and also help other good causes along the way.

Even during the pandemic, we have been doing our bit. At Christmas, we once again helped Swindon Food Collective and filled eight big crates with donations.

The outcome is that we managed to raise nearly £3,000 for our joint charities – MIND and CLIC Sargent.

We have now selected our charity to support in 2021: the Youth Adventure Trust, which helps young people in Swindon and Wiltshire to unlock their potential and lead positive lives in the future.

We’re really looking forward to fundraising for this great, local charity. If you are involved in a charity and are looking for help with audit, accountancy or tax advice, please get in touch.

If you require more information on the services Optimum provides email:, phone 01793 538 198, visit: or call into the offices at: Vicarage Court, 160 Ermin Street, Stratton, Swindon, SN3 4NE.

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