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The Oaktree Blog

The latest blogs by Chris Macleod.

Research & Development Tax Credits - Pacerpole

If you’re manufacturing a new product, take the advice of Pacerpole’s Heather Rhodes: look into R&D tax credits sooner rather than later.

We’re always fascinated by just how narrow the margins of success can be in business. Take Heather Rhodes, founder and designer of the Pacerpole. Her last accountants advised her to wind up the business. Since joining Oaktree, she’s discovered the value of R&D tax credits, begun the expansion of her product line and received an offer of £500,000 to buy the business.

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Let’s tax our exports and make our country great!

Let me lay my cards on the table. He may be President of the United States, but Trump the Chump is how I refer to him. Nowhere is his thinking more muddle-headed than in international trade. It is a simple arithmetical fact that the economic impact of imposing a tax on an import is exactly the same as imposing a tax on an export. Anyone with an A-level in economics can explain this basic fact to the President, not that he will want to listen.


Can I claim R+D tax credits as a sole trader?

Being a sole trader can be beneficial in more ways than one: you have the opportunity for simplified accounting, tax-free childcare and full control over your business. But is being a sole trader the best option for you? Are you missing out on the perks of running a limited company?

In the financial year 2015-2016, there were approximately 26,255 Research and Development (R+D) tax credit claims in the UK. In total, these companies claimed close to £2.9 billion of support in 2015-2016 alone.

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VAT a mess!

Despite having been allocated £280m of extra funds to deal with Brexit, in April HMRC announced it was culling or postponing over 30 projects, including some major ones.  Several of these were aimed at improving the woeful service it provides to ordinary taxpayers who ring up or write to them, often in response to incorrect tax demands and threats.

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Research and Development Tax Credits – The Brewer’s Tale

It may not be obvious that brewing beer would qualify for a Research & Development Tax Credits claims; however, the experimental process they undertake to develop new beers qualifies under the R&D tax credit scheme because it involves resolving scientific and technological uncertainties to create a new brewing process and product.

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Research and Development Tax Credits – it’s Crystal Clear

Research & Development Tax Credits are a government incentive aimed at helping UK businesses by encouraging and rewarding innovation.

Did you know our country spends roughly half as much on Research and Development (R+D) as Germany does? One of the reasons for this is that historically other countries have offered much better tax incentives for investment in R&D. The good news for businesses in the UK is that has changed, but many companies still don’t realise they are eligible for this tax incentive.

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Horse and fish trading

The Brexit protest on the Thames reminded me of the final episode of Blackadder. General Melchett went into the World War One trench and said “What we need at this stage of the war is a futile gesture.” This gesture turns out to be ordering Blackadder’s platoon to mount a frontal assault on an unassailable German position, with the inevitable result seen in numerous such futile gestures on the Western Front.


Are HMRC's fines legal?

How HMRC’s penalty system for filing tax returns is implemented has come under fire in a recent Tax Tribunal case.  For those of you who are lucky enough not to know, at midnight on deadline day the computer spits out penalty notices for everyone who has missed the deadline.  Several billion pounds is collected each year in this way.


Reap the Brexit harvest!

At the time of the EU vote I made one of the biggest calls of my financial life.  I moved a six-figure sum out of UK-based companies and into ones with foreign currency earnings, leaving myself less exposed to the UK economy than at any time in my life.


Who will do some heavy lifting?

When the financial crisis hit big in 2008 and 2009 there were some painful adjustments in the world economy. But despite the pain for Western economies most of the hard work was not done by Governments at all. For the most part spending and borrowing carried on at high levels, and the really hard work was done by central banks.


How to build houses

Some thanks are due the Chancellor.  The 22 November budget was not anything like as terrible as my worst fears.  No silly fiddly measures which create lots of silly red tape for small businesses and individual taxpayers, whilst producing minimal benefits to the economy.


The No Win Budget

“Spreadsheet Phil” Hammond, the Chancellor, has in my view an unenviable task in his 22 November budget. The sort of budget measures needed by the economy are likely to be politically unacceptable, especially to the Brexiteer members of the Cabinet.


Going up!

“Don’t fight the Fed!” is one of the most useful unwritten rules of investment.  When the US Federal Reserve is in a sustained period of interest rate rises, global asset prices struggle and often fall.  The Fed raised its prime rate in June and the Governor of the Bank of England made it clear we are likely to follow suit sometime in 2017.


A plan for the post-Brexit mess

The UK has voted to leave the EU.  This is a game-changer and in what follows I aim to give you guidance on how to protect yourself from the impact.

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Why tax insurance can be great value!

This blog post is about a tax enquiry where HMRC wasted taxpayers' funds in a case they were never going to win.


What is a proactive accountant?

Most accountants say they are proactive, so it annoys me when I pick up new clients who have been left to their own devices for a year or more.