Sporting accountants take Ultramarathon in their stride


16th June, 2022, Stephenson Smart

Martyn Benstead, partner at our Fakenham office and Neil Gayton, Manager at our King’s Lynn office have pushed themselves to their physical limits by running an Ultramarathon.

The duo began the course at the Peddars Way in Castle Acle at 7am and finished 14 hours and 38 minutes later at Beeston, just after 9.30pm.

Run by Positive Steps Events, the 100km Ultramarathon is part of a trio of races participants can enter, named the Positive Steps Grand Slam.

Neil and Martyn ran the 48-mile Peddars Way Trail course in January and hope to complete the third race soon – a shorter 50km in comparison.

“Most people start with the 50km and build themselves up, but Martyn and I seem to have attempted the most difficult and left the 50km till last,” said Neil.

“It was really hard because there wasn’t a lot of shade on the coastal path and you are very exposed, but there was good camaraderie and everyone looked out for each other.”

Martyn said: “It was a tough finish. The last eight miles consisted of four miles of pebble beach then tough terrain on Sheringham Golf Course hills and Beeston bump. A bit of a challenge after already running the equivalent distance of two marathons.”

Neil added: “The shingle beach at Cley was horrendous and every time we hit the top of a hill at Sheringham we kept thinking we were nearing the finish line – only to be met with another hill! It was really great to watch the sunset though.”

Both men were supported on the day by their wives and children and are just happy they finished the course.

“I think we were both happy with the time because you have a goal you want to reach and we certainly came within that,” said Martyn.

Neil added: “I’m not sure what comes next, but I quite fancy entering in the Ironman Triathlon competition. I think the 112-mile bike ride may need some considering though!”


Residential Property Income: Are you making the most of your allowances?

Residential Property Income

7th June, 2022, Neil Gayton

Are you making the most of your allowances from your residential property income?

If you receive income from letting a room in your property or renting out another property permanently or as a holiday let, there are various reliefs and allowances that can be applied to your income to reduce your tax bill.

Neil Gayton, manager at our King’s Lynn office, examines the reliefs and allowances that you may need to consider when completing your tax return.

The Rent a Room Scheme

The Rent a Room Scheme lets you earn up to a threshold of £7,500 per year tax-free from letting out furnished accommodation in your home. This is halved if you share the income with your partner or someone else.

You can let out as much of your home as you want. The tax exemption is automatic if you earn less than £7,500. If you earn more than this you must complete a tax return, you can then opt into the scheme at any time if you are a resident landlord or run a bed and breakfast or guest house and claim your tax-free allowance on your tax return.

You can choose not to opt into the scheme and instead record your income and expenses on the property pages of your tax return.

You cannot use the scheme for homes converted into separate flats.

Property Income Allowance

If you are a landlord earning rental income from your property you can get up to £1,000 rental income tax-free each year from Property Income Allowance.

If you earn less than £1,000 from rental income, you don’t need to do anything. However, if you claim the Property Income Allowance, you cannot claim any other rental expenses.

If you own a property jointly with others (spouses, civil partners, etc.), you can each claim this £1,000 allowance – even though you divide the rental income between yourselves.

If you’re renting out a buy-to-let or a second property, usually your expenses are higher than £1,000 a year, so only use this allowance if you can’t find your receipts or if in one year you somehow have just a few expenses.

Residential Finance Costs

Relief for finance costs on residential properties is restricted to the basic rate of Income Tax. Finance costs include mortgage interest, interest on loans to buy furnishings and fees incurred when taking out or repaying mortgages or loans. No relief is available for capital repayments of a mortgage or loan.

When completing a tax return for income from a residential property it is possible to bring forward losses from previous years.

There are many things to consider when using a residential property for income purposes.  At Stephenson Smart we are experts in helping people fully understand their liabilities.  Please get in touch if we can help you.

Profile: Neil Gayton

Related articles: Furnished Holiday Lettings

Government support for SMEs

Business - Management

26th May, 2022, Melanie Harriss

There are four ways you can get financial support for SMEs, to help you invest and grow.

  1. Claim up to £5,000 with the Employment Allowance

Employment Allowance is a tax relief which allows eligible businesses to reduce their National Insurance contributions (NICs) bills each year. You can claim this if you are a business, and your employer Class 1 National Insurance liabilities were less than £100,000 in the previous tax year.

  1. Get a discount of up to £5,000 on software, with Help to Grow

Help to Grow: Digital is a UK-wide government-backed scheme that aims to help you choose, buy and adopt digital technologies that will help you grow your business.

Eligible businesses can receive a 50% discount on buying new software worth up to £5,000 per SME, alongside free impartial advice and guidance about what digital technology is best suited to boost your business performance.

The Help to Grow: Management scheme provides small businesses with access to world-class business expertise on everything from leadership and financial management to marketing and digital adoption. This is delivered through leading UK business schools, alongside one-on-one support from a business mentor – and is 90% funded by the government.

By the end of the programme, you will develop a business growth plan to help you lead and grow your business.

To be eligible, you must be a UK-based SME, actively trading for at least one year and have a total of between 5 and 249 employees.

  1. Get up to half off your business rates

From April this year, small retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses can benefit from 50% off their business rates bills.

The business rates multiplier has also been frozen for another year. This is used to calculate how much business rates should be paid; it usually rises with inflation each year.

The business rates multipliers for 2022 to 2023 are 49.9 pence for the small business multiplier and 51.2 pence for the standard multiplier.

From April 2022 there will be no business rates due on a range of green technology, including solar panels and batteries, whilst eligible heat networks will also receive 100% relief.

  1. Invest in your business with Super-deduction and Annual Investment Allowance

To spur business investment, the super-deduction allows companies to cut their tax bill by 25 pence for every £1 they invest in any qualifying machinery and equipment. This can include the purchase of computers, most commercial vehicles and office furniture.

The temporary £1 million limit for the Annual Investment Allowance has also been extended to the end of March 2023. This had been due to revert to £200,000 at the start of 2022. The Annual Investment Allowance allows businesses to spend up to £1 million on qualifying business equipment and deduct in-year its full cost before they calculate their taxable profits.

Both tax breaks remain available for firms to take advantage of until the end of March 2023, by incurring qualifying expenditure before then.

If you need help in accessing any of these schemes to help support your business, please get in touch.

Related articles: Super-deduction and Annual Investment Allowance

Furnished Holiday Lettings

Furnished Holiday Lettings

11th May, 2022, Kayleigh Wilson

In this article, Kayleigh Wilson FCCA CTA, tax specialist at Stephenson Smart accountants, explains how to make sure your property qualifies as Furnished Holiday Lettings.

The uncertainty of the last two years has impacted hugely on the holiday market.  It is not only airlines that have been affected, but holidays closer to home.  If you own a property that you rent as a furnished holiday let you need to be aware of the impact that a reduction in rental occupation may have on your tax affairs.

There are special tax rules for rental income from properties that qualify as Furnished Holiday Lettings (FHLs).

If you let properties that qualify as Furnished Holiday Lettings you can claim Capital Gains Tax reliefs and you are also entitled to plant and machinery capital allowances for items such as furniture, equipment and fixtures.

There is also a benefit to those wishing to use the earnings to increase the threshold to pay into a pension, as profits on Furnished Holiday Lettings count as earnings for pension purposes.

To qualify as a furnished holiday let your property must be commercially let as a business. You must make the property available for commercial let for 210 days in the year, and actually let the property as furnished holiday accommodation to the public for at least 105 days in the year.

Days when you let the property to friends or relatives at zero or reduced rates is not a commercial let.

There will be some furnished holiday let owners who will have struggled to meet these criteria this last couple of years. However, you may still be able to qualify for tax reliefs. If you have more than one property you may qualify for the averaging election or if your property reaches the occupancy threshold in some years but not in others, you may qualify for a period of grace election.

There are many tax, and other financial benefits, to owning and letting furnished holiday properties as a commercial business. I am a tax expert at Stephenson Smart and specialise in income tax and capital gains tax for individuals. I’m fully qualified to give tailored advice to help you navigate tax relating to your business and personal finances. Please get in touch if I can help.

Profile: Kayleigh Wilson, Tax Specialist

Image: Cranmer Country Cottages

Stephenson Smart helps new business start up flourish

New business start up - Cambridgeshire Hair and Beauty

5th April, 2022, Melanie Harriss

During the Covid pandemic many people reconsidered their working life, and 2020 saw a record number of new business start up companies . One of these is Cambridgeshire Hair and Beauty in March.

Lauren Slipper, hair and beauty specialist and Sean Brown, family friend and entrepreneur, have transformed a property on Gaul Road, March, into Cambridgeshire Hair and Beauty, helping to realise a dream for former Centre Parcs Spa Manager, Lauren.

Since it opened in July 2020, the business has soared, with hairdresser Abbie Evans joining the team to meet the demand. Lauren is already offering a host of new services, with hopes to set up a training school in the future.

Lauren said the challenges faced didn’t put her off investing in her own business:

“I’ve always wanted to have my own salon and when Sean approached me with the opportunity of being his business partner, I just knew it was the right time.”

Sean added: “It was obviously a difficult time to open but we did it without fear and since then we have just expanded rapidly, it’s been absolutely bonkers.”

The pair renovated the building next door to another of Sean’s businesses, Cambridgeshire Medical Aesthetics, with space for a hairdressing salon, reception area and beauty room.

Sean said support from Chris Goad, partner at Stephenson Smart, had been vital with opening a business during the pandemic.

“Chris has been brilliant. I can literally send him a text with a quick question, and he is always so helpful.

“With each business start up I have worked on Chris has guided me through the process and helped me with the business model. He’s also been so supportive throughout Covid and the different claims available to me.

“I haven’t had the need to worry about anything because I know Chris is always at the end of the phone with an answer.”

Starting up a new business is both an exciting and a challenging task, which carries with it an element of risk. Key decisions need to be made, and there are many factors to consider.

Stephenson Smart are specialist business start up advisors. We can guide you through the decision-making processes, help you make the appropriate registrations, assist with cash flow forecasts and offer regular updates to enable you to monitor the performance of your business. Please get in touch if we can support you on your new business start up journey.

Related pages: Business Start Up Advice






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