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Expansion in the US Tax Team

16 November 2021 • US Tax returns

Over the past six years Warrener Stewart has developed  a personal  bespoke service for US citizens who have both UK and US tax filing requirements. The department includes tax advisors who are dual qualified in UK and US tax, who able to help individuals and companies navigate the complex US tax system.

As demand for its advice continues to grow, the team has recently welcomed two new US tax assistants; Shannon Beisley and Michelle Lewis. Both are embarking on new career paths with Warrener Stewart and studying to become US Enrolled Agents.

American born Shannon holds a BA in finance having studied at Montana State University. She is currently completing her UK master’s in finance at the Manchester Metropolitan University whilst working as a finance assistant. Also new to the US tax department is Michelle Lewis. She left South Africa five years ago to embark on a new adventure in the UK, where she worked as an office manager, before joining Warrener Stewart.

Both Shannon and Michelle are studying for the IRS Enrolled Agent exam and UK ATT exams. They join Laura Marquez, who trained in UK tax at an accountancy firm in north London and George McAllister, who worked in the Corporate Tax Department at Deloitte LLP, before joining Warrener Stewart early this summer. Laura and George are also working towards their EA qualification. When qualified, Laura will be a dual qualified tax advisor having already passed her ATT exams.

Alongside their studies all four new recruits will be learning and assisting Warrener Stewart’s US tax managers in all aspects of the preparation and submission of US Federal and State; and UK Self-assessment tax returns.

Commenting on the expansion of his department Damian Talbot said: “From our offices in Fulham, we offer a cost-effective tax service for those with US tax obligations . Just like a UK tax return, US tax returns must be completed annually. Demand for our services remains high so we have expanded the team. Alongside the four new tax assistants we have also taken on an admin assistant, Hannah Sheldon.”

It’s Self Assessment time again – why use an accountant for your tax return?

09 November 2021 •

In the last 18 months many of us have learnt a new way to work – from home. What home workers may might not realise is that this could entitle them to a tax rebate of up to £140, provided the correct conditions are met.

Chartered accountant David Collins is a specialist charted tax advisor at Fulham based Warrener Stewart. He has been reviewing what tax relief his private clients can claim for the tax year that spanned the three lockdowns.  

Tax preparation

“At this time of year, we always start the process of gathering information to complete a self-assessment tax return for many of our clients,” says David. “This year because of the pandemic I will be checking to see if my clients are able to claim working from home tax relief for the last tax year 2020/21.”

The tax relief is relatively easy to claim notes David. “There is a flat rate of £6 per week which anyone who was instructed by their employer to work from home after 6 April 2020 can claim. There are two ways to claim the tax relief, either via your self assessment tax form or employees can apply directly via GOV.UK.”

One point to note cautions David, is that this tax relief will be subject to you being a taxpayer, so how much you receive depends upon the rate of income tax that you pay.

“A higher-rate taxpayer will ultimately receive a rebate of £125 since they would have paid tax at 40% on the £6. Whilst a basic-rate taxpayer receives just £62 since they obtain tax relief at 20%.  An additional rate tax payer will receive a tax reduction of £140 given that they pay tax at 45%.”

Despite this David still believes it is worth considering how long you worked at home for, since you can also apply for the tax relief in this current tax year, 2021/22 too.

“The tax relief was only recently increased from £4 to £6 – whilst it might not cover all your increased costs it is still worth applying for,” confirms David. “The tax relief is aimed at employees – for anyone who is self-employed there is also a fixed rate of deduction for using your home which is based on the hours used.”

Self assessment accountant

David and his tax colleagues at Warrener Stewart ensure they keep abreast of these and many other tax changes. They aim to save their clients valuable time and reduce the burden that comes with completing your tax return by yourself.

“At Warrener Stewart we offer a comprehensive and wide-ranging individual self-assessment service. We know how time consuming it can be to gather information - so our role is to prepare and complete the forms.

As part of our tax service, we will apply for tax reliefs that are sometimes overlooked, such as Gift Relief on any charitable donations, or private pension relief for those contributions paid from after taxed income. From now until the deadline at the end of January 2022 to submit a tax return, we will be busy helping our clients to be as tax efficient as possible.”

If you would like help and assistance with individual filing requirements contact the personal tax team at Warrener Stewart on 020 7731 6163.

US tax filing requirements for Americans living abroad

07 September 2021 • US Tax returns

Americans living and working in the UK, under the complex citizenship-based US tax system, must file income taxreturns as well as report their foreign bank accounts.  US-tax-720.jpg

September is now upon us so the six-month extended filing deadline is fast approaching.  “Ideally anyone liable to pay tax in America should start the process early,” notes Damian Talbot, himself a qualified Enrolled Agent and head of the US specialist tax team at Fulham based, Warrener Stewart. 

Many overseas US tax filers are unable to file their income tax returns prior to the April and June deadlines due to added complexities to their returns.  The IRS recognise this and allow individuals to apply for an extension by 15 June each year to extend their deadline to file to 15 October.  

Warrener Stewart now has facilities that allow most clients to be eligible for E Filing, thereby avoiding posting the returns. The IRS currently has a backlog in dealing with postal returns - estimated to be over 35 million returns! 

“We can process and sign IRS returns from our offices in Fulham,” confirms Damian. “We not only employ qualified Enrolled Agents, but also a CPA.  This allows us to handle all types of complexities that arise on behalf of clients.” 

“The most important consideration for anyone with a US tax liability is to seek help from a qualified dual tax advisor - leaving or ignoring deadlines has implications. At Warrener Stewart, as both UK and US tax advisors, we can assist both individuals and companies in remaining compliant.” 

With the 15 October deadline fast approaching it is strongly advised that US tax filers get in touch as soon as possible to allow adequate time to gather the required information and prepare the required filings.  

Warrener Stewart client wins a prestigious Queens Award for Enterprise

22 June 2021 •

Each year a select few British companies are awarded the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise for outstanding achievement by UK business. The scheme, established in 1966, has four distinct categories that companies compete for awards in; innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility.

The awards normally coincide with Her Majesty the Queen’s official birthday on 21 April. However this year as the royal family was in a two-week period of official mourning following the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the announcement was delayed until 29 April.

Amongst the winners for the South East was one of Warrener Stewart’s long standing clients, Percussion Play. They were awarded the Queens Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over three years. This innovative company designs and creates outdoor musical instruments for sensory gardens and community projects.

Commenting on the award win, Percussion Play founder and Managing Director, Jody Ashfield, said: “We feel extremely honoured to win a Queen’s Award and delighted to receive such recognition of our business growth and success. We are very proud to know our outdoor musical instruments, manufactured here in Hampshire, are being enjoyed by communities across the globe. We’ve shipped our instruments to be played in so many different locations, from busy city parks and playgrounds to locations where they are used for music therapy, dementia care, music education and to create interactive community spaces designed to bring people together. On behalf of our amazing team, we will enjoy this moment and continue to work hard to bring a little harmony to the world.”

Part of the entry requirements for the prestigious award include certified evidence of Percussion Play’s sales, turnover and profit. They asked their Fulham Chartered Accountants, Warrener Stewart, to complete an Agreed-upon procedure (AUP) to verify the figures submitted.

Director Jon Last, who has advised Percussion Play for the past ten years, is delighted the company’s hard work has been acknowledged: “Percussion Play founders and directors, Robin and Jody Ashfield and the whole the team have worked tirelessly to create amazing spaces all over the world. This is an extremely prestigious award with such global brand recognition and is well deserved recognition for them.”

Three new recruits join Warrener Stewart

28 May 2021 • Warrener Stewart News

If there is one defining word for how the last fourteen months have gone then it’s resilience.  Faced with incredibly challenging circumstances our lives and working methods have adapted, whilst our economy has recently proved resilient too. The ONS reported only a 1.5% decrease in GDP for the most recent Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar 2021).

Chartered accountants in Fulham, like Warrener Stewart, have continued to provide actionable business intelligence and support helping both existing and new clients navigate their way through the pandemic. At Warrener Stewart the head of their audit department, Gary Chapman notes, “Over the past twelve months we have actually seen an increase in demand for our statutory audit services. Throughout the pandemic businesses have still had to adhere to hard deadlines - having a statutory audit and filing audited accounts at Companies House is one such requirement.”

To cope with the increased demand for statutory audit Warrener Stewart recently welcomed Josh Taylor (pictured above) to the firm as an audit and accounts assistant. Josh joins from BDO, where for the past four years his has he worked within their consumer markets division, assisting with the audit of businesses involved in retail, hospitality and sports.

Josh, who is halfway through his Chartered Accountancy (ACA) exams, wanted to move to a smaller practice where he would be a more integral part of the team, working more closely with clients.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with everyone at Warrener Stewart even though we have not had much time in the office together,” comments Josh. “I am especially looking forward to getting more involved, and physically meeting with, the firm’s clients over the coming months and years!”

The specialist US tax team at Warrener Stewart has also seen a high demand for their US tax services over the past twelve months – this has led to two more tax specialists joining the busy team.

Robyn Davis (pictured above) is both a US Enrolled Agent and an ATT qualified UK tax assistant. As a dual tax agent, she can advise and work across both tax systems.

Following a degree in sociology at Goldsmiths Robyn went travelling before starting work on the technical team at Frank Hirth. From there she trained to become an Enrolled Agent (EA) and worked assisting US citizens and expats working in the UK with their personal tax returns.

Robyn joined Warrener Stewart to work more closely with a range of clients and gain more experience in different areas of tax. Since joining Warrener Stewart, she has predominately worked with many ‘accidental Americans’ helping them with delinquent filing.

“Often it’s only when people open a bank account, or something where they need to state their place of birth or citizenship that they realise they should have been filing a US tax return,” says Robyn.

Like Josh, Robyn joined Warrner Stewart during lockdown back in December 2020 so has mainly been working from home, only going into the Fulham office once a week, so likewise is keen to meet the rest of her colleagues!

The final addition to the firm is Darren Arnold  (pictured above) – who also joined Warrener Stewart from Frank Hirth. Darren has spent the past eleven years progressing his career working most recently as a client service assistant, helping to prepare US tax returns.

Darren wants to become an Enrolled Agent so leapt at the chance to undertake the studying and exams required whilst working in Warrener Stewart’s US tax department. Since joining in December 2020, Darren has been helping prepare US tax returns for delinquent filers.

“I enjoy working with people and helping them. It is really gratifying to hear the relief in their voices when they realise that we can assist them with their US tax filing requirements,” confirmed Darren.

You’ve survived the pandemic – now’s the time to update your business plan

11 May 2021 •

Life and businesses have gone through a rollercoaster in the past 13 months, as we slowly start to come out of this third lockdown, Fulham based chartered accountants, Warrener Stewart takes a look at what comes next. 

“Businesses have gone through some remarkable and challenging times in the last year,” recalls audit manager James Shepherd. “Some have been forced to close due to imposed lockdowns, whilst others have faced changes brought about through Brexit while having to embrace working from home. 

As chartered accountants it is our mission to help clients make better informed business decisions with greater confidence. It is going to be important for businesses to remain resilient – whilst the Bank of England's chief economist " believes there is pent-up financial energy" waiting to be unleashed, small to medium sized businesses will still need to plan. Some business owners may find their old business model needs to be adapted – that’s where we can help ensure that a business fulfils its potential and the owner reaches their personal goals.” 

Adapting your business model 

Over the coming months as the world transitions back to workplace-based life many companies will be forced to adapt. The most obvious change will be our home versus office life with many companies adopting new hybrid working practices giving greater flexibility to work from home for part of the week.  

“Going forward for companies with a hybrid working from home model there may be economies of scale to be made,“ notes James. “For example, consider how much space your business will need. Many others are in the same situation - are you able to make savings by reducing office space or even sub-let part of your building?” 

Review business overheads 

Several businesses reported they saved money in 2020 – largely on ancillary costs such as entertainment, travel, heating and even stationery. Now is the time, James advises to look at your business overheads and examine what other savings could be made.  

“Carrying out a cost cutting exercise is a simple way for a business to manage its finances,” James acknowledges. “Our highly experienced staff can help identify where and how a business can save by reviewing what are realistic costs. Sometimes it can be simple changes like renegotiating with a supplier – especially if your business model may have altered.” 

Embrace technology 

If there is one overriding takeaway from the pandemic it’s technology. Both our personal and business lives were lived over it, through and because of it! Cloud accounting software like Xero and Quickbooks even helped companies continue with tasks such as invoicing and filing business taxes whilst in different locations. Plus, accounting packages are a perfect and safe way to share information with your own accountant. 

“One of the latest developments to some packages includes using AI to populate invoices directly to the purchase ledger,” confirms James. “This way electronic copies of invoices can easily be uploaded and stored centrally. When it’s time to prepare VAT returns having access to the original invoice will help us since we no longer have to wade through paper copies to check the information we submit for VAT returns is correct. Also, it also gives us a current snapshot of the company’s outgoings.” 

As life and businesses start to bounce back Warrener Stewart is preparing to ensure its clients’ businesses get all the advice and support they need to make. If you would like more information about how your business could fulfil its potential then call 020 7731 6163. 

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“Warrener Stewart understands our business; they give us more than any other Accountancy service we have ever received in the past. They are extremely commercially aware and very current when it comes to changes in tax policy. ”
Diana Hoare - Anderson Hoare