Fears North Wales landlords aren’t signing up to Rent Smart

Concerns are being raised that many private sector landlords in North Wales have yet to register with the Welsh Government’s Rent Smart Wales scheme.

The scheme requires all self-managing landlords and letting agents to register their properties and undergo training to become licensed. 

Landlords and agents have been given until 23 November to comply with the new legislation, after which date it will be an offence to let or manage a property without the correct licence.

Adam Owens of accountancy firm Williams Denton said that with just over a month until the scheme becomes a mandatory requirement, there is evidence that many private landlords have yet to sign up.

He said: “A Freedom of Information request by Welsh Liberal politician Peter Black has revealed that just 1,565 Swansea landlords had registered with Rent Smart Wales by the end of August.

“That is estimated to be around a fifth of those required to do so. 

“If Swansea is typical of Wales as a whole, then clearly there is a way to go for all landlords to be compliant.” 

Rent Smart Wales estimates that 8.3 per cent of Swansea homes are privately rented, which equates to around 7,500 properties.

Mr Owens added: “This is a legal requirement, so landlords in North Wales should make sure that they are registered before the November deadline.

“Online registration for the scheme takes minutes, but the licensing application itself can take up to 8 weeks to process.”

Rent Smart Wales aims to drive up standards in the private rented sector by ensuring that all managing landlords and agents become licensed.

Welsh Government maintains the scheme will help prevent rogue landlords and agents while protecting tenants and giving local councils a better understanding of where rental properties are situated.


Digital tax system delayed

Business in North Wales will not have to move to a digital taxation system until at least 2019, it’s been revealed.

HMRC has announced it is delaying the roll out of the new digital system following concerns from businesses.

Speaking at the HMRC annual conference, financial secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison MP said: “You told us that the smallest businesses might struggle to keep their records online – so we exempted over a million more landlords and small businesses from the proposed changes.

“You also told us that even slightly larger businesses might need more time to prepare for the new system – so we have proposed deferring the introduction of any changes to 2019 for those businesses too.”

The plans are touted as aiming to create one of the most digitally-advanced tax administrations in the world.

They would see the end of the annual tax return to be replaced by a personalised digital service through which taxpayers would be able to send and receive information to HMRC at the click of a button.

However, many business owners voiced concerns that the plans could also mean quarterly rather than annual tax returns, putting an additional burden on SMEs.

Janet Jones of Williams Denton said: “The delay is a sensible move and likely to be a relief to many North Wales businesses, which may have struggled to implement the changes on the initial timescale.”

HMRC has published six consultations on its proposals for a new digital tax system. To view the documents and have your say, click here.

Community filmmaker launches sponsorship appeal

A fast-growing Conwy community project is appealing to the North Wales business community for sponsorship as it looks for new premises.

TVConwy, which trains volunteers to create films of events in the county, has grown in popularity over the three years since its launch. It’s recent video, of a fire on the Sychnant Pass achieved more than 71,000 views on Facebook.

Founder Debbie Braden explained: “We have a number of sponsors including leading companies like Williams Denton accountants, Cartrefi Conwy and Quinton Hazell Enterprise Parc, and their support is crucial.

“In the last six months our work has grown as more people hear about us and we are really in need of a base where people can easily find us.”

TVConwy has no paid staff and relies on sponsorship, grants and goodwill to keep operating.

It has seen former volunteers move on to the well-regarded media and digital media specialist college Ravensbourne in London as well as a number of universities.

Debbie, whose media career has spanned three continents, set up the community interest company to pass on her skills and recognise the variety of events and activities taking place in her home county.

“This part of North Wales is an incredibly vibrant place to be and we want to recognise that,” she said. “Just recently we interviewed explorer Ash Dykes, filmed the historic Flying Scotsman and of course tourist events like the Conwy Pirate weekend.”

Adam Owens of accountancy firm Williams Denton said that TVConwy was performing an important role in helping aspiring filmmakers.

“The commitment of Debbie and her team to encouraging people of all ages to create films about the county is inspiring,” Janet said.

“The experience that volunteers are getting at TVConwy has helped open doors on new careers for young people in a highly competitive area, as well as sharing community stories. We think that is worth supporting.”

Along with it’s work championing younger people, TVConwy has achieved lottery funding to run ‘Through Older Eyes’ courses across the county and expand its volunteer base to reach a wider section of the community.



10 responsibilities of trustees

Becoming a trustee of a charity can be a good way to support a cause that is important to you, but the role comes with significant responsibilities.

A trustee has overall legal responsibility to control and administer a charity or trust, but can have a variety of titles such as governors, committee members or directors. Regardless of the title, the role of a trustee is set out in the charity or trust’s constitution and they must act collectively to govern the organisation when making decisions.

Here are some of the responsibilities and legal obligations to expect when accepting a trustee role.

Trustees must:

1. Work collectively as a board and take decisions at formal board meetings so that once a decision has been collectively made all trustees are bound to support it.

2. Operate within the rules of charity or trust, which may be a trust deed, constitution or Memorandum and Articles.

3. Adhere to the rules of law, such as the Trustees Act 2000 or the laws of the Charity Commission.

4. Not benefit financially from their position, such as make a profit or purchase trust property without the approval of the board.

5. Not receive payment for undertaking their duties unless authorised by the trust itself or laid down in its constitution.

6. Trustees have a duty to safeguard the aims of the trust and its property. They must also act impartially when making decisions.

7. Keep proper records and accounts for submission to Companies House and the Charity Commission.

8. Act unanimously in any decision they make or by a majority rule in a charity trust.

9. Seek advice before setting up a trust fund or reviewing the investments. They also have a duty to transfer trust property and income to the correct beneficiaries.

10. Produce information and documents – such as accounts – relating to their work when required by those who have the right to ensure the trust or charity is administered properly.

Most people over the age of 18 can become a trustee as long as they have not been previously disqualified as a trustee or company director, be an undischarged bankrupt or have certain unspent criminal convictions.

All of the eligible requirements to become a trustee are available from the Charity Commission. Some charities or organisations may have specific restrictions of their own.

If you have any concerns about the financial aspects of becoming a trustee, contact the Williams Denton team on Bangor 01248 670370 or Llandudno 01492 877478.

How Employment Allowance can save your business up to £3,000

Employment Allowance has been increased recently, allowing employers a reduction of up to £3,000 a year from their National Insurance contributions.

Introduced in April 2014 the allowance is aimed at supporting businesses and charities by cutting the cost of employment.

Employers can only claim against Class 1 National Insurance up to a maximum of £3,000 each tax year. They can still claim the allowance if they’ve paid less than £3,000 a year.

The allowance will reduce employer’s (secondary) Class 1 each time they run a payroll until the £3,000 has gone or the tax year ends.

Those who can claim Employment Allowance include a business or charity (including a community amateur sports club) paying employers Class 1 National Insurance. Employers can also claim if they employ a care or support worker.

If businesses have more than one employer PAYE reference, they can only claim Employment Allowance against one of them.

Employers Allowance can be claimed at any time in the tax year. Those that are ineligible to claim include:

  • The director and the only paid employee in the company.
  • Personal, household or domestic workers (eg a nanny or gardener) – unless they are a care or support worker.
  • Public bodies or businesses doing more than half of their work in the public sector (i.e. local councils and NHS services) – unless they are a charity.
  • Service companies working under ‘IR35 rules’ whose only income is the earnings of the intermediary (i.e. personal service company, limited company or partnership).

Employers can claim through their HRMC payroll software, by putting ‘Yes’ in the ‘Employment Allowance indicator’ field next time they send an Employment Payment Summary.

To find out more about how to claim Employment Allowance contact the Williams Denton team on Bangor 01248 670370 or Llandudno 01492 877478.

Understanding the register of People With Significant Control

A new law, which came into effect this year, requires all companies to keep a register of the people who can influence or control a company.

Referred to as People With Significant Control (PSC) limited companies and LLPs now have to create and maintain a public register of PSCs.

The information has to be included on the new confirmation statement, which has replaced the annual return filed at Companies House.

The register is one of the changes brought about by the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, which aimed at creating greater transparency in the ownership and control of UK companies.

Those who fail to comply with the new legislation are committing a criminal offence.

To understand who should be included on the register, a PSC is a person who has absolute decision rights over the running of the business of the company, such as amending a company’s business plan or changing the nature of the business.

It also includes those making additional borrowing from lenders or who appoints or removes a CEO.

PSCs are recognised if they establish or amend any profit sharing, bonus or incentive schemes and have the grant of options under a share option or other share based incentive schemes.

If they are significantly involved in the management and direction of the company and whose views influence decisions made by the board then they are regarded a “shadow director” and also fall in the definition of being a PSC.

Exemptions from the PSC register are those who provide advice or direction in a professional capacity such as a lawyer, accountant, tax adviser or management consultant.

If the direct interest lies with a company registered outside the UK, then the scrutiny of the full group structure is required until an individual or UK registered company can be identified as the PSC.

There are five separate conditions when identifying as a PSC.

These are:

  • Holds, directly or indirectly, more than 25 per cent of the shares in the company.
  • Holds, directly or indirectly, more than 25 per cent of the voting rights in the company.
  • Holds the right, directly or indirectly, to appoint or remove a majority of the board of directors of the company.
  • Has the right to exercise, or actually exercises, significant influence or control over the company.
  • Exercises significant influence or control over the trustees of a trust or partners of a firm, where that trust or firm is not a separate legal entity, but where those trustees or partners would otherwise meet the conditions above

The company has an ongoing obligation to maintain the register and investigate when it believes there may have been a change in PSC.

Cloud accounting workshops, booking now open

Cloud accounting packages are designed to match the needs of the way we work today: Mobile, 24/7 and integrated.

To help business owners get up to speed with how to use these systems, Williams Denton will be hosting free workshops in Llandudno and Bangor over the coming months.

Until just a few years ago, very few business owners could get a daily up-date on finances. Today, thanks to cloud accounting, you can access your accounts from your mobile at any time, to help you make better business decisions.

Despite the obvious benefits of cloud accounting systems like Xero, Sage and Quickbooks, there are still a lot of business owners unsure about taking the plunge.

If you are still waiting to be convinced of the benefits of cloud accounting, here are a few examples:

  • Get an accurate picture of cashflow: You can have an up-to-date picture of your showing you how much money you currently have, as well as information on money owed, etc.
  • Automated invoicing:If you have recurring invoices to the same customer, then you save time by setting it up once to repeat at regular intervals. You can also automate reminders, to help you get paid more promptly.
  • Mobile accounts: As everything is in the cloud, you can access your accounts anywhere and any time. You can also upload expenses, reconcile bank accounts and track profit and loss on the move.
  • Integrate with other apps: There are lots of apps designed for businesses like yours that will integrate with the accounting systems. This is a particular feature of Xero and Williams Denton can offer advice on the apps that will integrate with your cloud accounting package and make your life easier.

To find out more about cloud accounting and register your interest in attending a workshop, contact Adam Owens at adam@williamsdenton.co.uk.