Your Number One Trusted Business Adviser

Telephone: 01305 760600


Apr 19

How long should you keep your records?

If you are self-employed, and obliged to submit a self-assessment tax return, you must keep your tax records for at least five years after the 31 January submission deadline of the relevant tax year. For example, if you sent your 2017-18 tax return online by 31 January 2019, you must keep your records until at least the end of January 2024. Records for this purpose includes those relating to personal income etc.

If you send your tax return more than four years after the deadline, you will need to keep your records for fifteen months after you submit your tax return.

If you keep your tax records on a computer, make sure you have sufficient backups of your data to meet these requirements. If you change software during the record retention period, you may need to print relevant reports if you are unable to maintain access to data backups.

If you run your business as a limited company you must keep records for six years from the end of the last company financial year they relate to, or longer if:

  • they show a transaction that covers more than one of the company’s accounting periods,
  • the company has bought something that it expects to last more than six years, like equipment or machinery,
  • you sent your Company Tax Return late, or
  • HMRC has started a compliance check into your Company Tax Return.

If you are not in business, the minimum period is 22 months after the 31 January filing deadline and at least 15 months after filing if later.

Apr 19

Spring Budget statement

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, was keen to promote the positive aspects of the UK’s economic performance when he stood to present his Spring Statement on 13 March.

  • Employment and manufacturing growth rising,
  • Inflation and debt falling.

The speech was also peppered with the usual political gambits to boost his party at the expense of the opposition.

The one practical change that was disclosed was a change to the next business rates revaluation that will now take place a year earlier than planned, in 2021, with further reviews every three years starting 2024.

The Chancellor also revealed new consultations that may eventually shape future legislation. These will include:

  • Reducing single-use plastic waste through the tax system. This will look at ways to reduce the impact of plastic waste in our environment such as disposable plastic cups, cutlery and foam trays. Some of the tax revenue raised will be used to fund research into new ways to encourage a more responsible use of plastic.
  • Making sure multinational digital businesses pay a fair share of tax. This is an ongoing attempt to ensure that the larger digital players pay tax in the UK on sales they make in the UK.
  • Seeking views on the role of cash in the new economy. Will cash become less relevant as digital payment processes become more widely used? This and the prevention of the use of cash to avoid tax and to launder the proceeds of criminal activity will be opened to a wider debate.
  • Supporting people to get the skills they need. Improving skills to benefit growth in the economy by investing in upskilling and retraining, especially by the self-employed.

It will be interesting to see if these initiatives subsequently drive government policy and new legislation.

Jan 4

Client Testimonials

We pride ourselves on providing a professional and  high quality service

Below are examples of customer feedback

Our testimonials must remain anonymous, but if you wish to examine them they are available for inspection at our office

"No problem Rebekah! I wish all accounts people were as nice to deal with as you."

"You can trouble me as much as you like, as following our recent meeting to discuss the way forward, both M and I commented on how constructive we found your advice and suggestions / recommendations to be, pity we had never received such guidance in the past."

"I just wanted to write to say a huge thank you for your professional help and support. 


My Company has received a credit into the bank from HMRC and I have just got home to a cheque from HMRC which is a personal tax refund! 


You are amazing and I am extremely grateful."

"All good.  Have set up N’s Openspace account and she has electronically approved her tax return.  I approved my tax return last night and the transfer to HMRC was made earlier this morning.

Many thanks for all your help …… priceless!"

"Thank you so much for everything you have done.  My mum said she left your office with a weight lifted off her shoulders.  S and I appreciate everything you do for us and are extremely grateful."

"Thanks again for your help and patience, it is thoroughly appreciated by both of us and thank you to everyone at Advoco not only just over the last twelve months, but also just for working the way you do and having such a great team of people.  I couldn’t imagine working with any other accountancy firm, you are all amazing and always there to help and that means so much."

"Just paid your bill.  Worth every penny."

"We are so lucky to have somebody like you who we can rely upon and refer customers to knowing that they will be looked after so well."

"Please say thanks to John for all his work, it is greatly appreciated."

"Running your own business can be a scary undertaking, you need someone with expertise who is always on your side and Alan and Sharon are always there to reassure me. 

Finding the right Accountant is the most important thing you’ll do after deciding to run your own business.  I found the right Accountant."

"Please thank Wendy.  She is always incredibly helpful when I call!"

"Thank you for the wonderful support from you all, every time I’ve spoken to any of you, you’ve always been so helpful.  We’ve gone through some bad times and thanks for being so patient."

"Your firm really helped us put our business into perspective."

"With the help of your services, I know I am set for my retirement"

"Sharon supports me with my accountancy needs.  I absolutely adore working with her as she is so responsive, conscientious, friendly and understanding.  This is coupled with the fact that she always gives me the facts I need, in the required time frame and in a clear manner which is easy for me to process and learn from.  I can’t see myself ever using another person or Company and I recommend her all the time!"

 "You’re such proactive accountants, it’s really refreshing!"

"It seems to be a rare quality in business these days to find such support and it will not be forgotten."

"Well done Alan.

 Thank you so much"

"Thank you so much for your input.  You’re the best."

"Thank you for all your help with the University paperwork"

"So much thanks Alan, I wouldn’t have got through this without your kind and generous help you have given me through all of this."

"Thank you ever so much Helen, you are a diamond."

"Thank you for everything you have done for me this year, you have gone above and beyond."

"We are getting there Alan! Thank you for your understanding and consideration – it has been very much appreciated."

"I appreciate all the hard work from you and your team."

"A sincere thanks for helping to keep a roof over my head, and the kids (and grandkids) fed!!"

"Thank you and your team for all your help and advice.  I have been drawn in to watch strictly come dancing on Saturday and your score is 4 x 10 = 40 points."

"Thank you for all your help this morning, it was greatly appreciated.  Most of it I think I understood but once I get used to using the system, it will start to make sense and before you know it I won’t know how I managed without it!!!  Thank you also for all your comments which I have noted and will put to good use.  I look forward to reading your notes as I think I will be able to revisit them when I have a problem, it’s always nice to consult a professional."

"Thanks for all your advice on this, I wouldn’t like to think how I’d get on without you both.  I will forever be grateful."

"It is easy to recommend a professional and trustworthy organisation such as your’s."

"Thank you for everything you’ve done for me this year, you’ve gone above and beyond."

"We are getting there Alan! Thank you for your understanding and consideration – it has been very much appreciated."

"Many thanks for the help and advice, we really are, very appreciative of your support when we get into areas that we’re unsure of."

"Many thanks for all your support with this.  Again, we really appreciate the work you have put in"

"Speaking with the Directors of R yesterday, they voiced their frustration with their current accountant, they asked me who I used and what they were like.  I naturally only praised my accountant and his team of eager assistants, they asked if I could get you to contact them to arrange a meeting."

"I’m very happy with the service you all give me - payment turned around in under a day. Thank you."

"…just so much thanks for all your help ….couldn’t have got through this without you."

"Superstar team behind me. Thank you!"

"You young lady are an absolute marvel, I was really struggling to find an answer and after asking for your help it was done and reconciled in a couple of ticks.  Thanks Helen you are a star."

"It was a pleasure as always to catch up with you. Thanks for your email, sent on a bank holiday! … Your summary is a perfect reflection of our discussion but just to update you, we’ve now had two estate agent valuation of our Dorset property, one for £695K and one for £795K! We knew it was going to be a tricky sale! We’re probably going to go with the lower one as we think it’s more realistic but the property won’t officially be on the market until next Spring. Meanwhile, we are pursuing the idea of raising our mortgage on ******** Close rather than selling one of our London Flats, so thanks for that suggestion. Thanks as always for your advice and input."

 "You are such an efficient accountant.  So hands on and knowledgeable yet so friendly with it.  Best decision we ever made coming over to your company."

"Thanks so much for sorting this out Alan - I’m a bit overwhelmed at the moment so you have made things easier for me!  Thanks again."

"It's been a tough but amazing journey.  You were part of making it happen - thank you so much Alan.  Your staff are amazing, please pass on my thanks to them too."

Apr 11

Stamp Duty (SDLT) increases buy-to-let

From 1 April 2016, individuals who purchase additional residential properties, second homes or buy-to-let properties will pay an additional 3 percentage points above the existing SDLT rates. The higher rates will apply to property purchases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The additional rates are:
  • £0 - £125k: 3%
  • £125k - £250K: 5%
  • £250k - £925k: 8%
  • £925k - £1.5m: 13%
  • Over £1.5m: 15%
This will add a considerable on-cost for landlords and families that venture into multiple property acquisitions. Without this change, a residential property purchased for £250k would have had a SDLT charge of £2,500. Under the new rates this will increase to £10,000. Properties purchased for under £40,000, caravans, mobile homes and houseboats will be excluded from the higher rates. Furthermore, small shares in recently inherited properties will not be considered when determining if the higher rates apply. The budget also clarifies when companies making residential property purchases will be subject to this additional SDLT charge. In the lead up to the budget it had been speculated that significant, incorporated property businesses would be able to avoid the increase. It would appear that this is not to be. In the notes to the budget it is clearly stated: “Companies purchasing residential property will be subject to the higher rates, including the first purchase of a residential property.” Accordingly, setting up a new company for each property acquisition or transferring existing portfolios into corporate structures will not allow landlords to avoid the additional rates of SDLT on post April 2016 acquisitions. Indirectly, these changes will also affect sellers of residential property as the SDLT increases may dissuade marginal buyers from purchasing. Will we see affected house prices falling? In Scotland, property purchases are subject to the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT), and from April 2016 a similar 3% will apply to purchases of additional property. The additional rates of LBTT in Scotland are:
  • Less than £145k: 3%
  • £145k to £250k: 5%
  • £250k to £325k: 8%
  • £325k to £750k: 13%
  • Over £750k: 15%
The surcharge applies to the full purchase price above an initial threshold of £40,000.


Quick contact form.

Cookies make it easier for us to provide you with our services. With the usage of our services you permit us to use cookies.