The Case Of The Missing Budget

It’s been an eventful few years in British politics, but
2019 has been something else again with one jolt
after another.

The 29 March deadline for the UK to leave the EU
was extended to 31 October and then again until
31 January 2020. Boris Johnson replaced Theresa
May as Prime Minister and Sajid Javid succeeded
Philip Hammond as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Javid was poised to deliver his first Budget on
6 November against a backdrop of constitutional
crisis but, in late October, it was cancelled as
Parliament voted in favour of holding the first
December general election since 1923.
With all eyes on Brexit, those with an interest in
fiscal policy were left bewildered: could this be
the first year without any Budget at all? After all,
the Spring Statement became a non-event on
Hammond’s watch.

That’s not the only question. For example, we know
there will be a Budget at some point, but when?
Will changes passed into law in the Finance Act
2019 and set to commence in April 2020 actually
happen when the new tax year gets under way?
The VAT reverse charge for construction services
has already been delayed, just a few weeks before
the original deadline. That’s now set to take effect
from 1 October 2020.

Off-payroll rules rolled out in the public sector in
2017, are due to hit the private sector in 2020 –
could that also be delayed? The calls are certainly
getting louder.

In this special bulletin, we’ve combined what we do
know for sure with informed analysis to suggest
how the next six months might pan out.
And so the roller coaster rolls on.

Click here to continue reading.

Pierce staff complete three peak challenge raising thousands for local hospice

Staff and friends from Blackburn based chartered accountancy firm Pierce conquered the national three peaks, raising over £3,000 for East Lancashire Hospice as part of their corporate challenge.

The team of 13 reached the top of Wales’ Snowdon, Scafell Pike in Cumbria and Scotland’s Ben Nevis within 26 hours on Saturday June 1.

Pierce staff Philip Johnson, Lisa Kennery, John Wilkin, Fred Green, Charles Hopkinson, Tom Brassey and Lewis Withnell, were joined by friends of the firm Susan Wilkin, Emma D`Ippolito, Emma Hutchings, Chris Deeson, David Hilton and Scott Bamber.

Friend of the firm and rally driving enthusiast, Steve Johnson was the driver for the group, safely taking them on the journey which stretched hundreds of miles.

Throughout the 24-hour challenge, the group battled weather conditions of high winds at Snowden and snow at Ben Nevis.

Lisa Kennery, director at Pierce, said: “The three peak challenge was incredibly tough, especially with the weather conditions we experienced and lack of sleep from doing it all in 24 hours. But with great teamwork and enthusiasm, we all managed to complete it, despite briefly losing Tom Brassey on Scafell Pike!

“There was a lot of friendly competition between the group, with the quicker team sneaking off for bacon butties while waiting for the slower team to finish.

“The most important thing is that we are raising funds for such an important cause and we have made a good start to reaching our £10k target.”

For the challenge, which runs from June to September, Pierce will host events including

a football tournament, murder mystery evening and a ladies evening. The next event, a charity race night will be held on June 19 at the Blues Bar, Blackburn.

To book tickets visit:

To make a donation, please visit:

Spring Statement Analysis & 2019 / 2020 Tax Facts

Once again, Chancellor Philip Hammond has demonstrated his commitment to the principle of the Spring Statement as a low-key event, at least in terms of tax and public spending announcements.

With none of the pomp and circumstance of the Autumn Budget, Hammond stuck in large part to summarising key points from the updated economic forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). Though he presented the numbers with a flourish, the OBR was mildly pessimistic in its own presentation, especially around a reduced estimate for growth in 2019, down from 1.6% to 1.2%.

Corporate Challenge

This year is the Hospice`s 35th Anniversary! Pierce have therefore decided to take part in the East Lancashire Hospice Corporate Challenge 2019. The hospice is hoping to get 35 Companies on board to help raise as much money as possible. The headline sponsor of the event provides a Business with £50 to start the fundraising.  The challenge is over a four month period June to September , we will be organising numerous events over this period.

A few of the Events planned so far :

  • National Three Peaks
  • Race Night
  • Football Tournament
  • Cycle Liverpool Leeds canal
  • Murder Mystery Evening
  • Fashion Show

View our events page for further event details.

We will be holding an auction/raffles at some events  and would be extremely grateful if any of you could donate a raffle prize.

The hospice is close to many hearts at Pierce, over the years the hospice has supported many friends and family.

Let`s get fundraising !

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Lancashire businesses prepare for further changes to National Minimum Wage within the care sector following U-turn decision

National Minimum Wage (NMW) has been a key focus for the government for some time now and they have been pursuing sectors they believe do not comply with legislation.

Historically in the care sector, many employers paid a fixed amount to cover any overnight sleep-ins with an additional hourly rate paid for hours the employees was needed.

Two court cases – Mencap v Tomlinson-Blake and Shannon v Rampersad – argued that most care workers on overnight shifts are constantly on call, therefore the employee should receive NMW for the entirety of the shift.

In October 2017, the government introduced a new compliance scheme for the care sector, allowing employers within this sector to review their pay arrangements in line with the above and pay any monies that may be due to employees without being publicly named and shamed.

Both cases have since gone to the Court of Appeal and the decision made a complete U-turn to not count sleep-in shifts as working time, the only time that counts towards national minimum wage is when the worker is required to be awake for working. However, if suitable sleeping facilities are not provided then minimum wage must be paid for the entire shift.

Therefore, the rulings have reverted back to how most employers treated the arrangements in the first instance.  HMRC have now updated their guidance to reflect the latest rulings.

Andrea Bridgehouse, owner of My Life-My Choice in Oswaldtwistle which supports children and young adults with disabilities and complex needs, said: “These rulings have sent shockwaves of confusion through many sectors that use night workers, but they set an especially dangerous precedent in the vital care sector.

“Providing quality care is complex and costly enough as it is and the changes could cost our business in excess of £80,000. This would take us to the brink and it’s no exaggeration to say that it seriously threatens our future.

“We’re the only service provider in the area that is set up to deal with these complex issues and if we had to close then it would lead to 176 young people and their families being stripped of the support they depend on, 44 carers out of a job and it would signal the end of a business I have spent 18 years building.

“Due to the previous changes, I now pay my staff £85 a night and will continue to do so, if I make a U-turn and revert to the old rate then my staff will lose pay and leave.”

Lisa Kennery, payroll manager at Pierce, said: “The changes will certainly bring a headache to businesses, particularly in the care sector. Depending on how a business has been calculating pay for sleep-in shifts historically will determine how it will impact a business both financially and operational.

“Businesses like My Life-My Choice will have already changed their rates and paid the higher amount, costing the business thousands of pounds.”

For further information on how these changes may affect your business, please call Lisa Kennery Pierce on 01254 688 100 or visit


Budget boost for business investment

With the Budget 2018 announced just a few days before Halloween, there was much speculation about whether the Chancellor’s famous red Budget Box would be full of tricks or treats. As the last Budget before Brexit, it was highly anticipated by both business owners and individuals.

During Pierce’s annual Budget Breakfast event, which welcomes business leaders and clients from across Lancashire, Chairman John Green described Philip Hammond’s latest announcement as ‘the most small business friendly budget ever’ which had ‘enterprise at the heart.’

For me, the most welcomed announcement was the Chancellor’s helping hand to kick start business investment by increasing the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) from £200,000 to £1m. The increment provides opportunities for businesses to gain significant tax relief when they invest in plant or machinery.

During his speech, Hammond said the aim of the increase was to ‘stimulate business investment’ and it is a strategic move to help boost business confidence during uncertain times as Brexit creeps even closer.

In my experience, since the AIA was introduced a decade ago back in 2008, it has encouraged business owners to move forward investment plans and I’m sure that this announcement will encourage even further growth.

With the increased amount available from 1 January 2019 – 31 December 2020, I would urge businesses to look at their investment ambitions and maximise on this opportunity while they can.

The timing of the investment is critical, the expenditure must be incurred at the correct time and in accordance with the rules. Your accounting period end will influence the ideal timing.

Available to an individual, partnership or company carrying on a trade, profession or vocation, a UK non-residential property business or a furnished holiday let, the AIA covers plant and machinery, vans, lorries, equipment, building fixtures and computers.

For a full breakdown of the Budget 2018, visit our website. For more information about how your business can drive investment forward with the help of the AIA, call Mark Walmsley on 01254 688 100 or email

UK Income Tax Liabilities regarding Offshore Matters

New legislation has introduced a legal requirement for UK taxpayers who have undisclosed UK tax liabilities to income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax in respect of offshore matters to disclose the relevant information to HMRC by 30 September 2018.  This is known as the Requirement to Correct (RTC).

The penalties for failure to correct (FTC) start at 200% mitigated to a minimum of 100% of the tax.  There can also be asset-based penalties in more serious cases.

With effect from 1 October 2018, the Common Reporting Standard will be introduced under which 100 jurisdictions will exchange financial account information on residents’ investments offshore hence the need to report any undisclosed liabilities by the 30 September 2018.

When the legislation was first drafted it was thought it was intended to target deliberate tax evasion, such as routing undeclared UK income through off shore structures. However over the course of the last few months it has become clear that HMRC will be taking a more aggressive approach even in cases where an innocent error has occured.

In brief, a person must correct any offshore tax non-compliance, including failure to notify chargeability to tax or failure to submit a Return that should have been submitted.

The RTC covers tax years as far back as 2013/14 if a failure has occurred but the taxpayer has taken reasonable care, back to 2011/12 if behaviour was careless and back to 1997/98 if the behaviour is deliberate.

If you have any assets overseas, for example holiday homes, letting income, bank interest, then Pierce can help you prepare for the new legislation.

For further information, please contact Anne Wilson on or call 01254 688 100.